Creation-Evolution Headlines
February 2009
Darwin quote

“...dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.... that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom....”    —Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863.

“But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.  Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”    —Charles Darwin, Letter to William Graham, 1881.  Died 1882.

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Star Children for Darwin   02/28/2009    
Feb 28, 2009 — Why should we be looking for alien intelligence around other stars when it is right behind your eyeballs?  You may not have known that you are a star child, but that’s what a leading astronomer called you.  As a good star child, you need to pay tribute to Charles Darwin.
    In New Scientist, Lawrence Krauss called on children of spaceship Earth to “Celebrate evolution as only star children can.”  In this, he tied together the International Year of Astronomy 2009, the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first use of the telescope on the night sky, with Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday.  He recounted the epochal discoveries in astronomy and biology that he feels neatly combine in modern evolutionary theory, the theory of everything:

Darwin’s theory of evolution, and the science of genetics which followed, demonstrate that humans and the rest of life on Earth share not just a common heritage, but virtually everything else.  At a molecular level, the distinction between humans and bacteria seems almost superficial.  All forms of life on Earth share a common genetic method of replication and energy storage.  Yet it is truly remarkable that from so simple a set of molecular building blocks such diversity can arise.
Krauss did not seem to consider the theistic alternative at all that explains the same evidence: the same God who created stars also created mankind from the dust of the ground.  Both worldviews produce the same observations.  Stars and humans are made of atoms and molecules.  Actually, he did quote Darwin’s ending sentence in The Origin about “originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one,” but he had just described cosmic evolution leading seamlessly into biological and human evolution.  Somehow global politics emerged in his conclusion:
Accordingly, the two discoveries we herald this year carry an important message for our future: the intimate connections between humanity and the entire cosmos, as illustrated by both evolution and astronomy, suggest that the only sensible perspective of humanity is a global one.  The need for a global perspective is of vital importance now, as we are the first generation in history that must seriously confront global limits to our future on Earth, from energy to climate change.
Christians might call this a non-sequitur or a half-truth.  They do not deny our connectedness, but explain it in terms of all creation (stars and humans) being the handiwork of a single Creator.  And instead of seeing a global perspective as the only sensible option for humanity, they might take the very same observations and point out the duty of each individual to its Maker.
The same mythology gets repeated over and over in the media.  Carl Sagan was talking this starstuff lingo back in the 1980s.  It’s all glittering generalities and logical fallacies.
    Darwinism and the U.N. are not the only perspectives that explain the observations.  Krauss begs the question.  What does the connectedness imply?  If there are at least two competing explanations for that connectedness (i.e., that stars and humans are both made of atoms), he cannot simply assume that his worldview is the only sensible perspective.  In what other contest does a contender declare himself the winner before competing in the race?
    Don’t follow his bluff like robots toward socialism and global politics.  Thinking is done by individuals.  If you follow the global crowd after the Darwin bandwagon, and it falls into a sinkhole, you will not be able to shift responsibility to them; you took the steps.  Think for yourself.
    You might even think a profound thought: that thought cannot emerge from stars, or else it wouldn’t be thought at all.  It would be a hodgepodge of contingency and determinism.  The essence of thought is to purposely order one’s conceptual resources, independently of the material substrate that conveys them, toward principles that obey the laws of logic.  Our theories and explanations of stars employ logic, but stars don’t.  Do stars take philosophy and hold debates?  Of course not.  Then what kind of twisted logic can believe that logic is an emergent phenomenon of matter in motion?  If that were so, how could any human brain have any confidence that its reasonings were true?  It leads to that “horrid thought” that plagued Darwin: “whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.  Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” he said.  If a monkey doesn’t have a mind or convictions, you can be sure that stars don’t.  Stop thinking horrid thoughts.  Think wise thoughts.  Daniel the statesman wrote, (“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever” Daniel 12:3).
Next headline on:  AstronomySETIEvolutionDumb Ideas
  Can anything in nature approach 100% efficiency?  Something inside you does.  Read about it in the 02/23/2005 entry.

Cell Motors Play Together   02/27/2009    
Feb 27, 2009 — If one molecular machine by itself is a wonder, what would you think of groups of them playing in concert?  Recent papers and news articles are claiming that’s what happens in living cells: molecular motors coordinate their efforts.
    Science Daily led off a story on this by saying, “Even within cells, the left hand knows what the right hand is doing.”  Researchers at the University of Virginia said they “found that molecular motors operate in an amazingly coordinated manner” when “simple” algae named Chlamydominas need to move with flagella.  This contradicts earlier models that pictured the motors competing with each other like in a tug-o’war.  “The new U.Va. study provides strong evidence that the motors are indeed working in coordination, all pulling in one direction, as if under command, or in the opposite direction – again, as if under strict instruction.”  It almost requires imagining a conductor or foreman guiding the process.  Understanding it could help with treatments of neurodegenerative disorders.  The article did not mention evolution.  The researchers published their work in PNAS.1 
    Another cellular system reported by Science Daily refers to coordination of independent parts.  DNA transcripts made of messenger RNA emerge from the nucleus in 3-D clumps.  These need to be “straightened out” into a linear code that can be read by the ribosome.  Research at Rockefeller University shows that one of the 30 kinds of proteins in the nuclear pore complex “magnetically” attaches to the transcript when it passes through the gate, joining an unwrapping machine called a helicase “to form a machine that unpacks balled-up messenger RNA particles so that they can be translated.”  Here’s how Andre Hoelz described the action: “We found that the messenger RNA protein package and Nup214 competitively bind to the helicase, one after the other.” Each binding strips one protein off as it passes through.  “The process is akin to a ratchet mechanism for messenger RNA export,” Hoelz said.  Failures in the mechanism, again, were said to be implicated in disease.  Once again, also, the article said nothing about evolution.

1.  Laib, Marin, Bloodgood and Guilford, “The reciprocal coordination and mechanics of molecular motors in living cells,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, published online February 12, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0809849106.
The Darwinists have their chance to show up and explain the evolution of coordinated action of multiple parts needed for function, the failure of any component of which leads to disease or death.  The intelligent design team showed up.  Where’s the evolution team?  It’s like in sports.  Fail to show up and you forfeit.
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyIntelligent DesignAmazing Facts
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design by Dr. Jonathan Wells (Regnery, 2006) is a handy-dandy resource to learn intelligent design principles and how to debunk Darwinism.  Dr. Wells has been one of the leading lights of the intelligent design movement and has a gift for explaining concepts clearly without oversimplifying.  All the important subjects are here in this moderate 250-page volume: evidences, definitions, fossils, microbiology, genetic information, education, philosophy of science, implications, the history of Darwinism, and the battle over ID.  The appealing cover and layout make this an enjoyable read—great for the high school or college student facing the Darwin propaganda barrage at school.  Available from Access Research Network.

Motive Mongering: Does It Belong in Science?   02/26/2009    
Feb 26, 2009 — Amanda Gefter, a book reviewer and science editor, felt the need to warn the world about the creationists.  She wrote a blog entry at New Scientist called “How to spot a hidden religious agenda.”  Aiming to “share a few tips for spotting what may be religion in science’s clothing,” she exposed buzzwords and buzzphrases she felt only creationists, not scientists, would use – irreducible complexity, Darwinism, scientific materialism, and “blind, random, undirected process” among them.
    In addition, Gefter listed concepts and emphases that she felt betray a hidden agenda: an emphasis on complex molecular machines, the reference to quantum physics in support of free will, and calls for “academic freedom” (which she says can be translated as “the acceptance of creationism”).  Lastly, she disclaimed any connection between the truth of a scientific theory (like evolution) with its social consequences (like the Holocaust), as explored in the movie Expelled.
    Bottom line: “It is crucial to the public’s intellectual health to know when science really is science.  Those with a religious agenda will continue to disguise their true views in their effort to win supporters, so please read between the lines.”  See a previous article by Gefter reported 12/05/2008.

Motive-mongering and subversion is a game anyone can play.  It means you don’t have to listen to the arguments of someone, you can just label them and expel them in advance.  No intelligence required.  To show how fair and balanced we are, we invite you to go read Amanda’s scare tactics then read the following rebuttal, essentially the same article with some changes of a few words and phrases.  Links to supporting material are included for convenience.
As a science reporter at Creation-Evolution Headlines, I often come across so-called science articles which after a few lines reveal themselves to be harboring ulterior motives.  I have learned to recognize clues that the author is pushing a materialist agenda.  As evolutionists in the US continue to lose in polls over whether to have Darwinism alone taught as science in federally funded schools, their strategy has been forced to... well, evolve.  That means ensuring that references to pseudoscientific concepts like materialism are more heavily veiled.  So I thought I’d share a few tips for spotting what may be materialism in science’s clothing.
    Red flag number one: the term “intelligent design” in scare quotes (03/08/2007).  “Intelligent design” in scare quotes is most often used in contrast to something else – something mindless and purposeless.  Proponents of materialism frequently lament the scientific claim that the products of intelligence can be detected empirically (12/03/2005, 10/12/2008).  At the same time, they never define how aimless, Darwinian forces might create complex specified information (01/22/2009, cartoon).  I have yet to find an article by an evolutionary biologist that defines intelligent design (09/11/2008) the way its proponents define it.
    The invocation of kinship selection (09/30/2007) – where natural selection is transferred to populations – is also a red flag.  And if an author describes altruism (01/23/2009, bullet 13), or any moral value for that matter, as a product of game theory (12/21/2005), let the alarm bells ring.
    Misguided personifications of evolution are a classic hallmark of pseudoscience (01/12/2009), usually of the New Age variety, but some materialist groups are now appealing to aspects of personality to account for evolution as a cosmic “Tinkerer” (01/13/2006).  Beware: this is nonsense.  As William Provine has explained, if Darwinism is true, there is no free will, and as Dawkins described it, Darwin described a world of blind, pitiless indifference.
    When you come across the terms “religious” or “religiously motivated“ (08/10/2005), take heed.  True scientists rarely consider the motivations for a theory, and instead opt for examining the quality of the evidence.  When a scientific theory like ID is described as “religiously motivated“ (04/09/2008), be warned.  Genetic mutations are random, and natural selection is an aimless process.  Believing that mindless processes can produce a mind (10/23/2008) cannot logically follow from materialist presuppositions (02/14/2007).  When cells are described as “astonishingly complex molecular machines“ (04/04/2002), it is generally only breathless defenders of Darwinism who make up stories about them (02/24/2009, bullet 8) and assume that such a “machine” is explainable by numerous, successive, slight modifications (11/21/2003).  If an author tries to argue against academic freedom bills (07/10/20008), it is usually materialist code for “insulating Darwinism from scientific criticism” (02/19/2009).
    Some general sentiments are also red flags.  Authors with materialist motives ignore reason in favor of slogans, from the staid mantra – “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” (Dobzhansky, 12/19/2008) – to the unscientific assertion – “Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory, we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories” (atheist Richard Dawkins, see Uncommon Descent).  If scientists use their intelligence, it is self-contradictory to define science to preclude intelligent causes (01/04/2006).  “Methodological naturalism” is another red flag (02/18/2006).  Materialists think they can restrict their materialism to methods of scientific inquiry, but always wind up extending their materialist philosophy (12/21/2005) into all branches of inquiry—including history, politics, economics, ethics and even “the evolution of religion“ (05/27/2008).
    Materialistically-motivated authors also have a bad habit of ignoring the cultural implications of a theory (02/17/2008).  The materialist crowd, for instance, abhors any linkage from Darwin to the Holocaust, as shown in the “documentary” film Expelled: No intelligence allowed (04/16/2008).  Even if a straight line from Darwin to Hitler could not be drawn, it would have zero relevance to the historical fact that German scientists strongly affirmed Darwinian materialism as a philosophy supporting German militarism in the decades leading up to the Holocaust (02/03/2005), and Hitler appealed to natural selection in his racist writings (11/30/2005). Le Fanu writes that Darwin’s On the Origin of Species “articulated the desire of many scientists for an exclusively materialist explanation of natural history that would liberate it from the sticky fingers of the theological inference that the beauty and wonder of the natural world was direct evidence for ‘A Designer’“.  Philosophers of science have agreed that scientists cannot be blind to the social implications of their beliefs (01/15/2009).
    It is crucial to the public’s intellectual health to know when materialism is merely masquerading as science.  Those with a materialist agenda will continue to disguise their true views in their effort to win in the courts, so please read between the lines (04/30/2005, 03/08/2007).
See?  It’s easy.  Now, Amanda, how about a calm, rational discussion about THE EVIDENCE.
Next headline on:  EvolutionMediaEducationTheology
Can Evolution Keep You Safe?   02/25/2009    
Feb 25, 2009 — A new practical use for Darwinism has come to light: natural security.  Two recent articles claim that we can learn from evolution how best to protect ourselves.
  1. Natural security:  Darwinism can be practical, thinks Rafe Sagarin, an ecologist at Duke University.  Science Daily reported that he is using Darwinian principles to write and speak about “Natural Security: A Darwinian Approach to a Dangerous World” (see also Duke University press release).  Sagarin thinks the Department of Homeland Security is going about it all wrong.  More guards, guns, and gates – this is not how organisms defend themselves, he said.  Invoking “a mode of thinking—informed by Charles Darwin’s insights into life’s struggle for survival and fecundity,” Sagarin is looking at security from the point of view of the evolutionary arms race: “If I’m an adaptive organism, how would I cope with this?
    In nature, a threat is dealt with in several ways.  There’s collectivism, where one meerkat sounds the alarm about an approaching hawk, or camouflage, where the ptarmigan hides in plain sight.  There’s redundancy, like our wisdom teeth, or unpredictable behavior, like the puffer fish’s sudden, spiky pop.
        Under the unyielding pressure of 3.5 billion years of evolution, the variety of defenses is beyond counting.  But they all have a few features in common.  A top-down, build-a-wall, broadcast-your-status approach “is exactly the opposite of what organisms do,” Sagarin says.
    He portrayed organisms learning to live with risk, not trying to eliminate it.  Remarkable as animal defenses are, it’s not clear what Darwin has to do with them.  Sagarin’s proposal seems to owe less to Darwinism than to biomimetics – copying nature’s designs.  He spoke of what organisms do—implying that they have a purpose behind whatever process originated their protections.  That would be a very un-Darwinian mode of thinking.  He gave no indication of how a complex, interrelated system of multiple factors, such as the human immune system, could have arisen in a haphazard, gradual way.
        Sagarin also seemed to beg the question that his preferred animal strategies would work fighting intelligent enemies.  Hiding like a ptarmigan seems unlikely to deter a nuclear strike.  Popping into spikes like a puffer fish seems unlikely to scare a drone bomber.  Redundancy, true, might be a worthwhile option; but he did not explain if wisdom teeth are a manifestation of a Darwinian security strategy.  Were the only pre-humans who passed on their genes the lucky ones with a spare set of molars when punched in the mouth?
        In addition, guards, guns and gates do seem to get used often in nature.  Guard bees manage security in beehives.  Spitting cobras, octopi, pistol shrimp and skunks are pretty good sharpshooters.  And cells are filled with authenticating gates to protect their interiors and nuclei.  The Department of Homeland Security could certainly learn from nature, such as diversifying their portfolio of security strategies, and learning to anticipate adaptive behavior of enemies.  But singling out the methods that make the DHS look incompetent can be considered a case of card stacking.
  2. Risk management:  A similar article was posted today on Science Daily.  Daniel Blumstein (UCLA) thinks we can each learn personal safety tips by studying evolution.  Blumstein’s presentation was apparently given at the same AAAS meeting in Chicago.  This seems to be a new spin-off theme evolutionary biologists are advertising.  Here’s Blumstein’s main idea:
    “Species that don’t figure out ways of dealing with threats go extinct,” said the UCLA associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, who studies fear, risk assessment and management, and anti-predator behavior.  “Species that persist are those that figure out how to manage risk.  From the paleontological record, we can see evidence of successful strategies.  We can learn fundamental lessons from animals and plantslessons from biology and evolution – that are applicable to managing security threats.  Evolution has given us a wonderful historical record and series of experiments that have been replicated again and again.
        “How do you manage risk?  How do you decide to allocate energy to defense versus other things?  These are fundamental trade-offs that all organisms face,” he said.“One possible reason for extinction is that individuals are making incorrect decisions about how to manage the risks they face”....
        “A problem all organisms face is how not to allocate too much energy to defense,” he said.  “All animals have to live with risk.  Over evolutionary time, we can use life as an experiment that gives us insights into what might work and what might not work.  There are commonalities that humans and nonhumans face when dealing with threats.”
    Intriguing as this approach sounds, it seems to attribute conscious decision-making skills to plants, and risk management to simple animals.  What’s evolution got to do with it?  “Evolution and the diversity of life show us there are many strategies to solve problems and respond to risk,” he said.  If the lesson is to have a plurality of strategies and learn to adapt quickly, who is the teacher?  Who runs the experiments?
        Blumstein quickly turned his biological thesis into a political one.  He criticized the Department of Homeland Security because bureaucracies tend to be inflexible.  Improving communication and coordination among existing agencies could have worked better with less cost, the article said.  Here’s more political application of Darwinian security:
    “Having a specific agency tasked to, say, biodetection identification is not as good as a generalizable defense,”Blumstein said.  “Why not just increase our health infrastructure?  Why not increase first responders’ training capabilities and communication among first responders so that if an outbreak of a disease occurs, hospitals around the country will quickly detect it – whether it is terrorism or not?
        “That approach has the added benefit of increasing the overall health of the citizens and does not have an extra cost that is looking only for a low-probability, but admittedly high-consequence, event.  A strong public health system has the bonus of helping us respond to natural pandemics, as well as terrorist attacks.
These two presentations were given in Chicago “at a symposium paying tribute to Charles Darwin a day after the 200th anniversary of his birth,” the second article said.  Blumstein advised, “A lesson from biology and evolution is we need adaptable systems.”  It is not clear if the presenters believed President Bush should have used natural selection or intelligent design when planning national security.
Here’s another hopeless attempt for Darwinists to look useful.  This one is no better than Darwinian medicine (see 04/25/2007, bullet 3, 06/25/2003 and 01/13/2003).  If you needed Darwinian medicine like a hole in the head, you need Darwinian security like a bull’s-eye painted on your shirt.
    Beware the day when Darwinists become advisors to the Department of Homeland Security.  Have you ever in your life heard advice as foolish as this coming from scientists?  Blumstein thinks that instead of preventing a nuclear war, we should just build better triage units to deal with the aftermath.  Please tell us, Dr. Blumstein, how hospitals are supposed to treat hundreds of thousands of people vaporized by a nuclear blast.  This could get real funny in no time.  “Incoming Iranian ICBM!  Make like a ptarmigan!”  If you don’t evolve fast enough, it could ruin your whole day.
    Their whole argument is ridiculous.  It is self-contradictory in a Darwinian world view.  Whatever evolution did is supposed to be mindless and undirected.  Animals and plants did not get together and form a government and decide how to respond to threats.  Their highly-sophisticated defense systems are built in.  If Sagarin and Blumstein were consistent, they would realize it is absurd to expect humans, who are also products of natural selection in their view, to apply intelligent design to their own survival.  Lots of species have gone extinct.  If humans lack the equipment to prevent their extinction, because natural selection did not properly equip them to adapt to nuclear attacks and biological warfare and bus bombs, then so be it.
    Furthermore, what plant species do you know that terrorize their own kind?  Our main problem is not so much with other species, despite the occasional shark or grizzly attack, but with evil human beings (including corrupt government officials) who, without the restraint of laws and law enforcement and national defense, would deprive us of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  The authors of the Federalist Papers, a collection of essays that constitute the epitome of scholarship on political science, recognized that it was human depravity that makes constitutional government necessary.  If we were angels, or if we were ruled by angels, they would not have needed a Constitutional Convention.  The reality of evil in the human soul is the reason for national defense and intelligently-designed protections against selfish ambition.  One only has to see the horrors produced by the likes of Robert Mugabe and Kim Jong Il to thank God for the American ideals of limited government of the people, by the people and for the people; separation of powers; checks and balances; free elections; and the vision of a nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.  Where did you read the words liberty or justice in the Darwinists’ advice?
    Our critique does not overlook the presence of security adaptations in the human body – it just denies that they evolved mindlessly.  When threatened, all kinds of physiological responses come into play: adrenaline, hair standing on end, goose bumps, increased heart rate, shivering, and the fight-or-flight response.  These are all automatic responses designed for our survival.  Nor do we disparage the value of self-defense instruction (e.g., defensive driving, martial arts, and personal threat avoidance).  But then, is not bravery the act of consciously defying the automatic response and doing, by choice of purpose, the right thing?  Is not altruism the ideal of denying one’s self?  We can train dogs and horses to go against their instincts, but they do not purposely choose to do so based on moral ideals, Lassie notwithstanding.  Even if an animal trainer believed they could, that would not imply those capabilities evolved.  If a Darwinist wishes to believe that all those wondrous defense systems and the ability to choose bravery or altruism are products of evolution, he or she has no empirical basis for it.  It is a choice to fit observations into a preselected world view (see 01/23/2009, bullet 13, and 05/02/2008).  It also means they really had no choice in the matter because natural selection made them believe that.  (In case you didn’t notice, their belief, therefore, self-destructs.)
    Consistent with their amoral Darwinian stance, Sagarin and Blumstein put the onus on the victims, not on the perpetrators.  It’s no longer the fault of the gunman, the terrorist, or the tyrant.  No point in risking one’s life, fortune or sacred honor for an American revolution.  No sense in fighting crime any more.  Crime happens – that’s the reality of Darwinian selfishness.  It’s not the criminal’s fault he shoots you; it’s your fault that you didn’t adapt the skill of dodging bullets.  Too much of this doctrine and there will be no use for preachers and teachers who try to instill moral values in the populace, or American statesmen who will advocate our values of freedom and democracy around the world, to shame those countries where dictators run roughshod on individual human rights.  How do you evolve “human rights” in Darwinland?
    A close reading of the opinions of these self-appointed Darwin Party political advisors reveals their liberal bias along with their stupidity (those factors are often correlated; see 12/02/2004).  You can see a hint of their advocacy of socialized medicine in Blumstein’s advice.  He wants to increase our “health infrastructure” (government-sponsored, of course), presumably instead of expenditures for the war on terror.  If he thinks bureaucracies tend to become rigid, wait till he needs emergency heart surgery and some bureaucrat takes six months to decide whether or not he gets it.  “A strong public health system has the bonus of helping us respond to natural pandemics, as well as terrorist attacks,” Blumstein said.  There again, he wants to just respond to the horrific aftermath of a terrorist attack instead of preventing it.
    President Bush went after the sources of terror before they could reach us.  Darwinists want Obama to socialize our health care so that you can stand in a long line to get your nuclear radiation burns treated, if you don’t die of anthrax first.  God help us.
Next headline on:  EvolutionPoliticsBiomimetics
  What could be more opposite Darwinism than the Golden Rule?  Even that is not sacred any more: a Darwinist tried to explain the evolution of the Golden Rule in the 02/22/2004 entry.

Evidence for Inflation, or Inflating the Evidence?   02/24/2009    
Feb 24, 2009 — Cosmic inflation has become an accepted truth in cosmology, but its appeal is primarily philosophical and theoretical.  Something as weird as a universe jumping 26 orders of magnitude in size in one trillion trillion trillionth of a second (see 02/21/2005) should raise eyebrows in any scientific circle.  Is there any evidence for it?  Live Science reported that a new search for its smoking gun is being planned.
    Researchers from the University of Chicago are placing an instrument on a telescope at the South Pole to look for gravitational waves.  These elusive waves should propagate from any high-energy event in space, such as the formation of a black hole.  It’s not clear if cosmic inflation would show a gravitational wave signature, but they hope to know in 10 years.  “It’s possible that inflation theory is entirely wrong,” wrote Robin Lloyd for Live Science.  “So discovery of gravity waves would be a big deal and go a long way toward validating the theory, as well as the big bang and some other big cosmological claims.”
    What would it mean if no evidence is found?  Surprisingly, the same thing as a positive detection.  “The absence of gravitational waves is completely consistent with inflation,” said Lawrence Krauss of Arizona State.  How, then, can inflation be confirmed if either answer is consistent with theory?  Krauss can only hope that a positive detection would allow “a real possibility of pinning things down enough so that one could perhaps convince every physicist that inflation happened.”  This implies that a positive detection could have multiple interpretations.
    First, though, they have to invent new physics.  Three key components of modern cosmology have no evidential or physical basis right now.  “We have these key components to our picture of the universe, but we really don’t know what physics produces any of them, said Scott Dodelson [U of Chicago], referring to inflation, dark energy and dark matter – the proposed stuff that makes up the universe’s missing mass.  ‘The goal of the next decade is to identify the physics.’”

What are outside observers of modern cosmology supposed to conclude when its proponents admit that ignorance of the key components of the theory exceeds knowledge?  This is crazy.  It’s like the lobbyist for a defense contractor promising a Senator they’ll have that Buck Rogers space-based weapons surveillance system they promised, once they figure out how to build rockets, computers and remote-sensing instruments, after they discover the physics behind them all.  It’s all just a story right now.  They like the plot, but what basis does it have in reality?  Zilch.
    Inflation doesn’t solve anything, anyway.  Sean M. Carroll said that the initial conditions that would make inflation possible are even more finely-tuned than the cosmic coincidences it was concocted to explain away.  Remember?  He said in that classic paper, “Is Our Universe Natural,” reported here 05/11/2006, “The fact that the initial proto-inflationary patch must be smooth and dominated by dark energy implies that it must have a very low entropy itself; reasonable estimates for this entropy SI range from about 1 to 1020.  Thus, among randomly chosen initial conditions, the likelihood of finding an appropriate proto-inflationary region is actually much less than simply finding the conditions of the conventional Big Bang model (or, for that matter, of our Universe ten minutes ago).  It would seem that the conditions required to start inflation are less natural than those of the conventional Big Bang.”  The whole big-bang shebang is barfed up out of their empty naturalistic gut feelings.  What does explain the fine-tuning of the cosmos?  Creation, naturally.
Next headline on:  CosmologyPhysics

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Evidence for Evolution Found – Or Claimed   02/24/2009    
Feb 24, 2009 — It seems that in this Darwin Bicentennial year, some reporters are overeager to find confirming evidence for Darwin’s theory.  Here are some recent reports where it is not clear the evidence presented would convince a skeptic.

  1. Survival of the weakest:  Add a new catch-phrase to Darwin’s arsenal: survival of the weakest.  Sure enough, Science Daily reported on experiments at LMU in which “in large populations, the weakest species would – with very high probability – come out as the victor.”  Almost without exception, their simulations of a scissors-paper-rock game-theoretical ecology showed the weakest species coming out the survivor.  They call this the “law of the weakest.”  They did not explore the philosophical question of whether a theory that can simultaneously explain the survival of the fittest and the weakest – opposite outcomes – explains anything at all (see the Stuff Happens Law, 09/15/2008 commentary).
  2. Psychedelifish:  A “freaky” fish species was found offshore of Indonesia, reported Robin Lloyd for Live Science.  The yellow-and-white-striped swimmer uses jet propulsion thrusters as well as fins to swim, has eyes that face forward, a fleshy chin and cheeks, and stripes that mimic the venomous corals among which it feeds.  Despite having “mysterious origins,” Histiophryne psychedelica was immediately Darwinized by its classifier: “It is just an absolutely fantastic example of what natural selection can produce.
  3. Sharks in living color:  “Primitive deep-sea fish may have viewed the world much as we do,” announced New Scientist.  “The elephant shark, which evolved about 450 million years ago, is the oldest vertebrate to have ‘the colour vision system we know as humans’, says David Hunt at University College London.”  The article goes on to point out that the finding pushes the earliest known color vision back by 76 million years.
  4. Yeast is yeast and guessed is guessed:  The genomes of some 70 species or varieties of yeast have been sequenced.  Science News reported that this gives scientists a text “on the origin of subspecies” that helps “to bring the small branches of Darwin’s ‘Tree of Life’ into focus.”  The new data “enables the scientists to study genetics in much finer detail than was ever possible for Darwin.”  Readers may find it surprising that Darwin studied genetics, since the word was not invented till 1905, after Darwin was dead, but the sentence might be understood to mean it would not have been possible for Darwin to study it in such detail.  But then, neither would it have been possible for Louis Pasteur, Mendel or any other great biologist of the 19th century to do so.
        Creationists probably wonder what this has to do with Darwin anyway, since they accept significant variation within created kinds.  They might also note the significance of this line in the story: “The basic machinery of yeast is surprisingly similar to that of humans....”  How Darwin could be vindicated at all by this research seems questionable.  The article went on to say, “They found that rather than all being derived from one common ancestor, humans have domesticated yeast strains at many points in history and from many different sources.”  (Readers are expected to ignore the dangling reference.)
  5. Fast-moving plants:  Darwin’s theory relied on slow, gradual accumulation of small variations.  To him, the abrupt appearance of the flowering plants (angiosperms) in the fossil record was “an abominable mystery.”  Science Daily chose to ignore these facts and boasted, “Rapid Burst Of Flowering Plants Set Stage For Other Species.”  The article spoke of a “burst” of diversification, “rapid emergence,” and a “series of explosions” of adaptive radiation.  Gradualism was getting blown up everywhere: “A new University of Florida study based on DNA analysis from living flowering plants shows that the ancestors of most modern trees diversified extremely rapidly 90 million years ago, ultimately leading to the formation of forests that supported similar evolutionary bursts in animals and other plants.”
        Any hint of ancestry required divining fine details in molecules.  “Because the diversification happened so quickly, at least in evolutionary terms, molecular methods were needed to sort out the branches of the rosid clade’s phylogenetic tree, a sort of family tree based on genetic relationships,” the article explained.  “Only after sequencing many thousands of DNA base pairs are genetic researchers able to tease apart the branches and better understand how plant species evolved,” not whether they evolved.  Would it be clear to a neutral observer, though, when teasing apart the twigs in a hedge, that there is only one root below?
  6. Evolution completed:  Charles Darwin got praise again at the beginning of a press release from the University of Washington: “As the world marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, there is much focus on evolution in animals and plants.  But new research shows that for the countless billions of tiniest creatures -- microbes -- large-scale evolution was completed 2.5 billion years ago.”  Are they saying that evolution stopped dead for the majority of the world’s biota two billion years before the first multicellular animal emerged?  Apparently so.  Roger Buick, a paleontologist and astrobiologist at the university, added a remark that casts doubt on how human beings could ever know this: “it appears that almost all of their major evolution took place before we have any record of them, way back in the dark mists of prehistory.”  That being the case, it is not clear how any of the subsequent statements in the press release about microbe evolution have any footing in empirical science.
        Most of the work revolved around the amazing ability of living microbes to fix nitrogen.  Molecular nitrogen, with its triple bonds, is a tough nut to crack, but microbes do it with ease by means of complex molecular machines (see 09/06/2002 and 11/18/2006).  Think how a Darwin skeptic might interpret this quote: “All microbes are amazing chemists compared to us.  We’re really very boring, metabolically” (compared to microbes).
        Somehow, this press release was intended to convey the idea that evolutionary thinking leads to understanding: “To understand early evolution of life, we have to know how organisms were nourished and how they evolved” (not whether they evolved).  But that is just what Dr. Buick had said is lost in the dark mists of prehistory.
  7. The power of suggestion:  A news item on Science Daily shows a photo of Mars with geological deposits that resemble, in a superficial sense, the hot spring deposits on Earth.  No life has been found, but a lot of suggestion emerged.  The photos from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter indicate “sites where life forms may have evolved on Mars.”
        Most astrobiologists doubt that life evolved at hot springs.  They would say that the thermophiles found in Yellowstone’s geyser basins became adapted to that extreme environment long after life was well established.  Nevertheless, the article states that the Mars photos “have great astrobiological significance, as the closest relatives of many of the most ancient organisms on Earth can thrive in and around hydrothermal springs.”
  8. Getting together:  A press release from University of Arizona discerned evolution in some colonies of green algae.  Volvox is a well-known colony of cells that has a division of labor and thrives in community instead of individuality.  Now, research by Matthew Herron suggests that “Some algae have been hanging together rather than going it alone much longer than previously thought.”  In “a geological eyeblink” of 35 million years, he claimed, single-celled algae “took the leap to multicellularity 200 million years ago.”  Why?  “Some things can’t eat you if you’re bigger.”  That seems odd, because the majority of organisms have remained microscopically small throughout the history of life on earth.
        Herron showcased Pleodorina starrii, a colonial alga with an incomplete division of labor.  “All the macroscopic organisms we see around us trace back to unicellular ancestors,” he proclaimed Darwinistically.  “Each of those groups had to go through a transition like this one.”  He did not think it necessary to explain why they took that “leap” 200 million years ago, nor why, if being bigger confers a security advantage, the simple colonies (and indeed the plethora of microbes) stepped off the evolutionary conveyor belt to remain essentially the same for the next 200 million years.
        In some unspecified way, cell colonies invented the “extracellular matrix,” a kind of goo that binds the parties together.  Herron ascribed evolutionary game theory to the strategy of group-think: “Overcoming that conflict is essential to becoming a multicellular organism, he said.  The benefits of cheating have to be reduced for the cells to cooperate successfully.”  Apparently even Darwinism has a doctrine of original sin.
  9. Evolution as un-design:  One of the most remarkable new papers giving evolution the glory for complex design is a piece by Forterre and Gadelle1 about DNA-processing molecular machines called topoisomerases (see 08/14/2007, bullet 5).  They used the E-word evolution 18 times in an attempt to explain how these machines evolved.  Surprisingly, there is very little homology to hang a phylogeny on: similarities crop up between different kingdoms, and differences are seen where there should be homologies.  “Topoisomerases are essential enzymes that solve topological problems arising from the double-helical structure of DNA,” they explained.  “As a consequence, one should have naively expected to find homologous topoisomerases in all cellular organisms, dating back to their last common ancestor.  However, as observed for other enzymes working with DNA, this is not the case.”  Has Darwinian universal common ancestry, therefore, been falsified?  Not so fast.  In the evolutionary “scenario,” evidence is no longer a requirement.  The story is the thing:
    Topoisomerases could have originated by combining protein modules previously involved in RNA metabolism, such as RNA-binding proteins, RNA endonucleases or RNA ligases.  Alternatively, they could have evolved from protein modules that were already working with DNA, if the first steps in the evolution of DNA genomes occurred in the absence of any topoisomerase activity, i.e. before the emergence of long double-stranded DNA genomes.  Two arguments favour the latter hypothesis: first, whereas RNA polymerases and RNA-binding proteins are obvious candidates to be direct ancestors of DNA polymerases and single-stranded DNA-binding proteins, ‘RNA topoisomerases’ that could be direct ancestor of DNA topoisomerases are unknown.  Secondly, it is likely that double-stranded DNA genomes with complex DNA-replication mechanisms (i.e. concurrent symmetric DNA replication) were preceded by single-stranded or even short double-stranded DNA genomes replicated by simpler mechanisms, such as asymmetric DNA replication, and/or rolling circle (RC) replication (75) (Figure 3).  These simple systems probably did not require topoisomerases, as it is still the case for their modern counterparts (the RC replication of some replicons require supercoiled DNA, hence gyrase activity, but only for the recognition step of the initiator protein).  If this scenario is correct, topoisomerases probably originated when more complex DNA genomes (long linear or circular DNA molecules) were selected in the course of evolution, together with more elaborate replication machineries.
    Their viral-origin hypothesis required the word suggest 26 times, possible 16 times, could 14 times, and might 10 times.  Of one thing they were sure, however.  These complex molecular machines were not intelligently designed.  It’s rare for a scientific paper to even mention intelligent design.  Here’s what they said about it: “An intelligent designer would have probably invented only one ubiquitous Topo I and one ubiquitous Topo II to facilitate the task of future biochemists.”  Whimsical as that statement is, it represents a remarkable turnaround.  Usually, evolutionists claim that similarities disprove intelligent design.  These scientists are claiming that differences disprove it.  ID can’t win for losing.
Darwin’s defenders continue to take their Bicentennial show on the road.  Science Daily and MSNBC reported on a show by Sean B. Carroll about “Adventures in Evolution,” a recounting of “the rip-roaring adventure tales behind the great advances in the theory of evolution.”  Interesting as the stories are, adventure is not the same thing as scientific evidence.  Undoubtedly the alchemists had their share of adventures (exploding flasks, etc.).
    Forbes is one of few news organizations giving a platform to both sides of the Darwin-ID debate (see Evolution News report).  Jerry Coyne recently let creationists have both barrels.  Attacking an earlier piece by neurosurgeon by Michael Egnor, Coyne had no patience with Forbes giving any credibility to “evolution-deniers,” which he likened to Holocaust-deniers.  Phillip Skell, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, wrote the most recent post about “the dangers of overselling evolution.”  Even Ken Ham got a word in for Biblical creationism in this typically economics-focused venue.
1.  Forterre and Gadelle, “Phylogenomics of DNA topoisomerases: their origin and putative roles in the emergence of modern organisms,” Nucleic Acids Research, published online on February 9, 2009, doi:10.1093/nar/gkp032.
For those who need a refresher course on the Darwiniac storytelling strategy (see 10/11/2006), it goes like this: (1) Assume evolution.  (2) Observe a fact.  (3) Make up a story to fit the fact into the assumption.  For step 2, we have just shown you many contrary facts that should falsify evolutionary theory, but step 3 (the non-sequitur) remains invariant.  This is how the Darwinians get away with murder (11/30/2005).  The robust storytelling ability of the Darwinists is their most legendary trait.  It provides the foundation for the entire naturalistic political/economic/legal/educational/spiritual programme.
    We should add a Step (4): Hate creationism.  Rant, rave and blather about how evil and wicked creationists and intelligent design proponents are, and how the Discovery Institute is conspiring to return America to the dark ages by substituting religion for scientific evidence.  This is supposed to provide subliminal reinforcement that Steps 1, 2 and 3 are “scientific.”  Step (5) is to outlaw challenges to Steps 1-3 in the courts.
    Now that you know the Darwinian storytelling strategy, you understand about 95% of evolutionary biology.  The remaining 5% is microevolution, which is not controversial even for Ken Ham.  One would think Ken would be overwhelmed by the mounds of solid scientific evidence displayed in the articles reported above.  Does he know something Jerry Coyne doesn’t?
Next headline on:  Darwin and Evolutionary TheoryCell BiologyMarine BiologyPlantsOrigin of LifeIntelligent Design
Adult Stem Cells, +2; Embryonic Stem Cells, -1   02/23/2009    
Feb 23, 2009 — Two more successes were chalked up for adult stem cell therapies recently.  Science Daily said that sufferers from Crohn’s disease may have a new treatment option by getting injections of their own bone marrow stem cells.  This “now constitutes a treatment option to cure an intestinal disease that sometimes does not successfully respond to drugs and requires highly complex surgery that does not provide a cure.”
    Those afflicted with type 2 diabetes also have hope, thanks to adult stem cells.  Science Daily also reported that progenitor cells exist in the adult pancreas.  “It is now clear that progenitor cells, with the capacity to become insulin producing cells, reside in the adult pancreas,” said researchers from UC San Diego and the Burnham Institute for Medical Research.  They found that the Wnt signaling pathway is implicated in the development of type 2 diabetes.  By understanding these protein-signaling pathways, they can begin to take their stem cell research toward therapeutic treatments.
    Not so good for embryonic stem cells.  Nature News reported, “Hybrid embryos fail to live up to stem-cell hopes.”  Heidi Ledford explained, “The creation of human-animal hybrid embryos – proposed as a way to generate embryonic stem cells without relying on scarce human eggs – has met with legislative hurdles and public outcry.  But a paper published this week suggests that the approach has another, more fundamental problem: it may simply not work.”  Researchers could not get them to grow past the 16-cell stage, and they failed to become pluripotent.  The problem seems more fundamental than trying over and over again.  Some ethicists may be glad for that.
Follow the money.  Smart investors are backing adult stem cell research at major universities and research centers, because the procedures work.  Embryonic stem cell programs are sold to taxpayers with tear-jerking stories and promises of miracle cures, but to date, no cure is even in sight.  Help your taxpayer friends not to be suckers when the next embryonic stem cell hucksters come to your state (e.g., Michigan, 10/15/2008).
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  Living engineers: plant stems follow Murray’s Law, not Murphy’s (02/28/2003); diatoms withstand huge crushing forces (02/19/2003); a protein machine does gymnastics (02/13/2003); your body runs 522 amps of electricity (02/05/2003).

Assassins Roam Our Highways   02/22/2009    
Feb 22, 2009 — Slinking surreptitiously through our blood streams, the assassins prowl about, looking for their targets.  These are not terrorists or vigilantes.  They have a license to kill.  Be glad they are there; they have saved your life many times.  They are called natural killer cells.
    PhysOrg reported on work going on at Howard Hughes Medical Institute to understand this part of our immune system (see prior work reported 08/05/2005).  Natural kill (NK) cells are usually the first responders.  They get a “license” to kill in the form of a molecular tag.  Scientists do not yet fully understand, the article said, how NK cells recognize friend from foe, and how they remember an infection to speed up their response the second time.  What scientists do know is that once they find the bad cells, they can poke holes in their membranes and inject poisons into them, neutralizing the invaders.

Personifying cells is a useful pedagogical aid, but can be misleading.  It’s fun to turn cells into good guys and bad guys.  The scene is like the action miniseries 24, with Jack Bauer playing the NK cell against the foreign terrorists, the disease germs.  Cells, of course, have no brains and personalities.  The forces at work between agonists and antagonists in a cell do not have moral overtones.  The reality, nonetheless, is amazing.  It is instructive in two ways.  First, the presence of molecular tags as codes that grant privileged access is a hallmark of intelligent design.  The NK cells are robotic, in the sense of operating on design principles to perform a function.  Second, the need for destructive mechanisms (in this case, agents that can poke and poison a harmful invader), might inform theodicy.
    We know that some pathogenic bacteria sport needle-like machines that inject toxins into healthy cells, causing disease (e.g., the Type III secretory system, TTSS; see 10/11/2005 and 11/30/2006, bullet 5).  Suppose these were originally created for benign purposes.  Is it possible they have gone awry, and like the robot cowboys in Westworld, have turned their guns against the visitors?  Gun advocates are quick to point out that guns are not intrinsically evil; it depends on how they are used.  The same is true for cellular mechanisms that have the power to dismantle other cells.  Suppose they originally provided environmental information to organisms migrating into new habitats, or worked with the host immune system like cooperative intelligence agents in friendly countries, only to find themselves at war after a falling out of diplomatic relations.  There are many push-and-pull forces at work in the machinery of life.  All it takes is for the balance to shift, and disasters can happen.  The competing forces might drift further apart in an escalating war: the human immune system vs. the invaders run amok (see 02/18/2009).
    If God designed everything to be originally good, but gave man a choice to trust Him or not, why should He maintain the order of a creation that rejected Him?  Should a software designer continue to support an installation of his product for a customer who violated the license agreement?  No; if bugs arise through mutations, a designer would be under no obligation to fix them, even if the software was mostly robust and able to handle a wide range of contingencies.  A programmer would even be justified in coding booby traps for violators.  This simplified analogy cannot answer all questions about the origin of natural evil, obviously, but it might provide a heuristic model to incorporate into a larger theodicy.  What’s remarkable is how many systems continue to function as designed in a world under judgment for rebellion against its Maker.  One creationist biology professor remarked, “The surprising thing is not that we get sick.  It is that we are ever well.”  The happiness we do enjoy are indications of God’s common grace to the undeserving (see Acts 14).
    The evolutionist is in no better position to explain the observations.  Darwinians personify the world while denying the existence of personhood.  In Darwin’s world, everyone is selfish.  There are no good guys and bad guys; just random organisms, each looking out for number one.  In their Hobbesian war of all against all, some organisms, whether bacteria or humans, band into confederations to trade security for freedom.  It’s the defectors that spoil the game and cause trouble.  David Sloan Wilson thinks evolutionary game theory provides an elegant solution for the way the world works (12/21/2005).  Is it really a better scenario than the Biblical account?  Its glaring weakness is that it provides no explanation for the specified complexity of codes and networks that permeate biology.  Even Richard Dawkins expresses staggering amazement at life’s “appearance” of having been designed for a purpose (09/12/2004).  All he can say is: stuff happens, and we were lucky.  His NK cells have saved his life many times, but he has no one to thank but Lady Luck for the good health he usually enjoys in his democratic society.  Someone needs to warn him that if you want to play with Hobbes instead of Calvin, best beware Leviathan.
    Dawkins, Wilson and other atheistic evolutionists freely invoke axioms of morality, while denying the foundations for morality.  They cannot produce documentation for their right to shoot down intelligent design, so they steal the credentials of theists, and obtain their weapons on the black market: truth, logic, and virtue.  They take good, designed weapons and turn them against the source of the design.  A license to kill is a good thing in the hands of an honest cop or certified espionage agent.  When the bad guy steals the gun, though, watch out.  That’s true in philosophy as well as in cell biology and civilization.
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyHuman BodyHealthIntelligent DesignTheologyAmazing Facts
Defending the Christian Worldview Against All Opposition” is a lively set of lectures by the late philosopher and theologian Greg Bahnsen.  In this audio series, recorded live at an apologetics workshop for college students, Bahnsen showed how every non-Biblical belief system, from atheism to the cults and other religions, implodes when its own presuppositions are examined.  He explained the transcendental argument for the existence of God (not just any God, but the God of the Bible).
    Dr. Bahnsen’s PhD in philosophy specialized in the theory of knowledge (epistemology).  Anyone seeking wisdom in dealing with people in debates about God and the Christian faith would profit from this mind-exercising series.  Bahnsen skillfully dismantles all question-begging positions that, unlike the Biblical worldview, collapse in contradictions and arbitrary beliefs when their proponents are required to be consistent with their fundamental assumptions.  Available from Monergism Books; other internet sites may have lower prices.
    Note: while Bahnsen championed the presuppositional approach to apologetics, he made clear that he also believes that evidences are essential.  But he posed a vivid analogy: if you had to defend yourself from a murderous gunman in a locked room, would you be better off learning how to dodge bullets, or learning how to get the gun out of his hands?  Note also: we recommend this series for its apologetics value against atheism and evolution, not necessarily to endorse every theological or political position held by Dr. Bahnsen.  A final word: Answers in Genesis recently rediscovered Dr. Bahnsen’s material and is promoting it in a new web series.

Back to Nature, Back to Health   02/20/2009    
Feb 20, 2009 — People need access to nature.  That’s what an article on Science Daily argued, based on work by Frances Kuo, a professor of natural resources and environmental science and psychology at the University of Illinois.  Why?  “Humans are evolved organisms and the environment is our habitat,” she said.
    The E word evolution did not show up elsewhere in the article, though.  Mostly, it discussed how her work showed that elderly adults, college students, and children with ADHD all do better in natural settings as opposed to urban settings devoid of trees and grass.  The article paraphrased Kuo’s reasoning why getting outdoors is healthy: “Humans living in landscapes that lack trees or other natural features undergo patterns of social, psychological and physical breakdown that are strikingly similar to those observed in other animals that have been deprived of their natural habitat, Kuo said.”

As you know, CEH is a strong advocate of hiking and outdoor activity (01/05/2009, 06/22/2008, 05/10/2006), but the reasons have nothing to do with clueless evolutionary psychology (07/01/2008).  The original good creation put man and woman not in a city, but in a garden.  The first people were surrounded by plants and animals.  Even today, the beauty of a forest, the fresh air and the sight of other creatures tends to bring positive reactions in people.  We think that is not because we evolved with them, but were created with them, and were created with an innate sense of the good, the true, and the beautiful.
    What is nature, anyway?  Why does Kuo distinguish between people and nature?  This goes to show that “nature” is an equivocal word.  It can mean many things.  Evolutionists have no logical way to distinguish humans from “nature” – including their works.  The artificial gets subsumed under the natural.  To a consistent evolutionist, our cities, global warming, over-hunting, and other traits must necessarily be incorporated into the category “products of unguided, purposeless natural selection.”  This also means that humans are already in their “natural” habitat in the urban jungle, just as termites are in their hives.  So if we are evolved organisms, why do we need access to nature?
    Whatever calls us back to nature in appreciation of its beauty and order is a natural response of human nature; but that response is spiritual in nature.  See?  We told you that nature has multiple meanings.
Next headline on:  Health
Darwinism as Religion in a Holy War   02/19/2009    
Feb 19, 2009 — It might be expected that media attention on Darwin would be exceptionally high this month because of his bicentennial, but some of it seems downright religious.  The adulation he has been receiving is almost embarrassing sometimes.  It is only exceeded by the righteous indignation Darwin’s fans frequently express against intelligent design.  In any other context, their fighting words would be described as hate speech.  Here are some recent examples:
  1. Shrine to Darwin:  That was Science magazine’s title for a short entry in “Random Samples” this week.1  “Will Charles Darwin’s house and its gardens soon be mentioned in the same breath as Stonehenge and the pyramids?” the article began.  “Following a Ł1 million refurbishment, Down House in Kent, U.K., has been put forth by the government for designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site.”  Darwin’s desk, his sand path where he took daily strolls, and his chair are to be exhibited.  Sarah Coelho reported on this in more detail on Science’s origins blog, Origins.
        The Down House shrine, if declared, will be in addition to Darwin’s crypt in Westminster Abbey and the Darwin Station at the Galapagos.  It might be noted that Stonehenge and the pyramids were both constructed for cultic reasons.
  2. Darwin Rap:  English Lit students of the future may be switched from reading Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to a new classic, something like Charlesbury Tales.  Rap artist Baba Brinkman has turned to Darwin for inspiration, reported Science in its Newsmakers segment.2  Microbiologist Mark Pallen (U of Birmingham) approached Brinkman with the idea of recasting the rap artist’s version of Chaucer with an evolutionary twist.  Brinkman latched onto the idea and “immersed himself in Darwin’s words and recent books on evolutionary biology,” the article said, “and has been honing rhymes on sexual selection, altruism, and the battle with intelligent design.
        The result: “He swallowed the idea and turned it into a work of genius,” according to Pallen.  Viewers of the rap videos are treated to icons of Richard Dawkins reading from The Origin of Species, while the rapper chants artistic lines of genius like these from Natural Selection:
    Okay, it’s time to reveal my identity
    I’m the manifestation of tens of millions
    Of centuries of sexual selection, best believe
    I’m the best of the best of the best of the best
    Of generations of competitive pressure genetically
    But don’t get upset, ’cause we’ve got the same pedigree
    You and I will find a common ancestor eventually
    If we rewind geological time regressively
    And I could say the same for this hibiscus tree
    And this lizard and the flea and this sesame seed.
    The comparison with Do the Evolution seems apt (see 08/31/2006) with its similar references to progress, survival of the fittest and selfishness.  This one adds the phrase, “best believe.”
        On the Science blog Origins, Brinkman answered some questions about his work.  Asked what the most difficult evolutionary topic to rap about, he said, “Evolutionary topics are not so much of a challenge as anti-evolutionary topics.”  He added, “my biggest challenge was to engage with Darwin’s detractors in a way that was not overly derisive, while at the same time speaking plainly about the misconceptions that are still attached to his work.”  It’s apparently OK to be derisive – just not overly so.  Brinkman’s education included works by staunch Darwinians and ID critics Jared Diamond, E. O. Wilson, Richard Dawkins, and David Sloan Wilson, in addition to Darwin’s own holy writ.
        A previous entry about Brinkman on Origins touted his concert tour as one of the hottest gigs in the Darwin-satiated London.  It includes lyrics of more of his songs and some video clips, too.  One of them overtly attacks the Genesis story and intelligent design in its religiously-zealous presentation of Darwin’s theory: “the truth shall set you free” (an non-subtle twist on the words of Jesus).  The clip ends on a note that could have had Malthus, Spencer, Haeckel and Galton tapping their feet:
    What do you know about Natural Selection?  Go ahead
    And ask a question and see where the answer gets you
    Try bein’ passive aggressive or try smashin’ heads in
    And see which tactic brings your plans to fruition
    And if you have an explanation in mind, then you’re
    Wastin’ your time, ‘cause the best watchmaker is blind
    It takes a certain base kind of impatient mind
    To explain away nature with “intelligent design”
    But the truth shall set you free
    From those useless superstitious beliefs
    In a literal Adam and Eve, and that Edenic myth
    ‘Cause their family tree is showin’ some genetic drift
    Take it from this bald-headed non-celibate monk
    With the lyrical equivalent of an elephant’s trunk
    It’s time to elevate your mind-state
    And celebrate your kinship with the primates.

    The weak and the strong, who got it goin’ on? We lived in the dark for so long The weak and the strong, Darwin got it goin’ on Creationism is dead wrong.

    Science described his lyrics as “sometimes sly, often hilarious, and always smart and thought-provoking.”  Reporter John Travis sounded like a salesman on steroids: “Brinkman gave a mesmerizing performance, one that would probably do more to convince school children of evolution’s validity than any BBC or PBS special could.... Scientists, science teachers, and anyone evolution has provided with an open mind and a hint of musical rhythm should rush out to see this show if they’re fortunate enough for it to make an appearance nearby.”
  3. Not in your back yard:  Better not let your governor sign an Academic Freedom bill: the Darwinians are likely to pull up their stakes and move their conference dollars elsewhere.  The Science blog Origins reported that the “Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology announced it would not hold its 2011 annual meeting in New Orleans because of the state’s antievolution policies.”  Governor Bobby Jindal last year had signed the Louisiana Science Education Act, preventing critics of evolution from being censored or harassed for their views.  The bill had passed unanimously in the state senate and 93-4 in the state legislature, indicating overwhelming bipartisan support (see Evolution News).
  4. A time for anger:  Robert Pennock has long been an opponent of intelligent design, but in an essay for US News he really let the fur fly when responding to an earlier editorial by Casey Luskin in US News.  Pennock titled his piece “Creation of Christian Soldiers a Chilling Sidelight of Darwin Bashing,” scaring readers at the vision of an army of fundamentalists destroying the whole institution of science.  In the article he challenged statements by Phillip Johnson, Ralph Seelke, Casey Luskin and others associated with the Discovery Institute, calling them propagandists, false martyrs and fomenters of violence by the mentally unstable – all while denying charges he was writing with a poison pen of intimidation.  Portraying the Darwinians as defenders of truth, and abandoning any appeal for negotiations, he ended by calling for a holy war:
    As I wrote in a recent op-ed about Expelled and the ID culture wars, it is hard to know how to respond in a civil manner to such ignorant extremism.  Let me go further here: Such views (and I do here mean views, not people) do not deserve a civil response.  They deserve more than disapproval and ridicule.  They deserve the moral outrage of all who are friends of reason and truth.
        Darwin shares his birthday with Abraham Lincoln, and the famous conclusion of Lincoln’s first Inaugural Address3 is relevant to the culture war that creationists and other extremists would inject into our children’s science classes.  Let us forthrightly reject those false and polarizing views and hope that the better angels of our nature will eventually prevail and bring this war to an end.
    Pennock’s did not explain how righteousness, truth, morality and conscience (“better angels of our nature”) arose by a Darwinian mechanism of blind selection acting on mutations.
  5. Expelled star expelled:  Has it come to this?  A champion of free speech and academic freedom has been expelled from an academic platform.  Sure enough, Ben Stein, the lovable droll professor, usually seen on economic panels, has been shafted from a commencement speech opportunity at the University of Vermont.  President Dan Fogel reversed his invitation because of Stein’s “highly controversial views” about “evolutionary theory, intelligent design, and the role of science in the Holocaust,” as shown in last year’s documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.  Read the whole account of what happened on Evolution News #1, #2 and #3.  Stein’s primary message in the film was to open up discussion on Darwin and break down the barriers that insulated Darwinism from criticism and forced critics of Darwinism to remain silent lest they lose their jobs.  His ending appeal was focused on freedom of speech in academia.  Now that he has been denied his opportunity to speak to the students, the University selected someone they apparently felt was less controversial: Howard Dean (#4).
Speaking of Expelled, Casey Luskin has put together a long list of rebuttals to the criticisms of the movie put forward on the NCSE website “Expelled Exposed.”  Called “’Expelled Exposed’ Exposed,” Luskin’s list is available on Evolution News and Views.  Luskin also on Evolution News took on MSNBC’s pro-Darwin reporting, which he called “three puff-pieces about the evidence for evolution.”  He said, “With Darwin’s 200th birthday recently upon us, the media is pushing Darwinism harder than ever.”
1.  Random Samples, Science, Volume 323, Number 5917, Issue of 20 February 2009.
2.  Newsmakers, Science, Volume 323, Number 5917, Issue of 20 February 2009.
3.  “I am loath to close.  We are not enemies, but friends.  We must not be enemies.  Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.  The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” (
Is there any doubt that Darwinism is a religion?  Look at this.  We should save the word hysteria for milder situations.  Darwinists are beside themselves with euphoria over their bearded Buddha and with rage over anyone who would shine some reality on their religious experiences.  While claiming to be champions of truth, they tell lies.  While claiming to be victims of harassment, they persecute.  While claiming to be naturalists, they steal Christian armaments like truth, morality and righteousness and wield them against those who do not bow down at their shrines.  We should also save the word hypocrite for milder cases than this (see David Klinghoffer’s piece on Evolution News, “What is hypocrisy, after all?”).
    If you are confused over this scuffle and can’t see the light for the heat, notice one thing.  Here at Creation-Evolution Headlines, we constantly read and report the very best the Darwin Party has to offer (excluding P.Z. Myers, because, this being a family site, we don’t wish to expose the young to profanity).  We quote more top evolutionists here than ID or creationist sources.  We analyze and examine as charitably as possible all their very best arguments from their very best thinkers, and provide you with extensive quotes and links to original sources where you can read them and make your own decisions.  Our cartoons and humor may be satirical, but they are not hateful and vindictive – and you can easily see from the context when it was deserved (e.g., we award Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week, not Stupid Evolutionist of the Week).  What do they do?  They prevent you from hearing the other side, and misrepresent it in sound bites intended for instant emotional reaction.  They use intimidation, ridicule, fear-mongering, symbolism over substance, card stacking, sidestepping, and subversion — all geared to make people hate intelligent design before even knowing what it is.  The put “Creationism is dead wrong” to a rap beat.  They tell the media that their opponents are not even worth the expenditure of their contempt (05/12/2008 bullet 5).  They use profanity (see recent despicable example reported on Evolution News).  They show no shame for silencing opposition – indeed, they pride themselves on their bigotry (yes, bigotry: see 12/16/2008).  They apply to themselves silly self-contradictory labels like “anyone evolution has provided with an open mind” while refusing to allow other people to exercise their God-given open minds.  They appeal to the “better angels of our nature” when they believe neither in spirits nor in conscience.  And while worshiping at holy shrines of the bearded Buddha, they say that the “ignorant extremism” of Darwin doubters is “not even worthy of a civil response.”  Let the better angels of your nature enlighten you to what is really going on.
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  Read again the shocking news from February 2007 that Darwin’s tree of life has been toppled – by evolutionists (02/01/2007).

Language Is Not a Simple Genetic Matter   02/18/2009    
Feb 18, 2009 — It sounds so simple.  The title on an article in PhysOrg announced, in Kipling Just-So Story Format, “How gorilla gestures point to evolution of human language.”  Because gorillas have an extensive repertoire of over 100 gestures, human conversation was only a matter of evolutionary time.  Is this mere storytelling, or do such explanations have scientific validity?  Can the changes necessary for human language be found in the genes?
    The FOXP2 gene is often singled out as crucial to the evolution of human language, because mutations in that gene lead to speech defects in humans.  The recently published Neanderthal genome (see National Geographic News) showed that Neanderthals had the same FOXP2 gene we have.  “This gene is involved in linguistic development, suggesting that Neanderthals could talk,” the article said.  No one has shown, however, that FOXP2 is a necessary or sufficient cause for the origin of language – such an inference is hopelessly simplistic (see 05/26/2004, 02/21/2008).  For example, a defective power supply in a radio that renders it inoperable does not explain the communication heard when it works.  Is there more than genetics involved in the origin of our language capacity?  How could we know?

Cultural selection and synergy

    In an essay in Nature,1 Eörs Szathmáry and Szabolcs Számadó argued that “Language evolved as part of a uniquely human group of traits, the interdependence of which calls for an integrated approach to the study of brain function.”  It’s more than the ability to recognize words.  Your dog can do that.  They said, “more than any other attribute, language was probably key to the development of the set of traits that makes humans unique.”  These two authors proposed that social factors were much more important than genes in the development of language.  “Cultural evolution has shown us that one word can be worth a thousand genes,” they said.  But how can that explain language in a Darwinian paradigm?  It almost sounds Lamarckian – the discredited hypothesis of inheritance of acquired characteristics.  Here’s how they tied it in to Darwinism:
That the genes involved in a cognitive trait affect other traits, and have effects that interact with each other, is business as usual for complex behaviour.  But the result is likely to be a network of interacting effects, in which evolution in one trait builds on an attribute already modified as a by-product of selection acting on another.  The nature of the gene networks underpinning complex behaviour suggests that several genes will have been selected for because they enhanced proficiency in a range of tasks – whether in social, linguistic or tool-use domains.
Language emerged, they said, at the same time humans were learning to fish and hunt big game and make stone tools.  It was a by-product of the co-option of existing genes for vocalization being selected for new uses, they suggested.  This all happened at a time when major evolutionary changes were occurring simultaneously:
The probable emergence of modern language in the context of these other capacities points to the evolution of a uniquely human set of traits.  We’ve barely begun to probe the architecture of this ‘suite’, but there is little to suggest that each capacity evolved one by one, or that they could be lost independently without harming at least some other traits in the set.
But is this explanation helpful for elucidating what actually happened, or does it shield itself from falsification in the noise of complexity?  Creationists would say God designed all these traits to work together.  These evolutionists did appeal to evidence, but then only for the interdependence of the traits, not their origin: “Evidence supporting the close-knit evolution of traits comes, for example, from experiments showing that people who struggle with grammar also have difficulties drawing hierarchical structures, such as a layered arrangement of matches.”  They also said that tool-making and language appear related.  But such linkages do not necessarily point to evolution as the only explanation.
    Szathmáry and Számadó used their hypothesis to weave a seamless story of the transition from genetic evolution to cultural evolution:
The evidence strongly suggests that language evolved into its modern form embedded in a group of synergistic traits.  However, language almost certainly holds special status over the other traits in the set.  More than any other attribute, language is likely to have played a key role in driving genetic and cultural human evolution.
    Language enables us to pass on cultural information more efficiently than can any other species.  It’s taken about 40 million years, for example, for five agricultural systems to appear in fungus-growing ants.  Human agriculture diversified on a massive scale in just a few thousand years.  Language makes it easier for people to live in large groups and helps drive cumulative cultural evolution – the build-up of complex belief systems, and the establishment of laws and theories over several generations.  It has allowed us to construct a highly altered social and physical world, which has in turn shaped our evolution.  Cultural evolution has shown us that one word can be worth a thousand genes.  Language was the key evolutionary innovation because it built on important cognitive prerequisites and opened the door to so much else.
It appears they just said that their own reasoning evolved from cultural evolution which evolved from genetic evolution.  Can those gaps be bridged so easily?  Can one shift the hot potato of explanation between genes and culture as required to keep the story going?

Exaptation: Dissing Darwin

    Robert Berwick raised questions about this in a commentary in PNAS,2 “What genes can’t learn about language.”  He opened with this very issue: “Human language has long been viewed as a product of both genes and individual external experience or culture, but the key puzzle has always been to assess the relative contribution of each.”  He asked whimsically if language evolution is more like hemline fashions (culture) or the fingers on one’s hand (genetics).  There must be an interplay of both, because we know every child is born ready to learn a language, but those who learn Hindi cannot understand those who speak Mandarin.
    Berwick’s solution leaned toward cultural evolution.  The reason is that genetic evolution is too slow to keep up with the rapid changes known to occur in human language.  One finding he cited “runs counter to one popular view that these properties of human language were explicitly selected for,... instead pointing to human language as largely adventitious, an exaptation, with many, perhaps most, details driven by culture.”  (An exaptation means a trait not acquired by natural selection – presumably through a trait that predisposed a creature toward an adaptation).  The upside is that it means the set of genes devoted to language can be greatly reduced.  “There is no need, and more critically no informational space, for the genome to blueprint some intricate set of highly-modular, interrelated components for language, just as the genome does not spell out the precise neuron-to-neuron wiring of the developing brain.”  The downside is that classical Darwinian natural selection had little to do with it.
    Berwick recognized the controversy this position is likely to raise: “such a result may prove surprising to Darwinian enthusiasts who see the hand of natural selection everywhere,” he admitted, but he had an even “more startling” ramification to unleash: a convergence between the views of two groups often at variance with one another: cultural evolutionists and theoretical linguists.  Recent models by subsets of these camps can make do with a “minimal human genome for language.”  Is this an evolutionary coup?

String Theory and Semantics

    One thing remains: explaining the “hallmark of human language,” recursive concatenation.  This is our unique ability to combine words into new entities that can be treated as a single object, then combined again over and over.  This ability, which provides us “an infinity of possible meaningful signs integrated with the human conceptual system,” is lacking in animals.  With it, though, we have “the algebraic closure of a recursive operator over our dictionary.”  We have “infinite use of finite means.”  How could genes or culture explain this capability?  Berwick merely states that it does: “the claim that human language is an exaptation rather than a selected-for adaptation becomes not only much more likely but very nearly inescapable.”  Believe it or not.
    Actually, the coup is not over yet.  Berwick ended with two caveats about “What models can’t tell us about language evolution.”  The cultural-evolution model would expect all aspects of human language to rise and fall like hemlines, but “Indeed, as far back as we can discern, human languages have always been just as complicated and fixed along certain dimensions.”  There’s a difference, for example, between a sound and its value.  There is no necessary connection between what our genes allow us to pronounce and what we mean by the sound.  Exaptation merely assumes what it needs to prove: the “promiscuous recursion harnessed to our conceptual dictionary” that makes language so endlessly expressive.

Why Confirm What We Already Know?

    The second caveat is even more alarming.  Berwick said we can never know how language evolved:
Second, there remain inherent restrictions on our ability to ferret out biological adaptation generally and see into the past, more so than is sometimes generally acknowledged, simply because of limits on what we can measure given the signal-to-noise ratio of evolution by natural selection, and similarly constraining what computer simulations like the one in this issue of PNAS can ever tell us.  Since the pioneering study in ref. 11 we know that cultural evolution can sweep through populations as quickly as viral infections.  By comparison, evolution by natural selection is orders of magnitude slower and weaker, its effects on gene frequencies easily swamped by the migration of even a few individuals per generation.  Practically, this means that although we know without a doubt that adaptive selection has been involved in the shaping of certain traits, language being one of them, the data to establish this fact conclusively remains methodologically out of reach simply because it is infeasible to collect the requisite experimental evidence.  To take a far more secure case than language, although we have long known that human blood group differences confer certain reproductive evolutionary advantages, geneticists have estimated we would require the complete age-specific birth and death rate tables for on the order of 50,000 individuals to confirm what must certainly be true.  Given the great costs coupled with the relatively small benefits of confirming what we already know, the pragmatic nature of science wins out and there is simply little enthusiasm in carrying forward the exercise.
By portraying language evolution as something “we already know,” Berwick has insulated it from the need for empirical evidence.  Indeed, he generalized this to all cases of evolutionary adaptation, not just language.  If the signal-to-noise ratio of natural selection is so low as to be undetectable, is evolution a science, or a belief?  Notice the phrase “story line” in his ending paragraph:
Consequently, it is probably safe to say that neither this nor any other confirmation of adaptive advantage for one or another particular evolutionary story line about human language, no matter how compelling or how internally consistent its computer simulation logic, will be immediately forthcoming.  To be sure, computer simulations can still establish boundary conditions on evolvability via the Balwin–Simpson effect or set directions for further inquiry, and Chater et al. succeed admirably.  Nonetheless, we should remain ever alert that there are always restrictions on restrictions, that neither this study nor others like it can tell us how human language actually evolved.

1.  Eörs Szathmáry and Szabolcs Számadó, “Being Human: Language: a social history of words,” Nature 456, 40-41 (6 November 2008) | doi:10.1038/456040a.
2.  Robert C. Berwick, “What genes can’t learn about language,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, February 10, 2009, 106:6, pp 1685-1686, doi:10.1073/pnas.0812871106.
Those last two block quotes are worth reading carefully.  For Darwin skeptics, the evidence could hardly be more clear: evolution is a belief imposed on the evidence, not a belief derived from the evidence.  Since there is no way they could possibly test their belief, evolutionists begin with the assumption of evolution and work everything into their chosen paradigm: fragmentary evidence, elusive hints of signal in a noise (like the FOXP2 gene, inferences from which are as likely to deceive as enlighten), and copious amounts of imagination and storytelling.  Since “we already know” by collective agreement that Darwin reigns and creationism is out, what need have we of proof?, they think.  They have tossed verification out the window.  Like communist dictators behind a wall, they have awarded themselves offices for life and comfy quarters for speculating endlessly without fear of contradiction.  Evidence, like the peasantry, becomes subservient to the State.  Damaging evidence has been filtered out by the State-run press.  The regime is self-promoting, self-serving, and self-perpetuating.
Time for a revolution.
Next headline on:  Early ManHuman BodyGeneticsEvolution
Disease Genes Play the Wrong Tune   02/18/2009    
Feb 18, 2009 — How did disease originate?  It might seem that large changes in genes would be required to turn a benign cell into a pathogen, but an article on Science Daily says it might just be a good cell playing a bad tune.
    Bacteria have more genes than they use at any one time.  What determines the behavior is how these genes are regulated.  A piano has 88 keys, but they can be played in many different combinations.  “The researchers found that bacteria can develop into illness-causing pathogens by rewiring regulatory DNA, the genetic material that controls disease-causing genes in a body,” the article said.  “Previously, disease evolution was thought to occur mainly through the addition or deletion of genes.”
    This means that the genetic information doesn’t change that much when a good cell goes bad.  “The difference between being able to cause disease, or not cause disease, lies in where, when and what genes in this collection are turned on,” said Brian Coombes, the lead author of a recent study.  “We’ve discovered how bacteria evolve to turn on just the right combination of genes in order to cause disease in a host.  It’s similar to playing a musical instrument – you have to play the right keys in the right order to make music.”
    Could disease arise from a mutation in a regulatory network turning a waltz into a dirge?
In Biblical theological history, a world that was pronounced very good, filled with life and health and beauty, was cursed due to sin.  One can see possibilities in this finding that the curse might not involve radical reconstruction of the creation, but just slight degenerations of existing systems.  Power tools can build houses or they can cut flesh.  Maybe all God did was remove some of the protective measures on a world that had rejected His rule.
    Do evolutionists have a better explanation?  Some of them, maybe even Darwin himself, thought they could rescue God by removing the origin of evil from His domain.  What they did, however, was remove the categories of good and evil altogether.  In a Darwinian world, stuff happens, and that’s that.  Go suffer.  Something in our conscience revolts against evil as something out of order.  Claiming there was no order in the first place begs more questions than it answers.
    Like a finely crafted instrument, the world was made to play harmony, not noise.  Because of the fall, ugliness and pain often overpowers the music that is still audible in the background.  By turning from the source of that noise (sin), and accepting God’s free tickets to The Creation and Messiah, each individual can receive noise-cancelling headphones and hear the music in its original glory.  He will put a new song in your mouth – a hymn of praise to the Lord (Psalm 33:3, Psalm 40:3, Psalm 96:1).
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Darwin as Compassionate Buddhist Ape Descendant   02/17/2009    
Feb 17, 2009 — It seems odd to call a secular scientific theory like Darwinism a Buddhist belief.  That’s what National Geographic claimed today.  “Darwin the Buddhist?  Empathy Writings Reveal Parallels,” wrote Christine Dell’Amore about new ideas about Darwin by Paul Ekman, psychologist.
    What could Darwin possibly have to do with Buddhism?  Ekman told an audience at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago that Charles Darwin was fascinated with facial expressions of emotion.  Indeed, he wrote a book on it: The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals (1872), in which he hired photographers to film faces of people expressing happiness, rage, sadness and other feelings.  Darwin suggested that empathy was a universal trait that had evolved in humans.
    Ekman said the idea of universal empathy meshes with Buddhist beliefs about compassion.  Ekman also suggested “it’s also possible that Darwin encountered Buddhist teachings through letters from other scholars of the time.”  To strengthen the Darwin-Buddha connection, Ekman shared an inside story: the Dalai Lama had told him that he “would consider himself a Darwinian.”
    Ekman did not explain how this new compassionate Darwin relates to the old picture of evolution as a process of pitiless indifference by a natural world red in tooth and claw.  Nor did he explain why compassion, if genetically inherited in some people and not others, needs to be cultivated – a role seemingly more suitable for religion.  The article simply stated point blank, “Until psychologists figure out why the disparity exists, he said, ‘the survival of our planet’ depends on cultivating compassion.”  This begs the question whether even survival is a good thing in a universe of pitiless indifference.  Nevertheless, the article suggested people could go to “compassion gyms” to improve their empathy fitness.     Somehow, this makes sense to Ekman as he imagines primates becoming more self-aware.  The NG article ended with a quote to this effect by Barbara King, an evolutionary anthropologist at the College of William and Mary in Virginia.  She said, “We wouldn’t be human in the ways we are human today if apes were not deeply emotional creatures and deeply social ones.  We are ... products of our past.
    This article reinforces recent attempts to portray a kinder, gentler Darwin, who opposed slavery (see Uncommon Descent).  Some Darwinists, though, don’t appear to have inherited the compassion gene.  In Forbes, Jerry Coyne slammed neurosurgeon Michael Egnor, who had criticized evolution earlier on Forbes, by calling him a charlatan and comparing him to a holocaust denier.  Egnor has had a running rebuttal to Coyne on Evolution News and Views, continuing with part 2 and part 3.
OK, Darwin skeptics, charge!  They’re exposing their true colors: Darwinism is a religion.  It may be politically-correct religion, but it’s religion nonetheless.  Is it any wonder we portray Darwin as the Bearded Buddha?  Even the Dalai Lama worships at his shrine.  Caution: don’t offer the prescribed sacrifice!  You will need your brain to understand what is going on: Darwin evolves to fit the rhetorical needs of the Darwin Party propaganda machine.  30 years ago it was the Malthusian, red-claw Darwin of pitiless indifference.  Now it’s the compassionate Buddhist Darwin.  Behind the facade it’s the same Blunderful Wizard of Flaws.
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  The Darwin bomb squad tried to disarm the Cambrian Explosion (again) two years ago.  Did they succeed?  See the 02/14/2006 entry and decide if hand-waving is a successful defense against flying shrapnel.

Songbirds Sing on a Fast Wing   02/17/2009    
Feb 17, 2009 — Purple martins and wood thrushes are common songbirds of the eastern United States.  Until recently, it has not been possible to follow their movements accurately.  Now, a team of biologists in Toronto, Erie and Cambridge was able to track them with tiny geolocators.  They found that the little birds fly farther and faster than previously known.
    Reporting in Science,1 the ornithologists found that most of the purple martins made it from Pennsylvania to the Yucatan (2500 km) in 5 days.  That’s 500 km, (over 300 miles), per day.  Then the birds stopped over there for 3 to 4 weeks before moving south to the Amazon basin.  Some of the wood thrushes that migrated from Pennsylvania spent a 2-4 week stopover in the southeastern United States before crossing the Gulf of Mexico.  A couple of the monitored thrushes stopped also in the Yucatan before reaching wintering grounds in Honduras or Nicaragua.
    As if that were not amazing enough, the return flights were 2 to 6 times faster.  One female martin made the 7500 km trip from the Amazon Basin to Pennsylvania in 13 days – averaging 577 km (360 mi) per day.  That includes 4 stopover days.  The wood thrushes took 13 to 15 days to get home.  One of them, oddly, took the overland route instead of crossing the Gulf of Mexico, requiring 29 days to complete the 4600 km route.
    How do these new studies enhance our understanding of bird flight capabilities?  “Previous studies appear to greatly underestimate the true flight performance of migrating songbirds because spring migration speed has typically been estimated at under 150 km/day.”  National Geographic News reported on the story with pictures and a video.  The lead author commented on the purple martin front-runner, “Maybe this is some kind of super-bird, but still I was really impressed that any bird can do this.  These birds are traveling really fast and breaking all the rules.”
    Science Daily also reported on the research.  The geolocators, it said, are smaller than a dime and mounted on the birds’ backs with thin straps around the legs, hopefully not interfering with flight.  One can only wonder if the record-setting female martin might have bested her own time without the backpack.

1.  Stutchbury, Tarof, Done, Gow, Kramer, Tautin, Fox, and Afanasyev, “Tracking Long-Distance Songbird Migration by Using Geolocators,” Science, 13 February 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5916, p. 896, DOI: 10.1126/science.1166664.
This bird didn’t break any rules.  God didn’t put speed limit signs on the route.  He equipped these amazing creatures with awe-inspiring capabilities and let them loose to fly like they were designed to do at their own pace.  We can watch the race like sports fans.
    Here is another story that owed nothing to Darwin.  Neither the original paper or the popular write-ups even mentioned him.  Darwinists keep saying that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.  This science project did just fine in natural ambience without the black lights (see 02/10/2009 commentary, last line).
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New Baloney
cartoon      Subject: REPETITION
by Brett Miller!
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The Uses of Wood Rot   02/16/2009    
Feb 16, 2009 — Wood rot fungus doesn’t sound like a useful thing.  Most people would rather get rid of it – especially those who have seen their houses decay because of it.  Some scientists, however, are intrigued by it.  It may have properties that could some day help power your car.
    Science Daily reported that the US Department of Energy and Department of Agriculture are trying to figure out how wood rot fungus decomposes wood.  Cellulose and lignin in wood are tough to break down.  “Few organisms in nature can efficiently breakdown lignin into smaller, more manageable chemical units amenable to biofuels production,” the article says.  The basidiomycetes fungi are rare exceptions.  Their ability to decompose wood is actually essential to the ongoing life of the forest, and to the carbon cycle of the whole planet.
    The genomes of these little wonders have recently been released.  Learning the tricks of wood decomposition might just help reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.  “This type of information may empower industrial biotechnologists to devise new strategies to enhance efficiencies and reduce costs associated with biomass conversion for renewable fuels and chemical intermediates.”

There’s a purpose to everything, at least in its original design, and everything is designed to fulfill its purpose.  Rots, molds, rusts and other fungi are given bad names to reflect their bad rap.  That’s just because we don’t understand their place in the natural scheme.  We can learn to live with them when their natural purposes run up against our artificial ones.  You wouldn’t curse a little organism that is keeping our planet’s carbon cycle going, would you?  Its ability to decompose wood is a clever trick that challenges scientists.  Your challenge is to keep it out of your house and in the outdoor ecology where it does its job.  With a little respect for our fellow creatures, we can actually improve our lives by learning about their designed secrets.
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Slaughter of the Dissidents by Dr. Jerry Bergman will make you angry.  This compendium of Darwinist intolerance and persecution, the result of years of research and interviews by a multi-PhD scientist who has felt that pain himself, tells unbelievable true stories of how the secular progressives who have invaded academia destroy careers and ruin reputations of anyone who will not tow the Darwin party line.  If you saw the movie Expelled, that was just a foretaste of what you will find here.  Some of these scientists could have won a Nobel Prize but they were summarily ousted from the clique for espousing non-Darwinian views.  Teachers, students, journalists provide further testimonies.  Not just a gruesome collection of tragedies, this book is also a call to action for academic freedom.  Available at where you can find additional information.

The Nature of Nature’s “Darwin 200”   02/13/2009    
Feb 13, 2009 — As could be expected for yesterday’s Darwin Day February 12, Nature devoted almost its entire 2/12/09 issue to Charles Darwin with at least 20 Darwin-related articles.  The caption for the special edition states,

The latest edition of Nature to celebrate Darwin’s life and work looks at the human side of evolution.  We have features on looking for Darwin in the genome, and on what evolution has done to shape human nature, while our editorial and two commentaries look at some of the problems inherent in applying biology to questions about humanity.  We also have an essay on Darwin’s pigeons and poetry by his great great grand-daughter Ruth Padel.  And in a special insight we bring together reviews by a range of experts on current hot topics in evolution.
One can safely assume that this issue in the world’s leading science journal, written by scientists for scientists, published in Darwin’s homeland, represents the best defense of evolutionary thought available today on this special occasion of Darwin’s Bicentennial.  Most of these articles are available online at a special page of Nature News.
In order to cut to the chase without getting bogged down in analysis of every claim in every article, let’s focus on what really matters: is Darwinism true?  Is it established, beyond reasonable doubt, by evidence, that humans have bacteria ancestors?  Major on majors.  The only Darwinian claim of concern is whether all life descended from one or a few single-celled organisms (and most Darwinists claim also from nonliving chemicals) via chance variation and unguided natural selection.  Even young-earth creationists incorporate a lot of microevolution in their views.  That means all of the following points are mere distractions:
  • Whether Darwin’s beard made him look like Moses.
  • Whether he was a good pigeon breeder and field naturalist.
  • Whether Darwin impacted culture, politics, religion, philosophy, and science.
  • Whether creationist opponents have a religious agenda.
  • Whether Darwin felt God wouldn’t have created life the way we find it.
  • Whether intelligent design proponents lost at Dover.
  • Whether microevolution and “change over time” occurs.
  • Whether some species have gone extinct.
  • Whether Darwin’s voyage on the Beagle makes a nice adventure story.
  • Whether scientists have good imaginations.
  • Whether video libraries are loaded with highly-animated documentaries teaching Darwin’s ideas.
  • Whether Darwinians are good at bluffing that the evidence for evolution is overwhelming.
  • Whether evolutionary biologists are good at promising to deliver their vaporware on back order.
  • Whether it was wrong for U of Leiden to slash their evolutionary biology budget.
  • Whether evolutionists publish in peer-reviewed journals and creationists don’t can’t.
  • Whether Darwin was a proper British gentleman of basically honest character.
  • Whether Darwin disliked slavery.
  • Whether Darwin was buried in a church and has received adulation from religious people.
  • Whether a scientific consensus exists that Darwin was a secular god.
None of that matters.  You’ve got to stay focused on the central issue in any debate, and the central issue here is whether Darwinism is true.  If it has been falsified, if it is self-refuting, or has after 150 years failed to deliver on its scientific pretensions, then who cares about these other things?  The interpretation and significance of all those things would change if Darwinism were disqualified as science.  It makes an interesting story, that’s all.
    OK, so here is our rapid-fire baloney detection exercise.  Picture an intelligent alien reading these articles.  He (or it) is highly educated, skilled in philosophy and logic, and respectful of observation and experiment, but unfamiliar with Darwin’s hypothesis that humans (and aliens) have bacteria ancestors through a long process of impersonal selection of chance variations.  Our alien friend finds this proposition somewhat dubious at the outset, but being an amiable chap of sound character and discernment, is willing to judge the evidence in support of it.  What Would Alien Do?  Here goes:
  1. Editorial:  No evidence here, but lots of morality.  Notable quote: “The history of arguments about humanity based on biology – both Darwin’s biology and that of others who have come after – provides a sorry rehearsal of pretexts and apologias for everything from unthinking prejudice to forced sterilization and genocide.”  Did you hear that, Eugenie?  Richard Weikart could have said that.  There’s an even worse Darwin-damaging quote later (see below).
  2. The other strand:  Irrelevant.  History of Wallace, speculation, guesswork, controversy, futureware.  Notable quote: “No real silver bullet has emerged to say, ‘This is the human uniqueness gene’.” 
  3. Human nature: the remix.  The blind leading the blind; with some leaving the pack and stumbling around elsewhere.  Controversy, things that are “poorly understood,” speculation, disagreement over definitions; confusion of observations with causes.  Nothing solid.
  4. A flight of fancy:  Asks whether history would have been written differently “had Charles Darwin given in to pressure from his publisher to rewrite Origin of Species into a popular book about pigeons.”  Disqualified; irrelevant speculation.  Notable quote: “At every page, I was tantalized by the absence of the proofs” – Whitwell Elwin, on examining a pre-publication draft of The Origin.
  5. Dutch U slashes evolution staff.  Who cares?  Lots of people are getting laid off these days.  Go get a real job.
  6. Debate over IQ and rebuttal.  Only a scientism-ist would think this question belongs in science.  Irrelevant to Darwin.
  7. Darwin’s Sacred Cause book review:  Dud.  Darwin’s personal morality is irrelevant to his hypothesis.
  8. Poetry by Darwin’s great-great-granddaughter:  Move this to English Lit.
  9. Jerry Coyne’s book review on freaks of nature:  Freaky, but no help to Charlie; just an intramural squabble over evo-devo vs “orthodoxy.”  Move this to Comparative Religion.  Notable quote: “In the end, the problem with these explanations is not so much that they are wrong, or of no potential importance in evolution.  Rather, it is that Blumberg gives the impression that they are established truths rather than hypotheses that have remained unconfirmed for three decades.”  Speak for yourself, Jerry.
  10. Segmental duplications research:  A live one?  Similarities in primate genes would only convince the converted.  Circular reasoning.  Appeals to convergent evolution, and other Darwin-incestuous assumptions.
  11. Mammoth genome:  Nothing about Darwin; more circular reasoning and futureware.
  12. Unnatural selection:  Whether humans are causing unnatural evolutionary changes by hunting.  Aren’t humans claimed to be products of natural selection, too?  Technical foul; borrows Christian morality.
  13. Henry Gee:  Just a Gee-whiz hymn of praise to Darwin over the simplicity of his theory.  Simple, or simplistic?  The Stuff Happens Law is simple and explains a lot, too (09/15/2008 commentary).
  14. Natural selection 150 years on:  Mark Pagels’ history of the tweaks to Darwin’s theory to keep it in sync with observations.  The Gumby defense doesn’t cut it in science (01/23/2009).  This article is full of Tinker Bell, Stuff Happens, paradox, controversy, Happy happy Darwin, the power of suggestion and “a theory moving with the times.”  Honk if you found anything substantive here.
  15. Origin of arthropods:  Cambrian explosion, imaginary emergence, futureware.  Notable quote: “Arthropods emerged near the base of the Cambrian.”  No plausible transitions in the Precambrian.  Instant complexity.  Game over!  OK, Darwinism disqualified; time to celebrate across town at the other Bicentennial.
  16. Shubin, Tabin, Carroll on “Deep homology and the origins of evolutionary novelty.”  Why are we still playing this game when Darwinism has already fouled out?  For the overkill perhaps.  This is all homology arguments, Darwin praise, Tiktaalik (Shubin pushes his fish-a-pod everywhere he goes), beetle horns (microevolution), co-option, tree-thinking, parallel evolution, and the whole Darwinian toolkit of circular explanatory gimmicks, using evolution to prove evolution (05/25/2005 commentary).
  17. Beagle in a bottle:  Experimental evolution – this should be good, some real, experimental science!  But it’s all microevolution, artificial selection, controversial kin selection and other model-dependent traps like co-evolution, the Stuff Happens Law and weird science like the evolvability of evolution.  Nice try.  Give them a courtesy clap for at least considering five serious caveats and criticisms.
  18. Adaptive radiation:  Island diversity, finch beaks, the role of contingency (Stephen Jay Gould vs Simon Conway Morris), controversy over sympatry and allopatry, extinction, circular reasoning, exceptions to every rule.  Fails to deliver on this empty promise: “A particularly powerful approach is to combine studies of ongoing natural selection and microevolutionary change with phylogenetic analyses of evolutionary patterns in deeper, macroevolutionary, time, an approach that in some cases can even be experimental.”  (Notice that the macroevolutionary time was assumed, not demonstrated.)  Macroevolution not demonstrable in any non-question-begging way.  For Science Magazine’s problem with adaptive radiation, see 02/10/2009, bullet 4.
  19. Darwin’s bridge between microevolution and macroevolution by Reznick and Ricklefs:  The hyped title fails to deliver.  Question-begging generalities, the Gumby defense (evolutionary theory keeps getting modified to fit the observations), gaps galore, and futureware everywhere.  Quote-miners can find some good ones here to embarrass Charlie worshipers!  Like, “Macroevolution posed a problem to Darwin because his principle of descent with modification predicts gradual transitions between small-scale adaptive changes in populations and these larger-scale phenomena, yet there is little evidence for such transitions in nature.  Instead, the natural world is often characterized by gaps, or discontinuities.”  By the end of the article, you realize that nothing Darwin suggested 150 years ago about the origin of species has been confirmed!  It’s still vaporware on back order.
  20. Plant domestication:  Artificial selection is intelligent design.  Irrelevant.  Appeals to co-evolution, parallel evolution and futureware would not convince a young-earth creationist who accepts microevolution and variation anyway.
What we find are endless exercises in imagineering brought about by Charlie’s research program that provided job security for storytellers.  The few appeals to empirical support require willing suspension of disbelief and heavy imports of Judeo-Christian values.  The Editorial ended, surprisingly, with more praise for Lincoln than for Darwin.  Listen carefully:
The scientific enterprise as a whole has to pay particular heed to the risk that preconceptions will creep in whenever what is being said about human nature has political or social implications.
    This is particularly the case when science begins to look, as moral psychology is doing, at the mechanisms by which people make decisions about right or wrong.  Here it becomes peculiarly hard – and at the same time especially important – to resist the ‘naturalistic fallacy’ of inferring what ought to be from what is.  Science may be able to tell us why some values are more easily held than others.  But it cannot tell us whether taking the easy path in terms of which values we espouse is the right thing to do.
    In fact, it provides us with a worked example to the contrary.  The scientific endeavour itself is founded on values which natural selection would have seemed unlikely to foist on a bunch of violent, gregarious upright apes.  Science tries to place no trust in authority; to some extent, society has to.  Science tries to define its membership on the basis of inclusion, rather than exclusion; work on altruism suggests, worryingly, that communities more normally need an outgroup to form against.  Science insists on the value of truth even when it is inconvenient or harmful; most people’s beliefs tend to reinforce their self-interest.
    In this unnaturalness lies the great strength of science.  It is from this it derives its power as a way of understanding the world.  And this is also what allows it, at its best, to resist, not reinforce, mores and prejudices that pose as truths of nature.  This demanding, artificial code is what gives engaged, passionate and all-too-fallible human beings the collective power to produce results that are dispassionate, objective and reliable.  And if science stays true to that code, it can act as a stern restraint on anyone seeking to go from the study of how people evolved to conclusions about how they should be treated now – to go, that is, against the values that both Darwin and Lincoln espoused.
    Science can never prove humans alike in dignity, or equally deserving under the law; that is a truth that cannot be discovered.  Like the ideals of malice towards none and charity towards all, it is something that must be made real through communal will.
Wow!  Science is unnatural.  Does that mean it is supernatural?  Where did it cross the line, if nature is all there is?  Pray tell, Mr. Darwin, how you get truth, right, moral codes, equality, charity and values from screeching apes or mutations in a primitive cell.  Morality cannot emerge from mechanism.  The editors of Nature are apparently oblivious to the fact that, by espousing eternal truths and values, they have just falsified evolutionary naturalism.  Thanks for saving us a lot of work.  It would be nice to call in them for support in the altruistic fights against genocide, eugenics, communism and abortion.
    Whew, what a disaster.  OK, now that the Darwin-Party-sponsored Darwin Party is over, help clean up the mess as we move Charlie’s cubicle from the Science Department to the History Department.
Next headline on:  Darwin

A Proclamation.
Whereas, on the twelfth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, a proclamation was issued by the people of the world, containing, among other things, the following, to wit: That on the twelfth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, all Darwin doubters held as captives within any scientific community or designated part of an academic institution, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the Darwin Party, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the administration of any institution, including the hiring and firing authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to expel such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom of inquiry. That on this day, hereby to be designated Academic Freedom Day, that inquiries into the actual nature of the living things, including their design, and their functional information, and their origins, shall henceforth be decoupled from any and all slavish requirement of metaphysical naturalism, or any other such limits on free and honest investigation toward following the evidence where it leads, as befits the quest to discover and understand the sources and operations of nature. And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the principles of noble science, upon academic necessity, we invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God. Witnesseth, The Spirit of A. Lincoln Academic Freedom Day

Tip Links:  Some Darwin Day essays:
  • Casey Luskin in the US News.
  • Jonathan Wells in the Washington Times.
  • Gailon Totheroh in the CBN News.
  • Chuck Colson on BreakPoint.
  • Guess who founded the National Academy of Sciences
    Speaking of the National Academy of Sciences, don’t waste your time reading Francisco Ayala’s Darwin-kissy article in PNAS; it’s so full of worn-out talking points, mantras, refuted arguments, creationist-bashing, elitist chutzpah and obsequious Charlie fondling, the editors should be embarrassed.  It’s incredible they couldn’t find something more meaty, better informed, more respectable to print.  Knows he nothing of the issues and debates?  Where has he been all this time?  This drippy eulogy, in the genre of the Science News ecstatic trance, ain’t worth a Lincoln penny – unless it was intended as an experiment in an echo chamber, i.e., Ayala’s skull.  One can only groan over what NAS founders like Agassiz and Joseph Henry would think of what has become of their originally Abe-honest, fair-minded, noble institution. 

    Darwin Losing in the Polls   02/12/2009    
    Feb 12, 2009 — Many scientists are celebrating Darwin as the greatest scientist in history on his Bicentennial, but public support for his theory is slipping.  A new Zogby poll shows significant erosion over the past few years over the question of whether evolution only should be taught, and a new Gallup poll shows only a minority believe in evolution.
        The results of the Zogby poll are explained on Evolution News with graphs.  The demographics indicate that it is not just church-goers who support academic freedom to teach the strengths and weaknesses of evolutionary theory; a large majority of those calling themselves liberals, college grads and Democrats also responded affirmative to the question, “Would you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree that teachers and students should have the academic freedom to discuss both the strengths and weaknesses of evolution as a scientific theory?”  Young adults were among the strongest in agreement.
        In another article, Evolution News pointed out that the Zogby poll shows support for teaching “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution has risen 9 percentage points since a similar poll in 2006.  They said that even after the Dover trial, the public remains unconvinced that the scientific debate over Darwin is over.  “Indeed, support for the Darwinists’ position has dropped significantly while support for teaching the controversy over evolution has risen.”  The original Zogby report has been reprinted on the Discovery Institute website.
        Evolution News commented on Richard Dawkins’s reaction to the poll.  Dawkins called it a “stupid poll” because it “presumes there is scientific evidence against evolution.”  Dawkins does not accept that premise.  He said the Discovery Institute ought to go into the lab and publish such evidence if it is out there.  But as Anika Smith pointed out, whenever Darwin doubters do that, the evolutionists cover it up or prevent them from publishing it in the first place.
        Fox News reported on a separate poll by Gallup that revealed, “Fewer Than 4 in 10 Believe in Evolution.”  The percentages show that this feeling is not limited to the religious; 24% of those described as weekly church attenders said they believe in the theory of evolution, while 39% of all respondents believe it.  See also the British poll reported last week on 02/04/2009).  So on the eve of the Darwin Bicentennial, there is still only a small minority in the public that believe in Darwin’s theory as the explanation for life.  36% responded that they don’t have an opinion one way or the other.

    Eugenie Scott, Ken Miller, Richard Dawkins, William Provine and the other Darwin bulldogs need to face up to the fact that 150 years of indoctrination has failed to convince the public of evolutionary naturalism.  They are an elitist minority.  What gives them the right to dictate to the world what the public shall hear?  Is it philosophy of science?  No; one cannot presume their definition of science rules, when no one has ever come up with a satisfactory definition of science.  Is it the evidence?  No; as we document day after day, week after week, month after month, the evidence must be twisted or put off into the future to support the neo-Darwinist position.  Is it religion vs science?  No; Darwinism is just as religious as theism; it is an all-encompassing world view that goes far beyond observation.  Is it naturalism vs supernaturalism?  No; the definitions of nature and natural are as slippery as a greased eel.  Is it the privileged status of scientific institutions?  No; some of the best science has been done outside the institutions and by bucking the consensus.  Surely one needs to be well-trained in mathematical physics to speak credibly on quantum mechanics or nuclear fusion, but Darwinism is not that hard to understand: spontaneous variation (which everyone can see), and survival of the fittest (which is as intuitively obvious as “Boys will be boys”).  When they say this combination of intuitively-obvious statements produced giraffes from bacteria, that is not intuitively obvious.  They know you cannot get from here to there, PhD or not.
        In spite of the public demand for academic freedom, the Darwin elitists continue their biased propaganda.  Darwin 200 website of London’s Natural History Museum, and the Nature Darwin 200 celebrations, for instance, contain only gushy praise for the Bearded Buddha written by Darwin Party operatives, without a hint of dissent.  They completely ignore the criticisms of Darwin’s ideas coming from many directions (even some from within the camp, like the 01/28/2009 and 01/22/2009 entries show).
        If scientists want to get public support for the DODO policy (Darwin-only, Darwin-only), they must deal honestly with the strengths and weaknesses of the theory in open debate.  They must tear down the Berlin Wall (as explained in Expelled) that protects one side from criticism, imprisons the citizenry and punishes those trying to escape.  They must face the strong critiques from intelligent design, the fossil record, the fine-tuning of the universe, epistemology, the logical fallacies in philosophical naturalism, the philosophical critiques of methodological naturalism, and much more.  They cannot just go to a judge in Pennsylvania for a local ruling pushed by the ACLU, and announce the debate is over.  They must stop the persecution and expulsion of well-reasoned alternative viewpoints.  They must stop the Stalinesque indoctrination in the schools.  They must own up to the bitter implications of evolutionary naturalism on society (01/15/2009) and explain why altruistic humans should tolerate destructive ideas.  They cannot act like a religious tribunal.  Science is all about debate, open discussion, and thinking outside the box.  As long as the Darwin-only dictators arrogate to themselves to sole right to speak on such topics, they are going to continue to erode their support.
        The public sees them for what they are: elitist totalitarians who want to dictate not only what you can say, but what you can think.  The ivory-tower Darwin bulldogs need a concentrated and sustained dose of humility.  Let’s celebrate Lincoln, who emancipated slaves, and Darwin, who understood that facts could be adduced for the opposite conclusions to his viewpoint, and therefore promoted balanced debate on both sides of each question (see quote above).  To the Darwinists we ask, why don’t you celebrate Darwin Day by following his advice?  What could possibly go wrong if we all had that spirit?
    Next headline on:  DarwinPolitics and Ethics
      Teachers: Read our response to an assertion by the SETI Institute’s Director of Education that evolution is so obvious, we must enforce the No Darwin Left Behind Act.  See the 02/11/2005 commentary for a free 8-point alternative curriculum.

    Darwin’s Wrong Turn in Argentina   02/12/2009    
    Feb 12, 2009 — When the Beagle was sailing the coast of Argentina in 1834, it stopped at the mouth of the Santa Cruz River.  25-year-old Charles Darwin, who had been reading Lyell’s Principles of Geology, got out and explored the area on foot as the crew made camp on the cliffs.  Darwin was impressed by the six-mile-wide canyon with its comparatively small river.  He was led from his reading of Lyell to assume that this was another example of the cumulative power of small processes to produce big changes over vast periods of time.
        Geologist Steven Austin recently visited Camp Darwin at the Santa Cruz canyon.  He examined the basalt cliffs and cobbles with a geologist’s eyes and came to a quite different interpretation.  “What I saw at Camp Darwin utterly shocked me,” he said.  “I saw abundant evidence for a colossal flood that must have rapidly performed significant erosion in the valley.”  His results can be found at ICR, where he explains that the nature of the cliffs, the basalt being on one side and not the other, and the large rounded boulders on top of the cliff (some as big as 15 feet in diameter), and other evidences speak clearly of catastrophism, not uniformitarianism.
        This incorrect assumption, he believes, was young Darwin’s first wrong turn that led him to view the world evolving through slow, gradual accumulations of small changes.  Dr. Austin has posted a 10-minute video on YouTube explaining his findings, with footage shot on location where he points to evidences you can see for yourself.

    This is a good example of how the glasses through which you view the world can color everything.  Darwin read the world with his Lyell glasses on.  Because those glasses blocked certain wavelengths, he failed to see evidence that was right in front of his nose.  Watch this short video and spread the link to friends today on the Darwin Bicentennial.
    Next headline on:  GeologyDarwinDating Methods
    Hurry!  Only one more shopping day till the Darwin Bicentennial!  See our activity brainstormer after the 02/13/2008 entry, and the shopping list from 02/12/2007.  The 02/09/2006 and 02/13/2004 commentaries contain whimsical ideas for games like Malthus Food Fight and Pin the Feather on the Dinosaur, sure to keep your guests entertained.  Be sure to photocopy enough prints of the Evolution Songbook for each and every carbon unit.

    Can You Have Evolution Without Darwin?   02/11/2009    
    Feb 11, 2009 — It might seem crass to diminish the reputation of a historical figure right before his Bicentennial, but it’s happening.  There are some who are trying to chuck Darwin.  In the New York Times, Carl Safina shocked readers with his title, “Darwinism Must Die So That Evolution May Live.
        Safina was appalled at the religious devotion some people have to Charles Darwin.  We don’t call physics Newtonism, and we don’t call astronomy Copernicanism, he said.  In the same way, we need to ditch the term Darwinism and move attention to the modern theory of evolution.  The focus on Darwin is actually hurting the cause of promoting evolutionary theory, he asserted: “our understanding of how life works since Darwin won’t swim in the public pool of ideas until we kill the cult of Darwinism.  Only when we fully acknowledge the subsequent century and a half of value added can we really appreciate both Darwin’s genius and the fact that evolution is life’s driving force, with or without Darwin.
        Even pro-Darwinist Robert Roy Britt on Live Science joined in the campaign.  “The terms ‘Darwinian evolution’ and ‘Darwinism’ – used frequently by scientists, teachers and the media – are misleading,” he said.  “Scientists have failed to let Darwin die, even as the theory he birthed grew up, some scientists now say.”  With a play on words, Britt continued: “Evolutionary biology has evolved greatly since Darwin first generated the controversy with the 1859 publication of On the Origin of Species, and some think it’s time to divorce his name from the theory’s name.”  He referred to Carl Safina’s article in the New York Times, but also got support from Eugenie Scott and Glenn Branch of the NCSE, who also favor dropping the term Darwinism as a synonym for evolutionary biology.  They complain that the word Darwinismfails to convey the full panoply of modern evolutionary biology accurately, and it fosters the inaccurate perception that the field stagnated for 150 years after Darwin’s day.”  Scott and Branch always find ways to criticize the tactics of their enemies, the creationists:  “Compounding the problem of ‘Darwinism’ is the hijacking of the term by creationists to portray evolution as a dangerous ideology – an ‘ism’ – that has no place in the science classroom,” they said, conveniently ignoring the title and thesis of atheist Daniel Dennett’s book, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea and Richard Dawkins’s “honest” admission on camera in the movie Expelled that Darwinism tends to produce atheism – which is the “worst possible thing to say” for Darwin defenders like Eugenie Scott.
        John Hawks is upset at the upsetters.  On his John Hawks Weblog, adorned by artwork of a thoughtful-looking Neanderthal, he took offense at Safina’s calling Darwinism a cult.  “Does this kind of statement remotely help the cause of evolutionary biology, in any way?” he asked (emphasis his).  He agreed that evolutionary biology has moved on since Darwin, but called it “unseemly” to “kill” the dead man.  The critics have obviously not read Darwin, he claimed.  Darwin provided a wealth of detail that continues to guide research today.  Darwin went out on a limb and proposed tests that could falsify his ideas.  That’s good enough to preserve his name and reputation, Hawks ended: “If someone want’s [sic] to call herself a Darwinist, or a neo-Darwinist, or even a crypto-Darwinist, well, that’s just fine by me.”  Robin Lloyd on Live Science reminds us that the guy was only mortal and had his quirks.
        Meanwhile, the religious implications of Darwinism have not escaped the notice of atheists behind a recent billboard campaign to promote their views.  World Net Daily reported on the ads by Freedom From Belief Foundation, such as the stained-glass-decor billboard in West Hollywood, adorned with Charles Darwin’s portrait, proclaiming, “Praise Darwin: Evolve Beyond Belief.”  Opposing Views printed an article by the FFBF about another copy of this billboard posted in Ohio.  Local activist David Russell explained why the “iconic image” of Darwin was central to their atheist campaign: “Darwin not only researched extensively how life evolved through succession, but his work helped shape the modern interpretation of evolutionary theory,” Russell said.  “He almost single-handedly took the world from blind faith of unproven dogma to an enduring theory that has withstood 150 years of scrutiny.”  Other atheists submitted their ideas for slogans appropriate for Darwin Day, like “Honk if you’re evolving,” “Don’t start evolution without me,” and “Nonbelief—the natural selection.”  The battle of the billboards had begun.  Ray Comfort’s Christian ministry raised funds to put a billboard near the Los Angeles airport defining an atheist as “Someone who believes that nothing made everything – a scientific impossibility.”  The billboard, which advertises a new website Pull the Plug on Atheism, also displays Darwin’s portrait.  It seems the Darwin beard has become an icon of a world view that goes far beyond scientific quibbles within biology.  As such, it’s not likely the growth of atheism will get shaved off anytime soon.

    This is hilarious.  Our shaming of the Darwin Party and their Blunderful Wizard of Flaws (09/05/2008) is working!  The Darwin Castle is in disarray about what to do with their idol during the uprising (02/01/2007).  The priests still adore Charlie and worship him, but they can’t agree on whether to display the idol or hide it because of bad P.R.
        Eugenie and Glenn, stop blaming the creationists for this.  Darwin worship is rampant throughout the Darwin camp.  Don’t you remember how your former employee Kevin Padian defended Darwin Day last year? (see 02/11/2008).  Darwin represents the standard, the leader, the sacred cause of secular unintelligent design.  It started with Darwin himself.  Oh, he was clever at deflecting it with false humility, but Janet Browne described it in detail in her excellent biography Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (Princeton, 2002; see 10/24/2002 and the footnotes from 02/11/2006).  She exposed how Darwin manipulated the worshipers who made pilgrimages to Down House to get them to feel the numinous awe of his greatness.  Darwin would pretend to be ill, or to need to get back to his studies, accentuating to the visitors how precious was their brief opportunity to kiss his feet.  Emma and the whole family played along with the game.  It was disgusting (see 02/13/2004).  After his death, the Four Musketeers (01/06/2004) and other Darwin Party operatives manipulated politicians to inter Darwin’s remains in Westminster Abbey, a religious building.  His august statue stands like a monumental shrine in the British Natural History Museum, and the Pope Darwin call to worship is making the rounds of museums in America.  It is undeniable, also, that Darwin and his followers have continued to use theological arguments for their viewpoint – i.e., the “God wouldn’t have done it this way” defense, the either-or ploy, “God could not have designed the shape of my nose, so everything must be the result of chance,” or, “since it seems implausible that God would have created all these species separately, therefore humans have bacteria ancestors.”  They even wear little WWDD (What Would Darwin Do?) pins (e.g., WWDD article on Live Science, and What would Darwin think of global warming?, found on Science Daily).
        There has been no shortage of quotes over 150 years exalting and sanctifying Darwin as the Father of a secular religion.  Face it; Darwinism is a cult.  His visage haunts biology.  He’s still Big Daddy to the current crop of cultists (see 07/18/2006).  He has his own “guardians of the flame” (see PhysOrg); should they go unemployed?  What other evolutionary biologist could possibly take Charlie’s place?  William or Julian Huxley?  Bill Hamilton?  J.B.S. Haldane?  John Maynard Smith?  Ha!  Read what Steve Jones thought about these toffs, misanthropes and communists (09/02/2004).  Charlie was the only one decent enough to present at least a facade of likability.
        Evolution without Darwin would be like Buddhism without Buddha.  The Buddha didn’t want his name attached to a religion, either, but how could Buddhism function without the shrines?  Where would the disciples light their incense and make their sacrifices?  What face could replace Darwin to grace the stained-glass billboards of the atheists?  Marx?  Stalin?  Dawkins?  William Provine?  P.Z. Myers?  Eugenie, your own politicos have done this.  They’ve marketed Charlie’s special brand of hallucinogenic incense, and the faithful would experience severe withdrawal without it.  Only Charlie’s blend provides the psychedelic trip of feeling like an intellectually fool-filled atheist.  They depend on the incense to get sufficiently incensed at the creationists.  An evolutionary biology without Charlie’s Story-Inducing Smoke would require facing reality.  It wouldn’t be possible to dream of observed design as only apparent design any other way.
        When the Darwin idol eventually gets dismantled, tree and all (01/22/2009), storytelling will be disqualified (see recent foul on PhysOrg), and openness and honesty will again be required in science (02/09/2009).  It’s OK to grant Charlie a moment of silence (see YouTube; explanation on UD).  Then, please, give the poor old man a final rest by preserving his legacy honorably with his own advice, (spoken in an apparent moment of sobriety), “a fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.”  Celebrate Darwin Day the proper way: as Academic Freedom Day.  Abe Lincoln, also enjoying a Bicentennial, would be glad to know that intellectual slavery has been vanquished, that academia is enjoying a new birth of freedom, and that science of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
    Next headline on:  Darwin and EvolutionMediaTheology
    Science Special Issue on Darwin: Is Ignorance Evidence?   02/09/2009    
    Feb 10, 2009 — It’s fair to confess that scientists cannot be expected to know everything.  Often, though, ignorance is presented as evidence that a paradigm needs to continue.  The idea is that by following the consensus paradigm, scientists can hope to one day fill in the blanks in our knowledge.  How long should this practice continue with a theory as important as Darwinism, whose central claim for 150 years has been that all living organisms have descended from a common ancestor by an unguided process of natural selection?  If ignorance of that process is widespread and deep, is it time to think outside the box?
        Maybe some recent examples can refine thinking on this question.  Science celebrated Darwin’s birthday with some Review articles on issues in speciation.  Each author is convinced of evolution.  None of them were trying to cast doubt on Darwin’s theory.  But how important are the following instances of ignorance they outlined?
    1. Kingdom ignorance:  Five scientists from London and Harvard examined the “Bacterial Species Challenge: Making Sense of Genetic and Ecological Diversity.”1  Here’s how they contextualized their challenge:
      The Bacteria and Archaea are the most genetically diverse superkingdoms of life, and techniques for exploring that diversity are only just becoming widespread.  Taxonomists classify these organisms into species in much the same way as they classify eukaryotes, but differences in their biology—including horizontal gene transfer between distantly related taxa and variable rates of homologous recombination—mean that we still do not understand what a bacterial species is.  This is not merely a semantic question; evolutionary theory should be able to explain why species exist at all levels of the tree of life, and we need to be able to define species for practical applications in industry, agriculture, and medicine.  Recent studies have emphasized the need to combine genetic diversity and distinct ecology in an attempt to define species in a coherent and convincing fashion.  The resulting data may help to discriminate among the many theories of prokaryotic species that have been produced to date.
          The species debate in microbiology is not only about a human desire to catalog bacterial diversity in a consistent manner, but is also a fundamental argument because of what it reveals about our ignorance of how evolutionary forces form, shape, and extinguish bacterial genetic lineages, of the mechanisms of differentiation between subpopulations sharing common descent, and of the process of adaptation to new niches and changing environments.
      They discussed several approaches to the problem, but none was unproblematic.  This indicates that for microbes, which comprise the vast majority of organisms on Earth, and have occupied the majority of the evolutionary timeline, scientists do not even know what constitutes a species – let alone how to describe the origin of species.
    2. Selection ignorance:  Elisabeth Pennisi’s essay had a revealing title: “Evolutionary Biology: Agreeing to Disagree.2  Natural selection is the keystone of Darwin’s hypothesis, but on what does it act – the individual, or the group?  or the gene?  Pennisi investigated the ongoing controversy about kin selection, the idea that selection operates on family groups.  This idea has received mixed acceptance by other Darwinians who favor individual selection (see, for instance, the 09/30/2007, 05/31/2004, and 05/07/2002 entries).
          William Hamilton and J.B.S. Haldane expounded the idea of kin selection in the 1960s to explain social behavior in insects.  How could nature select drones that cannot pass on their genes?  It must act at the group level, they argued.  Darwin himself was “flummoxed” by the phenomenon of social insects, Pennisi said, and worried that this “special difficulty” might topple his theory.  For a solution, he had suggested that selection might operate on families.
          After Hamilton’s work in the 1960s, kin selection became the traditional explanation for eusociality in insects.  Edward O. Wilson was an advocate for the idea in the 1970s but now feels it is ineffective.  “The theory that traditionalists use leads them anywhere they want to go,” he complained.  “To make [a theory] really stand [up], you have to show that that’s the only result that can come from your theory, and they haven’t done that.”  Such comments have made kin selectionists very unhappy.  The situation remains at a standoff.  Pennisi described it as a rift between evolutionary biologists, with both sides agreeing to disagree.
    3. Queens and jesters:  How about the pace of evolution?  Do biologists agree about that?  Michael J. Benton described “two ways of viewing evolution” in his essay.3  The “Red Queen” model portrays lots of change occurring under the hood, but little outward sign of progress – like the Alice in Wonderland character who had to keep running just to stay in one place (see 09/07/2006 and 05/16/2004).  The “Court Jester” model says that “evolution, speciation, and extinction rarely happen except in response to unpredictable changes in the physical environment, recalling the capricious behavior of the licensed fool of Medieval times.”  Traditionally, he said, “biologists have tended to think in a Red Queen, Darwinian, intrinsic, biotic factors way, and geologists in a Court Jester, extrinsic, physical factors way.”
          Benton portrayed the relative importance of these models as an unresolved debate that will require further research.  “In the future, the identification of diversification shifts across numerous taxa may provide evidence for the relative importance of the Red Queen and Court Jester worldviews,” he said.  “If the majority of diversification shifts are coordinated, and associated with particular climatic, tectonic, and geographic drivers, then the Court Jester model of macroevolution would prevail.... If, on the other hand, the majority of diversification shifts are unique to particular clades, and not coordinated temporally with others, then the Red Queen worldview might be considered.”  It’s surprising to think that such a basic question remains unresolved; the options seem mutually exclusive.  It is evident there is no clear choice between these “worldviews” after so many decades of evolutionary theorizing and evidence-hunting.  Benton hoped for a compromise: “The realization that the Red Queen and Court Jester models may be scale-dependent, and that evolution may be pluralistic, opens opportunities for dialog.”  It is not clear just how two models based on capricious mechanisms might provide a stronger theory.
          Earlier, Benton had opened with, “A key question about the origin of modern biodiversity is how today’s 10 million species arose from a single ultimate species of microbial life 3500 million years ago (Ma).”  Wasn’t that the very question Charles Darwin had answered?
    4. Maladaptive radiation:  Another suggestive title adorned an essay by Gavrilets and Losos: “Adaptive Radiation: Contrasting Theory with Data.4  Adaptive radiation refers to situations where a founder population invades a new habitat, and the descendents radiate into a plethora of diverse species.  Adaptive radiation is often claimed as the explanation for biodiversity in a region, but how solid is the evolutionary theory behind it?  There are good cases, and there are poor cases, the authors said, but, “In almost all cases, more data are needed.  Future progress in our understanding of adaptive radiation will be most successful if theoretical and empirical approaches are integrated, as has happened in other areas of evolutionary biology.”  Presumably they were not referring to the success of the other three stories (above).
          Gavrilets and Losos listed 10 patterns of adaptive radiation, then offered some general conclusions.  Remarkably, all three conclusions bemoaned the lack of evidence and the need for further study: e.g., “The number of adaptive radiations that have been extensively studied from the many different perspectives relevant to our discussions is surprisingly small.  More detailed studies, integrating across a variety of approaches and disciplines, is needed to build a reservoir of case studies from which generalizations can be drawn.
          They retold the story of Darwin’s surprise at the diversity of Galapagos animals.  Since the voyage of the Beagle, they said, adaptive radiation has astonished scientists and the public alike for 150 years.  “But how exactly radiation occurs, and how it differs among taxa and in different settings, as well as why some lineages radiate and others do not, are still unclear,” they ended.  “Most likely this is because there is no single answer: Lineages vary in manifold ways, various evolutionary factors act simultaneously, similar evolutionary outcomes can be achieved via alternative paths, and the contingencies of place and time play a large role in guiding the evolutionary process.”  And yet contingency and guidance seem poles apart.  What Darwin had tried to do was explain the phenomena of life with reference to “laws of nature,” not contingencies.  150 years later, these authors show, biologists seem to have made little progress.
    5. Speciation challenges:  Another paper in the Science special issue on Speciation dealt with “Evidence for Ecological Speciation and Its Alternative,” by Dolph Schluter.5  His opening paragraph will suffice to show there is lack of certainty in this subject, too:
      Natural selection commonly drives the origin of species, as Darwin initially claimed.  Mechanisms of speciation by selection fall into two broad categories: ecological and mutation-order.  Under ecological speciation, divergence is driven by divergent natural selection between environments, whereas under mutation-order speciation, divergence occurs when different mutations arise and are fixed in separate populations adapting to similar selection pressures.  Tests of parallel evolution of reproductive isolation, trait-based assortative mating, and reproductive isolation by active selection have demonstrated that ecological speciation is a common means by which new species arise.  Evidence for mutation-order speciation by natural selection is more limited and has been best documented by instances of reproductive isolation resulting from intragenomic conflict.  However, we still have not identified all aspects of selection, and identifying the underlying genes for reproductive isolation remains challenging.
      Schluter did not seem to notice that his statements assume evolution to demonstrate evolution.  He used a bandwagon argument for support: “It took evolutionary biologists nearly 150 years, but at last we can agree with Darwin that the origin of species, ‘that mystery of mysteries’, really does occur by means of natural selection.”  If that is true, the next question seems puzzling: “The main question today is how does selection lead to speciation?
          The essay explored progress on the species question since Darwin.  For one thing, the whole concept of species has changed, altering what biologists mean by speciation in the first place.  The nature and role of natural selection has been revised several times.  There are still holes in the theory: “At this point, the most glaring deficiency is our knowledge of the impact of selection on genes.”  That seems a pretty major deficiency.  Again, later, he reiterated this point: “The most obvious shortcoming of our current understanding of speciation is that the threads connecting genes and selection are still few.  We have many cases of ecological selection generating reproductive isolation with little knowledge of the genetic changes that allow it.”  What if, as in the 01/28/2009 entry, natural selection theory itself is being called into question?  What would that end of the thread hold onto?
          Nevertheless, Schluter beamed over the prospect that Darwin, if he were alive today, would be pleased.  He would find the discoveries made in the 150 years since “the greatest book ever written” (not the Bible, obviously) “staggering.”  He continued, “Mostly, I expect that he would be chuffed by mounting evidence for the role of natural selection on phenotypic traits in the origin of species.  This is really what On the Origin of Species was all about.”  Problems?  Gaps?  No worries.  There’s plenty of time.  “But we hardly have time to complain.  So many new model systems for speciation are being developed that the filling of major gaps is imminent,” he crowed.  “By the time we reach the bicentennial of the greatest book ever written, I expect that we will have that much more to celebrate.”  When knowledge is put in future tense, it suggest that ignorance is in the present tense.  Ignorance seems hardly a cause for celebration this year.
    6. Predictable evolution?  Another paper in the special issue put most of the knowledge in the future.  David L. Stern and Virginie Orgogozo asked, “Is Genetic Evolution Predictable?”6  They discussed the idea that mutations cluster around certain “hot-spot genes,” making it somewhat predictable, in theory, which way the genome will go.  That remains to be determined, though, because “further understanding of this predictability requires incorporation of the specific functions and characteristics of genes into evolutionary theory.”  Genes might change, in other words, with no apparent change to the creature or its fitness.
          In the conclusion, they cast some doubt on the thesis.  Seeming patterns may be noise, or due to artificial selection by scientists.  “These emerging patterns in the distribution of mutations causing phenotypic diversity derive, however, from a limited set of data culled from the published literature.  It is possible,” they said further, “that these patterns reflect biases in the way scientists have searched for evolutionarily relevant mutations.”  Resolution of the question will require more research.
    The remaining articles and book reviews in the special issue of Science on speciation, in honor of Darwin, also refer to controversies, debates, questions, and calls for further research.  The only exception was Massimo Pigliucci’s review of Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution Is True (Viking, 2009).  Pigliucci’s title bluffs proudly: “The Overwhelming Evidence.7  Pigliucci’s homage to Darwin was matched by his disdain for creationists and other aspects of “American anti-intellectualism.”  For example, he scoffed, “there is no dearth of obtuse minds when it comes to creationism.”  Scientific evidence, Pigliucci argued, is the domain of evolutionary biologists.  “The problem with the creation-evolution issue, however, is that it is not about the evidence.  The clash is not a scientific debate, it is a social controversy.”  His certainty over evolution, notwithstanding, did have some chinks:
    Coyne subscribes to one species concept (based on reproductive isolation) and one chief mode of speciation, allopatry.  He and I disagree on this and on other aspects of current evolutionary theory, but this is not the place to entertain technical arguments at the cutting edge of the field.  Still, readers of Coyne’s book will get a fairly conservative version of evolutionary theory, with occasional hints about the many heated discussions that characterize any live science and that eventually fuel its progress toward a better understanding of the natural world.
    Whether science is progressive or not is a big debate among philosophers and historians of science.  Nevertheless, Pigliucci called philosophy into his court when pointing out a criticism of one branch of evolutionary theory he shares with Coyne:
    Coyne admits that the issue goes far beyond science, into philosophy and questions of meaning and morality.  Which is why philosophers have been very helpful in this arena during the past several years.  It is a matter of explaining to the public not just the power but the limits of science.  Coyne is critical, for instance, of much evolutionary psychology and the facile just-so stories that have abounded of late to “explain” all sorts of human behaviors, from rape to depression.  I’m with him on this.  The point is not that aspects of human behavior did not evolve by natural selection, but rather that the usually high standards of behavioral genetics are simply not met by most, though not all, the evolutionary psychology literature.
    Perhaps the reader can find those high standards in the six papers listed above.
    1.  Fraser, Alm, Polz, Spratt and Hanage, “Bacterial Species Challenge: Making Sense of Genetic and Ecological Diversity,” Science, 6 February 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5915, pp. 741-746, DOI: 10.1126/science.1159388.
    2.  Elisabeth Pennisi, “Evolutionary Biology: Agreeing to Disagree,” Science, 6 February 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5915, pp. 706-708, DOI: 10.1126/science.323.5915.706.
    3.  Michael J. Benton, “The Red Queen and the Court Jester: Species Diversity and the Role of Biotic and Abiotic Factors Through Time,” Science, 6 February 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5915, pp. 728-732, DOI: 10.1126/science.1157719.
    4.  Sergey Gavrilets and Jonathan B. Losos, “Adaptive Radiation: Contrasting Theory with Data,” Science, 6 February 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5915, pp. 732-737, DOI: 10.1126/science.1157966.
    5.  Dolph Schluter, “Evidence for Ecological Speciation and Its Alternative,” Science, 6 February 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5915, pp. 737-741, DOI: 10.1126/science.1160006.
    6.  David L. Stern and Virginie Orgogozo, “Is Genetic Evolution Predictable?”, Science, 6 February 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5915, pp. 746-751, DOI: 10.1126/science.1158997.
    7.  Massimo Pigliucci, “The Overwhelming Evidence,” Science, 6 February 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5915, pp. 716-717, DOI: 10.1126/science.1168718.
    Coyne and Pigliucci tell us (again) that there is such overwhelming evidence for evolution.  OK, put up or shut up.  They don’t know what a species is, they don’t know what the target of selection is, they don’t know if natural selection is a queen or a jester, they don’t know what adaptive radiation is, they don’t know how speciation operates (the main reason for Darwin’s little storybook), and they can’t connect mutations to any actual benefit to an organism.  Other than those little minor matters, evolution is so supported by such mountains of evidence that only a fool with an agenda could dare question it.
        Colin Patterson of the British Natural History Museum once posed a question to his fellow evolutionary biologists: “Can you tell me anything about evolution, any one thing that is true?”  He got a surprised silence.  He told them, “I had been working on this stuff for twenty years, and there was not one thing I knew about it” (see ARN).  Notice he asked if they knew anything – something they knew was true – not what they thought about it, what they guessed about it, what stories they could tell about it.  Would that more evolutionary biologists would ask that question.  All we see in paper after paper is competing guesses, modified models, controversies, debates, changing definitions, and the inevitable, “future research should be able to shed light on this question.”  The articles above show that basic, fundamental tenets of Darwinism are no more nearer solution than they were to Darwin.  What has increased is not their knowledge, but the sophistication of their ignorance.  Then Pigliucci and Coyne pompously blast away about the “overwhelming evidence” for evolution and how stupid the creationists are.  This is not good salesmanship.
        Are you a good shopper?  Of course you are.  You’ve learned to check the specs, not the hype.  When a salesman comes to you shouting, “Acme Widgets are superior to all the other garbage out there, and the testimonials are so globally unanimous, that only a complete idiot would even look at the competitor’s product, which is produced by evil, wicked, stupid ignoramuses who only want to make a buck out of your gullibility.”  You know that you have to blow off the bluff of the chuff (chuff, n.: a boorish, proud, insensitive fellow) and look at what the product can do.  Evolutionists dare not allow you to do that with their product because the competitor will always win hands down.  That’s why they must have a monopoly in marketing.  The special effects in the evolutionary ads require rigging and selective illumination to highlight the glow and keep other things in the dark.  When you ask to see the goods, you get vaporware on back order.
        Evolutionary biology today is a sad case of what happens with protectionism and totalitarianism in the marketplace of ideas.  To get the good stuff you have to go to the black market, which is really the white market when the black light is turned off, the doors are opened and the sun shines in.
    Next headline on:  Darwin and Evolutionary Theory
      How the Darwinists strategized in 2006 to improve Darwin’s image: it was all about strategy, not evidence (02/10/2006).

    Evolutionists Hunger for Morality   02/09/2009    
    Feb 09, 2009 — Nature is completely sold over to naturalistic evolution, yet cannot escape the question of morality.  Science depends on morality, but it is not clear in their statements that they acknowledge any universal moral standard.  Christian standards of honesty seem to be assumed.  But if everything in biology (including human behavior) emerged by natural selection, then so did morality.  Can one derive honesty, trust, or responsibility by an unguided natural process?

    1. Responsibility indexNature thought it would be good to devise a “responsibility index” for emerging nations who want to join the science club.1  To reduce fraud, plagiarism and fabrication of data, the Editorial suggested better investigation, openness about violations, avoidance of discrimination, and other moral motions.
    2. History of scientific morality:  In the same issue of Nature,2 Jerome Ravetz reviewed a new book by Steven Shapin, The Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Late Modern Vocation (U of Chicago, 2008).  Both author and reviewer had things to say about the honesty of scientists past and present.  Science is supposed to be “the embodiment of objectivity,” Ravetz said.  “In The Scientific Life, historian Steven Shapin asks if contemporary high-tech science is a moral enterprise.  Does objectivity render scientific achievement less personal than that in the humanities, and does the scientist possess any special moral virtue?”  Shapin’s thesis is that civility between scientists is the key.  Ravetz pointed out that there have been some glaring shortcomings of that ideal.  Using the world of finance as a comparison, he had a final reflection: “Had Shapin chosen to study the mathematicians who are employed in the world of finance, he might well have found similar patterns of civilized interaction and similar evidence of individual moral virtues,” he said.  “Yet we now know that the collective endeavour of these other very nice entrepreneurial scientists has resulted in the creation of a mountain of toxic fake securities.”  This “sobering thought” seemed calculated to cast doubt on the value of civility alone to produce a moral fellowship.
    3. Robotic morality:  Another interesting book review, in the same issue of Nature,3 discussed whether robots could have morality.  Peter Danielson reviewed Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right from Wrong by Wallach and Allen (Oxford, 2008).  He believes it is premature to know whether robots will ever be able to make autonomous moral decisions.  Hal, the rogue computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey comes to mind.  He also considered it an open question whether robot morality should be modeled on human morality.  In the meantime, best subject our robots to human oversight.  Words like values, trust and moral agents peppered the review, but it seemed both the authors and the reviewer were begging the question of what constitutes a moral standard.  Danielson spoke of “functional morality,” but even that phrase presupposes a function that is good in some moral sense; otherwise, one could consider Nazi morality “functional.”
    4. Spencer’s legacy:  One other book review in Nature4 highlighted the problem of deriving morality from evolutionary theory.  Andrew Read reviewed Banquet at Delmonico’s: Great Minds, the Gilded Age, and the Triumph of Evolution in America by Barry Werth (Random House, 2009).  Werth’s book “covers the elite’s battle for ideas during the turbulent years of the 1870s and 1880s,” climaxing in an “eponymous banquet” at a Manhattan restaurant shortly after Darwin’s death, “attended by 200 of the most powerful men in the United States, and celebrated [Herbert] Spencer at the end of what was to be his last US trip.”  That’s a tale for the interested reader.  What concerns morality and evolution was stated here by the reviewer:
      The audience found a new idea only in John Fiske’s speech: he asserted that humans acquired a sense of morality not from God, but from natural selection.  The only speech that might resonate today was Spencer’s own.  Worried about the country’s well-being and health, he railed against the national work ethic, arguing that Americans should spend less time striving for a future good, and more time enjoying what the passing day had to offer.  The idea baffled his audience and was poorly received.
      Early evolutionists were giving a conflicting moral standard, it seems.  Andrew Read summed up that we moderns have no such excuse, because we understand evolution much better now:
      We have yet to fully comprehend the consequences of what Darwin did to humanity’s view of itself.  Werth’s picture of what his ‘great minds of the gilded age’ were thinking, of how far they tried to stretch Darwinian insights, and of the personal and moral lessons they drew, makes a forceful argument that the causes of biological diversity – and humankind’s place within it – really matter.  The fact that many of these thinkers’ conclusions were based on such a poor understanding of evolution also shows why everyone deserves proper schooling in evolutionary biology.  The Victorians had the crippling disadvantage that they did not understand inheritance or units of selection.  Today, humanity has no such excuse.
    Incidentally, yesterday was Darwin Sunday at some churches.  Robert Roy Britt on MSNBC News reported on the growing number of liberal churches honoring Darwin and apologizing for “misunderstanding” his ideas (see 02/11/2006).  Britt did mention opposing views, like those of the Discovery Institute and the book by John West, Darwin Day in America.
    1.  Editorial, “A responsibility index,” Nature 457, 512 (29 January 2009) | doi:10.1038/457512a.
    2.  Jerome Ravetz, “Morals and manners in modern science,” Nature 457, 662-663 (5 February 2009) | doi:10.1038/457662a.
    3.  Peter Danielson, “Can robots have a conscience?”, Nature 457, 540 (29 January 2009) | doi:10.1038/457540a.
    4.  Andrew F. Read, “Natural selection and the nation,” Nature 457, 663-664 (5 February 2009) | doi:10.1038/457663a.
    Evolutionists want it but can’t get it.  They don’t have the “natural resources” for morality.  It must be imported.  An embargo of Christian morality would make them starve.
        They are like bad boys sneaking into the Christian smorgasbord.  While nobody is looking, they come in and pretend they belong.  “I’ll have some responsibility, and oh... that honesty looks delicious.  Give me some of that truth for dessert.”  They slurp up all these healthy values with bad manners, and without a dime in their pockets.
        Letting them get away with this only perpetuates their delinquency.  Tough love requires a gentle but firm manager looking them straight in the eye and demanding, “Sorry, boys, you cannot come in and enjoy the banquet without paying the price.  That would be immoral, now, wouldn’t it?”
    Next headline on:  Darwin and Evolutionary TheoryPolitics and EthicsTheology
    Expanding Web:  CEH welcomes the services of a volunteer translating some of our articles into Hungarian!  See and spread the word.

    Panspermia Discounted: Life Had to Start Here   02/08/2009    
    Feb 08, 2009 — Some prominent biologists have pointed to a back door on the stage of life’s origin.  They have argued that even if the probability for the first cell was unlikely on Earth, life could have been brought here from space.  Francis Crick promoted this view; so did Fred Hoyle.  Most recently, even the ardent atheist Darwin promoter Richard Dawkins allowed room for this view.  In the movie Expelled, he told a surprised Ben Stein that biologists might be able to detect the presence of intelligent design in Earth-based life as a sign it was brought here by aliens – but he reassured him that it would have had to originate on another world by a Darwinian means.  Is there really a back door entrance for life on Earth?
        Leslie Mullins wrote on this for  Her article includes a picture of Louis Pasteur; she described how he had disproved spontaneous generation.  The challenge facing molecules-to-man evolution is to get life started in spite of Pasteur’s Law of Biogenesis (life begets life).  Mullins pointed out that Pasteur and Darwin came to opposite conclusions.  Pasteur had experiments to back up his belief; Darwin’s theory only “implied” something that Pasteur’s results forbade:

    Pasteur’s experiments and Darwin’s theory led to opposing conclusions regarding the origin of life on Earth.  Pasteur claimed that his work lent support to the belief that God created life.  Just as life could not arise spontaneously from inanimate matter, the first life on the early Earth could not have arisen without the aid of a divine creator.  Yet Darwin’s theory of life evolving over time implied that the first life on Earth could have evolved naturally from inanimate matter.
    For those committed to following Darwin’s implication, Mullins explored the options.  You may not have known that there are several flavors of Panspermia.  She described the work of Iris Fry who had written on the history of the idea.  The 19th-century Panspermia proposed that packages of life were pushed to the planets by radiation.  Transpermia is the more modern version that arose after it was discovered that the universe had a beginning.  A third option hypothesizes that only the building blocks of life (e.g., amino acids) were delivered from space.
        Mullins ended up discounting these ideas: “life would have to endure quite a lot to get here,” she said.  “The conditions in space are extremely hostile to Earth-based life, which tends to die when exposed to an airless vacuum and extremes of temperature and radiation.”  What’s more, tests by European scientists have cast doubt that the material, alive or not, could survive the fiery entry through the atmosphere.
        That leaves one option: life began here.  She finds that not so implausible.  “Some scientists even question whether organic material delivered by comets and meteorites was necessary for life’s origin, since the early Earth may have had plenty of organic material of its own.”  Iris Fry takes that position: “I don’t see why life couldn’t have started here.”
    Iris and Leslie don’t see why because they haven’t read our online book.  If they were regular readers of CEH, they would be filled with despair trying to keep hope alive that life could arise on this planet (or anywhere in the universe) without a Creator.  The gig is up.  It’s time to face reality.
    Next headline on:  Origin of Life
    Passing:  CEH mourns the death of Dr. Michael Majerus, who worked tirelessly preaching that peppered moths prove evolution (see Cambridge Network and the 09/03/2007 entry).  We grieve that a skilled scientist devoted at least 8 years of his life trying to promote a thesis that wouldn’t have helped his naturalistic world view even if he had found that birds did prey more often on the moths with higher contrast (see Discovery article).  Would that he had focused instead on the amazing design features exemplified in the moths.  Man knows not his time.  Are you investing your time wisely?

    Modeling Solar Cells on Butterflies   02/07/2009    
    Feb 07, 2009 — Sunlight is free – if we could just learn how to use it better.  For decades, engineers have been trying to improve the efficiency of solar cells.  Why not look at nature?  Science Daily reported on work going on in China and Japan: “The discovery that butterfly wings have scales that act as tiny solar collectors has led scientists in China and Japan to design a more efficient solar cell that could be used for powering homes, businesses, and other applications in the future.”
        Artificial solar cells struggle to attain 10% efficiency.  The scientists are finding that butterfly wings not only collect light more efficiently, they are easier to work with.  The fabrication process is simpler and faster than other methods, and could be used to manufacture other commercially valuable devices, the researchers say.

    Don’t let Charlie take credit for these kinds of stories.  Biomimetics has intelligent-design science written all over it.
        For a feast of biomimetic wonders, see “The 15 Coolest Cases of Biomimicry” at  Many of these examples have been reported in our pages.
    Next headline on:  BiomimeticsTerrestrial ZoologyAmazing Facts
    Tip Link:  Just in time for Darwin Day, Charlie has his own website!  Go to and look around.  Unlike the one-sided Darwin sites, this one actually lets you hear the arguments on both sides, just like Charlie preached (see quote above). 

    A Tale of Two Sites: Moby Dog and The Claw   02/06/2009    
    Feb 06, 2009 — Discoveries portrayed as major evolutionary missing links were announced this week.  One is a putative transitional form from land animal to whale, and one is a Cambrian trilobite-like creature said to be evolving the first claw.

    1. Moby dog:  The current evolutionary scenario for the origin of whales is that they evolved from dog-like hoofed animals that took gradually to water at the seashore.  Another fossil in the theoretical sequence has been found in Pakistan.  The news media, like National Geographic and Live Science, are calling this a “big” find, because it is the most complete skeleton of a protoceratid yet discovered.  National Geographic remarked, “It’s an evolutionary discovery Darwin himself would have been proud of.
          The discovery by Philip Gingerich and team was published in PLoS One this week.1  A mostly complete articulated male was found, and a kilometer away, a pregnant female.  The female was most exciting because it indicated the embryo, already with teeth, would have been born head first.  To Gingerich, this indicates that the creature had not yet evolved the tail-first birth pattern in modern whales.  There also appeared to be significant sexual dimorphism.  Gingerich inferred from the legs that it was semi-aquatic, probably hunting in the water with paddling, and returning to the land to sleep.  Another paleontologist said, “These complete limbs are almost exactly intermediate between a seagoing creature and a land animal.”  In many respects, the new creature, dubbed Maiacetus inuus, resembles the already-known protocetid Rodhocetus, but with some differences in the ankle, and minor differences in ratios of some skeletal parts.  A paleontologist at SMU remarked, “It is a missing link of the most informative sort.  Charles Darwin would delight.
          The paper did not say much about the circumstances of burial other than that the female appeared to be floating belly-up, probably due to buildup of gases during decomposition.  The strata are described as marine marl and shale dated to middle Eocene, 47.5 million years old.  Other “Eocene whales” such as Artiocetus clavis (GSP-UM 3458), Rodhocetus balochistanensis (GSP-UM 3485), Protosiren eothene (GSP-UM 3487), and Makaracetus bidens have been found in the same general area.  The paper says, “The specimens described here were found near the top of the major flooding sequence in the early Lutetian stage of the middle Eocene, calibrated to approximately 47.5 Ma.” 
          Gingerich is convinced these specimens provide information on an important evolutionary transition from land to water for the ancestors of whales.  The “precocial development” of the partially-mineralized teeth in the fetus indicated to him a preparation for life in the water, while the head-first delivery orientation indicated a land-animal life habit.  The sexual dimorphism suggested a limited competition between males.  The slightly shorter legs told him the creature was “a slightly less specialized foot-powered swimmer” than its look-alike Rodhocetus.  The team summarized the importance of the discovery in this paragraph from the paper:
      Discovery of a near-term fetus positioned for head-first delivery provides important evidence that early protocetid whales gave birth on land.  This is consistent with skeletal morphology enabling Maiacetus to support its weight on land and corroborates previous ideas that protocetids were amphibious.  Specimens this complete are virtual ‘Rosetta stones’ providing insight into functional capabilities and life history of extinct animals that cannot be gained any other way.
    2. The Claw:  It looks like a trilobite with appendages coming out of its head.  What is it?  Look at the picture at PhysOrg.  They say it shows the “origin of claws.”  Found in Germany, the four-inch-long critter dubbed Schinderhannes bartelsi is said to be 390 million years old.  This fossil was also described as a missing link – a “missing link in the evolution of the front claw of living scorpions and horseshoe crabs.”  It seems to have a head similar to that of the terror of the Burgess Shale, Anomalocaris, even though that animal was thought to be extinct a hundred million years earlier.  As with many trilobites and arthropods, “The eyes are covered in numerous tiny, close-packed, hexagonal lenses.”
          The article describes it further: “The fossil’s head section has large bulbous eyes, a circular mouth opening and a pair of segmented, opposable appendages with spines projecting inward along their length.  The trunk section is made up of 12 segments, each with small appendages, and a long tail spine.  Between the head and trunk, there is a pair of large triangular wing-like limbs – that likely propelled the creature like a swimming penguin, according to [Derek] Briggs” [Yale].  It’s the only known member of its species.  It was found in “a quarry near Bundenbach in Germany, a site that yields spectacularly durable pyrite-preserved fossils.”
          How does this fossil help evolution?  Is it really a missing link?  The original paper in Science made no such claim.  They only used the word evolution once, and nothing about transitions or links.  If anything, they said it indicates stasis and decline of good fossilization opportunities:
      The discovery of Schinderhannes emphasizes the importance of exceptionally preserved deposits (Konservat-Lagerstätten) in revealing the evolutionary history of arthropods.  It shows that features of the giant Cambrian anomalocaridids survived for about 100 million years after the Middle Cambrian.  The Hunsrück Slate also yields examples of Marrellomorpha, a clade well known from the Cambrian and more recently discovered in exceptionally preserved fossil deposits from the Silurian and the Ordovician.  Thus, the rarity of post-Cambrian great-appendage arthropods may be a result in part of the decline of Burgess Shale-type preservation after the Middle Cambrian.

    1.  Gingerich et al, “New Protocetid Whale from the Middle Eocene of Pakistan: Birth on Land, Precocial Development, and Sexual Dimorphism,” Public Library of Science One, 4(2): e4366. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004366, published Feb 4, 2009.
    2.  Kuhl, Briggs and Rust, “A Great-Appendage Arthropod with a Radial Mouth from the Lower Devonian Hunsrück Slate, Germany,” Science, 6 February 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5915, pp. 771-773, DOI: 10.1126/science.1166586.
    Let’s begin with the second creature.  There are already many weird extinct animals known from the Burgess Shale and other parts of the Cambrian.  One more does not indicate an evolutionary ancestry.  This fossil does not help Darwin for several reasons.  We already know that the Burgess fauna were complex and varied, and we have seen that trilobites showed the most diversity in the lowest layers, and less in the higher (see 07/28/2007).  Another problem is that this critter suggests stasis of Burgess characteristics for 100 million years, according to the evolutionary timeline.  A worse problem is that horseshoe crabs, similar in some respects to this creature, show no evolution from the time of their first appearance in the Ordovician.  They survive today as living fossils (01/28/2008) – no evolution for 350 million years!  None of this fits the slow-and-gradual branching tree of diversity Darwin predicted.  So what do we have here with Schinderhannes?  Another complex creature with elegant compound eyes and a symmetrical body, well suited to its environment, that is now extinct.  That’s all one can say before leaving the realm of natural science and talking worldview.
        For the whale story, the new fossil adds very little to what was already known.  It is not that different from Rodhocetus (notice how the naming of these extinct animals, like Protocetidae, embeds the “whale” stem cetus into the name, begging several questions right there).  Like the pregnant ichthyosaurs, this amazing fossil of a pregnant female indicates rapid burial under flood conditions.  Why should that fact not be the highlight of the story?  It’s not like such conditions were the norm for these animals.  A flood over a vast region, rapid burial, extreme preservation – sounds almost Biblical.  Does it mean evolution?  Why are finds qualifying for the coveted term “missing link” so rare?  There should be thousands upon thousands of finely graded forms throughout the record, not one here and one over there.  The Darwin Tree paradigm has already been falsified, so it’s a waste of time to look for missing links anyway.  The Cambrian explosion falsified it before The Origin was even published, and more Darwinists have been speaking out that the tree was a myth all along (01/22/2009).  There’s no need to discuss this further.  But we shall, for the overkill of it.
        Suppose we knew seals, sea lions, manatees, beaver and otters only from fossils.  Suppose further that clever storytelling geologists managed to put them into a timeline claiming they died tens of millions of years ago.  How many of you would want to bet that a Darwinist storyteller would be able to rig up a complex, plausible-sounding, jargon-laden scientific paper showing an evolutionary progression between them?  The variation between living sea lions (seals, elephant seals, harp seals, big ones, small ones, fat ones, skinny ones) exceeds the variation between Maiacetus and Rodhocetus.  Without soft parts and behavior and habitats available, it would be very tempting for Darwinists to arrange these and other unrelated fossils from around the globe into an ancestral tree.  Is a beaver or sea lion becoming something else, just because it has webbed feet and spends a great deal of time in the water?  Orthogenesis went out of style a hundred years ago.  For Gingerich and his Darwinist friends to believe Maiacetus was on the fast track to whalehood, they have to also believe that otters, beaver, sea lions and manatees decided to resist the evolutionary force and remain happily half-evolved.  What kind of law of nature says that if you are an artiodacytl, you’ll go all the way, but if a dog, you will stop at navy seal?  Or if a rodent, you will leave it to beaver?  Evolutionary theory is so flexible it explains anything.
        The grouping called Artiodactyla contains animals as diverse as pigs, hippos, camels and dog-like animals.  What does such a composite class signify? (see 01/29/2009 entry).  The differences between members of this class are arguably more significant than the traits they share.  Does it indicate that they evolved from a common ancestor?  Could it not equally well illustrate a pattern of nested hierarchies in nature that resists evolutionary theory?  Walter ReMine, in The Biotic Message, theorized that the nested hierarchies do just that: they show a common Designer (one God, not many), but the lack of evolutionary ancestry.  Darwin’s picture is not the only way to look at these patterns – nor is it the best.
        We already know from fossils that the ancient world contained many more species and families of animals than we have today.  Evolutionary sequences are made up by humans, not by the data.  The data just as well describe the Creator’s love of variety.  He designed the basic kinds of animals and allowed them to diversify within limits, after their kind.  Groups of animals share similarities; this does not mean they evolved from one another.  Evolutionists are very choosy about which similarities they want to relate by common ancestry and which they want to explain with hand-waving (see The Convergence Concoction by Brett Miller for many examples).  A worldwide cataclysm sent as judgment on sin left the current postdiluvian world impoverished of its former diversity, yet sufficiently adorned to speak powerfully of intelligent design so that men are without excuse.  The data fit this picture.  We have an eyewitness testimony telling us this is what happened.  If you choose to disbelieve that evidence, then you are not better off, nor more scientifically grounded.  For one thing, you have not gotten rid of miracles – you have multiplied them!  The whole animal kingdom becomes miracle after miracle of accident and happenstance, going against what we know is true about the way laws of nature operate.  For another, you are not engaging in observable, repeatable, verifiable science, but in narrative with a good bit of imagination and worldview preference mixed in.  To top it off, you have to assume Biblical principles (rationality and morality) to do science.  It cannot be done from an evolved monkey brain that reduces to particles (see top right quote by Darwin).  If sensible people forced the Darwinists to be consistent with their own beliefs, they would turn into a caricature of the Three Monkeys: see no science, hear no science, speak no science.
        The supposed evolutionary sequence from dog-like hoofed animal to right whale exists only in the imaginations of Darwinists.  A variety of amazing, complex animals, well adapted to their habitats, has lived on this planet.  We have a subset of them still alive today.  Arranging them into an ancestral sequence is just a game played by certain persons addicted to divination (07/26/2008, 10/09/2008). 
    Next headline on:  FossilsMammalsMarine BiologyEvolution
    Does Darwinism matter?  Don’t ignore the implications of “Darwin’s dangerous idea,” as Daniel Dennett called it.  This month’s ICR Newsletter takes off on that theme, exploring what it has done to medicine, education, astronomy, geology and every branch of inquiry.  If you don’t mind getting worked up about evolution, read The Long War Against God by Dr. Henry M. Morris, Jr. (d. 2006), founder of ICR, available at the ICR Store.  This was one of Morris’s finest books showing why this issue is so vital.  Warning: When you read about the havoc that Darwinian doctrine has wreaked on the world, despite all the scientific evidence against it, you are likely to get really grieved or angry.  You’ll see why Morris, a soft-spoken man in person, had such a powerful influence on the world.  His pen was mightier than the sword.  Why?  The truth was on his side.

    Evolution as Efficiency Expert   02/06/2009    
    Feb 06, 2009 — Who would have thought that a lowly bacterium is a “master of industrial efficiency”?  That’s what a researcher at the Weizmann Institute of Science called it.  E. coli, the best-studied microbe, “can be thought of as a factory with just one product: itself,” a press release said.  “It exists to make copies of itself, and its business plan is to make them at the lowest possible cost, with the greatest possible efficiency.”
        Dr. Tsvi Tlusty at Weizmann marveled at the efficiency of the machinery in the factory: RNA polymerase, which transcribes DNA into messenger RNA, and ribosomes, which translate the RNA into proteins.  He described with equations the optimum cost of construction of a bacterium.  The model accurately predicted how the bacterium would alter its construction strategies under stress.  Experiments showed that is what happens.
        But then, Dr. Tlusty assigned its origin to chance – the opposite of efficiency: “Evolution, in other words, is a master efficiency expert for living factories, meeting any challenges that arise as production conditions change.”  For personifying a mindless process, for breaking the Darwinist rules against teleology, and for stating self-contradictory nonsense, Tlusty has earned Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week.

    The Weizmann Institute is located in Rehovot, Israel, within a triangle formed by ancient cities Gezer, Ashdod and Lydda.  During the Bronze Age, this was a Canaanite area.  In the Iron Age it was Philistine.  Though Joshua passed through here briefly during the Conquest, and Solomon later made Gezer a fortified city, during much of its BC history it was a pagan cultural center on the north-south coastal highway through which Egyptian pharaohs and Mesopotamian conquerors passed.
        Local Canaanite and Philistine priests attributed the wonders around them to their idols.  They believed the wonders around them had emerged through the spirits of natural forces – the storm god Baal and his consort Ashtoreth.  Even Israelites living in the area frequently compromised with the their pagan neighbors and joined in their idolatrous practices.  They worshiped Baal and sacrificed their children to false gods.  They persecuted the prophets of the Lord, who warned them of the evil of refusing to acknowledge their Maker and obey His word.
        History repeats itself.  Today’s apostate Israelites worship Baal-Charlie, the god of natural selection, and sacrifice to Ashtoreth-TinkerBaal, the goddess of sexual selection.  They sacrifice their children to their idols in the public schools.  They practice divination (07/26/2008, 10/09/2008).  They think they are so smart and enlightened as they turn the glory of the Creator of the masterly-designed living things around them into offerings for their chosen idols, not realizing how silly they sound calling Evolution a master efficiency expert with a business plan.  They have polluted this holy land with their pride and foolishness.
        God is not mocked.  Near Rehovot a long time ago, Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant and placed it in front of their fish-idol Dagon (modern Tiktaalik) in the Temple of Dagon at Ashdod (I Samuel 5).  The priests found their idol fallen over the next morning in obeisance to the Ark, a symbol of the true God, Maker of heaven and Earth.  They set their idol up again, only to find it fallen once again the following morning with its head and hands broken off.  Perhaps there’s a parable here for modern idolaters.  Skip the Weizmann Institute and join the Wise Man institute.  Wise men still seek Him.  Wise men do better science.
    Next headline on:  Cell BiologyBibleAmazing FactsEvolutionDumb Conclusions
    What Mean These Observations?   02/05/2009    
    Feb 05, 2009 — Science news outlets report many interesting findings every week.  It’s not always clear, though, whether the conclusions drawn from them are warranted by the data.  Here are some recent cases:
    1. Jaws of steel:  A skull labeled Australopithecus robustus was studied for the force its jaws could generate.  Interpretation: “Early humans had jaws of steel.”  With this title, Science Daily is assuming this skull tells us about our ancestry, even though it is similar to apes and the linkage to human evolution is questionable at best.  Researchers at Arizona State assume this animal’s teeth could really crack a nut.  What does it mean?  “New research ... reveals nut-cracking abilities in our 2.5-million-year-old relatives that enabled them to alter their diet to adapt to changes in food sources in their environment.”  It is not clear that they found any fossil nuts or fossil menus, but one of the researchers knew just what our great-great-grandparents were facing in their own great depression: “These fall-back foods – hard nuts and seeds – were important survival strategies during a period of changing climates and food scarcity.”  Apparently they had not yet evolved the ability to hit the big nuts with a rock and save their teeth.
    2. Spongy Cambrian fuse:  Since the time of Darwin, the Cambrian explosion has been one of the biggest problems for the theory of evolution.  All the animal phyla appear abruptly in the fossil record without ancestors, despite over a century of looking for precursors.  This week in Nature,1 researchers reported traces of a steroid in Precambrian rock in Oman said to be 635 million years old.  They said this chemical (24-isopropylcholestane, or lpc24) is diagnostic of sponges, and must mean that true sponges had evolved 100 million years before the Cambrian explosion.
          Brocks and Butterfield pointed out, though, in the same issue of Nature,2 that the claim by the discoverers that the steroids indicate the presence of mature sponges “overlooks the evolutionary nature of biological taxa and the incremental assembly of defining characteristics along (now-extinct) ‘stem lineages’.”  In the evolutionary world view, one cannot assume the existence of mature sponges in rocks 100 million years earlier.  They must have been 100 million years less evolved.  Did the assumed ancestors even have the same characteristics of Cambrian sponges?  No clear evidence of spicules, for instance, has been found in the periods prior to the Cambrian.  “The absence of convincing spicules in the Ediacaran or Cryogenian fossil record implies that the modern poriferan classes were not fully defined until the Cambrian,” they said.  So not only was the original paper vulnerable to charges of question-begging, the criticism by Brocks and Butterfield was similarly theory-laden with Darwinian ideas.  Nevertheless, the news media jumped on the evolutionary interpretation with dramatic headlines like “Oldest Fossil Evidence for Animals Found” (Live Science), “Ancient sponges leave their mark” (BBC News, and “Earliest Evidence for Animal Life Discovered” (Science Daily).
    3. Bible food fight:  Last month a theologian at the University of St. Andrews announced that the Biblical diet was unhealthy.  PhysOrg reported him claiming that people living in Bible times did not enjoy a balanced diet, contrary to portrayals of Israel as a land flowing with milk and honey.  This conclusion was based on his comparison of Biblical texts, comparative anthropological evidence, and archaeological finds.  He admitted that Biblical texts were not necessarily intended to give dietary advice, but left unanswered the question whether the land was capable of providing a balanced diet, and even if so, whether the practices of the people matched the precepts of the Old Testament.  Even today, many people do not eat what they know they should.  To what extent modern conceptions of what constitutes a good diet should be imposed on ancient people seems also open to question.  Every so often the modern “food pyramid” gets rearranged.  And some living tribes, like Eskimos, seem to get along fine with diets that contradict modern notions of the balanced diet.  The judgment call in the article, therefore, seems moot on several counts.
    4. Tranquil flood:  A report on Science Daily called into question the Black Sea Flood theory for the origin of legends of Noah’s Flood.  Sediment cores on the Danube River were adduced to cast doubt on the Ryan-Pitman hypothesis that was popular a few years ago (04/21/2001, 04/26/2002).  Their questioning suggests additional questions, though.  Did the Ryan-Pitman hypothesis even qualify as an explanation for a Biblical flood that is described in Genesis 6-9 as covering all the high mountains?  And can sediments limited to a small region such as the Danube inform any interpretation of a flood of much vaster extent?  National Geographic interpreted this, anyway, to cast doubt on the Bible: “‘Noah’s Flood’ Not Rooted in Reality, After All?”  The only thing it was casting doubt on was the Ryan-Pitman hypothesis.  In that regard, yes, it could be called a “mythical flood,” but not necessarily a “Nail in Noah’s-Flood Coffin” like National Geographic intimated.
    5. Protein evolution:  Pyrrolysine, an amino acid outside the standard 20-amino-acid library of “letters” making up life’s protein code, has been studied in more detail by researchers at Yale.  This uncommon amino acid, found in only 7 microbes, is modified after the protein has been translated in the ribosome.  Science Daily said the research team feels this fact “gave the researchers a molecular handle by being an extreme example of an amino acid that evolved to serve a highly specific need.”  Apparently the microbes have molecular systems that manage this particular amino acid.  To the reporter, this can only mean that “these molecules have evolved to work together.”  Teleology is supposed to be forbidden in Darwinian explanations.
    6. Monkey politics:  Some chimpanzees are big and use physical attacks to get their way.  Others are smaller and more docile, grooming others to win favor.  One chimpanzee named Freud in Tanzania was observed to use both strategies.  According to Science Daily, this can only mean one thing: monkeys evolved politics.  The brief article did not mention this as evidence for the origin of human politics, but the lead author is the McKnight Distinguished Professor in the College of Biological Sciences’ department of ecology, evolution and behavior (EEB) at the University of Minnesota.  The human-evolution angle is apparently part of the motivation for the study, because she said, “We plan to study more alpha males to determine if grooming is a common strategy that small-bodied males use to placate rivals or cultivate cooperative alliances.” 
    7. Red message:  Some ochre-colored markings were found on a cave wall in Africa said to be 100,000 years old.  This must mean that human culture evolved 70,000 years earlier than thought, reported Michael Balter in Science last week.3  One researcher nearly “fell off his chair” at the suggestion that the simple cross-hatched lines represented deliberate, symbolic designs.  “If so,” Balter commented, “the timeline for the earliest known symbolic behavior must once again be redrawn,” even if scientists don’t know what they symbolized, or even if they were symbols in the first place.  What “If not so”?
    8. RNA world lines:  Mexican researchers publishing in PLoS One think they found fossils of the long-lost RNA world in the genetic code.4  How did they discern this?  They modeled on a computer the kinds of relationships of purines and pyrimidines in the DNA and RNA in some species of Archaea and bacteria.  “Remarkably,” they remarked, “the scaling properties of the distance series of some codons from the RNA code and most codons from both extended RNA codes turned out to be identical or very close to the scaling properties of codons of the SGC” [standard genetic code].  What does this mean?  “Therefore, we conclude that most current prokaryotes may still contain relics of the primeval RNA World and that both extended RNA codes may well represent two plausible evolutionary paths between the RNA code and the current SGC.”  This, of course, assumes that the RNA World even existed.  They referred to it as a “possible” thing and a “notion.”  The word notion appeared six times in the paper, most notably here: “The notion that present genomes may still retain remnants of their ancestry for more than three billion years has been a subject of controversy.”  Nevertheless, they concluded, “Our results support the notion that evolution did not erase all vestiges typical of the RNA World in today prokaryote genomes, not only in terms of an enrichment of RNY codons, but also revealing the existence of an underlying ancient fractal structure.”  The notion of a fractal structure in DNA played heavily in the paper.
    9. Snakes alive:  A giant boa fossil has been discovered in Colombia.  Matthew Huber in Nature took this to mean that “tropical climate in the past was not buffered from global warming.”5  He did ask some questions about this inference proposed by discoverers Head et al in the same issue,5 namely:
      All that said, these implications are based on a new type of proxy: Head and colleagues’ findings are the result of probably the first study in ‘snake palaeothermometry’, and as such must be viewed with caution.  Is the empirical link between size and temperature really generalizable and accurate?  Could the ability to lose heat be an important limitation for these giant snakes, rendering Head and colleagues’ extrapolations mootCan a few vertebrae truly provide accurate estimates of snake size?  Why have similarly giant snakes not been found in other warm intervals?
      The popular press, however, did not hesitate to say that the giant snake fossil is a lesson for humans about global climate change (see National Geographic).
    Mistakes in explanation happen.  Observations cannot speak for themselves.  There will always be some slippage between what we see and what it means.  For example, in Nature this week,6 Laurence Hurst bemoaned the fact that a diagnostic marker for positive selection in genes may be due to other causes not so benign.  Genes with “accelerated evolution” have been long inferred to be hotspots where positive natural selection is working overtime.  Berglund et al in PLoS Biology,7 proposed, instead, that hotspots may be artifacts of biased gene conversion (BGC) – the leftover damage from repair processes trying to correct mutations.  It leads to mutations getting fixed in the genome due to biased interactions between repair mechanisms and “purifying selection” – the genome’s attempt to maintain stability.  This will influence standard tests for positive selection and “possibly lead to false inference of positive selection at the protein level,” they said.
        Hurst said the work “undermines the assumed connection between fast evolution and pervasive positive selection.  Instead, it seems that hotspots have probably accelerated evolution by means of a biased DNA repair process, not because the changes were good for us.”  This new inference is 180 degrees out of phase with the old one.  It means we are devolving: “Indeed, many changes are probably detrimental.”  As a result, inferring positive natural selection in the genes will require more rigor:
    More disturbingly, the results bring into question the usefulness of the standard tool kit for identifying hotspots of changes that are beneficial to organisms.  Convincing demonstration of positive selection now requires both evidence that the changes were not caused by BGC and scrutiny of the impact of the amino-acid changes.
    That last sentence implies that evolutionists had looked for rapid change in a gene, without tying it to some functional benefit for the organism (see 09/05/2008).  The take-home lesson: don’t assume an observation has one and only one interpretation.  A corollary is that competing explanations may all be wrong.
    1.  Love et al, “Fossil steroids record the appearance of Demospongiae during the Cryogenian period,” Nature 457, 718-721 (5 February 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature07673.
    2.  Jochen J. Brocks and Nicholas J. Butterfield, “Biogeochemistry: Early animals out in the cold,” Nature 457, 672-673 (5 February 2009) | doi:10.1038/457672a.
    3.  Michael Balter, “Early Start for Human Art? Ochre May Revise Timeline,” Science, 30 January 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5914, p. 569, DOI: 10.1126/science.323.5914.569.
    4.  Marco V. José, Tzipe Govezensky, José A. García, Juan R. Bobadilla, “On the Evolution of the Standard Genetic Code: Vestiges of Critical Scale Invariance from the RNA World in Current Prokaryote Genomes,” Public Library of Science One, 4(2): e4340. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004340.
    5.  Head et al, “Giant boid snake from the Palaeocene neotropics reveals hotter past equatorial temperatures,” Nature 457, 715-717 (5 February 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature07671.
    6.  Laurence D. Hurst, “Evolutionary genomics: A positive becomes a negative,” Nature 457, 543-544 (29 January 2009) | doi:10.1038/457543a.
    7.  Berglund, Pollard and Webster, “Hotspots of Biased Nucleotide Substitutions in Human Genes,” Public Library of Science: Biology, Vol. 7, No. 1, e26 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000026.
    Evidence can be badly misinterpreted, as any lawyer knows.  What do observations mean?  Humans are prone to jumping to conclusions.  Science is supposed to be a more rigorous process of linking causes to effects, in hopes of providing reliable explanations for natural phenomena.  Scientific reasoning usually does a better job than intuition, but it is not infallible.  A lot of questions have been raised about scientific reasoning over the last century.  Radicals have questioned the connection between scientific reasoning and “the real world” as it is “out there” apart from our sensations of it.  Most scientists today help themselves to the concept of “scientific realism” which assumes a connection.  The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says, “Scientific realists hold that the characteristic product of successful scientific research is knowledge of largely theory-independent phenomena and that such knowledge is possible (indeed actual) even in those cases in which the relevant phenomena are not, in any non-question-begging sense, observable.”  But how justified is scientific realism?  Scientists may assume it, but on what grounds?  Are they just begging deeper questions, even when they claim something as an “observation”?  Notice the article’s conclusion:
    Scientific realism is, by the lights of most of its defenders, the sciences’ own philosophy of science.  Considerations of the significant philosophical challenges which it faces indicate that it can be effectively defended only by the adoption of a metaphilosophical approach which is also closely tied to the science, viz., some version or other of philosophical naturalism.
    Metaphysics is unavoidable, therefore.  Can it be minimized?  Science does have a lot of success stories to its credit.  If scientists can fly a spacecraft around Saturn, applying widely varying findings accumulated through years of careful research in disparate fields, they must be doing something right.  There’s a strong link, however, between the successful explanations and phenomena that are observable, testable, and repeatable.  Origin stories are in different domain.  How successful can a theory about a universal common ancestor be if no observer was present?
        Early scientists were scrupulous in cashing out their explanations in empirical evidence.  Darwin came along and relaxed the rules.  In the Origin, he made “one long argument,” employing analogies, using, for instance, artificial selection (a form of intelligent design) as a proxy for natural selection (chance masquerading as law of nature).  He also pieced together widely disconnected snippets of observation into a grand mythical story that merely sounded “plausible.”  There are no laws of plausibility.  How do you test plausibility?  If the intellectual world gets swept off its feet by the apparent plausibility of Darwin’s Myth because it fits with their Victorian values of progress in an age of criticism of establishment religion, does that make it the Truth?
        Darwin got away with substituting hypothesis and narrative for scientific explanation.  He did so, ironically, by helping himself to moral and intellectual concepts not derivable from his universal law of natural selection.  This intellectual coup, achieved more through rhetoric than demonstration, prostituted the noble advance of science that had long sought understanding through rigorous observation and testing.  These articles (above) are examples of that legacy.  Getting science back to its founding principles is as difficult as getting America’s entitlement-minded culture back to the limited government specified in the Constitution.  Without it, though, any justification for reliable inference about the world and its natural history is compromised.
        Letting storytellers in science is like letting hackers on the internet.  When hackers run rampant on the science network, it’s hard to tell what is real anymore.  Only suckers broadcast excited messages that shout, “Send this to everyone you know!”
    Next headline on:  GeneticsFossilsBibleEvolutionEarly ManOrigin of LifeTerrestrial Zoology
      Learn about the horse catapult in the 01/02/2003 entry.

    Darwin Still Doesn’t Do Well in Polls   02/04/2009    
    Feb 04, 2009 — British Darwin defender Richard Dawkins is gnashing his teeth over the latest poll in Britain that shows “More than half of the public believe that the theory of evolution cannot explain the full complexity of life on Earth, and a ‘designer’ must have lent a hand,” according to the UK Guardian and UK Telegraph.  Dawkins said the result indicates a worrying level of scientific ignorance among Britons.  In his words, much of the population is “pig-ignorant” about science.  But what does the poll mean?
        In “The Problem with Evolution Surveys” on Live Science, Robert Roy Britt said the announcement should not worry “those who know evolution to be a solid scientific theory” so much.  Only 10%, he pointed out, subscribe to Biblical creationism and a young earth.  Another 12% subscribe to intelligent design, which Britt called “not a theory” (like evolution is, in his view).  Britt says this means “only 22 percent reject evolution outright.”  From there, Britt went on to discuss the way questions are framed in polls and the complex interplays between science and religion in public opinions.  He also chalked up results to ignorance of what evolution is.  He asserted that “the theory of evolution is one of the most well-supported theories of science, and scientists and most science teachers think it should be taught in science class without religious ideas such as creationism and intelligent design.”
        A different interpretation was offered by Dr. Michael Egnor on Evolution News, an ID blog from the Discovery Institute.  He noted that more people doubt Darwinism than go to church.  The meaning, he said, is obvious: “support for intelligent design extends far beyond the segment of the population that is traditionally religious.”  A similar proportion holds in America.  In addition, he noted how surprising this poll was for the land in which Darwin lived and wrote – the country that honors him as one of their most famous offspring: “After generations of Darwinist indoctrination in public schools, more than half of the British public doubts Darwinism as an adequate explanation for life.”
        Egnor took umbrage at the arrogance of Dawkins calling his fellow-citizens “pig-ignorant” of science.  Dawkins had also tried to distance Darwin’s views from chance.  The Telegraph quoted him as follows:

    Obviously life, which was Darwin’s own subject, is not the result of chance,” he said.
        “Any fool can see that.  Natural selection is the very antithesis of chance.
        “The error is to think that God is the only alternative to chance, and Darwin surely didn’t think that because he himself discovered the most important non-theistic alternative to chance, namely natural selection.
    Egnor called this assertion disingenuous.  “An outcome can be entirely determined by natural laws – which is what he means by evolution – and yet can be chance,” he explained.  “....Chance in physical science refers specifically to events that lack intelligent design,” or teleology.  Coming back to the poll, Egnor said most people perceive the design in nature and cannot attribute it to chance.  He took pleasure in a comment by Lord Carey (a theistic evolutionist) who accused Dawkins of “evolving into a very simple kind of thinker.”  Egnor said, “Finally, we have an example of evolution that is undeniably true.”
    Polls are interesting but not definitive.  Better to be right than follow a crowd.  Nevertheless, it must remain utterly frustrating to the Darwinists that they cannot sell their ideas to the public after 150 years of nonstop indoctrination.  Why don’t they just admit that doubting Darwinism produces higher fitness?
        We need to understand some oft-used tactics of the Darwin defenders to avoid being deceived.  First, consider the claim by Richard Dawkins that “natural selection is the very antithesis of chance.”  Notice that Dawkins feels impelled to distance Darwin’s theory from chance, because otherwise it would degenerate into the “Stuff Happens” Law – an abandonment of any and all claim to scientific explanation (see 09/15/2008 commentary).  He tries to portray natural selection as a law-like process that guarantees organisms will evolve toward increasing fitness.  (He knows he can’t portray this as progress or he will incur the wrath of fellow Dar-wino Michael Ruse.)  Is it really possible to spin evolution as un-chance?
    Let’s imagine a generic law-governed situation, say a set of equally-spaced steel bars that punch downward like hammers from a ceiling onto a concrete floor.  Each bar’s rate and interval can be measured and found to be predictably law-like.  No intelligence seems to be guiding them; they just hammer away mindlessly but regularly.  Now we see that beach balls are scattered around the floor.  Many get popped by the bars, but some are blown this way or that by the wind from the hammering, or by glancing blows.  In a sense, one could say that the beach balls that don’t go extinct are the fittest because they survive.  They have been naturally selected.  This is the only kind of law-like, non-chance behavior Dawkins can appeal to.  If there is no intelligent guidance, nothing interesting is going to happen.  A few balls will outlast the others, but that is it.  Can Dawkins appeal to anything else?  Let’s add the ability of balls to spontaneously vary in shape a little – another element of chance.  Over a period of time, it is observed that there is a slight preponderance of oblong balls accumulating – “survival of the fittest.”  Add another law-like element: a steady wind blows from one direction.  Oblong balls accumulate at the far end of the field (the ones that didn’t get popped).
    Is this evolution?  This is no better than bubbles accumulating in an eddy along a stream.  We don’t see any combination of laws of nature and chance producing engineered systems performing a function for a purpose.  Natural selection, therefore, is indistinguishable from chance.  The laws don’t care what the beach balls do, and the beach balls are at the whim of whatever pushes them around at the moment.  The bars and the balls have no mind, no eyes, no care about what happens.  Without a mind directing things toward an outcome, it really is all about chance; chance overrules the law-like elements.  The flaw in evolutionary thinking is to postdict their own teleological minds onto a history of this planet and re-interpret the design they see as the outcome of chance.  They are not being consistent.  If it were really mindless, you would have rocks, but not corn (see next entry).
        Other evolutionary propaganda tactics are evident in these articles, especially Robert Roy Britt’s screed.  This was sad for a guy who used to try to make a pretence of objectivity but is evidently now a hardened Darwiniac.  For one, he and the others associate Darwinism with science.  Associating anything with the magic word “science” grants it an air of respectability, earned or not.  For another, they use the bald assertions of dogmatism (BAD) strategy: “evolution is one of the most well-supported theories of science.”  Why?  “Because I said so!”  Another is equivocation: what do they mean by evolution?  Britt referred to antibiotic resistance as evidence for evolution, something no young-earth creationist would reject.  To extrapolate that into the belief that philosophy came from bacteria is another thing entirely.  Another trick is the either-or fallacy; you are either a Darwin worshiper or you are pig-ignorant of science.  That’s also a case of ridicule.  Dawkins is good at that.  If he were a righteous man, he would be saying, “Come now, and let us reason together.”  We would reply: “Reason, what a capital idea.  Cheerio.  Tell us, Dr. Dawkins, how did reason evolve?  Some tea, perhaps, while you ponder that?”
    Next headline on:  Darwin and Evolutionary TheoryIntelligent DesignBible and TheologyEducation
    Tip Link:  For a view into the degree of teleological design visible in the simplest living things, watch a mind-boggling animation detailing the assembly of the bacterial flagellum on Google Video produced by a Japanese nanotechnology team.

    Corn Is Fuel in More Ways than One   02/03/2009    
    Feb 03, 2009 — There’s been controversy lately about the diversion of corn crops from food for humans to ethanol for engines.  Why not both?  A new pilot program announced by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft saves the corn cobs for eating but makes ethanol out of the straw.  If so, this would make the whole plant an energy factory for the human and the car he or she drives.  What’s more, the test facility produces ethanol from the stalks with 30 percent more efficiency, in less than half the time.  One of their secrets is using enzymes to break down the cellulose before the fermentation process begins.  The bio-gas and heat produced can be captured in fuel cells to power homes.

    If this invention works as good as the press release, it sounds great; more power to them.  The thing that deserves more praise is the cornstalk.  That wobbly plant blowing in the wind is an energy marvel.  Practically the whole plant can be converted into useful energy.  Think about all the designs that make these energy conversions possible.  All the benefits depend initially on molecular machines that capture the energy of sunlight and convert it into high-energy substances the plant uses to grow and make more machines.  Then, humans or animals can eat parts of the plant, using their machinery to extract that energy for their needs.  The remainder, which used to lie on the ground and decompose via the machinery in insects, bacteria and fungi, can now be utilized to replace oil and natural gas.  This sounds like an all-around benefit.
        If you shine sunlight on a rock, it will capture energy, too – heat energy.  Then it will release it back at night at a rate defined by its thermal inertia.  But that energy is of little use to man, other than for warming your hands at night for a short time; the energy is stored simply as vibration of molecules in the rock.  The high yield of useful energy in corn is achieved because plants contain complex, highly-efficient mechanisms for capturing sunlight, passing ions delicately down prescribed biochemical pathways according to a program that converts the energy into useful forms that can be stored and released for a purpose.  That is why rocks fall down but corn grows up, producing seed and food.
        The scientists may have had corn for dinner the day they thought of their invention.  If so, the corn’s energy went into intelligent design.  This story has a “biomimetics” tag, but it’s really biotechnology.  It’s taking off-the-shelf technology in plants and enzymes and reworking the design to achieve a goal desired by humans.  The scientists were spared the hard work of inventing photosynthesis and enzymes.  All they had to do was adapt existing systems in new ways.  It’s like hitching a plow to an ox, only with more finesse.
    Next headline on:  PlantsBiomimeticsAmazing Facts

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    The Early Bird Gets the Just-So Story   02/03/2009    
    Feb 03, 2009 — If a catastrophic world event wiped out the dinosaurs, why did birds survive?  They’re smaller and more delicate, it seems.  National Geographic published a new hypothesis: they out-thought the doomed dinosaurs.  “Birds survived the global catastrophe that wiped out their dinosaur relatives due to superior brainpower, a new study suggests.
        A couple of seabird skulls alleged to be 55 million years old show a larger and more complex brain, researchers said in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.  This explanation, however, is not alone.  Other reasons why birds survived the extinction include the location hypothesis (that they were distant from the catastrophe), and the coastline hypothesis (that coastal habitats were not as impacted as others).  These hypotheses seem to ignore the dinosaur species living in the same lucky habitats.
        The proponents of the bigger-brain hypothesis noticed that some birds went extinct, so “it wasn’t feathers or warm-bloodedness that gave modern birds a leg up.”  It must have been the bigger brain, they said, even though, pound for pound, a T rex brain would seem much bigger than a hummingbird brain.  Maybe it was the software, not the hardware – though by all accounts, dinosaurs must have had pretty good programming, because they showed a remarkable flexibility and tenacity in a variety of habitats for a long time.  Why the Dodo emerged and Velociraptor perished is just one of those things that happens in evolution.
        National Geographic ended the article with, “As well as providing valuable new evidence for the evolution of birds... the latest study offers an intriguing new theory that will motivate paleontologists to look harder and farther to find more fossils.”  They desperately need more fossils, the lead author said.  “We can only get so close to understanding the brains of the earliest birds with the sample of known species currently available.”

    We sincerely hope you enjoyed this bedtime story.  Some day, if you think real hard, you might survive an extinction, too.  You might outlive the bobble-headed professors who teach Darwinist nonsense in academia, oblivious to the fact that it is imploding.
    Next headline on:  BirdsDinosaursDumb Ideas
      Evolutionists were telling just-so stories about birds back in 2002.  See the 1/29/2002 entry: “Birds Evolved Flight out of Love.”  You might also enjoy How the Bird Got its Feathers (10/30/2002), How the Peacock Got its Tail (09/10/2002), How the Fossil Bird Found Fossil Seeds to Eat (07/24/2002), and How the Tree Found the Early Bird (02/06/2002).

    Titan Methane Age Still a Problem   02/02/2009    
    Feb 02, 2009 — “Our new map provides more coverage of Titan’s poles, but even if all of the features we see there were filled with liquid methane, there’s still not enough to sustain the atmosphere for more than 10 million years.”  So said Elizabeth Turtle, lead author of a paper in Geophysical Research Letters,1 in an article on the Cassini Imaging Team [ISS] website.  She added, “How long Titan’s atmosphere has existed or can continue to exist is still an open question.”  The press release was written up by and National Geographic.
        A comparison of older and newer images suggests that cloudbursts of liquid methane may occur.  Some of the polar lakes may dry up and others refill as the seasons change.  Cassini is exploring Titan at its equinox.  One goal of another extended mission would be to study seasonal changes until the next solstice in 2017.
        Cassini instruments have difficulty characterizing the lakes.  They could be very shallow.  The Huygens probe landed in 2005 on a flat playa that appeared to have ice boulders that had tumbled out of canyons possibly carved by flash floods.  Scientists in the 1990s had predicted that Titan’s surface might be submerged in a global ocean of liquid ethane and methane; that did not pan out.  Instead, most of the equatorial region of the planet-size moon is blanketed with dunes.  All the low-albedo features, assumed to be lakes, discovered to date have been in the polar regions.
        How is the absence of methane explained?  The press release said, “the new observations suggest that underground methane reservoirs must exist.”  To what extent that conclusion was inferred from the need to keep Titan billions of years old was not stated.  The original paper’s introduction referred to the quandary about methane destruction rates in the atmosphere, but then hid the solution underground:

    Photochemical processes acting in the atmosphere convert methane into more complex hydrocarbons, substantial quantities of which may have precipitated from the atmosphere over Titan’s history [Yung et al., 1984; Lorenz and Lunine, 2005].  These processes create Titan’s atmospheric hazes and destroy methane over relatively short timescales, ~107-108 yr [Yung et al., 1984].  Therefore, Titan is hypothesized to have reservoirs of liquid methane to resupply the atmosphere [e.g., Lunine, 1993].  Knowledge of the distribution of liquids on Titan’s surface and clouds in its atmosphere, as well as any changes in either, provides constraints that are essential to furthering our understanding of Titan’s methane cycle, its atmospheric dynamics, its total methane inventory and, thus, the sustainability of its current atmosphere.
    The constraints so far make it difficult to extrapolate Titan’s methane lifetime over another 1-2 orders of magnitude.  After stating the problem, the paper focused on observations of changes in the lakes, but revisited the age problem in paragraph 10:
    The low-albedo features observed by ISS at both poles cover over 600,000 km2, almost 1% of Titan’s total surface area; however, even if all of these features are currently liquid-filled, they do not appear to provide enough methane to keep Titan’s atmosphere resupplied for a substantial amount of time [Lorenz et al., 2008].  Thus, although Mitri et al. [2007] have demonstrated that evaporation from lakes covering 0.002–0.02 of the surface could maintain the current methane relative humidity over short timescales, only a relatively small fraction of the liquid reservoirs required to replenish atmospheric methane over geologic timescales currently appears to exist on the surface.
    No evidence for subsurface reservoirs was provided.  Atmospheric methane is not a closed system.  The solar wind depletes the methane and converts the remainder to ethane and complex hydrocarbons that should have been accumulating on the surface to extreme depths, if the process has been ongoing for billions of years.  (This is a problem at Mars, too: see 01/16/2009).  Instead, Titan appears to be mostly a dry world with very few craters and low relief, blanketed with icy sand dunes.
        The popular write-ups either did not mention the problem or suggested the answer is underground.  They focused instead on the fascinating idea of methane cloudbursts on a strange world.  National Geographic not only avoided the subject, but ended with a tie-in to global warming: “It may be that global warming on Earth will take us slightly in a Titan-like direction, with heavier downpours separated by longer droughts.”  The original paper said nothing about global warming.
    1.  Turtle et al, “Cassini imaging of Titan's high-latitude lakes, clouds, and south-polar surface changes,” Geophysical Research Letters, VOL. 36, L02204, Jan 29, 2009, doi:10.1029/2008GL036186.
    We’ve been bringing up this problem for years.  This latest paper shows that no solution has been forthcoming for over two decades; in fact, the problem has only gotten worse.  The consensus Age of the Solar System (A.S.S.) is 4.6 billion years.  10 million years is 1/450th of that value, and that is the maximum that the empirical evidence permits.  If planetary scientists truly followed the evidence where it leads, as scientists are supposed to do, they would have to conclude Titan is young.  Evidence from Enceladus, Iapetus, Mercury, comets, Mars, the moon and many other bodies that showcase evidence of youth could be adduced for support.  The ramifications of that conclusion would be so far-reaching and unpalatable to the old-age, evolution-inebriated materialistic community, they have to resort to distraction to keep people from thinking about it.  CEH thinks the sidestep is the most interesting part of the dance.
        The comeback argument is that scientists “know” the solar system is old from other lines of evidence, e.g., radiometric dating of meteorites and rock units on Earth, and so forth.  But they don’t “know” these things without making assumptions.  Planetologists used to “know” that planets required billions of years to form from a solar nebula.  That was before the revolution in thinking caused by the discovery of extrasolar planets.  Their properties suggest – some say require – rapid formation to prevent destruction by migration.  Indeed, a whole new “heretical” disk-instability hypothesis proposes that giant planets can form much more rapidly than thought.  When you find a number of bodies in the solar system today with upper-limit ages converging at the recent end of the evolutionary timescale, it becomes increasingly implausible to believe we live at a special epoch when all these phenomena are observable.  It should call into question the timescale itself.
        For reasons philosophical rather than empirical, many in the old paradigm don’t wish to think along those lines.  Others, from years of indoctrination in the paradigm, cannot even begin to think outside the box.  They just chalk up the mysteries as anomalies.  Anomalies are the stuff of which scientific revolutions are made.
    Next headline on:  Solar SystemDating MethodsGeology
    Darwin Praise Service Begins   02/01/2009    
    Feb 01, 2009 — The celebrations in honor of Charles Robert Darwin for his 200th birthday (Feb. 12) and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his influential book On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection (Nov. 29th) are well underway.  It is hard to think of any other scientist who gets the kind of gushy adulation heaped on this one man.  It borders on religious euphoria.  Some examples:
    1. Science News:  The January 31 cover of Science News shouts “Happy Birthday Darwin” against a backdrop of his famous “tree of life” sketch from the Origin.  The website contains a 36-page tribute to Darwin.  Editor-in-Chief Tom Siegfried led off with an opening editorial entitled, “Modern biology owes unpayable debt to Darwin.”  Who is the “greatest practitioner of all time” in sports or the physical sciences?  Siegfried says the question is likely to end in a divided vote.  That was his lead-in to this announcement:
      But then there’s biology.  The greatest biology of all time?  There’s only one answer.  Any other vote invalidates the voter as unqualified.  It’s Darwin.
      He doesn’t tell you just what he thinks about Darwin.  He tells you what you have to think to be considered “qualified” to have an opinion.  Voting for Pasteur, for instance, would not only invalidate your vote; it would disqualify you as a voter.
          Continuing on with the Dobzhansky mantra (12/19/2008), Siegfried added, “No scientist’s birthday warrants more hullabaloo and hoopla.”  On the inside back cover, Siegfried took quotes from Darwin about religion and converted them into an interview.  He asked Darwin questions about atheism, religion, design and God, and picked out quotes guaranteed to make natural theology and intelligent design look bad.  If Darwin is being voted world’s greatest biologist, why would his theological opinions matter?
    2. National Geographic:  Another cover story for the Darwin Bicentennial, from National Geographic Magazine (Feb. 2009), teased with the line, “What Darwin Didn’t Know.”  Inside, two lengthy articles discussed Darwin’s original ideas and those of the “Modern Darwins” who have extended them.  If Darwin didn’t know something, it wasn’t his fault – the sciences of genetics and molecular biology hadn’t been invented yet.  Any errors he made were due to his being imprisoned in the 19th century.
          Quasi-religious adulations continued inside with Matt Ridley’s article, “Modern Darwins”  Ridley portrayed today’s Darwinists as precocious children who would make their daddy proud.  Darwin’s core idea of mindless, purposeless, unguided natural selection was presented as unquestionable fact:
      • In 1953, Francis Crick, together with a young American named James Watson, would make a discovery that has led inexorably to the triumphant vindication of almost everything Darwin deduced about evolution.
      • To understand the story of evolution—both its narrative and its mechanism—modern Darwins don’t have to guess.  They consult genetic scripture.
      • Darwin’s greatest idea was that natural selection is largely responsible for the variety of traits one sees among related species.  Now, in the beak of the finch and the fur of the mouse, we can actually see the hand of natural selection at work....
      • Darwin, who assumed that evolution plodded along at a glacially slow rate, observable only in the fossil record, would be equally delighted by another discovery.  In those same Galapagos finches, modern Darwins can watch evolution occur in real time.
      • What better evidence for Darwin’s belief in the commonality of all species than to find the same gene doing the same job in birds and fish, continents apart?
      • In The Origin of Species, Darwin tactfully left unspoken how his theory would extend that commonality to include humankind.  A decade later he confronted the matter head-on in The Descent of ManHe would be delighted to know that a certain gene, called FOXP2, is critical for the normal development of both speech in people and song in birds.
      • His notion of sexual selection was politely ignored by most Victorian opinion, which was mildly scandalized by the thought of females actively choosing a mate, rather than submitting coyly to the advances of males.... But we now know Darwin was right all along.
      • In one of his flights of fancy, Darwin argued that sexual selection might account for human racial differences.... The jury is still out on that particular idea, but there are hints that Darwin might be at least partly right.... Either way, the explanation leads straight back to Darwin’s two theories—natural and sexual selection.
      • Just as Darwin drew lessons from both fossil armadillos and living rheas and finches, his scientific descendants combine insights from genes with insights from fossils to understand the history of life.
      Could such a man ever make a mistake?  Yes; Ridley said Darwin did not understand inheritance.  Mendel’s work had never reached his attention.  “The monk’s fate was to die years before the significance of his discovery was appreciated,” Ridley lamented.  “But his legacy, like Darwin’s, has never been more alive.”  Darwin scores even when in error.
          The magazine’s celebration began with David Quammen retelling the Darwin adventure tale on the Beagle, followed by a timeline of events and theories by Darwin and the Modern Darwins.  Quammen corrected some misconceptions about the “mythic account” of Darwin’s voyage, and the timing of his conversion to evolutionism.  But in the end, he praised his book to high heaven: “Almost inarguably, it’s the most significant single scientific book ever published.  After 150 years, people still venerate it, people still deplore it, and The Origin of Species continues to exert an extraordinary influence—though, unfortunately, not many people actually read it.
    3. Sacred Cause:  A new book by Adrian Desmond and James Moore, Darwin’s Sacred Cause, elevates Darwin further by claiming he was an abolitionist like his birthday-mate Abraham Lincoln.  The BBC News says that abolition was a driving force behind Darwin’s theory.  This idea might seem surprising to readers aware that Darwin announced in The Descent of Man that it was inevitable the fitter races would eventually exterminate the weaker races.  After all, wasn’t the subtitle of Darwin’s Origin “The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”?
          An English gentleman, Darwin was clearly repulsed by the cruelty toward slaves he witnessed.  His belief in the common ancestry of all races of mankind stood against the racist views of those who attributed human races to separate origins.  In that respect, Darwin’s unification of humanity is like the Biblical view that all men are descendents of Adam, except that Darwin has mankind arising from apes, and the Bible has mankind falling from grace.  Desmond and Moore seem to omit, though, whether “survival of the fittest” could promote racial equality.  Common ancestry aside, the Haeckels, Brocas and Hitlers to follow certainly ranked the human races by fitness and intelligence – using Darwin’s “law of nature” for support.
    It should be understood that these adulations sit on top of daily, weekly, yearly expressions of praise and admiration for Charles Darwin in the scientific journals and popular press.  Often these expressions are stated in opposition to religious views or scientific arguments for design.  A question few of the modern Darwins seem to be asking, though, is how could a scientist possibly design a theory that removes design from the conceptual realm?  (See quote at top right of page.)
    Is it possible for the world to go crazy?  If you don’t think so, look at history.  Look at what some ancient civilizations thought about the world, the universe, and life.  Despite great achievements in architecture and technology, they held beliefs that strike us as absurd – yet in their day, those beliefs were intuitively obvious.  Sometimes they were enforced by the state with severe punishment, even the ultimate punishment.  Darwin today serves as a kind of prophet of Marduk who brings enlightenment and explains the world.  You’re not entitled to have opinions about him.  Failure to honor the Marduk of the age, or his prophet, is not only insane, it is a capital crime.
        One method for detecting absurdity is to find self-refuting arguments.  These can never be overturned by more evidence, because they are self-refuting – they are false by definition.  Evolutionary theory is full of them.  (1) Darwin built a law of nature on chance, which is the contradiction to law.  (2) Darwin reasoned that the mind is an evolved artifact of blind accident, undermining the very basis of reason.  And (3) Darwin rendered design an illusion, using his intelligence to design this claim this about his own brain.  In these and other ways, Darwin tricked the world into thinking he had come up with a stunningly elegant unification of biology in alleged “natural” terms, when those very ideas refute themselves.  How could this happen?  One reason is that tautologies are always intuitively obvious.  To say, “Life evolved because natural selection brought them into existence,” sounds perfectly fine, till you realize the sentence conveys no information.  It begs the question it is supposed to answer.  Darwin’s adventure tales, his admittedly detailed observations, his Mosaic visage, and his gift of eloquent rhetoric were all dandy things, but they cannot rescue his doctrines from collapse.  They are self-refuting.  Hullabaloo and hoopla can be fun.  Fantasyland has good fireworks, too.  But no amount of celebration can save a self-refuting belief system.
        Can self-refuting doctrines really fool a world of scientists and smart people?  It happens.  Absurdities have fooled the elite of many a civilization.  We’re only human.  We don’t know everything.  We’re gullible.  For certainty, we need a revelation from the One who knows all things.  Having an anchor in eternal, immutable things is a prerequisite for consistency.  You cannot build a progressive system from the ground up without assuming the very thing you need to prove: that there are absolutes against which one can measure progress.  Even if one could pull oneself up by one’s own bootstraps, the effort would be vain without ground to stand on.  Darwinism is anchored in the quicksand of contingency.  Its aspiration to provide understanding, the opposite of contingency, is doomed.  Lacking an absolute, the hullabaloo and hoopla around Darwin is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
    Next headline on:  Darwin and Evolutionary TheoryDumb Ideas
      Lack energy?  Try the cave man diet (02/04/2002).  Like they say, evolve or perish (02/15/2002).  We found that bit of wisdom in the trash can (02/15/2002).

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    Featured Creation Scientist for February

    William Thomson,
    Lord Kelvin

    1824 - 1907

    William Thomson, Scottish physicist, mathematician and engineer, later awarded the barony Kelvin of Largs which gave him the more familiar title “Lord Kelvin,” was the most eminent scientist of his day in the British Isles.  He was professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at the University of Glasgow in Scotland for over 50 years.  Lord Kelvin was largely responsible for the rise of engineering, taking the meteoric discoveries being made by 19th century scientists to practical uses for man.  He supervised the first successful transatlantic cable that brought instantaneous communication across the ocean for the first time.  This succeeded only with his invention of signal amplifiers and sensitive receivers.  With James Joule, he discovered the Joule-Thomson effect that ushered in the invention of refrigerators.  His name is also commemorated in the Kelvin temperature scale, that begins at absolute zero (a concept he originated), which is widely used in physics and astronomy.  Perhaps Lord Kelvin’s most significant achievement was defining the concept of energy and formalizing the laws of thermodynamics.  Applying the Second Law to the universe as a whole, he predicted the heat death of the universe in the future, which also ruled out an infinitely-old universe.

    Everyone has their moments of embarrassment.  Historians still get a chuckle out of Kelvin’s off-the-cuff remark that heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.  Each of us has made remarks that, in hindsight, we would hastily and silently retract if it were possible (Kelvin lived to learn of the Wright brothers’s success at Kitty Hawk and the rapid advance of aeroplane technology.)  Some of Kelvin’s theories did not work out, and he never made a big, original breakthrough discovery quite as profound as those of Maxwell, his friend and correspondent.  But we quibble about champions.  Kelvin earned his place in the hall of fame, as much as an inventor, co-discoverer of fundamental laws, clarifier of prior discoveries and motivator of students and fellow scientists as an original thinker himself.

    As a Christian, Lord Kelvin was a gentle, wise and generous family man, faithful in his church, an ardent student of the Scripture and a promoter of Christian education.  He believed church members should study the maps in the back of the Bible and understand history.  He often expressed awe at the beauty, design and orderliness of creation and natural law.

    But he also recognized the rise of Darwinism both for its weak science and evil influence.  Accordingly, he got personally into the battle.  Many other prominent scientists of the period, like Richard Owen, Rudolph Virchow, St. George Mivart and Whitwell Elwin, protested against Darwin’s claims with scientific and philosophical rebuttals.  But it was Kelvin who launched a scientific attack that sent Darwin and his supporters reeling.  To his dying day, Darwin considered it the most serious and unsettling criticism of his theory, because it pulled the rug out from under his requirements, and it appeared to have strong scientific support.

    Thomson applied his expertise in physics and thermodynamics to argue that the earth could not be as old as Darwin required for evolution.  Darwin needed many millions of years to produce a man from a “warm little pond” of chemicals.  Janet Browne explains the seriousness of Thomson’s challenge, and describes how combatting anti-Biblical claims (and bad science) was not a new avocation for the physics professor:

    While working on this fifth edition [of The Origin of Species], Darwin also encountered major intellectual problems over the age of the earth.  William Thomson (the future Lord Kelvin) had asserted on the basis of experimental physics that the earth was not sufficiently old to have allowed evolution to have taken place.  To some extent, Thomson was tilting at Lyell—he had never liked Lyell’s endless geological epochs stretching back into eternity.  Earlier on, he had attacked Lyell’s gradualism and uniformitarianism, saying that geologists ignored the laws of physics at their peril and that the earth was much younger than usually thought....
    In 1866, thoroughly frustrated by what he regarded as pig-headed obtuseness from the Lyellian-Darwinian fraternity, and propelled by anti-evolutionary, Scottish Presbyterian inclinations, Thomson launched a vigorous polemic against the lot of them, stating that 100 million years was all that physics could allow for the earth’s entire history.  As Darwin noted, Thomson intimated that the earth had a beginning and would come to a sunless end.
      (Browne, Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (Princeton, 2002, p. 314; emphasis added).

    (It’s interesting to note the parallels with 20th-century cosmology, with evolutionary astronomers facing the “philosophically repugnant” conclusion that the universe had a beginning– see Robert Jastrow’s book God and the Astronomers for details.)

    This excerpt from Browne’s excellent biography of Darwin is just one of many that shows evolutionary doctrine came primarily out of a fraternity, a kind of socio-political party of liberals, who had an agenda to undercut the historicity of the Bible and usurp science with their pet philosophy of naturalism.  It also reveals that Thomson, though a Bible-believing Christian, was morally indignant not only over their denial of the Bible, but over their refusal to accept the clear laws of physics when they contradicted their beliefs.  It was not that Thomson himself believed the earth was as old as 100 million years.  But he was convinced that physics itself set an upper limit on the age of the earth that falsified Lyell’s and Darwin’s claims.

    Browne next describes the hubbub this caused in the Darwin fraternity.  Lyell tried to answer Thomson’s challenge in the tenth edition of his Principles of Geology.  Huxley, in what Browne calls one of his “froth and fury” speeches, tried to claim that it didn’t matter, because all Darwin would have to do was speed up the rate of variation.  “That,” she claims, “was just what Darwin could not do”—

    In the first edition of the Origin of Species he had calculated that the erosion of the Sussex Weald must have taken some 300 million years, a breathtaking length of time that, taken with the rest of the stratigraphic table, provided ample opportunity for gradual organic change.  But Darwin’s calculations were wrong.  The actual time was much shorter.  “Those confounded millions of years,” he had complained to Lyell and deleted the entire example.
        So no wonder that “Thomson’s views of the recent age of the world have been for some time one of my sorest troubles.”  The 100 million years that Thomson allowed was not nearly long enough for the exceeding slow rates of change Darwin envisaged in nature.  The fifth edition of the Origin bore witness to his discomfort.  Rattled, he tried various ways to speed up evolution.  He was aware that he was becoming more environmentalist, more Lamarckian, as it were, and producing a poor-spirited compromise.  He roped in George [his son], with his Cambridge mathematics, to make alternative calculations, telling him that the age of the earth was the single most intractable point levelled against his theory during his lifetime.
        Five years later Darwin was still protesting that Thomson’s shortened time-span was “an odious spectre.”
      (Ibid., pp. 314-315, emphasis added).

    Respected geologists, like Archibald Geike, James Croll and Clarence King, confirmed Thomson’s calculations.  The evolutionists were up a creek and running scared.  Alfred Russell Wallace, the co-claimant to the notion of natural selection, proposed a solution based on climate changes and tilting ecliptics that Darwin grasped at in hope, but it was “regarded as unworkable by physicists and naturalists alike” (Browne, ibid.).  Darwin’s son tried to get more time out of the estimates, and “Although George’s relationship with Thomson was close, he warned scholars not to accept all of Thomson’s results” (ibid.) It is clear the younger Darwin was biding for time, not having any empirical or mathematical support, but probably just trying to protect his famous father from embarrassment and the downfall of his theory.

    Thomson kept up the attack.  To make matters worse for the Darwinians, he calculated a maximum age for the sun, based on calculations of energy due to gravitational potential energy, resulting in a sun far too young for their requirements.  He demonstrated irrefutably that the laws of thermodynamics dictated that the universe and the sun and the earth had a beginning, requiring a Creator, and would come to an utter end – a heat death – barring a supernatural intervention.  Darwinians could not assume an infinitely old universe.

    Darwin was so squeezed by Thomson’s evidence, he was willing to consider radical proposals to keep his theory of natural selection alive.  Though cautious about claims of spontaneous generation, he grasped at a suggestion by Henry Bastian in 1872 that there was no real difference between organic and inorganic substances.  “Bastian intimated that Lamarck’s notion of a constantly replenished source of primitive organisms might be accurate.  Not convinced by the evidence, Darwin nevertheless grasped at the possibility as a way out of Thomson’s trap:

    Wallace suggested that these rapid transformations of simple matter could quicken evolution to the point where Thomson’s warnings about the shortened age of the earth could safely be ignored.  Darwin saw the value in this.  He would like to see spontaneous generation proved true, he told Wallace, “for it would be a discovery of transcendent importance.”  For the rest of his life he watched and pondered.  (Browne, pp. 393-394.)

    Darwin died in 1882, never finding a way out of this vexing corner Thomson had put him in.  Browne wraps up this episode, saying, “Decades of continuing debate over the age of the earth were resolved only with the discovery of radioactivity early in the twentieth century, that, broadly speaking, allowed the earth to be as old as evolutionists needed it to be” (Ibid., p. 315, emphasis added).  In addition, the age of the sun became extendable to billions of years when thermonuclear reactions were discovered.  Darwinians breathed a collected sigh of relief.  Some even felt this was the last stand for creationism, and they must now declare defeat (see views of Stephen Weinberg, 11/26/2003).  They need to understand that claims of its early demise are a bit premature.

    Thomson’s argument for a maximum age for the earth and sun were made before the discovery of radioactivity and thermonuclear reactions, and have been discounted unfairly on that basis.  In actuality, the age of the earth and sun are difficulties for evolution even today.  In addition, modern creationists have continued to exhibit additional prima facie scientific evidences for a young earth and solar system: phenomena like the lifetimes of comets and planetary rings, the amount of salt in the oceans, the amount of helium remaining in deep earth sediments, and the presence of carbon-14 in presumably million-year old fossils when it should be long gone.  Evolutionists were so desperate to find a way to stretch out the age of the earth, they leaped on radioactivity as if it were a panacea.  Thus inoculated against Kelvin’s “odious spectre”, they have since presumed that the earth can be “as old as evolutionists needed it to be.”  It’s time to turn up the heat again.

    Radioactivity and thermonuclear reactions have complicated the argument Lord Kelvin used, but not destroyed it.  Early geologists were not physicists, but now there are geophysicists who use their expertise to argue that the earth is billions of years old.  Much of their argumentation, however, assumes that Darwinism is true; it does not constitute independent evidence.  The bar was raised for creationists.  It takes more learning to confute their abstruse math and convoluted arguments.  Yet much of their belief is predicated on preserving Darwin’s required long ages.  Once that is understood, it is remarkable how clear the evidence for a young solar system appears to one not already biased to think in terms of long ages.  Modern creationists should continue Kelvin’s challenge, not standing for “pig-headed obtuseness from the Lyellian-Darwinian fraternity.”  It is still necessary to insist that “geologists ignore the laws of physics at their peril.”

    There are other lessons from Kelvin’s battle over the age of the earth.  Though a Christian, Kelvin understood the power of scientific arguments.  He knew the Darwinian scoffers would ridicule Biblical reasoning, but they had to respect science, because they were claiming to be the voice of science in their culture.  You want science? he seemed to be saying; Here, have some.  Lord Kelvin respected science, too, and he was well qualified as a scientist.  That should be a challenge to those wishing to do battle with evolutionary philosophy.  It’s important to know your field.  Darwin, Lyell, Wallace and the other frat members simply could not ignore the man or his arguments.

    Another lesson is that Kelvin fought like a gentleman.  Even his adversaries respected the fact that he never became personally vindictive.  Even “Darwin’s bulldog” Thomas Huxley, praised Kelvin as a gentleman, a scholar, and a formidable opponent: he called him “the most perfect knight who ever broke a lance.”
    But a gentleman can be a warrior, too.  Known for his self-confidence, Kelvin held the Darwinists’ feet to the fire of scientific rigor and didn’t let them get by with mere storytelling.  His students respected him for his skill at demonstrating underlying, unifying principles (rather than requiring memorization of facts), and motivating them to do their best.

    Physics students know of the Kelvin temperature scale, but should know about this man’s measure on the scale of greatness.  William Thomson, Lord Kelvin published over 600 research papers and served as president of the Royal Society.  Showered with 21 honorary doctorates from around the world (perhaps these could be referred to as “degrees Kelvin”), he had right to more letters after his name than any of his contemporaries.  He received numerous other awards and was knighted by the queen.  Not only did Lord Kelvin advance science in fundamental ways himself, he mentored Joule, Maxwell, Tait and other eminent scientists.  He was buried in Westminster Abbey after a long and successful career.

    It was Biblical faith that gave Lord Kelvin confidence in a glorious future despite what the cold laws of physics dictated.  Referring to both Scripture and science, he said, “We have the sober scientific certainty that the heavens and earth shall ‘wax old as doth a garment’1 ... Dark indeed would be the prospects for the human race if unilluminated by that light which reveals ‘new heavens and a new earth.’2

    1Psalm 102:26
    2Revelation 21

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

    A Concise Guide
    to Understanding
    Evolutionary Theory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Souder’s Law
    Repetition does not establish validity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Advice from Paul

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

    I Timothy 6:20-21

    Song of the True Scientist

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

    from Psalm 104

    Maxwell’s Motivation

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

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

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

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    “I’ve been a regular reader of CEH for about nine month now, and I look forward to each new posting.... I enjoy the information CEH gleans from current events in science and hope you keep the service going.”
    (a mechanical engineer in Utah)

    “It took six years of constant study of evolution to overcome the indoctrination found in public schools of my youth.  I now rely on your site; it helps me to see the work of God where I could not see it before and to find miracles where there was only mystery.  Your site is a daily devotional that I go to once a day and recommend to everyone.  I am still susceptible to the wiles of fake science and I need the fellowship of your site; such information is rarely found in a church.
        Now my eyes see the stars God made and the life He designed and I feel the rumblings of joy as promised.  When I feel down or worried my solution is to praise God the Creator Of All That Is, and my concerns drain away while peace and joy fill the void.  This is something I could not do when I did not know (know: a clear and accurate perception of truth) God as Creator.  I could go on and on about the difference knowing our Creator has made, but I believe you understand.
        I tell everyone that gives me an opening about your site.  God is working through you.  Please don’t stop telling us how to see the lies or leading us in celebrating the truth.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.”
    (a renowned artist in Wyoming)

    “I discovered your site a few months ago and it has become essential reading – via RSS to Bloglines.”
    (a cartographer and GIS analyst in New Zealand)

    “I love your site, and frequently visit to read both explanations of news reports, and your humor about Bonny Saint Charlie.”
    (a nuclear safety engineer in Washington)

    “Your site is wonderful.”
    (a senior staff scientist, retired, from Arizona)

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

    “...let me thank you for your Creation-Evolution Headlines.  I’ve been an avid reader of it since I first ‘discovered’ your website about five years ago.  May I also express my admiration for the speed with which your articles appear—often within 24 hours of a particular news announcement or journal article being published.”
    (a plant physiologist and prominent creation writer in Australia)

    “How do you guys do it--reviewing so much relevant material every day and writing incisive, thoughtful analyses?!”
    (a retired high school biology teacher in New Jersey)

    “Your site is one of the best out there!  I really love reading your articles on creation evolution headlines and visit this section almost daily.”
    (a webmaster in the Netherlands)

    “Keep it up!  I’ve been hitting your site daily (or more...).  I sure hope you get a mountain of encouraging email, you deserve it.”
    (a small business owner in Oregon)

    “Great work!  May your tribe increase!!!”
    (a former Marxist, now ID speaker in Brazil)

    “You are the best.  Thank you.... The work you do is very important.  Please don’t ever give up.  God bless the whole team.”
    (an engineer and computer consultant in Virginia)

    “I really appreciate your work in this topic, so you should never stop doing what you do, ’cause you have a lot of readers out there, even in small countries in Europe, like Slovenia is... I use for all my signatures on Internet forums etc., it really is fantastic site, the best site!  You see, we(your pleased readers) exist all over the world, so you must be doing great work!  Well i hope you have understand my bad english.”
    (a biology student in Slovenia)

    “Thanks for your time, effort, expertise, and humor.  As a public school biology teacher I peruse your site constantly for new information that will challenge evolutionary belief and share much of what I learn with my students.  Your site is pounding a huge dent in evolution’s supposed solid exterior.  Keep it up.”
    (a biology teacher in the eastern USA)

    “Several years ago, I became aware of your Creation-Evolution Headlines web site.  For several years now, it has been one of my favorite internet sites.  I many times check your website first, before going on to check the secular news and other creation web sites.
        I continue to be impressed with your writing and research skills, your humor, and your technical and scientific knowledge and understanding.  Your ability to cut through the inconsequentials and zero in on the principle issues is one of the characteristics that is a valuable asset....
        I commend you for the completeness and thoroughness with which you provide coverage of the issues.  You obviously spend a great deal of time on this work.  It is apparent in ever so many ways.
        Also, your background topics of logic and propaganda techniques have been useful as classroom aides, helping others to learn to use their baloney detectors.
        Through the years, I have directed many to your site.  For their sake and mine, I hope you will be able to continue providing this very important, very much needed, educational, humorous, thought provoking work.”
    (an engineer in Missouri)

    “I am so glad I found your site.  I love reading short blurbs about recent discoveries, etc, and your commentary often highlights that the discovery can be ‘interpreted’ in two differing ways, and usually with the pro-God/Design viewpoint making more sense.  It’s such a refreshing difference from the usual media spin.  Often you’ll have a story up along with comment before the masses even know about the story yet.”
    (a system administrator in Texas, who calls CEH the “UnSpin Zone”)

    “You are indeed the ‘Rush Limbaugh’ Truth Detector of science falsely so-called.  Keep up the excellent work.”
    (a safety director in Michigan)

    “I know of no better way to stay informed with current scientific research than to read your site everyday, which in turn has helped me understand many of the concepts not in my area (particle physics) and which I hear about in school or in the media.  Also, I just love the commentaries and the baloney detecting!!”
    (a grad student in particle physics)

    “I thank you for your ministry.  May God bless you!  You are doing great job effectively exposing pagan lie of evolution.  Among all known to me creation ministries [well-known organizations listed] Creationsafaris stands unique thanks to qualitative survey and analysis of scientific publications and news.  I became permanent reader ever since discovered your site half a year ago.  Moreover your ministry is effective tool for intensive and deep education for cristians.”
    (a webmaster in Ukraine, seeking permission to translate CEH articles into Russian to reach countries across the former Soviet Union)

    “The scholarship of the editors is unquestionable.  The objectivity of the editors is admirable in face of all the unfounded claims of evolutionists and Darwinists.  The amount of new data available each day on the site is phenomenal (I can’t wait to see the next new article each time I log on).  Most importantly, the TRUTH is always and forever the primary goal of the people who run this website.  Thank you so very much for 6 years of consistent dedication to the TRUTH.”
    (11 months earlier): “I just completed reading each entry from each month.  I found your site about 6 months ago and as soon as I understood the format, I just started at the very first entry and started reading.... Your work has blessed my education and determination to bold in showing the ‘unscientific’ nature of evolution in general and Darwinism in particular.”
    (a medical doctor in Oklahoma)

    “Thanks for the showing courage in marching against a popular unproven unscientific belief system.  I don’t think I missed 1 article in the past couple of years.”
    (a manufacturing engineer in Australia)

    “I do not know and cannot imagine how much time you must spend to read, research and compile your analysis of current findings in almost every area of science.  But I do know I thank you for it.”
    (a practice administrator in Maryland)

    “Since finding your insightful comments some 18 or more months ago, I’ve visited your site daily.... You so very adeptly and adroitly undress the emperor daily; so much so one wonders if he might not soon catch cold and fall ill off his throne! .... To you I wish much continued success and many more years of fun and frolicking undoing the damage taxpayers are forced to fund through unending story spinning by ideologically biased scientists.”
    (an investment advisor in Missouri)

    “I really like your articles.  You do a fabulous job of cutting through the double-talk and exposing the real issues.  Thank you for your hard work and diligence.”
    (an engineer in Texas)

    “I love your site.  Found it about maybe two years ago and I read it every day.  I love the closing comments in green.  You have a real knack for exposing the toothless claims of the evolutionists.  Your comments are very helpful for many us who don’t know enough to respond to their claims.  Thanks for your good work and keep it up.”
    (a missionary in Japan)

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

    “Just wanted to thank you for your creation/evolution news ... an outstanding educational resource.“
    (director of a consulting company in Australia)

    “Your insights ... been some of the most helpful – not surprising considering the caliber of your most-excellent website!  I’m serious, ..., your website has to be the best creation website out there....”
    (a biologist and science writer in southern California)

    “I first learned of your web site on March 29.... Your site has far exceeded my expectations and is consulted daily for the latest.  I join with other readers in praising your time and energy spent to educate, illuminate, expose errors.... The links are a great help in understanding the news items.  The archival structure is marvelous....  Your site brings back dignity to Science conducted as it should be.  Best regards for your continuing work and influence.  Lives are being changed and sustained every day.”
    (a manufacturing quality engineer in Mississippi)

    “I wrote you over three years ago letting you know how much I enjoyed your Creation-Evolution headlines, as well as your Creation Safaris site.  I stated then that I read your headlines and commentary every day, and that is still true!  My interest in many sites has come and gone over the years, but your site is still at the top of my list!  I am so thankful that you take the time to read and analyze some of the scientific journals out there; which I don’t have the time to read myself.  Your commentary is very, very much appreciated.”
    (a hike leader and nature-lover in Ontario, Canada)

    “...just wanted to say how much I admire your site and your writing.  You’re very insightful and have quite a broad range of knowledge.  Anyway, just wanted to say that I am a big fan!”
    (a PhD biochemist at a major university)

    “I love your site and syndicate your content on my church website.... The stories you highlight show the irrelevancy of evolutionary theory and that evolutionists have perpetual ‘foot and mouth’ disease; doing a great job of discrediting themselves.  Keep up the good work.”
    (a database administrator and CEH “junkie” in California)

    “I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your article reviews on your website—it’s a HUGE asset!”
    (a lawyer in Washington)

    “Really, really, really a fantastic site.  Your wit makes a razor appear dull!... A million thanks for your site.”
    (a small business owner in Oregon “and father of children who love your site too.”)

    “Thank God for ... Creation Evolution Headlines.  This site is right at the cutting edge in the debate over bio-origins and is crucial in working to undermine the deceived mindset of naturalism.  The arguments presented are unassailable (all articles having first been thoroughly ‘baloney detected’) and the narrative always lands just on the right side of the layman’s comprehension limits... Very highly recommended to all, especially, of course, to those who have never thought to question the ‘fact’ of evolution.”
    (a business owner in Somerset, UK)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Hey Friends, Check out this site: 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 daily—archives go back five years.”
    (a reader who found us in Georgia)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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