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The Fruits of Two Worldviews 02/29/2008
Of all the arenas of state-sponsored genocides of the 20th century, the Killing Fields of
Cambodia were among the most disturbing. There, in a massive social engineering
project, a radical communist government systematically starved,
tortured and murdered nearly two million people with the brutal efficiency of an assembly
line operation. The regime outlawed all religions. It sought to establish a
communist utopia by force, driving everyone into an instant agrarian economy, and eliminating
the brightest and most skilled simply because they did not fit the communist ideal.
Simply wearing glasses was enough to be processed i.e., photographed, catalogued,
tortured if necessary, and shot or hacked in the back of the head with a hoe.
Hundreds of thousands were killed by their own countrymen in a cold, calculated
operation so dispassionately merciless, Cambodians to this day are almost in denial
of what happened.
Independent reported that Kang Kek lew, otherwise known as Comrade Duch, was taken
to the killing fields as part of his trial. Duch had overseen Prison S-21 where
20,000 people were photographed, tortured and eliminated. Now 66 years old, Duch broke down
when shown trees where children's heads were smashed and saw a pile of 8,000
skulls of victims. The article says he fell to his knees, hands clasped in
tearful prayer for the terrible crimes committed three decades ago.
Prayer? Yes; you see, long after the fall of the Khmer Rouge,
after some personal tragedies, he started attending a Christian church and became
a born-again Christian in 1995. He became a lay pastor. When he went to
assist the World Vision international
relief organization in 1999, he was discovered by a journalist
and surrendered to authorities.
A visit to the killing fields was part of his trial which resumed
last July after eight years in detention without being charged. It was also
part of an effort to document the horrors of the regime in order to bring closure
to the horrific tragedy that killed nearly a third of the Cambodian population. Duch is one
of five remaining leaders of the Khmer Rouge awaiting trial and sentencing by
the UN-backed Cambodia Tribunal.
Is this entry off-topic? Perhaps somewhat.
But it is necessary to remember intently and frequently the stakes in the battle of worldviews.
Lets recite the obligatory disclaimers first: not all atheists are genocidal maniacs, and
not all Christians are merciful saints. Understood.
Could clay minerals have helped life get a start? A chemical evolutionist explains why not,
That being the case, who can deny that the worst genocidal
regimes in history were atheistic, and that most atheists are evolutionists? Communist philosophy
was built on atheism, and evolution was the scientific justification for its views.
Evolution portrayed a world of death and struggle where killing was necessary for the
advancement of the race. The fitness of the State, not the individual, is what
mattered to both communists and national socialists (both, despite their differences,
subsets of Social Darwinist ideology; see 02/17/2008 and
11/30/2005; also see response to criticism of this
linkage by Dr. Richard Weikart on Evolution
individuals around, in the minds of many Social Darwinists, was sin; advancing
the fitness of the State was righteousness. These were ideas first, then
ideologies, then political parties, then dictatorships. The perpetrators of
communist genocides (Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, and more) sincerely believed they were
acting in accordance with the laws of science Darwin had delineated.
Here we see one perpetrator who underwent a radical change of
worldview. Kang Kek lew was no peasant yanked into service. He had been head
of a local college. He joined the communist party of Cambodia willingly.
As a communist, Comrade Duch dutifully carried out the will of the
State. He even went beyond the call of duty.
The Wikipedia entry on him says,
Assisted by his two deputies, Comrade Chan and Comrade Pon, Duch began perfecting his interrogation techniques and the purging of perceived enemies from the Khmer Rouge ranks. Prisoners at these camps, mostly from the ranks of the Khmer Rouge, were routinely starved and tortured to extract real and made up confessions. Few prisoners left the camps alive.
Now with a Christian worldview, Duch weeps over his sins.
He prays for the souls of his victims.
As a lay pastor, he tried to teach others the truth. He joined a Christian relief organization that
works around the world to feed the hungry and bring relief to the vulnerable.
Only God knows the depths of his sincerity, but one thing is certain: a Christian
worldview of mercy and compassion is polar opposite to the communist worldview that
turned intellectuals into cold-blooded mass murderers.
Does Comrade Duch
deserve the ultimate sentence for past crimes now that he has changed? Whatever the tribunal decides,
the blood of his victims is crying from the ground for justice. The institutions
of law enforcement, ordained by God according to the Apostle Paul
must act impartially by the rule of law and must weigh the magnitude of the crimes.
God will take care of justice for the soul. These matters are not the point of
this entry. Comrade Duchs story illustrates the stark contrast in the outcomes of worldviews that begin with
intellectual questions the existence of God, purpose in life, the nature of
good and evil.
What begins in the mind can move armies: armies of tanks and
bombs, or armies of relief workers. Thats why
Creation-Evolution Headlines matters. The killing fields in Cambodia, chilling
as they were, were not unique. Each Social-Darwinist utopian regime committed
similar atrocities in ways just as cold and calculated. The body count from 20th-century state-sponsored
genocides, far outstripping the number of casualties from war, is exhausting to contemplate
A proverb of Jesus, applied to
science by Sir Francis Bacon, sums up in seven words
what we tried to say in seven paragraphs:
By their fruits you will know them
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
Movies Worth a Leap Year...: 02/29/2008
Expelled: Ben Steins documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
is scheduled for release April 18. See the trailer and other information, both
amusing and disturbing, at the film website
ExpelledTheMovie.com. The film documents
the persecution by the scientific establishment of anyone who dares question the ruling
evolutionary paradigm, especially those who embrace Intelligent Design. ID news sites
like Evolution News have already posted
several articles and interviews about Ben Steins latest crusade for academic freedom.
See Steins recent editorial on News
The Case for Faith: The third installment in a trilogy of
Lee Strobel films based on his best-selling books
is in the works and may be released by fall. The Case for Faith tackles
some of the most difficult questions skeptics ask about Christianity: Is Christ the
only way to God? and, How can a loving God allow evil and suffering?
To prepare for this third film, be sure you have already watched The Case for a
and The Case for Christ (09/16/2007).
The exceptional production quality of La Miradas films are only exceeded by the depth
of their content. The Case for Faith will likely raise the bar again.
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
Is Cosmology Getting Wimp-y? 02/28/2008
Physics and astronomy are usually thought of as the hard sciences,
where empiricism is king. Read the following excerpts from a story on the
BBC News science
page with that in mind (suggestion: replace dark matter with
mysterious unknown stuff).
The first stars to appear in the Universe may have been powered by dark matter,
according to US scientists....
Lets take stock so far. Some kind of mysterious unknown stuff has never
been detected, but it determined the fate of the universe and all that it contains.
The mysterious unknown stuff, remember, has never been detected, but it has a name:
Wimps. Even though never detected, scientists are certain there was a lot of
the mysterious unknown stuff at the beginning, colliding, fusing and obliterating
itself, and forming the first stars, which would have looked quite different from
the stars we see, even though they have never been detected, either.
when the Universe was still young, there would have been abundant
dark matter, made of particles called Wimps: Weakly Interacting Massive Particles.
These would have fused together and obliterated each other long before nuclear
fusion had the chance to start.
As a result, the first stars would have looked quite different from
the ones we see today, and they may have changed the course of the Universes evolution
or at least held it up.
The theory, published in the journal Physical Review Letters, depends
on particles that astronomers cant see, but are certain exist, and physicists
have never detected. But the indirect evidence for their existence is overwhelming.
Now to the indirect evidence that is overwhelming. The article
Dark matter particles make up more than three-quarters of the mass of the Universe,
says theoretical physicist Katherine Freese from the University of Michigan.
It seems that this indirect evidence for the mysterious unknown stuff that has never
been detected is an artifact of a popular current theory that postulates its existence
(06/20/2003, esp. bullet 5).
Our problem is that we cannot detect the billions of Wimps that MUST (Mysterious Unknown
STuff) be passing through our bodies every second.
In fact, billions of them are passing through each of us every second.
In the early Universe, there would have been even more.
So lets turn our most powerful space telescope to the edge of
the universe, and learn if it sees what MUST be there:
The nature of the first stars has long puzzled astronomers.
Immediately after the Big Bang, the Universe expanded and cooled, so
that for millions of years it was filled with dark, featureless hydrogen and helium
and perhaps Wimps.
So far, we have only observed KS (Known Stuff), not Mysterious Unknown STuff. The article gets even
stranger. Scientists have figured out what MUST have occurred: to get from
darkness to light, it MUST have pulled the universe together, causing it to
change course on a path to stars, planets and life. Stranger still,
the old story about mysterious unknown stuff has been replaced by a new one creating
exotic new structures out of exotic unknown ingredients:
Astronomers can see that there were normal stars 700 million years
after the Big Bang the Hubble Telescope looking to the edges of the Universe,
which is like looking back billions of years in time, can see whole galaxies of them.
It had been thought the hydrogen brought together by these dark matter haloes
would collapse to make the first small stars, and would start to make
inside themselves the first new elements carbon, oxygen, silicon and other
materials needed by planets and life.
Naturally, The details of what the stars would have looked like have yet to be worked out,
since they cannot be observed.
But the new paper says reactions between the Wimps, colliding
and annihilating each other, would have generated enough heat to keep the
protostars inflated like hot air balloons. And as more Wimps
rained down on them the heating would have kept going.
A good deal of effort and money is being expended to try to create
some linkage between theory and observation. For instance,
Daily described sophisticated new dark matter detectors being readied by
Fermilab. One experiment described in another article on
Daily failed to detect Wimps, the leading candidate for the mysterious
unknown stuff. Astronomers have been looking for it for years
(07/23/2007) but recently, the race to be
first to detect it is picking up steam. Maybe the new
Hadron Collider coming online this fall at CERN will help discover the
mysterious unknown stuff that makes up the universe and determines its fate.
One would almost think we are back in the dark
ages, listening to wizards peep and mutter about mysterious vapors and essences
and emanations that control our fate. They havent found Wimps yet
but are already talking about Super-Wimps (07/02/2003).
If the intellectually-wimpy believers
in Wimpy dark matter dont find it soon, or if new theories gain ground that
dont need it, these searchers are going to look very silly for having said
80% of reality consisted of superfluous nonexistent stuff.
Why Blood Clots Are Stretchy 02/27/2008
think they would look silly; actually, they will probably relish the Progress Of SciencE
(POSE). Ever since Charlie welcomed fantasy into science, all branches
of modern investigation have loosened the restrictions on empiricism. Now,
it is quite fashionable to postulate mysterious unknown stuff if it MUST keep
your materialistic story going. Geology set the stage before Darwin by
envisioning vast ages of unobservable prehistory. Psychology imported mysterious unknown stuff
like the Unconscious, the Id, the Ego and Superego, and Archetypes.
Political Science imported it in the form of Utopian visions that would be
realized by the Class Struggle and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat over the
Bourgeoisie and the mysterious Kulaks (you could be one yourself). Physical Chemistry
imported Charmed Quarks and other exotic things that are almost indistinguishable
from the theories that require them. And evolutionary biology is loaded
with mysterious unknown stuff: mystical selection forces that cause
wondrous organs and complex structures to emerge and arise
and appear shedding light on modern mans dark understanding. In fact, much
of the heritage of Charles Darwin is a vision of getting Known Stuff from Mysterious
Unknown Stuff by a long, gradual, unobservable process called Emergence.
If this all sounds like some ancient mystery religion, you got it.
Mysterious Unknown STuff, also known as snake oil, is rampant in science these days.
Were long past the modern science era. Now we are living in the era of
what Francis Schaeffer called modern modern science
a fantasy cosmos of self-actualizing miracles. Anything goes except a miracle Worker.
Next headline on:
A team of biophysicists at University of Illinois ran a computation for six months to find out
why blood clots are stretchy. The primary protein in the clot, fibrinogen,
can stretch two to three times its resting size. By studying the force on every
atom in the protein, Science
Daily said, they produced a force curve that matches the force measured on actual
Understanding clotting is important, because Blood clots can save lives,
staunching blood loss after injury, but they can also kill, the article began.
Let loose in the bloodstream, a clot can cause a heart attack, stroke or pulmonary embolism.
It is important for clots to be elastic because they have a mechanical function
to withstand blood pressure.
Tots learn from their mommies that their scratches
will heal, so they dont need to worry about being scarred for life. We
grew up accepting that as a given. Imagine, though, having every scratch or cut
from our youth a permanent disfigurement or point of blood leakage. We would be
covered head to toe in bandages as adults. The life of hemophiliacs illustrates the
point: when the blood clotting process breaks down, even a small cut is life-threatening.
Sea Monsters Were for Real, and Other Wonders Under the Sea 02/26/2008
Imagine, furthermore, that clots were as hard as bone. You would
have to sit quietly for weeks till the wound was entirely healed, or else risk having
changes in blood pressure rip it away from the surrounding tissue. Instead,
fibrinogen is constructed with coiled coils of amino acids to give it both strength
and flexibility. The network of fibers and proteins that form at a wound site
involves multiple rounds of signaling, aggregating ingredients in the right order,
and applying patches that wont break off and cause a heart attack or stroke.
Michael Behe argued in his classic book Darwins Black Box
that the blood clotting cascade is irreducibly complex. His argument didnt
take much convincing. All he had to do was show a flowchart of the 25 or so
components that interoperate with feedback and feed-forward procedures to ensure that
the flow of blood is stopped quickly and safely. If any one of these
ingredients is missing, the system breaks. Any question why this article here did
not mention evolution?
Next headline on:
Geographic News published a story about a real sea monster. A fossil pliosaur
nearly 50 feet in length, the largest marine reptile ever found, was discovered in
permafrost just 800 miles from the North Pole, on the Arctic island of Spitsbergen in
Norways Svalbard archipelago. Scientists estimate it had such strong teeth
and muscles it could have bitten a small car in half.
The article about the huge creature,
with a skull nearly 7 feet long and flippers 10 feet long,
includes a photo
gallery. Plesiosaurs often had long necks, but pliosaurs had massive heads and
short necks. Page 2 of the article claims that the large concentration of marine
reptiles in the area, one of the richest accumulations of marine reptiles in the world
with 40 known specimens so far,
resulted when the large animals swam in temperate seas and sank to the ocean
floor after they died, where their bodies were preserved in soft mud.
The Burgess Shale, now high in the Canadian Rockies, once hosted a rich
marine biota. For a century it has been known for the exceptional preservation
of its Cambrian fossils. A new theory reported in
says that an undersea landslide was responsible for burying the animals quickly and suddenly
so that even the impressions of soft parts of worms were preserved. The Cambrian
Explosion was mentioned in the article:
Today, the Burgess Shale represents a frozen sliver of life from a time when Earth and its life were completely different.
A different surprise has appeared among the living. Shrimp-like crustaceans called
krill had been thought to inhabit the upper ocean. What are they doing 3000 meters
down under the Antarctic Peninsula? Sure enough,
reported, Antarctic krill were found by a deep-diving remotely operated vehicle in
the dark depths, actively feeding and spawning as if this is a perfectly normal place to
call home. The discovery completely changes scientists understanding
of the major food source for fish, squid, penguins, seals and whales.
It dates from very early in the history of complex multi-cellular life, [Jan] Zalasiewicz [U of Leicester]
told LiveScience. For quite a while, it was the main window we had on the diversity of life at this time.
Its very significant because one of the great enigmas about Cambrian life is that it seems to have started very suddenly.
Life existed for 3 billion years before the Cambrian Period, but almost all of it was simple life composed of single cells.
Then very suddenly at the beginning of the Cambrian, a whole host of life, all the major groups of animals,
appeared, Zalasiewicz said. That is called the Cambrian explosion. Its still a mystery as to
how and why this great flowering of multi-cellular life took place.
Zalasiewicz said that there were no trees or higher animals when the
Burgess Shale was buried by an undersea landslide. How would he know that?
One would not expect there to be such creatures in that environment. Separate
the interpretation based on worldview from the actual observations. The
observations show that Darwinism could not be true. The 3-billion-year dates
are part of the evolutionary tale. Just look at the fossils: all the major animal phyla
appear suddenly at the beginning of the Cambrian. Appear is the
operative word: they were not evolving. There were not primitive forms of
these creatures in the rocks below. Boom! There they are, complete with
eyes, complex appendages and a functioning ecology. That is not evolution. Its also
true of the pliosaurs, plesiosaurs, and ichthyosaurs found at Spitsbergen.
They appear in the record suddenly and fully operational. Extinct animals were usually larger and
more diverse than their counterparts today. If this is evolution, it is going
Why engineers envy the octopus, from 02/09/2005.
Kids, consider marine biology or paleontology as a career. There are
still remarkable discoveries to be made under the sea. You dont have to follow the Darwin script
or swallow the evolutionary tales to discover amazing things and have an
adventurous life. Imagine making a living finding fossils of sea monsters.
Imagine finding new kinds of life in the depths of the sea. Wouldnt that
be totally cool?
Next headline on:
Prevent Drought: Hire a Beaver 02/25/2008
Beavers can help ease drought, say scientists from University of Alberta.
published a press release about a 54-year study that showed beaver kept open water
wetlands available. They seem to even mitigate the effects of global warming.
Climate models predict the incidence of drought in parts of North America will
increase in frequency and length over the next 100 years, and beaver will likely play
an important role in maintaining open water and mitigating the impact, [Glynnis] Hood said.
In fact, maybe it isnt climate that is driving everything. Beaver are
helping to keep water in areas that would otherwise be dry. Their presence
has a dramatic effect on how much open water is available in an area. See also
Beaver are pests to some, and a cash cow to others.
In the early 1800s, they were coveted as a
source of felt for gentlemens hats. Thats what opened the West to
exploration and expansion by Americans, Europeans, other nations and individual
pioneers, explorers, entrepreneurs and adventurers.
We need to look at beaver in a better light.
Theyre lovable, and theyre good for us.
Time to watch the wonderful IMAX file Beavers again.
Paleofantasy: Brain Evolution Is Mere Storytelling 02/22/2008
Next headline on:
When it comes to explaining the brain, evolutionists are completely in the dark. That was the surprising message
in a presentation to the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement
of Science by Harvard evolutionist Richard Lewontin. James Randerson blogged the presentation in the UK
beginning, We know nothing about brain evolution.
Scientists are still completely in the dark about why the human brain evolved to be so big,
according to Richard Lewontin.
Randerson considers Lewontin one of sciences superb curmudgeons. Along
with Stephen Jay Gould, Lewontin has historically argued against pan-selectionism, or
the idea that natural selection produced every trait. Some traits are mere artifacts,
they said, like the decorative spandrels on gothic pillars.
Randerson said Lewontin was on fantastic curmudgeonly form at the Boston meeting:
His campaign against pan-selectionism was in evidence. Evolution is not the evolution of traits but the evolution of organisms, he said.
What are some of the reasons for Lewontins pessimism? Randerson summarized the main points:
But he had an even more sobering message, summed up in the title of his talk
Why we know nothing about the evolution of cognition. He systematically
dismissed every assumption about the evolution of human thought, reaching the
conclusion that scientists are still completely in the dark about how natural selection
prompted the massive hike in human brain size in the human line.
In short, evolutionists cannot be sure about either causes or effects among the artifacts they
have to study. Randerson ended with a sentence that sweeps away decades of research and pictorial
storytelling: All in all, despite thousands of scientific papers and countless National
Geographic front covers, we have not made much progress in understanding how our most
complicated and mysterious organ came about. Quoting Lewontin,
We are in very serious difficulties in trying to reconstruct the evolution of cognition.
Im not even sure what we mean by the problem.
- Fossils: Despite a handful of hominid fossils stretching back 4m years or
so, we cant be sure that any of them are on the main ancestral line to us. Many or
all of them could have been evolutionary side branches.
- Interpretations: Worse, the fossils we do have are difficult to interpret.
I dont have the faintest idea what the cranial capacity [of a fossil hominid] means,
- Posture: Lewontin expressed doubt that we can be sure which hominids walked upright.
- Selective forces: He is also not convinced that we can use current selective
forces to infer what natural selection was doing to our ancestors.
How did Science, the organ of the AAAS, report this meeting?1
Richard Lewontin knows how to grab an audiences attention, the news report began.
Then they quoted him grabbing some attention: We are missing the fossil record of human cognition.
So we make up stories. Science reporter Michael Balter titled his article
How Human Intelligence Evolved--Is It Science or Paleofantasy?
Balter was quick to point out that others in the meeting disagreed with
Lewontins pessimism. Dean Falk (Florida State) pointed to fossil evidence,
and Christopher Walsh (Harvard Medical School) cited genetic studies. Leslie Aiello
(Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research) pointed to research that can
get us beyond the paleofantasy that Richard Lewontin is talking about.
She said there is enough evidence for large shifts at certain points in evolutionary history,
such as the split between the chimpanzee and the human lines about 6 million years ago
and the invention of stone tools beginning about 2.5 million years ago.
Some of these shifts can be correlated with climate change, she argued.
All these appeared to be mere suggestions that may provide insight, though not collections
of definitive evidence that produce sound conclusions.
Marc Hauser (Harvard psychologist) said things that seemed to reinforce
Lewontins pessimism. He argued that the gap between humans and other smart
animals is greater than the gap between those animals and worms. Showing the many
ways human cognition is unique, Hauser described the capabilities of smart animals as narrow,
laser-beam intelligence for focusing on narrow problems, whereas humans
have floodlight intelligence applicable to a wide range of problems.
Even the tool use by chimpanzees is whoppingly different from what
humans do, he said. Balter ended, He hopes that the manifold human differences
summarized in his humaniqueness hypothesis will yield clues about how our species evolved.
For more on Marc Hausers views on humaniqueness, which emphasizes four
cognitive gaps between humans and animals (ability to recombine information, to apply
information to novel problems, to use symbolic representations, and to think abstractly), see
Hauser is quoted at the end of the article: For human beings, these key cognitive
abilities may have opened up other avenues of evolution that other animals have not exploited,
and this evolution of the brain is the foundation upon which cultural evolution has been built.
This statement, however, assumes evolution rather than showing what mutations or variations
crossed the divide in the first place. Measuring the width of a canyon is not the same thing
as finding a bridge across it.
1. Michael Balter, News of the Week, How Human Intelligence Evolved--Is It Science or Paleofantasy?
22 February 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5866, p. 1028, DOI: 10.1126/science.319.5866.1028a.
You just saw a series of suicide bombs go off in the
Darwin Party headquarters, carried in by Darwinites themselves. Can evolution recover from
the admissions these guys made? This is not Duane Gish saying these things:
they come from Mr. Cant-Allow-a-Divine-Foot-in-the-Door himself, Richard Lewontin
of Harvard, a knowledgeable, committed Darwiniac if there ever was one. The
upshot is that they are a bunch of know-nothings. Now we have a new label for
the Darwin Party: the Know
Nothing Party. Their motto is, I know nothing but my Darwinism Storybook,
my whole Darwinism Storybook, and nothing but my Darwinism Storybook.
Their favorite amusement park is Paleofantasyland.
Evolutionary Theory Cant Handle Language 02/21/2008
Remember this entry the next time you get a National Geographic
cover story of a hominid with a philosophers gaze. Remember it when you
are told stories about hominids walking upright, their hands now freed to scratch
their chins and think. Remember it when you are shown a chimpanzee on NOVA performing
memory tricks for a banana or smashing bugs with a rock. Remember it when a
stack of erudite scientific papers on human evolution is placed on the witness table
at a trial over whether students should be allowed to think critically about
evolution in science class.
You have just heard all you need to know about human evolution from the Darwiniacs themselves.
The Darwin Party Know-Nothings, daydreaming in Paleofantasyland, have admitted they are just making up
stories about the evolution of human cognition. Their breathtaking ignorance is not limited
to their answers. They dont even know what they mean by the question.
This is what they want to teach our students: ignorance! Now, not only will public school
students learn nothing; after indoctrination by the Know Nothings, they will know even less.
Next headline on:
Did a gene turn on speech? Five years ago, evolutionary geneticists were claiming
that mutations in a gene called Foxp2 were the key to human language (see
05/26/2004). This was based on two
observations: chimps do not have these mutations, and people with alterations to
Foxp2 have language impediments. This idea is very unlikely to be
right, claims a professor of computational linguistics at MIT, Robert Berwick.
An article in Science Daily discusses his ideas:
This kind of straightforward connection is just not the way organisms are put together, he says. When it comes to something as complex as language, one would be hard-pressed to come up with an example less amenable to evolutionary study. And the specific Foxp2 connection is based on a whole chain of events, each of which is speculative, so theres little chance of the whole story being right.
Even defining language is hard, he said. Is bird song a kind of language?
Whale song? If you cant define what it is, he said, why
study it from an evolutionary point of view? If anything, Berwick said,
Foxp2 is peripheral to the capacity for language just like a printer is
peripheral to a computer system.
Its so chaotic, its like weather forecasting, he says. The noise overwhelms the signal.
Rather, language is almost certainly the result of a far more complex and subtle interplay among a variety of factors, Berwick says, and it may never be possible to connect it to specific genetic changes. There are some things in science that are very interesting, but that were never going to be able to find out about, he says. Its a sort of romantic view some people have, that anything interesting can be understood.
Where does this leave research on the evolution of language?
For himself, Berwick is looking for deeper, internal mechanisms. He sees some
similarity to the rhythm in poetry and the song patterns in birds, for instance.
This is unlikely, however, to do more than show some similarities without revealing
causal mechanisms. The article ends by describing language as essentially
a non-verbal function of the mind:
Ultimately, the important thing is to understand that language is, at bottom,
something that takes place inside the human mind and is independent of any particular
sound, sight or motion. The same internal mental construction could
be expressed through verbal speech, through writing or through
sign language without changing its basic nature, Berwick says.
Its not about this external thing you hear, he says.
Its about the representation inside your head.
A picture of Berwick in his lab is posted on the original press release at
Intelligent design theorists and cognitive
neuroscientists can have a field day with this! If language at its core is
not a physical representation but a concept in the mind, then it has no
basis in evolution.
Three unwarranted assumptions paleoanthropologists make about human origins criticized
by an anthropologist, from 02/19/2004.
ID scientists have been demonstrating for years the common-sense
idea that information, a product of intelligence,
can be represented in a variety of ways independent of the
substrate that conveys it. The sentence John loves Mary can
be represented by sand writing, sky writing, electrons (email, TV), sound waves, paper and
ink, sign language, knots in rope, and a host of other ways yet the
message is unchanged.
The evolution of language, therefore,
would have to be a theory about the evolution of meaningful information.
You cannot get meaning out of meaninglessness, or purpose out of purposelessness.
Did you see Berwick make an irrational leap? He just said it is unlikely
that an evolutionary approach will ever figure out language, but then he went
back to studying bird song and poetry for insight. He isnt going to
figure it out till he adds in the fundamental term missing from all materialistic
world views: information.
Notice how evolutionists deceived the public (again). They sent the
Foxp2 gene up the flagpole for people to salute and sing Darwin wins again
Now, five years later, comes the admission that their explanation cannot possibly
be right. Typical. John may love Mary, but Charlie despises tRuth.
Next headline on:
Florida Wises Up and Teaches Evolution Uncritically 02/20/2008
The Florida State Board of Education adopted, by a vote of 4 to 3, science standards that require
the teaching of evolution as the fundamental concept underlying all of biology
without critical analysis or alternatives.
said that calling evolution a scientific theory instead of a scientific fact
represented a meaningless compromise with the minority who had argued for insertion of
the statement, Students should learn why some scientists give scientific critiques of
standard models of neo-Darwinian evolution or models of the chemical origin of life.
No proposal for teaching alternatives, such as intelligent design, were even considered.
Decisions on these highly-charged issues typically produce a torrent of
lively commentaries in the news media. Carl Hiaasen in the
Herald had a particularly fun time pointing out that the vote means that Floridas
reputation for flakiness is at stake:
In a move that could endanger Floridas flaky backwater reputation, the state
Board of Education is poised to endorse the teaching of evolution as a science.
Hiaasen continued his sarcasm against the compromise of calling evolution just a
theory. OK, Lets start teaching gravity as a theory, too,
he smirked. And dont forget the solar system -- what proof do we really have,
besides a bunch of fuzzy, fake-looking photos, that Mars really exists?
This is a dangerous idea -- not the presentation of Darwinism in schools, but the
presentation of Florida as a place of progressive scientific thought.
Over the years the Legislature has worked tirelessly to keep our kids academically
stuck in the mid-1950s....
By accepting evolution as a proven science, our top educators would be sending a
loud message to the rest of the nation: Stop making fun of us....
Certainly thats [i.e., evolution is] the position of every reputable academic
group on the planet, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association
for the Advancement of Science and the National Science Teachers Association.
But forget the fossil record, OK? Forget DNA tracing. Forget the
exhaustively documented diversification of species.
This battle is about pride and independence; about boldly going against the flow,
in defiance of reason and all known facts.
Hiaasen intimated that candidates like Mike Huckabee, a Christian,
could help restore Floridas reputation for flakiness. Weve
worked hard to keep ourselves so far behind in education, and we must stay the course.
A taste of the acrimony generated on both sides of the evolution-as-theory
debate can be seen in quotes listed in
an article by World Net Daily
Entertaining op-ed piece. Kind of like watching
Groucho Marx or the Three Stooges calling smart people stupid. Hiaasens skill at
sarcasm is only exceeded by his ignorance of the issues. His intellectual dysentery
is the product of feeding on arguments from authority,
bandwagon arguments, glittering
generalities, non-sequiturs and the rest of the
junk Darwin propaganda diet. By equating Darwins
mythology with practical science, assuming that teaching evolution will bring in high-paying jobs,
and confusing observational science with fability
(01/16/2007 commentary), is it any wonder he wins
Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week? The Discovery Institute should hire him
for a sideshow, to illustrate the quality of ranting by the DODO heads (Darwin-Only 2x).
Hiaasen is doing more to ensure Floridas
ongoing flakiness than anyone siding with the Minority Report could have done.
Dinosaurs of the Month 02/20/2008
Next headline on:
The tools of paleontologists continue to turn up interesting things. Here
are some of the latest dinosaur discoveries reported this month:
For a twist on who eats whom, Science
Daily reported fossils of a giant frog from Madagascar that may have fed on baby dinosaurs.
They named it Beelzebufo the frog from hell. The find was
published in PNAS,2 where the authors said that it
suggests that the initial radiation of hyloid anurans began earlier than proposed by some recent estimates.
It was also found on a different continent Africa far from South America where such
frogs were thought to have evolved. See also the BBC
News and Science Daily
for an artists rendering of the mean ol frog. The latter article claims that
the monster leaped across continents and ate dinosaurs. Co-discoverer David Krause is
quoted, Whats a South American frog doing half-way around the world, in Madagascar?
There must have been a land bridge through Calaveras County.
- Mighty mouth: An African theropod with massive, shark-like teeth
was found in the African Sahara, reported National
Geographic News and PhysOrg.
It was named Eocarcharia dinops, or fierce-eyed dawn shark. Another
similar individual, presumed to be a scavenger, was named Kryptops palaios,
old hidden face had a bony horn that covered much of its face.
Geographic posted a gallery of artists reconstructions.
- Mighty duck: In Mexico, giant duck-billed hadrosaur remains were found,
Geographic and Science
Daily. These specimens were said to be 35 feet in length. Till now,
dinosaur bones in Mexico have been rare. Terry Gates (Utah Museum of Natural
History) said, The crested duck-billed dinosaurs are an extraordinary example of
- Sparrowsaur: In China, the smallest pterosaurs ever found have
come to light (see National
Geographic and Live Science).
These toothless flying reptiles were only about the size of a sparrow 10 inches or so
(see artist reconstruction).
Like birds, they had curved digits that probably helped them grasp the branches of trees.
Found in the rich fossil beds of Chinas Liaoning province, the species was named
Nemicolopterus crypticus. by the discoverers who published their findings in
Alexander Kellner (Museu Nacional/Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro) pieced pterosaurs
into a vision of evolutionary progress: The general idea
was at some point we had
these very primitive pterosaurs very low down on the evolutionary tree
that were living on insects. At some point pterosaurs learned to feed on fish.
He said the find opens a new chapter on the evolutionary history of this group of volant [flying] reptiles.
1. Wang, Kellner, Zhou, Campos, Discovery of a rare arboreal forest-dwelling flying reptile (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea) from China,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA,
published online on February 11, 2008, 10.1073/pnas.0707728105.
2. Evans, Jones, Krause, A giant frog with South American affinities from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, Published online on February 19, 2008, 10.1073/pnas.0707599105.
Some paleontologists estimate we have only found 27%
of the dinosaurs that actually lived (11/22/2004). This means that new, exotic
discoveries can be expected for many years to come. Exciting as each new unusual form is,
one cannot assume that the diversity in the dinosauria exceeds that in other
groups, such as insects. Dinosaurs stand out in our minds because of their size and
the fact they are all extinct.
In many groups of plants and animals, the fossil record is richer than the living inventory.
Distant Galaxy Surprises Astronomers 02/19/2008
One should remember also that classification is a very human enterprise.
Paleontologists win honors for naming a species. This can lead to species bloat
too much splitting of similar specimens into separate species. With fossils,
one cannot know the natural amount of variation that was present due to diet, climate, development,
genetic isolation or other factors. One cannot know which ones were capable of
interbreeding. One also cannot compare the DNA of different dinosaurs
(yet). The count of dinosaur species and genera is a function of the classification
scheme used. Jones may want to name his find Magnificentosaurus jonesii
but that doesnt make it different from Majesticosaurus smithii.
Another factor leading to the impression that new dinosaurs are popping up all over
is selective reporting. More of the same doesnt make news as
much as something new and different.
These finds, nevertheless, should inspire the young to realize there
is still much to discover. Join the treasure hunt. Replace the old guard
paleontologists who cant kick the smoking habit (i.e., the addicts who exude
smokescreens of fogma about millions of
years, primitive forms, and new chapters in evolution). Let the bones do
the talking. They know how to remain silent. Evolutionists have not yet
learned that anything they say can and will be used against them in the court of
public opinion (09/30/2007 commentary).
Next headline on:
Using the Hubble Space Telescope viewing a distant galaxy cluster as a gravitational lens,
astronomers detected a new record-holder: a galaxy bright with stars almost as old as the big bang.
The story on Science
Daily called this a galaxy, with redshift 7.6, a strong contender for the galaxy distance record.
According to theory, stars did not form till the end of the dark ages
about 400,000 years after the big bang. Young galaxies emerging from the fog of
particles might have had enough energy to evaporate the fog and bring the first stars
to light, the article says. Still, to see a galaxy so soon after the dark ages
was unexpected. An astronomer from UC Santa Cruz said, We certainly were surprised
to find such a bright young galaxy 13 billion years in the past. The current
age estimate for the universe is 13.7 billion years.
The report was also posted on
PhysOrg. See this other
PhysOrg article for a gallery
of Hubble gravitational-lens images.
The measurements are indirect and highly theory-laden.
The light astronomers measure exists in the present: here at our retinas on earth.
Where it came from, and how long it took to get here, depends on theories and models
that cannot be tested directly. How are you going to recreate a big bang and
watch stars form? Are you going to wait 400,000 years to see if it happens
according to your theory?
Poison can be good for you (in tiny doses), from
02/12/2003. Read about hormesis
a paradigm shift that might explain originally good uses for bad things.
As with fossils in evolution, spectra from space are data points that
mean nothing till inserted into a paradigm. Despite the confidence with which
the theory was explained in the article, this discovery produces as many problems as
it answers. Astronomers need to explain how diffuse fog became clumpy, and condensed
into a hierarchy of unlikely objects: galaxies and stars. Astronomers appear
to have the same problem as the biologists: a kind of cosmic Cambrian explosion.
The ability to tell
stories (fability, 01/16/2007
commentary) about how this all worked out somehow is not the same as knowledge.
The theory might be correct, but how would they know? A survey of the history
of scientific pronouncements that were later overturned is not encouraging.
The most significant data point in the article may, in fact, be the
surprised look on their faces.
Next headline on:
For Healthy Society, Father Knows Best 02/18/2008
Science Proves Common Sense Dept. Swedish scientists have found that
Children Who Have An Active Father Figure Have Fewer Psychological And Behavioral Problems,
according to a report on
In addition, Children who lived with both a mother and father figure also had
less behavioural problems than those who just lived with their mother.
Dr Anna Sarkadi from the Department of Womens and Children's Health at Uppsala University, Sweden,
For example, we found various studies that showed that children who had positively
involved father figures were less likely to smoke and get into trouble with the police,
achieved better levels of education and developed good friendships with children of both sexes.
This backs up the intuitive assumption that involvement with a biological
father or father figure has a positive influence on children be it spending
time with them talking, sharing in their activities, or playing an active role in
their care and development. They said the father is particularly helpful for
kids who are socially or economically disadvantaged. Public policy makers and
employers need to recognize the importance of this role in a mans life, they said,
for the good of society.
Long-term benefits included women who had better relationships with partners and a greater sense of mental and physical well-being at the age of 33 if they had a good relationship with their father at 16.
Ask: who are the people who typically want to
break down traditional marriage, confuse gender roles, and contribute to governmental
policies (e.g., the welfare state, taxes that penalize marriage, promotion of
alternate lifestyles) that make it harder for kids to have a father and mother
at home? Sorry to insult your intelligence with such a giveaway question.
You guessed it: liberals. Evolutionists, who are predominantly liberal in their
politics, often portray Dad as nothing but a gene donor, a biological entity
selfishly seeking to pass on his own genes at any cost, married or not.
Is it any wonder a society immersed in evolutionary thinking is going to have
little use for the traditional family? As a result of sick liberal, progressive policies
(see book review), we
have inherited a host of societal ills: crime, drugs, antisocial behavior, a sense
of hopelessness, suicide. The kids most in need of a father economically
disadvantaged blacks, for instance grow up predominantly in fatherless homes.
Mars Life Hung Out to Dry in Salt 02/18/2008
Dont count on this announcement making liberals slap
their foreheads like in the V8 commercials and say, Oh! I could have
had a nuclear family. How ironic that this study came out from that
ultra-liberal society, Sweden. Most politicians realize that fatherless
homes are a ticking time bomb for societal catastrophe. Fewer of them connect
the effect to the cause: anti-family legislation and social experimentation,
rooted in a materialistic, evolutionary philosophy.
There are bad dads abusive, alcoholic, selfish but the exceptions
prove the rule. God designed a family to have one father and one mother.
The kids not only need the different roles of the man and the woman, the parents
need the sense of responsibility that having children brings. Its all
a system to engender health and harmony from the family unit upwards to society.
It almost looks like it was planned that way. Should anyone be surprised
at the horrendous consequences of abandoning the Master plan?
Support the ministries that are trying to bring governmental, educational
and corporate policies back from the abyss of social experimentation, and promulgate
environments that encourage two-parent families: Focus on the Family,
Family Research Council,
Traditional Values Coalition,
and others. Most of all, do all you can to set a good example.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Scientists have just about hanged the possibility for life on Mars. At first,
the acid measured by the Spirit and Opportunity rovers made the environment look
inhospitable. Now, we also appreciate the high salinity of the water
when it left behind the minerals Opportunity found, said Mark Knoll on a
JPL press release.
This tightens the noose on the possibility of life.
Dreamers of Martian microbes can now only hope that the two environments
studied by the Mars Exploration Rovers are not
representative of the whole planet, or that the most ancient
environments under the surface may have been less salty. Life at the
Martian surface would have been very challenging for the last 4 billion years,
said Knoll, a biologist at Harvard and member of the rover science team.
The press release was followed by another at
JPL that potentially
habitable planets around other stars may be common, based on infrared measurements of
dust disks by the
Space Telescope (see also
Geographic News). The follow the water policy NASA astrobiologists use to
search the most promising habitats for life, however, needs to consider more than just the H2O
present. Not all water is fit to drink, Knoll quipped.
Chemical evolutionists know that salt, a necessary nutrient for advanced life, is very
detrimental to the formation of membranes and nucleic acids prior to the first cell
Living organisms can regulate salt by means of specialized channels in their membranes.
Prebiotic structures would have borne the brunt of salts damaging effects.
Life could not have started in salty water, most astrobiologists agree.
This announcement was reported also by
Geographic News. The stories did not ask whether the early earth had salt,
and whether this would have posed a challenge to chemical evolution on our planet.
This is old news; they should have given up long ago. Reports from the first
year of the rovers on Mars (12/03/2004)
worried about the high acidity and salinity of the water. Mars is dead; face
it. So we can rule out one body on the list. Since evolutionists expect
creationists to prove a universal negative, they will have job security for a long
Nazi-Era Scientists Were Willing Colluders 02/17/2008
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
A seven-year study of the conduct of the German research funding agency, the DFG,
was completed last month. Historians focused specifically on the Nazi years,
1933-1945. The report was mentioned by both Nature1 and
The upshot is that many German scientists went along with Hitlers
regime without resistance. Ulrich Herbert, a historian at the University of Freiburg,
said, The transition to National Socialism for most areas of research was not
a very dramatic step. In 1933, Nazis came into leadership positions, but there
was no specific Nazi agenda. Instead, contrary positions and voices were
simply eliminated. German scientists were not particularly more racist,
nationalistic or eugenicist than their American or Scandinavian counterparts, but
contrary opinions lost support during the Reich. We found that the
research community [in Germany] was seized by the same radical patriotism as the
rest of society after the First World War, he said. Central control was
not the only factor. The same attitudes prevailed at the decentralized universities
as at the centrally-controlled Max Planck Society. Herbert told Nature,
Universities ended up colluding with the regime because the conservative
professors who were able to continue working there agreed, like the general population,
with most Nazi policies. There was no organized opposition to the
views and no public debate of different positions.
The historians did not uncover any shocking new atrocities beyond those
already described at the Nuremburg Trials and since, but one thing stood out:
the ease with which ordinary professors and scientists signed on to the regime:
But we learnt how exquisitely closely normal professors not
just the mad Nazi types aligned their goals with the policies of the Nazi
regime. Grant applications showed, for example, how many professors took
part in developing plans for expansion to the east after Germany won the war
(as they assumed). Plans that would have killed or enslaved more than 30 million people.
Herbert also said that the nationalistic attitudes of the German scientists continued
into the 1960s till a new generation emerged. Its good to know the
dark side of ones history, he said.
1. Lessons from the dark side,
755 (2008) | doi:10.1038/451755a.
2. Newsmakers, Science,
Volume 319, Number 5865, Issue of 15 February 2008.
Does anyone think for a moment that todays professors and academics in
Big Science would not fall in line with another genocidal totalitarian regime,
if the inducements were strong enough? The herd mentality makes it more
comfortable to go along to get along. We already see the shameless ease
with which they support experimentation on human embryos, the selfishness with
which they demand public money for everything they want to do, and their
willingness to lie openly about the evidence for Darwinism. Many individual
scientists are the most honest and noble people you would ever meet, but the
record of Big Science is not encouraging. How many of even the honest ones
would risk everything to stand against incipient evil policies?
Remembering Dr. Henry M. Morris, Jr., father of modern creationism, from
Hitlers regime has become such a byword for evil, we tend to overuse it and get
numb to it. Dont let that happen. Watch the documentaries,
read the histories, remind yourself regularly just how destructive it was.
Then read up on communism and the other Social Darwinist regimes of the 20th century:
ideas that generated unspeakable evil on the world, resulting in 148 million deaths
and untold misery for survivors, many of whom would have welcomed death.
This story demonstrates that normal intelligent professors, and citizens, went
right along with policies that not only killed millions, but would have killed tens of
millions more had they not been defeated.
To prevent a recurrence, it is not sufficient to know the dark
side of your nations history. You must know the dark side of your
own heart (Romans 3).
Jeremiah said, The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?
We may not know it exhaustively, but we can know it sufficiently to demand our
governments set up safeguards to prevent the success of evil ideas.
Beware especially of ideologies that build their morals on a Darwinian foundation.
The solution to the problem of evil begins one heart at a time
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Oldest Bat Fossil: Was It Evolving? 02/16/2008
A bat fossil surpassing the previous record holder for the oldest by 2 million years made the
cover of Nature this week.1 The news media immediately
began saying that it provided insight into evolution. The BBC
News announced Bat fossil solves evolution poser.
Geographic called it the icing on the cake, and said that
the fossils represent a breakthrough in the understanding of bat evolution.
PhysOrg called it a missing link that
demonstrates that the animals evolved the ability to fly before they could echolocate.
That last statement gets to the crux of the evolution angle. Its
not that this specimen was part bat and part something else. It was fully capable of flight
and was easily identified as a bat. What it appeared to lack (though this point is somewhat
questionable) is the ability for echolocation the bats famous sonar navigation
system. Some living bats have echolocation; others do not. The ones without
it typically have a smaller cochlea (the inner ear organ that converts sound waves into
nerve impulses). Since the fossil appeared to have a small cochlea, the researchers
inferred that it lacked echolocation; however, size may not be the only valid diagnostic. We know that
miniaturization can be a measure of advanced technology (e.g., iPod over cassette player).
Without the ability to observe this species in action, it would be impossible to prove that
it could not echolocate with its compact cochleae.
The evolutionary question before these scientists and reporters was not
whether bats evolved their minds were already made up on that point.
There has been a longstanding debate, though, about how bats evolved,
centering around the development of flight and the development of the sonar system
they use to navigate and hunt for prey, PhysOrg explained. The majority opinion
among evolutionists seems to have been that echolocation came first, then flight.
This fossil seemed to suggest the reverse.
Echolocation or not, there was never any doubt this was a bat. It was classified in
the bat order Chiroptera, and given the name
Onychonycteris. Even though this bat is similar to modern bats that lack
echolocation, it may have been otherwise equipped for flying at night,
wrote John Speakman (U of Aberdeen) in the same issue of Nature.2
Why, then, did the discoverers call it primitive? Nothing in the paper
provided definitive evidence the bat was lacking in derived (i.e., advanced,
or highly evolved) features. There were only suggestions couched in tentative wording:
The shape of the wings suggests that an undulating gliding-fluttering flight
style may be primitive for bats, and the presence of a long calcar indicates
that a broad tail membrane evolved early in Chiroptera, probably functioning
as an additional airfoil rather than as a prey-capture device. Limb proportions
and retention of claws on all digits indicate that the new bat may have been an
agile climber that employed quadrupedal locomotion and under-branch hanging behaviour.
Obviously, the researchers cannot watch a fossil bat fly in a fossilized sky.
A creature capable of being called an agile climber as well as a flyer should
not be judged primitive on that basis; are not two skills better than one?
Possession of claws seems also a questionable measure of primitiveness.
It would seem more primitive to lack a structure than to have it.
As for that echolocation question, the discoverers were more hedged in
their wording than the science reporters. After weighing the evidence, they said,
there is no unambiguous evidence that Onychonycteris was capable
of laryngeal echolocation. Their graph shows that the cochlea of this species
is right on the borderline between echolocating and non-echolocating species.
On the other wing, it was clearly capable of
powered flight, they said. Speakman concurred: The bats wing
morphology is very similar to that of extant species, except that it has claws on its digits,
he said. But in all other respects this is clearly a bat capable of powered flight.
In addition, the authors inferred that it most likely ate insects, as do modern
The only basis for claiming this bat was primitive, then,
seems to be that it was found in strata assumed to be 52 million years old rather than
50 million years old, and according to evolutionary theory, Bats are thought to
have evolved from terrestrial mammals, and scientists have long pondered whether
they took to the air before or after they could echolocate. So said
National Geographic. It looked like a bat, and it flew like a bat. It
was labeled primitive simply because evolutionary theory assumes that older means more primitive.
One other evolutionary question was considered. Why hasnt
echolocation evolved among ground-dwelling mammals? An evolutionary answer
was at the ready. Speakman spoke to that, but his answer raised other questions:
However, around the end of the 1980s, evidence accumulated, including work from my own group, that favoured the flight-first hypothesis. One paper showed that, for a bat hanging at rest, echolocation is extremely energetically costly. This high cost probably explains why no terrestrial mammals have evolved full-blown echolocation systems such as those used by bats. However, a second paper showed that when a bat takes flight these costs disappear. This is because of a remarkable coupling of the beating of the wings with the ventilation of the lungs and production of the echolocation pulses. When a bat hangs stationary and echolocates, it must contract its muscles specifically to generate a forceful expiratory burst, and this is where the large costs come from. When a bat is flying, it is already contracting these muscles, so in effect echolocation when flying is free (or at least substantially cheaper).
He did not discuss why flying hawks would represent more a threat than flying reptiles.
He also did not discuss why any other complex organ that involves high cost (i.e., most organs
in the body) would have evolved, if cost is such a hurdle to natural selection.
But what about the problem of bats flying in darkness before they could orient themselves? A hypothesis I favour is that the earliest ancestors of bats may have been diurnal, and had visual means of orientation but were perhaps forced to become nocturnal by the appearance of avian predators, shortly after the dinosaurs became extinct around 65 million years ago. Some then evolved echolocation, whereas others became nocturnal vision specialists.
For decades in his famous debates with evolutionists, Dr. Duane Gish of ICR pointed to
fossil bats as an ideal test case for creation vs evolution. He pointed out the many
modifications it would take to make a flying mammal out of a shrew or mouse, and how all these changes
should be preserved in the fossil record as transitional forms. Then he would hold up
a picture of the oldest known fossil bat, and say it was 100% bat. At the
time, he knew about Icaronycteris, the alleged 50-million-year-old species exhibited in
the American Museum of Natural History.
He would quote Glenn Jepson from an issue of Science in 1966
saying that nothing related to a bat has ever been found in the fossil record that is
any older than Icaronycteris, and it is essentially identical to a modern bat.3
It is unlikely this new discovery would cause Dr. Gish to change the core of his argument.
In fact, he might claim it makes it stronger: Onychonycteris, found in the same Wyoming
Eocene strata but lower than Icarnoycteris, was allegedly two million
years earlier but it, too, was a 100% flight-capable bat. This only pushes
the problem farther back for evolution. Now, all those specialized adaptations would
have had to evolve in less time. There are still no transitional forms. Knowing Gish, he might
have teased his debate partner by quipping that the evolutionist batting average is zero.
1. Simmons, Seymor, Habersetzer and Gunnell,
Primitive Early Eocene bat from Wyoming and the evolution of flight and echolocation,
451, 818-821 (14 February 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06549.
2. John Speakman, Evolutionary biology: A first for bats,
451, 774-775 (14 February 2008) | doi:10.1038/451774a.
3. Duane Gish, Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No, ICR 1995 revision,
You see what the evolutionists do, dont you?
You understand the modus operandi of their crimes. Their M.O. is, simply: assume evolution
Evolution is their miracle worker, that appears on cue, like Tinker Bell with her
miracle-mutation wand, to produce anything they need. Since the Darwinian
storytellers have usurped the institutions of science, they have no need for proof,
demonstration and evidence. Fossils and other observable things are mere props
for their stories. The basic plot is fixed in stone. Like a counterfeit
tree of life, the Darwinian story of common ancestry via unguided processes over millions
of years is guarded against critical analysis by angles with flaming words (puns intended).
Life Is Earths Waste Dump 02/15/2008
You also just saw (again) the Darwin-drunk news media not only parroting
the evolution angle verbatim, but even embellishing it. The original paper
worded its claims with a modicum of doubt, but the BBC News trumpeted, Bat
fossil solves evolution poser. But look at the fossil evidence!
The Darwinists should be ashamed. The oldest known bat in the fossil record is 100% bat and
no less advanced than living bats! How on earth can any sensible scientist
claim that this supports Darwinism? Did any of them tell us how complex capabilities
like echolocation or flight could have arisen by chance? Did they elaborate the
dozens, if not thousands, of lucky mutations that would have had to come together
blindly to produce a flying mammal from a mouse? No! If anything,
they uncovered a more astonishing thing that the flight capabilities of bats
are dynamically integrated with their sonar systems. Did they watch 52 million
years go by? Did they watch the so-called primitive bat change into a more advanced
creature? Did they seriously entertain any of the many, many scientific criticisms that
could be leveled against their tale? No, no, no.
If this non-stop parade of
dogmatism masquerading as science makes you mad, join the campaign to expose the
Darwinists. Dont let them get away with using this discovery as a prop
for their fable. Dont let some evolution advocate stack papers like this
on the witness stand to claim evolution is scientific. Understand what is
really going on in biology these days. Keith Wanser stated it succinctly:
There is not one theory of evolution, but a body of opinions, speculations
and methods for interpretation of observational facts so that they fit into the
philosophy of naturalism. That, friends, is not science, and does
not deserve the honor of being taught in our schools.
Next headline on:
Exclusive Most evolutionists and philosophers recognize the origin of life as one of the most
difficult questions to broach from a materialist standpoint. Dr. Michael
Russell, however, made it sound very easy to a large audience gathered in JPLs
auditorium on February 4. In a talk titled confidently, How Life Began
on our Water World Over 4 Billion Years Ago, he argued that the emergence of
life is a geological issue. In a classic statement of
reductionism, he began, Metabolism
or life is chemistrys answer to the physics of convection.
He repeated this theme later in the lecture:
To my mind, metabolism is chemistrys answer to the physics of
convection. Its a way of distributing energy back into and lowering
the energy levels, generating waste products generating a little chaos
if you like because the universe is running down, and life just obeys
the Second Law of Thermodynamics and is just helping the planet to run down
For illustration, he had a lava lamp on stage.
The thing never did start convecting despite his prediction. Presumably,
he meant to imply that the people in the auditorium were glorified lava lamps, helping
the planet generate waste products and run down chemically.
Dr. Russell spoke on this topic at JPL three years ago (see
12/03/2004) but now has funding to build
a hydrothermal reactor at the lab to test his ideas.
Russell advocates the metabolism-first view of lifes origin, as
expounded by Robert Shapiro (02/15/2007), a view
roundly criticized by Leslie Orgel (01/26/2008)
and others who advocate the genetics-first view. Russell believes
in the RNA world scenario, but only after a metabolic form of life emerged. He
did not explain where the RNA came from.
He also swept through the topic of
how ATP synthesis emerged. He agreed ATP is vital, but made it seem as if all
earth needed was a proton motive force to get it started a gloss that startled David Nicholls
two years ago (03/31/2006). Russell
also portrayed homochirality as unnecessary at the beginning; one hand just won
out after multiple experiments going on at deep-sea vents all over the planet.
He explained this is like having automobiles, some of which are driving on the
right side of the road, and some on the left; eventually, to keep order, one side
would prevail. One could imagine human beings coming to such an agreement,
but it is unclear how or why mindless molecules would do it.
Russell confused natural causes with intelligent causes again by
personifying geology as an experimenter.
When asked how long he thought it would take for cycles to emerge, he said,
Something like 100 years. Im being a bit glib, but think about what
35,000 postdocs could do, 365, 24x7, for 35,000 years. Its not going
to take long. Its got to be quick, because otherwise youre going
to run out of steam, so to speak; youre going to run out of fuel.
Necessity is the mother of invention, however, for intelligent inventors.
Russell did not explain why a chemical reaction, if depleted of fuel, would find
it necessary to solve the problem and keep going or even recognize a problem
existed. Most chemical reactions when depleted of reagents simply reach
equilibrium and stop, shedding no tears about it.
Whether Russells clouding of the distinction between minds and mindlessness
was merely pedagogical or fallacious was not clear; he resorted to personification
several times. At another point, he said, Thats what a planet
needs to make acetate and methane, and eventually oxygen.
Life, to him, was almost a geological necessity. He embraced this kind of
He called the metabolic stage of chemical evolution a Lamarckian stage, before the Darwinian
stage could ensue with RNA and DNA.
This lecture was advertised as part of a Science 101 series for the
non-scientist. Russell used pithy analogies to keep the audience on track.
Prius owners could relate:
The earliest metabolic vehicle is a hybrid. And now comes the vehicles
regulator or computer. Eventually we need the RNA to help guide these reactions
so that they dont just happen chaotically. So we get to the RNA World.
Thats one giant leap for atomkind, though (see 07/11/2002).
Russell portrayed metabolism as a kind of life that forms first, then gets fancier
with computer controls and regulators later.
Russell preached that we should be concerned less with what life is,
but rather by what it does. When asked for a definition of life, he
deflected the question by saying,
The philosopher never asks that question... the
philosopher asks of a puzzle, what does it do? What does life do?
Life takes carbon dioxide and hydrogen, sinks the oxygen into it (it found a way
of using the oxygen in photosynthesis) and makes organic molecules. Thats
what life does. Its a process.... Its understanding what it
does that matters.
No one asked the follow-up question about what life does: Does life understand reality in ways
that are true, universal, necessary and certain? To be consistent,
Russell would have to say that scientific explanations also are mere processes that
emerged from planetary physics and chemistry. If so, then maybe scientific
explanations are some of the waste products of convection.
It was sad to see an audience of fairly well-educated
engineers and scientists take this all in with smiling faces and expressions of
rapture. They laughed at his jokes and gave him hearty applause.
Most of them didnt seem to notice they were being had by a
fast-talking charlatan. Read our earlier commentary on his previous JPL talk
Titan Is Old-Age Problem, Despite News Media Coverage 02/15/2008
This lecture was followed a couple of days later by a presentation on
a more technical level by a colleague of Russell, Dr. Dieter Braun. Brauns
goal was to explain how the concentration problem in origin-of-life studies could be
solved in geothermal vents. The concentration problem is how to get enough
prebiotic molecules close enough together to interact. Both Russell and Braun
recognized this as a serious problem. In fact, Russell was emphatic in his
talk that the old Miller spark-chamber scenario was unworkable. The early earth
would have had no land, and the ocean surface would have been too turbulent for
a thin film of molecules to aggregate, whether delivered by comets or by lightning.
This again illustrates how the genetics-first and metabolism-first parties falsify
Braun focused only on how thin tubes in hydrothermal vents convect
and concentrate molecules any molecules (in his experiments, he used polystyrene beads).
Like Russell, he glossed over numerous problems along the way.
When faced one-on-one with questions afterward about chirality, harmful cross-reactions,
the difficulty of getting essential molecules and keeping unwanted ones out, the
origin of ribose for RNA and DNA, the nature of information and information transfer,
functional information, probability and other serious matters,
all he could do was say he was only trying to show how molecules can be
concentrated in a realistic prebiotic environment. He was lectured that
shoving off the miracles for someone else to solve (playing intellectual hot potato)
does not necessarily constitute scientific progress.
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
A paper in Geophysical Research Letters1 about Saturns largest moon, Titan,
reads like a good-news, bad-news joke. The good news is that Titan appears to have
more hydrocarbons than Earth. The bad news is that it is not enough to save the
assumption that Titan is 4.5 billion years old.
Several science news outlets picked up on the good news part after a
press release from Jet
Propulsion Lab announced, Saturns orange moon Titan has hundreds of
times more liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth,
according to new data from NASAs Cassini spacecraft.
Science interpreted this to mean, Titan Has More Oil Than Earth
but only hinted at the age problem. Its not really oil as we know it, anyway:
it is primarily methane (liquid natural gas, the simplest hydrocarbon CH4) and
ethane, the next simplest, plus an assortment of heavier hydrocarbons and nitriles that are
solids under Titan conditions. The large dunes that decorate Titans equatorial
regions may be partly composed of these solid products of solar photolysis.
What the science news reporters underplayed was the frustration that
planetary scientists are feeling about Titans age. They all believe Titan
is as old as Saturn and the rest of the solar system, presumably 4.5 billion years,
but Titans unusual atmosphere sets severe constraints. Methane is being
eroded at a rapid rate compared to such a timescale. Scientists estimate that
known reserves of methane on Titan would be gone in 100 million years maybe
even 10 million. So why is there any left? 100 million years sounds like
a long time, but is 1/45 the assumed age. 10 million is 1/450th.
The problem can best be illustrated by quoting what Tobias Owen said
in 1999 before Cassini arrived. (Toby Owen was leader of the team that took the
pictures of Titan during the Huygens Probe descent in January, 2005). In the reputable
planetary science textbook The New Solar System (4th ed. Cambridge Press, 1999),
written by the worlds leading planetary scientists, he said (p. 280):
Here we have another puzzle: Titans methane and hydrogen are constantly being
broken apart, with some fragments escaping into space while others form new constituents
that condense in the cold atmosphere and precipitate to the surface. At the
present rate of destruction, all of the methane now in the atmosphere will be gone
in just a few million years. This is a tiny period of time compared to the 4.5-billion-year
lifetime of the solar system, so there must be a source of methane that replenishes
the atmosphere. Could it be comets? Volcanoes? Underground springs?
We simply dont know.
Theres another problem. Owen also described what scientists expected
to find on the surface under the haze:
One can calculate how much ethane has been produced on Titan over the entire history
of the solar system (it is the most abundant byproduct in the photochemical destruction
of methane). The result is that this remarkable moon could be covered by a
global ocean of ethane with an average depth of up to several kilometers!
(Ibid., p. 282). Scientists already knew from earth-based radar observations that this ocean probably
did not exist, but were not sure till Cassini began its reconnaissance in 2004
The Huygens Probe gave them ground truth that the surface was dry
The Cassini Orbiter has now performed 40 flybys of Titan and has mapped about
20% of its surface with radar (next flyby, #41, happens on
22). The new paper by Lorenz et al provides
the latest reliable status report: is there a source for the methane? What happened
to the ethane ocean?
The problem is just as severe now as it was in 1999. To be sure,
Cassini did spot some sizable lakes. A number of dark, flat regions were detected
by Cassini radar that are most likely lakes filled with hydrocarbons (water, of course,
would be frozen hard as rock at Titan temperatures). The lakes, however, are
restricted to north polar regions
(07/24/2006), above 70 degrees latitude; and surprisingly, only a couple of lakes
have been found near the south pole so far. Some of the lakes, several bigger
than the Great Lakes or the Caspian Sea, could be 100 meters deep. Collectively,
these lakes could store vast quantities of hydrocarbons (assumed to be primarily liquid
methane and ethane), amounting to hundreds of times more than all the natural gas and
oil on Earth (assumed to be about 130 billion tonnes).
The scientists gave estimates ranging from 8,000 to 300,000 cubic kilometers of liquid
in Titans lakes. Unfortunately, this falls embarrassingly short of Owens
prediction the whole globe would be submerged in an ocean with an average depth of
(03/01/2007, bullet 3), covering 40% of Titans
equatorial regions, may store some of the hydrocarbons,
but it is not clear what they are made of. The grains might be made primarily of water ice.
Ethane, which should be liquid under surface conditions, is probably not a principal constituent
Assuming they are half ice and half tholins (hydrocarbon-nitrile derivatives), there could be
at least 400 times more material than the proven coal reserves on earth. As astonishing as these
numbers are, they still fall short of expectations. A steady rain of liquid ethane and methane
from the atmosphere should have precipitated into deep oceans over 4.5 billion years.
Clearly, it has not.
Did Cassini find new sources for methane? Radar images do show some
apparent cryovolcanos (06/09/2005).
This means that something appears to erupt from underneath
and flow out over the surface in places. The paucity of impact craters
(03/28/2007, bullet 4) also suggests
geological activity. Huygens produced clear images of runoff channels presumed to be
drainage from occasional methane cloudbursts. None of these sources, however, seems adequate to balance
the budget and allow withdrawals for billions of years. If they were, the authors would not have said this:
The total inventory we measure is substantially smaller than the reservoir estimated to be produced throughout the age of the solar system if methane photoloysis were to have occurred continuously at its present rate. The apparent dearth of material (compared to these model predictions a summary is given by Lorenz and Lunine , of several hundred meters thickness, or ~107–108 km3) may indicate one or more of four things. First, other undetected organic materials are present, but not morphologically distinct. It is commonly assumed on the basis of bulk cosmological abundance that Titans bedrock is dominated by water ice, but the near-surface may in fact be dominated by organic material. Furthermore, even at the low latitudes dominated by arid landforms like dunes, the Huygens probe indicated that at least some surface materials are moistened by liquid methane [Lorenz et al., 2006b; Niemann et al., 2005] so some amount of liquid is present (perhaps in very large amounts) beyond the obvious lakeforms. Second, the photochemical models may not correctly predict the ultimate yields of surface deposits (c.f. the relative yields of solids and liquids see next paragraph). Thirdly, photochemical production may have been interrupted for long periods in Titans past if the delivery of methane to the surface was episodic and led to occasional methane depletion. The identification of cryovolcanic features on the surface [Sotin et al., 2005; Lopes et al., 2007] supports such a picture. A final more speculative possibility is that some process has destroyed or subducted the deposits, such that they no longer exist at the surface.
Each of the proposed solutions seems ad hoc, invoked only to save the billions-of-years age.
The present is supposed to be the key to the past in typical geological parlance.
Proposing episodes where the observed processes stopped for long periods seems contrived.
Besides, the photochemical destruction of methane is supposed to be irreversible
ethane rains down, it should stay put and remain liquid. Cassini found otherwise.
They reiterate the problem:
Finally, the liquid inventory, while extending over a large enough area to permit evaporative fluxes to match photochemical depletion on short timescales [Mitri et al., 2007], is not enough in volume terms to sustain the concentration of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere on geological timescales. Put another way, there is an order of magnitude less liquid in the lakes than there is methane in the atmosphere, and photochemical models predict that inventory to be depleted in ~10 Myr [million years]. This makes the present climatic situation somewhat precarious the observed surface reservoir, even if mostly methane, is unable to buffer the atmospheric methane for long, and unless volcanic resupply matches methane loss at just the right rate, significant climate change is likely in the future and by implication in the past....
In other words, if methane could not have been sustained in the atmosphere for 4.5 billion years, it should
have been long gone. One consequence would be that its greenhouse warming of Titan would also have
stopped leading to a catastrophic condensation of most of the nitrogen to the surface!
If Cassini continues working for several more years, scientists hope to find out if
the north polar lakes will migrate to the south as the seasons change and the south pole becomes warmer.
It seems unlikely at this point, though, that vast quantities of the missing liquids will turn up
11/14/2004). A positive footnote was sounded by
World Net Daily:
if oil doesnt come from dead dinosaurs, maybe Earth has more than we think.
1. Lorenz et al, Titans inventory of organic surface materials,
Research Letters, Vol. 35, L02206, January 29, 2008, doi:10.1029/2007GL032118.
Why do the science reporters ignore the bad news for evolution
and long ages? Here was a falsification of a clear prediction, calculated from the laws of chemistry
and physics. The only rational solution is that Titan is not as old as claimed.
The ethane budget is monstrously short of predictions. Only trace amounts were
found in the atmosphere or on the surface. The leading planetary scientists who
wrote this paper, some of whom have been studying Titan for more than 20 years, are
completely baffled and can only offer weird-science explanations that cannot be
observed to salvage their long age belief.
Facile Fixes for Fossil Foibles 02/14/2008
Is this what you hear from the popular science press? Of course
not. They only mention the fun stuff: Look at all the gas on Titan
hundreds of times more than earth! as if we should go fill up our cars there.
And the angle they love most is the L-word Life combined with the E-word Evolution. Lorenz said,
We are carbon-based life, and understanding how far along the chain of complexity towards life that chemistry can go in an environment like Titan will be important in understanding the origins of life throughout the universe.
Happy, happy, happy. Isnt Fantasyland fun.
Where are you going to get the straight scoop unless you read Creation-Evolution
Headlines? Spread the word: our shortcut address is http://crev.info .
Next headline on:
Can biologists see Darwin in the fossils? Only if they look hard. Andrew
P. Hendry (McGill University) wrote in Nature that Darwin has been there all
along; we just werent looking right.1
Hendry argues that our methods of statistically analyzing the fossil
record are guaranteed not to see Darwin. To explain the patterns we
see, we shouldnt use randomness as a null hypothesis. Positive selection
and stabilizing selection should get equal footing. When we do that, he argues,
patterns of Darwinian evolution begin to emerge.
The example he gave was a sequence of stickleback fish fossils in Nevada that he
said go back 21,000 years with 250-year resolution. When the ancestral sticklebacks invaded freshwater
lakes, the story goes, the fish began to lose their characteristic bony armor, because
predation was less severe in the new habitat. Hendry likes this case because
it should represent directional evolution. Using standard statistical methods,
however, a team led by Gene Hunt could not eliminate the null hypothesis that the changes
were random. Something must be wrong with our thinking rather than with the
But if we start with the presumption that directional selection was
acting, arent we assuming what needs to be proved? Hendry deals with
this objection, surprisingly, by celebrating the circularity:
Several potential criticisms need to be addressed. First, Hunt et al.
start their analysis at exactly the point in time when each armour trait begins to
decrease, which favours a model of initially strong directional selection.
But this choice does not undermine their general conclusion, because the
standard methods could not reject randomness even when started at these same times.
Second, the analysis of the stickleback data formally examined only one model of selection
the hybrid directional-stabilizing model they expected beforehand.
The authors are here again stacking the deck for success in confirming selection.
But then this is the point. Their analysis is akin to a positive control
in showing that a new statistical method can infer the correct evolutionary process
when that process is almost certain to be acting.
This seems, however, to commit the fallacy of affirming the consequent. They expect
to see positive selection (the new null hypothesis); they see it; therefore, positive
selection caused it.
Does Hendry provide any other examples of the power of this new analytical
technique to see Darwin in the fossils? No. The rest of the work is in
future tense, but we may see him if we discern patterns rightly in what looks like
The obvious next step is to apply similar thinking to a much larger array of
fossil data and evolutionary models. Doing so will justifiably accelerate
the retreat from a one model to rule them all vision.
This work will almost certainly generate additional support from fossil sequences
for the action of natural selection. Perhaps more importantly, it will
become easier for biologists to accept randomness when random models still receive
the most support. This acceptance, however, needs to be tempered by the
realization that selection can certainly generate patterns that look random.
Particularly valuable for all this work will be more fossil data with fine
temporal resolution such as that seen in the stickleback samples, because selection
can cause noteworthy changes in less than a hundred years. Ultimately,
we might hope for the emergence of general conclusions about the role
of natural selection in generating the diversity of life.
1. Andrew P. Hendry, Evolutionary biology: Darwin in the fossils,
451, 779-780 (14 February 2008) | doi:10.1038/451779a.
And here all along you thought the Darwinists already
had general conclusions about the role of natural selection in generating the diversity
of life. What are they doing now looking for the emergence of
understanding? Arent they 150 years too late?
Father of inflationary cosmology gives triumphant, but fatally flawed, State of the Cosmos
address, from 02/21/2005. The rest of the
story: the co-author found
our commentary and mentioned it in American Scientist: see
To anyone having their common-sense eyes open, and not brainwashed by Darwiniana,
the admissions in this essay are astonishing. Hendry just admitted that there
is no clear evidence for natural selection (Darwins grand idea that made him
famous and makes his disciples want to force the world to celebrate his birthday) in the fossil record.
The only way to see it is to assume it circular
reasoning. Hendry tells critics who point this out that But then
this is the point we have to assume it or we wont see it.
You have to concentrate long and hard to divine the Divine Darwin, but he is there,
because we have already made up our minds that his blessed image is everywhere.
On top of that, the best case he could produce was a case of loss of structure
fish that have lost their armor. Would you think that Leonidas is more evolved
when he takes his armor off? Incredible.
Hendry talked about three kinds of change over time: randomness,
stabilizing selection, and directional selection. Randomness and neutral
drift are certainly not going to help Charlie build an eye or a wing.
Stabilizing selection wont help, either: it only maintains what is there.
This is the kind of selection that produces living fossils and horseshoe crabs that
havent changed for 445 million years in the evolutionary timescale (see
01/28/2008). But then, directional
selection itself can be up or down. It was down in the case of these stickleback
fish: they lost something they had. The only kind of directional selection
that will help Charlie spin his myth is the kind that would produce an eye or a
wing or other new structure by the accumulation of gradual changes caused by random
mutations. If Hendry could have pointed to an example in the
fossil record, he surely would have.
The fact is, Darwinists have known about the lack of evidence for
their theory in the fossil record since the book of the bearded Buddha himself.
Darwin devoted nearly a whole chapter in the Origin about it. He called it
perhaps the biggest objection that could be levied against his hypothesis.
He told everyone to just keep looking.
Here we are in 2008 and there are still no examples (but lots of counterexamples).
In any other field of science this would be known as falsification.
Yet the Darwinists persist. Nothing stops them from worshiping their Buddha.
They coerce the rest of us to make their cult the state religion in their temples, the public
schools.* Creationists and even non-Darwinian evolutionist skeptics have displayed
this little problem with their story for many years, to no avail. Gish wrote Evolution: the
Fossils Say No in 1978. Many others have said no in the intervening 30
years. If you wont listen to a creationist, go back to Richard Owen,
a contemporary of Darwin, and follow the bones. You will find a steady path
of secular, non-creationist paleontologists who knew full well, and stated publicly, that one cannot see natural
selection in the fossil record: David Raup and Stephen Jay Gould are recent examples.
When even staunch evolutionists admit this is still a problem after 150 years,
why should we put up with the bluff and bluster any more? You saw what Charlie
Marshall, the master of disaster, did with the Cambrian explosion
(04/23/2006), and now Hendry has done it
here. They give responses that are circular, irrational and vacuous.
The only transitional forms the Darwinists find in the fossil record are the ones they
put there (Piltdown Man, Piltdown Chicken and other hoaxes) or blow out of all
proportion (Tiktaalik, Lucy etc.). The contradictions to molecules-to-man
evolution, by contrast, are clear and numerous.
The only judgment a reasonable person can make about the
dogmatic Darwinists who cling to their story and force it on everyone else
in spite of the evidence is that they are hardened intellectual criminals.
They should be charged with fraud and drummed out of academia and the science
labs. Replace them with honest researchers who will take an oath to obey the
Ninth Commandment, Thou shalt not bear false witness.
Next headline on:
*Example from Science this week:
The Florida Board of Education will decide next week whether to approve new science
standards that for the first time in the states history would require the
teaching of evolution. Nine counties have passed resolutions against
the document, saying that evolution is not a proven fact, and two of the
eight members of the politically appointed board have spoken out against it.
But scientists say a statewide signature campaign and an endorsement from
science curriculum expert Lawrence Lerner of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in
Washington, D.C., which gave the current standards an F in a nationwide assessment,
bode well for their cause. A 19 February vote in favor of the standards
would be a great victory in keeping creationist ideology out of
public schools, says Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education
in Oakland, California.
For translation, see Evolution News #1,
First time... require the teaching of evolution ha! They have always
taught evolution. What this means is that
the Darwin Thought Police not only want to keep creationism out: they want to keep critical examination
of the evidence for and against Darwinism out. Nothing less than pure
indoctrination into the cult of Charlie is good enough for the Darwiniacs.
Such a desperate agenda must be energized by powerful evidence, right? Re-read this
entry and hunt for it.
Fast Protein Fine-Tunes the Ear 02/13/2008
Remember prestin? Its a motor protein in the inner ear, discovered in
2001 (03/27/2001), that acts so fast within millionths
of a second its discoverers named it after the word presto!
Scientists have been studying its role as a volume adjuster
(07/31/2007) that allows it to amplify sound
10,000-fold (09/19/2002) . New evidence
suggests that prestin also fine-tunes the pitch across the audible range.
A paper on this appeared this week in Current Biology.1
The human ear responds to volume differences over 12 orders of magnitude
a phenomenal dynamic range, allowing us to hear the faintest whisper of a breeze to the
roar of a jet engine. If the cochlea had the same sensitivity throughout the
dynamic range, the result would be literally deafening. The cochlea has, therefore,
both fast-adaptation and slow-adaptation mechanisms to quench overpowering sounds. An analogy might be to a
sound system that instantly cuts off ear-piercing feedback then adjusts the volume
level by a slider. Prestin has been implicated in fast-adaptation. It
stiffens the outer hair cells to prevent loud sounds from blowing them over, but
loosens them to respond to gentle vibrations.
The authors began their abstract, The remarkable
power amplifier of the cochlea boosts low-level and compresses high-level vibrations
of the basilar membrane. This means your ears have a high-tech device,
familiar to audio technicians, called a compressor-limiter. Youre not
hearing what is really out there in its raw form. Your ear is
protecting your brain by delivering processed sound. It automatically
turns up the volume on the soft sounds, and turns it down on the loud sounds.
The authors of this paper agreed that prestin is the prime contender
for the power amplifier, but then found something even more amazing: prestin tunes
the pitch, too. They found to their surprise that mice with prestin knocked
out were just as sensitive in the high-frequency range but heard sounds a half-octave
too low. There appears to be a trade-off between volume sensitivity and pitch
accuracy that prestin, somehow, solves. To do this, the motor protein must be
able to parse the frequency spectrum of the sound wave. Here it is in their technical jargon:
We propose that the absence of prestin from OHCs [outer hair cells in the cochlea],
and consequent reduction in stiffness of the cochlea partition, changes the
passive impedance of the BM [basilar membrane] at high frequencies, including
the CF [characteristic frequency]. We conclude that prestin influences
the cochlear partitions dynamic properties that permit transmission of
its vibrations into neural excitation. Prestin is crucial for defining sharp and
sensitive cochlear frequency tuning by reducing the sensitivity of the low-frequency
tail of the tuning curve, although this necessitates a cochlear amplifier to
determine the narrowly tuned tip.
1. Lagarde, Drexl, Lukashkin, Zuo and Russell, Prestins Role in
Cochlear Frequency Tuning and Transmission of Mechanical Responses to Neural Excitation,
Whatever is going on inside your head, when it works,
it works extremely well. The mechanisms at work to provide such exquisite
sensitivity to the tiniest of air vibrations are still being figured out.
This paper shows that the initial models of how prestin works are too simple.
Their experiments on mice with and without prestin provides further indication
that neural tuning is not a direct consequence of BM [basilar membrane] tuning but
depends on complex interaction between the various elements of the cochlear partition,
including prestin and the arrangement of the hair cell bundles.
Migrating Birds Measure Longitude 02/13/2008
Everything works as a functional unit. Did you hear anything about evolution?
We hope not, because they never used the E-word once in their entire paper.
Their language was the lingo of auditory engineering: microphones, characteristic frequencies,
amplifiers, compressor-limiters, thresholds, dynamic range and frequency response.
Ask a sound technician if he operates by random mutation and natural selection.
You are likely to get an earful.
Next headline on:
Migrating birds are able to get back on course, even when released 1000 km east of
their normal migration path. This shows that long-distance migrating birds
are capable of true bicoordinate navigation: the ability to make course corrections
both in latitude and longitude. The results of experiments, published
in Current Biology,1 left the researchers baffled: how do they do it?
Measuring latitude is easy: just judge the height of the sun in the sky.
Longitude (east-west orientation), however, is much more challenging because it requires
accurate timekeeping. The difficulties
sailors throughout history had in determining longitude has been described in Dava Sobels historical novel
Somehow, a team of Russian and German scientists found, birds know the trick. A flock of
migrating Eurasian reed warblers was flown 1000 km to the east of their usual take-off
point. They found their way to their normal nesting ground by shifting their bearing
northwest instead of the usual northeast. This finding is surprising and
presents a new intellectual challenge to bird migration researchers, namely,
which cues enable birds to determine their east-west position, they said.
However it is accomplished, the skill must be learned, because a
previous study by Princeton scientists showed that juvenile birds did not correct for longitude
when flown off course
(see 11/05/2007). Still, it is unclear how
the birds in this new study pulled it off. Do they read the stars? Do they
gauge the earths magnetic field? Did they measure their jet lag?
To show what cues the birds use to determine their east-west location,
they said, will be
a big challenge for researchers in this field in the years to come.
1. Chernetsov, Kishkinev and Mouritzen, A Long-Distance Avian Migrant Compensates for
Longitudinal Displacement during Spring Migration,
Volume 18, Issue 3, 12 February 2008, Pages 188-190.
Many wonderful and intriguing science projects
remain to be performed. These scientists did not mention evolution and had
no need of it. They saw an amazing phenomenon in present-day, observable nature and
sought to understand the design behind it.
Happy Darwin Day!
Next headline on:
Whats your favorite Darwin Day game? Send in your
suggestions. Examples: pin the peppered moth on the tree, king of the Malthusian
hill, just-so storytelling around the campfire, 4-legged Tiktaalik race with flippers on,
Social Darwinism Dance, monkey charades, working puzzles with 95% of the pieces missing and
only visions of a tree to guide you, Cambrian explosion pinata, sexual selection dating game,
experiencing your inner fish (swimming), Dead Dover Dead Dover let Behe come over,
sync the molecular clocks, Prisoners Dilemma, green beard contest, Red Queen
treadmill racing, Escape from Virtue Island, Lava Lamp OOL watching, Evo-Devo Demolition Derby,
monkey-typewriter Shakespeare race, etc. Add to our growing list!
Reader submissions: Fun with plaster The Dawkins optical illusion game
Find the missing link Simon says evolution is a fact Pin the Tail on the Human
Pull the wings off a Fly Match the Embryos Remove the vestigial organ
Duck, duck, finch Bearded mans bluff Whos your daddy?
Primordial soup tasting Straw-man campfire & weenie roast
Fictionary Guess my age Fitness race Guess a number between 1 and
10150 Darwins proof shell game
Make a Big Bang (bring your own singularity or gong, whichever is easier)
Bell the evolutionist (so you can hear them coming)
Make the sound of one-handed amino acids clapping (No racemization allowed)
Create a tree of life by spraying its branches with invisibility paint
Prune a tree of life leaving only the stump and tips of the branches
Try to get stuffed for zero dollars on No Free Lunches
Change an origami cow into an origami whale without scissors
Co-opt a molecular pump into a molecular motor
Show how a cement truck could have evolved from a tire pump in 4 easy steps or less
Spell Junk DNA without using intelligent design
Find the edge of evolution using common sense
Are we having fun yet?
Animals from Junk by Chance 02/12/2008
How to build an animal: throw junk DNA at it. That seems to be the latest idea
on where higher animals came from. A press release from University of Bristol posted on
Daily and EurekAlert
announced, Junk DNA Can Explain Origin And Complexity Of Vertebrates, Study Suggests.
The basic idea, coming from scientists at Dartmouth College and University of Bristol,
is that a proliferation of micro-RNAs appeared in early vertebrates like lampreys that was
unparalleled in evolutionary history. The scientists compared genomes
of living fish (sharks and lampreys) and invertebrates like the sea squirt.
Because micro-RNAs are implicated in higher organisms, the
circumstantial evidence convinced them of a correlation: Most of these new genes are
required for the growth of organs that are unique to vertebrates, such as the liver,
pancreas and brain, said Philip Donoghue of Bristol.
Therefore, the origin of vertebrates and the origin of these
genes is no coincidence.
Dr. Kevin Peterson of Dartmouth put the discovery into a larger context:
This study not only points the way to understanding the evolutionary origin of our
own lineage, but it also helps us to understand how our own genome was assembled in deep time.
There you have it: the Darwin Party buzzwords necessary
to make the eyes glaze over: deep time, understanding, evolutionary origin, zzzz.
While you were sleeping you didnt see the magic tricks. They threw junk
at a sea squirt and poof! A pancreas emerged! then a liver! then a brain!
Darwin Day 2009 plans began 4 years ago; see 02/13/2004.
So happy Darwin Day. Stop thinking so hard. Join the party.
Have some fun. Get involved in this game blind mans
Next headline on:
Defending Darwin Day 02/11/2008
Tomorrow is the 199th birthday of Charles Darwin. The rising
anticipation of a big 200th celebration next year prompts a question: why is
this man worthy of such hullabaloo more than other scientists? Why the efforts to
make Darwin Day an annual event of international scope? Kevin Padian
undertook to justify all this attention in an essay in Nature,1
entitled, Darwins enduring legacy.
Perhaps no individual has had such a sweeping influence on so many facets of
social and intellectual life as Charles Darwin, born on 12 February 1809.
Of the other two of the great nineteenth-century triumvirate of European thinkers,
Marxs ideas have been distorted beyond recognition in their political execution,
and Freuds approach to the psyche no longer merits scientific recognition.
Neither man had Darwins impact on the structure of empirical knowledge.2
Considering how high Marx and Freud rose before their fall into the dustbin of intellectual history,
Padian needs to make the case that Darwin is not only the last man standing among
the triumvirate but deserves to remain as Grand Marshall in an endless parade of scientific thinkers.
His contributions can scarcely be reduced to a simple list, Padian
disclaims, but the following
ten topics hint at the magnitude of the mans legacy. Each of the items
on Padians list will be evaluated in the commentary. They are: (1) Natural selection,
(2) One tree of life, (3) Genealogical classification, (4) Selective extinction,
(5) Deep time, (6) Biogeographical distributions, (7) Sexual selection,
(8) Coevolution, (9) Economy of nature, and (10) Gradual change.
At the end of the essay, Padian dismissed Darwins critics: It is dismaying,
then, to note the rise of anti-evolutionism in recent decades, he said.
This is a direct result of the rise of religious fundamentalism, whose proponents
feel it necessary to reject modern science on the basis of highly questionable
(from mainstream historical and theological viewpoints) readings of sacred texts.
Padian did not deal with the many non-fundamentalist critics of Darwinism, including
the 600 scientists with PhDs who signed the Dissent from Darwin
statement. He used a label that is primarily employed these days in a derogatory manner.
Noting Darwins influences not only on science but literature and the humanities, Padian
ended with praise for the liberating vision Darwin ushered in for all mankind:
Humans are animals, one species of many on the planet,
bound by common ancestry to all other species, part of an ages-old dance
of reproduction, accommodation, survival and alteration.
Kevin Padian also appeared in a Darwin Day press release posted on
PhysOrg. The automatic
ads, though, included a plug for Ben Steins upcoming movie
Expelled which documents Darwinian attacks
on intelligent design proponents and has a
entry criticizing Darwin Day, as do
It is for this vision, one that liberates humans from the
conceit of special creation, that Darwin was honoured by interment
in Westminster Abbey. And it is for his innumerable scientific insights,
most still as valid and stimulating as the day he coined them,
that we look forward to celebrating him next year.
1. Kevin Padian, Darwins enduring legacy,
451, 632-634 (7 February 2008) | doi:10.1038/451632a.
2. Notice how Padian called it the structure of empirical knowledge, not
empirical knowledge itself. This implies a paradigm shift in philosophy of science
a change in what constitutes empirical knowledge. Philosopher J. P. Moreland
termed Darwins revolution a third-order theory change. It was not simply a change of one theory with
another, or a change of one value with another (e.g., elegance over utility). Darwins
theory change was a revolution in what constitutes science itself.
Dont be mesmerized by the rhetoric. It is to be
expected that the Archbishop of Cantbury Charlies Corpse, Kevin Padian, rector
of Bestmonster Abbey and former head of the Darwin Party KGB (i.e., the NCSE), would
exude great swelling words of vanity for his bearded Buddha. Did you notice how
much of his sermon was religious in nature? If you expected a scientific defense
of Darwinism, you got a mostly anticreationist, humanistic, antitheological rant.
It was necessary to portray Darwin in bold either-or
strokes: either stand with Darwin in the parade, or you are condemned as a
fundamentalist heretic. Try that on David Berlinski.
Something is Cooking Under Enceladus 02/09/2008
For Padians pitches to count, he has to send them through the
science batter box or walk out. This is Nature after all, reputed to be a
science journal. Logically, he also needs to defend several propositions,
not just assume them: namely, that the points are germane to Darwinism and nothing else,
that Darwin alone dreamed them up, and that they are so supremely important
that they are worthy of granting Darwin an international holiday above and beyond the
birthdays of all the other greatest philosophers and scientists in history, none of
whom, including Einstein, Newton or Maxwell, have anything like Darwin Day. Good luck, comrade Kevin:
Displaying his collection of non-sequiturs and
big lies and half-truths
and glittering generalities and irrelevant
details on the table, Padian ends by acknowledging that there have been other great
scientists, but Darwin is so precious and special we should all bow down and worship:
- Natural selection: Darwin was co-inventor of this notion, so why no Wallace Day?
Actually, neither discovered it. Hints of natural selection can be found in
Edward Blyth (10/10/2002) and William Paley
(12/18/2003) and others as far back as the Greeks. Even young-earth
creationists accept natural selection to a degree
(CMI), so big deal.
admits the flawed associations with Malthus and Spencer, and admits N.S. was rejected
till the neo-Darwinian synthesis of the 1930s brought it back with a vengeance.
There exists a staunch minority of biologists who do not consider N.S. the be-all and
end-all of evolutionary theory (e.g., 02/16/2005).
Besides, who wins a birthday party for
inventing a tautology? If fitness equates to survival, N.S. is a vacuous idea.
- One tree of life: Well, of all things. Look at Padian give good press to
Haeckel a racist hoaxster who developed enthusiastically the tree icon.
Then, he assumes that the tree of life was vindicated by the discovery of genetic
structure more than a century after the Origin was published.
That is, only if one ignores recent findings and sweeps countless difficulties under
the rug (02/01/2007,
10/08/2007). The single tree of life is
not a conclusion from inductive reasoning from observation,
but rather a paradigm into which all observations must be fitted. Neither was Darwin
the inventor of this ancient notion that goes back to Democritus at least and is part and
parcel of some pagan religions. You know, like Darwinism.
- Genealogical classification: Darwin should not have expected taxonomic divisions.
His theory predicts smooth transitions between forms from top to bottom, from simple
to complex. Besides, the ability to arrange assorted items into a taxonomic
scheme has no necessary correlation with natural divisions that are out there
in the world. Taxonomy is a
human enterprise. Taxonomists try to arrange
parts (whether tools, occupations, atoms, or whatever) into compartments that are
useful to them. For Padian to claim that a genealogy-based scheme is somehow better
than any philosophical, theological or pragmatic scheme, because it fits his preconceived
notion of universal common ancestry, begs the question
that evolution is empirical. Say it is useful to promote materialist religion, but
dont claim it carves nature at its joints.
- Selective extinction: Padian knocks down a straw man
of the great chain of being then explains how selective extinction rescued
Darwinism from the evidence: the living world [i.e., the observations] is
a patchwork of possible forms, with most transitional stages and features removed.
And you thought science was supposed to be about what you could see.
- Deep time: Darwin did not invent deep time. Aristotle believed in an eternal
universe. Enlightenment anti-Christians before Darwin thought in terms of misty depths
of prehistory: Comte du Buffon, Hutton, Lamarck and others. Why should Charlie
get credit for begging the question? Darwin needed deep time, so he assumed it.
Look at this marvelous example of chicanery:
True, Lord Kelvins calculated limits on solar duration nonplussed
many supporters of Deep Time, but Darwin was not cowed by physics, because
he knew the rocks. Deep Time was absolutely necessary to his theory,
in a way that it had not been for any biological theory before. It was
no longer possible to accept that Earth was 6,000 years old, as some Biblical
Stand in amazement at this admission. Mr. Darwin was not cowed by physics.
Well, he should have been! Lord Kelvin had him pinned and he refused to
cry uncle (07/02/2007).
What kind of scientific attitude is that? Deep Time was an escape, a hidden
fortune where he could make reckless drafts on the bank of time.
Darwin knew the rocks, we are told. Ever see a rock
with a date on it? Rock ages are interpreted, students, not discovered.
Rocks were dubbed ancient, and it was no longer possible to accept a young earth, for
one reason alone: Deep Time was absolutely necessary to his theory.
It does not follow that the Earth needed Deep Time. By force of propaganda and
group-think, Darwin and his musketeers rode a wave of Victorian materialist progressivism and
rising dissatisfaction with organized religion (some of it deserved), redefined
science and took over the institutions of learning. Since then,
the Darwin Thought Police have enforced their totalitarian doctrines. That is
why it is no longer possible to think outside the paradigm.
- Biogeographical distributions: For Padian to score with this pitch, he needs to
prove that nobody else with any other theory could accommodate the observations.
He simply asserts that Only evolutionary adaptation and dispersal could account for such patterns
and that the distributions of plants and animals are not serendipitous patterns or whims of a Creator.
This is a collection of hot air balloons wrapped in a straw man
pinata. Maybe he should read the Creation Research Society Quarterly.
The claim that plate tectonics confirmed Darwins theory is like the claim
that Marx predicted Al Qaeda. Padian should read up on the philosophy of
science, particularly in regard to scientific justification.
- Sexual selection: This idea is somewhat original to Darwin, but is not without controversy
since it concerns microevolutionary change, it is not germane to his philosophy of universal common ancestry.
- Coevolution: Padian discusses long-tongued moths that pollinate orchids with long corollas
(11/11/2007 commentary, bullet 13),
parasites and symbiosis and many other associations that can only reasonably
be explained by co-evolution through diversification over millions
of years. We dont need Padian to lecture us on what is reasonable.
How does Padian know that microevolutionary changes required
millions of years? How does he know that these observations fit Darwin,
the whole Darwin, and nothing but the Darwin? He needs more research on scientific
justification of theories. Claiming that co-evolution confirms evolution is like
claiming that theories of the unconscious confirm psychoanalysis or horoscopes prove astrology.
- Economy of nature: Did Darwin invent ecology? Certainly not. Great
thinkers and scientists from Greeks to medieval scholars were not blind to the
interactions of plants and animals. Calling Darwin the father of ecology is like
calling Freud the father of dream theory as if he were the only one who dreamt
about it. All Darwin
did was change the vision: What had been, for earlier authors, the divinely
ordained balance of nature became the autocatalytic war of nature.
If you want to believe that, worship in the mosque of Darwin, but dont call
- Gradual change: Padian spends a lot of time defending Darwin here in a
most unusual way: he
tries to prove that gradual doesnt really mean gradual. Darwin can still
be reconciled with punctuated equilibria (or punk eq, you know, the punk who goes
around making gradualists squeal Eek!). But in Charlies own
blessed words, he said, If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ
existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive,
slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.
Aside from the fact that Charlies rhetorical ploy put the onus on his critics
to prove a universal negative and opened the door for endless just-so stories by his
it is clear that by gradual, King Charles meant really gradual.
But Darwin moved intellectual thought from a paradigm of untestable
wonder at special creation to an ability to examine the workings of that
natural world, however ultimately formed, in terms of natural mechanisms and
historical patterns. He rooted the classification of
species within a single branching tree, and so gave systematics a
biological, rather than purely philosophical, rationale. He framed
most of the important questions that still define our understanding of
evolution, from natural selection to sexual selection, and founded the main
principles of the sciences of biogeography and ecology. His work
is still actively read and discussed today, inspiring new
students and scientists all over the world. Few authors can claim so much.
That paragraph is so corrupted with incestuous illogic and irrelevant appropriation
of concepts not unique to Darwinism, only a gullible nitwit would be convinced
that Charlie deserves Darwin Day. This reads like Party propaganda defending
reasons why Lenins corpse is displayed in public so that the
peasants can file by it in reverence, while the Party troops parade alongside
the big guns with the subliminal message Dont stray out of line.
This list could not stand up to critical scrutiny from scientists or philosophers
not already pledged to DODO (Darwin Only, Darwin Only).
Darwin may have been a polite English gentleman, but he
was a loser who deserves to buried alongside his buddies Freud and Marx.
His ideas have inhibited real science for 149 years with endless quests for the ultimate
just-so story, and have energized proponents of eugenics, abortion, racism and social
Darwinism. His disciples today have no conscience about playing God with
human embryos. Science doesnt need him, medicine doesnt need him,
and politics doesnt need him. Let the dead bury their dead.
Shed some tears on Darwin Day for all the harm he and his followers caused
Then, for goodness sake, lets get on into the 21st century the century of intelligent design.
Next headline on:
Planetary scientists have been puzzling over Enceladus, a small moon
of Saturn, since geysers were discovered erupting from its south pole
three years ago. Some models suggested that
eruptions could occur without liquid water, but others were not sure.
Opinion now seems to be shifting back
to the necessity of a wet interior, according to a press release from
The Cosmic Dust Analyzer instrument (CDA) aboard Cassini measured ice grains that
seem to require a hot interior (see paper in
Nature1). The large number of ice particles observed
spewing from the geysers and the steady rate at which these particles are produced
require high temperatures, close to the melting point of ice, possibly resulting
in an internal lake, the article says.
The observed velocity of the
particles, also, requires sufficient energy for them to be launched so far and
so fast. The ice-vapor mixture
jets out of the south-polar cracks at supersonic jet speeds: 500 meters per second,
or 1,100 miles per hour. For the larger particles to remain accelerated to
escape velocity as they ricochet off the walls, vapor must re-accelerate them on the way out,
scientists figure. Only about 10% of the particles actually escape to feed
the E-ring. Much of the rest falls back onto Enceladus, coating it with fresh
ice and making it the brightest object in the solar system.
The influence of this little moon on the whole Saturn system is
astonishing. Not only do the geysers create the vast E-ring, a torus of micron-size
particles extending from the G-ring to the orbit of Rhea, the ionized gas also creates a drag on
the magnetosphere and distorts our measurements of Saturns rotation.
press release this week announced another surprise: Enceladus is feeding the main
This is the latest surprising phenomenon associated with the ice geysers of Enceladus to be discovered or confirmed by Cassini scientists. Earlier, the geysers were found to be responsible for the content of the E-ring. Next, the whole magnetic environment of Saturn was found to be weighed down by the material spewing from Enceladus, which becomes plasma -- a gas of electrically charged particles. Now, Cassini scientists confirm that the plasma, which creates a donut-shaped cloud around Saturn, is being snatched by Saturns A-ring, which acts like a giant sponge where the plasma is absorbed.
How long has this been going on? How long could it go on? Neither press
release discussed these questions.
The Cassini team and planetary scientists around the world are looking
ahead eagerly for the closest flyby ever of Enceladus next month. On March 10,
Cassini will speed by this moon just 100 miles above the surface at closest approach, and then
perform a daring maneuver: flying through the outer edge of the plume. This will
allow Cassinis instruments to actually taste the plume material. If successful,
Cassini will try even closer encounters with the plume in future passes. Come
back here on March 10-11 for the latest news on this long-awaited, nail-biting, closest encounter ever.
1. Schmidt, Brilliantov, Spahn, and Kempf, Slow dust in Enceladus plume
from condensation and wall collisions in tiger stripe fractures,
451, 685-688 (7 February 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06491.
How can this little moon, no bigger across than the
British Isles, put out so much energy? How long can it pump out so much material?
Why is it still so hot inside? The scientists never think to question
the assumed age of the Saturn system (4.5 billion years), but then struggle to deal with
what they cannot deny: the observations.
Did Birds Evolve Aeronautical Engineering? 02/08/2008
Most of the time, the press releases talk matter-of-factly
about the assumed billions of years. They get strangely silent about time issues, though,
as more detail is presented about Enceladus and Titan.
This is similar to how evolutionary
biologists behave. Evolutionary theory thrives on glittering
generalities. The more detail about the intricacy of the cell, DNA and
other high-tech wonders in biology, the quieter the Darwin-talk gets.
Next headline on:
Two news stories on birds may not seem to flock together. One is about their
supreme aeronautical engineering. The other ponders when they evolved.
A story on EurekAlert
and Science Daily
describes how engineers are eyeing birds, bats and insects for design ideas.
The appeal is clear from the following comparisons:
A Blackbird jet flying nearly 2,000 miles per hour covers 32 body lengths per second.
But a common pigeon flying at 50 miles per hour covers 75. The roll
rate of the aerobatic A-4 Skyhawk plane is about 720 degrees per second.
The roll rate of a barn swallow exceeds 5,000 degrees per second.
It seems audacious, therefore, that humans name their aircraft after birds.
In many ways, a blackbird is top gun over a Blackbird, and a skyhawk rolls circles
around a Skyhawk. No barnstormer could match a barn swallow for daring.
Human aircraft may reach higher speeds and carry heavier masses, but in terms of
flight control, they seem stuck at the dodo stage.
Select military aircraft can withstand gravitational forces of 8-10 G.
Many birds routinely experience positive G-forces greater than 10 G and up to 14 G.
Wei Shyy, an aeronautical engineer, admires animal flyers.
Theyre not only lighter, but also have much more adaptive
structures as well as capabilities of integrating aerodynamics with wing and body
shapes, which change all the time. He added, Natural flyers have
outstanding capabilities to remain airborne through wind gusts, rain, and snow.
Thats why he is studying the possibilities of using flapping wings for aircraft.
Imitating the ability of natural wings to deform quickly might allow pilots to delay stall,
enhance stability and increase thrust. The unsteady pace of flapping flight
gives the animal the ability to adapt quickly to wind gusts and changing conditions.
The engineer marvelled at a dragonflys ability to stay on course in the wind,
considering how light it is. He didnt even mention that these flyers
can all reproduce themselves and use environmentally friendly fuel.
Meanwhile, in a different thought collective, evolutionary biologists are puzzling
over the timing of bird evolution. Live
Daily say that the consensus used to be that modern birds evolved
from dinosaurs late in the Cretaceous. Now, however, researchers at three universities
have announced a fight on the date. Their reanalysis offers the strongest molecular evidence
yet for an ancient origin of modern birds, suggesting that they arose more than
100 million years ago, not 60 million years ago, as fossils suggest.
In other words, the fossil record and the inferences from molecular evolution
have yielded conflicting results. They explained the difference
by appealing to the paucity of the fossil record and the realization that the
molecular clock is unreliable. Joseph Brown explained the problem,
different lineages can tick at different rates, so applying a
single rate to an entire tree could lead to very suspect results.
This was described as the rock-clock gap.
Did the evolutionary fluff give you as much a
thrill as the engineering article? Engineers are forward-thinking scientists.
They use evidence that is observable, testable and repeatable. They are continuing
the practice of the Wright brothers who were inspired by birds over a hundred
years ago and look where that science has led mankind. We have just
seen that even now, after a century of human aeronautical engineering that has taken
us from awkward contraptions to the edge of space,
our bird, bat and insect neighbors still have wonderful secrets to share.
Isnt design science of much more value, inspiration and usefulness than
a silly story about some lizard that held out its arms 100 million years ago
(01/25/2008) and, strictly by chance,
mastered pitch, yaw and roll? Lets get science back from flights of
fancy to a wing and a prayer.
Indebted to Darwin 02/07/2008
Next headline on:
Britains Food Standards Agency is concerned about diminishing fish stocks
and is asking citizens to consume less, reported
Telegraph. This can only mean one thing, thinks Ulf Dieckmann (International
Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria): its come time to pay the
piper. Who is the piper, you ask? Answer: Charles Darwin.
Dr Dieckmann said: It was thought that these changes would only
occur over millennia. But it is becoming clear that significant
evolution can take place within 20 years if the forces driving it are strong
and in fisheries they have been.
Greenpeace is involved in this campaign, too, the article says. The row has
provoked a backlash by fisherman who are blasting the Madness of Greenpeace.
Either Dr. Dieckmann was calling the fisherman blind and random, or the changes
(actually a trend toward extinction, not evolution) were caused by their presumably
intelligent and purposeful actions. The concept of a Darwinian debt also
seems fishy. Does it apply only to humans? Or do fish also have to
pay Darwin for what they overconsume, and so on down the food chain?
Dr Dieckmann said that evolution caused by over-fishing took a
longer [sic] to recover from than it did to cause: if the Barents Sea was closed
to fishermen, it would take 250 years for cod to return to spawning at 10 years old.
This is a Darwinian debt that will have to be paid back by future generations, he added.
Dr Dieckmann said evolution caused by commercial fisheries had
played an overlooked part in the collapse of the Northern cod off Newfoundland in 1992,
the most disastrous crash yet of a major commercial fish species.
He said that from 1985 a downward trend in the size of spawning cod
was detectable off [sic] and should have led to a more precautionary approach
in setting catch quotas.
Rotate the globe over to Croatia. Scientists there are gearing
up for the big Darwin Day celebrations a year from now. In a letter to
Nature,1 Jasmina Muzini (ornithologist at the
Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts) wrote that his country has felt left behind.
Not to worry: he and his colleagues have started to make sure Darwin gets a big ovation in 2009.
Charles Darwins On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man have at last been translated into Croatian, thanks to the work of the renowned science and theology translator Josip Balabanic. Other European countries including Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia and Sweden had access to Darwins works in their mother tongue during his lifetime. But it was not until this year that Croatian students of biology could read them in their own language.
Religious education was introduced in elementary schools during the early years of Croatian independence, and ethics and the major world religions are now studied in high school. At the same time, the importance of evolution for modern biology and medicine is publicly acknowledged by science academies and societies in the spirit of your Editorial Spread the word (Nature 451, 108; doi:10.1038/451108b 2008).
Croatia aspires to join the group of countries in which education and science occupy prime positions in national strategies, and recognizing the influence of Darwins writings is an important step in that direction. Celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Darwins birth on 12 February next year, possibly at the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, will have particular significance for Croatians.
1. Correspondence, Nature
451, 627 (7 February 2008) | doi:10.1038/451627c.
You didnt realize you owe a debt to Darwin.
Are you behind in your payments? Better not go into default. His collection
agency is red in tooth and claw.
A model train set inside your body: read 02/25/2003.
If people accelerate evolution, such that things happen in 20 years
that they used to think required thousands of years, great; lets accelerate
evolution on fruit flies and see if we can get them to evolve into mammals.
On second thought....
The Croatian suck-up to Charlie is so obsequious, youd think they be
embarrassed, but no: they are proud of their shame.
Cub Scouts have Webelos, which stands for Well be loyal scouts.
The Croatians have announced a new order for young wannabees in the Darwin Party axis of
evil: the Webelodos, which stands for Well be loyal Darwinist operatives.
The motto of the Webelodos is DODO! DODO! (translation: see
and 02/24/2006). OK; whatever.
Next headline on:
Of All the Nerve: Functional Intron Discovered 02/06/2008
An intron vital to the production of nerve cells has been discovered, reported
It acts as a gatekeeper to guide the messenger RNA for local control
of gene expression in dendrites, the spindly arms of neurons. The discovery
was made by a research team at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
The group surmises that the intron may control how many
mRNAs are brought to the dendrite and translated into functional channel proteins,
the article says. The correct number of channels is just as important
for electrical impulses as having a properly formed channel.
Introns had long been assumed to be junk that the spliceosome cuts
out of a transcribed messenger RNA. The team found that knocking out the intron
in this case, however, produced abnormal
electrical properties in the nerve cells. This is the first evidence
that an intron-containing RNA outside of the nucleus serves a critical cellular function,
said James Eberwine, senior author.
Eberwine also added this comment: Just because the intron is
not in the final channel protein doesnt mean that it doesn't have an
important purpose. In fact, the article says, they may have hit on
a general mechanism for the regulation of RNAs.
The treasures being found in junk DNA are good for business.
A company named Rosetta
Genomics is hoping to cash in on the new discoveries to be made about micro-RNAs (miRNA).
Noting the steep rise in articles about treasure in junk DNA, reporter Ohad Hammer
said, Rosetta Genomics impressive pipeline, unparalleled discovery
capabilities and intellectual property make it one of the most exciting biotech
companies out there.
Those interested in more technical detail about introns and alternative
splicing may find revealing new ideas about intron function in a paper published by a team of European
scientists in Nature last month,1
Translational control of intron splicing in eukaryotes. The abstract
says, for example, In multicellular eukaryotes, long introns are recognized through exon
definition and most genes produce multiple mRNA variants through alternative splicing.
1. Jaillon et al, Translational control of intron splicing in eukaryotes,
451, 359-362 (17 January 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06495.
They also serve who only stand and wait John
Milton. These introns should not have been assumed to be junk, even if all
they did was stand and wait. Apparently they are doing much more than that.
Are Long-Term Climate Models Trustworthy? 02/05/2008
For background on the mystery of introns, see 05/27/2004 commentary,
09/03/2002 and 09/12/2002 entries
and 09/12/2003 update.
Next headline on:
Everything from global warming policy to evolutionary history depends on long-term
climate models. Textbooks make it seem like earth keeps reliable recordings
that allow scientists to simply read off the record of years, decades, centuries, millennia
and millions of years objectively. Its not that simple, wrote Maureen E. Raymo and
Peter Huybers in Nature last month.1
Theres an embarrassing amount of interpretation required.
Much progress has been made towards understanding what caused
the waxing and the waning of the great ice sheets, they began optimistically,
but a complete theory of the ice ages is still elusive. They
recounted the history of theorizing about earth history, from Agassiz to
Milankovitch and beyond. Milankovitch, for instance, presented evidence that
periodic orbital variations coincided with ice ages.
Scientists became convinced that earth history was
decipherable with proxy climate records such varying ratios of
oxygen isotopes, thickness of ice layers and sediments, and others.
One serious question that arises, though, is how far back it is legitimate to
extrapolate cycles that are only observable within
The climate physics and chemistry that are best understood are mainly attuned to processes that occur at daily to interannual timescales. Are the important factors that regulate climate over centennial and longer timescales known? When a climate model is stepped forward, by minutes or days at a time, for hundreds or thousands of years, are the final results realistic? Climate scientists still do not understand how the subtle shifts in insolation at the top of the atmosphere are converted into massive changes in the ice volume on the ground.
It seems reckless, therefore, to speak with confidence about patterns covering vast
epochs of time. Even assuming the long-term cycles carry valid information,
the trouble is, the clocks dont always agree. Getting the clocks to tick together is an exercise in
frustration. Heres an example:
To tackle these problems, some researchers have turned to a time when glaciation seems to have been relatively straightforward. The glacial cycles of the late Pliocene to early Pleistocene (~1–3 million years ago) were more regular than those of the late Pleistocene, typically lasting about 41,000 years (Fig. 1a), which matches the period of change in Earths tilt (Fig. 1b). But how is the lack of variability with respect to precession explained? Precession, which occurs mainly at 23,000-year and 19,000-year intervals, is the orbital component that most influences summer insolation intensity (Fig. 1c). Indeed, precession is clearly observed in the ice-volume and sea-level records for the past 700,000 years. The few computer models that have been used to study the climate history of the late Pliocene to early Pleistocene also show a strong precession signal in the modelled ice volume. Are these climate models missing a fundamental piece of climate or ice-sheet physics, or are the assumptions about ice-volume proxies, such as delta-18 O[xygen], flawed? Both are possibilities.
The authors discussed several of the modern approaches to tweak parameters and data
sets to arrive at some measure of conformity. The end result leaves a question
whether the model is being massaged to fit the data, or vice versa.
What are they really measuring? What do they really know? Their final paragraph
leaves more questions than answers.
.... It could be that the East and West Antarctic ice sheets have had a
far more dynamic history than has been thought.
Similar quandaries about earth science were expressed by Caltech geologist David J. Stevenson
in a supplemental article in the same issue of Nature.2
A search on the number of times he uses the word However is illuminating.
It is widely accepted that variations in Earths orbit affect glaciation, but a better and more detailed understanding of this process is needed. How can the 41,000-year glacial cycles of the early Pleistocene be explained, let alone the ~100,000-year glacial cycles of the late Pleistocene? How do the subtle changes in insolation relate to the massive changes in climate known as glacial cycles? And what are proxy climate records actually measuring? The field now faces these important questions, which are made all the more pressing as the fate of Earths climate is inexorably tied to the vestige of Northern Hemisphere glaciation that sits atop Greenland, and to its uncertain counterpart to the south.
In a third paper in the Nature supplement on geology,3 Phillip A. Allen
(Imperial College, London) made the following comment: We are right to be
suspicious of oversimplistic interpretation of the structure found in
the large number of time-series records that geology throws up, he said.
The possible allusion to barfing may be intentional. In his paper about sediment routing systems, he also
made the following two statements that cast doubt on the ability of present-day
scientists to be sure of anything about the past.
- The remarkable growth in the study and understanding of Earth has
happened in parallel with a spectacular era of planetary exploration,
relevant astronomical discoveries and computational and theoretical advances, all
of which help us to place Earth and its interior in a perspective that integrates
the Earth sciences with extraterrestrial studies and basic sciences such as
condensed-matter physics. However, progress on the biggest challenges
in understanding the deep Earth continues to rely mainly on looking down rather than looking up.
- Almost a billion bodies 10 km in diameter would be needed to make an Earth. However,
it is not thought likely that planetesimals were the actual building blocks of Earth.
A dense swarm of such bodies in nearly circular low-inclination orbits is gravitationally
unstable on a short timescale.
- The picture [of the origin of the moon by an impact, followed by transfer of material
between Earth and the disk] was originally motivated by a desire to understand
the remarkable similarity of Earth and Moon oxygen isotopes but also finds support in
tungsten and possibly silicon isotopic evidence. However, we do not yet have a fully integrated model of lunar formation that is dynamically satisfactory as well as chemically acceptable.
- We understand why Earths mantle convects: there is no alternative mechanism
for eliminating heat. However, we do not understand why Earth has plate tectonics.
Ideally, we would know all of the physical and chemical processes governing the sediment-routing system. This would be enormously gratifying in trying to understand how sediment-routing systems function generically, but we would immediately run into a fundamental problem: the long result of time. Time transforms sediment-routing systems into geology, and like history, selectively samples from the events that actually happened to create a narrative of what is recorded. Progress in understanding modern sediment-routing systems now leaves us poised to answer the important question: how do we simultaneously use the modern to generate the time-integrated ancient, and invert the ancient to reveal the forcing mechanisms for change in the past?
Let us take the example of the effects of cyclic glaciation, a mode of response to cyclic climate changes that Earth has experienced in the past few million years (see page 284). To build a numerical landscape-evolution model for times of glaciation we would need to know the sliding velocity of ice by solution of a chosen ice-dynamics equation, a proportionality constant in the ice-erosion equation that depends on the underlying rock type, a rheological law relating ice deformation to local stress, a model for ice accumulation and ablation, and knowledge of the temperature at the base of the ice. This might work theoretically by making a large number of assumptions, but the resulting model would be impossible to use in a simulation of Quaternary landscapes. Why? Because the necessary parameter values to inform a long-term landscape model are not currently available, and perhaps never will be. This humbling realization does not denigrate the efforts of modellers working at the human timescale, but instead prompts us to think afresh about what is required for success with upscaled [i.e., extrapolated] models.
Allen hoped that interdisciplinary conversations might help shed light on Earth history,
but that last sentence sounds like a repudiation of Lyells long-esteemed principle of uniformitarianism,
the present is the key to the past.
It is not immediately obvious that the factors controlling a long-term response may be different from those controlling local processes.
1. Maureen E. Raymo and Peter Huybers, Unlocking the mysteries of the ice ages,
451, 284-285 (17 January 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06589; Published online 16 January 2008.
2. David J. Stevenson, A planetary perspective on the deep Earth,
261-265 (17 January 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06582.
3. Phillip A. Allen, From landscapes into geological history,
451, 274-276 (17 January 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06586.
The textbooks dont tell you how much of natural
history is more art than science. What are the proxy records actually measuring?
How do the orbital explanations translate to actual changes on earths surface?
In short, how do they know what they say they know? Its nice when the
insiders raise the questions.
SETI Signals Could Be Loaded with Information 02/04/2008
Remember, correlation is not the same thing as causation. Theories
are always underdetermined by the data. There could be very different
causes for the observed effects. These authors maintained a spirit of progressivism
in spite of the serious questions they asked. Earth has no obligation to abide
by the current consensus. For a shocker, read what global warming skeptic
Cockburn thinks of consensus and scientific peer review.
TV documentaries and textbooks often dress
up the currently-favored models with glitzy visuals
that convey an air of certainty. Years later, a scientific revolution overturns
the paradigm and tosses the old theory out. So much for the visuals.
When you watch documentaries, view museum displays or read popular science reports
presenting confident-sounding dates of ice ages, etc., remember this little glimpse into the
drafting room these insiders gave us. Youre not watching reality in those programs.
You are watching paradigms. Like glaciers, paradigms shift, melt, advance, retreat,
and sometimes go slip-slidin away.
Next headline on:
Unusual properties of electromagnetic waves allow for a higher carrying capacity
of information than thought. SETI researcher Seth Shostak reported on
that Swedish researchers have found a possible subspace channel in
the orbital angular momentum of narrowband radio waves that might allow the encoding
of information. This information would be impervious to the jumbling across
space that hampers wide-band communications.
SETI has typically considered
narrow-band waves incapable of coding more than very simple, short messages.
While such monotonic messages may seem to be elementary and devoid of much
information, he said, they could be laden with additional, hidden complexity.
(For another example of hidden signal in the art world, see this story
If researchers can decode this kind of steganography (information hidden in plain
sight), SETI signals could be loaded with information a galactic wi-fi,
as Shostak dubbed it. A simple signal
may only be a cipher for a more complex message, and there may be more things in
heaven and earth than even Maxwell had dreamt of, Shostak said, referring
to the electromagnetic wave theory proposed by James
Clerk Maxwell in 1861.
Speaking of radio waves, Beatle fans got NASA to go along with an
anniversary celebration of sorts. At 4:00 p.m. on February 4, the Deep
Space Network beamed the song Across the Universe written by John
Lennon 40 years ago to the day (also the 50th anniversary of the founding of
NASA). A JPL
Press release accompanied the occasion. One fan even created a special
website for it; even
was quickly updated. A proud Paul McCartney said, Send my love to the aliens
and Lennons widow Yoko Ono said, I see that this is the beginning of
the new age in which we will communicate with billions of planets across the universe.
Good; beam it into space where no one has to listen
to it. The mishmash of meaning in Lennons meandering
is incoherent and anti-rational. The song has nothing to do with astronomy.
It pushes Transcendental Meditation while repeating, over and over, Nothings
gonna change my world. Is this the kind of scientific attitude NASA
really wants to promulgate? What does it mean? We no longer have to
worry about global warming? The Beatles dont understand the second
law of thermodynamics? Saying something 12 times doesnt make it so.
Biologists may be deluding themselves about the power of natural selection
so says an evolutionary biologist, from
NASA should be teaching kids physics and engineering instead of
encouraging them to follow the 60's countercultural slogan, tune in, turn on,
drop out. The space program of the future needs sober-minded, bright
students who have higher values than sex, drugs and rock-n-roll, and who believe
smarter things than to chant meaningless mantras given by a charlatan guru like
the Maharishi. (Sorry, we wrote this before hearing he had just
died. There is no pleasure in the death of the wicked.)
As for SETI in the other direction, it is interesting that Shostak
(an ardent evolutionist and critic of intelligent design) acknowledges the
information-bearing capacity of electromagnetic signals from unknown minds.
A natural EM wave contains no purposeful communication.
If a carrier signal is present, information can be impressed on it through amplitude modulation (AM) or
frequency modulation (FM), or now by orbital angular momentum modulation.
In any case, the information is detectable if one has the key. Without the
key it looks like gibberish. Shostaks article exposes the lie of his
December 2005 article that claimed all they
were looking for is a persistent narrowband whistle. Despite his objections,
his new article has intelligent design written all over it.
Read up on the life of James Clerk
Maxwell, a towering giant among scientists, and a fervent Christian.
Next headline on:
Beat the Crowds: Go Outdoors 02/04/2008
Fewer people are feeling close to nature, said a report on
According to a study done by Oliver Pergams (U of Illinois) and Patricia Zaradic
(Environmental Leadership Program, Pennsylvania), a decline in visitation at national
parks corresponds to an increase in sedentary activities like playing video games, surfing the Internet and
watching movies. They see a fundamental shift away from nature and toward
videophilia an unhealthy trend, being associated with obesity, lack of
socialization, attention disorders and poor academic performance.
Statistics they gathered showed declines over the past 70 years in
outdoor activity. For instance, in the decade from 1981 to 1991, there was
a drop of up to 1.3 percent per year in outdoor activities such as backpacking,
fishing, hiking, hunting, and visits to national and state parks and forests.
Since then, the typical drop has been 18-25 percent, the article states.
The researchers are worried about another consequence: less interest
in conservation. We dont see how future generations, with less
exploration of nature, will be as interested in conservation as past generations,
There was never a better time to
Escape to Reality than now. While everyone
else is having a mythical second life, get out into
creation youll have it all to yourself!
Overheard: a profile article in
about Shinya Yamanaka, the Japanese scientist
who found a way to create induced pluripotent stem cells without human embryos:
One thing the states and the federal government could do is to
lower fees. Camping used to be a very economical activity. For many
years, park entrance fees were either $5 or even zero. Now, it is typical
to pay $20 or more, with more restrictions on where you can go and what you can
do. Campground fees used to be in the $3 to $5 range per night;
now they are typically $17 to $20 and up. National forests and wilderness
areas also put steep fees and quotas on backpackers. Fishing licenses and
hunting tags are astronomical. It becomes unattractive for would-be woodsmen to
pay a high annual fee for just one or two expeditions into the wild.
America has become the land of the fee and the home of depraved video addicts.
The high prices for recreation would not be necessary if governments would cut
back on wasteful socialist programs and pork-barrel projects. They would
probably find that lower fees at parks would also attract visitors and actually
increase revenues. Governments need to realize that the land belongs to the
people, not to the Capitol. The power to tax is the power to destroy.
Taxes and fees drive away participation. In recent years, governments have
even charged fees (badly named adventure passes) for merely parking
your car in a national forest so you can take a walk in the woods. What on
earth do they think they are doing? If they are concerned about declining
visitation to nature reserves and lack of interest in conservation, who is to
blame? The main critics of the adventure pass laws were the backpackers,
hikers and fishermen who were most likely to appreciate and conserve the land.
In their defense, park management districts are having to deal with increased
litter, carelessness with fire, crime in the parks, the cost of rescues due to
carelessness, and litigation from sue-happy campers. This hurts everyone.
It becomes easier for the parks to prohibit everybody from doing anything.
In one national park, for instance, a popular swimming hole on a creek is now
off limits. The trail to it was covered, and the rangers refuse to tell
anyone where it is. Why? Too many careless people would go over there
and fool around, get hurt, require a rescue, and sue the park. No wonder
park rangers often feel they are trapped in a no-win situation.
One solution might be for the government to certify hikers according
to knowledge and ability. The one-size-fits-all policy, essentially if
an obese elderly person in a wheelchair cant do it, then nobody can do it,
is very frustrating to eager, fit, knowledgeable outdoorspeople. Private
conservation groups could offer courses that the government could approve, allowing
the park visitor to earn a passport-like identification that would allow additional
access to park resources. Certificates could be stratified according to
risk level, from beginner to advanced: day hiker to ice climbers or cave explorers.
The courses could include conservation ethics, survival skills, filing of trip
plans and affidavits of personal responsibility. This would filter out the
careless but allow the knowledgeable to enjoy the freedom all Americans once
took for granted. Undoubtedly it would attract young people to learn the
skills needed to get to the highest level like the appeal to become an
Eagle Scout. The outdoors would again hear the songs of human beings in their
native habitat: rational beings who
love the outdoors and know how to interact with the environment without harming it.
These are very real issues with no simple solutions. A certification
program would bring its own share of problems, for sure. Regardless, it is
still worthwhile to get into the wilderness and experience nature close up.
Camping out is still cheaper than a hotel.
Freedom is precious: use it or lose it. So is health.
Start at your skill level and challenge yourself. There
is no substitute for a real experience in the created world: sleeping under the
stars, hiking through a forest, hopping rocks along a wild stream, watching a bird
or deer in its natural habitat. These are experiences no HDTV can match.
Your body will thank you.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
A medical doctor who trained to be an orthopedic surgeon, Yamanaka, 45,
switched to research to explore new medical treatments. He was inspired to
search for alternatives to using human embryos to create stem cells when a peek
at an embryo under a microscope at a friends fertility clinic reminded him
of his two daughters as infants.
Science 1 February 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5863, p. 562,
Did Murder Evolve? 02/03/2008
Is it appropriate for scientists to speculate on the evolution of murder?
Nature had no problem with it. They allowed Dan Jones, a freelance
writer in Brighton, UK, to publish a lengthy article on how murder and warfare
evolved. No other explanations for these scourges were mentioned except to
dismiss them. Nature
has apparently incorporated political science, ethics, theology and criminology
as subdomains of evolutionary biology. What can evolution say about why humans kill?
the article begins, ending not only with the evolution of murder and war, but
claims that evolution has even provided humans with a moral sense to mitigate them.
Dan Jones began by setting up an opposing voice to knock down:
It is scientifically incorrect to say that we have inherited a tendency to make war from our animal ancestors ... that war or any other violent behaviour is genetically programmed into our human nature ... [and] that humans have a violent brain.
Joness opening shows that 21 years ago, scientists even those who accepted
evolution from animal ancestors considered it inappropriate to discuss the
evolution of war. By arguing against these cherished beliefs that were
written to counter a pessimistic view, is Jones now promoting pessimism?
These are the ringing words of the Seville Statement on Violence, fashioned by 20 leading natural and social scientists in 1986 as part of the United Nations International Year of Peace, and later adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It was written to counter the pessimistic view that violence and war are inevitable features of human life.
The decades since have not been kind to these cherished beliefs. A growing number of psychologists, neuroscientists and anthropologists have accumulated evidence that understanding many aspects of antisocial behaviour, including violence and murder, requires the study of brains, genes and evolution, as well as the societies those factors have wrought.
Not necessarily. He came up with a quasi-optimistic update to the
old Darwinian idea that violence is programmed into humans from their evolutionary past.
It reads like a kind of bad-news, good-news joke: yes, we are programmed for violence,
but we are not as bad as chimpanzees. The implication is that since humans emerged
from the apes, evolution appears to have modified its trajectory. Now, humans
have evolved to cooperate. In this view, the proverbial angels and devils that
sit on our shoulders have also evolved.
At the same time, though, historians, archaeologists and criminologists have started to argue that in most places life was more violent and more likely to end in murder in the past than it is today. The time span of this apparent decline in violence has been too short for appeals to natural selection to be convincing. If humans have evolved to kill, then it seems that they have also evolved to live without killing, given the right circumstances.
Jones described how Martin Daly and Margo Wilson of McMaster University in Ontario, Canada,
published a book Homicide with this thesis just two years after the Seville Statement.
It was the rise of evolutionary psychology. They contradicted the
Seville Statement by arguing that humans are programmed with violent proclivities,
but then let Darwinism off the hook somewhat by claiming that killing was, by
and large, not something that evolution had selected for. What evolution
was selecting for was higher status and reproductive success. Killing and death
were just by-products of these goals.
Jones presented this as todays majority view among evolutionary
psychologists before delving into alternative views all based on evolution.
Some feel natural selection did select for murder, because in some contexts the
benefits outweigh the costs: Homicide can be such a beneficial solution
to adaptive problems in certain, specific contexts that it would be surprising if
selection had not fashioned mechanisms to produce lethal aggression, said
David Buss [U of Texas] and Joshua Duntley [Richard Stockton College], authors of
a controversial homicide adaptation theory.
The body of Joness article explored various attempts to explain,
within evolutionary thinking, why men are more prone to commit murder than women, or
how the prefrontal cortex might be organized to promote or preclude violent outbursts.
Adrian Raine and Lori LaCasse of USC, for instance, proposed that Put crudely,
murderers dont have the prefrontal resources to regulate that unbridled emotional output.
Does this make murder an artifact of neural arrangements? Jones elaborated,
Just as evolution has shaped mens bodies to be, on average, larger
than womens, it has also distributed the resources needed to regulate
emotion and aggression unevenly between the sexes.
The discussion proceeded to an even more bizarre concept: the evolution
of morality. Evolution has apparently produced neurons that get bent out of shape when
moral codes are violated:
In an intriguing turn, Raine and his USC colleague Yaling Yang have recently pointed to a link between homicidal behaviour and the capacity to follow moral guidelines. Over the past six years, brain-imaging studies aimed at understanding moral judgements have illustrated the crucial role of the emotional feeling that comes with violating moral codes. Parts of the prefrontal cortex and amygdala that are abnormal in violent individuals and murderers are activated when making moral judgements. Raine and Yang have proposed that these systems serve as the engine that translates moral feelings into behavioural inhibition an engine that has blown a gasket in the antisocial, violent and murderous.
Jones did not define morality, but clearly
the moral codes he described are not really moral codes (in the sense of universal
standards of right and wrong); they could only be societal norms that passed the natural
selection filter, at least for the time being. Normally, moral codes, whatever they
are, produce inhibitions in individuals, he said. This is a strictly behavioral
definition devoid of meaning. Clearly, rationality or human nature
in the classical sense could not be involved. An engine that can blow a gasket is merely
At this point Jones made a shocking statement: in evolutionary terms,
war is a good thing:
Men are not just more likely to kill other people than women are, they are also more likely to do so in groups and for some researchers it is in these realms that killing offers real evolutionary value. The murder of one person by another may be almost accidental, an unlooked for by-product of aggression. The murder of members of one group by those of another could be an adaptive behaviour that evolution has encouraged.
For support, Jones described chimpanzee studies that show the apes engaging in ruthless warfare
and carnage. He then compared the monkey antics with human violence, but
backpedaled slightly to avoid describing a straight-line connection:
Moving from studies of chimpanzee coalitional violence and comparisons with small-scale
tribal conflicts to understanding modern warfare is, however, far from straightforward.
Chimpanzees fight more within groups than between them, he claimed. One researcher cited said
that chimps display 200 times more violent behavior than humans. Another was quoted
explaining how humans learned that in-group cooperation was a good strategy. Either way, its
still all just evolution: altruism and war co-evolve, promoting conflict between groups
and greater harmony within them. For reasons he did not defend, he merely suggested that
evolution selects soldiers over hoodlums:
In cultures and societies with a recent history of warfare, children tend to be socialized
to tolerate pain and to react aggressively, which prepares them for the possibility of
becoming a soldier (arguably something that evolution would favour) or a potentially
deadly brawler (probably something it wouldnt).
But could a blind process tell the difference? He did not argue his probabilities.
Jones mitigated his pessimistic evolutionary determinism with assertions of
the existence of free will:
None of this means that a tendency to kill is set in stone; if anything, it shows that humans have evolved to be much less of a risk to each other within groups than they would be if they were as bellicose as chimps. And there is evidence that this risk is reducing further in studies of death rates from both inter-group homicide and intra-group warfare, both of which seem to have plummeted over the millennia.
Has Jones not counted up the death tolls from the World Wars? As if to
forestall the accusation, he quoted Steven Pinker:
if the wars of the twentieth century had killed the same proportion of the
population that die in the wars of a typical tribal society, there would have been
two billion deaths, not 100 million. How either of them could know such a
thing was not explained. Instead, statistics were garnered to illustrate historical
trends downward in death tolls from wars. The implication is that humans are
evolving toward a culture of comity and amity.
But isnt a few centuries too short a time for evolution to
have shaped human nature much? And couldnt the falling mortality
be due to improvements in policing and medical care? Arent people using
rationality to decide that war is counterproductive? It was time to rescue Darwin again:
A part of the answer that is consistent with an evolutionary approach is a long-term reduction in inequalities of life circumstances and prospects the inequalities that Daly and Watson see as driving the conflict that leads to killing as a by-product. In places such as Sweden where every cabbie drives a Mercedes, says Daly, people don't bother to kill so often. Better provisioning of lifes necessities has also powered the decline, agrees Duntley. When contested resources are made more plentiful, he says, conflict over resources decreases and homicide rates drop.
But for all its optimism, this idea sounds deterministic as well. Humans are just pawns of evolutionary and
environmental pressures, he argued. When resources are plentiful, they dont fight.
Yet exceptions to this principle abound. There is no shortage of cases where
criminals have attacked wantonly (e.g., Willy Horton) or nations fought ruthlessly
(e.g., Napoleon), when resources were plentiful. Jones did not deal with the exceptions.
What about the morality in all this? Ah, that
evolved, too. Dan Jones ended,
The evidence suggests that humans may indeed have what the Seville Statement called a violent brain, in as much as evolution may favour those who go to war. But evolution has also furnished us with a moral sense. The complexities of the relationship between morals and violence may prove a fruitful field for future research, in as much as they can be disentangled from the social and historical factors that clearly hold great sway over the ultimate levels of violence. Evolution is not destiny; but understanding it could help maintain the hard-to-discern progress of peace.
Nature decorated this article with photos of a boxer punching out his opponent,
and a Napoleon-like figure on horseback leading his finely-dressed army into battle.
No longer are these to be seen as images of rational beings who make choices based on morals and reasons.
If Dan Jones and the evolutionists he quotes are right, they are pawns of evolutionary
forces that play out on a game board of evolutionary-derived neurological propensities for
aggression on one side and cooperation on the other.
Presumably the evolutionary psychologists own rationality is exempt from the game.
1. Dan Jones, Human behaviour: Killer instincts,
451, 512-515 (2008) | doi:10.1038/451512a; also published at
At the risk of sounding redundant, the views in this
paper are dumb and evil. Dumb, because they are self-refuting and nothing but
presupposition-driven conjectures. Evil, because the fruit of such thinking
puts no limits on selfish aggression. If moral absolutes and rationality do
not exist if we are the evolutionary pawns of amoral forces who is to
abide by any claims of a moral sense? Morality becomes anything
one says it is. Dont fall for the made-up disclaimer that natural selection
has lately favored cooperation. Give a dictator this doctrine and he will
define his own morality to include genocide. If he were to succeed, his
success would guarantee it was moral, because the only ones left to pass on their
genes would be those he allowed to survive.
Puzzling over Mercurys magnetic field: a look at Mercury before MESSENGER,
from 02/13/2004. Then see latest news posted
To the Darwin Party priestly class, the rest of humanity are their pets and lab rats.
They speak flowery words of peace and morality, but they are conquerors at heart.
They say they just want to understand human nature, but they envision
themselves as disembodied rationalities above the game that traps the rest of us.
They would presume to create
the environmental conditions under which humans would be precluded from acting out
their evolutionary propensities for violence, and could be manipulated for useful
purposes useful, that is, for their own utopian visions.
Once again, Dan Jones and the other Yodas he quoted presume to sit in
some ethereal oligarchy looking down on an evolved world from an intellectual platform
of privilege with no pillars. The arrogant plunderers
arrogate to themselves the intellectual resources of the rest of the university.
Like modern-day Gnostics possessing higher wisdom unavailable to us boxers and soldiers,
they would sit in exalted privilege above the rabble, doling out Mercedes to the
cabbies to keep them compliant. (Incorrigible non-cooperators
like Christians, philosophers and theologians can be put in zoos, prisons, or
otherwise disposed of so as not to jeopardize the regime.)
What do you do with people who believe things that are dumb and evil?
For one thing, you dont put them in positions of power, and you dont give
them control of the classroom. Their arguments cannot withstand a moments
reflection. Using their own assumptions, the propositions in this article reduce to
glorified chimpanzee screams as their proponents jump up and down on each others soulless chests.
They cant help themselves. Evolution made them this way. Their
arguments, therefore, carry no intellectual weight, and are
self-refuting. Remember, distinguished scholars, what
happens to self-refuting propositions? They are necessarily false.
They are not true, they cannot be true, and no amount of research or discovery or
reflection will ever make them true. Theyre D.O.A., dead, finished.
Consider that the most distinguished scientific journal in the world just gave pride
of place to a self-refuting article! The situation is desperate.
The evil dumb are threatening war against Mansoul. For its own survival, civilization
must expose through rational means that the Darwinists are their own suicidal maniacs.
By murdering mind and morality, they have demonstrated that they cannot win the game of
survival of the intellectually and morally fittest.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Did Darwinism Build the Nuclear Pore Complex? 02/02/2008
After nine years of work, three universities including a team at Rockefeller University
completed a beautiful new model of the nuclear pore complex. The story is told
The article attributed the origin of this exquisite gatekeeper of the
nucleus to evolution: their findings provide a glimpse into how the nucleus
itself first evolved, the article says. How can this be?
The article claims that eukaryotic cells split off from the prokaryotes
when they developed a nucleus and other specialized organelles that
allowed them to compartmentalize different aspects of cellular metabolism.
This language suggests some kind of plan or intention certainly not what
neo-Darwinian theory allows. Nevertheless, Michael Rout of Rockefeller
continued the language of planning and purpose as he described himself visualizing
an evolutionary progress from earlier structures: We think that once the
cells gained this coating complex, they ran with it and started to duplicate
it and specialize it.
As for a mechanism that could generate complexity from simplicity,
Rout invoked a kind of copying and tinkering algorithm: Evolution is a process of
duplication and divergence, he said. Because the nuclear pore complex
contains multiple copies of similar structures arranged like a wheel, he thinks this is evidence
they must have formed by gene duplication, even though wheels are usually built by
He and his colleagues saw clear evidence of this when they color-coded the
proteins in the pore. One method of color coding revealed alternating stripes,
like spokes on a wheel: For every protein, there was another one that looked quite
similar. Color coding a different way showed the same pattern in the pores
outer and inner rings, one of which appears to be a slightly modified duplication
of the other. These are evidence of duplication events, Rout says,
showing that the evolution of the complicated nuclear pore was a more
straightforward affair than previously thought. Its made of many
different variations of a theme of just one unit.
In music, Theme and Variations pieces are usually ascribed to intelligent composers.
Strangely, as Rout continued describing the nuclear pore complex, his language shifted.
He began talking less
about unguided processes, and more about engineering and detective work:
The nuclear pore is the communication device that the nucleus uses
to communicate with the rest of the cell. And if you dont
understand how that works, you dont understand a key part of
how the cell works. And if you dont understand that, you
cant completely understand how cancers work or how a single
cell turns into a human being, or how a single grain of wheat turns into
a whole crop. You have to see the cell as a machine and
understand all of its parts.
No attempt was made in the article to reconcile the apparently contradictory forms
We need a new word to describe evolutionary biologists
who talk like intelligent fools. Everything they observe requires intelligent
design and looks like intelligent design, but they glibly describe them as coming about
from stupid, blind processes. Somebody provide us a one-word concoction that encapsulates
the apostle Pauls description, Professing themselves to be wise, they
became fools. Wait: there is such a word sophomore.
(Apologies to all second-year students.) How about sophoxymoroniac? Perfect.
Deep Sea Hydrocarbons Dont Require Life 02/01/2008
Sophoxymoroniac, definition: a sophomoric (wise-fool) scientist with a mania for speaking in
oxymorons (wise-foolish statements), like evolutionary design and
Now, we can expand our code language when
describing Darwinists: you know, those sophoxymoroniacs with the fability to howl
ev-illusionary mythoids in fogma. (To decode the message, see commentaries from
Believing that blind duplication can produce machinery as elaborate
as a nuclear pore complex (06/02/2003,
bullet 2) is like believing that swirling snowflakes can produce a living snowman
without a kid and a fairy godmother. For a detailed response to the claim that gene duplication can
produce new complex designs, see Jerry Bergmans article Does gene duplication
provide the engine for evolution? on
CMI, and read
Michael Behes latest book
The Edge of Evolution
drastic measures, we know, but shock treatment is the only known cure for
Next headline on:
Remember the Lost City deep sea vents that were discovered by surprise
in 2000 (12/13/2000)? It appears that they
are producing large quantities of hydrocarbons (methane, alkanes, ethene, acetylene,
propene, propyne) without the help of living organisms (cf.
08/13/2002). A team of scientists deduced
that abiogenic reactions like the Fischer-Tropsch process and others may be responsible
for the production of these molecules previously thought to require microbes or fossils,
although some suspected that non-biological processes could be responsible.
The paper is published in Science.1
1. Proskurowski et al, Abiogenic Hydrocarbon Production at Lost City Hydrothermal Field,
1 February 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5863, pp. 604-607, DOI: 10.1126/science.1151194.
Possible implications of this study include non-fossil-fuel
production of oil and natural gas, with resulting economic considerations,
and changes in assumptions about dating methods. Geologists
and earth scientists may wish to pursue these leads. For leads, look at what
World Net Daily
reported on the story.
Nose Code Rockets Smell Discrimination 02/01/2008
Next headline on:
You have a code in your nose. Scientists working on fruit fly olfactory systems
have found that a mapping mechanism between components maximizes the flys
ability to discriminate smells. The coding system provides a non-linear response
that appears finely tuned to maximize the information content of odor inputs.
The components of this system (antennal lobe, olfactory bulb, glomeruli, projection
neurons, Kenyon cells) were described in more detail in our
06/27/2005 entry. Why is the input information
passed through several stages that combine, sort and distribute their respective inputs?
It turns out that a kind of computational algorithm is being performed on the input that
translates a highly-variable chemical code into a discrete neural code. This is
analogous to analog-to-digital conversion. In the process, one part can average away
uncorrelated variability, but amplify correlated signals. The outputs are amplified
in a non-linear fashion, providing the maximum discrimination between input smells, some
of which might be very similar. The system also allows the teasing out of information
from very weak inputs.
Baranidharan Ramana and Mark Stopfer, writing in Current Biology,1
commented on a recent study by Bhandawat et al. who
used the relatively simple olfactory system of the fruitfly Drosophila
to show how noisy, variable peripheral signals are transformed by early neural circuits
into consistent, efficient and distinguishable odor representations. In their
review, they described how the coding is finely balanced:
...Bhandawat et al. found that the responses of projection neurons were highly correlated
with each other, as were responses within groups of ORNs [olfactory receptor neurons]. The existence of inhibitory
and excitatory local neurons in the antennal lobe suggests that both competitive and
associative interactions are possible. Purely inhibitory interactions between
projection neurons would tend to decorrelate their responses; in an extreme case
a fully connected network such interactions would lead to a winner-take-all
competition, resulting in a coding capacity greatly reduced to the number of available
output channels. Purely excitatory interactions, on the other hand, would decrease
the independence of channels to lower than what is available in their inputs.
Thus, the results of Bhandawat et al. suggest that the network connectivity
of the antennal lobe is delicately balanced to optimize its coding capacity.
By optimizing its coding capacity, they mean that the system is sensitive, consistent,
efficient, and reliable despite the chaotic structures of odor plumes
that are the inputs. They said that the system also includes a high-pass
filtering function [that] may allow flies to alter behaviors rapidly when stimulated by odors.
In addition, the time variability of the input signals gives the system additional
Whats the usefulness of studying a fruit fly antenna?
In short, the elegant solution seen here can inspire human engineers faced
with similar information-processing problems:
The work by Bhandawat et al. provides insights into the logic behind olfactory circuit design. It will be interesting to analyze how these results generalize to a larger set of odorants, and to other species. It will also be interesting to see whether these peripheral circuits play a role in insulating the neural signal-processing engine from the constant changes in the population of ORNs that occur throughout the lifetime of the animal. These fundamental olfactory processing principles are not only important for understanding how the brain interprets odor signals, but are also necessary for engineering solutions inspired by biological computations for addressing high dimensional and non-linear problems.
The authors noted that the coding system found in the fruit fly is similar to that
used by many animals. This prompted an evolutionary speculation:
This peripheral reorganization scheme is remarkably similar across species
and phyla, suggesting a design optimized over evolutionary time to
solve a common information processing problem.
1. Baranidharan Ramana and Mark Stopfer, Olfactory Coding: Non-Linear Amplification Separates Smells,
Volume 18, Issue 1, 8 January 2008, pages R29-R32; doi:10.1016/j.cub.2007.10.063.
Scratch that last lame, useless, dull, insipid,
witless remark about evolutionary time optimizing design. Can anyone conceive
of how many lucky mutations would be required for this multi-part system to evolve?
The inputs are correlated and decorrelated, converged and distributed, filtered
and amplified through a remarkable series of stages that results in a non-linear
fashion to gain the maximum amount of information from the input. If any
one of these stages failed, the whole system wouldnt work. This is
more elaborate than the famous Honda
Accord commercial in which a rolling lug nut as input moved a half-ton automobile
as output by passing through a finely-tuned chain reaction of alternating strong
and weak energetic events.
Dont accept balderdash about miracles in evolutionary time
brought about by random, mindless mutations that yield optimized designs by accident.
This story was about intelligent design from start to finish. It should make
us stand in awe of creation while we employ our creativity to imitate and apply
the engineering for the improvement of human life. That is the fragrance of science.
Next headline on:
Scientist of the Month
Click on Apollos, the trusty|
|Guide to Evolution
I visit your website regularly and I commend you on your work. I applaud your effort to pull actual science from the mass of propaganda for Evolution you report on (at least on those rare occasions when there actually is any science in the propaganda). I also must say that I'm amazed at your capacity to continually plow through the propaganda day after day and provide cutting and amusing commentary.... I can only hope that youthful surfers will stop by your website for a fair and interesting critique of the dogma they have to imbibe in school.
(a technical writer living in Jerusalem)
I have enjoyed your site for several years now. Thanks for all the hard work you obviously put into this. I appreciate your insights, especially the biological oriented ones in which I'm far behind the nomenclature curve. It would be impossible for me to understand what's going on without some interpretation. Thanks again.
(a manufacturing engineer in Vermont)
Love your site and your enormous amount of intellectualism and candor
regarding the evolution debate. Yours is one site I look forward to on
a daily basis. Thank you for being a voice for the rest of us.
(a graphic designer in Wisconsin)
For sound, thoughtful commentary on creation-evolution hot topics go to
(Access Research Network
Your website is simply the best (and Id dare say one of the most important) web sites on the entire WWW.
(an IT specialist at an Alabama university)
Ive been reading the articles on this website for over a year, and
Im guilty of not showing any appreciation. You provide a great service.
Its one of the most informative and up-to-date resources on creation available
anywhere. Thank you so much. Please keep up the great work.
(a senior research scientist in Georgia)
Just a note to thank you for your site. I am a regular visitor and I use your site
to rebut evolutionary "just so" stories often seen in our local media.
I know what you do is a lot of work but you make a difference and are appreciated.
(a veterinarian in Minnesota)
This is one of the best sites I have ever visited. Thanks.
I have passed it on to several others... I am a retired grandmother.
I have been studying the creation/evolution question for about 50 yrs....
Thanks for the info and enjoyable site.
(a retiree in Florida)
It is refreshing to know that there are valuable resources such as Creation-Evolution
Headlines that can keep us updated on the latest scientific news that affect our view of
the world, and more importantly to help us decipher through the rhetoric so carelessly
disseminated by evolutionary scientists. I find it Intellectually Satisfying
to know that I dont have to park my brain at the door to be a believer
or at the very least, to not believe in Macroevolution.
(a loan specialist in California)
I have greatly benefitted from your efforts. I very much look forward
to your latest posts.
(an attorney in California)
I must say your website provides an invaluable arsenal in this war for souls
that is being fought. Your commentaries move me to laughter or sadness.
I have been viewing your information for about 6 months and find it one of the best
on the web. It is certainly effective against the nonsense published on
Talkorigins.org. It great to see work that glorifies God and His creation.
(a commercial manager in Australia)
Visiting daily your site and really do love it.
(a retiree from Finland who studied math and computer science)
I am agnostic but I can never deny that organic life (except human) is doing a wonderful
job at functioning at optimum capacity. Thank you for this ... site!
(an evolutionary theorist from Australia)
During the year I have looked at your site, I have gone through your archives and
found them to be very helpful and informative. I am so impressed that I forward link
to members of my congregation who I believe are interested in a higher level discussion
of creationist issues than they will find at [a leading origins website].
(a minister in Virginia)
I attended a public school in KS where evolution was taught. I have
rejected evolution but have not always known the answers to some of the
questions.... A friend told me about your site
and I like it, I have it on my favorites, and I check it every day.
(an auto technician in Missouri)
Thanks for a great site! It has brilliant insights into the world of
science and of the evolutionary dogma. One of the best sites I know of on
(a programmer in Iceland)
The site you run creation-evolution headlines is
extremely useful to me. I get so tired of what passes
for science Darwinism in particular and I find your
site a refreshing antidote to the usual junk.... it is clear that your thinking and logic
and willingness to look at the evidence for what the
evidence says is much greater than what I read in what
are now called science journals.
Please keep up the good work. I appreciate what you
are doing more than I can communicate in this e-mail.
(a teacher in California)
Although we are often in disagreement, I have the greatest respect and admiration for your writing.
(an octogenarian agnostic in Palm Springs)
your website is absolutely superb and unique. No other site out
there provides an informed & insightful running critique of the current
goings-on in the scientific establishment. Thanks for keeping us informed.
(a mechanical designer in Indiana)
I have been a fan of your site for some time now. I enjoy reading the No Spin of what
is being discussed.... keep up the good work, the world needs to be shown just how little the scientist
[sic] do know in regards to origins.
(a network engineer in South Carolina)
I am a young man and it is encouraging to find a scientific journal on the side of creationism and intelligent design....
Thank you for your very encouraging website.
(a web designer and author in Maryland)
GREAT site. Your ability to expose the clothesless emperor in clear language is indispensable to
us non-science types who have a hard time seeing through the jargon and the hype. Your tireless efforts
result in encouragement and are a great service to the faith community. Please keep it up!
(a medical writer in Connecticut)
I really love your site and check it everyday. I also recommend it to everyone I can, because there is
no better website for current information about ID.
(a product designer in Utah)
Your site is a fantastic resource. By far, it is the most current, relevant and most frequently
updated site keeping track of science news from a creationist perspective. One by one, articles
challenging currently-held aspects of evolution do not amount to much. But when browsing the archives,
its apparent youve caught bucketfulls of science articles and news items that devastate
evolution. The links and references are wonderful tools for storming the gates of evolutionary paradise
and ripping down their strongholds. The commentary is the icing on the cake. Thanks for all your
hard work, and by all means, keep it up!
(a business student in Kentucky)
Thanks for your awesome work; it stimulates my mind and encourages my faith.
(a family physician in Texas)
I wanted to personally thank you for your outstanding website. I am intensely interested in any
science news having to do with creation, especially regarding astronomy. Thanks again for your GREAT
(an amateur astronomer in San Diego)
What an absolutely brilliant website you have. Its hard to express how uplifting it is for me
to stumble across something of such high quality.
(a pharmacologist in Michigan)
I want to make a brief commendation in passing of the outstanding job you did in rebutting the
thinking on the article: Evolution of Electrical Engineering
... What a rebuttal to end all rebuttals, unanswerable,
inspiring, and so noteworthy that was. Thanks for the effort and research you put into it.
I wish this answer could be posted in every church, synagogue, secondary school, and college/university...,
and needless to say scientific laboratories.
(a reader in Florida)
You provide a great service with your thorough coverage of news stories relating to the creation-evolution controversy.
(an elder of a Christian church in Salt Lake City)
I really enjoy your website and have made it my home page so I can check on your latest articles.
I am amazed at the diversity of topics you address. I tell everyone I can about your site and encourage them to
check it frequently.
(a business owner in Salt Lake City)
Ive been a regular reader of CEH for about nine month now, and I look forward to each new posting.... I enjoy the information CEH gleans from current events in science and hope you keep the service going.
(a mechanical engineer in Utah)
It took six years of constant study of evolution to overcome the indoctrination found in public schools of my youth. I now rely on your site; it helps me to see the work of God where I could not see it before and to find miracles where there was only mystery. Your site is a daily devotional that I go to once a day and recommend to everyone. I am still susceptible to the wiles of fake science and I need the fellowship of your site; such information is rarely found in a church.
Now my eyes see the stars God made and the life He designed and I feel the rumblings of joy as promised. When I feel down or worried my solution is to praise God the Creator Of All That Is, and my concerns drain away while peace and joy fill the void. This is something I could not do when I did not know (know: a clear and accurate perception of truth) God as Creator. I could go on and on about the difference knowing our Creator has made, but I believe you understand.
I tell everyone that gives me an opening about your site. God is working through you. Please dont stop telling us how to see the lies or leading us in celebrating the truth. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
(a renowned artist in Wyoming)
I discovered your site a few months ago and it has become essential reading via RSS to
(a cartographer and GIS analyst in New Zealand)
I love your site, and frequently visit to read both explanations of news reports,
and your humor about Bonny Saint Charlie.
(a nuclear safety engineer in Washington)
Your site is wonderful.
(a senior staff scientist, retired, from Arizona)
Ive told many people about your site. Its a tremendous service to
science news junkies not to mention students of both Christianity and
(a meteorology research scientist in Alabama)
...let me thank you for your Creation-Evolution Headlines. Ive been an avid reader of it since I first discovered your website about five years ago. May I also express my admiration for the speed with which your articles appearoften within 24 hours of a particular news announcement or journal article being published.
(a plant physiologist and prominent creation writer in Australia)
How do you guys do it--reviewing so much relevant material every day and writing incisive,
(a retired high school biology teacher in New Jersey)
Your site is one of the best out there! I really love reading your articles on creation evolution
headlines and visit this section almost daily.
(a webmaster in the Netherlands)
Keep it up! Ive been hitting your site daily (or more...).
I sure hope you get a mountain of encouraging email, you deserve it.
(a small business owner in Oregon)
Great work! May your tribe increase!!!
(a former Marxist, now ID speaker in Brazil)
You are the best. Thank you....
The work you do is very important.
Please dont ever give up. God bless the whole team.
(an engineer and computer consultant in Virginia)
I really appreciate your work in this topic, so you should never stop doing what you do,
cause you have a lot of readers out there, even in small countries in Europe, like Slovenia
is... I use crev.info for all my signatures on Internet forums etc., it really is fantastic site,
the best site! You see, we(your pleased readers) exist all over the world, so you must be
doing great work! Well i hope you have understand my bad english.
(a biology student in Slovenia)
Thanks for your time, effort, expertise, and humor. As a public school biology teacher I
peruse your site constantly for new information that will challenge evolutionary belief and share much
of what I learn with my students. Your site is pounding a huge dent in evolutions supposed
solid exterior. Keep it up.
(a biology teacher in the eastern USA)
Several years ago, I became aware of your Creation-Evolution Headlines web site.
For several years now, it has been one of my favorite internet sites. I many times check your
website first, before going on to check the secular news and other creation web sites.
I continue to be impressed with your writing and research skills, your humor,
and your technical and scientific knowledge and understanding. Your ability to cut through
the inconsequentials and zero in on the principle issues is one of the characteristics that
is a valuable asset....
I commend you for the completeness and thoroughness with which you provide
coverage of the issues. You obviously spend a great deal of time on this work.
It is apparent in ever so many ways.
Also, your background topics of logic and propaganda techniques have been useful
as classroom aides, helping others to learn to use their baloney detectors.
Through the years, I have directed many to your site. For their sake and mine,
I hope you will be able to continue providing this very important, very much needed, educational,
humorous, thought provoking work.
(an engineer in Missouri)
I am so glad I found your site. I love reading short blurbs about recent discoveries, etc,
and your commentary often highlights that the discovery can be interpreted in two differing ways,
and usually with the pro-God/Design viewpoint making more sense. Its such a refreshing difference
from the usual media spin. Often youll have a story up along with comment before the masses
even know about the story yet.
(a system administrator in Texas, who calls CEH the UnSpin Zone)
You are indeed the Rush Limbaugh Truth Detector of science falsely so-called.
Keep up the excellent work.
(a safety director in Michigan)
I know of no better way to stay
informed with current scientific research than to read your site everyday, which in turn has helped me understand
many of the concepts not in my area (particle physics) and which I hear about in school or in the media.
Also, I just love the commentaries and the baloney detecting!!
(a grad student in particle physics)
I thank you for your ministry. May God bless you! You are doing great job effectively
exposing pagan lie of evolution. Among all known to me creation ministries [well-known organizations listed]
Creationsafaris stands unique thanks to qualitative survey and analysis of scientific publications and news.
I became permanent reader ever since discovered your site half a year ago. Moreover your ministry is
effective tool for intensive and deep education for cristians.
(a webmaster in Ukraine, seeking permission to translate CEH articles into Russian to reach
countries across the former Soviet Union)
The scholarship of the editors is unquestionable. The objectivity of the editors is
admirable in face of all the unfounded claims of evolutionists and Darwinists. The amount
of new data available each day on the site is phenomenal (I cant wait to see the next new
article each time I log on). Most importantly, the TRUTH is always and forever the primary
goal of the people who run this website. Thank you so very much for 6 years of consistent
dedication to the TRUTH.
(11 months earlier): I just completed reading each entry from each month. I found your site about
6 months ago and as soon as I understood the format, I just started at the very first entry
and started reading.... Your work has blessed my education and determination to bold in
showing the unscientific nature of evolution in general and Darwinism in particular.
(a medical doctor in Oklahoma)
Thanks for the showing courage in marching against a popular unproven unscientific belief system.
I dont think I missed 1 article in the past couple of years.
(a manufacturing engineer in Australia)
I do not know and cannot imagine how much time you must spend to read, research and
compile your analysis of current findings in almost every area of science. But I do know
I thank you for it.
(a practice administrator in Maryland)
Since finding your insightful comments some 18 or more months ago, Ive
visited your site daily.... You
so very adeptly and adroitly undress the emperor daily; so much so one
wonders if he might not soon catch cold and fall ill off his throne! ....
To you I wish much continued success and many more years of fun and
frolicking undoing the damage taxpayers are forced to fund through
unending story spinning by ideologically biased scientists.
(an investment advisor in Missouri)
I really like your articles. You do a fabulous job of cutting through
the double-talk and exposing the real issues. Thank you for your hard
work and diligence.
(an engineer in Texas)
I love your site. Found it about maybe
two years ago and I read it every day. I love the closing comments in
green. You have a real knack for exposing the toothless claims of the
evolutionists. Your comments are very helpful for many us who dont know
enough to respond to their claims. Thanks for your good work and keep it
(a missionary in Japan)
I just thought Id write and
tell you how much I appreciate your headline list and commentary. Its
inspired a lot of thought and consideration. I check your listings every day!
(a computer programmer in Tulsa)
Just wanted to thank you for your creation/evolution news ... an outstanding educational
(director of a consulting company in Australia)
Your insights ... been some of the most helpful not surprising considering the caliber of
your most-excellent website! Im serious, ..., your website has to be the
best creation website out there....
(a biologist and science writer in southern California)
I first learned of your web site on March 29.... Your site has far exceeded my expectations and is
consulted daily for the latest. I join with other readers in praising your time and energy spent to educate,
illuminate, expose errors.... The links are a great help in understanding the news items.
The archival structure is marvelous.... Your site brings back dignity to Science conducted as it
should be. Best regards for your continuing work and influence. Lives are being changed and
sustained every day.
(a manufacturing quality engineer in Mississippi)
I wrote you over three years ago letting you know how much I enjoyed your Creation-Evolution headlines,
as well as your Creation Safaris site. I stated then that I read your headlines and commentary every day,
and that is still true! My interest in many sites has come and gone over the years, but your site is
still at the top of my list! I am so thankful that you take the time to read and analyze some of the
scientific journals out there; which I dont have the time to read myself. Your commentary is very,
very much appreciated.
(a hike leader and nature-lover in Ontario, Canada)
...just wanted to say how much I admire your site and your writing.
Youre very insightful and have quite a broad range of knowledge.
Anyway, just wanted to say that I am a big fan!
(a PhD biochemist at a major university)
I love your site and syndicate your content on my church website....
The stories you highlight show the irrelevancy
of evolutionary theory and that evolutionists have perpetual foot and
mouth disease; doing a great job of discrediting themselves. Keep up
the good work.
(a database administrator and CEH junkie in California)
I cant tell you how much I enjoy your article reviews on your
websiteits a HUGE asset!
(a lawyer in Washington)
Really, really, really a fantastic site. Your wit makes a razor appear dull!...
A million thanks for your site.
(a small business owner in Oregon and father of children who love your site too.)
Thank God for ... Creation
Evolution Headlines. This site is right at the cutting edge in the debate
over bio-origins and is crucial in working to undermine the
deceived mindset of naturalism. The arguments presented are unassailable
(all articles having first been thoroughly baloney detected) and the
narrative always lands just on the right side of the laymans comprehension
limits... Very highly recommended to all, especially, of course, to those who
have never thought to question the fact of evolution.
(a business owner in Somerset, UK)
I continue to note the difference between the dismal derogations of the
darwinite devotees, opposed to the openness and humor of rigorous, follow-the-evidence
scientists on the Truth side. Keep up the great work.
(a math/science teacher with M.A. in anthropology)
Your material is clearly among the best I have ever read on evolution problems!
I hope a book is in the works!
(a biology prof in Ohio)
I have enjoyed reading the sardonic apologetics on the Creation/Evolution Headlines section
of your web site. Keep up the good work!
(an IT business owner in California)
Your commentaries ... are always delightful.
(president of a Canadian creation group)
Im pleased to see... your amazing work on the Headlines.
(secretary of a creation society in the UK)
We appreciate all you do at crev.info.
(a publisher of creation and ID materials)
I was grateful for creationsafaris.com for help with baloney detecting. I had read about
the fish-o-pod and wanted to see what you thought. Your comments were helpful and encouraged me
that my own baloney detecting skill are improving. I also enjoyed reading your reaction
to the article on evolution teachers doing battle with students.... I will ask my girls to read your
comments on the proper way to question their teachers.
(a home-schooling mom)
I just want to express how dissapointed [sic] I am in your website. Instead of being objective, the
website is entirely one sided, favoring creationism over evolution, as if the two are contradictory....
Did man and simien [sic] evovlve [sic] at random from a common ancestor? Or did God guide this evolution?
I dont know. But all things, including the laws of nature, originate from God....
To deny evolution is to deny Gods creation. To embrace evolution is to not only embrace his creation,
but to better appreciate it.
(a student in Saginaw, Michigan)
I immensely enjoy reading the Creation-Evolution Headlines. The way you use words
exposes the bankruptcy of the evolutionary worldview.
(a student at Northern Michigan U)
...standing O for crev.info.
(a database programmer in California)
Just wanted to say that I am thrilled to have found your website! Although I
regularly visit numerous creation/evolution sites, Ive found that many of them do
not stay current with relative information. I love the almost daily updates to
your headlines section. Ive since made it my browser home page, and have
recommended it to several of my friends. Absolutely great site!
(a network engineer in Florida)
After I heard about Creation-Evolution Headlines,
it soon became my favorite Evolution resource site on the web. I visit several times a
day cause I cant wait for the next update. Thats pathetic, I know ...
but not nearly as pathetic as Evolution, something you make completely obvious with your snappy,
intelligent commentary on scientific current events. It should be a textbook for science
classrooms around the country. You rock!
(an editor in Tennessee)
One of the highlights of my day is checking your latest CreationSafaris creation-evolution news listing!
Thanks so much for your great work -- and your wonderful humor.
(a pastor in Virginia)
Thanks!!! Your material is absolutely awesome. Ill be using it in our Adult Sunday School class.
(a pastor in Wisconsin)
Love your site & read it daily.
(a family physician in Texas)
I set it [crev.info] up as my homepage. That way I am less likely to miss some really interesting events....
I really appreciate what you are doing with Creation-Evolution Headlines. I
tell everybody I think might be interested, to check it out.
(a systems analyst in Tennessee)
I would like to thank you for your service from which I stand to benefit a lot.
(a Swiss astrophysicist)
I enjoy very much reading your materials.
(a law professor in Portugal)
Thanks for your time and thanks for all the work on the site.
It has been a valuable resource for me.
(a medical student in Kansas)
Creation-Evolution Headlines is a terrific resource. The articles are
always current and the commentary is right on the mark.
(a molecular biologist in Illinois)
Creation-Evolution Headlines is my favorite
anti-evolution website. With almost giddy anticipation, I check
it several times a week for the latest postings. May God bless you and
empower you to keep up this FANTASTIC work!
(a financial analyst in New York)
I read your pages on a daily basis and I would like to let you know
that your hard work has been a great help in increasing my knowledge
and growing in my faith. Besides the huge variety of scientific
disciplines covered, I also enormously enjoy your great sense of humor
and your creativity in wording your thoughts, which make reading your
website even more enjoyable.
(a software developer in Illinois)
THANK YOU for all the work you do to make this wonderful resource! After
being regular readers for a long time, this year weve incorporated your
site into our home education for our four teenagers. The Baloney Detector
is part of their Logic and Reasoning Skills course, and the Daily Headlines
and Scientists of the Month features are a big part of our curriculum for an
elective called Science Discovery Past and Present. What a wonderful
goldmine for equipping future leaders and researchers with the tools of
(a home school teacher in California)
What can I say I LOVE YOU!
I READ YOU ALMOST EVERY DAY I copy and send out to various folks.
I love your sense of humor, including your politics and of course your faith.
I appreciate and use your knowledge What can I say THANK YOU
THANK YOU THANK YOU SO MUCH.
(a biology major, former evolutionist, now father of college students)
I came across your site while browsing through creation & science links. I love the work you do!
(an attorney in Florida)
Love your commentary and up to date reporting. Best site for evolution/design info.
(a graphic designer in Oregon)
I am an ardent reader of your site. I applaud your efforts and pass on
your website to all I talk to. I have recently given your web site info
to all my grandchildren to have them present it to their science
teachers.... Your Supporter and fan..God bless you all...
(a health services manager in Florida)
Why your readership keeps doubling: I came across your website at a time when I was just getting to know what creation science is all about. A friend of mine was telling me about what he had been finding out. I was highly skeptical and sought to read as many pro/con articles as I could find and vowed to be open-minded toward his seemingly crazy claims. At first I had no idea of the magnitude of research and information thats been going on. Now, Im simply overwhelmed by the sophistication and availability of scientific research and information on what I now know to be the truth about creation.
Your website was one of dozens that I found in my search. Now, there are only a handful of sites I check every day. Yours is at the top of my list... I find your news page to be the most insightful and well-written of the creation news blogs out there. The quick wit, baloney detector, in-depth scientific knowledge you bring to the table and the superb writing style on your site has kept me interested in the day-to-day happenings of what is clearly a growing movement. Your site ... has given me a place to point them toward to find out more and realize that theyve been missing a huge volume of information when it comes to the creation-evolution issue.
Another thing I really like about this site is the links to articles in science journals and news references. That helps me get a better picture of what youre talking about.... Keep it up and I promise to send as many people as will listen to this website and others.
(an Air Force Academy graduate stationed in New Mexico)
Im a small town newspaper editor in southwest Wyoming. Were pretty
isolated, and finding your site was a great as finding a gold mine. I read
it daily, and if theres nothing new, I re-read everything. I follow links.
I read the Scientist of the Month. Its the best site Ive run across. Our
local school board is all Darwinist and determined to remain that way.
(a newspaper editor in Wyoming)
have been reading your page for about 2 years or so....
I read it every day. I ...am well educated, with a BA in Applied Physics
from Harvard and an MBA in Finance from Wharton.
(a reader in Delaware)
I came across your website by accident about 4 months ago and look at it every day....
About 8 months ago I was reading a letter to the editor of the Seattle Times that was written
by a staunch anti-Creationist and it sparked my interest enough to research the
topic and within a week I was yelling, my whole lifes education has been a lie!!!
Ive put more study into Biblical Creation in the last 8 months than any other topic in my life.
Past that, through resources like your website...Ive been able to convince my father (professional mathematician and amateur geologist), my best friend (mechanical engineer and fellow USAF Academy Grad/Creation Science nutcase), my pastor (he was the hardest to crack), and many others to realize the Truth of Creation.... Resources like your website help the rest of us at the grassroots level drum up interest in the subject. And regardless of what the major media says: Creationism is spreading like wildfire, so please keep your website going to help fan the flames.
(an Air Force Academy graduate and officer)
I love your site! I **really** enjoy reading it for several specific reasons: 1.It uses the latest (as in this month!) research as a launch pad for opinion; for years I have searched for this from a creation science viewpoint, and now, Ive found it. 2. You have balanced fun with this topic. This is hugely valuable! Smug Christianity is ugly, and I dont perceive that attitude in your comments. 3. I enjoy the expansive breadth of scientific news that you cover. 4. I am not a trained scientist but I know evolutionary bologna/(boloney) when I see it; you help me to see it. I really appreciate this.
(a computer technology salesman in Virginia)
I love your site. Thats why I was more than happy to
mention it in the local paper.... I mentioned your site as the place
where..... Every Darwin-cheering news article is
reviewed on that site from an ID perspective. Then
the huge holes of the evolution theory are exposed,
and the bad science is shredded to bits, using real
(a project manager in New Jersey)
Ive been reading your site almost daily for about three years. I have
never been more convinced of the truthfulness of Scripture and the faithfulness of God.
(a system administrator and homeschooling father in Colorado)
I use the internet a lot to catch up on news back
home and also to read up on the creation-evolution controversy, one of my favourite topics.
Your site is always my first port of call for the latest news and views and I really appreciate
the work you put into keeping it up to date and all the helpful links you provide. You are a
beacon of light for anyone who wants to hear frank, honest conclusions instead of the usual diluted
garbage we are spoon-fed by the media.... Keep up the good work and know that youre changing lives.
(a teacher in Spain)
I am grateful to you for your site and look forward to reading new
stories.... I particularly value it for being up to date with what is going on.
(from the Isle of Wight, UK)
[Creation-Evolution Headlines] is the place to go for late-breaking
news [on origins]; it has the most information and the quickest turnaround.
Its incredible I dont know how you do it.
I cant believe all the articles you find. God bless you!
(a radio producer in Riverside, CA)
Just thought I let you know how much I enjoy
reading your Headlines section. I really appreciate
how you are keeping your ear to the ground in so
many different areas. It seems that there is almost
no scientific discipline that has been unaffected
by Darwins Folly.
(a programmer in aerospace from Gardena, CA)
I enjoy reading the comments on news articles on your site very much. It is incredible
how much refuse is being published in several scientific fields regarding evolution.
It is good to notice that the efforts of true scientists have an increasing influence at schools,
but also in the media.... May God bless your efforts and open the eyes of the blinded evolutionists
and the general public that are being deceived by pseudo-scientists.... I enjoy the site very much
and I highly respect the work you and the team are doing to spread the truth.
(an ebusiness manager in the Netherlands)
I discovered your site through a link at certain website...
It has greatly helped me being updated with the latest development in science and with
critical comments from you. I also love your baloney detector
and in fact have translated some part of the baloney detector into our language (Indonesian).
I plan to translate them all for my friends so as to empower them.
(a staff member of a bilateral agency in West Timor, Indonesia)
...absolutely brilliant and inspiring.
(a documentary film producer, remarking on the
I found your site several months ago and within weeks
had gone through your entire archives.... I check in several times a day for further
information and am always excited to read the new
articles. Your insight into the difference between
what is actually known versus what is reported has
given me the confidence to stand up for what I
believe. I always felt there was more to the story,
and your articles have given me the tools to read
through the hype....
You are an invaluable help and I commend your efforts.
Keep up the great work.
(a sound technician in Alberta)
I discovered your site (through a link from a blog) a few weeks ago and I cant stop reading it....
I also enjoy your insightful and humorous commentary at the end of each story. If the evolutionists
blindness wasnt so sad, I would laugh harder.
I have a masters degree in mechanical engineering from a leading University. When I read the descriptions, see the pictures, and watch the movies of the inner workings of the cell, Im absolutely amazed.... Thanks for bringing these amazing stories daily. Keep up the good work.
(an engineer in Virginia)
I stumbled across your site several months ago and have
been reading it practically daily. I enjoy the inter-links
to previous material as well as the links to the quoted
research. Ive been in head-to-head debate with a
materialist for over a year now. Evolution is just one of
those debates. Your site is among others that have been a
real help in expanding my understanding.
(a software engineer in Pennsylvania)
I was in the April 28, 2005 issue of Nature [see 04/27/2005
story] regarding the rise of intelligent design in the universities. It was through your website
that I began my journey out of the crisis of faith which was mentioned in that article. It was an honor to see you all highlighting the article in Nature. Thank you for all you have done!
(Salvador Cordova, George Mason University)
I shudder to think of the many ways in which you mislead readers, encouraging them to build a faith based on misunderstanding and ignorance. Why dont you allow people to have a faith that is grounded in a fuller understanding of the world?...
Your website is a sham.
(a co-author of the paper reviewed in the 12/03/2003
entry who did not appreciate the unflattering commentary. This led to a cordial
interchange, but he could not divorce his reasoning from the science vs. faith dichotomy,
and resulted in an impasse over definitions but, at least, a more mutually respectful dialogue.
He never did explain how his paper supported Darwinian macroevolution. He just claimed
evolution is a fact.)
I absolutely love creation-evolution news. As a Finnish university student very
interested in science, I frequent your site to find out about all the new science
stuff thats been happening you have such a knack for finding all this
information! I have been able to stump evolutionists with knowledge gleaned from
your site many times.
(a student in Finland)
I love your site and read it almost every day. I use it for my science class and
5th grade Sunday School class. I also challenge Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers to
get on the site to check out articles against the baloney they are taught in school.
(a teacher in Los Gatos, CA)
I have spent quite a few hours at Creation Evolution Headlines in the past week
or so going over every article in the archives. I thank you for such an informative
and enjoyable site. I will be visiting often and will share this link with others.
[Later] I am back to May 2004 in the archives. I figured I should be farther
back, but there is a ton of information to digest.
(a computer game designer in Colorado)
The IDEA Center also highly recommends visiting Creation-Evolution Headlines...
the most expansive and clearly written origins news website on the internet!
(endorsement on Intelligent Design and Evolution
Check out this site: www.creationsafaris.com.
This is a fantastic resource for the whole family.... a fantastic reference library with summaries,
commentaries and great links that are added to
dailyarchives go back five years.
(a reader who found us in Georgia)
I just wanted to drop you a note telling you that at www.BornAgainRadio.com,
Ive added a link to your excellent Creation-Evolution news site.
(a radio announcer)
I cannot understand
why anyone would invest so much time and effort to a website of sophistry and casuistry.
Why twist Christian apology into an illogic pretzel to placate your intellect?
Isnt it easier to admit that your faith has no basis -- hence, faith.
It would be extricate [sic] yourself from intellectual dishonesty -- and
from bearing false witness.
Sincerely, Rev. [name withheld] (an ex-Catholic, apostate Christian Natural/Scientific pantheist)
Just wanted to let you folks know that we are consistent readers and truly appreciate
the job you are doing. God bless you all this coming New Year.
(from two prominent creation researchers/writers in Oregon)
Thanks so much for your site! It is brain candy!
(a reader in North Carolina)
I Love your site probably a little too much. I enjoy the commentary
and the links to the original articles.
(a civil engineer in New York)
Ive had your Creation/Evolution Headlines site on my favourites list for
18 months now, and I can truthfully say that its one of the best on the Internet,
and I check in several times a week. The constant stream of new information on
such a variety of science issues should impress anyone, but the rigorous and
humourous way that every thought is taken captive is inspiring. Im pleased
that some Christians, and indeed, some webmasters, are devoting themselves to
producing real content that leaves the reader in a better state than when they found him.
(a community safety manager in England)
I really appreciate the effort that you are making to provide the public with
information about the problems with the General Theory of Evolution. It gives me
ammunition when I discuss evolution in my classroom. I am tired of the evolutionary
dogma. I wish that more people would stand up against such ridiculous beliefs.
(a science teacher in Alabama)
If you choose to hold an opinion that flies in the face of every piece of evidence
collected so far, you cannot be suprised [sic] when people dismiss your views.
(a former Christian software distributor, location not disclosed)
...the Creation Headlines is the best. Visiting your site...
is a standard part of my startup procedures every morning.
(a retired Air Force Chaplain)
I LOVE your site and respect the time and work you put into it. I read
the latest just about EVERY night before bed and send selection[s] out to others and
tell others about it. I thank you very much and keep up the good work (and
(a USF grad in biology)
Answering your invitation for thoughts on your site is not difficult because
of the excellent commentary I find. Because of the breadth and depth of erudition
apparent in the commentaries, I hope Im not being presumptuous in suspecting
the existence of contributions from a Truth Underground comprised of
dissident college faculty, teachers, scientists, and engineers. If thats
not the case, then it is surely a potential only waiting to be realized. Regardless,
I remain in awe of the care taken in decomposing the evolutionary cant that bombards
us from the specialist as well as popular press.
(a mathematician/physicist in Arizona)
Im from Quebec, Canada. I have studied in pure sciences and after in actuarial mathematics.
Im visiting this site 3-4 times in a week. Im learning a lot and this site gives me the opportunity to realize that this is a good time to be a creationist!
(a French Canadian reader)
I LOVE your Creation Safari site, and the Baloney Detector material.
(a reader in the Air Force)
You have a unique position in the Origins community.
Congratulations on the best current affairs news source on the origins net.
You may be able to write fast but your logic is fun to work through.
(a pediatrician in California)
Visit your site almost daily and find it very informative, educational and inspiring.
(a reader in western Canada)
I wish to thank you for the information you extend every day on your site.
It is truly a blessing!
(a reader in North Carolina)
I really appreciate your efforts in posting to this website. I find
it an incredibly useful way to keep up with recent research (I also check science
news daily) and also to research particular topics.
(an IT consultant from Brisbane, Australia)
I would just like to say very good job with the work done here,
very comprehensive. I check your site every day. Its great
to see real science directly on the front lines, toe to toe with the
pseudoscience that's mindlessly spewed from the prestigious
(a biology student in Illinois)
Ive been checking in for a long time but thought Id leave you a
note, this time. Your writing on these complex topics is insightful,
informative with just the right amount of humor. I appreciate the hard
work that goes into monitoring the research from so many sources and then
writing intelligently about them.
(an investment banker in California)
Keep up the great work. You are giving a whole army of Christians
plenty of ammunition to come out of the closet (everyone else has).
Most of us are not scientists, but most of the people we talk to are not
scientists either, just ordinary people who have been fed baloney
for years and years.
(a reader in Arizona)
Keep up the outstanding work!
You guys really ARE making a difference!
(a reader in Texas)
I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say that science is not
hostile towards religion. It is the dogmatically religious that are
unwaveringly hostile towards any kind of science which threatens their
dearly-held precepts. Science (real, open-minded science) is not
interested in theological navel-gazing.
Note: Please supply your name and location when writing in. Anonymous attacks
only make one look foolish and cowardly, and will not normally be printed.
This one was shown to display a bad example.
I appreciate reading your site every day. It is a great way to keep
up on not just the new research being done, but to also keep abreast of the
evolving debate about evolution (Pun intended).... I find it an incredibly useful
way to keep up with recent research (I also check science news daily) and also
to research particular topics.
(an IT consultant in Brisbane, Australia)
I love your website.
(a student at a state university who used CEH when
writing for the campus newsletter)
....when you claim great uncertainty for issues that are fairly
well resolved you damage your already questionable credibility.
Im sure your audience loves your ranting, but if you know as much
about biochemistry, geology, astronomy, and the other fields you
skewer, as you do about ornithology, you are spreading heat, not
(a professor of ornithology at a state university, responding to
the 09/10/2002 headline)
I wanted to let you know I appreciate your headline news style of
exposing the follies of evolutionism.... Your style gives us constant,
up-to-date reminders that over and over again, the Bible creation account
is vindicated and the evolutionary fables are refuted.
(a reader, location unknown)
You have a knack of extracting the gist of a technical paper,
and digesting it into understandable terms.
(a nuclear physicist from Lawrence Livermore Labs who worked
on the Manhattan Project)
After spending MORE time than I really had available going thru
your MANY references I want to let you know how much I appreciate
the effort you have put forth.
The information is properly documented, and coming from
recognized scientific sources is doubly valuable. Your
explanatory comments and sidebar quotations also add GREATLY
to your overall effectiveness as they 1) provide an immediate
interpretive starting point and 2) maintaining the readers
(a reader in Michigan)
I am a huge fan of the site, and check daily for updates.
(reader location and occupation unknown)
I just wanted to take a minute to personally thank-you and let
you know that you guys are providing an invaluable service!
We check your Web site weekly (if not daily) to make sure we have
the latest information in the creation/evolution controversy.
Please know that your diligence and perseverance to teach the
Truth have not gone unnoticed. Keep up the great work!
(a PhD scientist involved in origins research)
You've got a very useful and informative Web site going.
The many readers who visit your site regularly realize that it
requires considerable effort to maintain the quality level and
to keep the reviews current.... I hope you can continue your
excellent Web pages. I have recommended them highly to others.
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)
As an apprentice apologist, I can always find an article
that will spark a spirited debate. Keep em
coming! The Truth will prevail.
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)
Thanks for your web page and work. I try to drop by
at least once a week and read what you have. Im a
Christian that is interested in science (Im a mechanical
engineer) and I find you topics interesting and helpful.
I enjoy your lessons and insights on Baloney Detection.
(a year later):
I read your site 2 to 3 times a week; which Ive probably done for a couple
of years. I enjoy it for the interesting content, the logical arguments, what I can
learn about biology/science, and your pointed commentary.
(a production designer in Kentucky)
I look up CREV headlines every day. It is a wonderful
source of information and encouragement to me.... Your gift of
discerning the fallacies in evolutionists interpretation of
scientific evidence is very helpful and educational for me.
Please keep it up. Your website is the best I know of.
(a Presbyterian minister in New South Wales, Australia)
Ive written to you before, but just wanted to say again
how much I appreciate your site and all the work you put into it.
I check it almost every day and often share the contents
(and web address) with lists on which I participate.
I dont know how you do all that you do, but I am grateful
for your energy and knowledge.
(a prominent creationist author)
I am new to your site, but I love it! Thanks for updating
it with such cool information.
(a home schooler)
I love your site.... Visit every day hoping for another of your
brilliant demolitions of the foolish just-so stories of those
who think themselves wise.
(a reader from Southern California)
I visit your site daily for the latest news from science journals and other media,
and enjoy your commentary immensely. I consider your web site to be the
most valuable, timely and relevant creation-oriented site on the internet.
(a reader from Ontario, Canada)
Keep up the good work! I thoroughly enjoy your site.
(a reader in Texas)
Thanks for keeping this fantastic web site going. It is very
informative and up-to-date with current news including incisive
(a reader in North Carolina)
Great site! For all the Baloney Detector is impressive and a
great tool in debunking wishful thinking theories.
(a reader in the Netherlands)
Just wanted to let you know, your work is having quite an impact.
For example, major postings on your site are being circulated among the
Intelligent Design members....
(a PhD organic chemist)
opening a can of worms ... I love to click all the related links and
read your comments and the links to other websites, but this usually makes me late
for something else. But its ALWAYS well worth it!!
(a leader of a creation group)
I am a regular visitor to your website ... I am impressed
by the range of scientific disciplines your articles address.
I appreciate your insightful dissection of the often unwarranted conclusions
evolutionists infer from the data... Being a medical
doctor, I particularly relish the technical detail you frequently include in
the discussion living systems and processes. Your website continually
reinforces my conviction that if an unbiased observer seeks a reason for the
existence of life then Intelligent Design will be the unavoidable
(a medical doctor)
A church member asked me what I thought was the best creation web site.
I told him CreationSafaris.com.
(a PhD geologist)
I love your site... I check it every day for interesting
information. It was hard at first to believe in Genesis fully, but
now I feel more confident about the mistakes of humankind and that all
their reasoning amounts to nothing in light of a living God.
(a college grad)
Thank you so much for the interesting science links and comments
on your creation evolution headlines page ... it is very
(a reader from Scottsdale, AZ)
visit your site almost every day, and really enjoy it. Great job!!!
(I also recommend it to many, many students.)
(an educational consultant)
I like what I seevery
much. I really appreciate a decent, calm and scholarly approach to the
whole issue... Thanks ... for this fabulous
It is refreshing to read your comments. You have a knack to get to the heart of
(a reader in the Air Force).
Love your website. It has well thought out structure and will help many
through these complex issues. I especially love the
I believe this is one of the best sites on the Internet.
I really like your side-bar of truisms.
Yogi [Berra] is absolutely correct. If I were a man of wealth, I would
support you financially.
(a registered nurse in Alabama, who found
us on TruthCast.com.)
WOW. Unbelievable.... My question is, do you sleep? ... Im utterly
impressed by your page which represents untold amounts of time and energy
as well as your faith.
(a mountain man in Alaska).
wanted to say that I recently ran across your web site featuring science
headlines and your commentary and find it to be A++++, superb, a 10, a homerun
I run out of superlatives to describe it! ... You can be sure I will
visit your site often daily when possible to gain the latest information
to use in my speaking engagements. Ill also do my part to help publicize
your site among college students. Keep up the good work. Your
material is appreciated and used.
(a college campus minister)
Featured Creation Scientist for February
1827 - 1912
Imagine making a discovery so important that a whole branch of science dates its
calendar by it. That is what happened with our scientist of the month:
Joseph Listers discovery of antisepsis has led some to divide the history
of medicine into the eras before Lister and after Lister.
His work did more to save lives in the hospital than any other in history.
Surprisingly, it took nearly a generation for his discovery to become accepted.
He faced strong opposition from doctors and surgeons who didnt believe him and
werent about to change their ways. In the end, however, because of
Listers perseverance in teaching what he knew was right, and from the dramatic
success of those who followed his procedures, his ideas finally took hold, and
at his death, he was a world-wide hero.
Born in a devout Quaker household, young Joseph learned about science at an early
age. His father, Joseph Jackson Lister, a renowned amateur scientist himself,
found a solution to the problem of chromatic aberration in microscope lenses.
This discovery brought a major improvement to microscopy which had been around
since Leeuwenhoek first made crude hand-held
devices in the late 17th century. Leeuwenhoek had been the first to discover
bacteria under the microscope. Astonishingly, it took two centuries for doctors
and scientists to make a connection between the tiny creatures and disease.
Joseph Jr. quickly became an expert at the microscope. He studied at
University College, London because Quakers and non-conformists were not allowed
in Cambridge or Oxford. By 1850, at age 23, he was a doctor, with degrees
in medicine and surgery. Three years later, he became the assistant of the
great medical teacher Professor James Syme at Edinburgh, Scotland. Syme
was very impressed and desired to groom Joseph to become his successor.
The relationship was strengthened when Joseph became attracted to his daughter
Agnes; the two married in 1856. Lister joined his wife in the Anglican
church. Agnes took great interest in all of Listers
work. On their three-month honeymoon touring the continent, what did they
do but visit all the major hospitals of France and Germany! Though she
bore no children, Agnes remained his most loyal and dedicated companion.
She helped with Josephs home laboratory. She ran experiments, kept
records and provided ample love and encouragement.
A visit to a hospital operating room in the mid-19th century was almost a death sentence.
Disease and infection were so rampant, chances of survival were slim. Hospitals
were dark, stinking places filled with the screams of patients. The great
killer was infection. No one knew what caused it. Bacteria were known,
but were dismissed as passive microbes with no effect. Most surgeons suspected
oxidation to be the culprit. They would hurry through their surgeries in hopes
of keeping exposure to the air to a minimum. In hindsight, it is shocking to
consider how unsanitary the conditions were. Surgeons would use the same blood-stained
apron in surgery after surgery, and only washed their hands afterwards. If a surgeon
dropped a scalpel on the floor, or on his dirty boot, he would just pick it up and continue
operating. Its no wonder that death rates for amputations ranged from 24% in America to
80% in Germany. A compound fracture or amputation of one finger could often result
in 50-50 odds of dying.
Progress in sanitation was slow. Florence Nightingale found that cleanliness,
fresh air and large, ventilated rooms aided survival, but the reasons were unclear. Ignaz Semmelweis
promoted hand-washing in 1847 another piece of advice that was soundly rejected
by surgeons for a long time. As with most surgeons, Joseph Lister grieved over
the high death rate of patients. What could be done? Listers
familiarity with the microscope, and his respect for the scientific method learned
in his youth, combined with his Christian compassion and humility, set him up for a
great turning point. Louis Pasteur believed that fortune favors the
prepared mind. Lister was about to illustrate this proverb.
One day around 1865 a colleague, a chemist, related to Lister how he had started catching up on
his reading. He had found a ten-year-old paper by a relatively unknown French chemist
(Louis Pasteur) that sounded interesting.
Pasteur had found that rod-shaped bacteria caused fermentation in wine.
He found that by heating the wine enough to kill the bacteria but not the yeast
(a process that became known as pasteurization), wine could be kept from spoiling
for long periods. Lister soon suspected that bacteria might be the cause of
infection. He studied wounds with his microscopes, and sure enough, found
rod-shaped bacteria (bacilli) present. What to do? He couldnt heat
his patients! But then he heard another report how sewers in France had been making
the cows sick, but when the townspeople sprayed the sewage pits with carbolic acid,
the smell was reduced and the cows remained healthy. That was it!
He would try carbolic acid as a way to fight infection.
Soon he had a patient, a young man with a minor compound fracture. Lister used a
sprayer he had invented to spray dilute solutions of carbolic acid on the wound
and dressings. The results were dramatic. No infection set in, and the
young man recovered completely. Encouraged by his results, Lister devised a
set of procedures for spraying the wound, the surgical instruments and the
operating room with carbolic acid. He would apply dressings with carbolic
acid and replace them regularly. As he kept records, the death rate plummeted.
Lister knew he had made a life-saving discovery and was motivated to spread the word.
He published two major papers, in 1867 and 1870, that demonstrated the life-saving
properties of what he named antisepsis.
One would think the world would be waiting for such news. The exact opposite
happened. The medical community scoffed at Listers wild ideas. They did not
believe him that bacteria caused infection. His elaborate rituals with carbolic acid
were way out of the norm too radical, too inconvenient, too crazy.
For one thing, the stuff smelled awful, it made the surgeons hands
look like red meat, and took too much time to go through all the procedures
for something that, to them, made no sense.
Lister persisted. For years, no amount of teaching and demonstrating
his techniques could overcome the professional inertia of the proud surgical community.
from the continent, and younger students, were more accepting, but those in London
and around the British Isles treated Listers doctrine with contempt.
In America it was even worse. Debates raged about the new procedure; few
believed it. Lister kept on with the fervor of an evangelist.
Only after the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), with its thousands of deaths from
amputations, did French and German doctors flock to Listers lecture hall.
So few of his own fellow Englishman attended, the college translated the no smoking
signs into French and German. His new converts took the practice of antisepsis
to the continent. As could be expected, survival rates skyrocketed.
The success of Listers techniques could no longer be avoided once Robert
Koch experimentally proved a connection between bacteria and disease in 1882.
Even so, most of the older doctors had to die off before a new generation rose to
accept and use the new practices.
Some converts to Listers antisepsis theory, particularly in Germany,
advanced the methods of fighting infection.
Inventive scientists found other disease-fighting chemicals. In 1879, an enterprizing
inventor named his germ-fighting solution Listerine in Listers honor. And
if anti-sepsis (fighting disease germs) was good, why not a-sepsis (preventing germs)
in the first place? New aseptic techniques were tried: sterilizing everything,
wearing clean garments, washing hands. By the late
1980s and into the 1990s it became routine to enter the operating room with sterilized
clothing and instruments. Rigorous hand-washing was performed before contact with
the patient. Surgical gloves and steam sterilization were invented.
Cleanliness in medicine was very practically next to godliness. As for Lister,
he cared not who got the credit, or whether doctors preferred antisepsis or
asepsis he was just glad that thousands of lives were now being saved.
Thanks to the germ theory of disease and the practices advanced by Joseph Lister,
the dirty operating rooms of centuries past
were replaced with the bastions of cleanliness we know today.
Lister became one of the most beloved scientists and doctors in history. He
was knighted by the queen. He was elected President of the Royal Society.
A food-borne pathogen Listeria was named after him. His 80th
birthday in 1907 was celebrated around the world. Some wanted him to be buried
in Westminster Abbey, but Lister refused the honor. Upon his death at age
84, he was interred next to his beloved wife Agnes who had preceded him in death by
Joseph Lister was a tall, handsome, unpretentious man loved by all his patients and
colleagues. He cared for people and treated all his fellows with respect and
congeniality. He loved the truth and contended for it with perseverance despite
opposition. These virtues were the products of his beliefs.
A fervent Christian all his life, he confessed, I am a believer
in the fundamental doctrines of Christianity.
Let no modernist say, therefore, that Christian fundamentalism is a hindrance to good science.
Millions are living and science is thriving due to the faith in action of a great
scientist and compassionate doctor who, it can rightly be said, ushered in the age
of modern surgery after Lister.
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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