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Obama and Stem Cells:
Hope Chest or Pandoras Box? 01/31/2009
Jan 31, 2009 Any day now, as he promised, President Obama will likely lift funding restrictions on embryonic
stem cell research imposed by former President Bush. Bush had sought the council
of leading scientists and ethicists before making his decision. Obama, by contrast,
will be yielding to the opinions of the scientific societies who have clamored for years that they need and want
access to these morally-questionable cells. Its a good time to ask if
the research to date has been promising.
Science Magazine expressed Celebration and Concern Over
U.S. Trial of Embryonic Stem Cells.1 The report concerns FDA approval of
a study allowing injection of ES cells into humans afflicted with spinal cord
injuries. The work will be conducted on 8 to 10 patients by Geron, a company
in Menlo Park, California. The lead researcher offered only small hope: I dont
expect this treatment to allow patients to jump out of wheelchairs and play soccer,
he said, but a meaningful and incremental advance in mobility is possible.
Despite the champagne celebrations at the prospect of an actual clinical trial, some researchers,
according to Science reporter Jennifer Couzin, are concerned that this may
not be the best test case. They are also concerned that the trials may
produce harmful tumors (teratomas) in human subjects as they have in ES cell experiments
A bad result could set back research enormously. One said,
were still a long way from really understanding a good deal
about these cells and how to use them safely. Nevertheless, Geron CEO
Thomas Okarma is confident the tests are ready for humans. Other companies
are getting ready for trials. One said, we were always told, Cure
a patient and then all of this [controversy] will go away.
This underscores the fact that no treatment with ES cells has yet produced a cure.
Adult stem cell research, without the ethical problems associated with creating and
destroying human embryos, has had many successes. ES cell research, so far, has
only offered promises.
Science reported that Stem Cells Reverse Paralysis in Rats.
One might assume from the title that embryonic stem cells were involved.
The body of the article, though, makes it clear this is another success from
adult stem cells. The rat study involved adult stem cells, which
are found in adult tissues, the article clarified in paragraph 6.
It is the other type of stem cells, embryonic stem cells, that some
activists find objectionable, partly because these cells are derived from
embryos through a process that currently destroys them.
Then the article discussed the upcoming clinical trial with ES cells.
Rats given the adult stem cells recovered significant motor activity
one week after injury, Live Science reported. But ES cell therapies have
long been in future tense. Why the new President and the scientific communities
have been so adamant that ES cell research is critically important is a question
1. Jennifer Couzin, Celebration and Concern Over U.S. Trial of Embryonic Stem Cells,
30 January 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5914, p. 568, DOI: 10.1126/science.323.5914.568.
Even if ES cell therapy produces a cure, would that eliminate
the moral and ethical issues? Will a cure make the controversy go away?
Only if one is a pragmatist (the end
justifies the means). Reread our 12/17/2008
and 10/15/2008 entries to think through the
issues. Never make a moral decision on hype. Many awful movements
started with the best of intentions.
Since its release 7 years ago, Unlocking the Mystery of Life by Illustra Media
remains one of the most powerful, convincing, captivating presentations of Intelligent
Design ever made. Ideal for Darwin Day, it is an absolute must-see.
If youve watched it, you know the production quality, stunning graphics,
animation and original music for which Illustra is famous, but did you know the
film has been translated into Spanish, Russian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Cambodian, and
Thai? (See Illustras
translations page if you would
like to get involved in a translation project for another language.)
This film belongs in every CEH readers library; order it from
RPI and browse their
other ID resources. Now, you can order quicksleeve editions
in quantity (not for resale) to get this vital message out.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Update 02/25/2009: Now you can view selections from this and other Illustra
Films on YouTube. Check it out!
Go there and rate the films. Then order the originals at full resolution.
SETI Has a Long History 01/30/2009
Jan 30, 2009
Magazine provided a historical look at attempts to communicate with aliens.
Like the weather, people talked about life in outer space, but nobody did anything
about it at least till technology made such talk a little less crazy.
Michael Schirbers survey includes some interesting characters Kepler,
Gauss, Tesla and Einstein along with quite a few other lesser-known thinkers
Mars and Venus, Earths nearest neighbors, were long the focus of attention. Scientists
pondering communication with aliens tended to think in terms of the technology available. They considered
possibilities like lighting fires, building huge patterns out of farms, or putting
reflectors on the Eiffel Tower things that could be seen. Once the
telegraph had been invented, some thought of sending coded messages with some kind of
sky telegraph. It wasnt till the radio age that
they began thinking seriously about beaming radio messages or receiving
them. Around that time it became obvious there was no life on Mars or Venus,
and the stars were considered too far away for communication to be practical.
Since 1959 some began thinking that the vast distances between the stars
could be bridged by radio, and SETI was born. And then in 1974
a century and half after Gauss [Frank] Drake transmitted the first actual
SETI message using the Arecibo radio telescope, Schirber ended.
Scientists are still waiting for a response.
Speculations about life in outer space have not
been limited to materialists. Its a basic human curiosity.
Two lessons from Schirbers historical survey are worth noting. One is
the effect of worldview on speculation. As long as scholars believed the
Aristotelian view that the stars circled the earth on crystalline spheres, and
abode in celestial realms unlike our planet, it was not a question people would
ask. After the Copernican revolution, it was not uncommon for religious
people, deists and skeptics to ponder the question.
Plant Lignin Found in Red Algae 01/29/2009
Another lesson is that everyone wanted to find intelligent life.
They understood that communication required a mind with intelligence, purpose, and motivation.
The concept of mind arising from particles in motion is a new and bizarre idea.
It took hold among Darwinists and has become in our time a matter of dogma.
Even more bizarre is that the SETI Institute would use intelligent-design assumptions
in their efforts, while criticizing intelligent design as unscientific
(revisit the 12/03/2005 entry).
Next headline on:
Jan 29, 2009 Time to rewrite the textbooks again. The story of plant
evolution is wrong. Lignin, a chemical that gives wood its stiffness, was
thought to be unique to land plants. Now it has been found in red algae,
Daily, with the title, Billion-year Revision Of Plant Evolution Timeline
May Stem From Discovery Of Lignin In Seaweed. This story illustrates that
anything is possible in evolutionary biology these days.
According to evolutionists, red algae emerged much earlier than land
plants. How are they going to explain a complex molecule, which is manufactured
by a complex process, being found in a more primitive life form?
Because red and green algae likely diverged more than a billion years ago,
the discovery of lignin in red algae suggests that the basic machinery
for producing lignin may have existed long before algae moved to land.
But that just seems to restate the problem. The alternative, though, is
even harder to swallow: Alternatively, algae and land plants may have
evolved the identical compound independently, after they diverged.
The independent evolution of an identical compound in unrelated
lines is tantamount to a miracle. Look what Mark Denny of Stanford said
The pathways, enzymes and genes that go into making this stuff
are pretty complicated, so to come up with all those separately would
be really, really amazing,says Denny. Anything is possible,
but that would be one hell of a coincidence.
Paper View: Dennys statement warranted a further look at the original
paper in Current Biology.1 Sure enough, the
only two options were evolutionary, and neither was unproblematic.
The discovery of polymerized hydroxycinnamyl alcohols (lignin) within the
cell walls of a red alga has major evolutionary implications, they said in
a tone of understatement. Either the ability to synthesize lignin emerged in
a single-celled ancestor (with no need for the sturdiness of plant stems), or it
emerged by convergent evolution in unrelated lineages. Because monolignol
synthesis is exceptionally complex, it seems unlikely that Calliarthron
[the red alga] and terrestrial plants evolved monolignol biosynthesis and polymerization
completely independently, they confessed (see
05/30/2008, bullet 2). Why, then, did the title
of their paper say this reveals convergent evolution of cell-wall architecture?
Perhaps there is a way to get the best of both explanations.
It seems more likely that relevant pathways, such as phenylpropanoid
biosynthesis and polymerization by peroxidase-catalyzed oxidation, may be deeply
conserved, having evolved prior to the divergence of red and green algae
more than 1 billion years ago. If so, we may expect to find conserved
enzymatic pathways and, potentially, evidence of lignification among the multitude
of evolutionary intermediates. The search is on.
Nevertheless, they did entertain the possibility that red
algae and land plants converged on the highly-complex lignin pathways independently.
For support, they pointed to one other
case of convergent evolution in lignin synthesis: For example, angiosperms
and the lycopod Selaginella synthesize S lignin via distinct and
independently evolved cytochrome-P450-dependent monooxygenases, and production
of S lignin in Calliarthron may reflect a third convergent pathway.
This seems to beg the question that they evolved. Perhaps two improbabilities
are better than one, and three better than two. Since
nothing but evolution is allowed in the explanation, though, those are the choices.
Maybe imagining other uses for lignin in microbes will help:
Lignins are thought to have evolved in the green algal lineage as adaptations
to terrestrial habitats, facilitating hydraulic transport and contributing to
the mechanical stability of upright stems. However, contrary to the
current paradigm, our data indicate that H, G, and S lignins exist within a red
algas calcified cells that lack hydraulic vasculature and have little
need for additional support. We speculate that lignin biosynthetic
pathways may have functioned in the common unicellular ancestor of red and
green algae, protecting cells from microbial infection or UV radiation, and in
Calliarthron, lignins may orient the fibrillar scaffolding that guides CaCO3
While were speculating, lets imagine more with the long leash of
evolutionary thinking. There may have been other needs within brainless microbes
that provided opportunities for evolutionary invention via selective pressure.
The presence of G lignin within the secondary walls of peripheral genicular cells may represent convergent evolution of cellular architecture in response to mechanical stress, given that G lignins also concentrate within secondary walls of terrestrial plant fibers. Selective pressures in the marine environment differ from those on land, but the wind-induced drag forces that presumably contributed to the evolution of wood in terrestrial plants are mirrored by flow-induced drag forces on aquatic algae. On land, xylem lends mechanical support to erect stems, and in water, genicula provide mechanical support to Calliarthron fronds. As articulated fronds bend back and forth under breaking waves, bending stresses are amplified within peripheral genicular tissue, which develops thick secondary walls, apparently to resist breakage.... We hypothesize that this putative 3- to 5-fold upregulation of lignin biosynthesis in peripheral genicular cells may be mechanically stimulated by bending stresses imposed by breaking waves. Similar mechanical on/off switches for lignin accumulation have been noted in terrestrial systems: plants grown in microgravity synthesize less lignin, whereas plants grown in hypergravity synthesize more lignin. The mechanical consequences of such minute quantities of lignin on genicular material properties may be negligible. Nevertheless, that genicular tissue contains lignin and is also stronger, stiffer, and yet more extensible than other algal tissues is an intriguing coincidence, and lignins potential role in these properties is an area of active research.
Their reasoning leaves out a key question. Their evidence refers only to spots where lignin
accumulates in response to mechanical stress. How did it get there in the first
place? What does accumulation have to
do with the origin of the lignin synthesis machinery? They didnt say.
The argument merely hints that an applied stress will somehow produce the goods.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
Having earlier admitted that lignin synthesis is exceptionally
complex, it is perhaps surprising to hear them land on the side of convergent
evolution in their concluding paragraph. Their last sentence included overt
Convergent evolution of cell structure and development in Calliarthron genicula and terrestrial xylem may clarify lignin biosynthesis and lend insight into the early evolution of land plants. It is striking that Calliarthron contains lignified cell walls but evolved from calcified ancestors that lacked water-conducting tracheids or vessels. Vascular plants may have realized hydraulic transport by tapping into ancient biosynthetic pathways that initially evolved to fortify unicellular walls and were later adapted to provide biomechanical support.
With funding from the National Science Foundation, Patrick Martone (co-author with
Denny) is continuing work on this surprising discovery. Science Daily ended, Martone says
the research team has started looking for billion-year-old lignin genes
that might be shared among land plants and red algae, and has started
exploring whether lignin exists in other aquatic algae and what role it plays
in the evolution and function of aquatic plants.
1. Martone, Estevez, Lu, Ruel, Denny, Somerville and Ralph,
Discovery of Lignin in Seaweed Reveals Convergent Evolution of Cell-Wall Architecture,
Volume 19, Issue 2, 27 January 2009, Pages 169-175, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2008.12.031.
Darwinism is supposed to be this law-governed,
enlightened, mechanistic, scientific theory that gives rational explanations for
observed phenomena in nature. Pray tell, what is the difference between
their evolutionary explanation and that of a shaman? We have just seen
these scientists invoke spirits. They called on the spirit of convergent evolution,
the spirit of Tinker Bell, and the spirit of vascular plants tapping into ancient
biosynthetic pathways that initially evolved to fortify cell walls of
microbes. These purpose-driven spirits produced lignin biosynthesis machinery
on demand, just because of environmental stress. Miraculous (see
03/25/2003). Anything is possible,
Denny said. At least Christians have a sufficient Cause when they say,
With God, all things are possible.
Scientist says commonly used methods of historical inference are positively and significantly misleading.
But was his hypothesis any better? He claimed compound eyes evolved multiple times!
See the 01/29/2002 entry.
When you learn to look past the big words and identify the key passages
in a scientific paper, its like taking your gaze off the Wizard of Oz
act and pulling up the curtain where the charlatan is hiding. A theory that says
anything can happen, even coincidences that are really,
really amazing can explain anything. Is this enlightened?
Is this progressive? Is this rational? No matter what the observations,
the Darwin Party has carte blanche to say It evolved, because stuff
To get really disgusted, read how the
Magazine spun this finding in to a positive for evolution!
The teams finding provides a new perspective on the early evolution
of lignified support tissues such as wood on land, since the
seaweed tissues that are most stressed by waves crashing on shore appear
to contain the most lignin, possibly contributing to mechanical support, says Martone.
This is why we really need to end the one-party rule in science.
The Darwinists have done nothing to stop the rampant, blatant, out-of-control
identity theft (05/02/2003)
and credit fraud (08/24/2007)
that is damaging the public trust
Next headline on:
Is Natural Selection Losing its Appeal? 01/28/2009
Jan 28, 2009 Some recent science reports sound like they are ready to cast
Darwins key phrase natural selection overboard, or at least demote it
from its leading role in evolution. These articles each hint that long-held
beliefs are being challenged.
The ability of some species to diversify can be dramatic.
reported on a catfish found in Venezuela that can climb trees. Its modified
pelvic fins (see picture on National
Geographic News) allow it to inch up tree trunks. Furthermore, this
ability is seen in three separate species, suggesting the common ancestor lived
upstream. Nevertheless, they are all catfish, and not members of any
groups that evolutionary charts show as ancestors of land animals. The
fins are modified fins, not bony limbs.
- Make room:
asked, Natural Selection Not The Only Process That Drives Evolution?
Scientists at Uppsala University are finding a bigger role for neutral genetic drift.
They examined fast-evolving human genes by comparing them
with those of other primates, and claim that many did not show signals of natural
selection. The research not only increases our understanding of human evolution,
but also suggests that many techniques used by evolutionary biologists to detect
selection may be flawed, the article said. They may have trouble
selling this idea: many of the genetic changes leading to human-specific
characters may be the result of the fixation of harmful mutations.
Its not clear how a degrading process led to human language, civilization and fast-food
restaurants, but This contrasts the traditional Darwinistic view that
they are the result of natural selection in favour of adaptive mutations.
- Tree pruning: A dramatic rearrangement of Darwins
tree of life reported by Science
Daily claims that evolutionary relationships among animals are not as simple
as previously thought. The new tree developed by researchers at the American
Museum of Natural History appears to have two trunks near the base. All the
sponges, comb jellies, jellyfish and placozoans are on one branch, and all other
animals on another. Placozoans look like slimy multicellular amoebas that
glide along the surfaces of household aquariums.
titled this, Humans and sponges may share a slimy ancestor.
What are the implications of this approach? For one,
it means the genetic tool kit for complex organs appeared before the
split, and for another, convergent evolution was widespread after the split.
Some people might initially be shocked to see that nerve cells in cnidarians
and higher animals (Bilateria), the group of animals that includes humans,
evolved independently, a researcher commented, claiming that the nervous
systems are not that similar. It is the underlying genetic tool kit
that is similar amongst these basal animals, another said. Placozoa
have all of the tools in their genome to make a nervous system, but they just
dont do it. On the face of it, this would seem to raise questions
about natural selection. Why would selection invent tools that are not used?
Nature News understood the difficulties the new tree presents.
One difficult implication means that nervous systems evolved independently in the two branches.
This is hard to swallow, one biologist remarked. The supporters of
the new tree just brushed it off. The placula already had all the
genes necessary to make all the building blocks [of a nervous system],
but it didnt have to make it because ecology didnt force it to do so,
said Bernd Schierwater [University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover in Germany].
For him, this problem is not too complicated at all. His answer begs the
question, though, of why natural selection would produce a genetic tool kit in the
first place, if ecology did not force it to use it.
Nature News quoted others who remain wary of the way these trees are
calculated. Small alterations in the settings of some of these
analysis tools can make major differences to the outcomes, one said.
Another worried about adequate taxon sampling. I am tired of these
molecular papers that dont make sufficient controls to check the reliability
of the phylogenetic inferences. The other critic remarked,
This certainly isnt the last word on the scheme of animal evolution.
- White eyes: If the environment forces evolutionary change, as
Darwin insisted, why would some white-eyed birds diversify quickly across multiple habitats while others
stay the same?
PhysOrg reported on this
biological puzzle. It claims that bird members of the family Zosteropidae
are among the fastest diversifying species ever found, even faster than the cichlid
fishes in African lakes. Whats more, the diversification does not appear
to be related to geographical features, because other species in those areas do not
diversify so quickly. As we started to compile the data, we were shocked,
one researcher said about how similar the genetics of these diverse white-eyed birds were
across a wide range. To her, this represented a recent origin and incredibly
The article claims this confirms a hypothesis by Ernst Mayr 80 years
ago that certain species are intrinsically better at diversifying than others. Mayrs
Great Speciator hypothesis proposed that internal factors like
sociability, the ability to survive in a variety of habitats, and a short time
between generations relative to other animals can be more important than geography in
generating changes. Although the article did not mention natural selection,
it seems to relegate it to a lesser role. Darwin had emphasized environmental factors
as drivers for natural selection. Researcher Christopher
Filardi recognized the debate: This leaves the question: are the white eyes
really special, or have we simply caught them at a special time in their evolution?
That we dont know, but our results indicate that high rates of diversification
may have as much to do with a species personality as they have
to do with more classical geographic or geological drivers of speciation.
Filardi did not characterize what personality might mean in biochemical or genetic terms,
or why this bird family would have such a different personality than other
families that would cause rapid diversification. The word is foreign to
evolutionary nomenclature. He seemed to use it as a place-holder for ignorance
of the cause of diversification.
Natural selection has long been the fulcrum of controversy
in evolutionary thinking. Historians agree that Darwin succeeded best in making the general
idea of evolution acceptable but he failed to win the case for natural
selection as the mechanism of evolution. Natural-selection theory was almost moribund by 1900.
It was revived by the neo-Darwinian synthesis in the 1940s, but that was more by
peace treaty between disagreeing groups of scientists (fossil hunters, field naturalists
and geneticists) than by demonstration and the peace treaty signers knew
nothing of the revolution in molecular biology just around the corner.
New Genetics Revolution Underway 01/27/2009
Since the last major Darwin drum-beating celebrations in 1959 (the
centennial of Darwins black book), natural selection has been treated like a
truism, rarely questioned. Some are still objecting to it, though.
One reason is that the phrase portrays nature operating with a purposeful hand, choosing
traits it wants for a purpose. As Darwin envisioned it (aware of the inherent
personification in the phrase), it could
only operate on small variations in the immediate present. No foresight or
planning was involved. Another problem recognized later was that it conveys
no information. If fitness is measured by what survives, and survivors are
assumed to be the fit ones, then it is a tautology: survivors survive.
Evolutionists have squirmed around this problem with lots of bellowing and bluff,
but their answers merely shield the tautology with synonyms (example:
The most serious and enduring objection to natural selection theory
has been its insistence on randomness. Natural selection is supposed to produce
endless forms most beautiful from an unguided, purposeless mechanical process.
But chance is not a process! Oh, but the randomness
in variation is selected by the environment, the Darwinist says.
Well, guess what: the environment is random, too, so this reduces to chance acting
on chance. Folks, chance is not a law of nature. Chance is not a mechanism.
Chance is not an explanation. Chance is nothing.
Darwin is celebrated because he liberated biology from theology and supposedly brought it
under the reign of laws of nature. Big deal. What kind of law is it to
say that Stuff Happens? (09/15/2008).
Its like calling Brownian motion a force. There is no vector.
Moreover, natural selection has never been shown to be creative. One major
impetus for the intelligent design movement has been the lack of evidence that
natural selection is capable of originating the complex, interacting organs that
permeate biology. Nobody questions the reality of mutations, and not even
young-earth creationists disagree with the ability of selection to conserve and
adapt existing genetic information to changing conditions, but how could a blind process that can
only respond to immediate circumstances build a wing, eye, kidney or brain?
Imagining it, or making up stories, is not evidence.
If Darwinism is true, abandon all hope of purpose, meaning and
values. Darwin could not endure the theistic evolutionary views of his friend
and supporter Asa Gray, who promulgated Darwins ideas in America but tried
desperately to cling to a role for God in the process. Darwin understood
that any designing intelligence would contradict his central tenet. Stuff
Happens. Take it or leave it. Darwin wanted pure, unadulterated chance in his biology, not God
makes stuff happen. He could allow for God creating the dice in the foggy
past, perhaps, but every roll from then on was hands off. William Provine
has been among the few Darwinists willing to go all the way to the bitter consequences
of the Stuff Happens law: there is no purpose, no meaning, and no free will, and
when you die, you are dead, dead, dead. (It never seems to enter his attention
that he shoots his view in the foot when he says this.)
Darwin Day would be a good time to point out to the world that
Stuff Happens is no law at all, and believing in this anti-law has bitter
consequences. As a kicker, point out to them that the scientific evidence
contradicts it. Above you have three examples.
Exercise: Assuming philosophical naturalism for the sake of argument,
is natural selection as arbitrary and vacuous a scientific explanation as its
nemesis, vitalism, the idea of a life force in living things? Defend your answer.
Discussion Question: Are laws about chance different than calling chance itself a law?
For instance, there are well-known Laws of Probability that can predict the outcomes of probabilistic
events to high degrees of certainty in some cases. Is natural selection like one of these laws,
or would that be confusing subject and object? In light of the commentary above, see if
probability theory can rescue natural selection from the charge that it reduces to Stuff Happens.
Next headline on:
Jan 27, 2009 The genetics of the 1950s was that DNA is the seat of all
inheritance, and that genetic information traveled one way: from DNA to protein.
That central dogma has been changing after decades of further researchers.
Theories of epigenetics (inheritance not limited to DNA) have been gaining attention
with increasing frequency.
Daily reported on work by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health that
Heritability May Not Be Limited To DNA. The
Molecular Biology Laboratory issued a press release shouting, Rewrite
the Textbooks: Transcription is Bidirectional. And Nature last
week (22 Jan 2009 issue) had a special section on RNA interference. Small
RNAs play a major role in how genes are expressed, and may play roles in inheritance.
One of the papers discussed the interplay of histones and small interfering RNAs (siRNA)
in epigenetic inheritance.1 Histone methylation
patterns can pass from parent to daughter cell, and siRNAs act only on those
daughter DNA strands that have inherited old parental histone H3 molecules containing
H3K9 methylation, wrote author Danesh Moazed. Such cooperativity-based
mechanisms involving the dual recognition of histone marks and other specificity
factors (siRNAs or DNA-binding proteins) are likely to underlie all epigenetic
Much remains to be discovered in this Pandoras Box
of new insights into inheritance, as Angela Eggleston described it in the
introductory article. Moazed ended, Future studies are likely to provide
new and surprising insights about the way in which small and large non-coding RNAs
regulate chromatin structure and how this ability is, in turn, regulated.
See also the 01/23/2009 entry, bullet 9.
1. Danesh Moazed, Small RNAs in transcriptional gene silencing and genome defence,
457, 413-420 (22 January 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature07756.
These studies had nothing of substance to say about evolution.
Moazed wrote, for instance, that With the notable exception of budding yeast,
small-RNA-mediated silencing mechanisms and their role in chromatin regulation are
conserved throughout eukaryotes, indicating an ancient evolutionary origin.
It indicates no such thing. It indicates the absence of evolution.
What is the absence of evolution? Creation!
Another paper in the set said this: These findings have raised
many questions about how and why this widespread RNA-mediated regulation of
genes evolved... Maybe it didnt evolve why not consider
that option? Weve already seen from the 01/23/2009
entry, bullet 9, that evolutionists are clueless trying to explain these things.
Genetics was complex enough to justify the intelligent design movement when the
structure of DNA was discovered in 1953, and shown to be a code translated into
another code. How much more so today with the mechanisms of inheritance
seen to be increasingly complex on entirely new levels.
Next headline on:
Detector cartoon Subject: HALF TRUTH
by Brett Miller!
Click the icon.
Darwinists Frustrated at Public 01/26/2009
Jan 26, 2009 The creationists got what they wanted, moaned
Barbara Forrest in Science
News of the Week (23 January 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5913, p. 451, DOI: 10.1126/science.323.5913.451b).
All they got was the right for teachers to use supplementary materials in Louisiana
schools. This followed a wave of so-called academic freedom bills,
complained Yudhijit Bhattacharjee in his news item, Educators Decry New Louisiana Policy.
The article was reprinted for the Science blog
The Editors showed their bias by saying this about the decision: the news wasnt
all positive for science this week. They called it a loophole
to teach intelligent design in the classroom (see loaded words).
Meanwhile, in Seattle, the public is not tuning in to the citys I Love Lucy show.
The Lucy exhibit (of the Johanson skeleton, not the TV reruns) is a bust. The
Seattle Times reported that the
$2.25 million exhibit at the Pacific Science Center is losing money fast due to
lack of public attendance. Other museums are reconsidering whether to host
the exhibit. PSC president Bryce Seidl blamed the economy and the weather.
Chagrined at the low turnout, he said, Its a powerful
story of evolution and culture and history ... but were not getting the
attendance we need for an exhibit of this scale.
You cant gauge the value of something by the
turnout, else everyone would go to classical music concerts. It is kind of funny,
though. The Darwinists assumed the public would swoon over their idol like they
do. If it were that special to them, they would brave the snow and pay the dough for
it. Maybe they dont because they like to keep their assets (click icon, right).
Can circular reasoning make it past peer review?
Check the 01/31/2006
entry and decide.
As to whether Louisiana teachers should have academic freedom, or
whether students should be able to see a copy of
Explore Evolution in the
classroom, just imagine what a horrible thing that would be. When observing
a heated controversy, one heuristic approach for deciding who has more credibility
is to see which party wants both sides to be heard. Another is to see which
side is capable of accurately articulating the position of the other side.
Next headline on:
The Moon Has Core Values 01/25/2009
Jan 25, 2009 Did the moon have a molten core? There has been a
long-held consensus that objects in the solar system smaller than than [sic] Mars, cant
sustain magnetic fields, said
Geographic News based on a paper in Science January 16.1
Apollo rock samples seem to indicate the presence of long-lived magnetism.
It suggests a molten core able to sustain a magnetic dynamo for long period
not heat-shocked magnetism from impacts, which would have dissipated within days.
The original paper explains the unexpected finding:
Before the Apollo missions, the Moon was often thought to be a primordial un-differentiated relic of the early solar system that had never formed a core or generated a magnetic dynamo. Because it was well known that the Moon presently has no global magnetic field, it was a surprise when the Apollo subsatellites and surface magnetometers detected magnetic fields originating from the lunar crust, and paleomagnetic analyses of returned samples identified natural remanent magnetization (NRM). The magnetization of many samples must have been produced by ancient magnetic fields, but the association of crustal magnetization with impact structures and the identification of NRM in <200-million-year-old impact glasses suggest that the field sources could have been impact-generated plasmas rather than a core dynamo. Determining the source of lunar paleofields is critical for understanding the thermal evolution of the Moon, the limits of dynamo generation in small bodies, and, by implication, the magnetization of asteroids and meteorites.
The authors argued that the NRM was not due to impacts, but probably to a molten core.
They spoke in terms of billions of years, but admitted in the second paragraph that
A further complication is that the precise thermal histories of most lunar rocks are unknown.
Their magnetization ages have often been assumed to be equal to their radiometric ages,
even though thermal events that can remagnetize rocks may have no effect on most geochronometers.
What are the implications of positing a liquid core for a small body
like the Moon? The plausibility of a lunar dynamo has been questioned because
of the unconfirmed existence of a fluid metallic core, the difficulty of sustaining
a dynamo at least 600 million years after accretion, and large paleointensities of ~100 microteslas
that are difficult to reconcile with theoretical predictions.
They said that there is growing evidence that a small, partially molten core persists
today. National Geographic quoted a French geoscience professor who commented
on the consensus-breaking idea that the Moon differentiated and retains an internal melt:
With more studies pointing to the moons core, in addition to signs that
Mercury and satellites of Jupiter and Saturn have cores, experts are being forced to
go backward in that direction, [Pierre] Rochette said.
1. Ian Garrick-Bethell, Benjamin P. Weiss, David L. Shuster and Jennifer Buz,
Reports: Early Lunar Magnetism,
16 January 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5912, pp. 356-359, DOI: 10.1126/science.1166804.
If findings are undermining a long-held consensus, if
observations are difficult to reconcile with theoretical predictions, and if
studies are forcing geoscientists to go backward from their assumptions, then it
seems only fair that informed observers of the reasoning of the scientific community have a right
to question their confidence about the thermal history and evolution of small
bodies in the solar system. Remember, this is not an isolated instance.
The entire history of planetary science is a record of surprise after surprise.
Very little that was assumed to be true about planetary objects before we got
ground truth from them still holds today. What other consensi
are up for reversal? (Yes, the plural is consensuses, but consensi sounds
Many people just cower in awe before the wizards of planetary science,
as if they are onto something wonderful when
they weave their imaginative scenarios of the history of the solar system, like
the new one that claims Mercury and Mars are just leftover scraps from the formation of
Earth and Venus (see this latest weird-science story
Geographic News). How could they possibly know such things? It may be
fun for a PhD to spin a radical new theory about what happened when he cant
go back in time and watch it, but please dont call it science. Science is
supposed to mean knowledge. Plausibility and knowledge do not
necessary track one another.
Next headline on:
Just in time for Darwin Day: a new website called
Darwins Predictions lets you see
if the promise of Darwin to provide understanding of biology has panned out.
Dr. Cornelius Hunter is uniquely qualified to analyze Darwinism. Author of three
books, he is a PhD biochemist also well versed in history and philosophy of science.
Share this website with your professor, biology teacher or science reporter.
Immune System Has a Code, Language and Memory 01/24/2009
Jan 24, 2009 Decoding the language of memory cells is the
title of an article in Science
Daily. A researcher at the University of the School of Medicine is using
the concepts of codes, language and memory to understand the way T-cells remember
a pathogen to prevent later infections. We are currently figuring out which
signals are important for memory generation and protection,
said Emma Texeiro. This is important for improving vaccines and tumor immunotherapies.
Two frequent criticisms of intelligent design are (1) that
it necessarily requires belief in a supernatural God, and (2) that it brings science to a halt.
Think about that in relation to this story. Dr. Texeiro is probably an evolutionist
(we will assume that in the absence of information to the contrary). The question,
though, is whether metaphysical naturalism or evolutionary theory was any help in her research.
Words like code, language, signal and memory refer to information.
They are design words, intelligence words, function words, purpose words.
They have nothing to do with chance and random motion of atoms. One can do
science with the presumption that programmed function is present and discernible.
Does that stop science? Of course not. Her team is actively working to understand
this coded system to improve medicine. For all practical purposes, she is
pursuing her research as if intelligent design is scientific.
Its not necessary for her to debate whether the assumed background intelligence
that coded this information is natural or supernatural. The assumption of
design is not a science-stopper; she is going full speed ahead, and we may all
benefit. Whats the problem? Why are the anti-ID folk so adamant
against ID? Why do they suppose that acknowledging the obvious, that design
is apparent and can be understood, will put America in the Dark Ages? Has
the commitment to evolutionary storytelling done something for you lately?
Has it given you understanding? Has it benefitted your health?
(See next entry, 01/23/2009.) The only
thing evolutionary theory is good for is a belly laugh once in awhile.
In a perverse sort of way, that can be good medicine.
Exploring the Malleability of Evolutionary Explanation 01/23/2009
Next headline on:
Jan 23, 2009 Metal bars can be rated on how much they are malleable (able to be hammered)
or ductile (able to be stretched) without breaking. Is evolutionary theory just a very
malleable and ductile idea, able to adapt to changing observations, or
should it be described as a strong theory, powerful in its explanatory breadth?
Maybe some recent examples can illuminate the issue.
As a footnote, Darwin is even being invoked by astronomers. Martin Rees wrote
in Nature last week,5
Gargle singing: Surprise: Pavarotti evolved from fish gargling.
MSNBC News announced this nonchalantly
with a pretty picture of a swamp sparrow singing away. Yes, it all began long ago:
The pattern started to evolve when lungfishes started to gulp and swallow air,
an evolutionary biologist explained. Heads up, 'American Idol',
reporter Jennifer Viegas chirped. Findings may lead to better human singing.
Thank your inner fish.
- Hardwired metaphysics: Why do some people tend to see religion and
science at conflict? Obviously, we must have evolved that tendency. Robin Lloyd for
MSNBC News explained that we can
only handle one deep thought at a time. She spoke more about the Galileo
affair and the ongoing effort of U.S. creationists to inject doubt about evolution into science classrooms in public schools,
but the tenor of the article is that humans are hardwired to act that way.
Experiments headed up by psychologist Jesse Preston of the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign and her colleague Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago provide
some data to support the argument that the conflict is inherent, or hard-wired,
she said. They found that subjects apparently cannot easily give positive
evaluations to both God and science as explanations for big questions, such as the
origin of life and the universe, at the same time. Apparently the hard wiring
can be short-circuited by conscious choice. Presumably science is a shunt
around the hardwiring. She did not say whether conscious
choice evolved, or why scientists should combat a group of people (like creationists)
who only do what they are hardwired to do. If they are products of evolution,
could they not be considered more fit?
- Scorpius: The book lungs of scorpions (so called because
they look superficially like the leaves of a book) have been imaged by scientists at high detail
at the American Museum of Natural History. Science
Daily shows a photo and claims it gives insight into the evolutionary relationships among scorpions.
How does it do that? Apparently this is the first time since 1926 that someone
examined book lungs for clues to where scorpions fit on Darwins tree of life.
Scorpions were traditionally placed at the base of the phylogenetic tree,
as a sister group to all other arachnids, but molecular data has complicated this picture
by suggesting that scorpions move higher on the tree, closer to sun spiders and daddy long legs,
the article said. Consequently, the question of whether the book lung evolved once,
at the base of the arachnid phylogenetic tree, or more than once, as arachnids
adapted to life out of water, is unresolved. Did the new pictures
of 200 specimens help, then? For one thing, they found a tremendous diversity
of structures. They did claim a match to progressive tree-like variation:
The finding suggests that a significant change in the structure of the respiratory
apparatus must have occurred early in the evolution of modern scorpions.
The book lungs, however, all have the same basic parts, just in varied forms of
sculpting of the lamellae. The differences seem as trivial as those between human hairstyles.
- Extended construction: An old idea by Richard Dawkins didnt fare
so well for awhile, but is now enjoying a resurgence.
said the Extended Phenotype model which Dawkins developed in 1982 is gaining acceptance
among the European Science Foundation. The attendees at a recent ESF workshop
worked out a compromise with proponents of niche construction, often considered a
rival hypothesis. However there was lively debate between Dawkins and
proponents of niche construction over the role of evolution within closely coupled
ecosystems, the article said, leading into an unfinished discussion of how the rival ideas interact
and what questions remain.
- Pair o' sites: Which genes are involved in the evolution of parasitism?
reported on discussions of competing signal pathways that, though evolutionarily
conserved (i.e., unevolved, unchanged during the course of evolution),
might have played roles in the development of parasitism. The word conserved
appears four times in the short article. First line said: Today, 150 years
after Darwins epochal On the Origin of Species, many questions about
the molecular basis of evolution are still waiting for answers.
- Swimmin lizards: New Zealand paleontologists have a conundrum
on their hands. Remnants of a group of lizards that went extinct in the Age of
Dinosaurs abide as living fossils in New Zealand (03/10/2006). Problem: the islands were
supposed to be almost submerged in between the time of the dinosaurs and now.
has a humorous picture of a lone tuatara trying to survive on a tiny rock out in the ocean.
Unless these relatively delicate reptiles (03/31/2002)
swam from South America after New Zealand
rose above the waves, some of its land mass must have remained above the surface.
Even so, they would have had to survive major climate upheavals. An entry
last year 03/24/2008
claimed that tuatara genes seem to be running in place.
- Twists and turns: A triumphant-sounding article on
claims that the evolutionary process has been explored in greater detail than ever
before in yeast. Describing how Mother Nature sorts things out,
a team at Texas A&M claimed they could watch beneficial mutations take hold in
succeeding generations, just like Darwin said. Were gaining a
comprehensive understanding of the way a microorganism adapts to its environment as
it fights to survive, Katy Kao announced in good Malthusian form. Were
demonstrating that the evolutionary journey has many more twists and turns than we once thought.
She did not elaborate on how the twisty path might make it difficult to discern
an evolutionary track millions of years later. After all, she was watching just a
few generations of yeast in the present and at the end of the experiment,
they were still yeast.
- Darwin in space:
has a lively discussion on whether human spaceflight is driving evolution, or evolution
is driving human spaceflight. Its about culture and the human desire to evolve and expand,
said one German spokesperson, apparently oblivious to the usual Darwinian principle that
organisms do not normally exercise free will in the matter. Darwinist professor Will
Provine, for instance, has long preached dogmatically that there is no free will in a Darwinist world.
Evolution must have programmed him to say that.
The Space.com statement implies progress a no-no in evolutionary theory, according
to Michael Ruse and other leading Darwinists.
- Its hard to be purposeless: Two Japanese scientists reported
their findings about RNA interference in Nature1
Although their work concerned mechanisms that involve
fine-tuning and networking of complex suites of gene activity, thereby specifying
cellular physiology and development, they took advantage of opportunities to
speculate about how these complex systems came to be. Teleological language
is supposed to be verboten in Darwinian explanations, but its hard to avoid:
the core PIWI and piRNA machinery might have evolved to produce small
RNAs and silence targets by different strategies, they said.
They also speculated on how silencing RNAs might have originated in plants.
Phrases might evolve and could be evolutionary intermediates seasoned
their speculation. In one sentence, It is possible that such an adaptive switch
could also occur, the word occur substituted for an unspecified lucky outcome
of mindless chance. They also stated flatly that Argonaute proteins have
diversified over evolutionary timescales, evolving a range of functions.
As an encore, they claimed, Such changes might have contributed to many processes,
including human evolution even though they were the only humans in
- Freak show: A new book is out, Freaks of Nature: What Anomalies
Tell Us About Development and Evolution by Mark Blumberg (Oxford, 2009).
Jerry Coyne was quick to jump on it and assure readers of Nature that orthodox
Darwinism is safe.2 Blumberg, an advocate of evo-devo, argues that genetics only plays a minor role in
evolution. Coyne enjoyed some things about the book, but stood religiously with the old guard:
In his anxiety to boost the status of evo-devo in the pantheon of evolutionary
subdisciplines, Blumberg has short-changed orthodoxy, he said.
Not only does the traditional view of evolution explain far more than he allows,
but Blumberg shapes his own vision of development to inflate its challenge to neo-Darwinism.
- Braining the mind: Which came first, the brain or language?
If language, it would be too shifty a platform for natural selection to work on,
argued three psychologists and cognitive neuroscientists in PNAS.3
Darwin to the rescue: The genetic basis of human language
acquisition and processing did not coevolve with language, but primarily predates
the emergence of language. As suggested by Darwin, the fit between language
and its underlying mechanisms arose because language has evolved to fit the human
brain, rather than the reverse. Note: they did not claim this
was the origin of the proverb, use it or lose it.
- Gunning the governor: How can you overcome the anti-evolutionary
force of stabilizing selection, a force that tries to keep genomes stable?
Harvard evolutionary biologists Bedford and Hartl tackled that conundrum in
PNAS. It is generally assumed that stabilizing selection
promoting a phenotypic optimum acts to shape variation in quantitative traits
across individuals and species, they began. Although gene expression
represents an intensively studied molecular phenotype, the extent to
which stabilizing selection limits divergence in gene expression remains contentious.
To provide relief from contention, they invented a theoretical framework for
the study of stabilizing and directional selection using data from between-species
divergence of continuous traits. They used Brownian motion as an
analogue that continuous random jiggling of particles visible under a microscope.
Their model first showed that gene-expression
divergence is substantially curtailed by stabilizing selection.
That could be bad for Darwin. So they tweaked some parameters and got better
results: These findings highlight the power of natural selection to shape phenotype,
even when the fitness effects of mutations are in the nearly neutral range.
- Darwinian altruism? No problemo: Human altruism
has been one of the most challenging phenomena to explain by evolution.
Why would natural selection favor a soldier jumping on a grenade to save his friends,
or an elderly woman giving money for the relief of poor Africans she will never
see? It seems these and a thousand other actions could not possibly help spread the
genes of the altruists. Not a problem, claim Fletcher and Doebeli, writing
A simple and general explanation for the evolution of altruism for
the Royal Society.4 Kin selection is no longer a
requirement, they claimed. In their model, even suicidal aid can theoretically
evolve without help ever being exchanged among genetically similar individuals.
Wow; how is that? Deploying some mathematics and game theory, they rigged a theoretical
framework and then proposed a thought experiment using bacteria (not humans)
whose genes produce some common good (presumably, preservation of the group).
They assumed this common good could be produced by gene regulation pathways.
If the altruism gene gets assorted among members of the group, individuals possessing
it can be preserved even if some commit suicide. The whole problem reduces,
therefore, to how genes that favor altruism get sorted in a population.
Their model, and others, depend on certain assumptions: that genes determine altruistic
behavior, and that they know what fitness is. Its all theoretical:
Put bluntly, they said in conclusion, based on the concept of assortment,
we would be able to fully understand the evolution of cooperation in a world in
which the concepts of kin and group selection are absent. They did not
explain how concepts evolve, but they must have cooperated on the paper
maybe taking their cues from bacteriaq. They also did not test their ideas with
experiments e.g., throwing themselves on the railroad tracks to protect
a fallen comrade, or giving money to help North Korean refugees. Undoubtedly
it would be difficult to link such actions to the particular genes when some humans
do it and others dont.
Darwin closes On the Origin of Species with these famous words: whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning, forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. This simple beginning--the young Earth, orbiting a rather ordinary star--is itself very complicated, geologically and chemically. Astronomers aim to probe further back and set our entire solar system in a broader expanse of space and time.
Whether we are really approaching an understanding, or just fooling ourselves by
limiting our explanatory resources to natural causes, is a lively debate among
philosophers and theologians but not scientists, who presume by default
that they do understand. They are scientists, arent they?
1. Siomi and Siomi, Insight: On the road to reading the RNA-interference code,
457, 396-404 (22 January 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature07754.
2. Jerry Coyne, Evolutions Challenge to Genetics,
457, 382-383 (22 January 2009) | doi:10.1038/457382a.
3. Chater, Riali and Christiansen, Restrictions on biological adaptation in language evolution,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, published online before print January 21, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0807191106.
4. Fletcher and Doebeli, A simple and general explanation for the evolution of altruism,
of the Royal Society B, Volume 276, Number 1654 / 07 January 2009, pp 0962-8452, 10.1098/rspb.2008.0829.
Sometimes the Darwinian silliness comes in so fast
we have no choice but to provide snippets of it. Darwinians really, really need
to take some classes in philosophy of science. Maybe they would understand
the deeper issues and controversies about scientific explanation. If you think
scientific explanation must relate to truth about the world, it is highly doubtful
that is even attainable through science. Van Fraasen does not even believe that
explanation is even a part of science this after decades of debates between
empiricists and theoreticians over what constitutes an explanation. Consider
the strong possibility that the scientific explanations in these articles
have no more validity than a bedtime story dressed up in highfalutin jargon.
Scientific realists, who believe their explanations provide valid knowledge about reality, have a very
difficult task defending that position in this post-Kuhn intellectual climate.
Without the connection, though, they have no claim to epistemic privilege.
Squid eye beats Zeiss, from 01/29/2007.
Some good cell stories that month, too.
Somehow, the art of storytelling has become honored practice in our
scientific institutions. Look at these waffly, wobbly, insipid excuses for
scientific explanations. The one about altruism is as evil as it is stupid.
Can you imagine the reaction of fellow soldiers in Iraq to the sacrifice of their
friend Ross McGinnis (see L.A.
Times), if they were told that Ross did what he did only because he got the altruism gene
in his genome by chance, just like it had emerged in some bacterium by chance in a senseless,
godless, material world? Yet that is exactly what these armchair storytellers
said. If it makes the Darwinists comfortable to invent such fantasies, and then pat
themselves on the back that they somehow understand the world better
thanks to Darwinian thinking, you have found no better candidates for
the label CLUELESS. It never enters their thought processes that their
explanation cannot possibly be right. Why? Because it undermines their
own credibility. Reason disappears. They were hardwired to publish
that paper because they inherited the CLUELESS gene. It forced them to become
Darwinian storytellers. They could not discern this
because CLUELESS produces a mental illness (the Yoda Complex).
Weve given you a Bakers dozen of examples to illustrate that
evolution is as malleable and ductile as Gumby.
It can fit any possible combination of observations or theoretical conflicts.
Darwinists like to call this explanatory power. We call it busy work for
storytellers. Storytelling is highly prized in Darwinian circles within limits.
As long as you never stray outside the boundaries of purposeless, undirected causes, you will have
sinecure career as A Scientist. Weep for Francis.
He brought home the Bacon only to have it rot while
his heirs gorged on junk food in front of the boob tube.
Next headline on:
For His Birthday, Darwin Loses His Tree 01/22/2009
Jan 22, 2009 The tree of life is the central icon of Darwinism.
Charles Darwins only illustration in the Origin of Species was a drawing
of organisms descending from a common ancestor in a branching tree pattern.
It has been reproduced, expanded, embellished and decorated into a primal symbol of
what science believes about biology. Why, then, are
Scientist cutting it down? Why Darwin was wrong about the tree of
life is the title of the latter, and the former says,
Charles Darwins tree of life is wrong and misleading, claim scientists.
These articles are notable not just for their timing (just three weeks
before the international celebrations of Darwins 200th birthday), but for
undermining three claims about evolutionary biology: one, that Darwin is just a small
part of an evolutionary theory that has progressed far beyond Darwins own
beliefs, and two, that evolutionary theory has no weaknesses that deserve to be
taught to students. Right now in Texas, evolutionists are seeking to strike
down the strengths and weaknesses line in the states science
framework on the basis that evolution is a fact (see
Texans for Better Science Education
and All Eyes on Texas in
A third idea undermined by these articles is that only creationists think there are weaknesses with
The scientists complaining about the tree of life are not creationists.
Weve heard from them before: Bapteste and Doolittle wrote two years ago in PNAS
that the tree of life is a myth (02/01/2007).
In addition, The Telegraph quoted Dr. John Dupre, philosopher of biology at Exeter
University, saying If there is a tree of life its a small irregular
structure growing out of the web of life. The article claims that other
scientists have axe in hand: Having uprooted the tree of unicellular life
biologists are now taking their axes to the remaining branches. Bapteste
acknowledges it sounds scary at first, but sees the conceptual revolution as a chance
for biologists to free their minds.
Doolittle downplayed the revolution a little: We should relax a bit on this,
he said. We understand evolution pretty well its just it is more
complex than Darwin imagined. The tree isnt the only pattern.
Maybe he is not wanting to play the role of revolutionary. Dupre, however, is
wielding his axe with gusto: Its part of a revolutionary change in biology.
Our standard model of evolution is under enormous pressure. He envisions
an evolutionary model full of mergers and collaborations, not a branching tree.
The article then quotes Michael Rose, an evolutionary biologist at UC Irvine, saying, The tree of life is
being politely buried we all know that. The public apparently
doesnt know that. He went on with a more dramatic statement:
Whats less accepted is our whole fundamental view of biology needs to change.
Like bombshells increasing in intensity, the article went on to
admit that Darwins theory has been no stranger to controversy.
Pro-Darwin scientists must gag on this last line: It has played a key role in
the much larger debate with creationists who are convinced life on Earth is so
complex it could only have come about from intelligent design in other words,
the hand of God. This after Bapteste said, The tree of life was useful.
It helped us to understand evolution was real. But now we know more about
evolution its time to move on. This implies that useful things
can be false. One must also ask, useful to whom and to
what extent are conclusions drawn from false premises reliable?
Scientist piece is lengthier. The cover shouts, Darwin Was Wrong: Cutting Down the Tree of Life displayed against
a picture of a tree. This is quite a turnabout for this usually staunchly pro-Darwin magazine, which had
just published last month a list of the best evidences for evolution from 2008. To be
sure, it does not question the idea of evolution or common ancestry, but it
did give Bapteste and Doolittle favorable coverage. Quoting Bapteste that
We have no evidence that the tree of life is a reality,
Graham Lawton (features editor of New Scientist) agreed this is revolutionary stuff: That bombshell has even
persuaded some that our fundamental view of biology needs to change.
The article discussed the history of this major controversy.
It came to a head in 2006, Lawton reported, with the discovery of pervasive
horizontal gene transfer (HGT) between organisms everything from
E. coli to elephants. Not all scientists agree: The debate
remains polarised today. Some scientists believe a tree signal can
still be discerned in the genes. But the
fact that there is a controversy supports the claim of Texans for Better Science
Education that there are strengths and weaknesses in evolutionary theory that should not
be shielded from students.
Meanwhile, those who would chop down the tree of life continue to make progress,
Lawton continued. Would he end with a victory for the traditional Darwinian consensus?
Not by page 2 of 4: Surprisingly, HGT also turns out to be the rule rather
than the exception in the third great domain of life, the eukaryotes.
He investigated the tree-scrambling theory of endosymbiosis the engulfing of one
organism by another, a kind of Hegelian dialectic in biology. By page 3,
Lawton was offering rebuttals and counter-rebuttals. At the end of the page
it appeared to be a standoff with Darwin still the winner by the slightest of
Nobody is arguing yet that the tree concept has outlived
its usefulness in animals and plants. While vertical descent is no longer
the only game in town, it is still the best way of explaining how
multicellular organisms are related to one another a tree of 51
per cent, maybe. In that respect, Darwins vision has triumphed:
he knew nothing of micro-organisms and built his theory on the plants and animals
he could see around him.
It means evolution is still true but the tree metaphor has problems thats
all, Lawton intimated. Relax; Both he [Bapteste] and Doolittle are at
pains to stress that downgrading the tree of life doesnt mean that the theory
of evolution is wrong just that evolution is not as tidy as we would like
to believe. Some evolutionary relationships are tree-like; many others are not.
Even so, it is clear that the Darwinian tree is no longer an adequate description
of how evolution in general works. If you dont have a tree
of life, what does it mean for evolutionary biology? asks Bapteste.
But that was just the lull before the next battering ram.
Page 4 ends on the side of the revolution. He quotes Dupre and Rose arguing
that our fundamental view of biology needs to change. If this is a bad time
to demote Darwin, so be it: Biology is vastly more complex than we thought,
he [Rose] says, and facing up to this complexity will be as scary as the
conceptual upheavals physicists had to take on board in the early 20th century.
If he is right, the tree concept could become biologys equivalent of
Newtonian mechanics: revolutionary and hugely successful in its time, but ultimately
too simplistic to deal with the messy real world.
Two sidebars illustrate empirical problems with the tree.
Hybridization and natural chimeras found in living examples show that
genetic information can cross lineages. This scrambles any attempt to find
a common ancestry. The last word goes to a Graham Syvanen, whose experiments
showed that sea squirts appear to have unrelated branches of ancestral genes.
Weve just annihilated the tree of life, he exclaimed.
Its not a tree any more, its a different topology entirely.
What would Darwin have made of that?
Insult to Injury: In an unrelated piece in
Newsweek, Sharon Begley attempted
a renaissance of heresy supplying evidence that Lamarckism
might be right after all. What would Darwin have made of that?
Alas, poor Darwin, her article began. The birthday party is not
going well. Whether or not Lamarckism
is justifiable to explain the evidence she presented, the last word on inheritance
and evolution has not been written, she concluded.
Talk about a gift in time. Texans for Better
Science Education should mass-produce reprints of these articles and give them to
everyone on the school board, everyone in the audience, and put posters with quotes
on the wall. No weakness in Darwins theory? No debate over
evolution? No controversy? Just a bunch of disguised creationists with
religious motivations trying to throw rotten tomatoes at our beloved statue of Darwin?
Readers Digress: The February National Geographic is hitting homes
with its cover story on Darwin. Irony of ironies, the two-article Darwin celebration
is followed by Escape from North Korea, a chilling account of the indescribable
horror refugees face trying to flee Kim Jong Ils hideous dystopia, which lies in the
phylogeny of Stalins hideous dystopia, whose founder was converted to atheism by
Darwins little book (which Marx so admired).
Dont underestimate the significance of this revolution.
Without a tree of life, Darwins central doctrine is undermined.
The tree of life metaphor represented Darwins attempt to unify all of biology
into an explanatory framework. If we dont know who is related to whom,
and what came from what, all hope of unifying biology in a law-driven, naturalistic
framework is called into doubt. Doolittle and Bapteste talk about a web of
life, but thats creationism. A web has no root. The
information is all there; it is just shared. Where did the information come
from? Darwin said it all had a common origin in a warm little pond, took
root, and branched progressively outward into a glorious tree. If that
metaphor is being replaced by a web, where is the designing spider?
There are other problems. They pulled a coup but provided no new
administration. They cut down the tree but still want to use the lumber.
Sorry; its too rotten for anything but firewood.
There is no Einstein on the horizon to rescue biology from its
empirical catastrophe. The comparison to physics in the early 20th century
is apt, but analogies are always imperfect. It is doubtful Darwin could
retain the honor of a Newton if his core belief has been falsified.
No fig Newtons on this tree. Notice
also that neither Darwin nor the revolutionary brigade of evolutionary biologists has
a clue where complexity comes from (re-read the 10/29/2004
entry). Phillip Johnson hammered the Darwinists for years
for failing to provide evidence that natural selection had the creative power to
build eyes, wings, and complex organs. An explanation for that is just as
lacking in the words of these revolutionaries. Where are they going to get the
genetic information to build eyes and wings? From horizontal gene transfer? From
hybridization? From symbiosis? Come on; you cannot get blood out of
a turnip. Information can only be shared and modified if it is already
present. Intelligent causation still stands as the best explanation for the
origin of specified complexity in nature.
Meanwhile, the tree goes on among those who dont know a revolution has occurred.
Science Magazines running tribute to Darwin, reported how Cambridge
University projected Darwinian images on the facade of the building. Amid church
bells and lights, did anyone catch the irony of their caption: Above, a
graying Darwin ponders the tree of life.... He looked very sad.
Its amusing to read the comments to the New Scientist
article. One reader worried that the article would invite creationists to
lampoon evolution said, You know that wall of Science articles (mostly NS)
at the Creationist Museum NewScientist published an article about? This cover
[with Darwin Was Wrong over a tree] will probably be the A1 sized,
gilt and framed centerpiece before the week is out. And your point is?
Why not? Gnashing of teeth does not change the facts. We think it would
look especially nice to the right of an A1-size poster of National Geographics
Nov 2004 cover, Was Darwin Wrong?
Update 01/23/2009: The vote on the Texas
proposal to retain the strengths and weaknesses provision in the state
science standards was a tie (7-7) yesterday. This means it was defeated.
This vote therefore falls within a trend of many votes and
court decisions about academic freedom on the teaching of origins that were defeated
by the narrowest of margins, like 4-3 in the Louisiana balanced-treatment case, or
by one lone judge (as with Judge Jones in Dover, Pennsylvania). Reporters ran to their offices declaring
this a big victory for evolution and a defeat for creationists (actually,
a motley group of Darwin doubters and supporters of academic freedom). Robert Roy Britt in
Live Science, for
instance, announced that A decision Thursday by the Texas State Board of Education is a
big defeat for proponents of creationism and others who would like to see
evolution presented in school as a weak theory that has viable competing alternatives.
He continued, The tie means the measure was defeated, so evolution can continue
to be taught as the very strong scientific theory that it is.
He crowed that evolution is about as solid a theory as there is. The idea that all
creatures have evolved, and that humans are descended from other primates, is supported
by evidence from various fields. Advocates of the strengths and
weakness language, he said, are people with religious and political agendas
(implying no such motivations or agendas on the other side, a common way the pro-evolutionists
spin the issue as science vs. religion, though very involved politically themselves).
It would seem that scientific evidence of weaknesses in evolution, even from secular sources
as presented by Bapteste and Doolittle, will henceforth be disallowed in Texas schools after two decades
of the successful strengths and weaknesses policy. However, after
most of the reporters left the room, the board continued to discuss policies related
to the teaching of evolution. Two other votes by the school board, passed by large margins, affirmed that
students should learn to analyze and evaluate scientific evidence for evolution (see
Evolution News #1,
Dr. John West of the Discovery Institute called this one step back, two steps forward
for those wanting to keep the controversies over evolution open to scrutiny.
The new evolution standards are a huge advance over the previous language, and
are a great victory for parents, teachers, and students who want good science education
in the state of Texas, he said, chiding the reporters who rushed to judgment.
Look how close these votes can get: seven to seven!
If you dont get involved, and speak out, the liars in
the Darwin Party, with the power of the media and their political action committees,
will continue to spin this issue their way and push their agenda. Read the
commentary from 12/16/2008
again to realize again just how lopsided the reporting is, and how intolerant
the Darwinists are. It is literally shocking.
It is past time for righteous indignation. Take
that indignation to the point of driving the lying rascals out of the castle they
usurped from the citizens (02/01/2007 commentary).
The Darwiniacs worship their idol but dont listen to him. He said,
A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and
balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of
each questionCharles Darwin. Who are the real
followers of that intuitively-obvious, scientifically-sound principle?
You would think the scientific institutions would immortalize those words in stone
and embed them in their P&P Manuals, but no! It takes morally upright citizens
to hold their feet to the fire of what should be their own core values. Incredible.
Exercise: Which logical fallacy is committed in
the following statement: You oppose the scientific institutions on this
issue. You are obviously anti-science.
Next headline on:
Minerals Can Fool Astrobiologists 01/21/2009
Jan 21, 2009 Look at this picture on
Geographic News. Looks alive, doesnt it? Its only a mineral.
The article contains a gallery of five micrographs of minerals that form curvy crystals.
Theyre called biomorphs (a word simply meaning life-like shapes).
Until now scientists had thought rounded crystals, such as those
found in seashells and bones, could only be made by living organisms, the caption
one says. In such a case, fossilized curves in rocks from early Earth or
even other planets would seem to be sure signs of life. The new crystals
generated from carbonates by scientists in Spain,
however, curve and twist like DNA and other biological forms. They
bring to mind the tantalizing forms in the Martian meteorite that launched the science of
The caption for picture five says, by creating biomorphs such as the one above,
the University of Granadas Garcma-Ruiz and colleagues have put a serious dent
in theories that rounded crystals are definitive signs of life.
Nature mentioned the work with a little more cautious language: The work opens the way for
new approaches to the synthesis of biological and biomimetic materials, and to the
exclusion of false positives when looking for life-like forms in poorly characterized environments.
1. Research Highlights: Crystal growth: getting their morph on,
457, 360 (22 January 2009) | doi:10.1038/457360a.
The shapes have no more relation to life than
a statue of Robert E. Lee to the actual general. It goes to show how people
can see what they wish to see if not careful. This year there is an epidemic
of delusional people looking into their crystal balls and seeing the prophet
Darwin. Help them face reality. It just might lower your taxes.
Feather Evolution Proved? 01/21/2009
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
Jan 21, 2009 Another claim of feather evolution was reported in PNAS.1
Creationists have long claimed that the evolution of feathers from reptilian scales is an
intractable problem for Darwinists (example: 1994 article from
Does the paper provide incontrovertible proof that feathers had evolved in dinosaurs
before birds took flight in the air?
Beipiaosaurus, a therizinopod theropod, discovered in the Liaoning
province of China, was announced in 1999. The latest paper by the discoverer Xing Xu
discusses a new feather type found in a second specimen. Xing Xu claims that all the
intermediate steps in feather evolution predicted in a 1999 model by R. O. Prum (Natural
History Museum, University of Kansas)2
have now been filled in: Although the EBFFs
[elongated broad filamentous feathers] in the basal therizinosaur Beipiaosaurus
differ from the predicted stage I morphology in some features, such as their somewhat
planar form, their discovery nevertheless documents an unbranched feather morphology
in nonavian theropods and thus completes the array of fossil evidence for the morphological
series predicted by the developmental models.
Summaries of the paper can be found on Live
Science and the BBC News.
One of the main points Xu et al made was that these integumentary structures
could never have been used for flight. Beipiaosaurus was 7 feet long,
after all, and some therizionsaurs reached 40 feet. Also, the feather impressions
were found only along the head, neck, torso and tail. He proposed instead that they
were used for mating displays.
Speculations about the origin of feathers go way back
(10/30/2002). Thomas Huxley
in the 1800s speculated about the origin of birds from dinosaurs.
The story has become more complex than a simple line from one to the other.
A bewildering array of specimens defies any neat, uncontroversial classification.
Update 01/22/2009: After this entry was posted, news of
another feathered dinosaur was found on
Geographic News. This specimen, Anchiornis huxleyii (named for Thomas
Huxley who first suggested a dinosaur-to-bird link), is the smallest of all.
The purported feathers on this specimen, which cover the body and head,
are apparently too indistinct to classify. Its long forearms suggests that it
was capable of flying or gliding. Its estimated age seems close to that of
Archaeopteryx. Xing Xus paper calls it a maniraptoran
dinosaur but whether the maniraptorans should be called dinosaurs
at all seems open to revision.3
1. Xing Xu, Xiaoting Zheng and Hailu You,
A new feather type in a nonavian theropod and the early evolution of feathers,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
PNAS January 20, 2009 vol. 106 no. 3 832-834, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0810055106.
2. Abstract available from PubMed.
3. The maniraptoran clade, which includes the true birds,
was invented in 1986. Maniraptorans typically have long forearms (like bird
wings) and are so classified by the arbitrary rule all dinosaurs closer to modern birds
than to the ornithomimids. Since the grouping includes many extinct species
known only from skeletal features, some with faint feather-like impressions,
and scientists disagree on the salient characteristics among mosaics of traits,
the placement of this or that fossil in the group, or the status of the group itself,
Here at CEH, we respect empirical evidence and
believe in following the evidence where it leads. There are some strange
aspects to this story, however, that should lead any observer to avoid jumping
Three years ago, radical Darwinists stopped a gentle teacher in a rural town from
presenting both sides of the Darwin vs. design debate in an elective philosophy
class. Read the shocking tale in the
What is clearly needed is a skeptical outside look at this list and the claims
made about them. Even under the most optimistic scenario from within the evolutionary
camp, they still have to account for the origin of flight. It is a huge leap
to assume that fibers of collagen, whether for display or warmth, became flight
feathers. For one thing, the structural differences between integumentary
fibers and true flight feathers is very large, both in how they grow and where
they grow. For another, the entire anatomy of a flying reptile
would have had to simultaneously evolve: new lung system, new proportions, new
organs, new embryological development, and new behaviors. Do evolutionists have anything but competing
just-so stories for how this happened? (10/24/2005). One group says they practiced jumping
out of trees (09/22/2006). Another group says they ran along slopes with arms outstretched
This gets comical real fast (click the Tweety bird).
- The only feathered dinosaur specimens come from the Liaoning Province
of China. Therizinopods from North America do not have the integumentary structures.
The rebuttal is that the fossils from Liaoning have exceptional preservation.
But so do other areas in the world, like Germany (see the important
03/15/2006 entry). Why are none found elsewhere?
- The Feathered dinosaur fossils all come from the Yixian formation in China
and all began surfacing in the 1990s. Archaeopteryx has been known since
the time of Darwin. And why is the same scientist, Xing Xu, so personally involved
in these revelations? A diversity of independent discoverers would be healthy.
- China has strong motivation to find spectacular fossils. Workers in the
fossil quarries know that spectacular finds bring more money.
- Western evolutionists have strong motivation to link dinosaurs with birds.
Recall the rush to judgment National Geographic made over Archaeoraptor
that embarrassed them when it was found by Xing Xu to be a hoax.
- The word feather is being used carelessly. These are elongated
fibers, if anything nothing like the pennate feathers on birds with closed
vanes, linked by a complex interlocking system of barbs and barbules.
- The phylogeny of Beipiaosaurus and other therizinopods is controversial.
Every once in awhile the family tree gets rearranged.
- The presumed feathers could be artifacts of the fossilization process at Liaoning.
Some have proposed they are flayed fibers of skin collagen.
- The earliest-claimed feathered dinosaur Sinosauropteryx remains
controversial (see the pro-Darwinist Wikipedia
entry). Scientists are not sure if the feathers are flayed collagen
and where this species fits in the evolutionary tree
- The integumentary structures had nothing to do with flight. They probably
did not provide insulation, either. It is not clear what evolutionary
advantage they played, if anything. The hypothesis that they were used
for mating displays is just that a hypothesis. How can one test it on
an extinct animal?
- Original papers on these feathered-dinosaur claims usually describe them as
protofeathers or integumentary structures leaving some
doubt about what they really were. The ones with unambiguous feathers are arguably
true birds, not dinosaurs.
- The only other part of the world with well-preserved feathers is Germany, where
Archaeopteryx was found. This was a true bird capable of powered flight. It possessed
asymmetrical, pennaceous feathers. Archaeopteryx, furthermore, is placed earlier
than the so-called feathered dinosaurs.
- Artist reconstructions tend to get carried away with exaggerating the integumentary
structures to look like feathers. Judge from the fossils, not from the artwork.
- Of the 21 feathered dinosaur species listed by
Wikipedia, all have
problems either in classification or in identifying the integumentary structures
as feathers. Their list includes Velociraptor but the only evidence is
the putative instance of quill knobs on one specimen (see
09/22/2007). A careful reading of
the article shows only inference
based on evolutionary thinking: The fact that the ancestors of
Velociraptor were feathered and possibly capable of flight long suggested
to paleontologists that Velociraptor bore feathers as well, since even
flightless birds today retain most of their feathers. The article also
entertains the possibility that they were secondarily flightless. Their list
also includes Juravenator, which had only scales, not feathers
(see Mr. Dinofeather Xing Xu himself waffle about this in the 03/15/2006
- Some of the feathered dinosaurs on the list may have devolved from birds and
become flightless, like the kiwi is believed to have become secondarily flightless.
This has been proposed for Epidexipteryx,
for example (see 10/22/2008), and Caudipteryx.
- A careful look at the list shows that feathers are inferred among many
of them this, again, based on evolutionary assumptions. Inferred
feathers are imaginary feathers
07/09/2008). We must go with the actual feathers found
on specimens that are clear of hoax suspicions.
The ones marked with pennaceous feathers (not pennaceous feathers
inferred, as with Velociraptor) are arguably all birds that could fly
or, as in the case of Caudipteryx, lost the ability to fly.
- Are there really 21 distinct species on the Wikipedia list, or is this a
manufactured classification based on evolutionary assumptions? How much
overlap is there? Sinocalliopteryx, for instance, is described as a
larger version of Huaxiagnathus. Some had no feathers at all but were
only inferred to have feathers based on their presumed evolutionary position. As with human
evolution, where fossils could be reclassified as clearly human (Neanderthal) or clearly ape
(Lucy), an outside observer could reclassify all the members as either birds or reptiles.
The presence of a consensus among doctrinaire Darwinists does not necessarily
correlate with truth.
- Placing the known specimens into an evolutionary sequence is a human activity
that does not derive objectively from the bones themselves (see
- Where are the skeptics? Science thrives on controversy. Skeptics
of dinosaur-to-bird evolution like Alan Feduccia (10/10/2005)
and Storrs Olson rarely get a hearing in the Darwin Chorus. When their views
are mentioned at all, it is usually just to drown them out with the chorus.
Remember Storrs Olson said in 2001, They want to see feathers . . . so they
see feathers. This is simply an exercise in wishful thinking
(03/13/2001). That doesnt make for good
press in the newspapers.
Without the evolutionary thinking that has become the
mind-altering drug of choice among todays paleontologists, we would simply recognize
that our present world is impoverished of many complex and interesting animals
that once lived on this planet. There would not be this insatiable lust to link them into
trees to honor their idol, Charles Darwin. However the activity makes them
feel good, it is a hallucination, not an observation.
Next headline on:
Scientists Yank Obamas Chain 01/20/2009
Jan 20, 2009 As President Obama takes office today, having said he will restore
science to its rightful place, he will have the scientific
community anxious to get their agenda on his table.
Nature News said,
Scientific groups are actively pushing their argument that modernizing the nations
scientific infrastructure could help create the skilled workforce needed to address
challenges such as global warming. His newly-chosen secretary of the
EPA, Lisa Jackson, has promised to make that issue central in her tenure
also printed a commentary called, Your inbox, Mr. President.
In a swipe at the former administration, the subtitle read,
Rejuvenate the Environmental Protection Agency. End the stem-cell ban.
Re-engage with the UN on climate change. Six leading voices tell Nature
what the new US president needs to do to move beyond the Bush legacy, even though
in his closing days in office Bush set aside the largest marine preserve in history.
The magazine did, however, include two issues from the Bush presidency that must
continue: fighting AIDS, and preventing terrorists from building a nuclear bomb.
Nevertheless, they are clearly tantalized with the promised flow of dough from the left-leaning administration:
Science tipped to score in Obama cash stimulus, wrote Jeff Tollefson
in Nature News.
Thats what the British science journal had to say; the latest issue of the American journal
Science said nothing about the new administration yet.
Keep the redcoats out of the US treasury.
Whose money do they think this is? No taxation without representation.
Readers Digress: He [Darwin] changed the world fundamentally. Along with those now fallen idols Marx and Freud, he accounts for the secularisation of western society. Darwinism is the foundational theory of all atheistic, scientific and materialist doctrines and of the notion that everything is ultimately explicable and that there is nothing special about it the self-denigration and self-hatred, the great nothing but story. Find this quote in
context at the Times Online UK.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Fossil Fumbles Damage Darwinism 01/19/2009
Jan 19, 2009 Three recent fossil finds are rearranging Darwins tree of
life. Pro-Darwinists will interpret this as pruning; Darwin skeptics will
interpret it as uprooting.
A footnote on the third item: the original paper by Matz et al actually made things worse
for the Darwinians. The authors suggested that even the Ediacaran biota
the strange plant-like things that preceded the explosion, were not multicellular
organisms. Our observations also render indirect support to the highly
controversial interpretation of the enigmatic Ediacaran biota of the late Precambrian
as giant protists, they said. If so, it doesnt suggest the Darwinists hoped the
Ediacaran biota would provide transitional forms. It only sharpens the
concussion of the Cambrian explosion: because, except for sponge embryos found in
the Precambrian, it means everything prior to the sudden appearance of virtually all the
animal phyla consisted of single-celled microbes.
- Shark heads: The earliest known braincase of a shark-like
fish has shown some assumptions about the early evolution of vertebrates are
completely wrong, experts say. Thats what
Geographic said. Read all about it: sharks are not more primitive compared
to bony fish. The situation is a lot more complicated. This is
the first real movement in this part of the evolutionary tree in the last hundred years,
one scientist commented. The BBC
News write-up, however, did not point out the problems. It merely reported that
the fossil is shedding light on the evolution of jawed vertebrates.
- Archaeopteryx, emu?: Interpreters of the early bird Archaeopteryx
have fallen into the bird camp and the reptile camp. Score a point for the bird team:
reported on X-ray scanning of the fossil that shows its hearing bones were more bird-like
than reptile-like. It probably heard like a modern emu, they figure.
- Rolling stones: Precambrian rocks have long been known to possess
wiggly lines. What are these trace fossils? Without a body, it was
hard to know. Evolutionists eager to soften the Cambrian Explosion interpreted
them as worm trails the earliest examples of bilaterian (two-sided) animals.
That interpretation has come under fire with the discovery of giant living amoebas that can
roll around and produce tracks very similar to those seen in the fossil record.
Both Science1 and
Current Biology2 commented on the finding
reported last month reported in Current Biology.3
None of them were optimistic. It appeared that, at least in some cases,
the hoped-for traces of complex multicellular life that might have lessened the
impact of the Cambrian Explosion were in fact made by single-celled organisms.
1. Stefan Bengtson and Birger Rasmussen, New and Ancient Trace Makers,
16 January 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5912, pp. 346-347; DOI: 10.1126/science.1168794.
2. Jan Pawlowski and Andrew J. Gooday, Precambrian Biota: Protistan Origin of Trace Fossils?,
Volume 19, Issue 1, 13 January 2009, pp. R28-R30, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2008.11.003.
3. M.V. Matz, T.M. Frank, N.J. Marshall, E.A. Widder and S. Johnsen,
Giant deep-sea protist produces bilaterian-like traces, Curr. Biol. 18 (9 Dec 2008), pp. 1849–1854.
Watch for the release this year of a new documentary
on the Cambrian Explosion. The problem that should have falsified Darwinism
in 1859 never went away. Each new finding shouts that Darwinism has been
defeated, and should be tossed into the dustbin of history.
The Design of Life by William Dembski and Jonathan Wells (Foundation for Thought and Ethics, 2008) is
a classy book in both content and delivery. A solid case for design and
a detailed critique of neo-Darwinism is presented from an intelligent design perspective.
The quality of the printing, glossy paper with great illustrations, makes this an attractive
textbook (275 pp) suitable for high school or college classroom use. Fully referenced, with glossary and large
index, the book includes a CD of General Notes to amplify the printed material.
Laymen will learn a great deal about biology, genetics, fossils, evolutionary theory, specified
complexity and the origin of life in this excellent compilation of design arguments.
Find it at the Design of Life website or
But the pro-Darwinists are unrepentant and stiffnecked.
Listen to what Sid Perkins said in the new Darwin-Birthday Bombast issue of
News (Jan 31, 2009, 175:3, p. 30). In an article bluffing that transitional forms are found all over
the fossil record (only mentioning Tiktaalik and a particular salamander),
he said this about the Cambrian:
And many stretches of the fossil record poorly represented in Darwins day
such as the Precambrian, an era before the Cambrian period
(which began about 542 million years ago and is when much of lifes diversity
apparently evolved) are now more thoroughly populated. Fortey
notes: For Darwin, the Precambrian was a complete mystery, whereas now we
have a tremendously detailed narrative for that era, much of it gathered
in the past few decades.
The bluffing and
in that paragraph is shocking and
irresponsible. Apparently evolved is pure question
begging built on imagination. Sure the Precambrian is more thoroughly populated with microbes, but not
with the transitional forms Darwin needed. Science News, you know, has been a Darwin Party
mouthpiece since its founding at the Scopes Trial, when it was a propaganda
arm of the new ACLU that sued Tennessee (12/28/2005). Even secular historians now admit
that the whole Scopes affair was a sham to shame religious creationists in the media, which is
the only thing the lurid sideshow
accomplished. Would you grant any credibility to scoundrels?
Next headline on:
Time for Mars Life Again 01/16/2009
Jan 16, 2009 Methane detection around Mars is giving new life to claims there
is life on Mars. Space.com #1
and Space.com #2
explain why NASA scientists are looking to see if the methane can be explained
geologically or biologically. Some news sites, like
go over the top with claims life has been discovered. Only the readers who
look at the ending lines will realize there is skepticism about the claims.
The BBC News
presented both biology and geology as possibilities.
See earlier reports on Mars methane from
This can only mean one thing: its funding
season again. NASA helped distract attention from Clintons sins in
1996 with the whiz-bang press conference about life in the Martian meteorite.
That provided enough funds to launch the science of Astrobiology
(04/17/2006, 08/06/2006). They
probably need a boost from Obama. The safe money is on the geology (see
sample rebuttal on
Earths methane is biogenic, but Titans is geological.
The question no one is asking is whether a geological origin suggests Mars is not
as old as claimed (09/28/2004). You can ask it, though.
Meanwhile, enjoy Wayne Stayskals cartoon.
Monkey See, Darwin Do 01/15/2009
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
Jan 15, 2009 Is monkey imitation a clue to the evolution of human culture?
thought so. In an article adorned by a picture of macaques enjoying a hot spring,
the title read, Primate Culture Is Just A Stones Throw Away From Human Evolution, Study Finds.
The studious studiers were researchers at the Primate Research Center
in Kyoto, Japan. They discovered what children already know: monkey see,
monkey do. Lo and behold, the macaques learned a new behavior: stone-throwing.
This behavior was learned and passed on to the young. The
researchers looked beyond the stone-handling behavior of macaques and saw great achievements
in science and literature just a stones throw ahead. Keep the funding coming,
because Research on such transformation may shed light on the evolution of
stone-tool use in early hominids our ancestors.
Cave painting came next on the evolutionary timeline: the transition
to a real human consciousness.
reported on a new book by anthropologist David Whitley, Cave Paintings and the
Human Spirit. By common agreement, the earliest cave paintings in France
and Spain were already masterpieces. To grasp what drove these ancient
artists to create these masterpieces, and to understand the origin of myth and
religion, as Whitley explains, is to appreciate what makes us human.
Theres some controversy over whether the first religion was shamanistic or not,
but no controversy in the article about whether religion evolved.
By the time recordkeeping evolved (see
the human brain had evolved ways to expand its memory indefinitely. Human
civilization came to full fruition. We had an IRS.
Thought you needed a good belly laugh for the day.
Laugh harder by realizing they really believe this stuff. Youre a glorified
macaque, especially if you like sitting in a hot spring. Or eating.
Its obvious similarities prove we all had monkey ancestors,
and they had ancestors all the way bacteria. Teary, its so backward.
Too little, too late: geologists admit that isochrons dont always give
reliable dates. The 01/12/2005 entry
explains that assumptions behind the technique are not reliable. Ken Miller
used to say in debates with creationists that isochron dates were rock solid
because the technique was self-checking. A team showed that isochrons can
line up nicely but give dates that are geologically meaningless.
Speaking of cave paintings, heres a book you should read on
the subject that makes a lot more sense:
Painting: A Parable of Science by Roddy Bullock. It tells a fanciful
tale that is all too true: a scientific establishment forcing its naturalistic
worldview down the ear canals of students with utter disregard for the obvious.
Next headline on:
Darwinists Cannot Deny Disturbing Implications 01/15/2009
Jan 15, 2009 A common attitude among scientists is that they are not
responsible for what people do with their discoveries. Facts are facts,
after all, and nuclear energy can be used to power a city as well as destroy it.
Is this a truism or a half-truth? Are there
cases where a scientist is responsible for what he or she proclaims as a fact
about the world?
In its continuing celebration of Darwin, Science magazine
printed an article about Darwins Originality by Peter J. Bowler.1
This philosopher from Queens University of Belfast described how Darwins
theory of evolution had disturbing ramifications. In this essay,
he began, I argue that Darwin was truly original in his thinking, and I
support this claim by addressing the related issue of defining just why the theory
was so disturbing to his contemporaries. He used the word
disturbing five more times.
Bowler elaborated on what was most disturbing. Its not
that Darwin invented or discovered evolution evolutionary thinking was already
in the air in Victorian Britain. Most thinkersincluding Jean-Baptiste
Lamarck and [Robert] Chamberstook it for granted that the development of life
on earth represents the unfolding of a coherent plan aimed at a predetermined goal,
he said. Darwin was different. Darwin attributed all the unfolding
(which is what evolution means) to result from the environment. His
critics understood what this implied:
Darwins world view was profoundly different because he argued that the adaptation of populations to their local environment was the sole cause of transmutation. Many people found it hard to see natural selection as the agent of either divine benevolence or of a rationally structured cosmic teleology. Selection adapted species to an ever-changing environment, and it did so by killing off useless variations in a ruthless struggle for existence. This did not seem the kind of process that would be instituted by a benevolent God, especially because its essentially selfish nature meant that a parasitic way of life was a perfectly natural adaptive response in some circumstances.
Bowler delved into the history behind this idea, the responses of Darwins
contemporaries, the battle over natural theology, the Victorian mindset, motivations
and influences in Darwins life, the 19th-century debates on teleology
vs the undirected character of natural selection, and the reluctance with which
Darwinism became accepted in the scientific community. The reader might be tempted to
ask whether the discussion is merely academic. If, after all, this is the way the
world works, all Darwin was doing was lifting a corner of the veil. This is
reality. Mankind will just to have to learn to deal with it.
More seriously for the idea of cosmic teleology, Darwins supposition that the production of the individual variants in a population was essentially undirected ruled out any possibility that evolution could be shaped by a predetermined developmental trend. There was no obvious goal toward which it was aimed, and it did not produce an orderly pattern of relations between species. The accusation that the theory depended on random variation indicated the concerns of his opponents on this score. As Darwin himself made clear, variation was certainly caused by something (later identified as genetic mutations), but it was not aimed in any one direction and, thus, left adaptive evolution essentially open-ended.
In his final section, The Struggle for Existence, Bowler
is not so keen to let Darwin and the modern Darwinists off the hook with a Get
out of jail free card just for being scientists. In the first place,
the Malthusian idea of struggle for existence, which was pervasive in Victorian
England, could have been applied in different ways. Bowler argues that
Spencer applied it to individual effort to succeed. Much of what later
became known as social Darwinism was, in fact, Spencerian social
Lamarckism expressed in the terminology of struggle popularized by Darwin, he claimed.
What Darwin did, though, was make this struggle metaphor something ruthless and impersonal:
This point is important in the context of the charge raised by modern opponents of Darwinism that the theory is responsible for the appearance of a whole range of unpleasant social policies based on struggle. Darwin exploited the idea of the struggle for existence in a way that was unique until paralleled by Wallace nearly 20 years later. Their theory certainly fed into the movements that led toward various kinds of social Darwinism, but it was not the only vehicle for that transition in the late 19th century. It did, however, highlight the harsher aspects of the consequences of struggle. The potential implications were drawn out even more clearly when Galton argued that it would be necessary to apply artificial selection to the human race in order to prevent unfit individuals from reproducing and undermining the biological health of the population. This was the eugenics program, and in its most extreme manifestation at the hands of the Nazis, it led not just to the sterilization but also to the actual elimination of those unfortunates deemed unfit by the state. Did Darwins emphasis on the natural elimination of maladaptive variants help to create a climate of opinion in which such atrocities became possible?
Darwin himself, of course, could not have known what was coming. Lest anyone
misunderstand, Bowler states clearly that Darwinism was not responsible
for social Darwinism or eugenics in any simple way. In fact, some
eugenicists and social Darwinists denied the mechanism of natural selection.
The Nazis did not want to believe that Aryans had evolved from apes. There
were a variety of views about evolution and the struggle for existence.
Nevertheless, Bowler is not ready to let Darwin off the hook so easily:
It has to be admitted that, by making death itself a creative force in nature, Darwin introduced a new and profoundly disturbing insight into the world, an insight that seems to have resonated with the thinking of many who did not understand or accept the details of his theory.
But by proposing that evolution worked primarily through the elimination
of useless variants, Darwin created an image that could all too easily be
exploited by those who wanted the human race to conform to their own
pre-existing ideals. In the same way, his popularization of the
struggle metaphor focused attention onto the individualistic aspects
of Spencers philosophy.
This brings us back to the original question: can scientists distance themselves
from their findings? Keep in mind that Darwinism goes beyond a discovery of
facts about the living world. The Origin did not really catalog any new facts
of biology that were not already known. What he did was put them together into
one long argument that presented an entire history of life, a world view,
that generated all the variety of living organisms via selfishness and struggle.
When any scientist proposes to change the way we think about the world, Bowler
argues that he or she must be willing to take responsibility for the consequences.
Lets listen to his closing paragraph, where he generalizes the Darwin saga
to all of science.
Modern science recognizes the importance of Darwins key insights when used as
a way of explaining countless otherwise mysterious aspects of the natural world.
But some of those insights came from sources with profoundly
disturbing implications, and many historians now recognize that the
theory, in turn, played into the way those implications were developed
by later generations. This is not a simple matter of science being
misused by social commentators, because Darwins theorizing
would almost certainly have been different had he not drawn inspiration from social,
as well as scientific, influences. We may well feel uncomfortable
with those aspects of his theory today, especially in light of their subsequent
applications to human affairs. But if we accept sciences power
to upset the traditional foundations of how we think about the world, we should
also accept its potential to interact with moral values.
Lets apply what Bowler just said to another current issue. Robert Roy
Britt wrote on January 6 in
that man may be causing Reverse evolution by culling the biggest trophy
animals out of populations. Forward and reverse, however, only makes sense
within a concept of progress. Survival of the smallest is not exactly
what Darwin had in mind, but in some animals species, humans may be forcing a
smaller-is-better scenario, and the ultimate outcome may be species demise.
Its a macho thing to go for the big trophy. Britt seemed to dodge the question
though, whether in evolutionary terms this is good or bad, though he spoke of elephant
poaching as a dastardly form of selection. His article relates to
a paper in PNAS that shows Human predators outpace other agents of
trait change in the wild.2 The authors warned
that human trophy hunting eliminates the big animals, and might imperil populations,
industries, and ecosystems.
Geographic news chimed in, asking if hunters are speeding up the evolution of trophy
prey. It seems they cant decide if evolution is going in forward or reverse.
Either way, there seemed to be an implicit call to do something moral about it.
One natural history museum curator said that sustainable management
requires that people stop preferentially removing the larger and most [fertile]
animals from populations, and focus more on a strategy that preserves the historic
size-structure of the species. He left it unexplained why a theory of
undirected change over time in a struggle for existence and the pursuit of fitness
would require one species to care about another species on which it does not depend;
see the 11/21/2008 entry.
1. Peter J. Bowler, Darwins Originality,
9 January 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5911, pp. 223-226, DOI: 10.1126/science.1160332.
2. Darimont et al, Human predators outpace other agents of trait change in the wild,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, Published online before print January 12, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0809235106.
First, regarding the hunting article, care for the
ecology makes perfect sense to Christians, who believe humans are Gods stewards
to care for the animals and plants, because they display Gods creativity and sovereignty.
It makes no sense in a Darwinian world view. Trophy hunting just shows that
humans are more fit. Lots of animals get smaller through evolution. So what?
If you believe in an undirected process, with no morals and values, who cares if the
big bucks are on the decline? Must be consistent. No fair borrowing
Christian ideals. Remember what Fern Wickson told Nature?
(11/09/2008) If nature is somewhere that humans
are not, we lose sight of the fact that we are just another species intimately intertwined
in the complex web of biological systems on this planet. However, if we place
ourselves within a definition of nature, the definition then becomes essentially
meaningless by extending to everything on Earth.
Now, regarding Bowlers essay, wow. Did you get that? The Darwin Party
officials usually turn beet red when anyone tries to link their beliefs to the Holocaust.
They became unglued when Expelled drew a connection. Now, this philosopher,
writing in Science, said the same thing. Understand that Richard Weikart
and the other commentators in the film did not make any kind of simplistic linkage.
They did not blame Darwin for the Holocaust, or say that Hitlers primary motivation came from
Darwins book, or any such thing. They said that Darwins world view
in which nature ruthlessly destroys the unfit in an unending struggle
for existence was used by later political leaders to justify their atrocities as
a rational outworking of the laws of nature. Thats what Bowler is admitting here.
Come on, Eugenie and Ken and Barbara and all you other Darwin attack dogs: unleash your venom
on this guy, too. He doesnt understand what a sweet, gentle, loving
theory Darwinism is.
Notice that Bowler called Darwinism a world view, not a
scientific theory. He spoke of Darwins supposition that the world
operated in an undirected manner. He depicted Darwin applying a
metaphor of struggle in a particular way. These are instances
of the use of scientific rhetoric, not empiricism. The rhetorical character
of Darwins presentation of natural selection in The Origin
has been described in an excellent interview by
John Angus Campbell, PhD in Rhetoric, one of the founders of a post-Kuhnian discipline called the
Rhetoric of Science. The recorded interview is available from
Access Research Network
and is well worth watching and thinking about. It will give you a whole new
understanding of the Darwinian revolution.
The slogan ideas have consequences is so commonplace, we wont
harp on it. Instead, well offer the hard core Darwinists a proposition.
We know you are never going to change your world view, but like it or not, you know that
Darwinism was used by some of the worst despots in the 20th century to wipe out
millions of people. We know you dont want that to happen again.
To save the world from the next Pol Pot, Mao or Stalin,
how about joining with us in promoting Christianity as an antidote
to the selfish tendencies of humans? You dont have to believe it, but certainly
you can see in retrospect that mankind needs such a world view to provide a moral foundation
for the life, liberty and happiness that you enjoy so much. After all, even Richard Dawkins admitted he
would rather live in a Christian society than a Darwinian one. You guys are obligated to
think Christianity provides fitness, because you believe religion evolved
So heres our proposition: join a Christian missions team and
help spread the gospel. Save the world from Darwinism!
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
Politics and Ethics
Bible and Theology
Detector cartoon Subject: BIG LIE
by Brett Miller!
Click the icon.
Darwin Blogs on Origin of Life 01/14/2009
Jan 14, 2009 He may not blog himself, but Darwin has disciples who blog for
him. Theres bound to be a lot of blogging this year with Darwins
200th birthday next month and the 150th anniversary of the Origin of Species
this November. Science began a blog called
Origins with some entries from
their Jan 8 issue. Two of them deal with a subject about which Darwin had
very little to say: the origin of life.
Carl Zimmers piece on the origin of life was made publicly
available online from the January 8 issue of Science.1
He spent a few paragraphs reviewing Darwins rare comments about the origin
of life (warm little pond and all), then dove into the pond to look around.
Zimmer treated the origin of life optimistically with very little mention of intractable
problems like homochirality, salt, competing cross-reactions, concentration of essential
parts, and the origin of genetic information. To Zimmer, life from chemistry
comes in two easily-bridged steps, each demonstrated in the lab.
Of course, everything happens completely naturally via unguided processes
a requirement to get the Darwin imprimatur.
First step: acquire lots of amino acids in a Miller-type lightning storm.
We know that Miller used the wrong atmosphere, and nothing happens in the presence
of nitrogen and carbon dioxide, but theres a workaround, he claimed.
The harmful nitrogen compounds that, unfortunately, form when the
atmosphere is made more credible, can be soaked up by buffering chemicals.
Or, the necessary building blocks could have come special
delivery by meteorites or around hydrothermal vents. Whatever;
Raw materials were not an issue, he reassured his readers.
Then, you make RNA. The old simple way (building the bases
and sugars separately, joining them and adding phosphate), was too hard. He found
John Sutherland [U of Manchester] willing to suggest a more circuitous reaction pathway. Sutherland hasnt
succeeded yet, but promised Zimmer Weve got the molecules in our sights.
They might have even formed in warm little ponds, just like Darwin imagined.
From there, its not a big conceptual leap to Step Two
in Zimmers scenario: The cell. Here he went to Harvard Medical
School where Jack Szostak has cooked up a primitive cell membrane that is not a
death trap (see the 04/11/2006 entry
and the 01/17/2002 commentary).
Szostak claims his membrane lets the food in but keeps the RNA from leaking out
(see 09/03/2004 for his earlier work).
All thats needed are some hot and cold cycles, and presto a living
cell is within sight. Now Szostak is running experiments to bring his
protocells closer to life, Zimmer wrote. He is developing new forms
of RNA that may be able to replicate longer molecules faster. For him, the
true test of his experiments will be whether his protocells not only grow and
reproduce, but evolve. Once that happens, Darwin will take over
Zimmer pointed to another paper in Science last week that
reported manufacture of a replicating RNA enzyme.2
blogged on this, too, and it soon hit the news media. The writeup by
Robert Roy Britt (see
even claimed Life As We Know It Nearly Created in Lab.
The triumphant article began, Some chemical reactions occurred about 4 billion
years ago perhaps in a primordial tidal soup or maybe with help of volcanoes
or possibly at the bottom of the sea or between the mica sheets to create biology.
Thats a lot of maybes. In fact, Zimmers brief article used the word
might nine times, could 15 times, may three times and
emerged five times.
1. Carl Zimmer, On the Origin of Life on the Earth,
9 January 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5911, pp. 198-199, DOI: 10.1126/science.323.5911.198.
2. Tracey Lincoln and Gerald Joyce, Self-Sustained Replication of an RNA Enzyme,
Published Online January 8, 2009, Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1167856.
Lets first dispense with the latest fluff by
Gerald Joyce. His intelligently-designed RNA system has nothing to do with
the origin of life. A scientist wrote in and said that all he achieved was a joining
(ligation) reaction, not a replication reaction. Ligation is very common and
normal for RNA chemistry. Joyce just joined two short RNA molecules together;
he did not replicate them. To achieve anything relevant for life, Joyce would
need to form (by chance) an RNA molecule 100 bases long or longer that could act as
a template for its antisense copy, which in turn could be a template
for its antisense copy that would replicate the original molecule. Ligation is
mere chemistry, our observer wrote. Joyces experiment required intelligent input
with a contrived environment (a beaker). He interfered in ways a natural
environment could not and would not, inserting his own Goal-directed behavior, which includes
the urge to have offspring in short, a kind of awareness, he said.
It is clear such things are not related to the atomic world and its laws.
Biology Now Includes Fluid Dynamic Construction 01/13/2009
Joyces new RNA molecule also contributes nothing to explaining
the origin of the genetic code. It is useless and fragile without an intelligently-guided, artificial
environment, and a role in a complex system like a living cell. It performs no function. It cant do any
totally new tricks, Joyce admitted. Now read that Fox News article
and stand aghast at the hubris of the reporter The creatures
wait, we cant call them that! evolved, with some species
winning out. Wow, now we even evolved a little Malthus. The molecules
are battling it out for scarce resources. Where did self-awareness sneak in?
Speaking of winning out, you cant win an intellectual game
with a cheater. How does Carl Zimmer and Science cheat? Let us count the ways.
First, they withhold essential information. They gloss over the falsifying
difficulties and show-stoppers (see 07/11/2002
for 21 of them) that render their tall tales worthless. A comparison of the
02/15/2007 entries (to say nothing of our
online book) reveals something of
the magnitude of the problems.
Second, they insulate themselves from critics. Put them in the
ring with a knowledgeable critic of origin-of-life studies and they would drop
dead from fear before the first blow. Instead, with their muscly critics safely
tied up and gagged in the trailer, the wimps sweep the audience off their feet with a
very artificial, one-sided circus act showing off their strength. They call this the
Third, they associate their
nonsense with Darwin to give it some kind of credibility. Of course, they
have to keep blowing hot air into the Darwin balloon to keep it from sagging,
otherwise the public might laugh. Darwin had nothing to contribute about
the origin of life other than bald speculation. Zimmer resurrects his
corpse: And if Darwin was alive today, he might well be willing to write a
lot more about how life began. Big deal. Words are cheap.
Facts of nature are recalcitrant.
Fourth, and worst of all, they changed the rules of scientific
engagement. Now, speculation is the in thing the wilder the
better. Historian of science Frederick Gregory (U of Florida) once investigated
late 18th-century science contests and noted the insistence on verifiable evidence.
Typically, these contests would say something like, Do not offer hypotheses;
support your answer with FACTS. The early evolutionary speculations
by Lamarck, Darwins grandfather Erasmus, and Robert Chambers were harshly criticized
by the scientists of the day because of the speculative nature of their proposals.
What few seem to realize is that the Darwinian Revolution was largely a coup
by those who wanted more freedom to speculate and still remain in the science club. Darwin
elevated the status of hypothesis in science, facts and evidence be hanged.
Some leading philosophers of the day saw what Darwin was doing to science yet welcomed it
(01/15/2004 commentary). Others, like
Adam Sedgwick (Darwins geology teacher), saw it and were outraged:
You have deserted the true method of induction! he exclaimed in
a scathing review of The Origin. Scientists were for the most part
not impressed with Darwins science. Natural selection was
largely dismissed for decades. Where Darwin succeeded the most was in persuading
his contemporaries, with his rhetoric and charm, to accept the general idea
of evolution. His scientific argument was like a Texas longhorn; a point here, a point
there, and a lot of bull in between. He made the concept of evolution, though,
seem scientific a fallacy of glittering
As a result,
Darwin invited the Starving Storytellers into the Science Lab and became their
patron saint (12/22/2003 commentary).
Out went the harsh requirements for facts and induction; in came the imaginative tales.
You cannot carry on a scientific discussion with someone who makes up a story
to bandage every falsifying wound (05/30/2008).
Oh, but you say, they have all kinds of lab evidence for their
leaky fatbubbles (09/03/2004)
and RNA worlds (07/11/2002).
No, they dont. Facts are just props for the story. The story
always comes first. This is just another manifestation of their cheating.
They take their intelligently-designed apparati at multimillion-dollar academic
institutions and presume to tell us that it says something about what time and
chance did in an unobservable past. They say, it might have
happened this way. Look how many times Zimmer resorted to the phrase
might have. No respectable scientist should stand for this
coulda-woulda-shoulda form of science. Science is supposed to stand for
empirically-verifiable, observable, repeatable evidence, if anything. Once
you open the door to speculation, pigs can fly (1/26/2008)
while you wish upon a star (12/05/2008).
So what if it keeps scientists busy? Think alchemy.
Did it grab your attention that such claims
are self-refuting anyway? If I design
an experiment with my mind that attempts to prove that chance and necessity
were responsible for my origin, then I have abandoned science and envisioned a
world of meaningless contingency just like that of the pagans.
What did I just do to my scientific explanation? I have attributed
scientific explanation to chance! Talk about shooting oneself in the foot.
What a crazy, mixed-up world we live in. The smart people we
elevate as the knowledgeable ones (scientists) have let their hero
Charlie undermine the whole basis for science, and yet they exalt him as the greatest
scientist of all time. In the 18th and 19th centuries,
riding on the wave of Newtons triumph of the discovery of natural laws
(a very complex and controversial issue in philosophy of science),
scientists felt compelled to find natural laws everywhere. The new science of biology
(formerly called natural history), was long thought to be too complex. Natural
historians felt resigned to stamp collecting and description. Biology
resisted all attempts to explain with reference to laws of nature. Well Darwin found one.
John Herschel called it the Law of Higgledy-Piggledy.
Its essentially the negation of law. Darwin published his natural law, and it
was chance! Great. Now we can explain anything with reference to this simple
principle Richard Dawkins ecstatically described in Expelled as the most magnificently
elegant, stunningly elegant law in all of science: Stuff Happens (09/15/2008).
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
Jan 13, 2009 Theres an old legend that Tibetan monks built a wall by
levitating heavy stones with sound by beating their drums and gongs.
Something not quite so fantastic but still amazing is done by cells in the embryo.
Scientists have filmed zebrafish embryos using beating cilia
to build little stone structures that they use for balance.
Animals need to know which way is up. All vertebrates have
pieces of rock in their heads for this purpose (see 10/10/2003).
These rocks made of calcium carbonate, called otoliths in fish
and otoconia in humans, are tied to sensory organs that measure their inertia to
determine balance, direction and motion. They are interesting examples of
biomineralization the use of mineral construction materials instead of
proteins, sugars, fats and nucleic acids. Because minerals are hard things,
they need to be guided into place like building blocks. How does a little
fish embryo place the building blocks for otoliths that will work? Otolith
number, size and placement are under strict developmental control, wrote a
team of UCLA and Caltech scientists in Nature.1
Until now it was unknown how the embryo guided the building blocks
into place. The team used high-speed digital video cameras on a microscope
to film the growth of otic vesicles, the organs where otoliths form. At 100 to
330 frames per second, they observed that
cilia attracted precursor particles by beating back and forth, creating
little vortices in the fluid. At polar ends of the otic vesicles, longer
cilia called tether cilia beat this way and attracted particles to
their tips. The beating not only set up a fluid dynamic system that pulled
the particles in, it also kept the growing structure rotating for even construction.
They called this a cilium-dependent hydrodynamic system.
The cilium uses dynein for motion and is dependent on a gene called
Gas8 for regulation. Heres the jargon:
Our results demonstrate that Gas8 is required for normal motility of cilia in the otic vesicle and that ciliary motility is essential for normal ear development. The otic vesicle is a closed epithelial organ and fluid flow within this vesicle has been suggested to contribute to otolith formation. Our study provides direct experimental evidence in support of this hypothesis. On the basis of high-speed video microscopy of cilia motility and quantitative analysis of precursor particle movements in wild-type and gas8 morphant embryos, we propose a new, cilium-dependent hydrodynamic mechanism for otolith biogenesis (Fig. 4). In this model, motility of tether cilia at the poles of the otic vesicle establishes a vortex that attracts otolith precursors (Fig. 4i, l), thereby biasing an otherwise random distribution of precursor particles and concentrating them near the two patches of tether cilia. This ensures preferential otolith seeding at the poles of the otic vesicle. At the otic vesicle poles, tether cilia motility further serves to disperse precursor particles locally and oscillation of the otolith increases effective contact area with precursors (Fig. 4j). Together, this prevents particles from sedimenting to form ectopic aggregates and promotes efficient uniform otolith growth.
Cool. The little fish embryo uses this organ to keep itself right-side up as it
swims away. Although the scientists observed this phenomenon in fish, they
believe the mechanism may have more general application. Our findings
add to a growing list of developmental processes requiring fluid
dynamic inputs for proper growth and patterning, further showing
that epigenetic cues are part of the embryonic developmental program.
They encouraged other biologists to look for answers to hearing loss and balance
problems in humans in ciliopathies diseases of the cilia.
The Supplementary Information page contains Quicktime movies where you
can see the beating tether cilia with otoliths growing at their tips.2
1. Colantonio et al, The dynein regulatory complex is required for ciliary motility and otolith biogenesis in the inner ear,
457, 205-209 (8 January 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature07520.
2. Supplementary Information page for Colantonio et al,
Think how many systems must interact in this amazing
process. Cilia are among the irreducibly complex organelles Michael
Behe described in detail in Darwins Black Box and The Edge of
Evolution. All the parts of the cilia must be coded in the DNA
along with the assembly instructions for the cilia and the molecular trucks that build them
(visit 06/14/2004 to be blown away by that fact). The cilia have to find
their ways to the poles of the otic vesicle. They have to know how fast to
beat to set up the proper vortex that will attract precursor particles.
They have to start and stop beating at the right time and somehow know when the otoliths
are the right size and shape. The sensory apparatus has to know what to do
with the information provided by the inertia of the otoliths. The brain has
to process this information and send course corrections to the muscles.
A multitude of ancillary proteins, hormones and regulatory factors are involved.
This is just for one sense organ in a tiny fish embryo. Did the fish figure
this all out by trial and error? Remember vertebrate fish have been
found near the base of the Cambrian (01/30/2003),
with all their systems appearing fully formed.
Can you add up microevolution to get major evolutionary changes? Read the
01/15/2004 entry and commentary; it gets into
an important topic what Darwin did to science. Even John Stuart Mill
OK, time for the quiz: did this paper mention evolution? For a
change, YES! But youll get a bang out of their one lonely reference:
Cilia are evolutionarily conserved organelles that perform motility,
sensory and transport functions and are required for normal vertebrate
development and physiology. Ha! You may now laugh your way to the
Bank of I.D. and deposit this paper in a C.D. (Certificate of Design), where it
will yield high interest, guaranteed.
Next headline on:
Dating Stars as Models 01/12/2009
Jan 12, 2009 Many have dreamed of dating a star, but the way astronomers
do it is less glamorous. For one thing, they need to know how old she is
first, and how good a model she makes. In a Perspectives piece for Science,1
David R. Soderblom of the Space Telescope Science Institute explained the requirements
for stellar dating in an article entitled, How Old Is That Star?
Its not that simple lining up a date. Many agents tend to
get in the way:
Determining how long it has been since a star formed is a lot harder than it seems like it ought to be, and many very basic questions hinge on stellar ages. For instance, wed like to know the ages of stars that have planets. We hope to detect signs of life on planets around other stars, but if we do, knowing the stars age is central to interpreting what is observed. Among the youngest stars, wed like to know how long it takes for planetary systems to form and evolve. On a grander scale, the ages of stars and clusters of stars are needed to infer the history of our Milky Way galaxy and the pieces from which it was built. Did the halo of our galaxy form on its own or from fragments of captured satellite galaxies? Did the thick disk form after the halo or contemporaneously? Has the thin disk (of which the Sun is a member) formed stars continuously, or in episodes? Many very basic questions can only be addressed if we can establish reliable ages.
The parameters we measure are in the present (with regard to the time of light
travel from source to observer): mass, chemical composition, magnetic field,
and other characteristics teased from the spectrum. Soderblom claims
we can measure a precise and exact age for just one star--the Sun--and thats
because we can analyze solar system material in the laboratory, something we can
do for no other star. Even that age, however, is highly model dependent.
That makes estimates of other stars ages derived from it even further
By calibrating models against the Sun, we can comprehend stars that are both more and less massive. Our understanding of the evolution of stars is closely tied to studying star clusters, groups of hundreds to thousands of stars that were formed together and so share the same composition and age. Or do they? Some of the most exciting astrophysics from the Hubble Space Telescope has been the discovery of multiple populations within single globular clusters, which are some of the oldest components of the Milky Way. Given what we now know about stellar physics, the available explanations include multiple ages (i.e., several epochs of star formation spread well apart in time), very different compositions of the clusters members, or both. Neither alternative satisfactorily explains the observations, and a very basic conundrum has been exposed.
The model uncertainties are on the order of 10-20%, he claimed, but one should also
keep in mind that these uncertainties have poorly understood systematic effects.
Relative ages are more believable, he said. Even when using radiometric ages,
the derived dates must be interpreted from when the isotopes formed without knowing
the initial abundances. These do not necessarily reflect the age of the star.
Soderblom examines some of the empirical measurements
for dating stars: loss of angular momentum over time, and asteroseismology (oscillations).
Both these methods are also model dependent: We can see a consistent relation
between a physical quantity and age, but we do not understand the underlying
physical relation, even though we may have at least a reasonable scenario.
What is considered reasonable becomes subjective. Some techniques seem more
promising language indicative that the key component of the
spectrum may be the human element.
Overall, the situation for determining stellar ages is still
sobering, and progress has been slow, he ended. It has reached the
point where cosmologists claim better precision for their measurements than we can
for the ages of the nearest and brightest stars. He did not distinguish
between claims and realities, however, since cosmological claims are also highly
model dependent. Within his own subject matter, The challenge of
determining an accurate age for a star therefore remains outstanding.
1. David R. Soderblom, Astronomy: How Old Is That Star?,
2 January 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5910, pp. 45-46, DOI: 10.1126/science.1168230.
People need to know the hand-waving and speculation
that belies the confidence expressed on TV science specials. One can detect
enough wiggle room to permit major paradigm shifts. Notice that model dependence
is not observation dependence. We can observe emanations from objects that hit our eyeballs
in the present; what does that mean about their origins and histories? One
cannot know that without making assumptions. The reasonableness of assumptions
is a matter of opinion. It may seem reasonable to you, but if a member
of the Space Telescope Science Institute says that The challenge of
determining an accurate age for a star therefore remains outstanding,
that should at least be noted in the minutes.
Darwin in the Air 01/11/2009
Next headline on:
Jan 11, 2009 Darwin Day euphoria must be in the air. There have been several
news stories with Darwin or Evolution in the title, but little to his credit in the substance
of the article.
What Darwin had to do with any of this other than lending his name and reputation
was also less clear. One thing his name did provide was an opportunity for
storytelling. The last article had Payne speculating on this question:
Can we look forward to another great leap in size? Will we see housecats
larger than our houses? Tune in next time, when we see if the size of
the earth and the presence of humans makes tyranno-cats unlikely.
- Evolution inaction: The human immune system is, by any account,
a highly complex and ordered system.
Daily, however not only called it a case of Evolution in Action,
but claimed the immune system makes evolutionary leaps to fight
microbes. Gerald Weissmann, editor of the journal FASEB, ended with this
line: Nowadays, mosquitoes, parasites and viruses cause diseases in the
United States that were once isolated to warmer parts of the world.
They evolve, and a la Darwin so does our immune system each time
we meet a new microbial invader. Would you like your immune system
with Darwin or without?
- Facile fossils: The Cambrian Explosion has been called
Darwins Dilemma in that all the major animal body plans show up
in the Cambrian layers without precursors.
Daily announced that a solution has been found. One reads the article
eagerly only to find fossil microbes in the Precambrian, something that was
already known, and has little or no bearing on the origin of animal body plans.
- Cool OOL: PhysOrg
and other news sites announced that scientists have created an RNA molecule with
enzymatic capabilities that replicates itself indefinitely. The folks at
Scripps Research Institute are using their creation to speculate on the origin
of life and the genetic code. This is the only case outside biology
where molecular information has been immortalized, said Gerald Joyce,
leaving aside the question of what constitutes information. One other little
problem is getting RNA in the first place (see
08/23/2005). For more
problems with the RNA World scenario, as revealed by Gerald Joyce
earlier, see the 07/11/2002 entry.
Nevertheless, the Scripps team found
it extremely interesting that their creations could also mutate and
yet some would breed true. The research shows that the system can
sustain molecular information, a form of heritability, and give rise to variations
of itself in a way akin to Darwinian evolution. This is
knocking on the door of life, Joyce teased. He did
admit that the molecule lacks the ability to do anything. That makes it
doubtful it could be compared to life. Whats more,
Daily said that the subunits in their manufactured molecule each contain
many nucleotides, so they are relatively complex and not something that would
have been found floating in the primordial ooze. It appears
the information in their molecules was intelligently designed.
- Darwins reverse gear: Reverse evolution was the
tag line in another story on
Daily. Scientists have turned back the clock on the evolution in
the fruit fly to provide key insights into the basic mechanisms of evolution,
it says. In a strange twist of terms invoking design and creation in an
evolutionary story, the article claims that researchers recreated natural
selection in real-time and showed that contingency matters. What is
reverse evolution, you ask? The team put fruit flies that had passed through
several generations in the lab back into the wild. Then they looked for
changes in one chromosome and found about 50% of the changes in the lab reverted
to wild type. Even though they started with fruit flies and ended with
fruit flies, this supposedly proved that evolution is contingent upon history
at the genetic level as well as the phenotypic level. This made the
team feel they had gained further insights into the basic understanding of
how evolution and diversity are generated and maintained.
- Evolutionary leaps: Darwin had claimed that natural selection
could never make a great leap, but must always proceed by slow but sure steps.
Maybe if the leaps are stretched out over millions of years they are not really
Daily last month claimed that Life On Earth Got Bigger In 2-million-fold Leaps.
Assuming common ancestry as fact, the article began, Earths creatures
come in all sizes, yet they (and we) all sprang from the same single-celled organisms
that first populated the planet. So how on Earth did life go from bacteria to the blue whale?
Good question. The answer, according to Jonathan Payne at Stanford, is that
It happened primarily in two great leaps, and each time, the maximum
size of life jumped up by a factor of about a million. How did they
find that out? Combing through databases of genomes and fossils, they
noticed explosions of size. The first jump in maximum size happens when
the first eukaryotic organisms show up as fossils, they said. Payne explained, The fossil record
indicates pretty clearly that you need a eukaryotic cell to make that first size jump.
He left invention to that necessity; apparently evolution provided whatever was needed.
Once you have eukaryotes, potential for evolutionary creativity is
awakened. But millions of years passed with not much change in organismal size.
Then about 600 million years ago, at the same time as another major boost
in the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, life leaped in size again by
a million fold (referring to the Cambrian Explosion). What happened to
cause this? the real explosion of size increase didnt happen
until the oxygen level bumped up. True, oxygen is necessary for
explosions, but those are usually destructive. So why do the size leaps
seem to hinge on the amount of oxygen in the air? Another good question.
There are a few things that could be going on, Payne rambled, but his
scenario called for complex mechanisms to use the oxygen for metabolism.
Microbes, in the story, did this for millions of years without leaping in size
a million-fold. The possible causes of the second jump in oxygen are less
clear, Payne said, but regardless of the puzzles that remain to be sorted out,
the timing and magnitude of the jumps up in maximum size are clear, that
is, if one accepts the evolutionary timeline. Whatever it was, it affected
a lot of things simultaneously i.e., all the animal phyla in a geological
Darwine is a potent psychedelic potion that
lubricates the imagination. It simultaneously works as a strong laxative, but what
comes out is hard to call science.
The Case for Faith is an outstanding film adaptation of Lee Strobels
best-selling book of the same title. It is available on
Apologetics DVDs, where you can also find the
two prior releases, The Case for a Creator and
The Case for Christ. Released last September, The Case for Faith
completes the trilogy by answering two hard questions: Why do Christians say that
Christ is the only way to God? and If God is good, why is there evil and suffering
in the world? Go2RPI
offers bulk sets of these outstanding films (not for resale) as ministry handouts.
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
Origin of Life
Watch for Flying Giraffes (and Convergent Evolutionists) 01/09/2009
Jan 9, 2009 Imagine giraffe-sized animals that could fly. They lived.
Geographic News has an illustration of an extinct pterosaur, tall as a giraffe, that was
able to leap into the air and flap its wings for sustained powered flight.
Science discussed work by Michael Habib [Johns Hopkins U School of Medicine] on the flying ability of Quetzalcoatlus,
the largest of the pterosaurs with a wingspan of 35 feet. Theres no way,
he figured, it could get off the ground with a two-legged take-off.
The researcher says his new study reveals the first line of evidence that pterosaurs
launched into the air using four limbs: two were ultra-strong wings which, when folded
and balanced on a knuckle, served as front legs that helped the creature to
walk and leap sky-high. If so, the animal could leap into the air in less
than a second and start flapping its wings.
Scientists used to think these large animals could have only soared
by leaping from cliffs into thermals. That opinion is still around
(PhysOrg 10/01/2008), but
this new article says they likely were capable of powered flight.
Science Daily added,
Assumption and convention rather than
reason or data held sway for centuries, ever since the classical bipedal model
of pterosaur take-off was first championed, he [Habib] notes. [Note:
the first pterosaur fossil was discovered in 1784].
Pterosaurs came in a huge range of sizes. The smallest known
is Nemicolopterus, the size of a small bird, with a wingspan of just 10 inches.
Quetzalcoatlus stood as tall as a giraffe and had a wingspan of 35 to 40 feet.
If the illustration is correct, a grown man could walk underneath one without
bending over while carrying a Nemicolopterus in the palm of his hand.
Habib feels the giant pterosaur would have had to be very strong to
launch its 500-pound bulk into the air. It wasnt just a hang-glider
with teeth, he told National Geographic News; instead, it was built like
Arnold Schwarzenegger. The finding is also consistent with the idea that
bigger animals require more overall brawn to power their movement, Habib added.
Using a car engine analogy, it could have had a V8.
Even though Habib works in the Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution
at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, he had nothing to say about evolution
in any of the articles cited. Other websites talk about how pterosaurs, birds,
bats and insects evolved flight by convergent evolution.
Maybe Assumption and convention rather than reason or data is
still holding sway ever since the classical evolutionary model was first championed.
Can you imagine the awesomeness of watching one
of these creatures take off? The rush of wind might have knocked you flat.
What sounds did they make as they sprang up into the air? This world has seen
some marvelous creatures. Todays biosphere, diverse and wondrous as it is,
is impoverished of many animals that once roamed the land and decorated the skies.
Fair and balanced: A thoughtful and respectful critique of intelligent design was reported
in the 08/21/2006.
Read the article and rebuttal in the commentary and decide who won.
Did pterosaurs evolve? A quick check shows that they were an
extraordinarily diverse group with no trace of transitional forms emerging from non-flying
is not recommended as a source, because many subjects it covers are heavily
biased. But since it usually takes a strong pro-Darwin, anti-ID stance, we can
use it as a hostile witness. Behold the best they can do to combat
creationism: Because pterosaur anatomy has been so heavily
modified for flight, and immediate missing link predecessors have not
so far been described, the page says, the ancestry of pterosaurs is not
well understood. Ha! A few suggestions are put forth, followed by a note
from the editor: Please help improve this section by expanding it.
Good luck. Go forth and find the transitional forms Darwin needs.
The evolutionists use another of their favorite tricks: inventing
a term to cover the nakedness of ignorance. The Wikipedia article invokes
convergent evolution to explain the presence of hair on some pterosaurs
which, they say, was not homologous to mammalian hair (which had not evolved yet).
A UC Berkeley
page concurs with this dodge: The appearance of flight in pterosaurs was
separate from the evolution of flight in birds and bats; pterosaurs are not closely
related to either birds or bats, and thus provide a classic example of convergent
evolution. A better phrase would be congruent miracles.
Notice this fantasy: Their ability to fly probably allowed them to evolve
into many niches, taking advantage of many different food sources, which would explain
the range of skull morphology seen. This is the necessity is the
mother of invention theory of evolution. Thats all the page by
academics has to say about the origin of these large, diverse, complex animals
that could fly. For fun, read the UC
Berkeley museum exhibit pages on the origin of flight. Look for any
instances in which they do not assume evolution to prove evolution.
For example, from Vertebrate Flight,
The evolution of flight, (a.k.a.) how to wing it, the explanation is
incestuous with evolutionary assumptions, i.e., it evolved because it evolved
(see 05/25/2005 commentary). Would the following
cause a Darwin doubter to do anything but snicker?
In summation, to understand the evolution of a flying lineage, we must follow
these steps in this order: (1) Understand the phylogeny of that group; what
its origins were. (2) Understand the functional morphology relevant to
flight, and how that changed from the nonflying ancestor to the earliest flyer.
(3) Accumulate empirical evidence explaining how flight evolved, using such
tools as aerodynamic analyses, ichnology (the study of fossilized tracks), and
paleoenvironmental assessments. And finally (4) formulate an evolutionary
hypothesis proposing why flight evolved in that lineage, supported by
and consistent with all of the evidence from the previous three steps.
Clearly, empirical evidence is just a prop for the obligatory Darwinian story.
No wonder they titled the
The origins of flight (a.k.a. two wings and a prayer).
They even told a whopping big lie on
You might be surprised, but the evolution of flight is, for the most part,
well documented with transitional forms. Indeed, we were very surprised
to learn this. So we looked. The page on
mentioned none, and the page on
contained none. Imagination and convergent evolution served as
stand-ins for transitional forms. Get this: Phylogenetic [evolutionary] and functional
data [data?] suggest the inference that the hypothetical ancestor
would have been nocturnal, insectivorous, arboreal, and a glider.
This is rich. This is evolutionary science
at work goofing off.
The bird page
makes the only reference to the promised transitional forms, and here they have
Archaeopteryx and two other birds that could already fly. So much
for the origin of flight the topic that was supposed to be explained.
Should these ignorant hucksters be allowed to teach such nonsense in our schools?
Youve heard of tax evasion. This is facts evasion.
To clear your head, go read Brett Millers lively and
informative cartoon-decorated page,
The Convergence Concoction.
It exposes the extent of the deception behind the evolutionary miracle-phrase,
convergent evolution When the impossible happens over and over
and again and again.
Next headline on:
Dinosaurs and Extinct Reptiles
2009 Is Looking Up 01/08/2009
Jan 8, 2009 Astronomy is looking up this year; in fact, its looking heavenly.
The United Nations and the
International Astronomical Union
have designated 2009 the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009). The
IYA2009 website explains,
The International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) will
be a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture,
highlighted by the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope
by Galileo Galilei. The aim of the Year is to stimulate worldwide
interest, especially among young people, in astronomy and science under the
central theme The Universe, Yours to Discover. IYA2009
events and activities will promote a greater appreciation of the inspirational
aspects of astronomy that embody an invaluable shared resource for all nations.
Surprises in recent astronomical news stories reveal that much remains to be
Despite these puzzles, the progress made by astronomers over the last 400 years
has indeed been stunning as telescopes went from simple hand-held tubes to orbiting
platforms scanning the entire electromagnetic spectrum (not even known in Galileos
News surveyed the suite of new instruments being planned over the next few
decades. And as part of Natures feature on IYA2009 in the
January 1 issue, Owen Gingerich provided an essay on Mans Place in the
Universe for Nature
News. Gingerich, professor emeritus of astronomy and the history of science
at Harvard, retold the story of mans first look at the skies through a
telescope in December 1609 and January 1610 by Galileo,
bringing in the characters of Copernicus,
Kepler, William Herschel
and others. The International Year of Astronomy might well launch the
next intellectual revolution in our understanding of our place in the Universe,
he ended. Could this have as much of an impact on society as Galileo and
Keplers entrenchment of the heliocentric view? Only time will tell.
- Flash video: The
Telescope watched a bright burst in 2006 that has no explanation. The
source is unknown. It just flashed on, brightened for 100 days, then faded
into oblivion. The article title reads, Star light, star bright, its
explanation is out of sight.
- Slow SNR: The supernova remnant (SNR) Cassiopeia A has now been
observed by the Chandra X-ray Space Telescope long enough to make a movie of it.
X-Ray Center announced the movie and a 3-D hologram made from the observations
show that the cloud is moving outward slower than expected. They think the
unaccounted-for energy went into accelerating cosmic rays. The implication
of this work is that astronomers who build models of supernova explosions
must now consider that the outer layers of the star come off spherically, but the
inner layers come out more disk like with high-velocity jets in multiple directions.
- Bullet stars: Some stars are careening through space faster than
a speeding bullet some 112,000 miles an hour. Thats from a press
release from Jet
Propulsion Laboratory about Hubble images of 14 stars with V-shaped bow shocks,
indicating motion relative to the interstellar gas and dust. These form a
new class of stars: high-velocity stellar interlopers. The observer said,
Finding these stars is a complete surprise because we were not looking for them.
He thinks they are young: just millions of years old.
How they got accelerated is a bit of a mystery. Maybe they
were kicked out by binary companions that exploded. Or maybe they got
ejected from a pas-de-troix inside a star cluster.
- Bigger home: No need to feel your home galaxy is just a mid-size
model. It just got 50% bigger without remodeling. The measurers had
its square footage wrong, reported
The Milky Way is now on par with the nearby Andromeda Galaxy in terms of heft,
the article says. The Milky Way spins a lot faster than was thought, too.
has a slightly longer article on this.
- Danger zone: Astronomers were surprised to find stars apparently
forming right outside a black hole.
explains the conundrum:
The center of the Milky Way presents astronomers with
a paradox: it holds young stars, but no one is sure how those stars got there.
The galactic center is wracked with powerful gravitational tides stirred by a 4
million solar-mass black hole. Those tides should rip apart molecular clouds
that act as stellar nurseries, preventing stars from forming in place.
Yet the alternative stars falling inward after forming elsewhere
should be a rare occurrence.
A Smithsonian astronomer said We literally caught these stars in the act of forming,
but later said, We dont understand the environment at the galactic center very well yet.
- Growth spurt: Old theory: gas giants accrete very slowly
over hundreds of millions of years. New theory: Blazing Jupiters! Even though
astronomers have detected hundreds of Jupiter-mass planets around other stars,
our results suggest that such planets must form extremely fast, reported a
press release from Harvard-Smithsonian
Center for Astrophysics. Whatever process is responsible for
forming Jupiters has to be incredibly efficient. Why is this?
The protoplanetary disk around sunlike stars apparently dissipates
quickly. Therefore, gas giants have to form in less than 5 million
years or they probably wont form at all. The old constraint
was 10 million years.
That didnt stop another astronomer from speculating
that gas giants might form around double stars, reported
Daily. Its theoretically possible, Joel Kastner said,
but Im not aware of a single observation yet of a planet orbiting a double star.
For a view Galileo could never have imagined when he first discerned
that the Milky Way was made up of stars, look at
Astronomy Picture of the Day
for January 7. Its a mosaic of 2,000 images taken by the Hubble and Spitzer
Space Telescopes of the galactic center. The panorama (click on the photo for
high resolution) covers 300 by 115 light-years with unprecedented resolution,
revealing a sparkling menagerie of stars, star clusters, and wispy bands of dust and gas.
Too bad Gingerich perpetuated the misrepresentation
that Copernicus demoted mans importance in the universe:
Should Darwinists Play Games with Government? 01/07/2009
This vast increase in the size and age of the perceived cosmos set the stage for an
angst as deep as that caused by the displacement of the ancient human-centred cosmology:
what significance do rational, observing mortals have in the wilderness of a near-infinite
space-time continuum? This existential question has been simmering for decades
and undoubtedly drives our willingness to invest taxpayers money in further
Gingerich, a theist, could have corrected this false notion as did the film
The Privileged Planet. Its
possible Nature left further elaboration by him on the cutting room floor.
If anyone should be reconsidering shaky conceptions about mans insignificance,
it should be the materialists (see 11/17/2008
Creationists should embrace improved observations. Gingerich
quoted Kepler: Perhaps there is someone whose faith is too weak to believe
Copernicus without offending his piety. Let him stay at home and mind his own
business. Let him assure himself that he is serving God no less than the
astronomer to whom God has granted the privilege of seeing more clearly with the
eyes of the mind. More recently,
Wernher von Braun said,
Our space ventures have been only the smallest of steps in the vast reaches
of the universe and have introduced more mysteries than they have solved.
Speaking for myself, I can only say that the grandeur of the cosmos serves to
confirm my belief in the certainty of a Creator.
Consider a couple
of supporting facts. Despite our apparent smallness compared to galaxy clusters,
human beings lie near the middle in size between subatomic particles and the
universe. Consider also that dozens of physical constants are finely-tuned to make
life possible. And lastly, if you think our position in the universe is accidental,
it just so happens that we live on a platform in space that makes
possible all the incredible astronomical discoveries of the last 400 years.
Incidentally, one of the new missions of discovery being prepared right now at the Cape for
this year a spacecraft searching for habitable planets is
a born-again, Bible-believing, creationist astronomer.
Click here to read his story.
Next headline on:
Jan 7, 2009 For years now, evolutionary biologists have been employing
game theory to try to understand human social behavior.
Presumably, game theory applies just as well to robots and ants as it does to
humans any population in which the whole benefits from collective
behavior of individuals.
The latest example of evolutionary game theory was published in Nature
last week.1 Two Japanese scientists with
Martin Nowak of Harvard tried to prove that costly punishment
Indirect reciprocity is a key mechanism for the evolution of human cooperation. Our behaviour towards other people depends not only on what they have done to us but also on what they have done to others. Indirect reciprocity works through reputation. The standard model of indirect reciprocity offers a binary choice: people can either cooperate or defect. Cooperation implies a cost for the donor and a benefit for the recipient. Defection has no cost and yields no benefit. Currently there is considerable interest in studying the effect of costly (or altruistic) punishment on human behaviour. Punishment implies a cost for the punished person. Costly punishment means that the punisher also pays a cost. It has been suggested that costly punishment between individuals can promote cooperation. Here we study the role of costly punishment in an explicit model of indirect reciprocity. We analyse all social norms, which depend on the action of the donor and the reputation of the recipient. We allow errors in assigning reputation and study gossip as a mechanism for establishing coherence. We characterize all strategies that allow the evolutionary stability of cooperation. Some of those strategies use costly punishment; others do not. We find that punishment strategies typically reduce the average payoff of the population. Consequently, there is only a small parameter region where costly punishment leads to an efficient equilibrium. In most cases the population does better by not using costly punishment. The efficient strategy for indirect reciprocity is to withhold help for defectors rather than punishing them.
They noted first off that Human societies are organized around cooperative interactions.
Then they wondered, But why would natural selection equip selfish individuals with altruistic tendencies?,
adding, This question has fascinated evolutionary biologists for decades.
Other evolutionists have employed game theory to study the evolution of religion
05/27/2008), the evolution of responsibility
the evolution of patriotism
and the evolution of altruism
(03/16/2005); even weird things like the
evolution of spite (01/21/2006).
This paper did not address altruism. Instead, they focused on whether costly
punishment is effective. They reviewed earlier research with games like Prisoners
Dilemma that illustrate the outcomes of cooperation and punishment between individuals.
After pages of sterile equations and diagrams, they
decided punishment is a poor strategy: The evolution of improved mechanisms of indirect reciprocity
therefore leads to societies in which costly punishment between individuals is not an
efficient behaviour for promoting cooperation. This has direct bearing
on whether governments should impose costly punishment (e.g., imprisonment) for lawbreakers
instead of just withholding help from them.
What do their colleagues think of their analysis? An economist
and an evolutionary ecologist from Germany weighed in on the paper with a review
called, Game theory: How to treat those of ill repute.2 They
explained the roles of players in the game (think of the parable of the Good Samaritan):
When you meet someone needing help, you can help (cooperate), refuse to help (defect)
or not only refuse to help but, in addition, decrease the needy persons wealth (punish).
Both cooperation and punishment are costly for you, but respectively create a larger
benefit or larger loss for the person needing help. Defection is cost neutral.
This makes the Good Samaritan the cooperator, the thieves the punishers, and the
priest and Levite who passed by the defectors. But the roles could be redistributed
differently in government, a football game, people fighting over parking, or any other
situation in which individuals interact. The eight action rules of the game
also take into account the reputations of the participants and whether the players
know those reputations or not. Presumably this includes knowledge of whether
others are honest and trustworthy.
The reviewers own experiments showed a slightly different outcome: people prefer
to live in societies that mostly cooperate and defect (i.e., ignore the slight infractions), but that also
punish the worst offenders. Other than that, they liked the paper.
Ultimately, study of the joint evolution of social norms and
action rules under natural constraints is the goal for the future,
they ended. Ohtsuki et al. have prepared the ground for that endeavour.
1. Ohtsuki, Iwasa and Nowak, Indirect reciprocity provides only a narrow margin of efficiency for costly punishment,
457, 79-82 (1 January 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature07601; Received 11 June 2008; Accepted 3 November 2008.
2. Bettina Rockenbach and Manfred Milinski, Game theory: How to treat those of ill repute,
457, 39-40 (1 January 2009) | doi:10.1038/457039a; Published online 31 December 2008.
Beware the day when the Darwinists set the rules of
the Justice Department. If you thought Social Darwinism went
out of fashion in the 1940s, after millions perished from that awful legacy
guess what: its back in new dress. Its practitioners seem less racist
and activist but they are just as dangerous. Why? Because their
views are completely amoral. There is not the slightest hint of rightness
or wrongness in their approach. They speak only of outcomes
as they play games with human souls. Their vocabulary is morally sterile:
preference, equilibrium, strategy, reciprocity, interaction, cooperation,
defection, punishment, cost. Human beings are pawns on their chessboard.
In their imaginations, this is the scientific way to evaluate the
evolution of human social behavior.
Gene duplication is often said to provide raw material for evolution, but is there
another explanation from a design perspective? See the
01/02/2003 entry. The next two entries
below it are also interesting.
But is it really morally neutral? Is it scientific?
No way. Notice the papers concluding sentence: The evolution of
improved mechanisms of indirect reciprocity therefore leads to societies
in which costly punishment between individuals is not an efficient behaviour for
promoting cooperation. Did you catch the judgment calls?
If this were scientifically objective and morally neutral, they would have to
reject concepts of improving and promoting certain outcomes.
In evolution, whatever happens, happens. There is no light side and dark
side. If the human society collapses in a
bloody heap, so be it. Jot it down in the lab notebook and move on to the ant farm.
Their whole approach tries to be a covering law for any and all
outcomes of social behavior. It would not make any difference to them whether
the laboratory is Hamas or the Mayflower Compact. Gaza, for that matter,
has cooperators (the Hamas terrorists and suicide bombers), punishers (the Hamas leadership)
and defectors (the Gaza Baptist Church). The reviewers would have to judge
that their ideal society would be to reward the best terrorists and punish the
Baptists. Would this not meet their stated goal? the study
of the joint evolution of social norms and action rules under
natural constraints, they said, where natural is whatever happens,
morality be hanged. Then let the reviewers move to Gaza. That is the
ideal society to them. They said people preferred to live where cooperation
was rewarded and the worst offenders were punished.
Dont be deceived into thinking that this amoral approach to
human society is somehow scientific. In the first place, the scientists
disagreed with each other. Their standoff required another promissory note: study of the
joint evolution of social norms and action rules under natural constraints is
the goal for the future (as is everything in evolutionary theory).
Secondly, it commits the Ratomorphic Fallacy treating complex human beings
as lab rats. Thirdly, it exposes their mental illness known as the Yoda
Complex a delusion of thinking of oneself on a higher plane than the rest of
mortals. And fourthly, they plagiarize but deny the existence of the most
important word in human government and social relationships: JUSTICE.
Americas founding fathers were not just playing games.
They knew we all have a human nature, but that nature is not
naturalistic: it is moral. We have a fallen nature, a selfish nature, a
desire to exercise personal freedom at the expense of others. Justice
provides rewards and punishments not because it is the best strategy, but because it
is a necessity for morally selfish individuals who nevertheless are endowed by
their Creator with certain unalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness (eudaimonia, the responsible satisfaction of worthy goals).
One may occasionally find overlap in the Darwinist study with the Protestant work
ethic, as stated in II Thessalonians
3:10, if a man will not work, he shall not
eat (i.e., withhold help from the defector), but for entirely different
reasons. The Christian wants the defector to be ashamed of his lack of moral
responsibility, while the Darwinist plagiarizes Christian morality by assuming
the outcome is better for the society when help is withheld from the
That difference in motivation makes all the difference in the world.
Despite occasional overlap in outcomes,
the Christian pursues the strategy because he believes in moral absolutes: good
exists and should be rewarded; evil exists and must be punished whether or not
the strategy is costly. The Darwinist
strategy leads to moral equivalence, because morality is merely a social construction in their
world view. Evolutionary game theory, for instance, cannot employ moral
judgments in the current conflict between Hamas and Israel, but only determine
what is better by the outcome. That use of better,
however, is loaded with moral overtones. Presumably an outcome is better if it is
less costly. Says who? Notice how they are assuming that costliness
is bad and improved strategies are good. They end up deciding what is
better only by plagiarizing and twisting Christian values. In practice,
Darwinists usually end up as leftist liberals making moral judgments (e.g.,
condemning Israel for retaliating against Hamas rocket launches) but on the
basis of a morality that cannot be derived from their world view.
Bad ideas are precursors to bad policy. Since the Darwinists
are defectors from righteousness, they are dangerous and need to be punished. So we offer a
win-win situation. Since they love to play games, and need empirical
evidence to lend an air of science to their game-playing, give them a lab to work in:
prison. The best lab for playing Prisoners Dilemma is,
after all, a real prison. To get out, they have to cooperate with
the punishers who have the power to set the rules (the rules, remember,
are completely amoral according to the Darwin Partys own definitions,
so they cannot complain if they happen to wind up on the losing side).
The action rule of this game is to state the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance: I pledge allegiance
to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands,
one nation, under God, indivisible, with LIBERTY and JUSTICE for all.
Guard, dont let them out unless they shout JUSTICE with appropriate emphasis.
The outcome? They get out, they write up their results in Nature, everybody wins.
Defect, punish, repeat as necessary.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Darwin Missed the Pink Iguanas 01/06/2009
Jan 6, 2009 The news media are excited about pink iguanas found in the
Galapagos Islands. The rare type was discovered accidentally in 1986 but received
almost no attention till now. Reports with pictures can be found on
Scientist and the BBC News,
based on the paper by Gentile et al in PNAS.1
The rosada (pink) land iguana is similar in size and shape to a more common yellow
variety on Isabela island, the largest island in the Galapagos archipelago.
Darwin did not see any of these during his five-week tour. It is surprising
no other scientist saw this population, either, for 150 years after Darwins
stopover. They live isolated on an extinct volcano
named Volcan Wolf on the north end of Isabela island.
The scientists performed phylogenetic analysis of individuals and
declared them to be the most basal land iguanas on the islands. They
estimate they diverged 5.7 million years ago and went their own way genetically.
This raises a conundrum, however; the island of Isabela, their sole habitat, did
not form till half a million years ago, they believe. How did the pink
form remain genetically isolated for so long when the populations were free to
mix with others? Actually, they were found not to be completely isolated.
One yellow iguana appeared to have a rosada grandparent, so hybridization, though
rare, does occur (as it does with the finches). In any case, incomplete reproductive isolation
between the rosada and syntopic yellow land forms is not surprising, they
said, considering that hybridization can still occur between
marine and land iguanas, 2 genera morphologically, ecologically,
behaviorally, and genetically very distant.
1. Gentile et al, An overlooked pink species of land iguana in
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, published online before print January 5, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0806339106.
Is this evolution? They look nearly identical
to the other land iguanas except for skin color and slight differences in head-bobbing
behavior. There are more differences between people than between these
iguanas. To be told that they have been genetically isolated ten times longer than
the island they live on was separated from the others is a stretch; its also
not very helpful to evolutionary theory, because they believe humans came down from
the trees and evolved philosophy in less time than that.
Quote: Nobody would have predicted this theoretically.
It takes observations. The more we observe, the more we discover things
that nobody had even thought of.
Howard Bond, Space Telescope Science Institute, discussing unexpected
stellar explosions, Astronomy
Feb 2009, p. 53.
Phylogenetic analysis is fraught with dubious assumptions. Differences this small can take
a lot less time to develop. Live Science quoted the lead author saying,
The Darwin finches are thought to have differentiated later than the split
between the pink and yellow iguana lineages. And just like the finches,
the differences are minor variations. No new genetic information, tissues
or organs emerged by Darwins mechanism.
The news write-ups, nevertheless,
are filled with references to Charlie. King Charles had nothing to do with
this. He didnt even see them. He came up with a tall tale after
his voyage about how humans might have had bacteria ancestors. Why? Because he saw
microevolutionary changes in finches, turtles, mockingbirds and cacti in an isolated,
desolate environment, and could not fit these observations into preconceived
theological notions about how God would have done things.
For this Charlie should be scorned, not praised.
Darwins name would not be remembered
except for his visit here, his 200th birthday coming up, and the pressure of his
disciples to associate his name with these islands that are
full of amazingly hardy, well-adapted, created creatures (redundant, since creature refers
to a created living thing). All creatures of our God and King was
not written in praise of King Charlie, despite the devotion of his subjects.
Next headline on:
Send the Brat Outside 01/05/2009
Jan 5, 2009 Problem teens get dramatically cured by wilderness adventures,
researchers at the University of Essex found.
Daily reported that young offenders came back from their hikes and sailing
trips with increased self-confidence, teamwork, trust, a sense of belonging,
and a desire to cooperate and take responsibility for their future.
Youths described initially as disruptive, disrespectful and undisciplined
came back from their wilderness adventures with improved attitudes and less
antisocial behavior. A key element, the article said, was getting the young
people in touch with nature and away from negative influences typical of
urban environments. The difference in behaviour was amazing!
one researcher said after the trips.
Additional studies have found similar positive effects of natural
outings on people; a link between nature and health seems to be emerging,
the article concluded. Wilderness therapy should be considered
part of programs for youth at risk. They can benefit from ancillary parts
of outdoor activity, including healthy exercise and diet, individual and
group therapy, educational curricula, primitive skills, group-living with peers,
opportunities for solo time and reflection leadership training and challenges
resulting from back-to basics living.
This was like a free ad for
Creation Safaris. Everyone stands to benefit from
connectedness to nature. The artificial, manipulative world most urbanites
live in has bad health consequences. Concentrating young people in urban
centers is unnatural. But selfishness-based adventures, as seen on
reality TV programs, does little to build lasting character. For that, young
people need connectedness to their Creator the one who made the healing
Your Brain Decides Best Unconsciously 01/04/2009
One mission to inner-city youth in Los Angeles, named
World Impact, has
a retreat center called The Oaks in a beautiful, natural setting far from the
urban jungle. The change in environment is so radical for some inner-city
visitors, it is almost shock therapy for them to see trees, birds, and wide
open spaces. Kids given a chance at team-building activities,
education and recreation centered on the life-giving message of Gods love
are healed from the inside out. There are hundreds of Christian ministries like this that use
wilderness for therapy and enrichment. Send in the website of your favorite
after taking a brisk walk in the woods yourself.
Next headline on:
Jan 4, 2009 A report on Science
Daily claims your subconscious brain makes the best decisions possible.
This is based on work by cognitive neuroscientists at the University of Rochester.
Alex Pouget believes the brain is hard-wired to make optimal decisions when we
are not consciously thinking about them.
Pouget has been demonstrating for years that certain aspects of human cognition
are carried out with surprising accuracy. He has employed what he describes
as a very simple unconscious-decision test. A series of dots appears on a computer
screen, most of which are moving in random directions. A controlled number of
these dots are purposely moving uniformly in the same direction, and the test subject
simply has to say whether he believes those dots are moving to the left or right.
The longer the subject watches the dots, the more evidence he accumulates and the
more sure he becomes of the dots motion.
Pouget believes that there are advantages to the brains ability to sort through
data and make decisions probabilistically. It allows a reasonable decision to
be reached in a reasonable amount of time. The brain apparently has a different
threshold of certainty for each situation. How it sets those thresholds is
the subject of his ongoing research.
Subjects in this test performed exactly as if their brains were subconsciously
gathering information before reaching a confidence threshold, which was then
reported to the conscious mind as a definite, sure answer. The subjects,
however, were never aware of the complex computations going on, instead they
simply realized suddenly that the dots were moving in one direction
or another. The characteristics of the underlying computation fit
with Pougets extensive earlier work that suggested the human brain is
wired naturally to perform calculations of this kind.
The article states that this study contradicts earlier research that
assumed humans rarely make rational decisions. Researchers at the
University of Rochester have shown that the human brainonce thought to be
a seriously flawed decision makeris actually hard-wired to allow
us to make the best decisions possible with the information we are
given, the article began. In fact, Neuroscientists Daniel Kahneman
and Amos Tversky received a 2002 Nobel Prize for their 1979 research that argued
humans rarely make rational decisions. That conventional wisdom
appears to be overturned by Pougets work. The article did not mention evolution.
The study supports simple decision-making optimality, like which way dots are
moving, but rational decisions about truth and morality are not best left to the
subconscious mind. Pouget most likely did not decide what constitutes an
optimal decision by sleeping on it. We assume he wrote his paper while
Wouldnt evolution have predicted the best proofreading enzymes would be in the
most complex life forms? A study reported in the
found the opposite.
Nevertheless, there is a lot more going on in the brain than we realize.
Have you noticed how you can often recall a fact better by thinking about
something else? It seems as if a subdomain of your brain takes on a
kind of Google-search operation when your conscious mind focuses elsewhere, and delivers
the answer later. Maybe you got the answer in your sleep and remembered it
on awakening. Have you ever played a piece of your favorite music in your
head, then recalled it later after changing attention to something else,
and found your brain playing a later section of the work? Its as if it had been
playing all along in the background, like a record player you left going in one room
as you walked about and came back.
Yet your mind is not slavishly bound to reproduce the original music, either;
with your imagination, you can speed it up, slow it down, change key, or add new parts.
The wonders of the brain and how it interacts with the soul are only partially
understood by experimentation. We have tools, but tools are not the mind.
To see that, ask who in Pougets brain was running the experiments
on his subjects and deciding they were making rational decisions. Think rationally
about intellectual and moral questions. Your autopilot tools can assist with
the computer-like background operations and responses to stimuli under the
control of your mind.
Next headline on:
Nature Struts Darwin Gems 01/02/2009
Jan 2, 2009 Like a showcase of pearl-handled revolvers, an armory of evidences Nature calls
Darwins Gems have been exhibited to warn creationists that
Darwin Day will be defended next month with a show of force.
The authors, Henry Gee (former editor of Nature), Rory Howlett and
Philip Campbell have made their
15 Evolutionary Gems
freely available and encourage its free dissemination. Why?
Given that the concepts and realities of Darwinian evolution
are still challenged, albeit rarely by biologists, a succinct briefing
on why evolution by natural selection is an empirically validated principle is useful for people
to have to hand. This collected ammunition, they feel, demonstrates the
breadth, depth and power of evolutionary thinking.
Their list includes 5 evidences from paleontology, 6 from ecology,
and 4 from genetics and molecular biology (see Commentary for items on the list).
The outline is followed by summary arguments for each gem of evidence
for Darwinian evolution.
What matters on a pistol is not how pretty the
handle looks but what its loaded with, and whether it will work without
backfiring. To shoot down the creationist challengers riding into town,
this trio of self-appointed sheriffs
needs to stop polishing the handles and demonstrate their marksmanship.
Better a slingshot that can hit its mark than a pearl-handled hunk of dead
The 8th edition of Walt Browns fact-filled
encyclopedia of creation, In the Beginning,
has just been published. Not only is the latest edition loaded with updates and
additions the entire book is available on the web.
Dr. Browns material is carefully researched and
convincingly argued. Filled with color photos, charts and graphs, the book
brims with interesting facts that contradict evolution and establish creation
as the best explanation in all areas of science: geology, biology, and astronomy.
If you want a one-volume, all-around resource on creation vs. evolution, its hard to
find a better choice.
The trio, unfortunately, loaded their chambers with blanks.
Nobody cares about microevolution. That is accepted by even young-earth
creationists. Theyve got to demonstrate that
Charlies silver bullet, natural selection, can get out of the chamber with
sufficient wallop to do more than tickle the creationists and make them laugh.
His takeover of the town rested on the ability of his newfangled ideas
to create new genetic information, structure and function. Charlies
imagined ancestor of all life had no wings, teeth, legs, or brains. Can his
mechanism of random mutation and natural selection, with no purpose or designing
intelligence, get from slimy sea to Henry Gee? Lets see.
The bad sheriffs best beware of backfires, or
circular reasoning (i.e., using evolutionary
thinking to argue for evolution as fact). They wanted to demonstrate
the breadth, depth and power of evolutionary thinking, they said.
Well, guess what. Theres something with even more breadth, depth and
power than that: imagination. Take that up in the saloon, guys; it doesnt
belong in a scientific showdown. Show us your firepower.
- Whale evolution: See our entries from
and 05/28/2002 as an antidote to their
bluffing and exaggeration
about Thewissens alleged great transformation. Even they
admitted at the end that his study demonstrates the existence of potential
transition forms in the fossil record, not actual transitional
forms, like the 50,000 David Berlinski estimated would be required to turn a cow
into a whale. Then they bluffed that many other examples could have been
highlighted, and distracted the readers attention to futureware: there is every reason to
think that many others await discovery, they said. This was a
major problem in Darwins time. How many more centuries do we have to wait?
- Tetrapod evolution: They rehashed Tiktaalik as if it is
problem-free. Find a dozen refutations by searching on the word Tiktaalik in
the search bar above. How convinced should we be when they say that it
represents the stage before tetrapods evolved, and shows
how the fossil record throws up surprises, albeit ones that are
entirely compatible with evolutionary thinking? This only makes sense
if you already believe in evolution. If you are wowed
by circular reasoning, wave your tetrapods.
- Evolution of feathers: They argue from
Archaeopteryx (with a historical plaudit to Thomas Huxley for his
speculation about bird evolution), Sinosauropteryx (search on this word
for 5 entries), and Epidexipteryx
that feathers preceded flight. Again, this only makes sense if you already
worship Darwin. Their closing statement is so bizarre, it
wins Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week and a new cartoon by Brett Miller
(click on the Tweety Bird). Watch for the glorification of Darwinian speculation,
the big lie about feathered dinosaurs being
discovered, and the miracle-working power of evolution
Palaeontologists are now beginning to think that their speculations werent
nearly wild enough, and that feathers were indeed quite common in dinosaurs.
The leap of faith in that sentence is breathtaking. There are so many adaptations required
for flight, to glibly say that an opportunity presents itself and it happens exceeds
the faith of a creationist by orders of magnitude. Want to try out their
explanation? Stand at the top of a skyscraper.
Put on a Big Bird costume. An opportunity for flight presents itself....
Teeth: Microevolution; irrelevant.
This gem is only a short, sweet anecdote about a lady
scientist inspired by Darwin. It ends with a plaudit for evo-devo.
Vertebrate skeleton: This is a bizarre concoction of
recapitulation theory, speculation, circular reasoning
and imposing Darwin on the data in the absence of evidence.
They pretend this helps doctors understand several developmental disorders in humans,
as if evolution had anything to do with it. Creationists believe that we have
skeletal similarities to our fellow vertebrates; so what? Circular argument;
Speciation: More stickleback fish propaganda (search on stickleback
in the search bar above). Microevolution; irrelevant.
Lizards: Microevolution; irrelevant.
Co-evolution: A so-called evolutionary arms race between water
fleas and parasites that infect them. Both species remain what they were;
no new organs or new genetic information. Microevolution; irrelevant.
Bird dispersal: This is about gene flow in one species of bird.
Guppies: An argument for frequency-dependent survival
in genetic polymorphisms of one species of guppy. Microevolution; irrelevant.
Evolutionary history matters: This entry assumes evolution to
prove evolution. Circular reasoning;
irrelevant. The authors talk about evolutions breathtaking solution
to a feeding problem in moray eels. No transitional forms mentioned, nor any
mechanism for producing this innovation just the assumption
that Darwin did it somehow. They opened, Evolution is often thought to be about
finding optimal solutions to the problems that life throws up. But
natural selection can only work with the materials at hand materials that
are themselves the results of many millions of years of evolutionary history.
Is restating their belief with sufficient chutzpah supposed to convince a doubter?
Galapagos Finches: Good grief. For them to keep tossing up
this discredited story and thinking that an admitted case of microevolution that
oscillates beak size with climate by a few millimeters is going to
convince the rest of us that humans have bacteria ancestors, its no
showdown at all. The study shows how biologists are going beyond the
mere documentation of evolutionary change to identify the underlying molecular mechanisms,
they said. Well, fine. The history of alchemy motivated many new
techniques that later helped chemists.
Microevolution meets macroevolution: All right, folks, here it
is: the rubber meets the road. This must be a good one. Ready?
We can infer from the fossil record that larger species-to-species changes,
or macroevolution, also occur, they said, ignoring the Cambrian explosion,
but they are naturally harder to observe in action. Enter Sean
Carroll (the one at Howard Hughes Medical Institute) demonstrating spots on the wings
of one species of fruit fly. Whoa, thats rich. It gets worse.
The story revolves around considering some genes and transcription factors
evolutionarily ancient and ancestral. They just
cant quit their drunken-sailor walk of circular reasoning.
This shows that a gene involved in one process can be co-opted for another,
in principle driving macroevolutionary change.
Toxin resistance: A mutation breaks the gate that would otherwise
allow a toxin to enter, in two different kinds of animals. So evolution
breaks things. And your point is?
Variation vs stability: Lets see if they saved their best
for last. Nope; foul. They have just inserted teleology
back into evolution, committing the very infraction Darwin declared a mortal sin.
The discovery of feathered dinosaurs not only vindicated
the idea of transitional forms, but also showed that evolution has a
way of coming up with a dazzling variety of solutions when we had no idea that there
were even problems. Flight could have been no more than an additional
opportunity that presented itself to creatures already clothed in feathers.
Species can remain mostly unchanged for millions of years, long enough for us to pick up their traces in the
fossil record. But they change, too, and often very suddenly. This has led some to wonder whether species
usually those developing along specific tracks store the potential for sudden change under the hood,
unleashing a flood of otherwise hidden variation at times of environmental stress variation on which
selection can act.
They call this phenomenon of stored variation evolutionary capacitance.
Giving something a name is not an argument.
Need we remind the gunslinger trio that capacitors are built by intelligent engineers?
This argument does not rule out a Creator planning in some adaptability and robustness to his
intelligently-designed creations organisms that must survive a dynamic environment.
The creationists demand their gems back.
Notice the reliance of this argument on punctuated equilibria, Stephen Jay Goulds
pet theory on why the evidence for evolution is missing. You would think they would
not entertain such anti-gradualist heresies for Darwin Day (read what one Darwinist
thinks about Gould in the 12/19/2008 entry,
bullet 2). You would think also that this trio
would not be handing their ammunition to the creationists to use against them.
Creationists really dont mind the arsenal. They will let the Darwinists
shoot a thousand pearl-handled hunks of dead iron loaded with blanks all they
want. Theyre still comin to save the town from the crooked sheriffs
holding the citizens hostage.
Exercise: Is evolutionary thinking an oxymoron? Defend your answer.
Next headline on:
Religion: The Evolution of Self-Control 01/01/2009
Jan 1, 2009 A psychologist came up with a new theory of how religion
evolved. It evolved to give people more self-control.
reported the ideas of Miami psychologist Michael McCullough. Basically,
Religion May Have Evolved Because Of Its Ability To Help People Exercise Self-control,
the article states, with a picture of a rural church to boot. Self-control
is a nice thing to have. Apparently, it produces fitness.
This, in turn, might help explain why religious people tend to have lower
rates of substance abuse, better school achievement, less delinquency, better health
behaviors, less depression, and longer lives.
McCullough was non-sectarian with his view. The article
explained how the same social force that motivates acts of charity
and generosity can also motivate people to strap bomb belts around their waists
and then blow themselves up in crowded city buses. Its a little more
challenging to see why that would improve fitness, but to him, evolution teaches that
religion can motivate people to do just about anything.
Maybe one thing evolution could do to help scientists is help them
get their origin of species doctrine right. Another article on
Daily announced, Longstanding Theory Of Origin Of Species In Oceans Challenged.
According to our 01/15/2003 entry, this has been a
religious war of sorts within the Darwinist camp.
Sympatric speciation is struggling against allopatric speciation for survival of
the fittest theory. In the oceans, the heretics are winning. Maybe
they have a better navy.
Lets get this straight. Religious
people have self-control, therefore religious people are more fit. The
question becomes, is it a lack of self-control that is causing Darwinists to
say stupid things?
Brace yourself; were going to hear a lot more
nonsense in the month leading up the King Charles 200th Birthday Re-Coronation
Ceremony. You see what they do, dont you? They gloss over
the real issues by asking how religion evolved, not whether religion evolved.
This tactic is just the bully asserting his turf. The way to stand down a bully
is to face him without flinching and turn his energy against him. Dont accept his premise;
fling it right back at him. Ask him if he is just saying
that because he is a sinner looking to rationalize his evil ways.
What evil ways? he will sputter. Why, the evil of contradicting yourself.
What? he will say, looking flabbergasted. Right,
you continue nonchalantly, pointing out that he said religious people tend
to have longer lives. How does a young boy blowing up a school bus have a
longer life? How could that evolve? you ask, diverging temporarily into a
discussion of why a theory that explains opposite things explains nothing at
all. And come to think of
it, you continue gently but relentlessly, if religion is a positive
thing, what religion are you? He mumbles
that he is an atheist. Then according to your own theory, you are
less fit. In fact, you look kind of depressed and delinquent today.
Better get on a fitness program. Why not make a New Years resolution
to get some self-control and righteousness in your life, and quit the habit of making up
stories out of your own imagination? Come on, Ill take you to church
where we can learn about Truth that doesnt evolve.
The evolution-of-everything crowd cant even get their basic core ideas on the origin of
species right 150 years after Darwin supposedly figured it out, and they want us to think
they can explain religion. Well if religion evolved, it evolved downward from a true knowledge
of God to all kinds of deceptions and lies, including evolution. Time for
an update of Darwins title: On the origin of specious ideas by natural mans rejection
of evident creation in the struggle for existentialism.
But then he would be plagiarizing
Next headline on:
Scientist of the Month
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|Guide to Evolution
I just wanted to write in to express my personal view that everyone at Creation
Evolution Headlines is doing an excellent job! I have confidences that in the
future, Creation Evolution Headline will continue in doing such a great job!
Anyone who has interest at where science, as a whole, is at in our current times,
does not have to look very hard to see that science is on the verge of a new awakening....
Its not uncommon to find articles that are supplemented with assumptions and vagueness.
A view point the would rather keep knowledge in the dark ages. But when I read over the
postings on CEH, I find a view point that looks past the grayness.
The whole team at CEH helps cut through the assumptions of weary influences.
CEH helps illuminate the true picture that is shining in todays science.
A bright clear picture, full of intriguing details, independence and fascinating complexities.
I know that Creation Evolution Headlines has a growing and informative future before them.
Im so glad to be along for the ride!!
(a title insurance employee in Illinois, who called CEH The Best Web Site EVER !!)
Thank you very much for your well presented and highly instructive blog [news service].
(a French IT migration analyst working in London)
Please keep up the great work -- your website is simply amazing!
Dont know how you do it. But it justs eviscerates every evolutionary
argument they weakly lob up there -- kind of like serving up a juicy fastball
to Hank Aaron in his prime!
(a creation group leader in California)
I just want to thank you for your outstanding job. I am a regular reader of
yours and even though language barrier and lack of deeper scientific insight play
its role I still draw much from your articles and always look forward to them.
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I have read many of your creation articles and have enjoyed and appreciated your website.
I feel you are an outstanding witness for the Lord.... you are making a big difference, and
you have a wonderful grasp of the issues.
(a PhD geneticist, author and inventor)
Thank you for your great creation section on your website. I come visit
it every day, and I enjoy reading those news bits with your funny (but oh so true) commentaries.
(a computer worker in France)
I have been reading Creation Evolution Headlines for many years now with ever increasing astonishment....
I pray that God will bless your work for it has been a tremendous blessing for me and I thank you.
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keep up the good work.
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I love to read about science and intelligent design,
I love your articles.... I will be reading your articles for the rest of my life.
(an IT engineer and 3D animator in South Africa)
I discovered your site about a year ago and found it to be very informative,
but about two months back I decided to go back to the 2001 entries and read through the
headlines of each month.... What a treasure house of information!
....you have been very balanced and thoughtful
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statements, but a very straightforward and sometimes humorous analysis of the news
relating to origins.
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(a software engineer in Texas)
Your piece on Turing Test Stands (09/14/2008)
was so enlightening. Thanks so much. And your piece on Cosmology
at the Outer Limits (06/30/2008) was
another marvel of revelation. But most of all your footnotes at
the end are the most awe-inspiring. I refer to Come to the light
and Psalm 139 and many others. Thanks so much for keeping us grounded in the
TRUTH amidst the sea of scientific discoveries and controversy. Its so
heartwarming and soul saving to read the accounts of the inspired writers testifying
to the Master of the Universe. Thanks again.
(a retired electrical engineer in Mississippi)
I teach a college level course on the issue of evolution and creation.
I am very grateful for your well-reasoned reports and analyses of the issues that
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the other side can maintain our civility even while correcting and informing a
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(a faculty member at a Bible college in Missouri)
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I appreciate the work youve been doing with the
Creation-Evolution Headlines website.
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(a PhD professor of scientific rhetoric in Florida and author of two books, who added that he was
awe-struck by this site)
Featured Creation Scientist for January
1902 - 2001
Mortimer Adler was one of the great intellectual giants of the 20th century.
Among his credits were Chairman of the Board of the Encyclopedia Britannica
and compiler of the Great Books of the Western World. This set of 54 volumes
of intellectual literature ranging from the Greeks to the early 20th century has
sold half a million copies; it graces many a scholarly homes library and
university philosophy department. In addition, Adler wrote 45 successful
books of his own, like How to Read a Book and The Difference in Man and
the Difference it Makes (see bibliography at
The Great Ideas website).
Adler was a lifelong opponent of Darwinism.
Dr. Adler received a PhD in Psychology from Columbia University, but was primarily
a scholar in intellectual history and philosophy and an advocate for liberal arts education,
which should include familiarity with the long intellectual tradition of the
Western world. Its important for observers of the
creation-evolution controversy to recognize that great thinkers like Dr. Adler, not
just religious fundamentalists, have stood against Darwins views.
Adler was familiar as few others with the range of philosophical and scientific
ideas about man and his place in the cosmos; he himself recast the cosmological
argument for the existence of God in 20th-century dress. That a man of
his erudition and eminence would oppose the scientific consensus regarding
evolution is telling.
Adler argued against Darwins views on both scientific and rational grounds
not religious dogma (he did not become a Christian himself till age 82,
long after most of his books were written). He observed that Darwins
theory was nothing more than historical mythmaking, and the evidence opposes it.
With debaters the likes of Mortimer Adler standing in their way, Darwinists cannot
charge that their opponents are ignorant or religiously motivated. Dr. Adler
further argued that Darwins theory is intellectually bankrupt because it
dehumanizes man and makes his intellectual faculties no different from those of the
animals. The Darwinian view of man, he argued, undermines all claims to rationality.
Mortimer Adler could certainly hold his own against the Darwinists, and he did
so in dialogues in some of his books. He could call forth on demand quotations from
Anselm, Aquinas, Averroes, Aristotle, Adam Smith, or whomever was needed to support
a point. He could speak to fine points of philosophy, psychology,
ethics, aesthetics, and theology. This was no lightweight standing
in opposition to the Darwinists and positivists. He was, after all, the
compiler of the Great Books.
Dr. Adler understood the criticality of the debate over Darwins views.
He marked history as BD and AD: before Darwin and after Darwin. No serious
intellectual, he said, even Hobbes and Hume, had suggested that the human mind
was continuous with that of the animals. Calling Darwins
theory a wild speculation, a grand myth, he engaged in a decades-long crusade against
Darwinism in his books and conferences, yet with the armor of a respected scholar.
An excellent article on Mortimer Adlers views on evolution was written
by Dr. Jerry Bergman, available in PDF form at
We defer to this article for more information and recommend going there now.
Bergman also included a section on Adler in his new book
Slaughter of the Dissidents.
Bergman uses Adler, Von Braun and Ernst Chain as
three examples of scientists who were not ruthlessly attacked for doubting
As Darwins 200th birthday approaches next month, the hype is bound to get
hysterical. Darwinists will attempt to lump all doubters with religious
fundamentalists and ignoramuses who want to set back American progress to the
dark ages. Would that Dr. Mortimer Adler were still with us to set the
Some of Mortimer Adlers books can be read online.
Academy Philosophy website includes links to some of Adlers 200
articles and many of his books. A search on Google Books can locate titles
to Think About the Great Ideas and
to Think About God: A Guide for the 20th Century Pagan. A Google
search will turn up a great deal more material on the man and his writings.
If you are enjoying this series, you can
learn more about great Christians in science by reading
our online book-in-progress:
The Worlds Greatest
Creation Scientists from Y1K to Y2K.
A Concise Guide|
You can observe a lot by just watching.
First Law of Scientific Progress
The advance of science can be measured by the rate at which exceptions to previously held laws accumulate.
1. Exceptions always outnumber rules.
2. There are always exceptions to established exceptions.
3. By the time one masters the exceptions, no one recalls the rules to which they apply.
Nature will tell you a direct lie if she can.
So will Darwinists.
Science is true. Dont be misled by facts.
Finagles 2nd Law
No matter what the anticipated result, there
will always be someone eager to (a) misinterpret it, (b) fake it, or (c)
believe it happened according to his own pet theory.
3. Draw your curves, then plot your data.
4. In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
6. Do not believe in miracles rely on them.
Murphys Law of Research
Enough research will tend to support your theory.
If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
1. The bigger the theory, the better.
2. The experiments may be considered a success if no more than 50%
of the observed measurements must be discarded to obtain a correspondence
with the theory.
The number of different hypotheses erected to explain a given biological phenomenon
is inversely proportional to the available knowledge.
All great discoveries are made by mistake.
The greater the funding, the longer it takes to make the mistake.
The solution to a problem changes the nature of the problem.
Peters Law of Evolution
Competence always contains the seed of incompetence.
An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.
Repetition does not establish validity.
What really matters is the name you succeed in imposing on the facts not the facts themselves.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
Thumbs Second Postulate
An easily-understood, workable falsehood is more useful than a complex, incomprehensible truth.
There is nothing so small that it cant be blown out of proportion
Hawkins Theory of Progress
Progress does not consist in replacing a theory that is
wrong with one that is right. It consists in replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is
more subtly wrong.
The best theory is not ipso facto a good theory.
Error is often more earnest than truth.
Advice from Paul|
Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle
babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge by
professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.
I Timothy 6:20-21
Song of the True Scientist
O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made
them all. The earth is full of Your possessions . . . . May the glory of the Lord endure forever. May the
Lord rejoice in His works . . . . I will sing to the Lord s long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my
being. May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord. May sinners be
consumed from the earth, and the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!
from Psalm 104
Through the creatures Thou hast made
Show the brightness of Thy glory.
Be eternal truth displayed
In their substance transitory.
Till green earth and ocean hoary,
Massy rock and tender blade,
Tell the same unending story:
We are truth in form arrayed.
Teach me thus Thy works to read,
That my faith, new strength accruing
May from world to world proceed,
Wisdoms fruitful search pursuing
Till, thy truth my mind imbuing,
I proclaim the eternal Creed
Oft the glorious theme renewing,
God our Lord is God indeed.
James Clerk Maxwell
One of the greatest physicists
of all time (a creationist).
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
(Access Research Network
Your website is simply the best (and Id dare say one of the most important) web sites on the entire WWW.
(an IT specialist at an Alabama university)
Ive been reading the articles on this website for over a year, and
Im guilty of not showing any appreciation. You provide a great service.
Its one of the most informative and up-to-date resources on creation available
anywhere. Thank you so much. Please keep up the great work.
(a senior research scientist in Georgia)
Just a note to thank you for your site. I am a regular visitor and I use your site
to rebut evolutionary "just so" stories often seen in our local media.
I know what you do is a lot of work but you make a difference and are appreciated.
(a veterinarian in Minnesota)
This is one of the best sites I have ever visited. Thanks.
I have passed it on to several others... I am a retired grandmother.
I have been studying the creation/evolution question for about 50 yrs....
Thanks for the info and enjoyable site.
(a retiree in Florida)
It is refreshing to know that there are valuable resources such as Creation-Evolution
Headlines that can keep us updated on the latest scientific news that affect our view of
the world, and more importantly to help us decipher through the rhetoric so carelessly
disseminated by evolutionary scientists. I find it Intellectually Satisfying
to know that I dont have to park my brain at the door to be a believer
or at the very least, to not believe in Macroevolution.
(a loan specialist in California)
I have greatly benefitted from your efforts. I very much look forward
to your latest posts.
(an attorney in California)
I must say your website provides an invaluable arsenal in this war for souls
that is being fought. Your commentaries move me to laughter or sadness.
I have been viewing your information for about 6 months and find it one of the best
on the web. It is certainly effective against the nonsense published on
Talkorigins.org. It great to see work that glorifies God and His creation.
(a commercial manager in Australia)
Visiting daily your site and really do love it.
(a retiree from Finland who studied math and computer science)
I am agnostic but I can never deny that organic life (except human) is doing a wonderful
job at functioning at optimum capacity. Thank you for this ... site!
(an evolutionary theorist from Australia)
During the year I have looked at your site, I have gone through your archives and
found them to be very helpful and informative. I am so impressed that I forward link
to members of my congregation who I believe are interested in a higher level discussion
of creationist issues than they will find at [a leading origins website].
(a minister in Virginia)
I attended a public school in KS where evolution was taught. I have
rejected evolution but have not always known the answers to some of the
questions.... A friend told me about your site
and I like it, I have it on my favorites, and I check it every day.
(an auto technician in Missouri)
Thanks for a great site! It has brilliant insights into the world of
science and of the evolutionary dogma. One of the best sites I know of on
(a programmer in Iceland)
The site you run creation-evolution headlines is
extremely useful to me. I get so tired of what passes
for science Darwinism in particular and I find your
site a refreshing antidote to the usual junk.... it is clear that your thinking and logic
and willingness to look at the evidence for what the
evidence says is much greater than what I read in what
are now called science journals.
Please keep up the good work. I appreciate what you
are doing more than I can communicate in this e-mail.
(a teacher in California)
Although we are often in disagreement, I have the greatest respect and admiration for your writing.
(an octogenarian agnostic in Palm Springs)
your website is absolutely superb and unique. No other site out
there provides an informed & insightful running critique of the current
goings-on in the scientific establishment. Thanks for keeping us informed.
(a mechanical designer in Indiana)
I have been a fan of your site for some time now. I enjoy reading the No Spin of what
is being discussed.... keep up the good work, the world needs to be shown just how little the scientist
[sic] do know in regards to origins.
(a network engineer in South Carolina)
I am a young man and it is encouraging to find a scientific journal
on the side of creationism and intelligent design....
Thank you for your very encouraging website.
(a web designer and author in Maryland)
GREAT site. Your ability to expose the clothesless emperor in clear language is indispensable to
us non-science types who have a hard time seeing through the jargon and the hype. Your tireless efforts
result in encouragement and are a great service to the faith community. Please keep it up!
(a medical writer in Connecticut)
I really love your site and check it everyday. I also recommend it to everyone I can, because there is
no better website for current information about ID.
(a product designer in Utah)
Your site is a fantastic resource. By far, it is the most current, relevant and most frequently
updated site keeping track of science news from a creationist perspective. One by one, articles
challenging currently-held aspects of evolution do not amount to much. But when browsing the archives,
its apparent youve caught bucketfulls of science articles and news items that devastate
evolution. The links and references are wonderful tools for storming the gates of evolutionary paradise
and ripping down their strongholds. The commentary is the icing on the cake. Thanks for all your
hard work, and by all means, keep it up!
(a business student in Kentucky)
Thanks for your awesome work; it stimulates my mind and encourages my faith.
(a family physician in Texas)
I wanted to personally thank you for your outstanding website. I am intensely interested in any
science news having to do with creation, especially regarding astronomy. Thanks again for your GREAT
(an amateur astronomer in San Diego)
What an absolutely brilliant website you have. Its hard to express how uplifting it is for me
to stumble across something of such high quality.
(a pharmacologist in Michigan)
I want to make a brief commendation in passing of the outstanding job you did in rebutting the
thinking on the article: Evolution of Electrical Engineering
... What a rebuttal to end all rebuttals, unanswerable,
inspiring, and so noteworthy that was. Thanks for the effort and research you put into it.
I wish this answer could be posted in every church, synagogue, secondary school, and college/university...,
and needless to say scientific laboratories.
(a reader in Florida)
You provide a great service with your thorough coverage of news stories relating
to the creation-evolution controversy.
(an elder of a Christian church in Salt Lake City)
I really enjoy your website and have made it my home page so I can check on your latest articles.
I am amazed at the diversity of topics you address. I tell everyone I can about your site and encourage them to
check it frequently.
(a business owner in Salt Lake City)
Ive been a regular reader of CEH for about nine month now, and I look forward to each new posting.... I enjoy the information CEH gleans from current events in science and hope you keep the service going.
(a mechanical engineer in Utah)
It took six years of constant study of evolution to overcome the indoctrination found in public schools of my youth. I now rely on your site; it helps me to see the work of God where I could not see it before and to find miracles where there was only mystery. Your site is a daily devotional that I go to once a day and recommend to everyone. I am still susceptible to the wiles of fake science and I need the fellowship of your site; such information is rarely found in a church.
Now my eyes see the stars God made and the life He designed and I feel the rumblings of joy as promised. When I feel down or worried my solution is to praise God the Creator Of All That Is, and my concerns drain away while peace and joy fill the void. This is something I could not do when I did not know (know: a clear and accurate perception of truth) God as Creator. I could go on and on about the difference knowing our Creator has made, but I believe you understand.
I tell everyone that gives me an opening about your site. God is working through you. Please dont stop telling us how to see the lies or leading us in celebrating the truth. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
(a renowned artist in Wyoming)
I discovered your site a few months ago and it has become essential reading via RSS to
(a cartographer and GIS analyst in New Zealand)
I love your site, and frequently visit to read both explanations of news reports,
and your humor about Bonny Saint Charlie.
(a nuclear safety engineer in Washington)
Your site is wonderful.
(a senior staff scientist, retired, from Arizona)
Ive told many people about your site. Its a tremendous service to
science news junkies not to mention students of both Christianity and
(a meteorology research scientist in Alabama)
...let me thank you for your Creation-Evolution Headlines. Ive been an avid reader of it since I first discovered your website about five years ago. May I also express my admiration for the speed with which your articles appearoften within 24 hours of a particular news announcement or journal article being published.
(a plant physiologist and prominent creation writer in Australia)
How do you guys do it--reviewing so much relevant material every day and writing incisive,
(a retired high school biology teacher in New Jersey)
Your site is one of the best out there! I really love reading your articles on creation evolution
headlines and visit this section almost daily.
(a webmaster in the Netherlands)
Keep it up! Ive been hitting your site daily (or more...).
I sure hope you get a mountain of encouraging email, you deserve it.
(a small business owner in Oregon)
Great work! May your tribe increase!!!
(a former Marxist, now ID speaker in Brazil)
You are the best. Thank you....
The work you do is very important.
Please dont ever give up. God bless the whole team.
(an engineer and computer consultant in Virginia)
I really appreciate your work in this topic, so you should never stop doing what you do,
cause you have a lot of readers out there, even in small countries in Europe, like Slovenia
is... I use crev.info for all my signatures on Internet forums etc., it really is fantastic site,
the best site! You see, we(your pleased readers) exist all over the world, so you must be
doing great work! Well i hope you have understand my bad english.
(a biology student in Slovenia)
Thanks for your time, effort, expertise, and humor. As a public school biology teacher I
peruse your site constantly for new information that will challenge evolutionary belief and share much
of what I learn with my students. Your site is pounding a huge dent in evolutions supposed
solid exterior. Keep it up.
(a biology teacher in the eastern USA)
Several years ago, I became aware of your Creation-Evolution Headlines web site.
For several years now, it has been one of my favorite internet sites. I many times check your
website first, before going on to check the secular news and other creation web sites.
I continue to be impressed with your writing and research skills, your humor,
and your technical and scientific knowledge and understanding. Your ability to cut through
the inconsequentials and zero in on the principle issues is one of the characteristics that
is a valuable asset....
I commend you for the completeness and thoroughness with which you provide
coverage of the issues. You obviously spend a great deal of time on this work.
It is apparent in ever so many ways.
Also, your background topics of logic and propaganda techniques have been useful
as classroom aides, helping others to learn to use their baloney detectors.
Through the years, I have directed many to your site. For their sake and mine,
I hope you will be able to continue providing this very important, very much needed, educational,
humorous, thought provoking work.
(an engineer in Missouri)
I am so glad I found your site. I love reading short blurbs about recent discoveries, etc,
and your commentary often highlights that the discovery can be interpreted in two differing ways,
and usually with the pro-God/Design viewpoint making more sense. Its such a refreshing difference
from the usual media spin. Often youll have a story up along with comment before the masses
even know about the story yet.
(a system administrator in Texas, who calls CEH the UnSpin Zone)
You are indeed the Rush Limbaugh Truth Detector of science falsely so-called.
Keep up the excellent work.
(a safety director in Michigan)
I know of no better way to stay
informed with current scientific research than to read your site everyday, which in turn has helped me understand
many of the concepts not in my area (particle physics) and which I hear about in school or in the media.
Also, I just love the commentaries and the baloney detecting!!
(a grad student in particle physics)
I thank you for your ministry. May God bless you! You are doing great job effectively
exposing pagan lie of evolution. Among all known to me creation ministries [well-known organizations listed]
Creationsafaris stands unique thanks to qualitative survey and analysis of scientific publications and news.
I became permanent reader ever since discovered your site half a year ago. Moreover your ministry is
effective tool for intensive and deep education for cristians.
(a webmaster in Ukraine, seeking permission to translate CEH articles into Russian to reach
countries across the former Soviet Union)
The scholarship of the editors is unquestionable. The objectivity of the editors is
admirable in face of all the unfounded claims of evolutionists and Darwinists. The amount
of new data available each day on the site is phenomenal (I cant wait to see the next new
article each time I log on). Most importantly, the TRUTH is always and forever the primary
goal of the people who run this website. Thank you so very much for 6 years of consistent
dedication to the TRUTH.
(11 months earlier): I just completed reading each entry from each month. I found your site about
6 months ago and as soon as I understood the format, I just started at the very first entry
and started reading.... Your work has blessed my education and determination to bold in
showing the unscientific nature of evolution in general and Darwinism in particular.
(a medical doctor in Oklahoma)
Thanks for the showing courage in marching against a popular unproven unscientific belief system.
I dont think I missed 1 article in the past couple of years.
(a manufacturing engineer in Australia)
I do not know and cannot imagine how much time you must spend to read, research and
compile your analysis of current findings in almost every area of science. But I do know
I thank you for it.
(a practice administrator in Maryland)
Since finding your insightful comments some 18 or more months ago, Ive
visited your site daily.... You
so very adeptly and adroitly undress the emperor daily; so much so one
wonders if he might not soon catch cold and fall ill off his throne! ....
To you I wish much continued success and many more years of fun and
frolicking undoing the damage taxpayers are forced to fund through
unending story spinning by ideologically biased scientists.
(an investment advisor in Missouri)
I really like your articles. You do a fabulous job of cutting through
the double-talk and exposing the real issues. Thank you for your hard
work and diligence.
(an engineer in Texas)
I love your site. Found it about maybe
two years ago and I read it every day. I love the closing comments in
green. You have a real knack for exposing the toothless claims of the
evolutionists. Your comments are very helpful for many us who dont know
enough to respond to their claims. Thanks for your good work and keep it
(a missionary in Japan)
I just thought Id write and
tell you how much I appreciate your headline list and commentary. Its
inspired a lot of thought and consideration. I check your listings every day!
(a computer programmer in Tulsa)
Just wanted to thank you for your creation/evolution news ... an outstanding educational
(director of a consulting company in Australia)
Your insights ... been some of the most helpful not surprising considering the caliber of
your most-excellent website! Im serious, ..., your website has to be the
best creation website out there....
(a biologist and science writer in southern California)
I first learned of your web site on March 29.... Your site has far exceeded my expectations and is
consulted daily for the latest. I join with other readers in praising your time and energy spent to educate,
illuminate, expose errors.... The links are a great help in understanding the news items.
The archival structure is marvelous.... Your site brings back dignity to Science conducted as it
should be. Best regards for your continuing work and influence. Lives are being changed and
sustained every day.
(a manufacturing quality engineer in Mississippi)
I wrote you over three years ago letting you know how much I enjoyed your Creation-Evolution headlines,
as well as your Creation Safaris site. I stated then that I read your headlines and commentary every day,
and that is still true! My interest in many sites has come and gone over the years, but your site is
still at the top of my list! I am so thankful that you take the time to read and analyze some of the
scientific journals out there; which I dont have the time to read myself. Your commentary is very,
very much appreciated.
(a hike leader and nature-lover in Ontario, Canada)
...just wanted to say how much I admire your site and your writing.
Youre very insightful and have quite a broad range of knowledge.
Anyway, just wanted to say that I am a big fan!
(a PhD biochemist at a major university)
I love your site and syndicate your content on my church website....
The stories you highlight show the irrelevancy
of evolutionary theory and that evolutionists have perpetual foot and
mouth disease; doing a great job of discrediting themselves. Keep up
the good work.
(a database administrator and CEH junkie in California)
I cant tell you how much I enjoy your article reviews on your
websiteits a HUGE asset!
(a lawyer in Washington)
Really, really, really a fantastic site. Your wit makes a razor appear dull!...
A million thanks for your site.
(a small business owner in Oregon and father of children who love your site too.)
Thank God for ... Creation
Evolution Headlines. This site is right at the cutting edge in the debate
over bio-origins and is crucial in working to undermine the
deceived mindset of naturalism. The arguments presented are unassailable
(all articles having first been thoroughly baloney detected) and the
narrative always lands just on the right side of the laymans comprehension
limits... Very highly recommended to all, especially, of course, to those who
have never thought to question the fact of evolution.
(a business owner in Somerset, UK)
I continue to note the difference between the dismal derogations of the
darwinite devotees, opposed to the openness and humor of rigorous, follow-the-evidence
scientists on the Truth side. Keep up the great work.
(a math/science teacher with M.A. in anthropology)
Your material is clearly among the best I have ever read on evolution problems!
I hope a book is in the works!
(a biology prof in Ohio)
I have enjoyed reading the sardonic apologetics on the Creation/Evolution Headlines section
of your web site. Keep up the good work!
(an IT business owner in California)
Your commentaries ... are always delightful.
(president of a Canadian creation group)
Im pleased to see... your amazing work on the Headlines.
(secretary of a creation society in the UK)
We appreciate all you do at crev.info.
(a publisher of creation and ID materials)
I was grateful for creationsafaris.com for help with baloney detecting. I had read about
the fish-o-pod and wanted to see what you thought. Your comments were helpful and encouraged me
that my own baloney detecting skill are improving. I also enjoyed reading your reaction
to the article on evolution teachers doing battle with students.... I will ask my girls to read your
comments on the proper way to question their teachers.
(a home-schooling mom)
I just want to express how dissapointed [sic] I am in your website. Instead of being objective, the
website is entirely one sided, favoring creationism over evolution, as if the two are contradictory....
Did man and simien [sic] evovlve [sic] at random from a common ancestor? Or did God guide this evolution?
I dont know. But all things, including the laws of nature, originate from God....
To deny evolution is to deny Gods creation. To embrace evolution is to not only embrace his creation,
but to better appreciate it.
(a student in Saginaw, Michigan)
I immensely enjoy reading the Creation-Evolution Headlines. The way you use words
exposes the bankruptcy of the evolutionary worldview.
(a student at Northern Michigan U)
...standing O for crev.info.
(a database programmer in California)
Just wanted to say that I am thrilled to have found your website! Although I
regularly visit numerous creation/evolution sites, Ive found that many of them do
not stay current with relative information. I love the almost daily updates to
your headlines section. Ive since made it my browser home page, and have
recommended it to several of my friends. Absolutely great site!
(a network engineer in Florida)
After I heard about Creation-Evolution Headlines,
it soon became my favorite Evolution resource site on the web. I visit several times a
day cause I cant wait for the next update. Thats pathetic, I know ...
but not nearly as pathetic as Evolution, something you make completely obvious with your snappy,
intelligent commentary on scientific current events. It should be a textbook for science
classrooms around the country. You rock!
(an editor in Tennessee)
One of the highlights of my day is checking your latest CreationSafaris creation-evolution news listing!
Thanks so much for your great work -- and your wonderful humor.
(a pastor in Virginia)
Thanks!!! Your material is absolutely awesome. Ill be using it in our Adult Sunday School class.
(a pastor in Wisconsin)
Love your site & read it daily.
(a family physician in Texas)
I set it [crev.info] up as my homepage. That way I am less likely to miss some really interesting events....
I really appreciate what you are doing with Creation-Evolution Headlines. I
tell everybody I think might be interested, to check it out.
(a systems analyst in Tennessee)
I would like to thank you for your service from which I stand to benefit a lot.
(a Swiss astrophysicist)
I enjoy very much reading your materials.
(a law professor in Portugal)
Thanks for your time and thanks for all the work on the site.
It has been a valuable resource for me.
(a medical student in Kansas)
Creation-Evolution Headlines is a terrific resource. The articles are
always current and the commentary is right on the mark.
(a molecular biologist in Illinois)
Creation-Evolution Headlines is my favorite
anti-evolution website. With almost giddy anticipation, I check
it several times a week for the latest postings. May God bless you and
empower you to keep up this FANTASTIC work!
(a financial analyst in New York)
I read your pages on a daily basis and I would like to let you know
that your hard work has been a great help in increasing my knowledge
and growing in my faith. Besides the huge variety of scientific
disciplines covered, I also enormously enjoy your great sense of humor
and your creativity in wording your thoughts, which make reading your
website even more enjoyable.
(a software developer in Illinois)
THANK YOU for all the work you do to make this wonderful resource! After
being regular readers for a long time, this year weve incorporated your
site into our home education for our four teenagers. The Baloney Detector
is part of their Logic and Reasoning Skills course, and the Daily Headlines
and Scientists of the Month features are a big part of our curriculum for an
elective called Science Discovery Past and Present. What a wonderful
goldmine for equipping future leaders and researchers with the tools of
(a home school teacher in California)
What can I say I LOVE YOU!
I READ YOU ALMOST EVERY DAY I copy and send out to various folks.
I love your sense of humor, including your politics and of course your faith.
I appreciate and use your knowledge What can I say THANK YOU
THANK YOU THANK YOU SO MUCH.
(a biology major, former evolutionist, now father of college students)
I came across your site while browsing through creation & science links. I love the work you do!
(an attorney in Florida)
Love your commentary and up to date reporting. Best site for evolution/design info.
(a graphic designer in Oregon)
I am an ardent reader of your site. I applaud your efforts and pass on
your website to all I talk to. I have recently given your web site info
to all my grandchildren to have them present it to their science
teachers.... Your Supporter and fan..God bless you all...
(a health services manager in Florida)
Why your readership keeps doubling: I came across your website at a time when I was just getting to know what creation science is all about. A friend of mine was telling me about what he had been finding out. I was highly skeptical and sought to read as many pro/con articles as I could find and vowed to be open-minded toward his seemingly crazy claims. At first I had no idea of the magnitude of research and information thats been going on. Now, Im simply overwhelmed by the sophistication and availability of scientific research and information on what I now know to be the truth about creation.
Your website was one of dozens that I found in my search. Now, there are only a handful of sites I check every day. Yours is at the top of my list... I find your news page to be the most insightful and well-written of the creation news blogs out there. The quick wit, baloney detector, in-depth scientific knowledge you bring to the table and the superb writing style on your site has kept me interested in the day-to-day happenings of what is clearly a growing movement. Your site ... has given me a place to point them toward to find out more and realize that theyve been missing a huge volume of information when it comes to the creation-evolution issue.
Another thing I really like about this site is the links to articles in science journals and news references. That helps me get a better picture of what youre talking about.... Keep it up and I promise to send as many people as will listen to this website and others.
(an Air Force Academy graduate stationed in New Mexico)
Im a small town newspaper editor in southwest Wyoming. Were pretty
isolated, and finding your site was a great as finding a gold mine. I read
it daily, and if theres nothing new, I re-read everything. I follow links.
I read the Scientist of the Month. Its the best site Ive run across. Our
local school board is all Darwinist and determined to remain that way.
(a newspaper editor in Wyoming)
have been reading your page for about 2 years or so....
I read it every day. I ...am well educated, with a BA in Applied Physics
from Harvard and an MBA in Finance from Wharton.
(a reader in Delaware)
I came across your website by accident about 4 months ago and look at it every day....
About 8 months ago I was reading a letter to the editor of the Seattle Times that was written
by a staunch anti-Creationist and it sparked my interest enough to research the
topic and within a week I was yelling, my whole lifes education has been a lie!!!
Ive put more study into Biblical Creation in the last 8 months than any other topic in my life.
Past that, through resources like your website...Ive been able to convince my father (professional mathematician and amateur geologist), my best friend (mechanical engineer and fellow USAF Academy Grad/Creation Science nutcase), my pastor (he was the hardest to crack), and many others to realize the Truth of Creation.... Resources like your website help the rest of us at the grassroots level drum up interest in the subject. And regardless of what the major media says: Creationism is spreading like wildfire, so please keep your website going to help fan the flames.
(an Air Force Academy graduate and officer)
I love your site! I **really** enjoy reading it for several specific reasons: 1.It uses the latest (as in this month!) research as a launch pad for opinion; for years I have searched for this from a creation science viewpoint, and now, Ive found it. 2. You have balanced fun with this topic. This is hugely valuable! Smug Christianity is ugly, and I dont perceive that attitude in your comments. 3. I enjoy the expansive breadth of scientific news that you cover. 4. I am not a trained scientist but I know evolutionary bologna/(boloney) when I see it; you help me to see it. I really appreciate this.
(a computer technology salesman in Virginia)
I love your site. Thats why I was more than happy to
mention it in the local paper.... I mentioned your site as the place
where..... Every Darwin-cheering news article is
reviewed on that site from an ID perspective. Then
the huge holes of the evolution theory are exposed,
and the bad science is shredded to bits, using real
(a project manager in New Jersey)
Ive been reading your site almost daily for about three years. I have
never been more convinced of the truthfulness of Scripture and the faithfulness of God.
(a system administrator and homeschooling father in Colorado)
I use the internet a lot to catch up on news back
home and also to read up on the creation-evolution controversy, one of my favourite topics.
Your site is always my first port of call for the latest news and views and I really appreciate
the work you put into keeping it up to date and all the helpful links you provide. You are a
beacon of light for anyone who wants to hear frank, honest conclusions instead of the usual diluted
garbage we are spoon-fed by the media.... Keep up the good work and know that youre changing lives.
(a teacher in Spain)
I am grateful to you for your site and look forward to reading new
stories.... I particularly value it for being up to date with what is going on.
(from the Isle of Wight, UK)
[Creation-Evolution Headlines] is the place to go for late-breaking
news [on origins]; it has the most information and the quickest turnaround.
Its incredible I dont know how you do it.
I cant believe all the articles you find. God bless you!
(a radio producer in Riverside, CA)
Just thought I let you know how much I enjoy
reading your Headlines section. I really appreciate
how you are keeping your ear to the ground in so
many different areas. It seems that there is almost
no scientific discipline that has been unaffected
by Darwins Folly.
(a programmer in aerospace from Gardena, CA)
I enjoy reading the comments on news articles on your site very much. It is incredible
how much refuse is being published in several scientific fields regarding evolution.
It is good to notice that the efforts of true scientists have an increasing influence at schools,
but also in the media.... May God bless your efforts and open the eyes of the blinded evolutionists
and the general public that are being deceived by pseudo-scientists.... I enjoy the site very much
and I highly respect the work you and the team are doing to spread the truth.
(an ebusiness manager in the Netherlands)
I discovered your site through a link at certain website...
It has greatly helped me being updated with the latest development in science and with
critical comments from you. I also love your baloney detector
and in fact have translated some part of the baloney detector into our language (Indonesian).
I plan to translate them all for my friends so as to empower them.
(a staff member of a bilateral agency in West Timor, Indonesia)
...absolutely brilliant and inspiring.
(a documentary film producer, remarking on the
I found your site several months ago and within weeks
had gone through your entire archives.... I check in several times a day for further
information and am always excited to read the new
articles. Your insight into the difference between
what is actually known versus what is reported has
given me the confidence to stand up for what I
believe. I always felt there was more to the story,
and your articles have given me the tools to read
through the hype....
You are an invaluable help and I commend your efforts.
Keep up the great work.
(a sound technician in Alberta)
I discovered your site (through a link from a blog) a few weeks ago and I cant stop reading it....
I also enjoy your insightful and humorous commentary at the end of each story. If the evolutionists
blindness wasnt so sad, I would laugh harder.
I have a masters degree in mechanical engineering from a leading University. When I read the descriptions, see the pictures, and watch the movies of the inner workings of the cell, Im absolutely amazed.... Thanks for bringing these amazing stories daily. Keep up the good work.
(an engineer in Virginia)
I stumbled across your site several months ago and have
been reading it practically daily. I enjoy the inter-links
to previous material as well as the links to the quoted
research. Ive been in head-to-head debate with a
materialist for over a year now. Evolution is just one of
those debates. Your site is among others that have been a
real help in expanding my understanding.
(a software engineer in Pennsylvania)
I was in the April 28, 2005 issue of Nature [see 04/27/2005
story] regarding the rise of intelligent design in the universities. It was through your website
that I began my journey out of the crisis of faith which was mentioned in that article. It was an honor to see you all highlighting the article in Nature. Thank you for all you have done!
(Salvador Cordova, George Mason University)
I shudder to think of the many ways in which you mislead readers, encouraging them to build a faith based on misunderstanding and ignorance. Why dont you allow people to have a faith that is grounded in a fuller understanding of the world?...
Your website is a sham.
(a co-author of the paper reviewed in the 12/03/2003
entry who did not appreciate the unflattering commentary. This led to a cordial
interchange, but he could not divorce his reasoning from the science vs. faith dichotomy,
and resulted in an impasse over definitions but, at least, a more mutually respectful dialogue.
He never did explain how his paper supported Darwinian macroevolution. He just claimed
evolution is a fact.)
I absolutely love creation-evolution news. As a Finnish university student very
interested in science, I frequent your site to find out about all the new science
stuff thats been happening you have such a knack for finding all this
information! I have been able to stump evolutionists with knowledge gleaned from
your site many times.
(a student in Finland)
I love your site and read it almost every day. I use it for my science class and
5th grade Sunday School class. I also challenge Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers to
get on the site to check out articles against the baloney they are taught in school.
(a teacher in Los Gatos, CA)
I have spent quite a few hours at Creation Evolution Headlines in the past week
or so going over every article in the archives. I thank you for such an informative
and enjoyable site. I will be visiting often and will share this link with others.
[Later] I am back to May 2004 in the archives. I figured I should be farther
back, but there is a ton of information to digest.
(a computer game designer in Colorado)
The IDEA Center also highly recommends visiting Creation-Evolution Headlines...
the most expansive and clearly written origins news website on the internet!
(endorsement on Intelligent Design and Evolution
Hey Friends, Check out this site: Creation-Evolution Headlines.
This is a fantastic resource for the whole family.... a fantastic reference library with summaries,
commentaries and great links that are added to
dailyarchives go back five years.
(a reader who found us in Georgia)
I just wanted to drop you a note telling you that at www.BornAgainRadio.com,
Ive added a link to your excellent Creation-Evolution news site.
(a radio announcer)
I cannot understand
why anyone would invest so much time and effort to a website of sophistry and casuistry.
Why twist Christian apology into an illogic pretzel to placate your intellect?
Isnt it easier to admit that your faith has no basis -- hence, faith.
It would be extricate [sic] yourself from intellectual dishonesty -- and
from bearing false witness.
Sincerely, Rev. [name withheld] (an ex-Catholic, apostate Christian Natural/Scientific pantheist)
Just wanted to let you folks know that we are consistent readers and truly appreciate
the job you are doing. God bless you all this coming New Year.
(from two prominent creation researchers/writers in Oregon)
Thanks so much for your site! It is brain candy!
(a reader in North Carolina)
I Love your site probably a little too much. I enjoy the commentary
and the links to the original articles.
(a civil engineer in New York)
Ive had your Creation/Evolution Headlines site on my favourites list for
18 months now, and I can truthfully say that its one of the best on the Internet,
and I check in several times a week. The constant stream of new information on
such a variety of science issues should impress anyone, but the rigorous and
humourous way that every thought is taken captive is inspiring. Im pleased
that some Christians, and indeed, some webmasters, are devoting themselves to
producing real content that leaves the reader in a better state than when they found him.
(a community safety manager in England)
I really appreciate the effort that you are making to provide the public with
information about the problems with the General Theory of Evolution. It gives me
ammunition when I discuss evolution in my classroom. I am tired of the evolutionary
dogma. I wish that more people would stand up against such ridiculous beliefs.
(a science teacher in Alabama)
If you choose to hold an opinion that flies in the face of every piece of evidence
collected so far, you cannot be suprised [sic] when people dismiss your views.
(a former Christian software distributor, location not disclosed)
...the Creation Headlines is the best. Visiting your site...
is a standard part of my startup procedures every morning.
(a retired Air Force Chaplain)
I LOVE your site and respect the time and work you put into it. I read
the latest just about EVERY night before bed and send selection[s] out to others and
tell others about it. I thank you very much and keep up the good work (and
(a USF grad in biology)
Answering your invitation for thoughts on your site is not difficult because
of the excellent commentary I find. Because of the breadth and depth of erudition
apparent in the commentaries, I hope Im not being presumptuous in suspecting
the existence of contributions from a Truth Underground comprised of
dissident college faculty, teachers, scientists, and engineers. If thats
not the case, then it is surely a potential only waiting to be realized. Regardless,
I remain in awe of the care taken in decomposing the evolutionary cant that bombards
us from the specialist as well as popular press.
(a mathematician/physicist in Arizona)
Im from Quebec, Canada. I have studied in pure sciences and after in actuarial mathematics.
Im visiting this site 3-4 times in a week. Im learning a lot and this site gives me the opportunity to realize that this is a good time to be a creationist!
(a French Canadian reader)
I LOVE your Creation Safari site, and the Baloney Detector material.
(a reader in the Air Force)
You have a unique position in the Origins community.
Congratulations on the best current affairs news source on the origins net.
You may be able to write fast but your logic is fun to work through.
(a pediatrician in California)
Visit your site almost daily and find it very informative, educational and inspiring.
(a reader in western Canada)
I wish to thank you for the information you extend every day on your site.
It is truly a blessing!
(a reader in North Carolina)
I really appreciate your efforts in posting to this website. I find
it an incredibly useful way to keep up with recent research (I also check science
news daily) and also to research particular topics.
(an IT consultant from Brisbane, Australia)
I would just like to say very good job with the work done here,
very comprehensive. I check your site every day. Its great
to see real science directly on the front lines, toe to toe with the
pseudoscience that's mindlessly spewed from the prestigious
(a biology student in Illinois)
Ive been checking in for a long time but thought Id leave you a
note, this time. Your writing on these complex topics is insightful,
informative with just the right amount of humor. I appreciate the hard
work that goes into monitoring the research from so many sources and then
writing intelligently about them.
(an investment banker in California)
Keep up the great work. You are giving a whole army of Christians
plenty of ammunition to come out of the closet (everyone else has).
Most of us are not scientists, but most of the people we talk to are not
scientists either, just ordinary people who have been fed baloney
for years and years.
(a reader in Arizona)
Keep up the outstanding work!
You guys really ARE making a difference!
(a reader in Texas)
I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say that science is not
hostile towards religion. It is the dogmatically religious that are
unwaveringly hostile towards any kind of science which threatens their
dearly-held precepts. Science (real, open-minded science) is not
interested in theological navel-gazing.
Note: Please supply your name and location when writing in. Anonymous attacks
only make one look foolish and cowardly, and will not normally be printed.
This one was shown to display a bad example.
I appreciate reading your site every day. It is a great way to keep
up on not just the new research being done, but to also keep abreast of the
evolving debate about evolution (Pun intended).... I find it an incredibly useful
way to keep up with recent research (I also check science news daily) and also
to research particular topics.
(an IT consultant in Brisbane, Australia)
I love your website.
(a student at a state university who used CEH when
writing for the campus newsletter)
....when you claim great uncertainty for issues that are fairly
well resolved you damage your already questionable credibility.
Im sure your audience loves your ranting, but if you know as much
about biochemistry, geology, astronomy, and the other fields you
skewer, as you do about ornithology, you are spreading heat, not
(a professor of ornithology at a state university, responding to
the 09/10/2002 headline)
I wanted to let you know I appreciate your headline news style of
exposing the follies of evolutionism.... Your style gives us constant,
up-to-date reminders that over and over again, the Bible creation account
is vindicated and the evolutionary fables are refuted.
(a reader, location unknown)
You have a knack of extracting the gist of a technical paper,
and digesting it into understandable terms.
(a nuclear physicist from Lawrence Livermore Labs who worked
on the Manhattan Project)
After spending MORE time than I really had available going thru
your MANY references I want to let you know how much I appreciate
the effort you have put forth.
The information is properly documented, and coming from
recognized scientific sources is doubly valuable. Your
explanatory comments and sidebar quotations also add GREATLY
to your overall effectiveness as they 1) provide an immediate
interpretive starting point and 2) maintaining the readers
(a reader in Michigan)
I am a huge fan of the site, and check daily for updates.
(reader location and occupation unknown)
I just wanted to take a minute to personally thank-you and let
you know that you guys are providing an invaluable service!
We check your Web site weekly (if not daily) to make sure we have
the latest information in the creation/evolution controversy.
Please know that your diligence and perseverance to teach the
Truth have not gone unnoticed. Keep up the great work!
(a PhD scientist involved in origins research)
You've got a very useful and informative Web site going.
The many readers who visit your site regularly realize that it
requires considerable effort to maintain the quality level and
to keep the reviews current.... I hope you can continue your
excellent Web pages. I have recommended them highly to others.
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)
As an apprentice apologist, I can always find an article
that will spark a spirited debate. Keep em
coming! The Truth will prevail.
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)
Thanks for your web page and work. I try to drop by
at least once a week and read what you have. Im a
Christian that is interested in science (Im a mechanical
engineer) and I find you topics interesting and helpful.
I enjoy your lessons and insights on Baloney Detection.
(a year later):
I read your site 2 to 3 times a week; which Ive probably done for a couple
of years. I enjoy it for the interesting content, the logical arguments, what I can
learn about biology/science, and your pointed commentary.
(a production designer in Kentucky)
I look up CREV headlines every day. It is a wonderful
source of information and encouragement to me.... Your gift of
discerning the fallacies in evolutionists interpretation of
scientific evidence is very helpful and educational for me.
Please keep it up. Your website is the best I know of.
(a Presbyterian minister in New South Wales, Australia)
Ive written to you before, but just wanted to say again
how much I appreciate your site and all the work you put into it.
I check it almost every day and often share the contents
(and web address) with lists on which I participate.
I dont know how you do all that you do, but I am grateful
for your energy and knowledge.
(a prominent creationist author)
I am new to your site, but I love it! Thanks for updating
it with such cool information.
(a home schooler)
I love your site.... Visit every day hoping for another of your
brilliant demolitions of the foolish just-so stories of those
who think themselves wise.
(a reader from Southern California)
I visit your site daily for the latest news from science journals and other media,
and enjoy your commentary immensely. I consider your web site to be the
most valuable, timely and relevant creation-oriented site on the internet.
(a reader from Ontario, Canada)
Keep up the good work! I thoroughly enjoy your site.
(a reader in Texas)
Thanks for keeping this fantastic web site going. It is very
informative and up-to-date with current news including incisive
(a reader in North Carolina)
Great site! For all the Baloney Detector is impressive and a
great tool in debunking wishful thinking theories.
(a reader in the Netherlands)
Just wanted to let you know, your work is having quite an impact.
For example, major postings on your site are being circulated among the
Intelligent Design members....
(a PhD organic chemist)
opening a can of worms ... I love to click all the related links and
read your comments and the links to other websites, but this usually makes me late
for something else. But its ALWAYS well worth it!!
(a leader of a creation group)
I am a regular visitor to your website ... I am impressed
by the range of scientific disciplines your articles address.
I appreciate your insightful dissection of the often unwarranted conclusions
evolutionists infer from the data... Being a medical
doctor, I particularly relish the technical detail you frequently include in
the discussion living systems and processes. Your website continually
reinforces my conviction that if an unbiased observer seeks a reason for the
existence of life then Intelligent Design will be the unavoidable
(a medical doctor)
A church member asked me what I thought was the best creation web site.
I told him CreationSafaris.com.
(a PhD geologist)
I love your site... I check it every day for interesting
information. It was hard at first to believe in Genesis fully, but
now I feel more confident about the mistakes of humankind and that all
their reasoning amounts to nothing in light of a living God.
(a college grad)
Thank you so much for the interesting science links and comments
on your creation evolution headlines page ... it is very
(a reader from Scottsdale, AZ)
visit your site almost every day, and really enjoy it. Great job!!!
(I also recommend it to many, many students.)
(an educational consultant)
I like what I seevery
much. I really appreciate a decent, calm and scholarly approach to the
whole issue... Thanks ... for this fabulous
It is refreshing to read your comments. You have a knack to get to the heart of
(a reader in the Air Force).
Love your website. It has well thought out structure and will help many
through these complex issues. I especially love the
I believe this is one of the best sites on the Internet.
I really like your side-bar of truisms.
Yogi [Berra] is absolutely correct. If I were a man of wealth, I would
support you financially.
(a registered nurse in Alabama, who found
us on TruthCast.com.)
WOW. Unbelievable.... My question is, do you sleep? ... Im utterly
impressed by your page which represents untold amounts of time and energy
as well as your faith.
(a mountain man in Alaska).
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. Ill also do my part to help publicize
your site among college students. Keep up the good work. Your
material is appreciated and used.
(a college campus minister)
Disclaimer: Creation-Evolution Headlines includes links
to many external sites, but takes no responsibility for the
accuracy or legitimacy of their content. Inclusion of an
external link is strictly for the readers convenience,
and does not necessarily constitute endorsement of
the material or its authors, owners, or sponsors.|