Creation-Evolution Headlines
April 2008
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“Now, a few scientists are questioning Darwinism on many fronts.  I wonder how long Darwinism’s life span will be.  Marxism, another theory which, in true Victorian style, sought to explain everything, is dead everywhere but on university campuses and in the minds of psychotic dictators.  Maybe Darwinism will be different.  Maybe it will last.  But it’s difficult to believe it will.  Theories that presume to explain everything without much evidence rarely do.  Theories that outlive their era of conception and cannot be verified rarely last unless they are faith based.  And Darwinism has been such a painful, bloody chapter in the history of ideologies, maybe we would be better off without it as a dominant force.”
—Ben Stein, protagonist in the documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed opening in theaters April 18.  From an article on NewsBlaze
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Veggie Tales of Human Evolution   04/30/2008    
April 30, 2008 — Evolutionists may not know who our human ancestors were, but they know they were vegans.  That seems to be the essence of a couple of new twists on the human evolution saga.

  1. Pear-shaped tonesParanthropus has been called the “Nutcracker Man” because of robust teeth assumed strong enough to munch on nuts and seeds.  Enter the Sugar-Plum Fairy into this Nutcracker Suite.  Science Daily reported it more likely that this “ancient hominin” (roughly a homonym for hominid) ate fruit.  Researchers at University of Arkansas examined microscopic scratches on the teeth and deduced that Paranthropus wasn’t eating nuts, even if he had the jaws and skull for them.  Instead, it appeared he had been dining on a kind of tutti-fruity jell-o.  The article is accompanied by an artist’s conception of the furry father figure sucking on a big juicy fruit.
        Gorillas, for instance, have the equipment for chewing tough leaves, but will take fruit every time if given the choice.  “The morphology suggests what P. boisei could eat, but not necessarily what it did eat,” said the lead researcher.  He explained why this change in thinking is more than a fad diet:
    These findings totally run counter to what people have been saying for the last half a century,” said Peter Ungar, professor of anthropology in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.  “We have to sit back and re-evaluate what we once thought.”....
       This finding represents a fundamental shift in the way researchers look at the diets of these hominins.
        “This challenges the fundamental assumptions of why such specializations occur in nature,”Ungar said.  “It shows that animals can develop an extreme degree of specialization without the specialized object becoming a preferred resource.
    This is indeed worrisome.  What will scientists in 2058 be overthrowing that today’s scientists will claim for the next 50 years?  Even then, who should re-evaluate the re-evaluators?
  2. Cave Cookout:  What’s more iconic than brutish cavemen and cave-women barbecuing mammoth meat over a campfire?  Better add the salad bar.  National Geographic News now says that Neanderthals ate vegetables.  The truth is in the tooth, they say.  “It seems logical to me that they took advantage of any food sources they had available in their environments, which would vary from place to place and from time to time.”  An Iraqi Neanderthal apparently liked plant food, according to its discoverers.  The claim needs a disclaimer:
    Henry cautions that Shanidar III is only one fossil and does not provide enough evidence to make conclusive statements about the entirety of the Neandertal diet.
        “The finding suggests that characterizing Neanderthals as obligate meat-eaters may be wrong, but there is still a lot more work to be done on this issue,” Henry said.
    In spite of the disclaimers, the researchers claimed that by employing various methods they could get “a much more realistic picture of paleodiets.”
What the Public Is Told
Fundamental assumptions may continue to be overthrown, but the parade of human evolution displayed for the public marches on.  A press release described a new exhibit on human evolution by the University of Pennsylvania that offers “thought-provoking and insightful” experiences at viewing humans in the broad context of mammals.  Janet Monge and Alan Mann wrote of Darwin’s theory,
This powerful theory, which appears in the news virtually every week because of the controversy surrounding it, has vast implications that affect every aspect of our lives.  As the explanatory tool of all the related fields in the biological sciences, nothing makes sense except in the light of evolutionary process.  Our new exhibit makes this point during Penn’s Year of Evolution, which celebrates Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday.
If a controversy surrounds a theory 149 years old, there must be at least a few smart people who have reasons to doubt it.  One might think those controversial issues deserve be aired and addressed.  What are those controversies?  The article didn’t say.  It simply consigned all doubters to an emotional, full-immersion, multi-media re-education camp:
The genesis of the idea came from Alan Mann’s realization that students seemed to understand the broad impact of evolutionary process if they could witness it for themselves in their own bodies and minds.  In order to evoke this response in the context of the exhibit, we challenge visitors to try to understand and define what it means to be human—to revel in the experience of humanness.  We ask them to witness the evolutionary process and to contextualize the human experience.  This part of the exhibit is peppered with over 200 touchable casts of both modern and extinct mammals and primates, including many of our human ancestors, our chimp relatives, and even comparisons to horses and whales.
    Visitors are now ready to see evolutionary history in their own bodies.
A skeptic not yet immersed in the revelry might ask whether casts of extinct and living animals necessarily demonstrate an ancestral relationship.  In addition, calling certain casts human ancestors and chimp relatives seems to beg the question that Darwin’s theory is the only or best explanation for the observations.  The parade continues without a misstep.
    What evidence does the museum show forth during the controlled experience to support the broad view that humans emerged from other mammals by an undirected process of mutation and natural selection?  Some listed were: “bad backs, difficult childbirths, teeth that do not fit in our jaws, as well as many other maladies that are best understood from an evolutionary perspective.
    In other words, the authors appealed to dysteleology (bad design) – a theological issue – the assumption being that no God would design such maladies.  But if evolution is so good at adapting animals to their environments, as in whales and horses, the same charge could be leveled at the evolutionary process.  Why would not every stage of every missing link be perfectly adapted to its niche for its time?  Why would bad backs and insufficiently-sized birth canals persist for 100,000 years?  The authors did not ask such questions.  They did, however, make it clear that the “understanding of evolution” requires purposelessness: “it is not progress and it is not predictable.”
    A corollary of the undirected nature of evolution is that it is not progressive and it is not complete.  This brings us back to the diet question: ““What implications do changing patterns in diet have on human health and disease?  How will human-based environmental change influence human biology and culture in the future?”  Evolution is not just about the past.  It’s what was, what is, and what will be.
    The goals of this exhibit are much more expansive than the hall in which it is housed. 
If the exhibit succeeds, our visitors will leave knowing that humans are part of the natural world—one species among the many mammals and primates all descended from a common ancestor—and that we are the product of the process of evolution, which has made us functional through a series of compromises, but not perfect, as can be seen in certain human ailments that may be the consequence of our evolution.  Our visitors will appreciate the many ways in which our evolutionary past defines our bodies, our minds, our culture, and our destiny.  They will understand that human societies and cultures have developed in different ways in response to specific environments around the world, but also in similar ways in response to the same basic human needs.  They will have seen that scientists are constantly searching for, finding, and interpreting evidence of the evolutionary process, and they will begin to imagine the impact of future medical and biological developments on human evolution as they join us in exploring our shared history and potential future as human animals.
A major theme of the museum, stated and restated, emphasizes evolution’s practical relevance: “The evolutionary process and its outcomes have a profound impact on every aspect of our daily lives.”  The Answers in Genesis Creation Museum might agree, but with completely different assumptions, definitions, aims and conclusions.
The block quote above won Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week because it begs numerous questions and is self-refuting.  Experienced readers will know why.  Just look at all the values words: aims, succeeds, knowing, compromises, perfect, appreciate, searching for, finding, interpreting evidence as if an evolved monkey brain even has access to reality, let alone any hope of knowing anything.  The aims of this exhibit exceed the capabilities of an evolved cerebrum.  Why have aims, anyway, if evolution is aimless?
    Notice that the first two stories indicated major revolutions in the storytelling plot.  Mixed in with those were doubts about the ability of science in 2008 to say anything definitive about past behaviors.  As for the ailments our cave ancestors supposedly passed on to us, these have all been answered with creationary responses (e.g., Creation Magazine and Technical Journal) – as if that were even necessary.  It would be gratuitous to respond to any self-refuting proposition.
    We hope the bottom line message of Year of Evolution was not lost on pastors, churchgoers, students, parents and thinking citizens.  They told you themselves that this controversial issue of human origins is not just about science, fossils and bad backs.  It has “a profound impact on every aspect of our daily lives.”  If our “potential future as human animals” is anything like that being explored today (see next entry), with no moral compass, no values and no direction, be afraid – be very afraid. 
Next headline on:  Early ManFossilsDumb IdeasDarwinismEducationPolitics and Ethics
Darwinian Ethics Launch Unexplored Blessings or Curses   04/30/2008    
April 30, 2008 — For a theory ostensibly restricted to biology, evolution sure has a lot of supporters interested in politics and ethics.  Look at what leading Darwinists are promoting.  Some of them are rushing headlong where angels fear to tread.  Where they will end up is anyone’s guess.  Their potential for changing life, culture, religion, education – even what it means to be human – will impact every man, woman and child.
  1. Imaginary religion:  Those who saw Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed will remember Dawkins, Wilson, Myers and other Darwinians equating religion to fantasy.  A particularly acute recent example can be found in New Scientist.  Maurice Bloch of the London School of Economics ascribed religion to a “figment of the human imagination.” Why are humans the only animals who practice religion?  “because they’re the only creatures to have evolved imagination.”  Bloch did not explain how intangible realities emerge from physical ones.  By what criteria could one judge whether Bloch actually knew his proposition to be true, or was merely imagining it?
  2. Having an affair with evolutionary ethics:  A pre-conference press release from University of Wisconsin - Madison about a bioethics forum held April 17-18 expected it to be “an evolutionary affair.”  The line-up included a who’s who of Darwinism promoters: Sean B. Carroll, Eugenie Scott, Ronald Numbers, and John Haught.  The press release felt it necessary to shout down any hecklers:
    Evolution, the process of change over time in the heritable characteristics or traits of a population of organisms, is a bedrock theory of modern biology.  In recent years, it has become socially controversial, as proponents of creationism and intelligent design have argued the theory does not adequately explain the complexity of life.  Efforts to integrate alternative theories of life into school curricula have generated much public debate and legal wrangling.
    The conference promised “accurate scientific information and discussion of related social and ethical issues” and the “implications of our work in the life sciences.”
  3. Follow the money:  Erika Check Hayden reported in Nature1 on happenings at California’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the embryonic-stem-cell research organization swimming in money from taxpayer’s $3 billion dole in a 2005 ballot initiative.  Recipients are almost giddy with disbelief at the windfall.  One scientist described like feeling in “la-la land” when it dawned on him that it was not $3 million, which seemed like a lot, but $3 billion with a “b” on the check.  “If $3 billion seemed like a dream four years ago,” Hayden said, “it is now a reality that is changing not only the way science is done in California, but is resonating across the US biomedical landscape.”
        The article mentioned embryonic stem cells 5 times, but nothing about adult stem cells or the new induced pluripotent stem cells derived from skin.
        Do the universities and labs receiving the money have any clear ethical guidelines to prevent abuse?  Hayden pointed to one episode involving apparent conflict of interest.  “The episode is only one in a series of incidents that have raised questions about the wisdom of putting the institutions that benefit from the CIRM in charge of governing it.”  Do they have any medical successes?  “No clinical trials of treatments derived from embryonic stem cells are yet under way,” and CIRM’s 10-year goal of demonstrating a cure for one disease seems “difficult, if not impossible, to meet.”  California taxpayers have given scientists a huge loan with no payback schedule, no ethical guidelines, and no external audit.  The year 2015 could come and go without a single patient getting relief, long after the voters have forgotten about what they authorized ten years before.
  4. Playing God:  Even the progressive Scotsman newspaper seemed alarmed at experiments being proposed to breed human-animal chimeras.  Dr. Callum MacKellar, from the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, warned that little is stopping rogue scientists from inseminating a chimpanzee with human sperm in an attempt to produce a “humanzee.”  After all, they’ve bred a liger (lion + tiger) zorse (zebra + horse), wholphin (whale + dolphin), lepjag (leopard and jaguar), and zonkey (zebra + donkey).  The attempt of mating a human and an ape may not work, but it is within the range of possibility the offspring could be born alive.  “Dr MacKellar said the resulting creature could raise ethical dilemmas, such as whether it would be treated as human or animal, and what rights it would have.”
        If man is just an animal, what’s to stop the attempt – other than a universally-accepted standard of morality?  The “yuck factor” may not be enough.  Consider the statements of Professor Hugh McLachlan, professor of applied philosophy at Glasgow Caledonian University's School of Law and Applied Sciences.  He couldn’t find an ethical pole star to prevent it.  “If it turns out in the future there was fertilisation between a human animal and a non-human animal, it’s an idea that is troublesome, but in terms of what particular ethical principle is breached it”s not clear to me,” he said.  “I share their squeamishness and unease, but I’m not sure that unease can be expressed in terms of an ethical principle.”
        Moses, of course, expressed a divine injunction against bestiality.  Such antiquated norms were long ago discarded by most secular scientists.  That leaves any strictures as flimsy defenses against human pride and greed.  “It’s unnecessary and ridiculous and no serious scientist would consider such a thing,” said Professor Bob Millar, director of the Medical Research Council Human Reproductive Sciences Unit.  “Ethically, it’s not appropriate.”  Says who?  Reporter Jennifer Hawthorne had opened by asking, “Half man, half chimp – should we beware the apeman’s coming?” The article left it as an open – if ominous – question.

1.  Erika Check Hayden, “Stem cells: The 3-billion-dollar question,” Nature 30 April 2008 | Nature | doi:10.1038/453018a.
An inextinguishable human conscience, a prideful, selfish heart that has abandoned its Creator, no moral compass – the world is poised for evil like it has never seen, carrying the whimpering consciences of a few along on a wild ride into the darkness, who knows where. 
Next headline on:  DarwinismPolitics and EthicsBible and Theology
  How tall can a tree grow?  Good science in action, from 04/22/2004.

Sweet Solutions from Nature   04/29/2008    
April 29, 2008 — Human engineers continue to look at plants and animals for inspiration.  Biomimetics – the imitation of biology for design technology – shows no sign of running out of ideas.

  1. Sweet gas:  A spoonful of sugar in the gas tank?  Science Daily reported on progress in converting plant sugars into clean-burning hydrogen – using biological enzymes.  This could give a new meaning to “power plant.”
  2. Moooove on:  Speaking of enzymes, fuel technicians have isolated an enzyme in a cow’s stomach that shows promise for efficient conversion of plant sugars into ethanol.  Science Daily’s gut reaction to this story was positive: “The fact that we can take a gene that makes an enzyme in the stomach of a cow and put it into a plant cell means that we can convert what was junk before into biofuel,” said one professor of crop and soil science.
  3. See ya sooner, alligator:  Yuck: alligator blood.  What good could come from that?  Infection-fighting drugs, reported National Geographic News.  Scientists are intrigued that alligators live with frequent bloody wounds in bacteria-laden muddy swamps but rarely get infected.  Scientists at Louisiana University found that alligator serum fights more bacteria than human serum.  If we can harness the alligator’s secrets, said one researcher, “we could be on the verge of a major advance in medical science.”
  4. Drag queen:  The dragline silk of spiders continues to be a holy grail for materials scientists.  A German physics team reported in PNAS some initial success in getting the proteins to assemble into fibers.1  To do it, they squeezed the proteins through tiny orifices similar to the spinnerets on a spider’s abdomen.  The BBC News published a report about it.  Spiderman, here we come.

1.  Rammensee, Slotta, Scheibel and Bausch, “Assembly mechanism of recombinant spider silk proteins,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, published online on April 29, 2008, 10.1073/pnas.0709246105.
In the alligator story, National Geographic noted that alligators have “innate” immune systems while humans have “adaptive” immune systems.  “Although innate immunity is often considered primitive, there is nothing primitive about its effectiveness, [Adam] Britton [biologist, northern Australia] said.”  Britton called the antimicrobial peptides in alligator serum “extremely effective agents” against bacteria.  Remember that the first extremely effective antibiotics were also found in a “primitive” organism – fungus.  Design follows design, not chaos.  Imitation is the highest form of flattery.
Next headline on:  BiomimeticsPlantsTerrestrial Zoology
Orchids: Epitome of Plant Evolution   04/28/2008    
April 28, 2008 — “Orchids might be considered the epitome of plant evolution,” said David Roberts [Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew] and Kingsley Dixon [Kings Park and Botanic Garden, Australia] in a primer on orchids in Current Biology.1  Yet some of the facts they shared about these amazingly diverse and well-adapted plants are puzzling for evolutionary theory.
    First, the superlatives.  “The Orchidaceae comprise over 850 genera and 25,000 species, representing about 10% of the world’s flowering plants and the largest family in species number.”  Darwin, who delighted in the study of orchids and wrote a book on them in 1862, estimated that the entire globe could be carpeted with orchids in three generations if all their offspring lived.  Orchids produce multitudes of tiny seeds that can drift long distances.  Their habitats are extremely varied.  Some survive in deserts, many in the tropics, and some without soil (epiphytes).  Some no longer photosynthesize, relying on their hosts for nutrients.  One species even lives its entire life underground.
    Orchids maintain remarkable symbioses with pollinators.  Some reward their pollinators with nectar; but, like fisherman, a third of species “deceive” pollinators with lures but no reward.  The article shows a picture of one species that has a structure on its flower that looks like the female of a wasp.  When the male lands on it, a trigger flips him onto his back, dusting the flower’s pistil with the pollen he has collected.  Orchids also have complex dependencies on fungi and on other plants.  The diversity of sizes, shapes, lifestyles and relationships among this group of plants is remarkable.
    Since the diversity in this plant group affords many opportunities to study evolution, one might think a great deal is known about it.  Roberts and Dixon mentioned some difficulties, however:
  • Missing branch on the family tree:  “The relationship of the Orchidaceae to other monocotyledons is poorly resolved,” they said.  Monocots are one of the major groups of flowering plants.
  • The plant without a country:  “Equally confused is the geographical origin of the family.”
  • Fossily paucity:  “To date the only unequivocal orchid fossil that has been found is the recently described orchid pollinia on the back of a bee trapped in amber,” said to be 76-84 million years old – but that may be dated assumptions about when bees evolved.
  • The unfit:  “Orchids might be considered the epitome of plant evolution,” they said, “but sadly they are among the most threatened of all flowering plants” – a puzzling predicament for organisms that one would think possess the epitome of fitness.
  • Profusion of confusion:  The authors said that “Numerous hypotheses have been put forward to explain why orchids should have such high levels of deception.”  This suggests that Darwinian theory provides no easy explanation of this phenomenon.
In short, “While much still remains to be learnt within orchid biology, there is now a mass of literature on their pollination biology and phylogenetic relationship,” they ended.  This volume of literature does not necessarily track with evolutionary explanatory power: “However, much of this has been the description of patterns; what is now needed are studies into the processes that drive diversification in this most remarkable of flowering plant families.”  Sounds like what is needed is work on the “origin of species,” if you’ll pardon Darwin’s expression (that is, his facial one).
1.  David L. Roberts and Kingsley W. Dixon, “Primer: Orchids,” Current Biology, Volume 18, Issue 8, 22 April 2008, pages R325-R329, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2008.02.026.
Much of the variation among these remarkably diverse and complex plants fits with horizontal diversification – i.e., segregation of existing information among populations that become more specialized.  Some of the variation is due to loss of function.  The authors did not provide any clear case of new genetic information arising from nowhere.  What Darwin needs to explain is the origin of orchids.  That relationship to other plants, they admitted, is “poorly resolved.”  Equally unresolved is the origin of a new kind of flowering plant.  They are all still orchids.
    Here was a natural testbed for evolutionary theory.  Variation within the kind is not the issue.  Some of the theories behind the observed variations (genetic drift, variable reproductive success, arms races leading to exaggeration of characters, founder events) fit within microevolutionary change.  Darwin himself studied orchids with a passion after writing The Origin, and called the origin of flowering plants an “abominable mystery.”  Here we are 146 years later with evolutionists still moaning there is “much still remains to be learnt”.  As far as observational science is concernt, Darwin has been spurnt, and the court is now adjournt.
Next headline on:  PlantsEvolutionAmazing Facts
Hobbit Prophecy: Somebody Will Take a Big Fall   04/27/2008    
April 27, 2008 — The men of muddle earth are wondering what to do with their hobbit prisoners.  Elizabeth Culotta wrote in Science about the ongoing debates among paleoanthropologists about how to interpret the diminutive skeletons found in the Liang Bua cave of Flores in Indonesia, affectionately dubbed hobbits.1  After four years of study (10/27/2004, 06/06/2006, 08/21/2006, 10/11/2006), there is still no consensus on whether they were diseased modern humans or some evolutionary side branch of hominids from Africa.
    Paleoanthropologists meeting in Columbus, Ohio earlier this month got their first views of the LB1 skeleton.  William Jungers of State University of New York at Stony Brook claimed the creature had a slow gait, due to abnormalities with its feet.  He believes the hobbit provides a window into the primitive bipedal foot of australopithecines.  For that to be true, Leslie Aiello of New York City countered, it would have had to remain unchanged for a long time.  “How it got there and managed to persist--that’s clearly a challenge to explain.”  Others said there is no evidence for a migration like that.  To invent such a story is clearly a case of “special pleading.”
    In short, no consensus has emerged about these small humans.  “Given the wildly diverging opinions on the hobbit,” Culotta ended, ‘Somebody’s going to take a big fall here.’”  She was quoting paleoanthropologist C. Owen Lovejoy of Kent State University in Ohio.  Maybe the fall will become evident by fall (autumn, that is).  Another research team will be excavating the cave this summer.
1.  Elizabeth Culotta, “When Hobbits (Slowly) Walked the Earth,” Science, 25 April 2008: Vol. 320. no. 5875, pp. 433-435, DOI: 10.1126/science.320.5875.433.
Evolutionists would love to have another case of chimps becoming humans here.  The early hopes have not materialized.  Our prediction: the skeletons will be shown to be human.  Wait and see.  They’ll find a fingernail-sized cell phone or something.
Next headline on:  Early ManFossils
  Bible stories from 2003: City of Gilgamesh found in Iraq (04/30/2003), radiocarbon supports Solomon’s glory (04/12/2003) and Hezekiah’s tunnel (09/10/2003), Iraqi antiquities fall to looters (04/12/2003).

Inferences from Old Protein   04/26/2008    
April 26, 2008 — The dinosaur leg bone with the soft tissue was back in the news.  Back in 2005 (03/24/2005), a femur from a T. rex broke open during transport and was found to contain pliable tissue and blood vessels with apparent red blood cells.  This was a “phenomenon, once thought impossible” for such tissues to have survived for 68 million years.  In 2007, the team of Mary Schweitzer announced the presence of collagen in the dinosaur and in a mastodon bone (04/12/2007).  A short update on the story was printed in Science.1  This paper said nothing about the sensation of finding soft tissue in old fossils.  The focus was almost entirely on evolution.
    The team from North Carolina State, Harvard and other institutions sequenced the collagen from both the dinosaur and the mastodon.  Finding evolution was their goal: “It was clearly the purpose of the research: “We performed phylogenetic analyses to infer the evolutionary relationships” of the dinosaur and mammal.  “Despite missing sequence data,” they said, “the mastodon groups with elephant and the T. rex groups with birds, consistent with predictions based on genetic and morphological data for mastodon and on morphological data for T. rex..”  They concluded that “molecular data from long-extinct organisms may have the potential for resolving relationships at critical areas in the vertebrate evolutionary tree that have, so far, been phylogenetically intractable.
    The original paper only admitted to consistent data, therefore, and also admitted that many evolutionary relationships among vertebrates have been intractable.  But the statement that “The results extend our knowledge of trait evolution within nonavian dinosaurs into the macromolecular level of biological organization” was all the news media needed to promote Darwin.  Live Science trumpeted, “Gunk in T. Rex Fossil Confirms Dino-Bird Lineage.”  Ditto for Science Daily.  For a contrasting view, see what David Tyler wrote on Access Research Network.


1.  Organ, Schweitzer, Zheng, Fremark, Cantley and Asara, “Molecular Phylogenetics of Mastodon and Tyrannosaurus rex,” Science, 25 April 2008: Vol. 320. no. 5875, p. 499, DOI: 10.1126/science.1154284.
We read the fine print, not the bold headlines.  If you don’t mind a wading expedition through muddy jargon, you will no doubt notice how much fudging and guesswork goes into these kinds of analyses:
Bayesian, likelihood, parsimony, and distance methods were used to generate evolutionary trees.  In the Bayesian analysis, the posterior distribution of trees reconstructed all extant groups in generally agreed-upon relationships (the posterior probability of clades ranged from 0.80 to 1.00), with the exception of green anole (A. carolinensis), which is inferred here to lie at the base of amniotes instead of grouping as the sister taxon to alligator and birds (archosaurs) (Fig. 1).  LC/MS/MS from tryptic digests produces fragmentary protein sequence data; however, we found unequivocal support (posterior probability of 1.00) uniting mastodon with elephant as members of Elephantinae, which together group with tenrec (E. telfairi) as members of the mammalian group Afrotheria.  Maximum likelihood produces the same groupings, although with less support (approximate likelihood ratio test; aLRT = 0.855 for Elephantinae and 0.872 for Afrotheria).  Maximum parsimony analysis also groups mastodon, elephant, and tenrec together (fig. S1, B to D).  For the T. rex sample, we used five peptide sequences from collagen {alpha}1(I) and one from collagen {alpha}2(I) for a total of 89 amino acids (Fig. 1).  The T. rex clusters within the Archosauria (posterior probability of 0.92), more closely related to birds (chicken and ostrich, 0.9) than alligator, although a lack of informative sites in the ostrich and T. rex leaves Dinosauria unresolved.  The likelihood tree is identical to the Bayesian tree, except for higher support at these locations in the tree (aLRT = 0.969 for Archosauria and 0.907 for Dinosauria).  Branch lengths (expected rates of change per site) indicate a relatively stable and uniform rate of evolution, lacking evidence for a deviation from a molecular clock.  Maximum parsimony analysis also groups the T. rex with the chicken and ostrich, although bootstrap support is low (fig. S1, B to D).  Neighbor joining groups the T. rex with the birds, but miscalculates the branching order and misplaces alligator, mastodon, and several extant organisms (fig. S1, B to D).
If a group of scientists sets out to find Darwin in the trees, with funding from the NIH, NSF and two private foundations, is it any wonder they find him?  Doubtless the funding might dry up if they came back saying, “Sorry, all we found was intelligent design.”  It may be worthwhile to recall that phylogenetic algorithms are subject to many problems.  Bayesian analysis, for instance, is a garbage-in, garbage-out method that is not without serious epistemological issues (02/05/2004 bullet 4, 10/01/2005).  Using D for Darwin and G for Garbage, we propose three new acronyms in addition to the famous GIGO (garbage in, garbage out):
  • DIDO: Evolutionary reasoning, from assumption to conclusion.
  • GIDO: The belief that Darwin’s mind arose from chaos.
  • DIGO: How creationists view evolutionary inference.
    It is clear that the team gravitated to the methods that supported their preconceived notions about evolutionary ancestry.  Even the three most concordant results, however, left important relationships unresolved, and placed dinosaurs closer to chickens than to other reptiles (alligators, anole lizards, and perhaps other dinosaurs).  How well does that “confirm” evolution?  Readers may wish to review earlier entries about problems with tree-building algorithms (03/19/2007, 11/26/2002, 06/13/2003, 11/14/2005, 01/26/2008, and 07/25/2002).
        Aside from the fact that even strict creationists would expect to find many similarities in proteins used for similar functions, this paper strained at the gnat of similarity between 89 amino acids in one protein, using it to make sweeping generalizations about evolution, while swallowing the camel of the problem of soft tissue preservation.  When a person tries to hide a camel by swallowing it, however, it is hard for alert bystanders not to notice.
    Next headline on:  FossilsDinosaursMammalsEvolution
  • Complex Ankle Puts Bounce in Your Step   04/25/2008    
    April 25, 2008 — “The ankle is incredibly efficient at working so the amount of energy you burn with the ankle is much lower than what would be predicted with just isolated muscle studies.”  That’s what kinesiologist Daniel Ferris (U of Michigan) said in an article on Science Daily.  His team measured the efficiency of the muscles and tendons of the ankle by designing a prosthetic boot containing a “bionic ankle,” connected to the nervous system with electrodes.
        The Achilles tendon is able to store and release energy at just the right rates for both walking and sprinting.  Scientists have helped amputees with prosthetic devices that can work for one or the other, but only the real ankle is optimized for both.  During walking, the article said, the muscle and tendon act like a catapult to put a spring in your step – delivering about three times the energy that could be stored in an isolated muscle.
    Does anyone see Darwin in this picture?  The article had no use for that hypothesis.  These scientists approached the human foot and ankle as if it were engineered, and advanced science accordingly.  Ferris is in a Department of Biomedical Engineering.  How would one even begin an evolutionary study of the human foot?  How many lucky mutations would it take to get this “incredibly efficient” system by accident?  Don’t expect adding a few more millions of years into the mix to help.
        Most of the real footwork in science is done with a presumption of intelligent design.  When mentioned at all, evolution is merely an afterthought in such studies.  The scientists might say something like, “Isn’t it amazing what evolution produced.”  Bosh; this was a design study from start to finish.  Give credit where it is due.  Intelligent Design promises much more productive knowledge and discovery than evolutionary theory ever did.  Junk the just-so stories and let’s race to understand design in nature, because it’s not just apparent; it’s real.
    Next headline on:  Human BodyIntelligent DesignAmazing Facts
    Hubble Snaps Colliding Galaxies   04/24/2008    
    April 24, 2008 — A new catalog of colliding galaxy images has been released by the Hubble Space Science Institute.  The 59 images show “close encounters that sometimes end in grand mergers and overflowing sites of new star birth as the colliding galaxies morph into wondrous new shapes.”  The release coincided with the 18th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope.  Space.com and Science Daily covered the story, as did Jet Propulsion Lab that built the camera used by the Hubble.  To see all the images and their captions, visit the Cosmic Collisions Galore! catalog page.
    The universe as revealed by modern astronomical instruments indicates dynamic processes that appear to have taken long periods of time.  This may be a challenge to Biblical creationists.  What do the images mean?  We should keep in mind several caveats of interpretation.
        As with any piece of scientific evidence, the data are on the surface of the earth in the present.  The photons from these sources are gathered up in real time by telescopes here on the earth.  The human mind projects “realities” out in space based on a combination of facts, assumptions and interpretations.  Just as photons are focused and magnified by a telescope lens, the resultant galaxies we think we understand are “scientific objects” that are filtered through the theoretical lens of what finite humans perceive them to be.
        Recall that, just last week, the Galex telescope revealed arcs of hydrogen far beyond the visible arms of galaxy M83 (04/21/2008).  Those invisible parts, which surprised the discoverers, now become part of the new reification of the term “galaxy.”  There are other invisible parts astronomers speak of, such as dark matter and dark energy.  In addition, astronomers maintain a host of assumptions about the processes that brought these objects into their current form.  The press release speaks of astronomers watching stars being born, when actually, all they are seeing is light in the present.  No man could ever watch the whole process of star birth.  Observations of stars are taken to represent stages in theoretical models.  It becomes difficult to see where observation ends and theory begins.  A feel for how difficult is apparent when one considers that the assumptions and interpretations about which early 20th century astronomers felt confident changed dramatically since Edwin Hubble first wrote his epochal papers on the nature of the spiral nebulae he observed in the 1920s.
    The word galaxy itself reveals the historical character of scientific interpretation.  From the Latin root for milk, galaxy prior to 1923 meant The Milky Way – The Galaxy, which at the time was assumed to constitute the entire universe.  By extension, “galaxies” means “Milky Ways” since after Hubble, astronomers reinterpreted the spiral nebulae to be comparable scientific objects to the Milky Way, but far beyond it.  Some called them “island universes” (a logical contradiction, since there can only be one uni-verse).
    Subsequent revolutions in the interpretation of galaxies – some of them profound – have occurred up to the present day.  What confidence can we have, therefore, that our current conceptualization of these scientific objects is accurate or complete now?
        All this is to caution that a scientific object should be understood, therefore, as a mixture of raw data, assumption and interpretation.  None of the above should cast doubt on the reality of what the Hubble Telescope has revealed.  Creationists as well as evolutionists tend to be scientific realists; they understand our empirical evidence to correspond to objective reality.  Galaxies are real; they have a history.  It is the ability of the human mind to fully grasp and understand them that should be questioned.  If the creation of the universe involved one-time, special circumstances (God “stretched out the heavens” – 04/18/2008 commentary) any attempts to understand them using “natural” laws and processes is doomed.  This would be a good time to re-read the 05/11/2006 entry that addressed the question, “Is our universe natural”?
    Notice that three of the entries in the catalog have Arp numbers.  These were discovered by astronomer Halton Arp, whose story is instructive about consensus science.  Arp was arguably one of the best astronomical observers in the 20th century.   His Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies documented dozens of colliding galaxies, some of which the HST has now revealed in color at higher resolution.  Halton Arp used some cases as evidence that redshifts cannot be reliable indicators of distance.
        Since Arp challenged the Big Bang consensus, he was considered a maverick and was not welcome in some astronomical circles.  He was even denied telescope time to continue his research.  Many historians of science have considered the treatment he got from his peers as a reprehensible abridgement of the scientific values of openness and honest debate.  Some use it as an example of how “normal science” treats anomalies and marginalizes those outside the paradigm.
    All that is preface to some possible interpretations of cosmological history that the creationist can reconcile with a Biblical worldview.  Some of these allow for vast ages to have occurred in the galactic context: e.g., a pre-hexameron creation of the universe (Schroeder, Gray), rapid structure formation with plasma physics and zero-point energy (Setterfield), time dilation due to general relativity (Humphreys), or local “time zone” solutions – i.e., the stars were created on the fourth day “Earth Local Time” (Lisle).  Videos that discuss the last two options can be found at Answers in Genesis.  None of these options is without problems and detractors.  That AIG would promote at least two interpretations such as these, however, is evidence that the strictest young-earth creationists can handle issues of apparent age that come to attention when pondering the Hubble images.
        Any world view, whether secular or religious, will have challenges and problems when looking out at the universe.  The old triumphalist, progressivist vision of science marching onward to Truth must be set aside in this post-Kuhn, post-Quine world.  Let us all view the Hubble catalog of colliding galaxies with fresh awe and rational reflection toward improving our understanding of cosmology (so far as is humanly possible) with integrity, openness and humility.
    Next headline on:  AstronomyCosmologyDating MethodsPhysics
      Darwinist attempts to keep creationism and intelligent design “expelled” have been dictatorial long before Ben Stein’s film.  See, for instance, war stories two years ago from 04/21/2006 and 04/03/2006.  Some students, however, show signs of restlessness even if they get bad marx for it.  Has the pro-literate uprising begun?  See “The Class Struggle” from 04/05/2006.

    Can Hardwired Humans Have Rational Choice?   04/23/2008    
    April 23, 2008 — Two articles recently claimed that we humans are “hardwired” for certain processes. 

    1. FairnessScience Daily reported on work by UCLA psychologists that suggest humans are “hardwired for fairness.”  A sense of contempt arises when games appear rigged unfairly, they found.  The psychologists found a particular region of the brain was activated during this response, but a different region when the subject was uplifted by seeing fair treatment.  The study found “these emotional firings occur in brain structures that are fast and automatic, so it appears that the emotional brain is overruling the more deliberate, rational mind,” the article said.  “Faced with a conflict, the brain’s default position is to demand a fair deal.”
    2. Hierarchy:  Another Science Daily article claimed humans are “hardwired for hierarchy.”  Humans have a pecking order, and the brain responds to changes in social status, scientists at the National Institutes of Health concluded.  Again, the study involved putting subjects into artificial game situations and watching brain firing patterns.  One researcher said, “The processing of hierarchical information seems to be hard-wired, occurring even outside of an explicitly competitive environment, underscoring how important it is for us.”
    Neither study mentioned evolution.  It appeared, however, that the researchers were attempting to reduce human thoughts and behaviors to neural episodes in the physical brain that act autonomously and automatically – i.e., determinism instead of free will.
    There’s no question that human beings, as “rational animals” have numerous mind-body connections.  Fear makes the adrenal glands secrete adrenaline, and we breathe faster and run harder.  Happiness makes us laugh and feel the rush of endorphins.  The sight of food makes us salivate.  We can use our minds to study minds, just like we can use our eyes to study eyes.  There is no way, though, for research like this to argue for determinism over free will.
        To show that determinism cannot be proved by rational means, invert the argument.  Ask a scientist to disprove the thesis that she is hardwired to do science.  When she does science, you can say, certain parts of the brain light up on the screen.  Perhaps her research was predetermined by the social network in which she found herself.  Choosing a science career lit up the attractive impulse of becoming elevated in the pecking order.  Making certain inferences and scientific conclusions produced a pleasurable sensation in her ventral striatum.
        If she agrees thus far, ask her how she could possibly know any of the above to be true, outside her brain’s hardwired propensities.  Sounds like a fair question.
    Next headline on:  Human BodyPolitics and EthicsTheology
    Evolution Revealed?   04/22/2008    
    April 22, 2008 — When the news reports evidence for evolution in the fossils or genes, it sounds like Darwinism has been all but proved, because scientists have observed its effects.  Can these stories withstand deeper scrutiny?
    1. Lungless frogScience Daily reported a frog without lungs in Borneo.  Lunglessness in tetrapods has been reported in salamanders and other amphibians, but this was the first frog found without functioning lungs.  Apparently the frog gets its needed oxygen through its skin.  National Geographic News has a video clip of the unusual frog.
          David Tyler at Access Research Network wrote about the implications for evolution, as did Carl Wieland for Creation Ministries International.
    2. Legged snake:  The BBC News reported a fossil snake possessing two legs.  The 2-cm long limbs, possessing tibia and fibula, were apparently non-functional.  Answers in Genesis commented on the implications for creation vs evolution.  The response included links to their earlier articles from 2006 and 2000 about snake fossils with rudimentary legs.
    3. Tapired eleph-hippoNational Geographic News said that the ancestor to the elephant was like a tapir that lived in the water like a hippopotamus.  The interpretation was based on teeth of a fossil named Moeritherium that they say lived 37 million years ago.  “It seems to have lacked a trunk but may have had a prehensile upper lip,” the article states (again, based on the teeth alone).  The article was accompanied by artwork of a cross between a tapir and a hippo.
          The fossil was found in Egypt in what was interpreted as a swampy area, “But it was difficult for scientists to tell whether the ancient animals had actually lived in such an environment or whether their bodies had washed up there after their deaths.”  One scientist doubted the interpretation.  He thinks Moeritherium was a unique, specialized animal.  He “cautioned against assuming an aquatic ancestry for modern elephants or even suggesting that all early proboscideans were aquatic.”  He questioned the “popular myth” that the elephant evolved a trunk by using its nose like a snorkel (see 11/07/2002).  That would involve a terrestrial mammal evolving into an aquatic animal, then re-adapting to to the terrestrial environment inhabited by modern elephants.
    Charles Darwin expected the fossil record and discoveries of organisms in exotic environments to be filled in with the transitional forms his theory predicted.  Do these latest examples qualify as evidence?  Incidentally, the first draft of Darwin’s Origin of Species just went online, reported the BBC News.  The free Darwin online website (click here for latest additions) includes mountains of his papers, notes and experiments, for those wishing to explore the ideas of the man who “changed our understanding of nature.”
    Many extinct animals are known from fossils.  As far as we can tell, they were well adapted to their particular habitats and were not evolving into something else.  Among living animals, some oddballs are found, like the lungless frog or blind cave fish – but these indicate loss of function, not upward-and-onward evolution.  How justifiable is it to piece them into ancestral trees after the fact?  The sociopolitical and rhetorical aspects of such interpretations cannot be ignored.
        The few fossils evolutionists point to for confirmation of Darwin’s evolutionary tree are either unrelated, degenerative, questionable, subject to alternative explanations, fragmentary, figmentary, dubious, specious, facetious, hoaxious, or noxious examples of the habit of reifying imagination.  Where are the billions of missing links Darwin expected?  Only in the dreams of artists who illustrate high school textbooks.  Charlie didn’t change our understanding of nature; he changed certain gullible disciples’ perception of reality, natural or not.  The many counter-examples and falsifications get underreported in the press.  Evolution revealed?  No; evolution re-veiled.
    Next headline on:  EvolutionFossilsMammalsTerrestrial Zoology
    Chin-Scratchin’ Readings:
  • Jonathan David Carson on Karl Popper and the misuse of falsifiability by the left.
  • Bruce Chapman on media misinformation about the movie Expelled.
  • Fred Reed on circling the paradigm—protecting Darwinism at all cost (funny but logical).

    Findings vs Surmisings in Astronomy   04/21/2008    
    April 21, 2008 — The Galex satellite (Galaxy Evolution Explorer) found “bright features” with an ultraviolet glow in the outskirts of a spiral galaxy, reported the BBC News.  What are they?  Scientists “think” they are large clusters of stars.  How much is known, and how much is interpreted?
        The region imaged is the dark area around spiral galaxy M83 in the constellation Hydra.  Symmetrical arms of glowing hydrogen appear in the periphery of the more familiar central spiral.  If these are starry regions, the discovery is surprising: “The finding has surprised astronomers because the galactic periphery was assumed to lack high concentrations of ingredients needed to form stars.”  Each pixel in the Galex image would have to contain hundreds of thousands of stars.  It is impossible, therefore, for Galex to actually resolve them.  The Galex researchers compared their image with radio telescope data from the Very Large Array in New Mexico.  Did the VLA find the elusive stars?

    Light emitted in the radio portion of the electromagnetic spectrum can be used to locate gaseous hydrogen atoms.  These are seen as a good sign that the molecular form of the gas is also present.  And it is from this molecular gas that stars are born.
        When the astronomers combined the radio and the Galex data, they found that they matched up.
        “Clearly, the basic ingredients for star formation are out in those regions,” said Dr [Mark] Seibert [Carnegie Observatories].
    The radio telescope did not resolve stars, either.  The leap from glowing gas to large clusters of stars was bridged by theory.  From there, another leap into cosmology was made, but this time it was labeled a speculation:
    The astronomers speculate that the young stars seen in far-flung regions of M83 could have formed under conditions resembling those of the early Universe, a time when space was not yet enriched with dust and heavier elements.
        But this process is not well understood.
    Despite the disclaimer, the above paragraph still claimed the stars were “seen” when, in actuality, the radio and UV instruments merely showed the presence of atomic hydrogen gas, from which they assumed molecular gas was present, from which they assumed stars would form, even though regions of this low density were not expected to have stars.
        The Galex satellite is operated by JPL and Caltech.  The original press release is on the Galex home page.
    Maybe there are stars there.  These astronomers did little to ground their interpretations in empirical data.  Not a single star was observed in this gas, yet we are supposed to believe there are hundreds of thousands of them in each pixel?  Are we supposed to respect a pure speculation about the early universe resting on the admission that “this process is not well understood”?  Try that with gnome theory.  “We did not find any gnomes, but we think we found some gas they emit.  We didn’t expect to find that gas in the desert.  It might shed light, however, on how gnomes arose on the early earth, before the land was enriched with toadstools.”
        If a scientist is not sure of something, let him say so or keep his speculations to himself.  Today’s scientists often do a very poor job of discriminating between observation and interpretation.  News reporters shift between them seamlessly and shamelessly.  It is up to the reader, and to sites like this, to sift the shift and lift the fogma.
    Next headline on:  AstronomyCosmology
    Findings vs Surmisings in Evolutionary Biology   04/20/2008    
    April 20, 2008 — What part of the following story is a finding, and what is a supposition?  Science Daily told about work by Julie Baker (Stanford) and a graduate student who set out to discover the evolutionary origin of the mammalian placenta.  They evaluated differences between placentas and eggs of a number of different animals, and told stories about how they came to be – but the article spoke of all the above as “findings.”
        Consider, for instance, the paragraphs right before the statement that refers to them as these findings:
    They found that the placenta develops in two distinct stages.  In the first stage, which runs from the beginning of pregnancy through mid-gestation, the placental cells primarily activate genes that mammals have in common with birds and reptiles.  This suggests that the placenta initially evolved through repurposing genes the early mammals inherited from their immediate ancestors when they arose more than 120 million years ago.
        In the second stage, cells of the mammalian placenta switch to a new wave of species-specific genes.  Mice activate newly evolved mouse genes and humans activate human genes.
        It makes sense that each animal would need a different set of genes, Baker said.  “A pregnant orca has different needs than a mouse and so they had to come up with different hormonal solutions to solve their problems,” she said.  For example, an elephant’s placenta nourishes a single animal for 660 days.  A pregnant mouse gestates an average of 12 offspring for 20 days.  Clearly, those two pregnancies would require very different placentas.
    The shift between descriptions of observable organs in living animals and evolutionary stories about their relationships is seamless.  Clearly Baker never watched one animal’s placenta evolve into another type of placenta.  She also spoke in Lamarckian terms, suggesting that an animal’s need was sufficient to produce the effect.  Yet all the research was labeled as findings.
        Charles Q. Choi on Live Science took the evolution angle further.  He said the placenta is “rather reptilian” in its ancestry, “new research suggests.”  He also used the word findings for suppositions: “These findings suggest the placenta initially evolved when early mammals found new uses for genes they inherited from their reptile-like ancestors.”  Yet he admitted repeatedly that much remains unknown, and had just quoted Baker saying, “The placenta is this amazing, complex structure and it’s unique to mammals, but we’ve had no idea what its evolutionary origins are.”  He himself said in the opening paragraph, “Scientists have no clue, either, at least insofar as evolution is concerned.”  How cluelessness can be called a finding was left unexplained.  Yet in spite of the admitted ignorance, Choi did not hesitate to title his entry, “Gooey origin of human placenta revealed.”
    Baker found living, functional, designed placentas that meet the needs of each animal perfectly.  She did not find evolution.  She did not find anything about evolution.  Instead, she lost something: common sense.
        Evolutionists get away with murder.  They murder rationality in their mythoids but no science reporter takes them to court.  Except here.  Repurposing genes – did you catch that little infraction?
    Next headline on:  EvolutionMammals
      The politics of astrobiology, from 04/17/2006.

    Nature Topples ID Straw Man   04/19/2008    
    April 19, 2008 — It’s easier to knock down a straw man than a strong man.  Maybe that explains the human tendency to fantasize about victory over one’s enemies.  In scientific journals, however, one would expect to deal in facts and to realistically portray adversarial positions.  Even better would be to let the adversary respond.  Nature, however, in its latest issue, did neither.  Matthew Bennett and Jeff Hasty mentioned intelligent design just enough to discredit it.1
        The two scientists from the Department of Bioengineering and Institute for Nonlinear Science at the University of California in San Diego were reviewing an experiment in the same issue where a team of European geneticists “rewired” a genetic network to see what would happen.2  In other words, they made certain proteins interact that normally did not.  Fortunately for the E. coli subjects, they survived, and some even did better under artificial selection pressures.  It suggested “the possibility that organisms can evolve by changing the architecture of their genetic network,” though no new structures, functions or organelles emerged from the experiment.  What does this mean for the idea that cells are intelligently designed?  Bennett and Hasty said,

    This conclusion also flies in the face of the popular misconception among opponents of the evolutionary theory, who believe that the genetic code is irreducibly complex.  For instance, advocates of ‘intelligent design’ compare the genome to modern engineered machines such as integrated circuits and clocks, which will cease to function if their internal design is altered.  Although sometimes it is instructive to point to similarities between the design principles behind modern technology and those behind genetics, the analogy can only go so far.  Engineered devices are generally designed to work just above the point of failure, so that any tampering with their construction will result in catastrophe.  In the event of failure, new clocks can be purchased or central processing units replaced.  But nature does not have that option.  To surviveand so evolve – organisms must be able to tolerate random mutations, deletions and recombination events.  And Isalan and colleagues’ work provides an important step forward in quantifying just how robust the genetic code can be.
    Intelligent design literature does not claim that everything in biology, including the genetic code, is irreducibly complex.  ID scientists already know that mutations occur frequently yet organisms survive.  They claim that the genetic system contains complex specified information that could not have arisen by natural processes.  Irreducible complexity is reserved for molecular machines, like the flagellum, that cease to function when parts are removed.  The genome, everyone knows, survives in spite of mutations because of quality control mechanisms, backups and repair mechanisms that exhibit design.  In fact, they have noted that robustness against mutations is a good strategy that exhibits another level of design above just the information in the genetic code.
    1.  Matthew R. Bennett and Jeff Hasty, “Systems biology: Genome rewired,” Nature 452, 824-825 (17 April 2008) | doi:10.1038/452824a.
    2.  Isalan et al, “Evolvability and hierarchy in rewired bacterial gene networks,” Nature 452, 840-845 (17 April 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06847.
    Why doesn’t Nature ever let ID scientists speak for themselves?  Why do they rarely let an ID scientist respond to a claim made against them? (and when they do, only in highly edited fashion).  These scientists did not see anything evolve.  No new genetic information arose without their interference.  They did some artificial selection experiments under artificial conditions and watched the robust organisms survive.  Did any functional genetic information arise naturally?  No.  Did they show that the mutated organisms would survive better in the wild?  No.  This is not evolution; it is semi-intelligent tinkering with nature.
        Bennett and Hasty hastened to another fallacy: the phrase “to survive – and so evolve” commits a non-sequitur.  You might survive a world war by the skin or your teeth, but you would be exactly the same individual as before, broken bones, scars and all.  Survival is not evolution.  Evolution requires generating novel genetic information that produces new structures, functions, organs and senses – like eyes, wings, sonar, and all the things that mammals have that E. coli did not.
        Next time, Nature, let your adversaries define their own positions.  It’s interesting that critics of ID complain that it is not science because it is not testable – then they go and claim it has been tested and found false.  They can’t have it both ways.
    Next headline on:  Evolutionary TheoryIntelligent DesignGenetics
    Is Inflation Theory in Trouble?   04/18/2008    
    April 18, 2008 — For more than a quarter of a century, “inflation” has been viewed as the savior of the Big Bang theory.  The Big Bang was in trouble in the late 1970s because of the flatness problem and the horizon problem: our universe appeared to be too homogeneous and isotropic to be an accident.  If a runaway inflation occurred within the first second of the expansion, cosmologist Alan Guth calculated, it would even out any differences and produce the nearly-uniform universe we all know and love.  It seemed an elegant, simple solution.
        Many argued in the meantime that inflation was untestable.  Some said it was an ad hoc “rescuing device” to save a theory in trouble.  Nevertheless, Guth and others have claimed that it has passed every test thrown at it (02/21/2005).  Astronomers have pretty much incorporated one of the varieties of inflation into the standard model.  This week in News at Nature, however, a study was reported that doesn’t need cosmic inflation. 
    Could the Big Bang have come not at the beginning of the universe, but after a long, slow period of shrinkage?
        That’s one theory bolstered by a new analysis of the Big Bang’s afterglow, which shows that the early universe did not inflate with the smoothness that many theorists expected.
        “The standard, canonical models will be ruled out if this holds,” says Amit Yadav, an astronomer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  “The simplicity is gone.
    There’s a lot at stake in the result, the article states: “it could also lead to a radical reinterpretation of what the Big Bang was and whether it marked the universe’s beginning.”
        On another campus, a different study is calling inflation into doubt.  According to Science Daily, Lawrence Krauss at Case Western Reserve University failed to find the expected noise pattern in the cosmic background radiation expected from inflation theory.  The article, in passing, questions the testability of inflation:
    Inflation theory arose in the 1980s as a means to explain some features of the universe that had previously baffled astronomers such as why the universe is so close to being flat and why it is so uniform.  Today, inflation remains the best way to theoretically understand many aspects of the early universe, but most of its predictions are sufficiently malleable that consistency with observation cannot be considered unambiguous confirmation.
    The team claims the polarization pattern that had been used by inflationists as confirmation could be produced by a different mechanism.
    If the universe is older and more complex than a recent inflationary Big Bang, other questions arise.  According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the universe cannot be infinitely old.  It would have gone to its heat death infinitely long ago.
        The only solution appears to be a controlled expansion done by intelligent design.  Enter the Bible, that claims a dozen times that God stretched out the heavens.  That fits not only the expansion evidence, but the fine-tuning as well.  Materialists are left totally baffled trying to account for these observations without design.
    Next headline on:  CosmologyIntelligent Design
    Imagination as Science   04/17/2008    
    April 17, 2008 — Can a science exist without evidence?  Astrobiology, and its subcategory “the search for extraterrestrial intelligence,” involve a great deal of scientific equipment, trained researchers, and funding, but still have no observational evidence to support their reason for being: extraterrestrial life.  Where is the line between imagination and reality in these fields?
        Some insight into the answer can be gained by looking at reports about the activities and beliefs of those involved.  At Astrobiology Magazine, a news feature of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute, reporter John D. Ruley spoke about the conclusions of Andrew Watson of the University of East Anglia about alien intelligence.  Watson, who was strongly influenced by James Lovelock and the “Gaia Hypothesis,” has come up with a rather pessimistic model of the evolution of intelligence.  He concludes intelligence will be rare in the universe.  Since we have no examples of intelligence on other planets, how could he present this as a scientific claim?
        Watson employed mathematics.  Since mathematics is ostensibly the language of science, that would seem to lend some scientific credibility to his work.  But if the assumptions behind his numbers are no more credible than the speculations of a teen-ager on spring break, can the result be any more trustworthy?  Watson first assumed the lifetime of likely stars with habitable zones, then assigned probabilities to four major evolutionary transitions:
    Applying the limited lifespan to a stepwise model, Watson finds that approximately four major evolutionary steps were required before an intelligent civilization could develop on Earth.  These steps included the emergence of single celled life about half a billion years after the Earth was formed, multicellular life about a billion and a half years later, specialized cells allowing complex life forms with functional organs a billion years after that, and human language a billion years later still.
        Several of these steps agree with major transitions that have been observed in the archeological [sic] record.
    Each of these assume evolution and its geological timeline.  Moreover, it could be that he omitted many other factors that should have been included in the equation, each with its own speculative probabilities.  When multiplying unknowns together, the error bars multiply accordingly.  The relationships between each factor must also be taken into account, and these are unknown.  The bottom line, therefore, can be so error-prone as to be meaningless.  The article, nonetheless, made it sound like Watson’s conclusions are more scientific because of the use of mathematics:
    The mathematical methods Watson used assume that each evolutionary step is independent of the others, though they must occur in sequence.  Watson considers this “a reasonable first approximation for what is, after all, a very idealized sort of model, deliberately simplified enough that the math can be solved analytically.
    The words solved analytically seem to lend a false credibility to the exercise.  Does a speculation admittedly this simplistic deserve the time of day?  The BBC News science page thought so.  Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute said, however, there is no way to prove it true.  He did think there is a way to prove it false: to “do the experiment” by detecting signals from alien civilizations (i.e., SETI).  But SETI is another “science” with zero evidence.
        Those who write for the Space.com “SETI Thursday” report are courageous, though, in the face of this lack of data.  Douglas Vakoch, Director of Interstellar Message Composition for the SETI Institute was at it again this month (cf. 03/17/2007) preparing civilization for contact with whomever.  “As the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) enters a new phase, with the recent start of observations for radio signals from other worlds with the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array, the international scientific community has begun preparing all the more earnestly for the cascade of events that would follow the detection of an alien civilization.”  But the presence of instruments carries no promise of success.  Compare the Allen Array with a multimillion dollar array of bigfoot detectors, for instance.  It might enjoy great success videotaping squirrels and pine trees, just as the radio telescopes may detect pulsars and gamma-ray bursts.  But unless and until its prime target is detected, its grip on “science” is tenuous at best.
        Vakoch left himself an out:
    But even if we never make contact with another world, the process of preparing for contact may help us become better, more integrated humans.  By reflecting on how we would portray ourselves to other worlds, we also have an opportunity to grow in our own self-understanding.  And part of that increased self-understanding can come about through a recognition of those aspects of ourselves that we would rather not be true, but that are a part of ourselves.
    This sounds strangely like a psychoanalytic session than a science experiment.  Indeed, Vakoch pointed to Carl Jung for inspiration: “Unfortunately, there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be.”  A number of questions get begged here.  Jung, largely discredited as a scientist today, built a whole model of dreams and archetypes after he split with Freud (another discredited scientist).  Be that as it may, how does Vakoch, or Jung, define good, better, or understanding?  With what scientific instruments would they measure these things?  How does Vakoch even know that a “more integrated human” is “better” than a disintegrated one?
        The employment of non-scientific language continued right through the end of the article.  By this time it sounded more like an inspirational desideratum than an entry for a science news website:
    In a sense, the composition of messages to other worlds becomes a process not merely of being in touch with alien worlds beyond, but of unknown worlds within.  And such an exploration into our souls requires as much fortitude as does building and sustaining telescopes that will search the stars for decades and centuries, seeking evidence of life beyond Earth.  As we look within, let’s not forget to look at those parts of ourselves that we would rather look away from.  As Jung reminded us, “no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort.  To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real.  This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.”
    Even Eugenie Scott recognized that the “oughts” and “shoulds” belong to moral philosophy, not science (04/14/2008, bullet 3).  Why should Carl Jung have been given prominence here, instead of Billy Graham?  What qualitative or quantitative difference puts the observation-free speculations of a SETI Institute person into a scientific category different from those of anyone else?  Should a variety of theologians and philosophers get equal time at Space.com’s SETI Thursday pulpit?
    We hope it was apparent that there is no justification for the SETI and Astrobiology folk to call what they do science.  They deserve no more respect than a Raelian.  Their use of mathematics and scientific instruments is an irrelevant distraction: “no evidence” equates to “no science.”
        Progress will be made only when science reporters get the courage to nail the mythmakers with the hard questions they typically ask politicians.  Here are some suggestions: “How can you say that?  How do you know that?  Dr. Vakoch, a lot of critics would argue that your views have no scientific merit, and that you are making up stories out of your own imagination.  How would you respond to them?”  If he gives the typical smug elitist answer that he is doing “science,” not “religion,” keep pounding away.  “Dr. Vakoch, which definition of science are you using?  Do you follow Bacon, Buffon, Herschel, Whewell, Mill, Popper, Quine, von Fraasen, Laudan, Feyerabend, Foucault, Kuhn, Cartwright, etc. whose views contradict one another?  Are you a rationalist or an empiricist?  Does the use of scientific instruments and mathematics make something scientific?  Where is your evidence?  How do you define what is good or moral?  Why did you pick Carl Jung over other experts?  Wasn’t he a spiritualist who claimed to have a demonic spirit guide?” (source)  Shove the microphone to his face after this barrage, and make sure the camera gets a good shot of the flushed expression.  It will look lovely on the front page of the New York Times under the headline, “Charlatan Exposed.”
    Next headline on:  SETIEvolution
      Struggles for equity: trying to pass the Academic Bill of Rights in 2005, from 04/13/2005.  Guess who opposes it.

    Darwin and Hitler: A Trumped-Up Connection?   04/16/2008    
    April 16, 2008 — If there is anything critics of Ben Stein’s documentary Expelled are griping about, it is the association of Hitler with Darwin.  What is the movie claiming and not claiming, and how solid is the historical connection?
        Scientific American, in particular, loathed the implication that Darwinism has anything to do with the Holocaust (but see rebuttal on Evolution News).  The American Thinker was a little sympathetic, but still asked whether the imagery of Dachau and Hademar “begs [the] question of the ontological connection between Darwinism and Nazism”
        In response, historian Richard Weikart, PhD at UC Stanislaus, wrote an article for the The American Spectator to clarify the relationship between “Darwin and the Nazis.”  He acknowledges that today’s Darwinists are not Nazis—far from it.  Nevertheless, he listed six principles embedded in Darwin’s world view that cheapen the value of human life:

    1. Humans are animals.
    2. There is no soul.
    3. Morality is relative.
    4. Humans are unequal.
    5. Nature is a struggle for existence.
    6. Death is an engine of progress.
    These principles were imbibed wholeheartedly by German scientists and philosophers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  They, in turn, strongly influenced Hitler.  In addition, Weikart, author of From Darwin to Hitler, showed how today’s staunch Darwinists believe the same principles.  “Today’s Darwinists are not Nazis and not all Darwinists agree with Dawkins, Wilson, Ruse, Singer, or Watson,” he ended.  “However, some of the ideas being promoted today by prominent Darwinists in the name of Darwinism have an eerily similar ring to the ideologies that eroded respect for human life in the pre-Nazi era.”
        Dennis Prager interviewed Ben Stein on his radio program Tuesday.  In the interview, which can be heard on DennisPrager.com (34 minutes), Prager made a similar point.  He stated emphatically that neither he, Ben Stein, nor the film are claiming that Darwinists are Nazi sympathizers or that Darwinism produced the Holocaust.  The point made by Expelled was that the Darwinian world view facilitated the devaluation of human life – and that Nazis pointed to Darwinism as a scientific justification for their views.  That, Prager said, is a fact of history acknowledged by all historians.
        A great deal of misinformation about this film has been circulating.  Chuck Colson addressed some of these myths on BreakPoint.  His commentary has links for additional information.  Expelled the Movie also has blogs, news, downloads, and many other features.  Some others who have addressed the Darwin-Nazi issue on Evolution News & Views include Robert Crowther and David Klinghoffer #1 and #2.
    The Darwin Party attack force is in full battle array to destroy this film.  Reviews by science journals and pro-Darwin rags have unleashed a torrent of invective.  The NCSE has launched a campaign to pre-empt the damage this movie could do to the DODO (Darwin-Only 2x) policy (see rebuttal by John West).  The mainstream media are strangely silent.  It’s as if the culture is poised to see what is going to happen on opening night.
        You can make a difference.  Go see this movie.  Take your friends, your family, your church, your co-workers.  Tear down this wall that protects atheistic materialism from scrutiny.  Open the gates.  Start the debate.  Nothing is gained by inaction, and the status quo is intolerable.  If you want to start to loosen Darwin’s grip on the culture, the schools, the courts, the media, science and religion, then here is a chance to do something.  Vote at the box office.
        Some movie reviews worth checking: MovieGuide.org, AIG, ICR, CMI, Rush Limbaugh and World Magazine.
        Bloggers and debaters sometimes joke about “Godwin’s Law” or reduction at Hitlerum – the tendency for an argument to degenerate into a discussion about Hitler.  It is true that references to Hitler against an opponent are tasteless if overdone.  But it is worse to forget!  When the shoe fits, and there is a real case to be made, it is cowardly to avoid making the association out of fear of Godwin’s Law.  Cowardice in the face of a battle for truth is the Devilwin’s Law.
    Next headline on:  MediaDarwinism
    Itemized Deductions   04/15/2008    
    April 15, 2008 — Here are some free deductions to take the edge off Income Tax Day.... as long as one deduces correctly.
    1. Israel is picking a national bird.  So what feathered friend will represent the Holy Land?  “The nine finalists include the hoopoe, the owl, the spur-winged plover, and the griffin vulture, but no doves.”  Source: Science, Random Samples, 4/10/2008.  WWJD?
    2. Do I hear $700,000?  Step right and buy your own triceratops at the dinosaur auction.  Video at National Geographic.  Wouldn’t that be a conversation piece. (Science Random Samples, 30:5873 04/11/2008).
    3. An evolutionary biologist is coming to revitalize research at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.  What are David Mindell’s goals?  “He wants to expand research in comparative genomics, strengthen ties with local university researchers, and do more public outreach--especially about evolution.”  (Science Newsmakers, 320:5873, 04/11/2008.)  Do they have a theater?  They could show Expelled nonstop.
    4. David Berlinski has answered the Richard Dawkins book The God Delusion with one of his own, The Devil’s Delusion (the identity of the devil is left as an exercise).  His book tour began on C-SPAN’s Book TV, and sounds to his critics like the raking of fingernails across Slate.
    5. Don’t tell the creationists: a biophysical complexity researcher has called into question the whole notion of fitness and natural selection, according to a Wired Blog.  “You always get into trouble if you say these things out loud with creationists around,” Maya Paczuski groaned.
    6. Bruce Chapman of the Discovery Institute has responded to the NCSE’s Expelled Exposed website with “Expelled Exposed” Exposed.  Could this be the start of an infinite regress?
    7. Richard A. Kerr gets the pun award for mixed metaphors: “An Early Big Hit to Mars May Have Scarred the Planet for Life” he said in Science (320:5873, 04/11/2008, pp. 165-166), calling the big show a “striptease.”  But if Mars put on a show and nobody was there to see it, would it be risque?
    8. Cassini got two years; NASA granted a two-year extended mission to the Saturn orbiter, reported JPL.
    9. The Israeli Antiquities Authority is in its third year of a trial accusing an Egyptian antiquities merchant of forgery for the famed James Ossuary and Jehoash Inscription, said Todd Bolen.  A speedy trial means something else in a land that boasts a 7,000 year history.
    10. Inconvenient facts?  Science Daily reported on a panel that praised Al Gore’s movie An Inconvient Truth for its visual excellence and persuasiveness – but not necessarily for its facts.
    11. All fired up: “Some scientists are urging Florida’s Legislature to reject a bill that would protect teachers from being fired if they present information challenging evolution,” reported ABC News SunCoast.com.
    12. Oh, the irony: critics of the documentary Expelled, which opens in theaters this Friday, have accused the producers of plagiarizing animations of the cell from a Harvard production (a charge Premise Media denies).  Of course to make this claim, the critics had to make an inference of intelligent design.  What message would it send to get Expelled expelled?
    Exercise:  Is the IRS tax code a product of intelligent design?  (Hint: not all complexity is “complex specified information”.)  Caution: there are no simple answers.
    Next headline on:  EvolutionIntelligent DesignEducationBirdsMedia
    Darwinism and Logic: How Strong a Grip?   04/14/2008    
    April 14, 2008 — Science and logic are inseparable.  Whether one approaches the study of nature from reason (rationalism) or evidence (empiricism), logical inferences and deductions are essential for understanding – or for claiming one’s scientific work produces understanding.  When it comes to the reigning evolutionary perspective, though, how can a blind, chancy process like evolution produce reason, laws of logic, morality or knowledge?
        The best way to see how Darwinism scores on logical inference from its own premises is by examining the views of its leading defenders in the most prestigious publications.
    1. Nature editors:  The editorial in Nature April 10 asked,1 what is “natural”?  The occasion for the question was a transgendered woman-who-became-a-man announcing on Oprah that he/she/it had become pregnant.  The editors seemed to waffle on the answer to the question.  Uneasy to accept this person’s sexual identity crisis as natural, they had more questions than answers: e.g., “if drugs enhance performance on a standardized test, what is so ‘natural’ about prep courses designed to improve scores?”
          The question of what we mean by “natural” is a profoud issue (see 05/11/2006 for a deep discussion about it).  Nature, however, started the editorial with a statement that begged much bigger questions: whether logic and intelligence is natural, and how they could have evolved:
      From an evolutionary perspective, we humans have good reason to be wary of things that seem to be ‘unnatural’.  Anything out of the ordinary can be dangerous.  But the evolutionary origin of that response also guarantees that it will be guided more by emotion than by reason.
    2. Michael Ruse:  Philosophy of science is a field where logic and reason should be on full display.  It was most interesting, therefore, to see what Michael Ruse, a self-proclaimed “hard-line Darwinian” philosopher, thought of a new book, Why Think?  Evolution and the Rational Mind by Ronald DeSouza (Oxford, 2008).  He reviewed the book in the March Literary Review of Canada.
          Ruse liked the book very much, and shared its usual speculations about what intelligence is good for in evolutionary biology: e.g., having fewer offspring means greater care must be invested in their care – which requires judgment.  That, in turn, “means brains and all of the rest– getting on with others, finding protein and so forth,” he said, adding in his off-the-cuff way, “I am not sure if this is really an evolutionary justification for eating Big Macs, but one can say that this is all very much a feedback situation.”
          Where Ruse seemed to get tied up in knots was considering the comeback argument to all this from philosopher Alvin Plantinga.  Ruse said Plantinga “loathes and detests” evolutionary biology.  But he seemed disappointed that DeSousa in his book did not provide a satisfying answer to Plantinga’s challenge: “the unreliability of reason in the Darwinian scenario is reason enough to reject evolution and embrace God.”  He elaborated:
      As Plantinga points out, what counts in evolution is success and not the truth.  So how can we ever be sure of the truth?  Perhaps none of our thoughts can tell.  Perhaps none of our thoughts can tell us about reality.  Perhaps we are like beings in a dream world....
      Everything we believe about evolution could be false.
      Ruse acknowledged that this question even troubled Darwin himself:
      With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or are at all trustworthy.  Would anyone trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?
      Surprisingly, Ruse conceded that Plantinga could have employed this quote of Darwin to make his point.  How did DeSousa respond to “Darwin’s Doubt”?  In short, he argued that our mathematical knowledge could not have evolved by natural selection.  Our brains evolved for other things.  Since our brains discovered mathematics along the way, and found it useful for all kinds of other things (including predictions that came true), this implies our brains are able to comprehend external reality as it is, not just as we experience it.
          Ruse felt that DeSousa did not adequately answer Plantinga’s challenge.  Ruse himself did not have a good answer, but shrugged it off: “you are probably right, but that is a level of skepticism about knowledge that excites philosophers and not mature human beings.”  Then he changed the subject.  He hoped DeSousa would write a sequel on the evolution of morality.
    3. Eugenie Scott:  Speaking of morality, the director of the National Center for Science Education should be a good person to ask about evolutionary ethics.  Eugenie Scott reviewed a book in Nature about “brave new bioethics,”2 Life As It Is, Biology for the Public Sphere by William F. Loomis (University of California Press, 2008).  First, her review of philosophy:
      Science’s task is to explain the natural world: what it is, how it works and why it is the way it is.  Ethics is about the oughts and the shoulds.  Most ethicists – religious and secular – agree that knowledge of the natural world helps us make better, or at least better-informed, ethical decisions.  But, as David Hume, Thomas Henry Huxley and G. E. Moore have noted, a particular understanding of nature does not dictate a unique moral stance.
      Thus one of the preeminent evolutionary spokespersons in America jumped right into the quagmire of evolutionary ethics.  One would think that Scott, whose life work is to keep evolution in schools and creationism out, would bring evolutionary theory to bear on the question and show its superiority in grounding ethics in something sustainable.  But she said almost nothing about evolution.  Instead, she de-emphasized the ability of science to inform ethical decision-making.  “The idea that a realistic understanding of biology will usher in a paradise of ethical correctness,” she said, “is naive: the panoply of extra-scientific considerations that influence ethical decision-makings cannot be ignored or minimized.”
          At one point she described Loomis making advice about sustainability: “Loomis recommends a programme of voluntary population reduction,” she said, apparently uncomfortable with this idea: “requiring both political leadership and a radical change of public opinion.”  Hopefully Loomis was not recommending mass suicide.  What she failed to provide, though, was an answer to the question she raised at the beginning: if science cannot dictate a unique moral stance, how can it provide “better, or at least better-informed, ethical decisions”?
    4. Self-refuting sci-fi:  Science journals don’t have to be all dry.  Nature ends each issue with a science fiction short story featurette called “Futures.”3  The April 10 entry was a story by Neal Morison set in the far distant future.  A group of scientists were reliving a century-old discovery that a lively blogger turned out to be a robot.  The moral of the story seemed to suggest this had solved the mind-body problem, one of philosophy’s biggest questions, once and for all.  What the story actually did, though was beg the question: who built the computer?  And who programmed the robot?
    David Tyler blogged about the Nature articles on Access Research Network.
    1.  Editorial, “Defining ‘natural’,” Nature 452, 665-666 (10 April 2008) | doi:10.1038/452665b.
    2.  Eugenie Scott, “Brave new bioethics,” Nature 452, 690-691 (10 April 2008) | doi:10.1038/452690a.
    3.  Neal Morison, “All over, Rover,” Nature 452, 780 (10 April 2008) | doi:10.1038/452780a.
    There you have it: the world’s biggest Darwin defenders can’t answer the question: how can evolutionary theory produce any knowledge that is trustworthy – including the supposition that evolution is true?  They either shrug their shoulders or retreat into fiction.
        Since Michael Ruse took delight in a jab at the Bible, let’s see how logical it was.  He said of DeSouza’s introduction, “I knew I was going to love this book” when the author compared Abraham to Andrea Yates (the delusional housewife who said God told her to kill her five children).  DeSouza quipped, “When enough people share a delusion, it loses its status as a psychosis and gets a religious tax exemption instead.”  Oh; you mean, like Darwinism?.
        DeSouza may have scored on ridicule, but not on logic.  If Yates had truly received a message from God, she would not have killed her children.  How many times did God angrily speak through his prophets about the idolaters who burned their children in the fire?  Over and over, God said of such horrendous practices, “I did not command them, nor did it come into My mind” (e.g., Jeremiah 32:35).  Human sacrifice was such a completely alien concept to the mind of God, He pronounced severe judgments on the nations that practiced it.  But self-sacrifice for others is one of the highest measures of love: “Greater love hath no man,” said Jesus, “than that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
        So put the pieces together.  What of God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his son?  This was not a temptation, or even a test of Abraham’s faith (God, being omniscient, already knew what Abraham would do).  This was one of many types or pictures in the Old Testament of Christ.  Just as God provided the ram as a substitute for Isaac, God provided a Lamb as a substitute for our sins.  God’s righteousness demands penalty for sin, and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).  Either we will die for our sins, or a substitute will take our place.
        The only person able to give a life in payment for the sins of the world was Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  He alone in the universe was fully God and fully man.  Since the persons of the Trinity never act apart from one another, and share fully in each other’s joys and sorrows, God was providing Abraham (and all of us) an illustration of the torment of being ordered, “Take thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, and offer him as a sacrifice.”  The pain of God’s sacrifice of His Son having as satisfaction for His justice was portrayed in a heart-wrenching way to the world.  Yes, God provided the Lamb: Himself!
        What Abraham did is polar opposite from Andrea Yates did.  What good came from her delusional revelation?  Yet look how the world has been blessed by those who are children of Abraham by faith.  And what kind of character was Abraham?  Up to that point, and throughout his life, he showed by his actions to be a man of sound mind and self-sacrificing character, bold for the cause of right, but gentle and loving toward his family and neighbors.  He was not delusional.  By all accounts of his friends and his enemies, he was a great man.  He was great spiritually because he believed God, and God counted it to him as righteousness (see Hebrews 11:8-19).
        Faith is only as good as its object.  It is not Abraham’s faith per se that made him great: it was that the object of his faith was the true and living God.  As for Abraham founding three world religions, well, the story of the sacrifice of Isaac makes no sense apart from its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, and Mohammed was a latecomer who co-opted the fame of Abraham for anti-Abrahamic ends (e.g., killing Jews and Christians).  Abraham did not set out to found any religion.  He just obeyed God, and God brought about the answers to the promises He gave Abraham: “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you.”
        Whether any religion deserves tax breaks is a side issue.  The delusional religion of Darwinism gets a free ride in all our public schools, national parks, museums, courts, media and science labs.  Who are they to complain about religious tax exemptions?  Watch out when the Darwinists gain absolute power and act consistent with their presuppositions.  They might just give tax breaks to the Andrea Yates types who follow delusions and exhibit relativistic morality.  Neither DeSouza nor Ruse can claim any action is more rational or moral than any other.
        So how logical was Michael Ruse to laugh at DeSouza’s distortion of Scripture?  Pray for him.  Despite his bluffing, he seems troubled by Plantinga’s challenge.
    Next headline on:  Darwinism and Evolutionary TheoryBible and TheologyPolitics and Ethics
      Temple Mount debris cast out by Muslims yields artifacts from Jews’ First Temple, from 04/17/2005.  Note: excavation of the debris will continue this summer in Jerusalem with volunteers: see ABR.

    Dinosaur Expert Criticizes Uber-Darwinists More than Biblical Creationists   04/13/2008    
    April 13, 2008 — One of the field researchers most identifiable with dinosaurs is Dr. Robert Bakker, a colorful individual who’s had a long friendly rivalry with an equally iconic figure of the modern dinosaur hunter, Jack Horner (e.g., 11/24/2007).  Brian Switek interviewed Bakker on the Laelops Science Blog.  He introduced him as “one of the most famous paleontologists working today, an iconoclastic figure who has played a leading role of rehabilitating our understanding of dinosaurs from the inception of the ‘Dinosaur Renaissance’ through the present.”  Wait till you see whom Bakker considers the “greatest enemy of science education in the U.S.
        Many recognize Bakker’s cowboy visage from TV documentaries about our changing views of dinosaurs.  His grizzled beard, now graying, bespeaks the passage of time that may have nuanced his views about science and theology a bit.  He is no creationist but has learned to understand and sympathize with them.  In fact, he turned the disgust many evolutionists feel toward creationists and aimed it at the likes of Richard Dawkins.

    We dino-scientists have a great responsibility: our subject matter attracts kids better than any other, except rocket-science.  What’s the greatest enemy of science education in the U.S.?

    Militant Creationism?

    No way.  It’s the loud, strident, elitist anti-creationists.  The likes of Richard Dawkins and his colleagues.

    These shrill uber-Darwinists come across as insultingly dismissive of any and all religious traditions.  If you’re not an atheist, then you must be illiterate or stupid and, possibly, a danger to yourself and others.

    Bakker was just getting wound up.  He said the uber-Darwinists “seem devoid of joy or humor, except a haughty delight in looking down their noses.”  Such elitism was unlikely to convince anyone, he said, especially “the majority of U.S. parents who still honor a Biblical tradition.
        Bakker said this as one who fully accepts Deep Time (millions of years) and evolution.  But he holds a kind of distant respect for the Bible-believers whose Scriptures grapple with the paradox of death and suffering on the one hand and incredible beauty and design in nature on the other.  His model of the right attitude is Edward Hitchcock, a pre-Darwinian Victorian who was both a minister and a paleontologist.1  Bakker has found a hero in this early bone-hunter. “Hitchcock found no easy answers” to the paradox of beauty and suffering, “But he saw a Plan nevertheless.”  This has made an impression on Bakker, who himself stands in awe of “extraordinary beauty that could be made intelligible by the human mind.
    1.  Edward Hitchcock (1793-1864) was a Congregationalist minister who went on to study dinosaur tracks and is considered the father of ichnology, the study of impressions left by living things.  In his book The Religion of Geology and its Connected Sciences (1851), Hitchcock attempted a harmonization of the Bible with long ages.
    Bakker’s attitude is refreshing compared to the line-up of rabid Darwinists dominating the news, whose invective for creation knows no bounds.  We can only hope that further contemplation on the paradox of design and suffering, combined with the wonder of a comprehensible and extraordinarily beautiful world, will lead him to pick up a Bible and read it anew.  The historical sciences are limited in what they can teach.  If we have a mind, would not the Maker of minds know more about history than our feeble attempts to divine meaning from dead things?
        We also hope Bakker doesn’t get into trouble with the uber-Darwinists for his comments.  His reputation seems secure, but never underestimate the wrath of the Darwin Party.  If you get Expelled, Dr. Bakker, ask yourself what it is about the uber-Darwinists that makes them so vicious.  Why are the Bible believers usually more pleasant to be around?  Randy Olson made this point in Flock of Dodos, but he hasn’t succeeded, so far, in convincing his fellow Darwiniacs to be nice.  You can’t change the leopard’s spots.  The spots are in their genes.  Scrubbing them is not only futile, it irritates the leopard.  Darwinists will only snarl louder and bite harder at attempts to say they shouldn’t be so elitist and nasty.  Is it time for a new social group?  Hopefully creationists you meet will be agreeable folk, and any questions or disagreements notwithstanding, will welcome you, respect your accomplishments, and be willing to engage in stimulating conversation in a calm and rational manner.
    Next headline on:  DinosaursBibleEducationDarwinIntelligent Design
    Moths Navigate in the Dark Against the Wind   04/12/2008    
    April 12, 2008 — A moth weighs little more than a piece of paper, but it does things no paper blowing in the wind can do: it can navigate with and against the wind to get where it needs to go.
        Science Daily reported on work by UK scientists who used “entomological radar” to monitor where the little insects go in the dark of night.  Their subjects were silver moths that migrate high in the air for hundreds of kilometers to their breeding grounds.  These moths, they found, “rely on sophisticated behaviors to control their flight direction, and to speed their long-distance journeys into areas suitable for the next generation of moths.”  The work was published in Current Biology.1
        The scientists were not overly surprised that the moths take off on the most favorable days, and use the wind to their advantage.  What was most unexpected was that the moths are not at the mercy of the winds.  The article states, “the moths compensate when the wind direction is substantially off target.
        This ability, called compensation for wind drift, had been seen in low-flying insects like butterflies.  For moths to do this high in the air in the darkness of night means “the moths must have a compass mechanism,” similar to that found in migrating birds.  Though the research was limited to this one species, they suggested “that these mechanisms might prove to be widespread among large windborne insect migrants.”
        The scientists calculated that the silver moths they studied were able to travel 300 km per night – achieving speeds of 30 km per hour.  How they achieve this feat is not clear.  Did they explain how evolution produced flight navigation in insects independently of birds?  No; they just assumed it: “Taken together, our results show that nocturnal migratory moths have evolved a suite of behaviors to facilitate successful migrations to temporary breeding and overwintering areas.”
    1.  Chapman, Reynolds, ouritsen, Hill, Riley, Sivell, Smith and Woiwod, “Wind Selection and Drift Compensation Optimize Migratory Pathways in a High-Flying Moth,” Current Biology, Volume 18, Issue 7, 8 April 2008, Pages 514-518.
    At the end of the press release, they tagged on a line about global warming.  The scientists should have focused, instead, on the remarkable evidence for design.  Can you imagine a featherweight machine that knows how to sail in the air?  We won’t even bother thinking about how similar wonders could have evolved separately in birds and insects, which are nowhere near each other on Darwin’s tree of lie (04/11/2008).
    Exercise:  Make a list of the items of hardware and software you would have to add to a 2-inch scrap of paper blowing in the wind to make it be able to arrive at a precise point 300 km away.  Extra credit: Add to your list how many more items of hardware and software you would have to build onto the paper for it to reproduce itself with copies that could fly back home, having never been there before.  Notice that this implies a requirement: the hardware needs to be lightweight enough to make your scrap of paper not plummet to the ground.
    Next headline on:  Terrestrial ZoologyAmazing Facts
    Not Even Wrong: Darwin’s Tree Suffers Base Blow   04/11/2008    
    April 11, 2008 — Darwin’s “tree of life” icon is suffering another blow.  The root of multicellular life was supposed to be the simplest, most primitive animal.  Now, scientists are seriously considering that the mother of all animals was a complex animal with a gut, tissues, a nervous system and amazing light displays: a comb jelly.
        PhysOrg set up the announcement as if to maximize the surprise: “And the first animal on Earth was a ... ”  If the suspense is killing you, consider the impact on the scientists who, under a grant from the National Science Foundation, concluded it was a comb jelly.  Casey Dunn exclaimed, “This was a complete shocker.  So shocking that we initially thought something had gone very wrong.
        Comb jellies are more complex than sponges, long considered the most primitive animal because it lacks tissues and organs.  Placing a comb jelly (ctenophore) at the base of Darwin’s tree puts the mystery of the evolution of complex tissues into an unobservable past.
        Dunn said the early comb jellies probably looked different than the ones alive today, but last year (04/03/2007) a comb jelly found in China’s Cambrian fossil beds looked essentially modern.  It was dated to early Cambrian – supposedly 540 million years old.
        Science Daily began its report with a summary of the impact: “A new study mapping the evolutionary history of animals indicates that Earth’s first animal -- a mysterious creature whose characteristics can only be inferred from fossils and studies of living animals--was probably significantly more complex than previously believed.”  A subsection was titled, “Shaking up the tree of life.”
        Ironically, this made the cover story of Nature April 10, with the caption, “Improved Relations.”
    If the first animal was a predator, what did it eat?  If Darwin’s tree fell in the falsification forest, and nobody cared, would it even make a sound?
        Darwinists act so shocked.  This is old news.  Why they continue to be tree-huggers when Darwin’s tree icon has been shown to be a myth? (02/01/2007).  Creationists already knew it was a tree of lie, composed of the building blocks of lie (03/19/2008).  Old myths die hard.
    Next headline on:  FossilsDarwinian EvolutionMarine Biology
      Who helped Copernicus publish his book?  Protestants!  Learn about the myth-debunking history in the 04/30/2004 entry.

    Grand Canyon Age Estimates Fluctuate Wildly   04/10/2008    
    April 10, 2008 — Just when the park rangers were getting familiar telling the public the Grand Canyon was carved about 5 million years ago, some geologists announced the shocking news that it might be less than a million (05/31/2002, 07/22/2002).  The age was plummeting as recently as November (11/30/2007).  But then last month, another revision came: it’s 17 million years old.  Now, another team claims it is 55 million years old, or older.  National Geographic News announced that the majestic gorge is 9 times older than thought, and PhysOrg claimed it may be as old as the dinosaurs.  Are these estimates or just guesstimates?
        The new date, to be published in the May GSA Bulletin, is based on an inference about the time when minerals of apatite, containing uranium and thorium, began to cool when first exposed to the surface.  This inference, however, depends on models of where the minerals formed and became exposed.  The National Geographic article called this only “a clock of sorts” for dating the canyon.
        The geologists from Caltech and Colorado University at Boulder noted that the rocks at the bottom of the canyon dated the same as those at the top.  From this they inferred that an ancient canyon existed 55 million years ago that later became integrated with other sections that had evolved separately.  Why?  Because the only way the bottom and the top could have cooled at the same time, they surmised, was that “the gorge formed from previously existing canyons that eventually connected, rather than a plateau.” Brian Wernicke, a geology professor at Caltech, explained, “If there had not been a canyon, the gorge and rim samples would have been different.
        Some amazing claims emerge from the complexities of this model.  In the PhysOrg article, Rebecca Flowers of Colorado University was quoted saying, “If you stand on the rim of the Grand Canyon today, the bottom of the ancestral canyon would have sat over your head, incised into rocks that have since been eroded away.”  Visitors at the rim would be astonished to look up a mile into the sky and try to visualize an imaginary canyon above them that somehow turned into the canyon below them.  Not only that, the river was running in the opposite direction!  During all these millions of years, the plateaus around the canyon were eroding as fast as the canyon itself, they said.  “Small streams on the plateaus appear to have been just as effective at stripping away rock as the ancient Colorado River was at carving the massive canyon.
        If these inferences appear to go far beyond all empirical support, resting on some ratios of minerals, so be it.  “It’s a complicated picture because different segments of the canyon appear to have evolved at different times and subsequently were integrated.”

    Do you get the idea that modern secular geologists are absolutely clueless about the origin of one of the most stark exhibits of geology in the world?  They can be perfectly happy with 70 million years, 100,000 years, 6 million years, 17 million years or 55 million years.  All that matters is keeping the naturalistic belief system intact.  They will even give us an imaginary canyon in the sky (that used to be ancient sediments) with a river eroding it down as fast as small streams did.  Side canyons all join up together and make the river turn around and flow the other way.  Isn’t science wonderful.
        One little observation the secular team mentioned should have jumped up and shouted for attention.  If the inferred dates of cooling were the same at the bottom and the top, then guess what!  Maybe, just maybe, the canyon formed catastrophically.  We know that happened at Washington’s channeled scablands and at Mt. St. Helens.  Why, that would explain the whole Grand Canyon in a matter of days or weeks.  Is that any less scientific than wavering between dates that differ by two orders of magnitude?.  If it were the only inference to be drawn, that would be one thing – but the Grand Canyon is filled with other evidences of rapid deposition and rapid canyon formation.  Take time to review some of them from our 09/16/2005 commentary.
        In any other science, huge swings of speculation and reckless deployment of ad hoc circumstances and reliance on unobservables would be scorned.  Creation scientists have been studying the Grand Canyon for decades now.  They can point to real-world analogues to explain what happened.  Their confidence in creation and Flood models has made some of them call this vast area “Exhibit A” for a worldwide flood and catastrophism.  The elite secular geologists pretend these scientists, some with PhDs and years of field experience, don’t even exist.  Take your pick whom you think has more credibility.  One thing was clear to a New York Times reporter – the Christians have a richer time in the Canyon than the evolutionists (10/06/2005).
    Next headline on:  GeologyDating Methods
    Big Science Fights Its Customers   04/09/2008    
    April 9, 2008 — Has “Big Science” lost contact with the public it serves?  Several recent reports show the scientific establishment (as represented by the leading journals) taking positions at polar opposites of the majority, and wagging the dog of the body politic.
    1. Chimeras:  Even though ethicists have called it “a monstrous attack on human rights,” to blend human embryos with animals, UK scientists created the first chimera of cow and human genetic material, reported PhysOrg.
    2. Stem cells:  Induced pluripotent stem cells apparently have all the benefits of embryonic stem cells and none of the ethical problems.  Why, then, does Nature continue to argue that embryonic stem cell research must continue?
    3. Presidential pressure:  At the same time Nature and Science have been stifling debate on intelligent design and stem cell research, they have been calling for a “science debate” among the US presidential candidates.  While science policy is certainly a major topic for any presidential campaign, it’s apparent from the Science Debate line-up of supporters (mostly liberals) that the pressure is not so much to give the public and its candidates a chance to freely express their views on the role of science in society, but to find out which candidates align with the goals of the science establishment, and to use their statements as campaign fodder.
    4. Expelled:  If anyone thought for a moment that the scientific establishment would be taken aback by the popularity of Ben Stein’s upcoming documentary Expelled (see 03/29/2008, 04/07/2008), and perhaps feel a little fear or remorse at this public backlash against scientific intolerance, they need only look at today’s post on the Nature blog.  A spirit of contempt exudes from every line of the entry.  “Meanwhile, for those not utterly tired of Expelled, the National Center for Science Education has launched an Expelled Exposed website.”  The motives of those wanting to open the debate about evolution were suspect: “religiously motivated politicking” and “subterfuge for injecting the religious beliefs held by some into the science classroom” – but no such motive-questioning in the other direction could be found.  Presumably, Nature and the NCSE always act from pure motives.1
    Scientific institutions were founded to serve humanity through research, innovation, national prestige and improving the health and safety of its citizens.  Open inquiry, debate, and academic freedom have always been the heart and soul of science.  Many individual scientists still exemplify those ideals.  Judging from the “official” positions of the leading journals and institutions, though, has Big Science fallen into a self-serving body with its own political agenda, and the power to marginalize and stifle the views of those who disagree with official positions?
    1.  In science, the motives of a person making an argument are supposed to be irrelevant to its validity.  Even if Nature could prove that religion played a role in motivating some of the backers, neither the Academic Freedom Act nor the Expelled movie advocate teaching intelligent design in the science classroom; they only argue that scientific criticisms of Darwinism should not be forbidden.  Besides, the leading spokespersons for Darwinism admitted on camera that atheism motivated their antagonism to intelligent design.  Nature failed to criticize that religious motivation – or even mention it.
    Big Science has lost its innocence.  Scientific institutions were once clubs of citizens who did scientific experiments out of their love for knowledge and desire for truth.  In the 20th century, especially after World War II, science became a necessity for national prestige, military success and economic innovation.  Through the advocacy of scientists like Vannevar Bush, the government began to pour millions of dollars into pure and applied science.
        Power corrupts.  The momentum gained by scientific institutions invariably turned their interests inward.  What used to consist of small, privately-funded associations is now Big Science: huge institutions, feeding at the public trough, with a political stake in their ability to maintain a monolithic consensus as they lobby the government.  Almost vanished is the heroic individual of yesteryear, the Faraday or Kepler revealing new knowledge to the world.  A practicing scientist today needs to know how to work the system.  He or she must belong to the right associations, attend the right conferences, and say the right things.  Individuals get swept up into the funding rush and herd mentality in order to survive.  The managers at the top of the food chain are far removed from the worker bees at the bottom.  Science institutions these days are like small cities with their own official press core, employment agencies, affirmative action boards, diversity and inclusion departments and P&P (policies and procedures) dictums.
        Intelligent design represents one of the biggest threats to Big Science (not science itself) in recent decades.  The leading advocates of ID, all with impeccable academic credentials, know how to make an inference to the best explanation based on the collective evidence available from astronomy, paleontology and cell biology.  They also know that all pretence of epistemic superiority by modern science has been undermined, not by religious claims, but by the best thinkers in philosophy of science for over a century.  They see through the phony, outdated “scientism” that persists in public perception.  And so they defy the consensus.  They demand a return to academic freedom and debate.
        Reason, empiricism, argumentation about the evidence – one would think scientists would welcome this.  Instead, Big Science flexes its muscle and says that anyone outside The Wall is ignorant, stupid, wicked, or (worse) religiously motivated.  Their behavior is reminiscent of the self-serving communist party bosses who did whatever they needed to do to hang onto their cushy jobs.  Knowledge, ethics, integrity – those are lost in the system.  Maintaining power is what matters.
        Reader, please see what is going on.  Sad as it seems, you must jettison your beloved old preconceptions that today’s Big Science institutions represent neutral, unbiased, honest, sincere seekers after Truth.  Look at them now like the other large political pressure groups – Big Labor, Big Education, the Military-Industrial Complex, Big Entertainment, and Big Wall Street.  Each of these bodies has upright individuals who do the best job they can.  But the scientific institutions are about consensus and politics and money.  They are incorrigible.  All dissent will be crushed.
        What is to be done?  For one, vote your conscience.  Write letters.  Support academic freedom, like the Academic Freedom Petition.  Get involved with your school board at the grass roots level.  Support a good turnout at the Expelled movie, to raise awareness of the problem.  Encourage politicians to stand up to the Big Science lobbyists.  Become a Citizen Scientist.  And wherever you can, hold Big Science to the fire of its conscience.  Science was born in a culture of openness, individuality, integrity, and above all, a love for knowledge and a desire to help people.  It sought for the truth about the world.  It was willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads, recognizing its own limitations.  Sad to say, Big Science needs to be shamed back to those core values.  They are supposed to be accountable to the people.  Stand up to them.  Don’t be intimidated by the NCSE and other dogmatists; point them to the battle going on in their own conscience.  When they contradict their own core values, call them on the carpet for it.  Half the battle will be over when you get the Big Science bureaucrats, KGB and propagandists to shut their loud mouths and blush a little.
    Next headline on:  Politics and EthicsEvolutionIntelligent Design
    Darwin on a Chip   04/08/2008    
    April 8, 2008 — PhysOrg, EurekAlert and and Science Daily announced “Evolution on the table top.”  Reporting on a paper in PLoS Biology by Brian Paegel and Gerald Joyce at Scripps, the article claims that the two scientists “have produced a computer-controlled system that can drive the evolution of improved RNA enzymes—biological catalysts—without human input.”  The scientists claim they have achieved “Darwinian evolution on a chip.1
        The press release claims the “evolution machine” demonstrated adaptation via random mutations:
    This beautifully illustrates what about evolution is random and what is not.  While the end point is predicted by the selection pressure—i.e., the decreasing concentration of ingredients determines that enzymes will evolve to cope with decreased concentration—the actual mutations that allow this are completely random and cannot be predicted at the outset—i.e., if you bought an “evolution machine” and ran the same experiment, your end product would be an enzyme that could cope with low concentrations too, but the mutations that it acquired to do this might be different.
    In the original paper, the authors advertised their experiment as a way to celebrate Darwin’s 200th birthday next year.  “Our microfluidic system allows us to perform Darwinian evolution experiments in much the same way that one would execute a computer program,”  they said.  “The scientific community will soon celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his seminal work On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection,” they continued, ignoring Wallace (03/03/2008) and neglecting the rest of the title: and the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.  They continued, explaining why their lab experiment can help the celebration:
    The principles of Darwinian evolution are fundamental to understanding biological organization at the level of populations of organisms and for explaining the development of biological genomes and macromolecular function.  Darwinian evolution also has become a chemical tool for discovering and optimizing functional macromolecules in the test tube (for recent reviews, see [25]).  Laboratory evolution is greatly accelerated compared with natural evolution but requires substantial manipulation by the experimenter, which is imprecise, time consuming, and usually performed in an ad hoc manner.
    Their method, they say, combines the best of real-life subjects and laboratory control.  They took an existing RNA enzyme, class 1 RNA ligase, and subjected it to mutations, then added selection pressure in the form of decreased quantity of substrate.  The ones with the most advantageous mutations survived to reproduce.  The abstract explained, “The final evolved enzyme contained a set of 11 mutations that conferred a 90-fold improvement in substrate utilization, coinciding with the applied selective pressure.”  Here’s how they concluded:
    The runtime parameters for evolution are established at the outset and are enforced precisely throughout the course of an experiment.  The continuous stream of real-time data provides a high-resolution record of an evolutionary trajectory, which can be obtained as a function of population size, population heterogeneity, growth conditions, and the availability of limiting resources.  Each microchip contains multiple microfluidic circuits that can be addressed independently, and the chip as a whole can be produced at nominal cost.  Thus, Darwinian evolution becomes commoditized, allowing one to perform many evolution experiments with little more difficulty than the execution of a computer program.
    The press release advertised this evolution-machine as a teaching tool.  “Evolution has taken another step away from being dismissed as ‘a theory’ in the classroom, thanks to a new paper published this week in the online open-access journal PLoS Biology,” the article began.  “...In the future, this ‘evolution-machine’ could feature in the classroom as well as the lab, allowing students to watch evolution happen in their biology lessons.

    1.  Brian Paegel and Gerald Joyce, “Darwinian Evolution on a Chip,” Public Library of Science: Biology, Vol. 6, No. 4, e85 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060085, published 4/8/2008.
    Darwin isn’t on this chip.  The chip is on Darwin.  His disciples just put one on his shoulder.  How convenient for Gerald Joyce to start with a complex RNA enzyme.  He has said that the spontaneous appearance of chains of RNA on the early earth would have been a near miracle (02/15/2007).
        Something is very wrong with this picture.  Darwinian evolution experiments are like the way one would execute a computer program?  OK, Baloney Detectors, get busy.  Your assignment is to identify all the ways the scientists snuck information into the system, making this a case of intelligent design, and therefore worthless as an illustration of Darwinian evolution.  How should they have designed the system to really mimic Darwinism?  If you need help, you can re-read the following entries: 07/31/2002, 12/18/2002, 05/08/2003, 10/04/2005, 07/05/2006, 11/14/2006, 08/07/2007.
      Grad students can scrutinize the original open-source paper in detail.
        Before teaching the kiddies about Darwinian evolution on the tabletop, teach them the word TANSTAAFL: There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.  That will help inoculate them against the scam artists known as evolutionary science reporters.
    Next headline on:  Darwinian EvolutionEducation
      A pre-Huygens look at Titan and its missing oceans of methane: from 04/25/2003.  The Huygens probe landed on soft mud, and the Cassini orbiter discovered the equatorial regions are dry and covered with dunes of ice grains perhaps coated with organic compounds.

    Watch for Falling Amino Acids   04/08/2008    
    April 8, 2008 — A long-standing problem of origin-of-life theories is how proteins became left-handed.  Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, come in right-handed and left-handed forms, yet life uses only the left-handed form.
        The two isoforms are otherwise identical—yet one amino acid of the wrong hand in a protein spells doom for its function.  Wherever amino acids form naturally (as in Stanley Miller’s spark-discharge experiment), they form in roughly equal amounts of both hands (racemic mixture).  How could a natural system isolate and purify the mixture without the DNA code and ribosomes that ensure quality control in life?  One new suggestion printed in Science Daily was adorned with a picture of a ribosome and the suggestive title, “Meteorites Delivered The ‘Seeds’ Of Earth’s Left-hand Life.”  The first paragraph almost sounds like the beginning of a children’s story:

    Flash back three or four billion years -- Earth is a hot, dry and lifeless place.  All is still.  Without warning, a meteor slams into the desert plains at over ten thousand miles per hour.  With it, this violent collision may have planted the chemical seeds of life on Earth.
    These “seeds” (amino acids) would have had a tough time without fertilizer landing in a desert of rock and sand, since fertilizer comes from living organisms.  Amino acids are not that hard to manufacture in natural conditions.  Only a large stretch of imagination could consider them to be seeds.  The story continues with the metaphor switching from farming to cooking.
    Scientists have presented evidence that desert heat, a little water, and meteorite impacts may have been enough to cook up one of the first prerequisites for life: The dominance of “left-handed” amino acids, the building blocks of life on this planet.
    The article reports on research by scientists from Columbia University and the American Chemical Society.  Till now, simulations of early-earth conditions and chemical models have only been able to produce a slight excess of one hand over the other (06/21/2004, 11/19/2004, 11/05/2004, 12/03/2004, 03/23/2005).  Another problem is keeping them one-handed (09/26/2002).  The scientists first proposed that meteorites accumulate a 5-10% excess of one hand from circularly polarized light from neutron stars.  Landing on earth, the excess becomes amplified through repeated episodes of wetting and drying.
        Thus the desert: this would not work in an oceanic “primordial soup.”  The meteor has to deliver its goods on dry ground, then be close enough to the ocean to reach “a little bit of water.”  These are called “plausible prebiotic conditions.”  It is hard to believe, however, that sufficient quantities of amino acids could have been delivered to one location on a large planet.  Also, the wetting process tends to dissolve the polypeptides; they only crystallize during the drying period.  Even if a long chain of one-handed amino acids did crystallize, it would be the end of the line unless incorporated with RNA or DNA into a system.  In life, both depend on each other.
        The press release is filled with optimism.  Ronald Breslow (Columbia) added humor to the imaginary scenario:
    “These meteorites were bringing in what I call the ‘seeds of chirality,’” stated Breslow.  “If you have a universe that was just the mirror image of the one we know about, then in fact, presumably it would have right-handed amino acids.  That’s why I’m only half kidding when I say there is a guy on the other side of the universe with his heart on the right hand side.
    A check of the far side of the universe is not necessary.  Presumably Titan, Enceladus or Europa could have gotten its shipment in right-handed amino acids, since it is a matter of chance according to naturalistic theories.  That is why astrobiologists consider finding right-handed polypeptides a biomarker.
        The goal is 100% purity of one hand over the other.  Living things enforce 100% purity through multiple quality-control mechanisms.  It was not clear from the article how much of an excess was actually achieved experimentally.  The report seemed to leap to the conclusion that amplification by wetting and drying cycles would achieve the necessary purity:
    Breslow found that the left and right-handed amino acids would bind together as they crystallized from water.  The left-right bound amino acids left the solution as water evaporated, leaving behind increasing amounts of the left-amino acid in solution.  Eventually, the amino acid in excess became ubiquitous as it was used selectively by living organisms.
    That last sentence, though, implies the existence of the DNA code and ribosomes.  How a pre-genetic system could tell the difference, or care, was left unexplained.
    This story is far-fetched to the extreme.  Anyone familiar with the problem must stand aghast at the leaps of faith required to believe in their fairy tale.  For a refresher on the severity of this problem, read our online book, chapter 3 and chapter 4.
        They get away with it because their worldview requires it, and they have nothing else.  Dressing it up with humor and metaphor doesn’t distract the wise.
        Shame on science reporters for portraying fairy tales as science.  Dave Mosher, who trashed the ID movie Expelled yesterday (see 04/07/2008), had no problem with the pseudoscience in this paper.  In fact, he even embellished it more in his LiveScience article that was syndicated to Yahoo.com and other news outlets: “Neutron starlight might have zapped amino acids riding on comets and asteroids into a bias, and a little water might have concentrated them after they crashed into Earth, a team of scientists now say.”  So Mr. Mosher thinks he knows science well enough to demonize all the PhDs in the movie Expelled, but cannot see the demons of irrationality and imagination channeling through evolution-worshiping scientists.
        That’s why one of our readers, a retired engineer, called the guilty website “Sèance Daily” (also works for Live Sèance).  He wrote up a spoof that has more believable science in it than the article above:
    Meteorites Delivered The ‘Seeds’ Of Earth’s Chain Link Fences, Experts Argue

    Sèance Daily (Apr. 6, 2008): Flash back three or four billion years -- Earth is a hot, dry and fence-less place.  All is still.  Without warning, a meteor slams into the desert plains at over ten thousand miles per hour.  With it, this violent collision may have planted the chemical seeds of chain-link fences on Earth.
        Scientists have presented evidence that desert heat, a little hand waving, and meteorite impacts may have been enough to cook up one of the first prerequisites for aluminum fences: The dominance of “left-handed” aluminum atoms, the building blocks of chain-linked fences on this planet.
        In a report at the 235th national meeting of the Atheist Apologist Society, Donald Slowbres, B.S., University Professor, Darwin University, and former AAS Official Watchmaker Debunker, described how aluminum fences came from outer space.
        Chains of aluminum atoms make up the strands found in fences, various rods, and all cheap sets of pots and pans.  There are two orientations of aluminum atoms, left and right, which mirror each other in the same way your hands do.  This is known as “chirality.”  In order for chain-linked fences to arise, fences must contain only one chiral form of aluminum atoms, left or right, Slowbres noted.
        “If you mix up chirality, a fence’s properties change enormously.  Chain-linked fences couldn’t operate with just random mixtures of stuff,” he said....
        ... Evidence of this left-handed excess was found on the surfaces of these meteorites, which have crashed into Earth even within the last hundred years, landing in Disney’s Fantasy Land Theme Park.
        Slowbres simulated what occurred after the dust settled following a meteor bombardment, when the aluminum atoms on the meteor mixed with the primadona soup.  Under “credible pre-fencetic conditions”-- desert-like temperatures and a little bit of random mutation -- he exposed aluminum atom chemical precursors to those aluminum atoms found on meteorites.
        Slowbres and Darwin chemistry grad student Quickdraw McDuck found that these cosmic aluminum atoms could directly transfer their chirality to simple aluminum atoms found in aluminum fences.  Thus far, Slowbres’s team is the first to demonstrate that this kind of handedness transfer is possible under these conditions.
        On pre-fence Earth, this transfer left a slight excess of left-handed aluminum atoms, Slowbres said.  His next experiments with beer cans replicated the chemistry that led to the amplification and eventual dominance of left-handed aluminum atoms.
        The steps afterward that led towards the genesis of chain-linked fences are shrouded in mystery.  Slowbres hopes to shine more light on pre-fence Earth as he turns his attention to iron atoms, the chemical units of the Eiffel Tower and its more primitive cousin, the Eiffel Fence.
        “This work is related to the probability that there is chain-linked fences somewhere else,” said Slowbres.  “Everything that is going on on Earth occurred because the meteorites happened to land here.  But they are obviously landing in other places.  If there is another planet that has the cow pastures and all of the things that cows excrete, you should be able to get the same process rolling.”

    Next headline on:  Cell BiologyOrigin of LifeDumb Ideas
    Expelled: Battle of the Reviews   04/07/2008    
    April 7, 2008 — Two weeks before Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed hits the theaters (April 18), reviewers are starting to weigh in.  One could hardly find a bigger contrast between two reviews that came out a day apart.
        Dave Mosher, writing for Live Science, used every trick in the book to call this “a bad film in every way.”  He called it sinister, outrageous, shoddy, fallacious and gloomy.  Typical line about intelligent design: “Scientists see it as creationism veiled in pseudoscience, an effort with religious backing designed to generate the appearance of controversy among scientists about Darwinian evolution where there is none.”  Mosher continually tried to portray the Darwinists as “scientists” and the anti-Darwinists as religiously motivated, even though all of the ID advocates in the film are highly credentialed scientists themselves.  Notably, he could not classify them as fundamentalist Christians because a number of them – Berlinski, Schroeder, and Ben Stein himself – are either Jewish or make no claims about religion.  Dr.& Steve Fuller, for instance, a highly regarded philosopher of science and author of leading books on the subject, believes that intelligent design has a right to a fair hearing in the marketplace of scientific ideas.  Mosher also avoided the fact that some of Darwinism’s staunchest proponents made strong statements on camera about their atheism.
        Marvin Olasky had a very different attitude in World magazine.  He enjoyed this “seriously funny” movie and compares it to the 1775 “shot heard round the world” that may start a new American revolution.  It should be rated R, he quipped, for “reasonable, radical, risible, and right.”  Olasky defended the visual imagery saying this is a movie, not a dissertation, but also defended the connection between Darwinism and Hitler, based on his own research.  “If you read an anti-Expelled review that dodges the issue of substance by concentrating merely on style,” he said, as if to pre-empt Dave Mosher’s negative review, “you’ll be seeing another sign of closed minds.”
        Ted Baehr at MovieGuide.org also gives it a strong positive review.  “Atheists and Darwinists should make sure that people of faith and values and agnostics do not see this movie,” the veteran movie reviewer said.  “It is so well crafted that it will completely expose the naked inconsistencies of the Darwinists.  It will equip every person of faith and values with common sense to refute the arguments of the academic overlords.”
    Baloney Detectors are going to have a field day with the reviews of this film.  They are so polarized for and against, it should be easy to find out who is engaging in emotional tactics instead of reasoned debate.  See the film if you can before being influenced by the press.  You can expect the secular mainstream press to be uniformly negative.  Keep in mind a couple of things.  A movie can only say so much in 90 minutes.  This is a highly complex topic with many side issues.  The basic question is clear; is intelligent design sufficiently supported, and Darwinism sufficiently challenged, to allow academic freedom for both sides to be heard?  Why should careers of qualified scientists be ruined over this?  Why the systematic effort to prevent a hearing of challenges to the views of a small minority, its advocates profoundly atheistic, instead of letting the evidence, reason and common sense carry the debate forward?
        Another thing to keep in mind is that this is a movie, not a legal brief.  To attract audiences to theaters there has to be enough appeal with visuals, action and controversy or else the subject could easily bore them.  We didn’t see Live Science complaining when Randy Olson used humor and satire with Flock of Dodos (compare that review with this one).  Stein feels strongly enough about this issue he went out on a limb to make the case in a convincing yet “seriously funny” way.  It’s intended to get the ball rolling toward public debate on an issue that is crying for open and fair investigation.
        For those who need the scholarly backup, there are plenty of densely-worded thick tomes available.  One mid-level book (with enough facts and references to support every claim), that is comprehensive yet approachable, is The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design by Jonathan Wells (Regnery, 2006), available at Access Research Network.  This book would be a good companion piece to the film.  The ARN catalog has many more books on the subject suitable for anyone from the high school student to the science reporter to the PhD academic researcher.
        As interesting a phenomenon as Expelled is in the culture war, no movie should be a crutch.  Get informed so that your opinion has legs.
    Next headline on:  MediaDarwinismIntelligent Design
    Evolution After the Fact   04/04/2008    
    April 4, 2008 — Many scientific theories are evaluated on their ability to make predictions.  Good theories suggest experiments that lead a researcher to discover new things.  In biology, however, “evolution” is a word often invoked as an after-market explanation for observations that emerged outside of the theory.  Here are some recent examples:
    1. Ant farmScience Daily reported on Smithsonian scientists who constructed an evolutionary tree after observing ants’ abilities to “farm” fungus for food.  “By studying certain fungus-growing ants, which our study indicates are almost like ‘living fossils,’ we might be able to better understand steps involved in the evolution of ant agriculture,” one researcher said.
          Living fossils might have been seen as evidence against evolution (10/13/2004).  According to the evolutionary timetable, they represent organisms that have shown no evolution for tens or hundreds of millions of years.  Somehow, despite that admission, the evidence was being used as support for evolution.  The quotation indicates that if evolution has explanatory power in this case, it is in future tense.
    2. Mystery religion:  The phrase “abominable mystery” seems synonymous with Darwin’s frustration at explaining the origin of flowering plants (01/30/2002, 12/21/2007).  National Geographic admitted as much, saying, “The apparently sudden appearance of angiosperms in the fossil record confounded Darwin, who worried that it might pose a problem for his theory of evolution by natural selection.”
          That admission, however, was the only expression of doubt about evolution in a story about “the world’s oldest plant-eating lizard.”  Even though this “spectacular” fossil “challenges long-held views about lizard evolution,” the fact of lizard evolution was never in doubt.  Ker Than explained that it was a choice between two evolutionary possibilities: “either the ancestral condition for lizard diet was not as restricted as once thought or that diet has been highly labile [easily changed] throughout lizard evolution.”
          How this fossil solved the abominable mystery of flowering plants was not explained.  “Thus the new fossil species, dubbed Kuwajimalla kagaensis, could indicate that angiosperms were already in existence and perhaps widespread millions of years earlier than had been thought, the researchers say.”  Might that not count as evidence that flowering plants were created fully formed?  Such an option was never in the cards: “Scientists have since uncovered fossils tracing the evolution of angiosperms from nonflowering plants, called gymnosperms.”
    3. Ancient mother:  “They are separated by a vast ocean and by millions of years, but tiny prehistoric bones found on an Australian farm have been directly linked to a strange and secretive little animal that lives today in the southern rainforests of South America.”  The observation is: a living animal that resembles a fossil animal.  Science Daily wove this into a story about how this “Primitive Mouse-Like Creature May Be Ancestral Mother Of Australia’s Unusual Pouched Mammals.”  PhysOrg echoed the tale, claiming, “The fossil ankle and ear bones of Djarthia make it clear that the Monito del Monte [the living animal] descends from a Djarthia-like ancestor, and so probably returned to South America from Australia before Gondwana broke up.”
    4. Hanging around:  Spiders often hang upside down in their webs.  What does this mean?  Science Daily gave Darwin the microphone:
      The great majority of land animals evolved to use the ground as the main support for their motion.  Accordingly, they evolved legs capable of supporting the weight of their whole bodies, enabling them to move around with their heads above their feet.  However, many spider species found it more convenient to literally turn their world upside down.  They spend most of their lives hanging suspended by their legs, and ‘walk’ by swinging under the influence of gravity.
      The article tells how researchers were “intrigued by this evolutionary phenomenon,” even though they had not watched any spiders evolve.  “One of their focal questions was the evolutionary importance of ‘bridging’ -- the technique many spiders use to move between remote plants by building their own silk bridges,” it said.  Somehow they “discovered” evolution by watching live spiders: “We discovered that spiders that live upside-down have evolved disproportionately longer legs relative to ‘normal’ spiders, which enables them to move faster while bridging than while ‘normally walking’ on the ground.”
          Again, both kinds of spiders are alive today, but “Now,” somehow “we have a much better understanding of how an animal shape should evolve when animals spent most of their lifetime hanging upside-down.”  Yet people have observed living spiders for centuries without seeing evolution between them.  Is it even clear which one evolved from the other?  To the hanging spider, the walking spider looks upside-down.
          A physicist was brought in to study the energetics of upside-down locomotion.  Nowhere was there any mention, though, of an observable series of intermediates (perhaps spiders walking sideways) that would demonstrate evolution had occurred or was occurring.  Nor was there any mention of how a spider finding it more “convenient” to hang around in an inverted world found a way to gather the random mutations required to allow natural selection to adapt its body for efficient upside-down mobility.
    5. Fuzzy logic:  Observation: fuzzy fibers of cellulose (a protein) can sometimes be found in salt deposits.  Conclusion: “Microscopic Fuzz May Be Best Evidence of Martians.”  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, “If Martian life existed a few billion years ago, scientists think any plant-like microbes would have left behind a stringy fuzz of fibers.”  Read all about it on Space.com.
          Even though no life has ever been found on Mars, we already know that evolution will be the explanation.  We can already envision Martian life cooking up cellulose like popcorn:
      If a future Mars-bound robotic explorer seeks out signs of ancient life, [Jack] Griffith [U of North Carolina at Chapel Hill] said looking for cellulose in salt deposits peppered south of the planet’s equator would be the best places to start.
          “Cellulose was one of the earliest polymers organisms made during their evolution, so it pops out as the most likely thing you’d find on Mars, if you found anything at all,” Griffith said.  “Looking for it in salt deposits is probably a very good way to go.”
          [Phil] Christensen [Arizona State U] said Martian salt deposits likely formed after briny pools of water on the planet’s surface a sun-bathed environment for photo-synthesizing organisms that may have made cellulose.
          “The sun is an awfully nice source of energy to turn down in your evolution as a microbe,” Christensen said.  “If we do find signs of life on Mars, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it is plant-like in nature.”
      In living organisms on earth, cellulose is manufactured by a group of complex molecular machines.  They transcribe the recipe from the genetic code written in DNA, translate it into enzymes, and then weave the sugars into intricate chains (try the Wikipedia description for a taste of the complexity of the process).  These scientists did not explain, nor did they even think to ask, how hopeful microbes wanting to green up a red planet could have figured this out.
    6. Demon drink:  How did Asians become protected from alcoholism?  Call Darwin: “That these populations turn out to be less prone to the ravages of demon rum,” explained Kenneth Kidd [Yale School of Medicine], ‘is just a serendipitous event’ of evolution.”  So reported Science Daily.  Since Asians are interfertile with American alcoholics, inter-species “evolution” does not demonstrate a Darwin-style Origin of Species.
    7. Your inner fish:  Observation: selenium is toxic to humans but is necessary in trace amounts, or else serious diseases result.  Explanation, according to PhysOrg: “Although this trace element is essential in the diet of humans, it seems that we have lost some of the need for selenium, which occurs in proteins and is transported in blood plasma, when our evolutionary ancestors left the oceans and evolved into mammals.
          The article continued without blinking an explanatory eye: “Selenium-containing proteins evolved in prehistoric times,” it said, and “We’ve found that the evolutionary change from fish to mammals was accompanied by a reduced use of proteins containing selenium.”  The reporter seemed intent on inserting Darwinese (03/06/2008 into every sentence.  “Some insects have also lost the need for selenium during the course of evolution.”  The scientists linked humans’ minimum daily requirement to the “the evolved reduced utilization of selenium” that occurred since we ostensibly crawled out of the sea millions of years ago.
    Each article above invoked evolution after the fact.  But isn’t that an academic detail, now that evolution has been proven?  “Darwin told us so,” announced a story April 1 on EurekAlert.  No fooling: “UBC researcher shows natural selection speeds up speciation.”
        You may have thought such a thing had been discovered a long time ago, but these researchers were announcing a first.  “In the first experiment of its kind conducted in nature, a University of British Columbia evolutionary biologist has come up with strong evidence for one of Charles Darwin’s cornerstone ideas – adaptation to the environment accelerates the creation of new species.”  They repeated their claim of priority: “As far as advancing Darwin’s theory that natural selection is a key driver of speciation, this is the first experiment of its kind done outside of a lab setting.  The findings are exciting.”
        Surely, this must be big news.  What did Patrik Nosil find in a 200m x 200m parcel of chaparral of southern California?  He gathered “walking stick” insects from one location and put them in another.  He and his co-worker found that coloration patterns, such as a white line along the body, changed as they adapted to a new location.  Then, the ones that could detoxify leaves of unfamiliar plants survived to “seal the deal” of speciation.
        The dramatic tone of the claims led us to examine what was said in the original paper published in PLoS One.1  There, by contrast, Patrik Nosil and co-author Cristina Sandoval admitted that their work was extremely limited, and their conclusions much more tentative:
    The findings suggest that selection on a greater number of niche dimensions promotes evolutionary divergence.  Of course, replication of the data reported here is required before the robustness and generality of our findings can be known.  This is especially the case because only a single species pair was examined.
    Their collection methods (shaking a bush for 15 minutes, watching what kind of leaves an insect preferred, etc) and measurements of fitness (e.g., minute changes in coloration) also seemed highly subjective.  Creationists might agree that the two species in the study had a common ancestor anyway.  In few other sciences would such a limited study like this permit such far-reaching conclusions about all of life.
        The paper also defended a contra-Darwin viewpoint, viz: “We stress that arguments for the existence of stages of divergence do not rely on strict gradualism” – they proposed, instead, a “niche dimensionality” hypothesis.  That’s what was new about their experiment.  It wasn’t natural selection per se they tested, but an ecology-based flavor of evolutionary theory that “has received almost no focused empirical attention, despite its potential for complementing more geographic and genetic hypotheses.”
        All they recorded were small trends in coloration and behavioral changes.  No new organs or beneficial structures were reported, nor did they discuss previously-reported problems about the phylogeny of walking sticks, such as the apparent re-evolution of wings three times (see 05/28/2003 and 01/16/2003), to say nothing of the origin of wings in the first place (04/02/2008).  Another thing left unstated was whether the walking-stick descendants were still interfertile with their unexamined cousins, to prove that a new species had emerged (at least, according to the biological species definition of species as members of a population that can produce fertile offspring).
        Most significantly, they failed to show whether any new genetic information emerged.  Even Bible-believing creationists do not dispute that coloration differences and other “horizontal” sorting of traits can occur by natural selection within created kinds.  This kind of natural selection can lead to dramatic differences, they say, such as donkeys and zebras, or mammoths and elephants.
        As valuable as field experiments are, the procedures these scientists followed omitted some important tests.  They did not repeat the experiment with other species or use controls.  They failed to follow up and observe whether the insect progeny reverted to wild type after the artificial conditions were removed.  The paper acknowledged, though, a number of additional factors that could have blurred the inferences they drew.  (Also of note: father Darwin got no mention in their original paper.)
        Nevertheless, the press release article announced this as a great vindication of Darwin’s theory of natural selection.  Darwin, of course, extended his principle far beyond color changes in walking sticks.  He developed it into a universal principle that produces humans from bacteria over time.  Astrobiologists routinely extend natural selection even further, applying it as a universal natural law even alien life must obey.
        Wherever life is found, one conclusion is sure to follow: Darwinian evolution will have been vindicated – after the fact.
    1.  Patrik Nosil and Cristina P. Sandoval, “Ecological Niche Dimensionality and the Evolutionary Diversification of Stick Insects,” Public Library of Science One, 3(4): e1907 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001907.
    These articles, like building blocks of lie (03/19/2008), are typical of the daily Darwin fare fed to the public by the media.  We’re collecting enough of them to build a monument to dupidity (03/13/2008 commentary).
        Each article invoked evolutionary explanations for observations that were already “in the bag,” so to speak.  In philosophy of science, explanatory inference can work for post-dicted observations as well as pre-dicted observations; the logic is the same.  However, there is a built-in logical fallacy in prediction called “affirming the consequent.”  It goes: p predicts q, q happens, therefore p explains q.  The problem of underdetermination of theories by evidence shows that there are always other theories that could explain the evidence just as well.  That is why Karl Popper repudiated prediction as having any value in scientific explanations.  Instead, he proposed falsification as a test of a good theory.  Historical studies of science show, however, that few scientists ever give up on a theory that has been falsified.  W. V. Quine argued in 1951 that scientists are more likely to adjust strands at the periphery of their web of belief than abandon it because of anomalies.
        These considerations are among many in 20th century philosophy of science that have undermined the simple faith that science is on a progressive path to the truth.  Thomas Kuhn caused a furor in 1962 when he argued that scientists are blinded by the ruling paradigm in which they work.  The paradigm, or explanatory viewpoint most widely accepted at the time, determines the questions worth asking, the scientific approach to answer them, and what counts as evidence.  It even determines the concepts and language used to do science.  Scientists, he said, do not work to falsify paradigms; they work to confirm them and thus receive affirmation from their peer group.  Pursued to the extreme, his line of thinking decouples scientific practice from truth-seeking altogether, and reduces it to an absurdity: science is what scientists do.  Though Kuhn didn’t go that far, some did.  They doubted that science has any case for epistemic privilege over other avenues of investigation. 
    Some offer the rebuttal that science must be true because it works.  This, however, is a pragmatic argument, not a logical argument.  Even if a theory provides success (or satisfaction) at explanation, prediction, and control, that is no guarantee it is true.  A look at history shows this.  Civilizations throughout history, and modern science in recent Western history, have trusted in ideas that are now considered wrong, even though they provided their adherents at the time with remarkable degrees of success at explanation, prediction and control.  Ptolemaic astronomy satisfied its believers for 1500 years, then Copernican, then Keplerian astronomy – but now we know that the planets do not move in ellipses (because a whole set of additional motions at higher levels precludes a closed loop).  Newtonian mechanics for centuries represented the pinnacle of scientific truth – only to be doubted in the 20th century with the rise of relativity and quantum mechanics.  String theory and dark energy continue to show that a comprehensive understanding of the basic structure of matter is lacking; how much more so for biology, where natural laws are hard to come by?
    Exercise: Read this astronomy article on Space.com and ask how strong is the connection between the observations and the explanations offered.

    The dust from Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions has yet to settle, even if he overstated the case.  His little book launched whole new university departments and fields of study.  Researchers started putting science itself under the microscope.  Some portrayed science as a cultural phenomenon, complete with its own sociology, rhetoric and history.  Though the pendulum has swung back a bit toward “scientific realism” (the assumption that science does deal in fairly reliable accounts of external reality), it’s more from weariness of the science wars than any logical or epistemological victory.
        Most philosophers and knowledgeable scientists today realize that scientists can no longer blithely assume that what they are doing is objective or has a necessary connection to truth or reality.  Sociological, rhetorical, historical and political factors are non-trivial influences in what passes for science in a given era or culture.  How strong are these influences?  There is a broad spectrum of opinion, with no agreement.
        If anything in science today fits the Kuhnian vision of “normal science” being an effort to force-fit observations to a consensus paradigm, it is Darwinism.  Evolutionary biologists deceive themselves into thinking what they do is understand and explain reality by objective standards and methods (a position known as logical positivism or scientism).  Their critics, looking in from the outside, are convinced the evolutionists have blinders on.  From their vantage point outside the paradigm, evolutionists are simply putting a Darwinian shine on the observations, no matter what observations come along (12/17/2007 commentary).  They are asking meaningless questions and giving self-reinforcing answers.  Is this not obvious from the examples above?  If so, any resolution to this impasse will require logical and rhetorical arguments as well as evidential arguments.
        At the present, the Darwinians are controlling the rhetorical front from sheer clout over scientific institutions, schools, the courts and the media.  That could change.  A majority of the public is upset that only their side gets told.  Darwinism has become a kind of world religion that, having gained ascendancy, no longer questions its assumptions.  Worse, it imposes its paradigm on the world: both on the world of nature (demanding explanation in terms of the paradigm) and on the world of people (demanding compliance).
        We have seen that the only requirement to explain anything these days is to say, “Darwin told us so.”  Moreover, anyone who doubts the paradigm is labeled dangerous – not to the consensus, but to “science” itself!  One has to go along to get along.  Acceptance into the cult requires abandonment of all other explanatory systems, and allegiance to the Darwin Party statement of faith, encapsulated succinctly in their children’s song,

    Darwin shoves me, this I know,
    For the Origin tells me so.
    Little use for right and wrong;
    Weak ones die, but fit are strong.
    Yes, fitness shoves me,
    Yes, fitness shoves me,
    Yes, fitness shoves me,
    Survival tells me so.
    
    Time for a scientific revolution?  Join the rebellion.
    Next headline on:  Darwin and Evolutionary TheoryTerrestrial ZoologyFossilsHuman BodyHealth
      When animals crawled ashore, there was nothing to eat.  Why evolution is like silly putty, from 04/30/2002.

    Mars Lacks Safety Shield for Humans   04/03/2008    
    April 3, 2008 — Forget all those optimistic, futuristic sci-fi tales of humans landing on Mars.  It isn’t safe, said Space.com.  NASA’s space radiation program doubts that a human body could survive prolonged exposure to space.  This is a problem for long stays on the moon, too.
        “The magnetic field of Earth protects humanity from radiation in space that can damage or kill cells,” Charles K. Choi wrote.  “Once beyond this shield, people become far more vulnerable.”  Another article on Space.com showed that “solar tsunamis” on the sun cause coronal mass ejections that “can launch damaging material at Earth and the other the planets.”  Earthlings are protected by the home planet’s magnetic field, but astronauts would be exposed to the full brunt of the explosions.
        Current ideas for shielding from high-energy cosmic rays and solar eruptions are impractical.  Would astronauts want to stay imprisoned in a lava tube?

    No worries, mate.  Seth Shostak just told us our planet ain’t privileged (04/01/2008).  We’ll throw another prawn on the Mars barbie and let Ol' Sol cook it up fine and dandy.  Still worried?  We got lots of lava tubes.  We’re all mates down unda.
    Next headline on:  Human BodyHealthPhysicsSolar System
    Darwin and Complexity: Another Genetic Solution?   04/02/2008    
    April 2, 2008 — It remains one of the biggest obstacles to belief in evolution that a random, unguided process could build an eye, a wing or any of thousands of complex structures that abound in living things on earth.  To a Darwinist, who sees all life in terms of common ancestry, none of these structures existed in the first cell.  Evolutionary theory is an attempt to reduce the challenge of life’s complexity to small changes at the genetic level that, though contingent, exhibit some law-like behavior that can produce increasing complexity over millions of years.  Does a new paper in Nature1 succeed at making Darwin’s mechanism plausible?
        The team from Yale, Washington University in St. Louis, and University of Sussex realized they were tackling one of the big questions.  “As perceived by Darwin,” they began, starting with the Big Man of evolutionary theory himself, “evolutionary adaptation by the processes of mutation and selection is difficult to understand for complex features that are the product of numerous traits acting in concert, for example the eye or the apparatus of flight.”  They didn’t use the ID-tainted phrase “irreducible complexity” but the reference was clear.
        Their paper is rather thick in jargon and math, but a somewhat simplistic interpretation was reported by PhysOrg.  In short, they knew that they had to navigate between a Scylla and Charybdis of genetic catastrophes.  Darwin, of course, knew nothing of DNA and genes.  Evolutionary theory evolved into the neo-Darwinian synthesis in the 1930s to incorporate the 20th-century findings about genetics, mutations, and molecular biology – then underwent successive descent with modification as the structure of DNA and proteins was elucidated.
        What are the dangerous extremes?  The first is dilution.  R. A. Fisher worried in 1930 that any beneficial mutation would channel or “canalize” an organism onto a fitness island, and that mutations would be diluted in more complex systems.  The other is called pleiotropy: mutations, even if involving just one gene, tend to affect multiple traits.  If a developmental gene mutates, for instance, the change could have a ripple effect through numerous organs and systems.  This has been called the “cost of complexity” – the more complex a system, the more a mutation may damage than build things.  By analogy, consider a change in a power supply on a computer that burns a memory chip and makes a printer unavailable.  So if a complex animal or plant becomes canalized, it loses “evolvability” to gain more complexity; if pleiotropy is universal, the organism could die.
        The authors bred several generations of mice.  They measured genetic effects on body size when they let separate groups inbreed, and then cross-breed.  Particularly, they measured 102 genetic effects on 70 skeletal characteristics.  Then, they performed a mathematical analysis to try to estimate the effects of pleiotropy.  The more they massaged the data (adding various assumptions and making decisions about relevance), the more two findings emerged: pleiotropy only tends to affect a few characters, not a lot.  Second, a mutation can hold its own: a mutation for one trait has more effect when more traits are affected.  “This suggests that evolution of higher organisms does not suffer a ‘cost of complexity’,” they said, “because most mutations affect few traits and the size of the effects does not decrease with pleiotropy.”
        They believe their results affect predictions about the consequences of pleiotropy in two ways.  First, they alleviate Fisher’s worry that mutations affect all traits (universal pleiotropy).  Second, they undermined the assumption that mutations are additive in a linear fashion (constant total effect).  Mutations are neither diluted by complexity nor magnified by pleiotropy.  Evolution navigates a safe path through the catastrophic extremes.  They concluded on a somewhat speculative yet triumphant note:
    The constant-total-effect model, however, has the consequence that the average effect per character decreases and thus the rate of response to directional selection also decreases, leading to another cost of complexity prediction.  However, our data show that the total effects of mutation actually increase with pleiotropy.  It therefore seems that in real organisms the combination of restricted rather than universal pleiotropy, and increasing total effects, could be seen as evolution’s answer to the challenges of evolving complex organisms with random variation and selection.
    Gunter Wagner, the lead author, used a homey analogy for the lay people reading the PhysOrg summary.  “You wouldn’t expect to make a lot of random adjustments – at the same time – to tune up a car,” said Wagner.  “Similarly, it appears that tuning up a complex trait in a living organism is well coordinated and the effects of pleiotropy are more focused than we thought.”  You should be able to drive away with that.2
    1.  Wagner, Kenney-Hunt, Pavlicev, Peck, Waxman and Cheverud, “Pleiotropic scaling of gene effects and the 'cost of complexity',” Nature 452, 470-472 (27 March 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06756.
    2.  That is, unless you ponder the fact that cars are usually built and tuned up by intelligent agents, not random mutations.
    It’s tempting to want to be gentle with these Darwinists.  After all, didn’t they do all the right scientific things?  They published their work in a peer-reviewed journal.  They used scientific jargon (to the hilt).  They used mathematics, the language of science.  Look; they even did experiments on lab mice.  What could be more scientific?  What does a Darwinist have to do these days to get a little respect from the Visigoths and get them to stop the siege?
        How about telling the truth.  We were told this paper was going to be about Darwin’s grand story that eyes (03/31/2008), wings and other complex structures could emerge by blind processes of random mutation and natural selection.  Instead, what we got was a thick fogma (05/14/2007) of bluffing about everything but the main point.  The question of evolution of complex structures kept standing there, like a trumpeting, stomping elephant in the room, with these guys quibbling, as if down on their knees examining carpet dust under a magnifying glass, about correlation coefficients of specific genes and their relationships to other genes and microscopic skeletal changes within one species of animal, who already have eyes, and were apparently not embarking on an origin of species project via a random walk.  Irrelevant details that miss the main point are not worthy of a respectful response.
        Why irrelevant?  Because they started with lab mice, and the ended with lab mice, and no evolution whatsoever occurred!  The mice were one species, interfertile, the whole time.  Did they watch an eye or a wing evolve?  No!  Did they observe the emergence of new complexity and order?  No!  Did their lab mice sprout wings and take off?  No!  Did any mutation lead to any measurable improvement in fitness?  No!  Did they observe anything that a young-earth creationist would have any trouble with?  No!  Did they accomplish anything to vindicate Darwin?  No!  None of their “findings” contributed a micro-meme to Darwin’s myth unless one was already committed to it from the beginning.  It’s the girder over the Grand Canyon again, suspended in mid-air from a helicopter (re-read the 05/22/2002 commentary).
        They cannot assume that the critics are going to trust the Darwinian web of belief, because the critics already know it is insufficient to support the weight of empirical evidence required (Cambrian explosion, molecular machines, irreducible complexity, etc.).  Darwinism can no longer be regarded as a default position.  A few irrelevant details about how genetic mutations might be able to navigate between the extremes of universal pleiotropy and dilution, within one species of mice, according to a rigged mathematical model, is not enough to pay the cost of complexity.  The Darwinists have been in default on this tax for 149 years.  Such details do not provide either progressive or cumulative currency for Darwin’s account, when so much other observational evidence is draining it.  Responding that, “according to our own records, we don’t owe any Complexity Tax,” is a bald lie.  Making small payments in counterfeit currency from your own presses won’t work, either.  The Visigoth tax collectors (05/09/2006) demand, stop lobbing pennies over the wall and lower the drawbridge.  We have you surrounded.
        You can bet these scientists are not as thick as their jargon about what is going on in the Darwin wars.  Critics have been hammering them on this with increasing intensity ever since Origin of Species hit London shelves.  They are sick and tired of 149 years of bluffing, speculation and storytelling about how eyes and wings came into existence by chance.  This is now 2008.  Everybody knows how much more complex biology turned out to be than Darwin ever imagined.  His Victorian-progressive myth, like a tottering wall, cannot survive another coat of whitewash and fancy frescoes.  The Darwin Party usurpers need to stop slapping one another’s backs about how clever they are, and go out to face the revolt.  They need to answer the ultimatum signed by 700 scientists surrounding Darwin’s Castle, who shout in unison, “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life.  Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”
        It’s another safe bet this is the best the Darwinists could come up with.  The authors hail from Yale and two other distinguished pro-Darwin universities.  It was published in the most prestigious pro-Darwin scientific journal, Nature, where publishing real estate is scarce and each entry goes through multiple rounds of editorial screening.  In light of the outcry and controversy these days, if the Darwinists had a better defense for the most controversial claim in the theory, they surely would have published it.  Instead, we got a bunch of hand-waving, some water-balloon arguments that are wobbly and all wet, and a fallacious anthropomorphic statement that somehow pleoiotropic mutation is “evolution’s answer to the challenge.”
        What this amounts to is an admission of futility.  A sufficiently weak defense is indistinguishable from capitulation.  Deduction: Darwinism is de facto defunct.  It is in default on its Complexity Tax because it is bankrupt.  Watch Expelled, join the rebellion, break down this wall, kick the rascals out, clear out the fogma, restore academic freedom, and bring back honesty to the venerable halls of science.
    Next headline on:  Darwin and Evolutionary TheoryGenetics
    Fooling Oneself About Aliens   04/01/2008    
    April 1, 2008 — Would you give a Bible to a Neanderthal, or invite a porpoise to your church?  Who would ask such questions?  Seth Shostak would – director of the SETI Institute.  On Space.com, he speculated about “alien sociology.”
        Shostak wrote the weekly SETI column for Space.com to answer critics who think that broadcasting our presence to aliens could be dangerous.  “The answer, of course, falls within the discipline of alien sociology – a field in which the data are, shall we say, sparse,” he admitted up front.  “Indeed, since we have no idea what the mores or motivations of extraterrestrials might be, you might conclude that, really, there’s nothing we can say about whether the aliens would come here or not.”
        Nevertheless, he dismantled each of the Hollywood sets.  They would not want to breed with us, use our resources, make earth their vacation home, colonize our planet or kill us off to wipe out the competition.  Speculating about these things, he said, is better than the “know-nothing” approach.  “After all, we’ve unraveled a few things about astronomy and physics, if not much about alien comportment.”
        Here was the context of the bibles-to-Neanderthals idea:
    Other suggestions about why they might visit include forestalling competition in the Milky Way marketplace, proselytizing, or just learning more about us.  It’s not clear that any of these goals requires “killing us,” of course, but the logic is wobbly anyway.  Any beings that actually could come here will be far beyond us in technological accomplishment.  Imagine if you could visit the Neanderthals.  Would you worry about commercial competition?  Would you give them bibles?  Remember: these are (nearly) the same species as you are.  The aliens won’t be.  I dare say you wouldn’t try convincing porpoises to join your church.
        Then again, there’s that last point: they just want to learn more about us.  Well, perhaps so.  Maybe that’s really what’s interesting about Homo sapiens.  Not grabbing our habitat, saving our souls (or our environment), or subverting our industrial output – but assaying our culture.  I’m willing to consider that even very advanced beings might find our culture mildly worthy of study.
    Thus, Shostak convinced himself to his own satisfaction that the aliens are friendly.  The Wise Old Extraterrestrials (03/17/2008) will tune in to our broadcasts, not because they think we are special or that “our hunk of real estate is terribly privileged,” but because they might be mildly curious about just one more species that is “Kind of like another weird fish found in the Atlantic” (01/16/2008).
    Alien sociology; good grief.  Here’s another case of a so-called scientist waxing eloquent about nothing (03/12/2004).  You thought science was about things we could observe.
        Shostak is amusing to read, but should his speculations be considered any more academically rich (despite his science backdrop) than those of theologians who speculate about the nature of angels and devils?  At least they have some texts to refer to.  The Bible (capital B here) that Shostak would not think a Neanderthal would understand (but cf. 03/18/2008) actually says quite a lot about angels.  One could argue there is more support for the science of angel sociology than for alien sociology, for which there is zero evidence.  SETI has no data.  To date, it is a body of mere speculation based on assumption-driven probabilities.  Should it be viewed as somehow more scientific than theology, just because its practitioners use computers and radio telescopes?  So do theologians (computers and TV satellite dishes, at least).
        That Bible also teaches that the earth, though small, is privileged – not only because it’s the handiwork of God, but because it’s a place He visited in human form.  It also tells us that humans are special, not so much for their biology as for the sacrifice their Creator made out of His love for them.  That’s why the original Neanderthal man, an intelligent and wise theologian named Joachim Neander (see 10/26/2001), wrote a hymn proclaiming Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation.  Shostak appeared briefly in the film The Privileged Planet, arguing that unless our planet is extremely special, miraculous almost, there should be hundreds of thousands of others like it.  That’s pure speculation driven by his evolutionary assumptions.
        Shostak pulled a fast switch in his article.  Don’t be April-fooled by it.  His career is Searching for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, SETI, not SOS, Searching for Other Souls.  The reason we don’t invite porpoises to church is because they are not souls.  A soul has more than intelligence.  Animals can be very intelligent, and even express what look like real emotions.  A soul has that and much more: it is a rational, free moral agent, endowed with the breath of life as a living soul by its Creator.  It makes moral choices on purpose, not on porpoise instinct.  A soul can also reason abstractly, understand and choose between right and wrong, comprehend God, exercise true altruistic love, and live forever.
        Evolutionists have a hard enough task explaining how intelligence could evolve without having to explain what a soul is.  If they want to argue a soul is a phantom artifact of blind selection processes, guess what?  They just April-fooled themselves! – because now they must deny their own rational choices.  That’s why Psalm 53 says only a fool is an atheist.  It’s not saying atheists are unintelligent.  Shostak is obviously highly intelligent.  So is Dawkins and Hitchens and Sam Harris.  Intelligent people can still do foolish things, though, like pulling the intellectual rug out from under their own feet, and sawing off the philosophical branch they are sitting on.  It’s the intellectual malady we named sophoxymoronia (02/02/2008 commentary) that makes April Fool’s Day last 366 x 24 x 7.  (It is Leap Year, you know.  Don’t use that as an excuse to make intellectual leaps.)
    Next headline on:  SETIDumb Ideas


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    “I have been reading your website for about the past year or so.  You are excellent resource.  Your information and analysis is spot on, up to date and accurate.  Keep up the good work.”
    (an accountant in Illinois)

    “This website redefines debunking.  Thanks for wading through the obfuscation that passes for evolution science to expose the sartorial deficiencies of Emperor Charles and his minions.  Simply the best site of its kind, an amazing resource.  Keep up the great work!”
    (an engineer in Michigan)

    “I have been a fan of your daily news items for about two years, when a friend pointed me to it.  I now visit every day (or almost every day)... A quick kudo: You are amazing, incredible, thorough, indispensable, and I could list another ten superlatives.  Again, I just don’t know how you manage to comb so widely, in so many technical journals, to come up with all this great ‘news from science’ info.”
    (a PhD professor of scientific rhetoric in Florida and author of two books, who added that he was “awe-struck” by this site)

    “I was researching something and found your website; it came up first on my browser.  It’s confusing.  I’m not sure what the point of your website might be.  It’s a little like listening to two groups of old women debate: one group thinks a crocheted blanket is a better made blanket, and the other group thinks a quilted blanket is a better made blanket.  I think they are just arguing over nothing, don’t you?”
    (a retired teacher in Arizona)
    Comment: When writing to our Feedback column, if you have a point, make it.  Resorting to ad hominem attacks based on silly analogies only reflects badly on your intelligence.  We take valid criticisms seriously and correct errors of fact and typos quickly.  This reader was given a chance to restate his point but just got mad and reiterated the same silliness with greater intensity.  Such behavior is unlikely to be effective among our predominantly well-educated and perspicacious readers (see next Feedback, above).

    “Like your site especially the ‘style’ of your comments.... Keep up the good work.”
    (a retired engineer and amateur astronomer in Maryland)

    “I really enjoy your website, the first I visit every day.  I have a quote by Mark Twain which seems to me to describe the Darwinian philosophy of science perfectly.  ‘There is something fascinating about science.  One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.’  Working as I do in the Environmental field (I am a geologist doing groundwater contamination project management for a state agency) I see that kind of science a lot.  Keep up the good work!!”
    (a hydrogeologist in Alabama)

    “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 Creation-Evolution Headlines.
    (Access Research Network 12/28/2007).

    ”Your website is simply the best (and I’d dare say one of the most important) web sites on the entire WWW.”
    (an IT specialist at an Alabama university)

    “I’ve been reading the articles on this website for over a year, and I’m guilty of not showing any appreciation.  You provide a great service.  It’s 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 don’t 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 the internet!”
    (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, it’s apparent you’ve 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 website!”
    (an amateur astronomer in San Diego)

    “What an absolutely brilliant website you have.  It’s 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)

    “I’ve 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 don’t 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 Bloglines.”
    (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)

    “I’ve told many people about your site.  It’s a tremendous service to science news junkies – not to mention students of both Christianity and Science.  Kudos!”
    (a meteorology research scientist in Alabama)

    “...let me thank you for your Creation-Evolution Headlines.  I’ve 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 appear—often 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, thoughtful analyses?!”
    (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!  I’ve 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 don’t 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 evolution’s 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.  It’s such a refreshing difference from the usual media spin.  Often you’ll 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 can’t 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 don’t 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, I’ve 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 don’t know enough to respond to their claims.  Thanks for your good work and keep it up.”
    (a missionary in Japan)

    “I just thought I’d write and tell you how much I appreciate your headline list and commentary.  It’s inspired a lot of thought and consideration.  I check your listings every day!”
    (a computer programmer in Tulsa)

    “Just wanted to thank you for your creation/evolution news ... an outstanding educational resource.“
    (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!  I’m 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 don’t 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.  You’re 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 can’t tell you how much I enjoy your article reviews on your website—it’s 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 layman’s comprehension limits... Very highly recommended to all, especially, of course, to those who have never thought to question the ‘fact’ of evolution.”
    (a business owner in Somerset, UK)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     
    Featured Creation Scientist for April


    Dmitri Mendeleev
    1834 - 1907

    Every science student is familiar with the Periodic Table of the Elements.  It is one of the great “patterns” in nature discovered by careful, painstaking work in chemistry by many scientists over many years.  The one who is most famous for putting the pieces together in a systematic way is our scientist of the month, Dmitri Mendeleev.

    The following quote is taken from Pioneer Explorers of Intelligent Design: Scientists Who Made a Difference by Dr. Donald DeYoung (BMH Books, 2006), p. 67.

    One of 17 children, Mendeleev was told by his mother to “patiently search divine and scientific truth.”  He firmly believed in Scripture, especially Proverbs 25:2 which says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings to search out a matter.”  Mendeleev thus saw chemistry as a royal and godly pursuit.  He was led to seek out the underlying order to the atomic elements based on their weights and other properties.  In Mendeleev’s funeral procession in St. Petersburg, Russia, his appreciative students carried a large banner displaying the periodic table of the elements.

    Coming from a religious family, Mendeleev naturally viewed the world as an orderly system amenable to scientific investigation.  It is said he first got the idea of the periodic table in a dream, and the next day began working out the pattern.  As he was building the table, his belief that the pattern he saw emerging would continue led him to take the intellectual leap of leaving spots blank in the table, in faith believing that elements would be discovered to fill the blank spots.  He predicted the existence of gallium, germanium and scandium, for instance, and even was able to predict some their properties by interpolating from other known elements in similar positions on the table.

    The story of the discovery of the periodic table is told in detail in A Meaningful World by Benjamin Wiker and Jonathan Witt (IVP Academic, 2006).  They use it as one of many illustrations from history of how the arts and sciences reveal the underlying genius and meaning in nature.

    After Dmitri’s death, element 101 was named Mendelevium in his honor.  A crater on the moon also bears his name.


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

    A Concise Guide
    to Understanding
    Evolutionary Theory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Souder’s Law
    Repetition does not establish validity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Advice from Paul

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

    I Timothy 6:20-21

    Song of the True Scientist

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

    from Psalm 104

    Maxwell’s Motivation

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

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

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

    Disclaimer: Creation-Evolution Headlines includes links to many external sites, but takes no responsibility for the accuracy or legitimacy of their content.  Inclusion of an external link is strictly for the reader’s convenience, and does not necessarily constitute endorsement of the material or its authors, owners, or sponsors.