Creation-Evolution Headlines
April 2009
Darwin quote

“He that would enjoy life and act with freedom must have the work of the day continually before his eyes.  Not yesterday’s work, lest he fall into despair, nor to-morrow’s, lest he become a visionary,–not that which ends with the day, which is a worldly work, nor yet that only which remains to eternity, for by it he cannot shape his actions.  Happy is the man who can recognise in the work of To-day a connected portion of the work of life, and an embodiment of the work of Eternity.  The foundations of his confidence are unchangeable, for he has been made a partaker of Infinity.  He strenuously works out his daily enterprises, because the present is given him for a possession.”
—James Clerk Maxwell, the great Bible-believing physicist

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Dinosaur Blood Protein, Cells Recovered   04/30/2009    
April 30, 2009 — It’s official: soft tissue, including blood vessel proteins and structures resembling cells, have been recovered from dinosaur bone.  Mary Schweitzer’s amazing claim in 2005 (03/24/2005) was subsequently disputed as possible contamination from biofilms (07/30/2008).  Now, Schweitzer and her team took exceptional precautions to avoid contamination by excavating hadrosaur bone from sandstone said to be 80 million years old.  A short description of her findings, and a picture of the tissue, was announced today by New Scientist.  The paper followed shortly after in the May 1 issue of Science.1  A press release from Schweitzer’s institution, North Carolina State University, says that the preservation of soft tissue in this duck-billed dinosaur fossil was even better than the material from the T. rex bone analyzed in 2005.
    Robert F. Service commented on the finding in the same issue of Science.2  He was a little cautious, putting the word ‘protein” in quotes in his title, but then he said this:

A controversial finding that protein fragments can be recovered from dinosaur fossils has been replicated for the first time.  Two years ago, Mary Schweitzer, a paleontologist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, and colleagues stunned the paleontology community when they reported discovering intact protein fragments in a fossil from a Tyrannosaurus rex that died 68 million years ago.  The claim has remained contentious, because proteins in tissue normally degrade quickly after an animal dies.  On page 626, however, Schweitzer and colleagues report finding an even larger number of protein fragments from an 80-million-year-old fossil from a duck-billed dinosaur, or hadrosaur, known as Brachylophosaurus canadensis.
    “This will either be nothing or the biggest revolution in paleontology ever,” says Tom Kaye, a paleontologist at the Burke Museum in Seattle, Washington, and a critic of the original T. rex study.
Service went on to say that “Collagen, the principal protein in connective tissue, is rarely found in fossils more than a few hundred thousand years old.”  Taking five as a few, that means this discovery would require believing it has lasted 160 times as long.
    In response to criticisms of the 2005 paper, Schweitzer’s team took extra care in the extraction and analysis of the specimen.  They used sterilized instruments to extract the bone samples and rushed them to the lab in sealed jars.  Two independent groups analyzed the samples.  “Both groups then independently performed biochemical and antibody-binding studies that showed evidence of collagen as well as laminin and elastin, two proteins found in blood vessels,” Service reported.  In addition, two independent teams used better mass spectrometry methods, and both confirmed the presence of collagen.  One of the specialists, John Asara of Harvard Medical School, said, “This proves the first study was not a one-hit wonder.
    What will critics say now?  Service ended by quoting Martin McIntosh of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, a critic of the first study.  McIntosh appeared uneasy with the implications.  “I’m not saying it’s true,” he said, holding out hope for an alternate explanation.  “But I cannot right now make a plausible argument that it’s not true.”  He added, “The door is closing on plausible alternatives.
    The original paper primarily documented the details of the extraction and analysis.  Chris Organ (Harvard) also performed a phylogenetic analysis, indicating enough primary material was available for comparison.  Despite the press release’s confidence that the proteins showed a link to birds, the data presented in the paper was more ambiguous and required some tweaking to produce a tree.3  That, however, is what Science seemed to emphasize, stating in the summary that “Analysis of well-preserved tissues from an 80-million-year-old hadrosaur supports the dinosaur-bird relationship.”
    Here’s how the original paper ended its announcement of replicated results that show the material is endogenous (original with the bone).  With appropriate scientific caution, they listed the evidence pointing to the confirmation of the hypothesis that the protein fragments once were part of a living dinosaur:
The hypothesis that endogenous proteins can persist across geological time, as first reported for T. rex (MOR 1125), was met with appropriate skepticism.  However, the inclusion of additional sequence data from extant reptiles and B. canadensis strengthens the hypothesis that the molecular signal is preserved at least to the Late Cretaceous.
    The submicron differences in texture (Fig. 1 and fig. S1), elemental differentiation, sub-“cellular” inclusions in osteocytes and vessels, identification of the posttranslational Pro-OH modification not produced by microbes, differential binding of antibodies by both in situ and immunoblot studies, collagen protein sequences, and phylogenetic analyses do not support a microbial origin for either these microstructures or peptide fragments.  Coupled with evidence for cross-linking and unusual chemical modifications, the congruence of evidence strongly supports an endogenous origin for this material.  The most parsimonious explanation, thus far unfalsified, is that original molecules persist in some Cretaceous dinosaur fossils.  Still unknown is the chemistry behind such preservation.
The paper also includes photographs of structures that resemble cells.  While they were cautious not to call them cells, they sure look like the real thing.  They used various lines of evidence to rule out bacterial contamination.4  This indicates the protein studied with mass spectrometry was not relegated to isolated fragments, but was retained in original cellular structures.  Were these cells really 80 million years old?
1.  Schweitzer, Zheng, Organ, Avci, Sui, Freimark, Lebleu, Duncan, Vander Heiden, Neveu, Lane, Cottrell, Horner, Cantley, Kalluri and Asara, “Biomolecular Characterization and Protein Sequences of the Campanian Hadrosaur B. canadensis,” Science, 1 May 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5927, pp. 626-631, DOI: 10.1126/science.1165069c.
2.  Robert F. Service, “Paleontology: ‘Protein’ in 80-Million-Year-Old Fossil Bolsters Controversial T. rex Claim,” Science, 1 May 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5927, p. 578, DOI: 10.1126/science.324_578.
3.  Excerpt from (1): “Under a majority-rule criterion to building a consensus tree, Dinosauria (the group containing the two extinct dinosaurs and the two birds) collapsed into a three-way polytomy.  Removing T. rex from the phylogeny resulted in a three-way polytomy as well.  The amount of missing data in B. canadensis and T. rex sequences relative to extant samples resulted in relatively low resolution within Dinosauria, but even so, the phylogenetic relationship of recovered B. canadensis sequences supports the species’ placement within Archosauria, closer to birds than AlligatorHowever, on the basis of well-established morphological analyses, we predict that T. rex is more closely related to birds than it is to the ornithischian hadrosaur B. canadensisDespite ambiguity within Dinosauria, obvious phylogenetic signal resides within recovered collagen sequences, supporting endogeneity (fig. S11).”
4.  “Ovoid red ‘cells’ with long filipodia, similar in morphology to extant osteocytes, were embedded in or associated with white matrix (Fig. 1J and fig. S1) or vessels (Fig. 1H).  In some cases, these were attached by their filipodia to adjacent cells (Fig. 1J, inset), forming an interconnecting network as in extant bone.  The cells contain internal microstructures suggestive of nuclei.  Red filipodia extend from cell bodies into the white fibrous matrix (Fig. 1J and fig. S1), reflecting original chemical differences at submicron levels between cells and matrix and inconsistent with recent microbial invasion (7).  Under FESEM (10), B. canadensis osteocytes and filipodia (Fig. 1K) are similar in morphology, surface texture, and size to extant ostrich osteocytes isolated from bone digests (Fig. 1L) (1, 2, 13, 14).”
It sounds like this will clinch the case.  There’s no way this blood protein could be 80 million years old.  The evolutionists are just saying it is because they cannot bear the thought of recent dinosaurs causing their millions of years scenario to come crashing down.  Without the millions of years, Darwinism is dead, dead, dead.
    Notice that it is not the creationists making these announcements but a secular research team and secular, anti-creationist news sources.  Combine this announcement with the next entry below, and it appears that two centuries of scientific doubts about the Bible’s timescale are over.  What are you waiting for?
Next headline on:  FossilsDinosaursDating Methods
  Artificial nose works better with mucus, from 04/30/2007.

Are Secular Geologists Ready to Consider a Global Flood?   04/30/2009    
April 30, 2009 — Everyone knows the Bible tells the story of a global flood in Noah’s day.  Creation scientists argue that its effects would have left visible evidence today – including most of the sedimentary layers and most of the fossil record.  Secular geologists have laughed off this story since the 18th century as nothing but myth, of course, but a paper in the Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences suggests that some of them are re-evaluating the role of “megafloods” in earth history.  Some megafloods might be considered as “global planetary phenomena.”
    Author Victor R. Baker was not thinking of Noah but of a more recent fellow, J Harlen Bretz (see 07/25/2008).  In his paper, “The Channeled Scabland: A Retrospective” in the May 2009 Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences,1 he retold the story of the brave geologist who bucked the established and proposed an “outrageous hypothesis” for the scarred landscape of eastern Washington state.  His 1927 proposal that an ice-age megaflood scoured the extensive channel network in a matter of days was met with scorn and derision.  Baker wrote, “the geological community largely resisted his bold hypothesis for decades, despite an enthusiastic, eloquent defense thereof” – Bretz was finally vindicated in the 1960s and his theory is the new consensus.
    Baker clearly states the reason for the rejection of Bretz’s hypothesis.  Geologists would not even consider such extensive processes, because their worldview assumptions could not accommodate them:

The prolonged nature of the Spokane Flood controversy arose in part because of the adherence of many geologists to substantive and epistemological presumptions of uniformitarianism (see sidebar) that were erroneously thought to underpin their science (Baker 1998).  According to a common, mistaken application of the uniformitarian principle, cataclysmic processes, like those responsible for the origin of the Channeled Scabland, were considered to be unsuitable topics for scientific investigation.  To counter this presumption of uniformitarianism, Bretz could only provide meticulously described field evidence for inspection by those willing to seriously consider it.  The eventual triumph of his hypothesis, against its initially antagonistic reception, set the stage for the resurgence of a new understanding of geological catastrophism, which is perhaps most prominent today in the acknowledged role of impact cratering in Earth’s history.
Baker has just said that the majority consensus can be wrong – for decades – because of worldview bias, or epistemological presumptions (i.e., presuppositions about what we know and how we know it).  These presumptions do not arise from the scientific evidence, but in spite of it: Bretz had the evidence, but his colleagues refused to see it, because in their worldview, such topics were “unsuitable ... for scientific investigation.”  This is not a discovery from science.  It is a statement of philosophy about science.  In the sidebar on uniformitarianism to which Baker referred, he said this:
Uniformitarianism is a regulative principle or doctrine in geology that unfortunately sometimes conflates (a) the pragmatic application of modern process studies to understanding the past (actualism) with (b) substantive presumptions that deny effectiveness to cataclysmic events.  As recognized by William Whewell, who invented the term, meaning b is contrary to the logic of science (Baker 1998).2 
(For information about Whewell, see the June 2007 Scientist of the Month.)  Most of Baker’s paper reviews the evidence in the Channeled Scablands for a megaflood when Lake Missoula breached its ice dam, sending a million cubic feet of water per second towards the Pacific.  The evidence includes coulees, cataracts, gravel fans and bars, streamlined residual hills and islands, giant current ripples in the shape of dunes, and large isolated boulders.  He discussed the high-energy processes that left this evidence: vertical vortices (kolks), plucking and cavitation, bedrock erosion and transport.  “The scabland megaflooding exhibited phenomenal sediment transport capability, as evidenced by the boulders that were entrained by the flow,” he said.  He showed a picture of an 18m boulder that was transported 10 km by the raging waters.  The car beside the rock looks small by comparison.
    What is the lesson of J Harlen Bretz and the Spokane Flood controversy?  Baker discussed this in the ending paragraphs, entitled, “Megafloods as Global Planetary Phenomena”.  Have geologists been misapplying uniformitarian presumptions, ignoring evidence for megafloods all around them, on the earth – and even on Mars?
Bretz thought the landforms of the Channeled Scabland to be unique (Bretz 1928a).  “Nowhere in the world is there known or suspected,” he wrote (Bretz 1959, p. 56), “a story at all comparable to what we read from the scabland forms.”  He reasoned that its uniqueness might make his Spokane Flood hypothesis more acceptable to those who held to the generalization that landscapes are created by the prolonged action of noncataclysmic processes.  In recent years, however, cataclysmic flood landscapes with many similarities to the Channeled Scabland have increasingly been documented in many parts of the world (Baker 1997, 2002, 2007).  Spectacular examples of GCRs [giant current ripples] are found in central Asia (Baker et al. 1993, Carling 1996, Rudoy 2005), along with immense gravel bars and scour marks (Rudoy & Baker 1993, Carling et al. 2002, Herget 2005).  Megaflood streamlined hill morphologies occur in the glacial lake spillway channels of central North America (Kehew & Lord 1986) and on the floor of the English Channel (Gupta et al. 2007).  Most surprising to Bretz, however, would be the discovery of scabland-like morphologies on Mars (Baker & Milton 1974; Baker 1982, 2001; Komatsu & Baker 2007).
    In addition to stimulating discoveries of cataclysmic flood landscapes, studies of the patterns, forms, and processes evident in the Channeled Scabland have informed understanding of processes that occur at smaller scales in modern bedrock channels that are impacted by extreme, high-energy floods (e.g., Baker 1977, 1984; Baker & Pickup 1987; Baker & Kochel 1988; Baker & Kale 1998).  Slackwater deposition by scabland flooding at the mouths of various valleys tributary to the Cheney-Palouse scabland channels (Bretz 1929, Patton et al. 1979) was used to infer flow depths along those channels (Figure 10).  This methodology proved to be critical in stimulating the development of that form of paleoflood hydrology that utilizes paleostage indicators for the reconstruction of relatively recent (late Holocene) floods, thereby increasing our understanding the frequencies of rare, modern high-magnitude floods (Baker 1987, 2006, 2008b).  Indeed, one can envision a kind of investigation that inverts the usual reasoning process whereby studies of common, small-scale processes are extrapolated to the domain of less common, unobserved large-scale processes.
What should future geologists do?  Baker ended by discussing future challenges to understanding the Channeled Scablands.  One problem, for instance, is that the volume of water stored in hypothetical Lake Missoula seems “insufficient to account for the indicated levels of maximum inundation throughout the Channeled Scabland and adjacent area.”  One possibility is “subglacial outburst flooding from under the Cordilleran Ice Sheet,” he suggested.  Details aside, Baker had a concluding remark about bold hypotheses, the nature of scientific inquiry and understanding, and the need to think outside the box:
In retrospect, studies of the Channeled Scabland might be viewed as concerned with the unique origins of a single landscape.  However, this remarkable landscape was not studied to test a preexisting hypothesis or theory (e.g., erosion and deposition by high-energy megaflooding).  Instead, discoveries about the Channeled Scabland are leading scientific inquiry to the recognition of what can now be seen as related phenomena, such that a completely new theory is required.  The resulting rich set of research opportunities traces back to a single imaginative hypothesis proposed in the 1920s by J Harlen Bretz.  Though these opportunities may now be pursued with techniques that to Bretz would have seemed almost magical, the most important pathway to advancing understanding remains that which is best exemplified by Bretz’s most lasting contribution: informed and insightful geological fieldwork.

1. Baker, VR.  The Channeled Scabland: A Retrospective.  Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Vol. 37: 393-411 (Volume publication date May 2009; doi:10.1146/annurev.earth.061008.134726).
2. Baker VR. 1998.  Catastrophism and uniformitarianism: Logical roots and current relevance. In Lyell: The Past Is the Key to the Present, ed. DJ Blundell, AC Scott, Spec. Publ. 143, pp. 171–82. London: Geol. Soc.
Hallelujah!  A secular geologist finally gets it.  Geological science is not always driven by evidence, but by presumptions.  This is one of the most remarkable papers from a secular journal in recent memory.  It contains lessons for history of science, philosophy of science, rhetoric of science, and the interplay of logic and empiricism.
    Before continuing, let the reader understand that Victor Baker is not doubting long ages and evolution.  He believes, for instance, that multiple flooding events from Lake Missoula occurred over many thousands of years, the last occurring about 14,500 years ago.  It would be unfair to portray Baker as supporting creationist Flood geology.  Baker would undoubtedly be angry to be tarred with such associations.  Nevertheless, it is certainly fair to take the same principles and methods he advocated and think outside his box, too.  Maybe he is on the right track but doesn’t go far enough.
    Consider first the empirical evidence.  Baker evaluated evidence of high-energy transport processes that are certainly not uniformitarian.  Creationist Flood geologists date the Spokane Floods as post-diluvial (i.e., after the global Flood of Noah’s day).  The same kind of evidence of high-energy transport, though, is visible throughout the deeper layers of the Grand Canyon.  The Great Unconformity, for instance, displays a sudden scouring of the top of basement rock, on which sit most of the sedimentary layers.  This Great Unconformity is arguably a worldwide phenomenon.  So here is prima facie evidence for a global megaflood in earth history.  Right on top of this flat surface (where evolutionists put an imaginary time gap of a billion years) lie the sedimentary layers of the Tapeats Sandstone.  In the Tapeats are huge boulders, suggesting the same high-energy transport Baker inferred in the Scablands – not slow deposition over millions of years.  The Tapeats, and layers above all the way into the Redwall, show soft sediment deformation in places.  Fault lines extend all the way from bottom to top.  Most of the contacts between the formations are flat, suggesting there were no time gaps between them.  Evolutionists invent time gaps of 10 million years, 60 million years, even 100 million years between some of these formations, just to keep them in sync with their evolutionary assumptions, but you can see with your own eyes that the layers are flat, like a layered cake, with no evidence of the passage of time between them.  These are other strong evidences of megaflood far exceeding anything in the Channeled Scablands.  To the unbiased mind, the same kind of inferences made at Scablands can be extrapolated at Grand Canyon to infer a megaflood of global proportions.  Genesis 6-9 then can be re-examined as a historical record, not myth.  It left empirical evidence of its power.
    Consider also the philosophical and logical lessons of this paper.  For decades, from the 1920s to the 1960s, uniformitarian geologists had blinders on.  Their worldview prevented them from seeing evidence that was there for the looking.  This should be remembered when creationists are criticized for having “religious motivations” for their scientific models.  That criticism cuts both ways.  Terry Mortenson, in The Great Turning Point, documented how it was anti-Biblical worldview bias that turned Lyell, Hutton and the other founders of uniformitarianism into apologists for billions of years.  Quotes from Lyell show he had a conspiratorial attitude, with a goal of turning the universities against the Scriptural geologists.  Like Darwin, these moyboys (pushers of “millions of years, billions of years”) did not “discover” their theories in the data; they instituted a framework for interpreting the data (04/29/2009).  This framework served (and continues to serve) to insulate their evolutionary philosophy from falsification.  They have put blinders on with their own biased hands.
    Baker praised J Harlen Bretz for providing “informed and insightful fieldwork” in support of his bold hypothesis.  It took years for that fieldwork to cut through the dogma of the uniformitarians, and now, neo-catastrophism is enjoying a renaissance after 150 years of dogma.  Guess what: creationist geologists have been doing “informed and insightful fieldwork” for decades, too.  It doesn’t get seen much by the mainstream secular scientific societies, because they have a vested interest in maintaining their evolutionary worldview from serious challenge.  But it is good work.  You can find it in published journals from the Creation Research Society, Creation Ministries International, Institute for Creation Research, Answers in Genesis and Center for Scientific Creation, among others.  You can also see the Flood evidence with your own eyes by taking one of Tom Vail’s rafting trips down the Grand Canyon (see Canyon Ministries; highly recommended for fun as well as education).
    Victor Baker did not propose a global Flood like that described in Genesis, but he did bring in some much-needed fresh air into the discussion about how science should be conducted.  He pointed out the propensity for worldview bias, even among the leading geologists of the world, that can blind them from evidence for half a century.  Nothing in his paper advocates a global megaflood – but nothing rules it out, either.  The principles and historical lessons he advocated should liberate those not beholden to blinding uniformitarian presumptions to ask, boldly, “Noah’s Flood – why not?”
Next headline on:  GeologyDating MethodsPhysicsBible
Evolution: A Theory in Revision   04/29/2009    
April 29, 2009 — Evolution is not so much a fact of nature that Darwin discovered, as it is a framework for interpreting evidence.  Within that framework are many subplots that can be overturned without falsifying the framework.  Here are some recent examples:
  1. Chicxulub loses impact:  We’ve seen the animations of a giant impact wiping out the dinosaurs.  The Chicxulub crater in the Yucatan was the smoking gun.  Gerta Keller of Princeton has been debunking that story in recent years (10/31/2007, bullet 7, and 10/24/2006).  She has a new paper out showing that the Chicxulub impact pre-dated the Cretaceous-Tertiary contact, which most geologists interpret as a mass extinction boundary, by as much as 300,000 years (see Astrobiology Magazine).  Science Daily titled this “New Blow Against Dinosaur-killing Asteroid Theory, Geologists Find.”  Even Live Science, trusting the impact theory for the extinction of the dinosaurs, noted that some dinosaurs survived the impact.  Some dinosaurs, noted Live Science, even thrived in the Arctic.
  2. Irreducible sexuality:  For decades, evolutionists have built their theories of human sexuality on the principle that males are promiscuous and females are choosy by nature.  Now, according to Dr. Gillian Brown (U of St Andrews), as reported by Science Daily, the picture is much more complex.  Brown’s studies of sexual selection dispute the promiscuous-male theory promulgated by Angus Bateman in 1948 in his study of fruit flies.  Live Science said, “In subsequent years, the fruit-fly finds were applied to other species, including humans.”  This was about the time the Kinsey studies on human sexuality were making waves in the culture.  Brown’s revision is still based in evolution, but shows that “human mating strategies are not likely to conform to a single universal pattern,” Science Daily said.
  3. Chevron bankruptcy:  Certain chevron-shaped patterns along coastlines are being reinterpreted.  Science Daily explains: “A persistent school of thought in recent years has held that so-called ‘chevrons,’ large U- or V-shaped formations found in some of the world’s coastal areas, are evidence of megatsunamis caused by asteroids or comets slamming into the ocean.  University of Washington geologist and tsunami expert Jody Bourgeois has a simple response: Nonsense.”  If this sounds intriguing, you can read the Science Daily article for the reasons.  The point here is that a common-sense interpretation that enjoyed popularity without serious challenge, is now being called nonsense: “the extraordinary claim of ‘chevron’ genesis by megatsunamis cannot withstand simple but rigorous testing,” Bourgeois and her colleague said.
  4. Stromatolite controversy:  Numerous documentaries have woven the pillar-like structures at Shark’s Bay, Australia, believed to be artifacts of microbial mats, into tales of the earliest life on earth.  Science Daily repeated the tale, but also pointed out that there is a lot of controversy surrounding that interpretation.  A conference in 2005 left the matter unsettled: “There was discussion as to whether their mushroom-like conical shapes could have formed on the young Earth either as a result of other types of organisms unknown today or in purely chemical ways.”  This would obviously bear on the interpretation of fossil stromatolites. 
The last article above also mentioned the Cambrian explosion as “Darwin’s Dilemma” and was entitled, “The Life That Escaped Darwin’s Notice.”  Despite upsets and reversals, Darwinism marches on.
Darwin pulled a sneaky coup.  By making evolution a broad, all-encompassing framework instead of a scientific theory, he instituted a school of interpretation (the Great Society for Storytellers, 12/22/2003 commentary), immune from falsification.  Now, his disciples can chant “evolution is a fact” even when the facts militate against it.  We think facts should matter.
Next headline on:  Darwinian EvolutionDinosaursGeology
Tip link: Mr. Wilson’s conversion to atheism – and back again, on New Statesman.  Notice how central Darwinism was to his inner debate over God.  Watch for the word “superstitious.”  Share this with some friend who thinks Christopher Hitchens is a wise man.

The Long Precambrian Fuse Gets Longer   04/28/2009    
April 28, 2009 — Why did complex multicellular life explode on the scene some 550 million years ago?  That’s mystery enough, but finding complex single-celled life a billion years earlier makes it worse.  A new paper evaluated claims of Cambrian-like fossils from India dated 1.6 billion years old in the evolutionary timeline.  It did not explain the Cambrian explosion, but it did require belief in a long, long fuse.
    Bengtson et al evaluated rocks in India where claims of early Cambrian fossils had been reported in recent years.  They reported in PNAS this week.1  What they found was not multicellular life, but a complex assortment of real fossils indicating bacterial mats, cyanobacteria, along with segmented tubes and evidences of eukaryotic life – the more advanced form of unicellular life.  The fact that some of these eukaryotes formed tube-like shapes raises the question: why would a billion years go by with no more complex assemblages?  There were also “embryo-like globules” indistinguishable from those found in early Cambrian deposits, though the authors assumed the resemblance was superficial.
    Prior reports of complex fossils so early in the timeline caused serious controversy.  “If these and earlier reports are correct, they have profound implications,” they said; “either the radiometric dating consistently reflects inherited dates not related to sedimentation, as suggested by Azmi and coworkers, or Cambrian-like fossils occur in rocks that are a billion years older than the Cambrian.”  They determined some imprints were due to gas bubbles in microbial mats.  Though they could not rule out a few problematic forms, they concluded that the fossils were all from prokaryotes and a few colonial eukaryotes.  Putting the happiest face possible on their findings, they said, “the Vindhyan deposits offer important new insights into the nature and diversity of life, and in particular, the early evolution of multicellular eukaryotes.”
    Most important, the paper admitted that the Cambrian explosion had a long fuse.  Here’s how they put it:

In terms of the evolution of major taxa, the most significant information to come out of the Vindhyan phosphorites is the detailed 3-dimensional morphologic evidence for late Paleoproterozoic multicellular eukaryotes (filamentous algae).  Previously accepted multicellular eukaryotes were only known from the late Mesoproterozoic or early Neoproterozoic (i.e., some 400– 600 million years later), although some older discoveries had at least suggested the possibility that they had a longer prehistory.
    The potential of the Vindhyan phosphorites to yield fresh information on the Paleoproterozoic biotas is thus considerable, and the “shelly” biota discovered by Azmi et al. gives new insight into the nature of the Paleoproterozoic biosphere.  The discredited reports of “Cambrian” fossils [i.e., in the Vindhyan deposits dated 1.6 billion years old] turned out to be an important discovery.

1.  Bengtson, Belivanova, Rasmussen, and Whitehouse, “The controversial ‘Cambrian’ fossils of the Vindhyan are real but more than a billion years older,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print April 24, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0812460106.
How credible is it to think that eukaryotes could not come up with anything more than tube-like colonies for a billion years, then bang! — trilobites, worms, crustaceans, jellyfish, and all the major animal body plans in a geological instant?  Evolution is supposed to be this inexorable force for innovation that invented mammals, birds, flying insects and all the other wonders of nature in far, far less time than that.  The real mystery here is how Darwinism survives wave after wave of falsification.  The propensity of evolutionists to snow the public with their implausible, fictional, ad hoc, speculative, imaginative, self-contradictory plot lines to rescue their theory from the evidence deserves condemnation.  Don’t let them get away with their pretensions of scholarship when defending absurdities.  The integrity of science is at stake. 
Next headline on:  FossilsDating MethodsEvolution
  Hominid claim is more philosophy than fossil, from 04/27/2006.

Mooning the Public: Life Sells   04/27/2009    
April 27, 2009 — Advertisers have known for a long time that sex sells.  That’s why ads often include a scantily-clad woman standing next to the pickup truck for sale.  It seems that in planetary science, life sells.  An icy moon can be a pretty dull thing, but announce that there might be life there, and eye appeal jumps.  The latest Sky and Telescope (June 2009) is a case in point.  The feature story is about the moons of Saturn, but the cover accompanies a curvaceous picture of Enceladus with the eye-grabbing title in big, bold letters, “Does this WORLD Harbor LIFE?”
    It doesn’t appear that author Emily Lakdawalla, blogger for The Planetary Society, had life on her mind very much when describing Cassini’s findings at Enceladus, Rhea, Dione and Tethys in “Ice Worlds of the Ringed Planet.”  Sure, she teased occasionally with the L-word, describing Enceladus as having “potential for liquid water and perhaps even life,” and thought it a possible target for a future mission “because of its potential habitability for life.”  Well into the article, she elaborated on the possibility that catalytic chemistry could be occurring in a subsurface ocean under Enceladus: “there was probably liquid water, heat, organic chemicals, and active chemistry – the stuff of life,” she speculated.  “As a possible abode for past and present life, Enceladus has catapulted from being moderately interesting to brief consideration as the prime target of NASA’s next flagship mission to the outer solar system.”  That was the extent of her references to life in the 9-page article, but that is what Sky and Telescope chose to emphasize on the cover: “Saturn’s moon Enceladus has the stuff of life.
    What did not receive emphasis, but is potentially more provocative, are findings Emily relayed about the age of Saturn’s moons.  Noting that Voyager scientists found Enceladus to be wiped free of craters, she said, “It seemed ridiculous that a body as small as Enceladus – only 500 km across — could be geologically active today, and could provide the necessary input of particles to sustain the E ring.”  When Cassini scientists found plumes emanating from the south pole ( 07/14/2005, 11/28/2005), jetting water vapor at “many hundreds of meters per second” (02/09/2008) into space along with ice particles, scientists had found the source for the E-ring and the fresh coat of white on the moon’s surface.  What they also found was a serious age problem (03/01/2006, 12/03/2007, 06/19/2008): “If Enceladus has been venting at its current rate over the age of the solar system, it would have lost 20% of its mass,” Lakdawalla said.  Then there’s Iapetus (07/17/2007).  Scientists now believe the yin-yang appearance of the moon is due to thermal segregation (10/16/2007): “It’s a runaway process that rapidly blackens dusted regions in a matter of a few to a few tens of million years – just a blink of an eye in geologic terms” (05/05/2008).  Taking an upper limit of 50 million years as “a few tens” shows how fast a blink that is.  The entire process would have taken just one percent the assumed age of the solar system (4.5 billion years) – one yard on a timeline the length of a football field.

What Emily didn’t mention is that a significant quantity of ice escapes Iapetus during each 30-year orbit.  There should not be any left after billions of years: in fact, even with generous estimates of the original ice, scientists can only make it last for 1/3 of the solar system’s assumed age (05/05/2008).  The article also mentioned the possibility of rings around Rhea (which shouldn’t exist, 03/10/2008), and the possible detection of plasma around Dione and Tethys, which also should not exist (04/18/2007, 06/16/2007).  These are much more significant actual findings and should have been more newsworthy than tantalizing speculations about life under Enceladus.  For a catalog of age problems throughout the solar system, see the “Resource of the Week” described below.
    To call water, nitrogen, ammonia, propane and acetylene “the stuff of life” is so lame, it’s downright comatose (see online book).  One might as well say that protons and electrons are the stuff of life.  If so, the sun has the stuff of life, too.  Let’s see if Sky and Telescope will add this caption to its next cover story on the sun: “Does this star harbor sunbathers?”  One can only hope that in the next issue’s letters to the editor, astute readers will give editor Robert Naeye a lecture for stooping to titillation to sell copy.
Next headline on:  Solar SystemDating MethodsOrigin of LifeMediaDumb Ideas
Is the solar system billions of years old?  Did it form naturally from a spinning gas cloud?  You may have been told that, but Spike Psarris has accumulated an eye-opening catalog of problems with secular theories of the solar system in his new DVD documentary, What You Aren’t Being Told About Astronomy: Volume 1, Our Created Solar System.  Psarris, an engineer with graduate work in physics, says he went into the military space program as an atheist and evolutionist, but came out a Christian and young-earth creationist (see Creation Wiki).  His new DVD, available on a new website CreationAstronomy, tours the entire solar system and uncovers dozens of problems with the standard billions-of-years, emergence-of-design-out-of-debris picture.  Of particular interest are his references to secular astronomers’ “rescuing devices” for saving their evolutionary theories from the data – especially the ever-ready solution to everything, asteroid impacts.  Mr. Psarris speaks with clarity and accuracy as he narrates your tour of the planets.  The video is amply adorned with stunning images from the space program.  You can watch two chapters (20 minutes) of this attractive video on CreationAstronomy and order the entire 105-minute DVD for $19.

Missing Links Found: Walking Seal, Teen Tyrannosaur   04/23/2009    
April 23, 2009 — Science news media are abuzz with reports that two missing links have been found.  One is a fossil seal (pinniped) with four legs, the other a smaller presumed ancestor of the famous Tyrannosaurus rex.

  1. SealNational Geographic News calls it a seal with arms, and features artwork of an otter-like animal doing a kind of dog paddle with webbed fingers on the way to becoming flippers.  The BBC News announced, “Missing link fossil seal walked,” and said “the 23 million-year-old proto-seal would have walked on land and swum in fresh water.”  The discoverers named it Puijila darwini in honor of Charles Darwin, “who wrote with his usual prescience, ‘A strictly terrestrial animal, by occasionally hunting for food in shallow water, then in streams or lakes, might at last be converted into an animal so thoroughly aquatic as to brave the open ocean.’”
        Analysis of the paper in Nature revealed several problems with these claims.1  For one, it’s not news.  Another fossil from Europe, Potamotherium, is very similar in body proportions to this one, and no one was claiming that was a missing link to pinnipeds.  Another problem is that the authors’ own phylogeny chart shows this animal as a contemporary with Potamotherium and Enaliarctos, the oldest known pinniped fossils, which already had flippers and the body proportions of modern seals.  In fact, the “more highly derived” pinniped Enaliarctos dates to the Oligocene, the period prior to the Miocene in which Puijila was discovered, “and not long before a significant radiation of other early marine pinnipeds.”  This seems to represent an abrupt appearance of fully-flippered pinnipeds alongside if not before the appearance of Puijila.  If anything, Puijila represents an extinct sister lineage of extant seals.  “Puijila itself appears to be a relict stem pinniped,” the authors stated in the paper.  A third problem is that these sister fossils are found from different parts of the world.  Puijila was found in the Arctic near Greenland, Potamotherium in Europe, and Enaliarctos on the northwest shores of North America.  It seems implausible these contemporaneous creatures migrated to such distant parts of the world on their evolutionary path.  Finally, other mammals were found in the lake bed habitat: a rabbit, a shrew, an artiodactyl and a rhinoceros.  None of them seemed to be evolving into swimmers to adapt to the aquatic habitat.
        The discoverers of a new fossil often have a difficult time classifying it.  That was the case here: “Taken together,” they said after describing the bones, “the dental, cranial and postcranial characters of Puijila suggest that a phylogenetic analysis including Amphicticeps shackelfordi, Potamotherium valletoni and Enaliarctos would be appropriate.”  This is usually followed by some tweaking and fitting of the animal into a phylogenetic tree.  They chose to run a parsimony analysis using PAUP software (Phylogenetic Analysis Using Parsimony), version 4.10b.  It gave them a cladogram based on the eight most “parsimonious” trees.  The software also avoided an undesirable processing artifact called “long branch attraction” that often doesn’t yield the desired evolutionary relationships – suggesting that a fair amount of subjectivity entered into the conclusions; after all, nature may not be so parsimonious at times.  Even then, the resulting tree did not suggest any kind of ancestral relationship between the three stem lineages, one of which was already a “more highly derived” pinniped from earlier in the fossil record.
        It seems the authors got a little carried away with the missing-link interpretation in an effort to patch up an embarrassing gap.  “With Enaliarctos considered the earliest pinniped, there exists a major transformational gap between a terrestrial ancestor and the appearance of flippered pinnipeds,” they admitted in the introduction.  “Indeed, most studies of pinniped relationships and evolution do not consider the critical first evolutionary stages that ultimately gave rise to this successful group of marine carnivores.”  Enter Puijila, a “small mammalian carnivore,” to the rescue: “Puijila is a morphological intermediate in the land-to-sea transition of pinnipeds and provides new evidence concerning the evolution and biogeography of the earliest pinnipeds.”  Notice they said morphological intermediate, not temporal intermediate.  Sisters do not ancestors make.
        Nevertheless, the news media overlooked these problems and hyped the “missing link” angle, aided by the artwork, movies, audio files, Flash multimedia and Powerpoint slides provided by the authors.  National Geographic News announced “Evolution at Work” in the Arctic, the new “hotbed of evolution.”  Andrea Thompson, senior writer for Live Science, was swept off her feet.  She announced, “Walking Seal Called Missing Link in Evolution” and quoted the senior author saying, “This discovery supports the hypothesis that the Arctic may have been a geographic center in pinniped evolution.”  Like the authors of the paper in Nature, Thompson decorated her triumphant article with the imprimatur of Darwin (see quote above), suggesting his prediction has now been vindicated.
  2. Tyrannosaur:  The news media are also celebrating a missing link of T. rex.  The BBC News announced, “Ancestor of T rex found in China” and used the suggestive evolutionary catch-phrase “missing link.”  Similarly, Live Science said the new fossil “Fills Evolutionary Gap.”  What was found?
        The original paper was published in the Proceedings B of the Royal Society.2  Makovichy et al named their new ornithomimosaur Beishanlong grandis.  Initially, it might seem odd that the ancestor of a North American giant was vacationing in China, but the authors noted that strange evolutionary things were going on there and then.  The five-foot-tall creature that is said to have lived 125 million years ago “provides evidence for the parallel evolution of gigantism in separate lineages of beaked and possibly herbivorous coelurosaurs within a short time span in Central Asia.  Clearly, size matters, and China was the place to be if you wanted to evolve or perish.
        The skeleton was not complete.  No head was found.  Only a scapula and parts of the legs and arms from two individuals were available for study.  It appears one of them was a juvenile, since growth rings show it was still growing when it died.
        The usual forcing and fitting into an evolutionary tree was conducted.  These authors relied on a “strict consensus of the results of a larger analysis of 293 characters in 72 theropod taxa conducted with the program TNT.”  The new fossil has many similarities to another named Harpymimus.  Since no one can observe the lifestyle of extinct creatures, nor the morphological developmental changes during their growth (think of flatfish), nor the range of variation within species, there is inherent subjectivity in their classification from fossils alone.  To see this subjectivity in the original language, consider this paragraph (focus on the reasoning, not the technical terms):
    Beishanlong and Harpymimus are very similar throughout the preserved skeletal parts common to both, although many of these traits are plesiomorphic [i.e., prior to the last common ancestor].  Both retain ginglymous distal articulations on metacarpal I (inferred from phalanx I-1 in Beishanlong), a deep ligament pit on metacarpal III and a strongly curved pollex claw, but straighter claws on other digits.  Both taxa possess a subarctometatarsal foot with the diaphysis of metatarsal III pinched dorsally and exhibits a wedge-like exposure on the ankle, although this condition persists in Garudimimus (Kobayashi 2005) and the feet of Pelecanimimus and Shenzhousaurus are unknown.  Of considerable interest in this regard is the keeled condition of two of the caudal vertebrae of Beishanlong and the near-keeled condition of caudal vertebrae in a juvenile ornithomimosaur specimen possibly referable to Harpymimus (Y. Kobayashi 2002, unpublished data).  In the latter specimen (IGM 100/960910KD), the preserved caudals bear relatively taller neural spines and transverse processes compared with the mid-caudals of Beishanlong, so it is possible that the lack of haemal groove may be related to their position in the caudal series rather than representing a taxonomic difference.  Although mid-caudal vertebrae of Garudimimus are unknown, those of other ornithomimosaurs do not exhibit a ventral midline keel or keel-like anatomy, so this trait could represent a possible synapomorphy [i.e., trait present in the last common ancestor] uniting Beishanlong and Harpymimus as sister taxa.
    (Read this Cladistics reference article about the terms and decisions paleontologists make.)  It is evident that the skeleton does not jump out and announce its ancestry.  Presumably other researchers, with other software and other outgroups and other lists of taxa to include, could arrive at different conclusions.  This team chose to emphasize the differences between the new fossil and the older one – though they mentioned that theirs was from an actively growing subadult, and the other was from a mature individual.  And lest anyone believe evolutionary trends are straightforwardly apparent in the fossil record, they examined various lines of evidence that “suggest that this lineage did not follow a directional trend of body-size evolution such as has recently been shown for some paravian lineages.”  In biology, real data are messy.  One other surprise was noted: “It is remarkable that such body-size shifts in three different coelurosaurian lineages are so tightly clustered geographically and stratigraphically.”  Was something else going on?
        And where did the tyrannosaur missing link idea come from?  The authors did not draw that conclusion in their paper.  In fact, they said, “The holotype of Beishanlong co-occurs with therizinosauroids, hadrosauroids, turtles and tyrannosauroids in the lower mesic faces of Xinminpu Group..., and a strong and remarkably invariant degree of faunal association between these particular clades persists in mesic environments throughout the Cretaceous....”  Here again, if tyrannosauroids were living alongside this creature, it seems unwarranted for the BBC News and Live Science to call Beishanlong an ancestor to T. rex.  Linguists might note with interest that the suffix “-long” in Chinese means “dragon.”

1.  Natalia Rybczynski, Mary R. Dawson, and Richard H. Tedford, Nature 458, 1021-1024 (23 April 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature07985.
2.  Makovichy et al, “A giant ornithomimosaur from the Early Cretaceous of China,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Published online before print April 22, 2009, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2009.0236.
We need to coin a new law of nature: evolutionary hype is inversely proportional to the empirical data available.  Write in your suggestion for the person whose name should grace this law.  The Darwiniacs went into a frenzy inventing ways to take a few millimeters of bone here, or a slight proportion there, into trinkets to offer their idol, Charles Darwin.
    You should know that Creation-Evolution Headlines strives to give each scientist a fair hearing.  Scanning the hyperbole in the headlines, the initial reaction was to think, “Well, it seems the Darwinians may have scored some points.”  Unlike the majority of lay people who lack the time, patience and access to the original papers to investigate the grounds for the claims, we take the time and show you, in their own words, how solid it is.  As you can see, the grand picture looks more like a hologram, full of light and color, but low on substance, or like the shadows of a man’s hand making animal silhouettes projected onto hundred-foot monsters of shadow and light on the walls of a skyscraper.
    You saw what they did: assume evolution, observe a fact, and make up a story to fit the fact into the assumption of evolution.  That’s how they always do it.  Nothing about these discoveries jumps up and says, “Charlie was right!”  Even a young-earth creationist paleontologist would have no heartburn over this.  You could take living animals – a skunk, an otter, a beaver and a seal – and arrange them into a phylogenetic tree.  One little detail we found in their own tree was that they used the same shape for Puijila, Potamotherium and an outlier unrelated to them all.  What kind of evolution is that?  The dinosaur fossil storytellers had even less data to connect their scattered bones with the headlines.
    As usual, the original papers are full of uncomfortable little details that undermine their story.  The damages are glossed over with highfalutin euphemisms, ad-hoc stories, and promises that it will all become clear someday in the future.  This is how Darwinian science is done.  Hire an artist to do a little visualization for you, give it to the press, and they will be overjoyed to dish it out to the masses as proof that King Charles is still on the throne.  The peasants are revolting because the King’s protectors are so revolting.
Next headline on:  FossilsMammalsDinosaursDarwin
  Hot rod enthusiasts will enjoy the 04/30/2005 entry about the V6 engines inside you.  If thinking about this gives your brain mental exhaust, take a break for Miller Time (04/22/2005). 

Publish Your Kooky Idea   04/22/2009    
April 22, 2009 — Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute has a solution for sorting science from pseudoscience: publish.  In the weekly SETI article for April 16 on Space.com, he said he gets lots of wacky theories in the mail and email.  What’s the best way to sift through claims and find the gems?  Publication.
    Shostak acknowledged that science cannot pre-empt ideas that seem wacky, because “just about every new theory appears wacko at birth.”  If proponents of new ideas would publish them, others could kick them around and evaluate them.  Novel ideas do not even need to be published in refereed journals, he said, though that would be best.  Supporting evidence also helps.  “But no matter what your opinion of your hypothesis might be, if you hope for someone to fly you to Stockholm and hand you a check, don’t just call me up and lay out your case,” he said.  “Do something better: write it up and tell the world.”
    Shostak made a couple of references to Darwinian evolution.  “Charles Darwin not only had an idea; he had a book full of data – examples from finches to whales – that supported his idea,” he said.  That might have won him Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week by itself, but this line clinched it: “Aliens didn’t engineer our species.  The evolution of DNA did.”

You can count on Seth to deliver up a good mix of sound logic, colorful phraseology, glittering generalities and Darwin-hugging baloney.  That’s why he so often wins our coveted SEQOTW prize.  Let’s think about his claim for a minute.  Publishing the answer?  This will separate science from pseudoscience?  Apparently he has not looked at the stacks of wacko stuff printed by crackpots.  Publishing presumably includes the internet.  Again, the wackos are doing quite well there.
    So is the answer peer review?  “If possible,” he said, “it’s best to publish in a refereed journal, of course.  That will give your revelation the sheen of peer review.”  He recognizes one of the drawbacks: “Sure, this is daunting to non-established researchers who figure that these journals are the exclusive domain of the tried and tenured.  But they are the conduit of serious science.”  So let’s suppose that Kuhn was right, and the old guard, protecting the paradigm, are not quite interested in welcoming new paradigms.  You get a protected enclave that challengers cannot hope to enter.  The rulers of the enclave also get to define what constitutes “serious science.”
    No one argues that crackpots are a problem; just listen to late-night radio sometime, or sample all the health-food panaceas out there.  But no philosopher of science has ever defined demarcation criteria that can keep the bad stuff out while keeping the good stuff in.  Publishing as a criterion is certainly not going to work.  Let’s take Darwinism vs Intelligent Design (ID) as an example.  Has ID published its work?  Absolutely.  There are stacks of scholarly works by a wide variety of credentialed scientists and philosophers (check the book catalog at ARN for samples).
    Peer review, then?  There are some ID papers in the journals, actually a lot if you include papers on biomimetics (05/13/2006) and ones that mention design principles without being too overt about the implications.  But the refereed journals pre-empt any publication tainted with the ID catch-phrases “intelligent design” or “irreducible complexity.”  So it’s a catch-22 for the ID scientist: he’s not a “serious scientist” unless he publishes in a peer-reviewed journal, but the old guard of the Darwin Party blocks entry and sets the rules of serious science to be un-creation and un-design by definition.  On the flip side, Darwinist publishers enjoy full access to ply their storytelling trade, no matter how silly or vacuous (05/02/2003 commentary).  Please spend a few hours clicking through our Darwin chain links if you need evidence.  Without the CEH cops on the prowl they would get away with it (09/30/2007 commentary).
    One wonders if Seth sees the three fingers pointing back at him when he accuses the wackos.  If he were really a serious scientist, would he be spending his time looking for aliens no one has ever seen?  Should he call himself a scientist when George Gaylord Simpson called exobiology a science without a subject?  Would he be employing intelligent design principles in his work and then denying ID is scientific (12/03/2005)?  We also wonder if Nobel laureate Francis Crick, who propounded panspermia, might have been a little miffed at him for calling it a trippy insight, outside the mainstream, to believe the following: “Aliens came to Earth a long time ago to engineer a new species, and Homo sapiens is the product.”  Go ahead Mr Shostak; publish and perish: perish the thought that publishing perishable thoughts will keep serious science imperishable.
Next headline on:  SETIDarwinDumb Ideas
Evolving Complexity   04/21/2009    
April 21, 2009 — Anyone analyzing a scientific explanation should evaluate whether it explains the phenomenon or explains it away.  For instance, to say that bats have sonar because they evolved it provides little in the way of understanding of how or why that happened.  Recently, some scientific papers have directly addressed the topic of complex systems in biology.  How good a job are they doing at explaining complexity in an evolutionary context?
  1. Very interesting:  Ross and Arkin, in the lead article for a special issue on complex systems in PNAS,1 started this way: “There is great interest in complex systems in chemistry, biology, engineering, physics, and gene networks, among others.  The complexity comes from the fact that in many systems there are a large number of variables, many connections among the variables including feedback loops, and many, usually nonlinear, equations of motion, or kinetic and transport equations.”  Shortly later, they said, “Nowhere is the importance of complex dynamics and architectures clearer than in biological systems.”  Then they summarized the various papers in the issue: “Topics range from information processing in their signaling network and the organization of their metabolism, to how populations of differentiated cells communicate with one another to coordinate behavior, and to how evolution has arrived at different recurrent motifs of control and linked together different physiological functions.”
        The reader will look in vain, however, for any further mention of the word evolution in Ross and Arkin’s article.  Each summary describes the characteristics of complexity in living systems, such as signal transduction, correlating metabolic flux measurements with functions, and the expressions of genes in networks.  The word design outnumbers evolution three to one: for example, “The boundaries between phenotypic regions yield a method for discussion of the tolerance of a system to large changes of its parameters and the identification of design principles.”
  2. Unsolved mystery.  Perhaps the most pertinent recent paper on the evolution of complex systems appeared February in PLoS Biology.2  It’s title sets the stage: “Wings, Horns, and Butterfly Eyespots: How Do Complex Traits Evolve?”  Antonio Monteiro and Ondrej Podlaha set the stage by assuming evolution:
    Throughout their evolutionary history, organisms have evolved numerous complex morphological, physiological, and behavioral adaptations to increase their chances of survival and reproduction.  Insects have evolved wings and flight, which allowed them to better disperse, beetles have grown horns to fight over females, and moths and butterflies have decorated their wings with bright circles of colored scales to scare off predators.  The way that most of these and other adaptations first evolved, however, is still largely unknown.  In the last two decades we have learned that novel traits appear to be built using old genes wired in novel ways, but it is still a mystery whether these novel traits evolve when genes are rewired de novo, one at a time, into new developmental networks, or whether clusters of pre-wired genes are co-opted into the development of the new trait.  The speed of evolution of novel complex traits is likely to depend greatly on which of these two mechanisms underlies their origin.  It is important, thus, to understand how novel complex traits evolve.
    Their presentation is like the chef who offers two choices on the menu: fish sticks, or fish cubes.  Both mechanisms they offered to explain complex systems were fully evolutionary.  Either the animals evolved their wings, horns and eyespots de novo, or they co-opted the equipment from previous complex systems with other functions and applied them in new ways.  They seem to like co-option better.  “Creating a developmental program de novo would involve linking many genes one-by-one, requiring each mutation to drift into fixation, or to confer some selective advantage at every intermediate step in order to spread in the population,” they said in the Darwinian spirit.  “While this lengthy process is not completely unlikely, it could be circumvented with fewer steps by recruiting a top regulator of an already existing gene network, i.e., by means of gene network co-option.”  The rest of the paper leaned toward this approach, since it apparently requires fewer miracles, as long as one accepts the prime miracle of the “already existing gene network.”
        It’s interesting that this paper appeared the month of the 200th birthday of Darwin in the category “Unsolved Mystery.”  Articles in the Unsolved Mystery series, the heading explained, “discuss a topic of biological importance that is poorly understood and in need of research attention.”  One might think that this is the very mystery Darwin solved 150 years ago.  Monteiro and Podlaha made it look like evolutionary biologists are still at square one: “There is still much to do in order to fully understand how novel complex traits evolve,” their final paragraph began, before giving a final plug to their favored gene network co-option hypothesis.  Their paper did little more, though, than offer an experimental framework for distinguishing innovation from co-option.  Then they said, “This work is difficult and time consuming, but the question at its core—the genetic origin of new and complex traits—is probably still one of the most pertinent and fundamental unanswered questions in evolution today.
  3. In the beginning, Genetics:  A specific example of evolutionary theory applied to a complex system may shed light on the effectiveness of evolutionary explanations.  Michael Rosbash attempted to explain biological circadian clocks in PLoS Biology last month.3  His article, “The Implications of Multiple Circadian Clock Origins,” started with a take-off on the Genesis creation story.  “In the beginning... Genetics has had an awesome impact on our understanding of basic processes like circadian rhythms,” he teased.  But understanding how the clocks emerged is a different matter.  Circadian clocks exist in cyanobacteria and maybe earlier: “These relationships indicate that a similar, basic clock mechanism was present in a common ancestor, before the separation of insects and mammals more than 500 million years ago,” he noted.  “Some argue that the relationship of basic clock mechanism and proteins extends to Neurospora, which would push back the common ancestor date even further.”
        Rosbash noted the differences between the circadian clock systems of cyanobacteria and those of mammals.  This could either mean the function emerged early in the evolution of life, or that it arose twice: “the strong suggestion is that circadian rhythms have arisen at least twice, once in an ancestor of present-day cyanobacteria and then again in an ancestor of animals.”  While we’re speculating, let’s up the ante: “More than two evolutionary origins are also possible, as the different set of plant circadian proteins may indicate a third independent origin” (though he doubts this actually happened).
        So how did these complex systems evolve?  He appealed to selective advantages.  “Finally, what were the original selective advantages, the driving forces, for the origins/development of rhythms in the eukaryotic and bacterial systems?” he asked.  It appears that living cyanobacteria and mammals make good use of diurnal cycles and timekeeping to regulate their motions.  In the end, though, all he could do was speculate: “So although circadian transcription may not be essential for some cyanobacterial timekeeping features, its temporal organization may have provided a progenitor with a sufficient selective advantage to drive the development of rhythms.”  He almost attributed purpose and will to the ancestors.  Don’t most orchestrators work on purpose with a design and a plan?  In a “photosynthetic progenitor of current-day cyanobacteria,” he imagined that transcription factors “developed the capacity to orchestrate transcription in response to the ever-present light–dark cycle, and eventually to anticipate that cycle in a transcription- and even light-independent manner.”
        He ended by speculating that DNA repair mechanisms (involving multiple complex systems) linked light cycles to emerging clock systems: “Given the important role played by signal transduction in DNA repair, the relationship of DNA damage and repair to rhythms may have additional explanatory power, namely, the origin of circadian kinases.”
Explanatory power – that is the question.  To what extent does speculative appeal to imaginary ancestors, comparisons between functioning gene networks, and the assumption of the creative power of natural selection provide explanatory power for the origin of these systems?
1.  John Ross and Adam P. Arkin, “Complex systems: From chemistry to systems biology,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, published online before print April 20, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0903406106.
2.  Antonio Monteiro and Ondrej Podlaha, “Wings, Horns, and Butterfly Eyespots: How Do Complex Traits Evolve?” Public Library of Science: Biology, Vol. 7, No. 2, e37 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000037.
3.  Michael Rosbash, “The Implications of Multiple Circadian Clock Origins,” Public Library of Science: Biology, Vol. 7, No. 3, e62 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000062.
The tricks the Darwinians play should be obvious.  Over and over, evolution is the assumption, not the explanation: it evolved because it evolved.  Some PhD biochemist with a good grasp of philosophy of science and good baloney detecting skills should grab that second paper by Monterio and Podlaha and make it a poster child of the emptiness of evolutionary explanations.  Here, on the 200th birthday of the guy who made evolution famous, who supposedly explained everything, so that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution, they had nothing to offer but unsolved mysteries, just-so stories, miracles and futureware.  It’s disgusting.  And remember – just last month there was a huge uproar in Texas about whether students should be able to learn the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolutionary theory.  Now you understand why the NCSE was so up in arms.  Teaching those things in their actual proportions would require a whole semester on the weaknesses, and a nanosecond on the strengths.
    The news media, the school boards, the textbook writers and the courts are all resting on the quicksand of assumption that our academic labs are daily providing the solid evidence for Darwin’s theory needed to make it the sole dogma of the culture.  Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, Creation-Evolution Headlines has been bringing you the Darwin Party’s very best evidence.  We take you down under the superstructure, the gigantic monument to Darwin that pervades our culture, so that you can see the rotting pilings in quicksand on which it rests.  Would you want to trust it with your life?
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyDarwinian Evolution
Teeth Resist Cracking   04/20/2009    
April 20, 2009 — Here’s a story to share with your dentist.  You can crack a tooth, but it takes a lot of force.  This should be surprising, since tooth enamel is as brittle as glass.  The way the enamel develops, researchers found, absorbs excess energy and gives your teeth an extraordinary crack resistance.
    “Human enamel is brittle,” begins an article on Science Daily.  “Like glass, it cracks easily; but unlike glass, enamel is able to contain cracks and remain intact for most individuals’ lifetimes.
    Researchers at George Washington University found, surprisingly, a function for mistakes (or what might be mistakenly thought of as mistakes).  During tooth development, tiny imperfections called tufts form.  The tufts allow cracks to develop from the inside, not the surface, where they might otherwise form sites for decay.  “Acting together like a forest of small flaws, tufts suppress the growth of these cracks by distributing the stress amongst themselves.”  They found even more functions for these slight imperfections:
“This is the first time that enigmatic developmental features, such as enamel tufts, have been shown to have any significance in tooth function” said GW researcher Paul Constantino.  “Crack growth is also hampered by the ‘basket weave’ microstructure of enamel, and by a ‘self-healing’ process whereby organic material fills cracks extended from the tufts, which themselves also become closed by organic matter.  This type of infilling bonds the opposing crack walls, which increases the amount of force required to extend the crack later on.”
So it appears that the tooth is engineered to grow even stronger against cracking over time.  The team found strong resemblances between the teeth of sea otters and humans in these self-healing characteristics.
Did this article mention evolution?  Yes! — but not in the way you might be expecting.  No just-so story here.  Get this: “This research evolved as part of an interdisciplinary collaboration between anthropologists from The George Washington University and physical scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md.  The team studied tooth enamel in humans and also sea otters, mammals with teeth showing remarkable resemblances to those of humans.”  That’s intelligent design, folks!  It was guided by human curiosity and following the evidence where it leads.  This is bound to cause some tooth grinding in the halls of the NCSE.
Next headline on:  Human BodyAmazing Facts
  Why do moose have those long, funny-looking noses?  Find out in this 04/28/2004 entry.  Evolutionists get upset when Darwin doesn’t get credit for animal engineering (04/28/2004).

An essential prerequisite for evaluating scientific claims is to know what science is.  Surprisingly, few working scientists or lay people give it much thought.  They tend to equate findings made by “the scientific method” (whatever that is) as truth.  There is nothing better than a course in philosophy of science to unmask the pretensions of some scientists.  One of the best secular introductions to this topic is a series of 36 half-hour lectures on Philosophy of Science by Dr. Jeffrey L. Kasser of Colorado State University, produced by The Teaching Company.  Dr. Kasser’s lecture style is relaxed and yet precise, punctuated with pithy illustrations.  You will learn to question assumptions big time!  What do we mean by evidence?  What constitutes a scientific explanation?  How do we separate science from pseudoscience?  What is a law of science?  Dr. Kasser is not a creationist, and does not criticize Darwinism, but he uncovers so many questions about even common sense assumptions, you will wonder how science can prove anything – like “all copper conducts electricity” – let alone the belief that all life descended from a common ancestor.  As a bonus, you also get a mini-course in 20th century history of science.  You learn about Popper, Kuhn, the logical positivists, scientific realism, Bayesian analysis, probability and other schools of thought that have tried to justify science’s presumptive authority over other modes of inquiry.  This course will make you think hard.  It should be a prerequisite for anyone who wishes to analyze the creation-evolution debate.  Without an understanding of the rules of the game, the arguments on both sides are likely to be unfocused and uninformed.  Prediction: you will rewind often and listen to it more than once.  If the prediction comes true, was that a good scientific theory?
Note: the course goes on sale at 75% off once in awhile, so be on the lookout for the lower price.  You can buy it on CDs or DVDs, or just download the whole thing in convenient MP3 files for listening in the car or while taking a walk (most of it works fine in audio format).

How Valid Is Computerized Dinosaur Reconstruction?   04/18/2009    
April 18, 2009 — Can you reconstruct a dinosaur on a computer?  Of course you can.  The question is how accurate it reflects something no one has ever seen.  Live Science told about Peter Falkingham at the University of Manchester who is using “genetic algorithms” and simulating evolution to figure out how dinosaurs walked.
    A dinosaur’s gait doesn’t just jump out of the bones.  Even if you have a whole skeleton, there’s a lot of uncertainty if you don’t know where the muscles attached and how long they were.  Falkingham models different attachment points in his computer and sees if they allow the animal to walk.  “Initial attempts to randomly decipher which pattern of muscle activation works best result almost always in the animal falling on its face,” he explained to Live Science.  Assuming falling headlong was not their normal behavior, Falkingham let the algorithms “evolve” such that a computerized T. rex, for instance, could enjoy a good life.  The genetic algorithms employed “can alter themselves and evolve, and so run pattern after pattern until they get improvements,” reporter Charles Q. Choi explained.  Both scientist and reporter think they are simulating evolution:

Eventually, they evolve a pattern of muscle activation with a stable gait and the dinosaur can walk, run, chase or graze, Falkingham said.  Assuming natural selection evolves the best possible solution as well, the modeled animal should move similar to its now extinct counterpart.  Indeed, they have achieved similar top speeds and gaits with computer versions of humans, emus and ostriches as in reality.
Combining the computer model with data from dinosaur tracks can help present a unified picture of dinosaur life – as long as one takes into account the difficulties in interpreting tracks:
The problem with tracks is that they can be very hard to interpret, as the number of variables involved with how tracks form “is staggering,” Falkingham explained.  “Is the sediment made of tiny clay particles that stick together, or larger sand particles that roll over?  What is the water content, which can help particles stick together, but if you put in too much, it pushes particles apart?  What is the strength, elasticity and compressibility of the soil?  And what happens when you have layers of sediment?  The impressions left behind at lower layers can be very different from the ones left on the surface.
    Physically recreating each potential scenario with a real box of mud is extraordinarily time-consuming and difficult to repeat accurately, so this is where computer simulation comes in.
Running hundreds of simulations with supercomputers produces workable solutions – and surprises.  Falkingham discovered another dubious assumption about tracks made by webbed feet:
Sometimes the experiments can throw up unexpected results.  Falkingham added.  For instance, when he was once simulating wet, sloppy mud to see how an extinct bird walked – findings that could shed light on how birds evolved from dinosaurs – once the result was a webbed footprint, even though the foot itself was not webbed.  The virtual soil had been pushed up between the toes, before collapsing into a platform-like structure that, in a fossil track, could be interpreted as the impression left by a webbed foot.
    The soft parts of animals, such as webbing, only rarely gets preserved as fossil, so much of the evidence for the evolutionary history of webbed-footed-birds comes from tracks, Falkingham said.  These results call for careful reinterpretation of webbed footprints.
Falkingham is working next on modeling four-footed dinosaurs.  Readers can make their own assessments of the scientific validity of virtual dinosaurs walking on virtual soil in a virtual world.
Computer simulations confer degrees of probability – not certainty – on their conclusions.  Presumably, the model gains credibility points if it can accurately simulate the stride and tracks of a living bird or animal.  Even so, the problem of underdetermination of theories by data always leaves room for possibilities that a working model contains flaws that cancel each other out, or were rigged to guarantee the result a theory needed.  These and other problems mean that models cannot be extrapolated carelessly into unknown cases.
    Falkingham and Choi won Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week not for trying to understand dinosaur physics, but for “Assuming natural selection evolves the best possible solution” for anything, and for assuming their findings “could shed light on how birds evolved from dinosaurs.”  Any scientist who assumes that chance plus natural law could find a solution to anything is not thinking straight.  They might just as well assume that chance and natural law evolved the supercomputer that ran their genetic algorithms.  That’s artificial (intelligently-designed) selection, not natural selection.  Waltzing over assumptions is a sure way to fall on one’s face in logical mud.
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Geophysical King Dethroned?   04/17/2009    
April 17, 2009 — There’s been a quiet revolution in geophysics.  Richard Kerr asked in Science, “Great Oxidation Event Dethroned?”1  The Great Oxidation Event (GOE) is an assumed time before multicellular life appeared when microbes had just learned the secret of photosynthesis and started pumping vast quantities of fresh oxygen into earth’s atmosphere (10/18/2006).  The GOE idea reigned like a monarch till “new laboratory results reported in this issue challenge that mainstream scenario by showing how supposed signs of an early lack of oxygen could have come from unrelated geochemical reactions.”
    Before 2000, the consensus was that “not even a whiff of oxygen was in the air” before the G.O.E. that supposedly took place 2.4 billion years ago.  Then, geochemist James Farquhar of the University of Maryland questioned the assumptions on which studies of sulfur isotopes in rocks inferred the absence of oxygen.  Now, with “results [that] defy all expectations,” some Penn State researchers have re-opened the debate about the arrival of oxygen.  Did the earth have oxygen much earlier?  “This is at least a possibility that we should be thinking about,” one of the researchers cautiously said.
    Not everyone is convinced at this point.  Early oxygen would have made life’s origin nearly impossible.  It would also dethrone a dynasty of geologists who have been speaking of a Great Oxygenation Event that may have never happened.


1.  Richard A. Kerr, “Great Oxidation Event Dethroned?”, Science, 17 April 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5925, p. 321, DOI: 10.1126/science.324.5925.321a.
Evolutionary literature and geological history is filled with mythical Events.  Evolutionists speak of these Events with glib certainty: the Great Oxygenation Event, the Late Heavy Bombardment, the Snowball Earth, the Laramide Orogeny, and dozens of other such phrases that create their own reality simply by capitalizing them and speaking them (09/08/2008).  It’s a name-it-and-claim-it religion.  The evolutionary framework was decided first, and then the Events were invented to fit stages of evolution into a prefabricated timeline that has little to do with verifiable reality.  Every once in awhile one of these Mythical Events, like monarchs allied to King Charles, gets dethroned.  How about a little democracy for a change?  Like Jefferson said (cited by Stan Freberg), we’re tired of this royal jazz.
Next headline on:  GeologyDating MethodsPhysics
Plant Evolution: Where’s the Root?   04/16/2009    
April 16, 2009 — To Darwin, the origin of flowering plants was an “abominable mystery.”  Recently, some entries on Science magazine’s blog Origins have claimed the mystery has been solved, at least partially, and a full solution is near at hand.  Here is a great test case for evolution.  Angiosperms comprise a huge, diverse population of organisms.  There should be an ample fossil record, and many genes to decipher.  Let’s see if the optimistic claims are rooted in evidence. 
  1. Beginning to make sense:  Elizabeth Pennisi wrote for the April 2 blog entry that recent discoveries are “beginning to make sense” of the fossil record of plants, and evolutionists are finding out “how, and when, flowers got started—and from which ancestor.”  The blog entry is a summary of her lengthier essay in Science.1  In the short version, Pennisi concluded with a taste of doubt: “Questions still remain, particularly about the nature and identity of the angiosperm ancestor itself,” she said.  But hope reigns eternal after 150 years: “modern botanists are hopeful that the abominable mystery is well on its way to being solved.
  2. Good news, bad news:  In the lengthier article,1 Pennisi began with a praise for the fantastic angiosperm family that so colors our world.  Almost 9 in 10 plants are angiosperms.  They do a world of good:
    In 1879, Charles Darwin penned a letter to British botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker, lamenting an “abominable mystery” that threw a wrench into his theory of evolution: How did flowering plants diversify and spread so rapidly across the globe?  From rice paddies to orange groves, alpine meadows to formal gardens, prairies to oak-hickory forests, the 300,000 species of angiosperms alive today shape most terrestrial landscapes and much of human life and culture.  Their blooms color and scent our world; their fruits, roots, and seeds feed us; and their biomass provides clothing, building materials, and fuel.
    Then came the hard news:
    And yet this takeover, which took place about 100 million years ago, apparently happened in a blink of geological time, just a few tens of millions of years.
        The father of evolution couldn’t quite fathom it.  Darwin had an “abhorrence that evolution could be both rapid and potentially even saltational,” writes William Friedman in the January American Journal of Botany, which is devoted to this “abominable mystery.”  Throughout his life, Darwin pestered botanists for their thoughts on the matter, but they couldn’t give him much help.
        Now, 130 years later, evolutionary biologists are still pestering botanists for clues about what has made this plant group so successful, as well as when, where, and how flowers got started--and from which ancestor....
    How can Pennisi bounce back to optimism after that?  She did.  She claims new analytical tools, more fossils, and genomic data are converging on the answer, providing “insights that Darwin could never have imagined,” diluting the abominality quotient of his mystery.  After this buildup of hope, though, better prepare for another letdown. 
    But one of Darwin’s mysteries remains: the nature and identity of the angiosperm ancestor itself.  When flowering plants show up in the fossil record, they appear with a bang, with no obvious series of intermediates, as Darwin noted.  Researchers still don’t know which seed- and pollen-bearing organs eventually evolved into the comparable flower parts.  “We’re a bit mystified,” says botanist Michael Donoghue of Yale University.  “It doesn’t appear that we can locate a close relative of the flowering plants.”
    It seems the major abominations remain: no ancestor, and no intermediates.  How can Pennisi call this progress?  She investigated some candidate ancestors: magnolias, Amborella trichopoda, water lilies, and Archaefructus (05/03/2002, 02/21/2003).  Each of these, however, had the basic flower-and-seed equipment down.  The only differences were in petals, sepals, and subjective judgments about morphology, such as one species said to have “a primitive look about it.”  And, woe for Archaefructus, it turned out to be too young to be grandpa.  For all the candidates, “These fossils often spark debate because specimens tend to be imperfectly preserved and leave room for interpretation,” she said.  But new techniques with synchrotron radiation are at least bringing the ambiguity into better focus.
        The rest of the article presented more problems.  No one has found the oldest flowers.  No one can connect the gymnosperms (including conifers) with the angiosperms.  Even when they try, “These groups’ perceived relevance to flower evolution and their relationships to angiosperms have ping-ponged between camps, depending on how the evolutionary trees were constructed.”  Theories have waxed and waned in credibility.  An evolutionary botanist admitted, “figuring out what’s homologous is quite a difficult thing.”  A popular “anthophyte hypothesis” from the mid-1980s is dead.  Prepare for more letdown:
    And if the molecular work is correct, then the field doesn't know in which direction to turn, because in most analyses the genetic data don’t place any living plant close to angiosperms.  The angiosperms group together, the living gymnosperms group together, and there’s nothing in between.  “The nonangiosperm ancestor just isn’t there,” says paleobotanist William Crepet of Cornell.  “I’m starting to worry that we will never know, that it transformed without intermediates.
    Since that is tantamount to believing a miracle occurred, Pennisi didn’t want to linger on that comment.  Her next paragraph turned a corner with a triumphant-sounding subheading, “Seeds of Success.”  More bad news, though, was right behind it.  “The exact timing of the angiosperms’ explosion and expansion is under debate, as is the cause,” she continued.  The news has only gotten worse.  Recent molecular clock studies push the angiosperm ancestor even farther back in time.  “There appears to be a gap in the fossil record,” said one researcher.  An astute observation, indeed.  Bang: they appear, and bang: they diversify.  Better call daddy again: “Darwin suspected that coevolution with insect pollinators helped drive diversification, though such a causal relationship is not settled.
        So far Pennisi has not presented one solid foundation for optimism.  Genes didn’t help.  Fossils didn’t help.  Homology didn’t help.  The molecular clock didn’t help.  Why not just assume evolution?  That would get the uncooperative data out of the way.  Maybe plants were just really darn good at inventing things, the evolutionists might say.  Angiosperms evolved because they evolved flexibility that could exploit new ecological niches.  This “set them up for long-term evolutionary success,” Pennisi explained.  She quoted Peter Crane (U of Chicago), who said, “My own view is that in the past, we have looked for one feature,”says Crane.  Now, “we are realizing that this huge diversity is probably the result of one innovation piled on top of another innovation.”  Assume evolution.  Then evolution just happens.
        The rest of the article offered nothing more of substance.  A few more suggestions were offered as tentative, heuristic possibilities.  Evolutionists have found that the genetic toolkit is conserved [i.e., unevolved] all the way back.  Maybe there were differences in how genes were employed.  Avocados, for instance, appear sloppy at differentiating between petals and carpels.  Is this a sign of a less-evolved plant structure?  “This sloppiness may have made development flexible enough to undergo many small changes in expression patterns and functions that helped yield the great diversity in floral forms,” she said, as if running an idea up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes.
        This was the lengthiest article on angiosperm evolution this month, but it consisted of pessimism sandwiched between optimistic hope.  After 29 paragraphs of despair, the only thing left was faith, hope, and love for Darwin. 
    In his letter to Hooker, Darwin wrote that he would like “to see this whole problem solved.”  A decade ago, Crepet thought Darwin would have gotten his wish by now.  That hasn’t happened, but [William] Crepet [Cornell] is optimistic that he and his colleagues are on the right track, as analyses of various kinds of data become more sophisticated.  “We are less likely to go around in circles in the next 10 years,” he says.  “I believe a solution to the problem is within reach.... The mystery is solvable.”
  3. Pennisi update:  A week later, Pennisi wrote a blog entry in Origins announcing that land plant genes have been found in green algae.  This pre-announced the Micromonas genome story reported here 04/13/2009.  Any support here for angiosperm evolution?  No; “No bigger than a bacterium, these minuscule marine eukaryotes have surprisingly sophisticated genomes,” she said.  Problem: this early, “primitive” algae contains genes only found previously in leafy plants.  Those supposedly evolved hundreds of millions of years later:
    Overall, the Micromonas genome is about 21 million bases long, with 10,000 genes, 2000 more than its much more streamlined relative, Ostreococcus, which has already been sequenced, twice.  About 20% of the genes found in Micromonas but not in Ostreococcus are genes generally thought to have evolved only in land plants, not earlier, her team reports.  For example, the team finds that Micromonas has a gene called YABBY, which is missing from other green algae and even moss, and is thought to be related to the development of leafy plants.  Given that leaves don’t exist in these algae, she thinks YABBY must have played another role early in green eukaryotic evolution.
  4. Make like a leaf:  The April 15 entry by David Dilcher in the Origins blog took another angle.  Many of the plant fossils thought to have living counterparts may actually be extinct species.  Improved microscopic techniques are leading some paleontologists to discount the similarity of fossil plants to extant species, even though the macroscopic similarities are striking.  It’s not clear how this helps the story of angiosperm evolution, but Dilcher repeated the Darwin-Hooker story to set the stage.  Darwin’s oft-quoted “abominable mystery” phrase “represents Darwin’s frustration with the paleobotanical record of his time.”  How are things now?
        “With the study of detailed leaf venation and leaf epidermal cell characters, it is clear that many of the earliest flowering plants represent extinct species, extinct genera, extinct families, and perhaps even extinct orders,” he said, referring to a paper of his from 1974.  “This paradigm change has caused a revolution in the study of fossil flowering plants which only in the past 40 years has begun to present a realistic record of extinct flowering plants.”  Realism is always nice to have in science.  Presumably it went missing till the 1970s.  But does the new wave of realism shed light on the abominable mystery of flowering plants?  Dilcher offered a paradigm shift that might give Darwin something to smile about (for a change):
    The success of early paleobotanists depended upon making such matches.  It has taken a philosophical shift in angiosperm paleobotany in order for researchers today to strive to understand relationships between fossil and living plants, based upon detailed characters, rather than feeling the need to find a living genus to which they can name a fossil.  Using character analyses, we now have an emerging new fossil record of flowering plants with many extinct taxa that would have delighted Darwin.  This new record is one he could have understood because it demonstrates the evolution of flowering plants, a major group of organisms on Earth.  We do not yet know all the details, but there is no longer any “abominable mystery” to the origin of flowering plants.
    Let’s attempt to restate this argument.  Look-alike plants from the past may have gone extinct.  Now we have new look-alike plants.  All of them, old and new, have the whole angiosperm package and appear virtually indistinguishable to the untrained eye.  Dilcher didn’t mention any ancestors, or any transitional forms.  It seems Darwin’s delight at this suggestion would be short-lived.
Let’s back up to an earlier epoch and see if evolution does better there.  The first land plants are thought to have colonized land in the mid-Ordovician, but trilete spores, characteristic of vascular plants, appear in the late Silurian.  In today’s issue of Science,2 Steemans et al announced their discovery of trilete spores from the late Ordovician.  This “suggests that vascular plants originated and diversified earlier than previously hypothesized, in Gondwana, before migrating elsewhere and secondarily diversifying.”  Placing complex structures earlier in the fossil record does little to help evolutionary theory, because it compresses the time for innovation.  Notably, they did not discuss how their find helps evolutionary theory.  They hardly discussed evolutionary theory at all.  (Compare a similar story with fossil fish from 03/26/2009.)

1.  Elisabeth Pennisi, “On the Origin of Flowering Plants,” Science, 3 April 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5923, pp. 28-31, DOI: 10.1126/science.324.5923.28.
2.  Steemans et al, “Origin and Radiation of the Earliest Vascular Land Plants,” Science, 17 April 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5925, p. 353, DOI: 10.1126/science.1169659.
Not every reader will want all this tedious detail, but it’s important for showing how the Darwinist tricksters ply their propaganda.  Lack of data has been shielded behind hope: hope in hopeful monsters, like gymnosperm seeds that sprout flowers, and bryophyte spores that sprout vascular systems.  The story is full of miracles (“innovation piled on top of another innovation”) ad infinitum, as if by magic.  They rub their Darwin genie and wish for ancestors and transitional forms that never appear.  They curse the abominable mysteries under their breath, smiling to the media they are really close to solving them.  The only abominable mystery is evolutionary faith.  The only hope-full monsters are the Darwinians.
Next headline on:  PlantsDarwin and EvolutionFossils
  How scientific journals keep the media safe for Darwin: see 11 examples in the 04/17/2007 entry.

Is Darwinism Useful Explaining Cognition?   04/15/2009    
April 15, 2009 — One would think the evolution of mind involves a straightforward account of improving cognition as one progresses up the evolutionary tree.  It’s not so simple, said two researchers in a Nature essay:1 

Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is broadly accepted among biologists, but its implications for the study of cognition are far from clear.  Few within the scientific pale would argue against the proposition that life on Earth has evolved and that this general principle can be extended to the process of thought.  But in taking an evolutionary approach, biologists have tended to assume that species with shared ancestry will have similar cognitive abilities, and that the evolutionary history of traits can be used to reveal how we and other animals perform certain mental tasks.  A closer analysis suggests things aren’t so simple.
Johan Bolhuis, a biologist at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and Clive Wynne, a psychologist at the University of Florida, asked, “Can evolution explain how minds work?”  It’s not that they were denying Darwinism and Darwin’s insights – it’s just that there are no simple evolutionary explanations for the observations, and the explanations provided are not all that helpful in guiding research.  Some birds, for instance, are better at cognitive tasks than chimpanzees.  It appears that convergence is more important than common ancestry and natural selection.
    Don’t we want to understand functions and causes more than some tale of an animal’s evolutionary history, anyway?  These questions are intertwined, they claimed; “It is unclear, however, what an analysis of the evolutionary history of cognitive behaviours could add to our understanding of how they work, even if such an analysis were possible.”  So it’s not only incredibly difficult to come up with an evolutionary analysis, it’s not clear it would help.  Their conclusion warns against Darwinist naïveté:
We are not suggesting an abandonment of Darwin’s insights.  Rather, we call for care in their application.  When reconstructing the evolutionary history of cognitive traits, there is no a priori reason to assume that convergence will be more important than common descent or vice versa.  In addition, evolutionary theory may suggest hypotheses about the mechanisms of cognition, but it cannot be used to actually study these mechanisms.
    As long as researchers focus on identifying human-like behaviour in other animals, the job of classifying the cognition of different species will be forever tied up in thickets of arbitrary nomenclature that will not advance our understanding of the mechanisms of cognition.  For comparative psychology to progress, we must study animal and human minds empirically, without naive evolutionary presuppositions.

1.  Johan J. Bolhuis and Clive D. L. Wynne, “Can evolution explain how minds work?”, Nature 458, 832-833 (16 April 2009) | doi:10.1038/458832a.
Can anyone find a reason in this article to waste precious scientific resources on evolutionary explanations?  Rescuing Eugenie Scott and Ken Miller from embarrassment doesn’t count.  A little red flush would look becoming (11/03/2006 commentary).  They could use a change of face (03/03/2009 commentary).  About face.
Next headline on:  Human BodyMammalsBirds
Better Solar Cells with Diatoms   04/14/2009    
April 14, 2009 — Let’s start with the operative quote before the subject matter: “Nature is the engineer, not high tech tools.  This is providing a more efficient, less costly way to produce some of the most advanced materials in the world.”  OK, now the subject: how to build better solar cells, by imitating diatoms.  See the story on Science Daily.
    The tiny pores in the silica tests (cases) of diatoms are very efficient at scattering light.  “These tiny, single-celled marine life forms have existed for at least 100 million years and are the basis for much of the life in the oceans,” the article said, assuming the evolutionary timeline, “but they also have rigid shells that can be used to create order in a natural way at the extraordinarily small level of nanotechnology.”
    Researchers at Oregon State (OSU) have found a way to not just imitate the diatoms, but actually incorporate them.  “The new system is based on living diatoms, which are extremely small, single-celled algae, which already have shells with the nanostructure that is needed,” the press release says.  “They are allowed to settle on a transparent conductive glass surface, and then the living organic material is removed, leaving behind the tiny skeletons of the diatoms to form a template.”  Presto: a solar cell with better efficiency than those hard-to-manufacture ones.  It’s cheaper, easier, and better: “Steps that had been difficult to accomplish with conventional methods have been made easy through the use of these natural biological systems, using simple and inexpensive materials” that are already available in abundance.
    The researchers don’t even understand the physics.  They just know it works: “the tiny holes in diatom shells appear to increase the interaction between photons and the dye to promote the conversion of light to electricity, and improve energy production in the process.”
    That’s good news to a world looking for green ways to extract energy from renewable resources.
The evolutionary timeline and historical fluff was really unnecessary.  It just added a little humor here and there to a serious – and wonderful – application of biomimetic research.  Nothing in biomimetics makes sense except in the light of design.
Next headline on:  BiomimeticsMarine BiologyPhysicsAmazing Facts
Is Horizontal Gene Transfer a Force for Evolution?   04/13/2009    
April 13, 2009 — Two more genomes were published last week: the information libraries of two tiny microbes.  They are members of Micromonas, green algae less than two microns across.  The original paper and summary both bragged about how the genetic information is helping shed light on evolution, but did the data really contain any light?  If so, the light was pointing downward.
    Worden et al published the genomes of RCC299 and CCMP1545, two isolates of the picophytoplankton clade Micromonas.1  John M. Archibald commented on the paper in Perspectives article in the same issue.2  Three observations cast doubt on whether evolution generated any new functional information:
  1. Reduction:  Both genomes have been stripped of unnecessary baggage for their simple marine lifestyle.  Two alga species sequenced earlier are the “reining [sic] champions of eukaryotic cellular miniaturization,” Archibald said.  The two genomes are also stripped down, but less so than Ostreococcus
  2. Stasis.  Is there anything new that these organisms invented by evolution?  “Of particular note among the 1384 genes shared by both Micromonas strains but absent in Ostreococcus is an impressive suite of transcription factor genes, the origins of some of which can now reasonably be moved to the common ancestor of chlorophytes and streptophytes.”  This is the “not invented here” response.  Archibald also said of the paper by Worden et al, “Their analyses provide crucial insights into the plasticity of the eukaryotic genome over short evolutionary time scales and also shed light on the genetic “toolkit” that may have been present in the ancestors of today’s land plants and green algae.  If there was any evolution, it did not involve new tools.  It only involved sorting out what had already been invented.
  3. Transfer:  Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) scrambles the picture of who invented what.  One surprise found in these genomes is that one of them contained stuff the other did not: “many genes that occur in one Micromonas genome, but not the other,” Archibald noted, “are very similar to those found in organisms as evolutionarily distant as animals, fungi, and bacteria.”  This can only mean that the alga checked the information out of someone else’s library: “One interpretation is that such genes are the product of horizontal gene transfer, through which an organism incorporates genetic material from an unrelated or distantly related species; this process is gaining increasing acceptance as a real force in eukaryotic genome evolution.”  But is HGT really a force?  The explanation does not explain the origin of the information, but only its distribution.  If genes from “an unrelated or distantly related species” can be found, without knowing which species it came from, it would seem increasingly difficult to trace the path of evolution, or to know whether the information evolved along any particular branch of the tree.
Worden et al said the same things, only in more technical detail.  They also claimed that these genomes “offer valuable insights into ecological differentiation and the dynamic nature of early plant evolution.”
1.  Worden et al, “Green Evolution and Dynamic Adaptations Revealed by Genomes of the Marine Picoeukaryotes Micromonas,” Science, 10 April 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5924, pp. 268-272, DOI: 10.1126/science.1167222.

2.  John M. Archibald, “Green Evolution, Green Revolution,” Science, 10 April 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5924, pp. 191-192, DOI: 10.1126/science.1172972.

Anyone see any light here?  Pre-existing toolkits, shared information, stripped-down genomes, supposedly ancient organisms doing just fine in real time: where is the evolution?  Claiming that evolution explains these phenomena is piracy, just like in the next entry.
Next headline on:  GeneticsEvolutionCell Biology
  A baker’s dozen animal stories to inspire you, from 04/05/2006.

Animal Flight Control: Where’s the Evolution?   04/12/2009    
April 12, 2009 — A couple of articles in Science last week discussed the marvels of flight control in birds.  “Being earthbound save for the ability to fly airplanes and helicopters, humans stand in awe of animals that power their own movement through the air by flapping their wings, and of the spectacular maneuvers that some of these animals can achieve,” wrote Brian Tobalske in a Science Perspective.1  His article was listed under the category “Evolution,” but neither his summary nor the original paper said anything about evolution.2  Tobalske’s opening paragraph sets the tone for the actual content of these two papers:

Imagine a common housefly flying in tight, erratic circles as it attempts to escape from a room or a hummingbird diving and turning to chase a competitor away from a backyard feeder.  One might expect these extreme maneuvers to be accompanied by pronounced asymmetries in the way animals move their wings.  Yet, evidence from insects, birds, and bats suggests that aerial maneuvers are routinely accomplished through relatively subtle changes in wing motion.  On page 252 of this issue, Hedrick et al. provide further insight into this phenomenon.  The results will inform all future research into maneuvering flight in animals and biomimetic flying robots.
In other words, the original paper and the Perspectives summary both focused on engineering and biomimetics – not evolution.
1.  Brian Tobalske, “Evolution: Symmetry in Turns,” Science, 10 April 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5924, pp. 190-191, DOI: 10.1126/science.1172839.
2.  Hedrick, Cheng and Deng, “Wingbeat Time and the Scaling of Passive Rotational Damping in Flapping Flight,” Science, 10 April 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5924, pp. 252-255, DOI: 10.1126/science.1168431.
Here once again we find Darwinists in Science taking credit away from intelligent design and stealing it for themselves (see 08/24/2007).  If we could purge scientific journals of their piracy, it would go a long way toward protecting intellectual commerce.
Next headline on:  BirdsMammalsTerrestrial ZoologyBiomimeticsEvolution
A Darwinist Religious Experience Described   04/11/2009    
April 11, 2009 — As millions of Jews celebrate Passover, and as millions of Christians gather to celebrate Easter, a Darwinist reporter was experiencing “existential vertigo” – a sweeping sense of dizziness as her imagination zoomed in and out of the implications of her faith.  It may be the closest thing that a secular materialist can call a religious experience.  And religious experience is an accurate description: it was the outworking of an all-encompassing world view, with ultimate causes, ultimate destinies, moral imperatives, and heavy doses of faith.
    Amanda Gefter (see her previous attack on creationism in the 02/26/2009 entry), attended a four-day Origins Symposium at the University of Arizona and wrote up her impressions for New Scientist.  The event offered four days of lectures and debates from “the world’s leading scientists” – Brian Greene, AC Grayling, Steven Pinker, Steven Weinberg, Craig Venter, and (in absentia) Stephen Hawking.  “It’s funny how pondering our origins – the origin of the universe, of life, of mind – leads us to question everything we thought we knew about ourselves in the here and now.”  Apparently, she did not question anything that was said at the conference, because they took her for a ride from ultimate origins and ultimate destinies, as a religion might, and she was transfixed: “throughout the four days, I felt as if I could see myself – a small, strange Earth-bound creature – through the lens of a camera zooming in and out through space and time.”
    The wild ride took her from a fictional multiverse, to alternate dimensions, to an evolutionary history no human being has observed, to questioning her own existence.  Somehow, as a religion might, it included a moral dimension.  Quoting Paul Davies, Gefter agreed, “If we are the only life in the universe, we have an enormous responsibility, a cosmic duty, to keep the flame of intelligence burning in the universe.”
    Along the way, though, the sermons brought enough starfire and damnation to send her soul into outer darkness and despair.  Consider these lines:
  • What’s that in the distance?  Another copy of myself?  An infinite number of me?
  • Back in this universe, I am nothing but a speck of dust.  “You are cosmically insignificant,” [Lawrence] Krauss says.  “We can get rid of you and all the aliens and all the stars and galaxies and the universe would be pretty much the same” – a sea of dark energy populated by islands of dark matter.
  • I am nothing but a vast colony of my single-celled ancestors operating in near harmony....
  • In some ways, I learn, I am no different than a fruit fly, and by looking at protein-coding genes, one cannot tell the difference in complexity between a human and a hydra.
  • Our unique cognitive abilities are an “emergent acquisition based on the history of brain evolution, but not predicted by that history,” says Ian Tattersall.
  • What a delicate history it is; littered with accidents, defined by contingencies.  The tiniest changes in our evolutionary past would have led to dramatically different life-forms – and certainly not my own.
  • There [in Africa], helped in part by a seafood diet rich in omega-3s, their [early human ancestor] brains developed the ability to think abstractly.  That ability, superimposed on ancient brain structures, has built us into creatures that live largely in our own imagined worlds.
  • Zoom in: Today I am nothing more than a haphazard mosaic patched together by evolution and time.
  • ...the only ideology I can grab hold of is uncertainty in the vastness of space and time.
  • If I do exist – as a hive of single-celled organisms and microbes, as a mirror image from another universe, as a lucky accident of the African savannah – I can’t help but think that I am nothing more than an extreme fluke.
  • What a tragedy it would be, he [Paul Davies] says, if we destroy ourselves and our planet, and in doing so “destroy the one small corner of the cosmos where the flame of reason is alight.
Amanda’s head was swimming after four days of this.  “I leave with more questions than answers,” she said, clinging to any self-esteem she might have left.  But then Lawrence Krauss hit that with a final knockout blow.  “The biggest misconception about science,” he said, “is that we are happiest when we understand things.”
People need the Lord.  You should be weeping for Amanda Gefter and her friends who floundered in the darkness of their own imagination there in Arizona.  Their religion offers them nothing but loneliness, emptiness, chance, insignificance, questions and despair.  They think they are wise, but they are fools.  Is it uncharitable to say that?  Not if it helps them wake up and face reality.  We know that what they are saying is folly, because nothing in their religion makes logical sense.  They have cut the foundation of reason out from under their feet; they are in sinking sand.  Their cosmology provides no basis for confidence in anything – their own existence, their science, their logic, their self-perception.  Krauss fools himself into thinking he understands things when the whole conference questioned their own existence and relegated themselves to “creatures that live largely in our own imagined worlds.”  On what basis, then, can they say the whole conference was nothing but living in an imagined world?  They need to escape to reality.
    This foolish world view leads where only folly can: to despair.  They need to read the book of Ecclesiastes, written for people like this.  It would be a good wake-up call.  Without remembering one’s Creator, without fearing God and keeping His commandments, the only conclusion is “vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  That godly fear causes one to listen to His word.  That word takes the soul lost in darkness and provides a remedy: forgiveness, love, and a relationship with our Maker, paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ, whose death and resurrection is celebrated by millions today on the basis of historical evidence and prophetic fulfillment, not on imagined worlds of one’s own making.  He is risen; He is risen, indeed!  Now there is sense.  There is a cosmology that leads to a real cosmic responsibility (read I Corinthians 15).  Don’t skip that last verse which, having built on on the solid foundation of verifiable history discussed prior, provides the impetus for living a vibrant, active, fulfilling, abundant life that makes sense, has a purpose, and has a joyful outcome.  Instead of lamenting “vanity of vanities,” the Christ-follower can say with confidence that his or her “labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
Next headline on:  CosmologyOrigin of LifeDarwinismBible and Theology
Need a quote about evolution?  Here are some good resources.  One of the last books Dr. Henry Morris wrote was a topically-organized compendium of “quotes from evolutionists useful for creationists,” entitled That Their Words May Be Used Against Them (ICR, 1997).  Like the title says, this collection Dr. Morris gathered over 50 years of study is devastating to evolutionists.  In their own words, prominent evolutionary scientists debunk every aspect of their own belief system – the origin of the universe, the origin of life, the origin of species, the origin of man, fossils, geology, the nature of science, and much more.  The book contains a CD-ROM useful for searching.  Get the book from ICR.
    In this internet age, many prefer the convenience of searching through material online.  Access Research Network has provided two searchable quote sites: the quotes page at SlaughterOfTheDissidents.com (motivated by Dr. Jerry Bergman’s book by that name), and MyEvolutionQuotes, a growing database of verified quotations by and about evolutionists (requires login account).

Art as Propaganda for Evolution   04/10/2009    
April 10, 2009 — Should a scientific theory be propagated by appeal to scientific evidence, or by appeal to emotions through visualizationNature this week contained two articles that shamelessly praised art as propaganda for evolution.  Surprisingly, one of them mentioned Charles Darwin as someone “at the cutting edge of visualization.”

  1. Endless Forms:  Carl Zimmer reviewed an exhibit currently at the Yale Center for British Art, Endless Forms: Charles Darwin, Natural Science and the Visual Arts.1  The title is taken from the last sentence in the Origin where Darwin said that endless forms most beautiful are being evolved from so simple a beginning.  Zimmer said that in the 19th century, “artists shaped the way scientists saw nature, and thought deeply about how science changed the nature of art.”
        The exhibit examines the history of art as Darwinism was overtaking traditional religious beliefs.
    The exhibit does a good job of showing how differently people saw the world at the dawn of the nineteenth century.  Nature was replete with signs of divine design.  A painting of Noah’s flood was considered historical art.  Yet Darwin was able to learn a great deal from art of this time, whether he was studying illustrations of geological formations or marvelling at the paintings of French–American naturalist John James Audubon, who Darwin met as a teenager.
       As Darwin developed as a scientist, he made some modest art of his own.  On his journeys in South America, he painted the rock strata of the Andes in watercolour.  On his return to the United Kingdom, he began to scribble odd little tree diagrams in his notebooks – a visual expression of his great epiphany that species are related through common descent.  Darwin worked closely with artists to illustrate his books.  This may surprise readers of On the Origin of Species – a book with a single illustration showing the branching of species.  But his other books were lavishly illustrated....
        Darwin was at the cutting edge of visualization.  His 1872 work The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals was one of the first books ever to be illustrated with photographs – including pictures of faces distorted by electric currents, produced by the work of French physician Guillaume Duchenne.
    Zimmer claims that Darwin did not use pictures merely to illustrate ideas, but to investigate them.  For instance, “the very notion of beauty was something Darwin wanted to explain: the beauty of orchids actually masked a complex contrivance for getting pollen onto insects; the beauty of an Argus pheasant’s feathers was the result of sexual selection.”  Artists, in sympathetic vibration, paid attention to Darwin.  “They replaced sentimental scenes of nature with bleaker portraits of the struggle for survival.”
        Zimmer was glad the exhibit did not shy away from difficult subjects.  “....some [artists] wrongly took it [evolution] as justification to elevate whites over other races, cloaking their freak-show voyeurism in the guise of anthropology.” Why Zimmer gives the exhibit “great credit” for this was not explained.  Is he glad that the dark side of evolutionary thinking is being exposed?
  2. Scopes Cartoons:  Another article by Michael Hopwood in Natureapplauds an account of how US scientists used images to counter creationism and promote public understanding of evolution in the 1920s.”2  Sure enough, artists during the Scopes trial, rather than being scorned for misleading the public, are praised in this book review of God – or Gorilla: Images of Evolution in the Jazz Age by Constance Areson Clark (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008):
    God – or Gorilla hints at a larger clash of visual cultures between modernists and fundamentalists: Neanderthals versus Adam and Eve, church frescoes depicting ascent from protozoa against a ‘picturable God’.  That would be a great topic for further research, which would need to pay religious icons more attention, but this highly readable book is valuable as it stands.  It is also timely.  The 1920s shaped pictures of evolution, and of evolutionary debate, that are still in our heads.  As biologists work with illustrators to communicate science, and creationists attack textbook icons,3 it is helpful to reflect on the struggles of that decisive decade.
    Hopwood thus identified the evolutionist imagery as useful to science, whether or not it was accurate.  Clark, for instance, said “Cartoons played on images of the Scopes ‘monkey trial’, and people joked about missing links.”  In museums, tree diagrams and misleading sequences like the fossil horse series were presented as “unvarnished facts.”  Hopwood did not condemn any of this.  For instance, he disparaged the attempts of Henry Fairfield Osborn to imply that evolution was compatible with religion.  “This theistic evolutionism repelled secular scientists and fundamentalist Christians alike, but was often presented as the scientific consensus.”  Hopwood seems to imply that the scientific consensus allows no such accommodation – it must be anti-religious and materialistic.

1.  Carl Zimmer, “Drawing from Darwin,” Nature 458, 705 (9 April 2009) | doi:10.1038/458705a; Published online 8 April 2009.
2.  Nick Hopwood, “A clash of visual cultures,” Nature 458, 704-705 (9 April 2009) | doi:10.1038/458704a; Published online 8 April 2009.
3.  This seems to be a direct reference to Icons of Evolution by Dr. Jonathan Wells (Regnery, 2000).
Visualization is one of several pedagogical aids that can enlighten or propagandize, depending on how it is used.  There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with cartoons, simplified illustrations, and diagrams if they illuminate the truth.  However, wrong inferences can be made – such as Darwin’s photos of people expressing emotion being used to infer they inherited these capabilities from apes.  Art and visualization can distract, mislead, mischaracterize, or create emotional responses in lieu of scientific evidence.  Darwinists have been very skilled at this propaganda since their master wrote his materialist manifesto.  They should be scorned, not praised, for pretending that peppered moths prove humans had bacteria ancestors, or for piecing together unrelated fossils into a story of evolutionary progression.  Awareness of the danger of visualization is the best defense, and the best offense is to unmask it as propaganda.  Truth needs illumination, not varnish.
Next headline on:  DarwinMediaBible and Theology
  Darwinists try to explain the origin of forgiveness (04/06/2005) and joy (04/03/2005) without religion, but can they really get a grip on the soul? (04/03/2005).

Did Nature Dictate Biological Codes?   04/09/2009    
April 9, 2009 — Pangloss was a character in Voltaire’s Candide made to caricature philosophers who give simplistic, optimistic answers to difficult questions.  Dr. Pangloss was fond of saying, a la Leibniz, that we live in the best of all possible worlds.  One evolutionist described a theory by two other evolutionists as possibly a “Panglossian argument” about the origin of life.  It was reported in Wired Science.
    Ralph Pudritz and Paul Higgs of McMaster University in Ontario, Canada recently published a theory of biological determinism: namely, that certain amino acids, being more thermodynamically likely than others, might lead to a universal code of life.  If amino acid formation leads to a preponderance of certain types over others, whether formed in meteorites, deep-sea vents or spark-discharge experiments like the famous one by Stanley Miller, then perhaps all life in space is constructed on the same building blocks.  The idea is “necessarily speculative,” Pudritz admitted, but “This may implicate a universal structure of the first genetic codes anywhere.
    Wired Science reporter Brandon Keim, wielding robust faith in the power of Darwinian selection, and a swift parry of the purpose-driven life, elaborated:

Pudritz and Higgs speculate that these 10 common amino acids met the needs of the earliest replicating molecules, with other, rarer acids used by the nascent genetic code as they formed or arrived – a process called “stepwise evolution,” culminating in the genes that gathered 3.6 billion years ago in a common ancestor of all complex life.
This is what Harvard biologist Irene Chen found a bit Candidian.  She thought the idea is “interesting,” but then said, “in the absence of some experimental backup, it’s generally difficult to know if this kind of analysis is a Panglossian argument.” 
Inspired by Drs. Pudritz and Higgs, we have a speculative theory for the origin of English.  Certain letters are easier to write than others.  The letters l, c, i, n, o, u, v, x and z are more likely to be found in nature.  These organized themselves into the common ancestor of all English novels and scientific papers.  In a process of stepwise evolution, the rarer letters used by the nascent language were incorporated as they formed or arrived, culminating in the memes that gathered 500,000 years ago in the evolving brain of Homo erectus (04/08/2009).  Since these met the needs of the earliest replicating memes of the time, natural selection led to a scientific paper that explained its emergence without the need for designers like Pudritz and Higgs.  This is the best of all possible worldly explanations to shield evolutionary theory from falsification, says Dr. Pangloss.
Next headline on:  Origin of LifePhysicsDumb Ideas

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Did Early Man Have a Soul?   04/08/2009    
April 8, 2009 — Some recent discoveries are surprising paleoanthropologists by much some early ancestors seem – well, human.  We’re talking about ancestors half a million years old in the evolutionary scheme.  They were supposed to be prior to Homo sapiens and the Neanderthals, but they seem to exhibit intelligence and compassion.
    A report on New Scientist inferred that these early humans cared for the disabled.  The skull of a child found in Spain suggests it was mentally retarded.  To be able to live to age 12 indicates its parents or the social group cared for the individual.  They claim the skull is 500,000 years old.
    Another find surprised evolutionists.  Ann Gibbons reported in Science Now the earliest stone tools ever found – said to be 500,000 years old.  “Paleoanthropologists working in Africa have discovered stone blades more than a half-million years old,” she wrote.  “That pushes the date of the earliest known blades back a remarkable 150,000 years and raises a question: What human ancestor made them?”  A little history lesson shows just how remarkable this is:

Not long ago, researchers thought that blades were so hard to make that they had to be the handiwork of modern humans, who had evolved the mental wherewithal to systematically strike a cobble in the right way to produce blades and not just crude stone flakes.  First, they were thought to be a hallmark of the late Stone Age, which began 40,000 years ago.  Later, blades were thought to have emerged in the Middle Stone Age, which began about 200,000 years ago when modern humans arose in Africa and invented a new industry of more sophisticated stone tools.  But this view has been challenged in recent years as researchers discovered blades that dated to 380,000 years in the Middle East and to almost 300,000 years ago in Europe, where Neandertals may have made them (ScienceNOW, 1 December 2008).
    Now it appears that more than 500,000 years ago, human ancestors living in the Baringo Basin of Kenya collected lava stone cobbles from a riverbed and hammered them in just the right way to produce stone blades.
It should be remembered that all of recorded human history, in which man went from stone tablets to interplanetary space flight, covers just 6,000 years.  Scientists must be shocked at this announcement; “the discovery of blades this early suggests that these toolmakers were capable of more sophisticated behavior than previously thought,” Gibbons wrote.  She ended by hinting that maybe even older blades are waiting to be found.
The evolutionary picture of early man has stretched credibility way, way beyond the breaking point.  Every year it seems to get worse for them.  Who could possibly believe that beings as anatomically close to us, with brains our size, just sat around in caves caring for retarded children and making tools without learning how to ride a horse, farm, write and build cities for 450,000 years – 45 times longer than recorded history?  How much longer before the scholarly community rises up and tells these storytellers they have no idea what they are talking about?
Next headline on:  Early ManDating Methods
Evolutionary Explanations: Substance, Seasoning, or Storytelling?   04/07/2009    
April 7, 2009 — A scientific theory should explain why certain phenomena in nature are the way they are.  This layman’s view, though simplistic, expects that a theory should also predict new phenomena before they are observed.  In many science reports on evolution, however, one finds evolutionary theory tacked on as an explanation after the fact, when the theory had virtually nothing to do with the research or the conclusions (for examples a year ago, see 04/04/2008).  Also, because of the underdetermination of theories by data, presenting only an evolutionary explanation neglects the proper consideration of other possible explanations adequate to explain the phenomena under observation.  Finally, the few research projects that are motivated by evolutionary theory, and claim success of the theory, often leave sizable loopholes for critics.
  1. Dog lab:  The dog has been man’s best friend for years, but is it because of evolution?  MSNBC News surprised readers with the title “Dogs (not chimps) most like humans.”  Lest one conclude that we evolved from dogs, or they from us, the article launched into a discussion of dog-human co-evolution.  “Now, perhaps for the first time, students of animal behavior, psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, philosophy and veterinary medicine will unite to provide deeper insights into the evolution of dogs and the evolution of humans,” said Marc Hauser of Harvard.  If you thought you were training your dog with intelligent design, maybe Darwin was at work on both of you.
  2. Spliceosome marvels:  The spliceosome, one of the most sophisticated molecular machines of all, was unveiled in unprecedented detail recently by scientists at Brandeis University and Cambridge.  This machine clips RNA transcripts and reassembles them before they get translated into proteins.  It’s an exquisite process that must be performed thousands of times without error, lest serious disorders develop.  Science Daily reported on the detailed look at this machine, then quoted a researcher who said this about it: “In human cells one gene can be made into a variety of proteins, so if the process just goes slightly wrong, the genetic alteration can lead to incredible disaster; yet on the other hand, this incredible complexity has led to our amazing evolutionary progress,” said Pomeranz Krummel [Brandeis U].  “....The fundamental difference between us and the earthworm is that our cells have evolved to utilize this process of RNA splicing to generate a whole other dimension to the transmission of genetic information.”
  3. Insect flight:  Last month, Science Daily told about a researcher at U of Arkansas who searched for the evolution of insect flight.  He and his coworkers dropped wingless bristletails, thought to be ancestors of winged insects, from treetops and watched them control their descent with their tails.  “The existence of aerial control ability in a wingless insect and its habitat in trees is consistent with the hypothesis of a terrestrial origin for winged flight in insects,” he said – but he did not connect the tail structure with the wings and muscles of flying insects.  Nor did he consider the possibility that bristletails are secondarily flightless.
  4. Sponge ancestor not:  You can breathe a sigh of relief.  The sponge is not your ancestor.  Science Daily said that an international team has put sponges on a separate evolutionary branch all their own: “scientists report that all sponges descended from a unique sponge ancestor, who in turn was not the ancestor of all other animals.”  To tell this story, they had to stretch credibility: “Since the comb jellies already have nerve and muscle cells, this would suggest that these features developed several times independently in animal history, or that they were lost in sponges and placozoans.”  The article says that molecular and morphological studies contradict each other’s evolutionary inferences and the work remains “controversial.”
  5. Game theory:  Explaining the evolution of cooperation by game theory is still a hot topic.  PhysOrg claimed that “Cooperative behavior meshes with evolutionary theory” based on work by two MIT students.  To make this work, it seems the evolutionists need to ascribe free will to the members of a population – even to yeast cells:
    The same rules apply to the cheating and cooperating yeast: Like the driver who grudgingly gets out and shovels so that both she and her fellow motorist – snug inside his car – may continue on their journeys, the yeast who cooperate do so because there is a slight benefit for themselves.  However, when most of the yeast are cooperating, it becomes advantageous for some individuals to cheat, and vice versa, which allows co-existence between cheaters and cooperators to arise.
What would you rather have: scientists concerned about curing cancer and building green technology, or lazy guys dropping bugs out of treetops so that they can tell stories about how technology invented itself?  Re-read the principles in the 04/04/2008 commentary.  The Darwinian storytellers have still not repented.
Next headline on:  Evolutionary TheoryMammalsCell BiologyTerrestrial ZoologyMarine Biology
  Another evolutionary principle debunked: see the 04/02/2004 entry.  The entries above and below this were interesting, too.

Your Eye Works a Precision Jigsaw Puzzle   04/07/2009    
April 7, 2009 — You have twin 125 megapixel video cameras in your eyeballs.  Each pixel, a rod or cone connected to a neuron, sees only a small bit of the total image.  How do these bits, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, fit together?  Scientists at the Salk Institute have found that they are finely tuned to fit together for optimum clarity.  Writing in PLoS Biology, they said,

All visual information reaching the brain is transmitted by retinal ganglion cells, each of which is sensitive to a small region of space known as its receptive field.  Each of the 20 or so distinct ganglion cell types is thought to transmit a complete visual image to the brain, because the receptive fields of each type form a regular lattice covering visual space.  However, within each regular lattice, individual receptive fields have jagged, asymmetric shapes, which could produce “blind spots” and excessive overlap, degrading the visual image.  To understand how the visual system overcomes this problem, we used a multielectrode array to record from hundreds of ganglion cells in isolated patches of peripheral primate retina.  Surprisingly, we found that irregularly shaped receptive fields fit together like puzzle pieces, with high spatial precision, producing a more homogeneous coverage of visual space than would be possible otherwise.  This finding reveals that the representation of visual space by neural ensembles in the retina is functionally coordinated and tuned, presumably by developmental interactions or ongoing visual activity, producing a more precise sensory signal.
In the discussion, they added, “The present results demonstrate that the visual representation in the primate retina is finely coordinated to achieve a homogeneous sampling of visual space.”  They pondered how this coordination is achieved.  Is there a one-to-one correspondence between the dendritic field (DF) and the receptive field (RF)?  Or are there overlapping layers of circuitry between that control the precision of the RF?  Bipolar cells may do this, they said.  Alternatively, inhibitory amacrine cells may tune the edges of RF shapes to prevent excessive overlap.  They also wondered how this precision is achieved during development.  Perhaps light produces cues that guide the RFs into position.  Either way, the implications are surprising.  It means that neurons don’t operate in isolation.  They follow a precision code:
The present results have surprising implications for how populations of neurons produce an efficient and complete representation.  Recorded in isolation, single neurons frequently exhibit irregular response properties, suggesting that large populations must rely on averaging or interpolation to produce accurate sensory performance or behavior (e.g., see [37–39]).  The present results, however, show that in a complete population, irregular features can be integral to a finely coordinated population code.  This suggests that the nervous system operates with a higher degree of precision than previously thought, and that irregularities in individual cells may actually reflect an unappreciated aspect of neural population codes (e.g., [40]).
This article was summarized on Science Daily, which stated, “scientists say their findings suggest that the nervous system operates with higher precision than previously appreciated and that apparent irregularities in individual cells may actually be coordinated and finely tuned to make the most of the world around us.”
1.  Gauthier, Field, Sher, Greschner, Shlens, Litke, and Chichilnisky, “Receptive Fields in Primate Retina Are Coordinated to Sample Visual Space More Uniformly,” Public Library of Science Biology, Vol. 7, No. 4, e63 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000063.
There was not one mention of evolution in this paper.  It was all coordination, information, and encoding.  As Theophilus Designsky said, Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of design. 
Next headline on:  Human BodyAmazing FactsIntelligent Design
Stem Cells Polarize Ethics   04/07/2009    
April 7, 2009 — Adult stem cells are continuing to promise revolutionary therapies, while embryonic stem cells remain a political football even after Obama’s loosening of restrictions.  Some stories seem to suppress the word “embryonic” and just talk about “stem cells,” but there is a big difference in the ethics of one over the other.  Embryonic stem cells require harvesting a human embryo.

Adult Stem Cell News

  1. Diabetes:  Sufferers of peripheral artery disease, common among diabetics, may have hope using stem cells from their own bone marrow.  PhysOrg reported that researchers at the University of Western Ontario isolated three types of stem cells from bone marrow that can regrow blood vessels.
  2. Bone:  Arthritis?  Hip fracture?  The BBC News reported that stem cells from bone marrow are showing promise to regrow bone.  Researchers at Keele University attach the stem cells to tiny magnets and then guide them to places where they are needed.  “The technique combines the patients [sic] own bone marrow stem cells with donor bone cells to patch-repair damaged bones that would otherwise need treatment with metal plates and pins.” 
  3. Angina:  Adult stem cells may alleviate the pain of angina and allow patients with the heart condition to walk again.  Autologous (from-the-patient) stem cells from bone marrow helped patients walk longer on a treadmill without pain, reported Science Daily.
Embryonic Stem Cell News
  1. Fetal harvesting:  An upbeat article from Science Daily says “New Stem Cell Therapy May Lead To Treatment For Deafness.”  The body of the article describes a scientist from University of Sheffield harvesting cochlear cells from 9- to 11-week old human fetuses.  They got them to differentiate into inner ear cell types, but not to form the hair bundles characteristic of the cochlea.  The research is in the early stages; no actual treatments are being proposed.  It was not clear from the article where they got the fetuses.
  2. Brazil nutsScience last week reported that Brazil ran roughshod over religious leaders by banking on embryonic stem cell research over their objections.  “Despite vocal opposition from religious groups, the Brazilian government has launched a major initiative in pluripotent stem cell research.  In the past 3 weeks, eight university labs in four states started receiving the first payments of a 3-year, $9.3 million grant intended to reshape them into Cell Technology Centers.”  In this predominantly Catholic country, religious leaders have opposed ES research for years, but “A coalition of scientific groups, including the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science, and patients' advocacy organizations fought back.”  Last year, after one advocate “helped fill the Supreme Federal Court galleries with people in wheelchairs and their relatives,” Brazil’s Supreme Court upheld a 2005 law allowing the harvesting of stem cells from fertility clinics.  Now the government is supporting it with the taxes of those who oppose it.
  3. Harvesting Obama for more:  Constance Holden wrote in Science March 20 that scientists, though thrilled with Obama’s executive order loosening restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, want more: “Many scientists would like to work with lines created through research cloning, or somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT).”  Human cloning was considered abhorrent by most ethicists during the Bush administration.  Arguments for stem cells from fertility clinics at the time stressed that those embryos were going to be destroyed anyway.  Many politicians on both sides of the aisle at the time stressed that they did not support human cloning.
        Obama’s executive order, however, did not specify the source of the embryos.  It appears that scientists might have the liberty to choose what stem cells to work on – including those of human embryos created solely for research purposes.  What guidelines or restrictions will the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provide?
    The traditional opponents of hES cell research are expecting the worst.  Even with the derivation of new cell lines still banned, some fear the new policy will turn the federal government into an indirect supporter of cloning.  The executive order “turned out to be far more extreme than [the] biggest proponents had hoped,” said the Family Research Council.  “With no clear policy from the White House, you and I could be footing the bill for research that clones embryos just to scavenge their parts.”  Psychiatrist and columnist Charles Krauthammer, a former member of the president’s bioethics commission, said in an op-ed column that he does not oppose hES cell research but accused the president of “moral abdication” in leaving it up to scientists whether to create embryos solely for research.
        On the contrary, says Harvard University’s George Daley: “We need legislation that allows [such] decisions ... to be left to scientists.”  Daley points out that guidelines hammered out in 2005 by a committee of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and regularly updated, as well as recommendations by the International Society for Stem Cell Research, do not specify what biological sources should be used but focus on informed consent procedures for obtaining eggs, sperm, or embryos, and proper scientific procedures.
        So far, there’s no available evidence that researchers anywhere are using lines other than from excess IVF embryos....
    The tone of the article indicates that scientists want to police their own policies but fear running afoul of public concerns over ethics.  Meanwhile, Kurt Gottfried and Harold Varmus, in the same issue of Science (March 20), portrayed the Obama Era (including his support of embryonic stem cell research) as “The Enlightenment Returns.”  This presumably portrays the Bush Era as a kind of scientific Dark Ages.  They commented on Obama’s call for scientific integrity, which they interpreted as science free from political agendas performed by those with good scientific qualifications, but they did not use the words ethics or morals.  Speaking of ethics, two researchers wrote in the same March 20 issue of Science about the growing problem of offshore clinics that lure patients with promises of miracle cures with stem cells. 
  4. Where to draw the line?  The editorial in Nature March 26 said, “Now that the US federal funding ban on human embryonic stem cells is lifted, scientists must engage the public’s concerns about embryo research.”  What kind of embryos are acceptable for research?  Notice where these strong advocates of embryonic stem cell research drew an ethical line:
    A key requirement for productive dialogue is a common frame of reference.  Here, the word ‘embryo’ is a stumbling block.  This term refers to everything from a newly fertilized single-celled egg to millions of cells organized into eyelids, ears, genitals and limbs.  Yet the latter form, which is present some eight weeks after fertilization, is not only ethically unacceptable for research but also far too old to yield embryonic stem cells.
        Multiple sets of widely accepted guidelines from, for example, the US National Academies, the International Society for Stem Cell Research and Britain’s Warnock Report agree that the first sign that cells for the future body are starting to specialize – the glimmer of a structure known as the primitive streak at about 14 days after an egg begins to divide – marks the end of when any laboratory research on human embryos should be considered.  To discuss this responsibly, scientists should insist on precision, specifying an embryo’s developmental state in terms of its age, for example, or the number of cells.
    But is this stage of the embryo such a clear dividing line?  Could it not be pushed to 15 days, then 16, then three weeks or more by a future consortium of scientists and politicians, especially when money or fame are at stake?  The Germans learned in a grim way that scientific consensus is no bedrock on which to anchor a standard of what is “acceptable” (04/07/2005).
Leading science journals have been attacking the Bush era and praising the Obama administration for its support of embryonic stem cell research.  Nature said last week, “President Barack Obama’s appointment of academic scientists and economists to positions of high authority in his administration has created the sort of excitement in universities and among researchers that has not been seen for eight years.  Certainly, after George W. Bush’s grudging agreement to a constricted programme of stem-cell research and his politicization of scientific findings about the environment, Obama’s choice of prominent scholars is a breath of fresh air.
    Likewise, Science interviewed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, giving her high marks for her support of “science.”  Reporter Jeffrey Mervis called her a “big hit” and said she “lights up a crowd” with her support of scientific institutions.  “Donning her mantle as party leader, she used the events to take a swipe at the Bush Administration,” he said, quoting her: “For a long time, science had not been in the forefront.  It was faith or science, take your pick.  Now we’re saying that science is the answer to our prayers.”  She also told a group of “assembled biomedical bigwigs” that “we need your help again to make President Obama’s executive order on stem cell research the law of the land.
The scientific societies, wedded to liberal politics as they are, don’t know ethics from a black hole.  “We don’t see anyone cloning humans... yet” they say, softening the public, like a frog in the pot, to accept what is coming.
    To understand what is going on, read Ann Coulter’s book Godless about the secular liberal love fest with abortions and embryonic stem cells, in spite of the scientific evidence.  Read how liberals use victims and emotional propaganda, like celebrity pleas and courtrooms filled with wheelchairs, to spin their desire to kill as “compassion.”  See intentional folly turn into moral evil in the name of science by people who hate real science.  It will break your heart.
    From the people who deny God as the Author of life, and who see humans as evolved slime, what would you expect?  Life is cheap.  Life is trash.  Scientists can play with it and do whatever they want.  Morals, shmorals.  If a cure for some disease emerges, fine, but it’s not a requirement.  Just get me a Nobel Prize.  In a perverted revolutionary cry, the out-of-control scientists shout: give me liberty, and give me death.
Next headline on:  HealthPolitics and Ethics
Can Evolution Be Programmed?   04/06/2009    
April 6, 2009 — Some researchers are employing “evolutionary computing” as an algorithm to solve problems.  But is it really evolution?
  1. Evolved machines:  A company called Evolved Machines in Palo Alto announced a 40-teraflop machine that will be used for the “artificial evolution of neural circuitry” (see press release on United Business Media).  “It is self-evident that in biological brains exquisitely complex neuronal circuits wire themselves together,” The Evolved Machines website says.  “Further, neuroscience research has recently established that these neural circuits continue to rewire themselves during life, embedding information about the outside world and internal activity alike.”  Examples are the brain, the olfactory organ, and the eye.  OK, so what does this have to do with evolution?  The press release states, “Simulated evolution can be used to guide the selection and parameterization of these mechanisms in simulations of highly neural circuit fabrics, provided an enormous amount of parallel computing power can be applied.”  They call this “reverse-engineering circuitry in the brain to enable a new class of self-wiring devices that perform in the complexities of real-world environments, for both artificial olfaction and visual object recognition.”
  2. Selecting natural laws:  Can a computer running an evolutionary algorithm play Isaac Newton?  That’s what an article on Science Daily suggests: Evolution is helping Cornell scientists discover natural laws.  “The researchers have taught a computer to find regularities in the natural world that become established laws – yet without any prior scientific knowledge on the part of the computer.”  The Cornell researchers trained their algorithm to look for “invariants” while computing derivatives of every variable in a system.  “Then the computer creates equations at random using various constants and variables from the data,” the article explains.  “It tests these against the known derivatives, keeps the equations that come closest to predicting correctly, modifies them at random and tests again, repeating until it literally evolves a set of equations that accurately describe the behavior of the real system.”
        But can this really be called evolution?  “All equations regarding a system must fit into and satisfy the invariants,” said Michael Schmidt, a specialist in computational biology.  “But of course we still need a human interpreter to take this step.”  Some other “cheating” was involved:
    The researchers point out that the computer evolves these laws without any prior knowledge of physics, kinematics or geometry.  But evolution takes time.  On a parallel computer with 32 processors, simple linear motion could be analyzed in a few minutes, but the complex double pendulum required 30 to 40 hours of computation.  The researchers found that seeding the complex pendulum problem with terms from equations for the simple pendulum cut processing time to seven or eight hours.
        This “bootstrapping,” they said, is similar to the way human scientists build on previous work.
    Can this be compared to what biology does, or did?  The researchers said the computer takes care of the grunt work, “helping scientists focus quickly on the interesting phenomena and interpret their meaning.”
  3. Evolving war:  French scientists got a virus and a bacterium to undergo a co-evolutionary arms race, reported Science Daily.  By running some “experimental evolution” using Darwinian selection, they watched the predator and prey evolve to outwit each other.  The evolution, however, seemed limited to whether the bacteria formed a biofilm or sat at the bottom of the bottle.  Both forms may already have been present.  It seems that one form or other was resistant depending on the conditions under which the predator virus was added to the mix.  Either way, it was just a game of last bacterium standing, without knowledge of how they succeeded.  They said, “What makes prey resistant or predators capable of attacking them again remains poorly understood.”
Speaking of biological computation, Live Science wrote up something for baseball fans: “How Baseball Players Catch Fly Balls.”  Apparently good players know how to gauge the vertical acceleration of the ball to determine whether to run toward the ball or away from it.  Counter-intuitively, almost all players start by running toward it.  The reason may be to accentuate the measurement of vertical acceleration.  “A faster rise of the optical acceleration above the detection threshold may outweigh a possible initial step in the wrong direction,” the article explained.  “Making an initial step forwards is not only easier than making an initial step backwards, but might also be a better choice.”  Coaches should be patient with Little Leaguers, the article ended, saying that “Their brains may still be learning the math.”
Amazing as some of the research results are, this entry gets the Dumb category for assuming this is like evolution.  Anything that involves intelligent selection of outcomes is as far from Darwin as an earthquake from city planning.  Material particles do not understand and interpret natural laws, nor do they build systems.  The equivocation of the word “evolution” in these intelligently-designed research programs with what Darwinists are talking about is perverse.  It amounts to a snow job, stealing glory for Charlie from ID projects.  Darwin gets no more credit for these interesting results than Kim Jong Il for inventing democracy.  Progress in the creation-evolution debate can only be made by everyone agreeing to definitions and terms and rules of argument.  Researchers, get your purposeful hands off the apparatus.  Care nothing about what happens.  Don’t select outcomes or interfere in any way.  Then, as everything collapses in a heap of entropy, you will begin to understand the resources available to the kind of evolution Darwin preached.  For a taste of common sense to melt the snow job, read this article by The Country Shrink.  Notice especially the quote by D. L. Abel.
Next headline on:  EvolutionIntelligent DesignHuman BodyDumb Ideas
  Is Daniel Dennett a closet Calvinist?  Read about this Darwin-idolater’s views on free will in the 04/02/2003 entry.

Quick, Make Like an Ant   04/05/2009    
April 5, 2009 — Ants deserve a lot of respect, despite being a nuisance in the kitchen.  The very fact they are so effective at bugging us is a testament to their ingenuity in foraging, communicating and organizing themselves into successful colonies.  We might just gain some valuable knowledge by watching them more closely.

  1. Foraging: Live Science says that ants forage haphazardly, but there might be a method to their madness.  Anyone who has watched ant scouts on the kitchen sink knows they seem to go this way and that without a plan.  Why don’t they use a more organized search?  An experimental physicist at Penn State Erie believes that an organized sweep might present the scout with unexpected obstacles.  “The beauty of a mathematical random walk is that it eventually visits all points in space if you walk long enough – and it always returns to its starting point.”  Even so, ants don’t waste time retracing their steps.  They also exercise their keen senses and communicate what they find with other ants.  Bottom line: it works for them.  Before long, an organized trail of thousands of ants is lined up.
  2. Trafficking:  Why don’t ants get into traffic jams?  The ants follow trails of pheromones that can persist for hours.  It’s like our highways.  Their long, single-file trains seem destined for pile-ups, but they never occur.  PhysOrg investigated the question.  An international team of researchers found that even “as ant traffic density increases, the traffic maintains the same average velocity as at low densities.”  Add more ants to the train, and the train doesn’t slow down.  Learning how they do that could help our own traffic flow.
        The scientists observed ant trains and also developed a mathematical model.  It appears they join platoons that move bumper-to-bumper at the same velocity.  These platoons merge into larger groupings that still maintain their velocity.  Human drivers tend to slow down when getting closer to one another.  The researchers intend to study the ant strategy further, but for now, they could only suggest that “perhaps evolution has optimized ant traffic flow.
  3. Farming:  Many ant colonies have elaborate relationships with aphids and fungus.  Erika Check Hayden said in Nature News that “Ant colonies could be key to advances in biofuels and antibiotics.”  The reason is that leaf-cutter ants have learned to protect the fungus they need from parasitic fungus invaders.  They have additional symbiotic relationships with certain bacteria that produce selective antifungal drugs.  Cameron Currie (U of Toronto) said that “These ants are walking pharmaceutical factories.” Their expertise may inform our scientists about the effective manufacture of antibiotics.
        Hayden added, “The ant colonies are also miniature biofuel reactors” because of the mass of leaves they transport into their fungus farms.  “Each year, ants from a single colony harvest up to 400 kilograms of leaves to feed their fungal partners.”  Scientists hadn’t figured out how the colonies digest the cellulose.  They would like to know, because “Researchers are keenly interested in better ways to break down cellulose, because it might allow them to make more efficient biofuels than those made from sugary foods, such as maize (corn).”  Using metagenomics, the researchers found additional symbiotic relationships with bacteria that perform the function.
The second and third articles made reference to evolution.  In addition to the comment in #2 about evolution optimizing ant traffic flow, in #3, “Currie suggests that the newfound bacterial and fungal enzymes might be efficient at digesting cellulose because they have evolved for centuries along with the ant-fungal symbiosis.”  Both statements were made as mere suggestions.
Evolution offered no real help to any of these stories.  It was just an afterthought, like some obligatory tie-in to the state religion.  The observational, empirical facts are that ant behavior is optimized.  Optimization is the work of intelligence, not chaos.  If we can apply our intelligence to use these findings toward the betterment of human society, then like Francis Bacon said, you will know good science by its fruit.
Next headline on:  Terrestrial ZoologyBiomimeticsAmazing Facts
Darwinism, Design and Public Education (2003) is a compendium of scholarly articles on both sides of the intelligent design controversy.  You can read (if you must) Michael Ruse, Massimo Pigliucci, William Provine and other Darwinists doing their best to discredit ID, but the book is worth the price just to get the articles by John Angus Campbell, Phillip Johnson, Michael Behe, Jonathan Wells, David Berlinski, Stephen Meyer and other supporters.  Campbell, a scholar on the rhetoric of science, and historian of Darwin, takes you on a tour of The Origin.  David DeWolf and Stephen Meyer explain why ID deserves a hearing in education.  And in one of the best chapters, Meyer, Marcus Ross, Paul Nelson and Paul Chien provide an outstanding presentation of the Cambrian Explosion argument against evolution.  The book was edited by Campbell and Meyer and published by Michigan State University Press.  You can buy it at Access Research Network.

Evolutionists Tell Us What Nature Intended   04/03/2009    
April 2, 2009 — Can nature intend anything?  A true materialist lacks access to the concept of purpose and intentionality.  Whatever is, is.  Nevertheless, some staunch evolutionists avail themselves of the purpose-driven life by telling us what evolution intended.
    Meredith Small tells us on Live Science, for instance, that nature did not intend single parents.  Having become one herself recently, she can vouch for the fact that single parenting is hard.  She used the subject to tell us that evolution intended for us to be social, cooperative creatures.  She got this inspiration not just from experience but from reading a book by evolutionist Sarah Hrdy, entitled Mothers and Others; The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. 

The idea that we need each other goes against what has become the accepted theory about the evolution of behavior.  For decades, evolutionary biologists have claimed that all organisms are basically selfish.  The game of reproductive success, they have explained over and over, is won by those who are successful at passing their genes on to the next generation.  As such, every animal, including humans, should be self-centered.  At the most basic, the biologists say, our selfish genes compel us to stay alive, find the best mates, and have the most babies, and to always think of ourselves before others.
    Hrdy, a staunch evolutionist, is the first to admit that this now traditional view of individual behavior is ready for revision.  The new view, she and others claim, must include the fact that cooperation, not just competition and selfishness, is also part of our nature.
    Her thesis is simple: We are social animals that need each others [sic] to survive, and so humans are born with the ability to understand how others feel (empathy), and to aid others, even if we don’t share genes in common.
Ms Small visualized ancient ancestors needing one another to share in the caring for needy babies and small children.  Everyone in the tribe participated in caretaking as well as getting food.  This helped the tribe survive.  It did more than that: it instilled her with a sense of purpose in life:
Given this history, my life as a single mother is at odds with how I, and my child, are designed to operate.  I am supposed to have a band of others to help out, and my child is supposed to be caught by that net of friends and kin.
    With this in mind, I’ve decided to act on Hrdy’s advice next time I am pressed, and I do know several friends, good humans all, who are clearly willing to give their time and services to co-parent with me when I need it.  And this deal will work, because they know I, too, am the kind of good human who will respond and take care of their kids when they need help as well.
Can Ms Small act with free will on an evolutionary instinct?  She did not explore that question.  She also left it unstated whether evolution had endowed Sarah Hrdy with the ability to divine an unseen history and to give advice.  Maybe it was really another trick of the selfish genes to fool them both.
    Another book on the subject of life history on human evolution was reviewed on Forbes.com by Harvey Mansfield, but with less alacrity.  Mansfield, a professor of government at Harvard and a distinguished research fellow at the Hoover Institution, took evolutionary anthropologist Richard G. Bribiescas to task for contradictions in his book Men: Evolutionary and Life History.  Bribiescas, like Hrdy, explains human nature with reference to our evolutionary life history.  The first contradiction was one Bribiescas ignored: the opinion of cultural anthropologists that culture, not biology, makes men different from women.  “The charm of his book,” Mansfield smirked, “is that he utterly ignores the opinion, or prejudice, against it [i.e., biological determinism] and proceeds as if all he has to do is explain, and you will agree.
    In describing another contradiction, Mansfield became downright sarcastic against the presumptuousness of evolutionists like Bribiescas who glibly adjust their explanations to dodge falsification:
The science in question here is the current version of Darwin’s evolutionary theory.  That theory says that human beings (for the book title speaks of men, not males) are dominated in their lives by the need to get their genes into the next generation.  If you can do this, you have “survived,” even if or despite the fact that you die.
    The difference between survival as staying alive and as reproducing--not one’s self but one’s genes--is a theme of Bribeiscas’s book.  It leads him to introduce the recent theory of “life history” into evolutionary theory so as to elaborate on the trade-offs, throughout human life, between expending energy to stay alive vs. devoting it to reproduction.  Those trade-offs have a kind of rationality enabling the twin goals to be satisfied even though they are at odds.  This addition, one might say, is an adaptive mutation intended to maintain Darwinian theory against one of the many threats to its survival arising from its environment of inconvenient facts.
After showing evolutionary theory to be a late-comer to already known facts about men and women, Mansfield criticized the author’s philosophy of science.  “Like many scientists,” he said, “Bribiescas lives under the yoke of a crude positivism which denies that scientific fact has any ethical implications.”  Saying something doesn’t make it so.  Bribiescas may claim that evolutionary theory supports no moral stance, “But of course it does.  The trouble is not that Darwinian theory has no implications, but that it contradicts itself with two opposing implications.”  If passing on one’s genes is the purpose of a man’s life, he would not devote himself to science.  Mansfield has caught Bribiescas in a contradiction: he’s fighting his own evolutionary history:
Yet as a scientist, a human male would have quite an opposite duty.  A man of science does not take the view of his own sex but rises above it to consider the views of both sexes.  He would be devoted to science, not to his own private genes.  He would not favor his own child at any cost but would support other children if they showed better promise of becoming future scientists--future Darwinians....
    Evolutionary theory is at odds with itself: It cannot accept that man is a special being, raised above all others in evolutionary history, and it cannot deny that only man is capable of science, which allows him to transcend his animal selfishness.
Mansfield made a key disclaimer in his last sentence.  “In closing, I note that I have made no reference to religion but only brought out the inner contradiction of Darwinism.”
Mansfield has shown the way to confront the dogmatic Darwinists.  No appeals to religion are necessary to confront Charles the Dictator who ruined science.  All that is necessary to unravel his false clothing is to pull on the thread of logical consistency.  Once exposed as self-contradictory, Darwinism is finished: nothing that is self-contradictory can possibly be true.  You can see both Hrdy and Bribiescas guilty.  Both said that our human nature is determined by our evolutionary life history, but then both appealed to higher, nobler motives, namely, science – the desire to pursue understanding.  One can only watch self-proclaimed sharpshooters shooting their own feet for so long before deciding to find people who know how to shoot straight.
Next headline on:  Early ManEvolutionDumb Ideas
Tip LinkBiologic Institute announces creation of a self-replicating motor vehicle.  (Notice the date.)

Early Large Galaxies Stun Cosmologists   04/02/2009    
April 02, 2009 — Cosmology has a kind of Cambrian Explosion of its own to grapple with.  Contrary to expectations, some of the earliest galaxies appear as large as current ones, if not larger.  Astronomers, using the Subaru telescope in Hawaii, examined five galaxy clusters with ages estimated at 5 billion years after the Big Bang.  Statements in a report on this study in Nature News make it sound revolutionary:

  • The findings could overturn existing models for the formation and evolution of galaxies that predict their slow and steady growth through mergers.
  • They calculated the mass of the biggest galaxy in each of the clusters and found, to their surprise, that the ancient galaxies were roughly as big as the biggest galaxies in equivalent clusters in today’s Universe.
  • The ancient galaxies should have been much smaller, at only a fifth of today’s mass, based on galaxy-formation models that predict slow, protracted growth.
  • “That was the reason for the surprise – that it disagrees so radically with what the predictions told us we should be seeing,” says Chris Collins of Liverpool John Moores University in Birkenhead, UK.
  • “We have a whole different story now about how galaxies form,” says Avishai Dekel of the Hebrew University in Israel and first author of the earlier paper.
  • For years, astronomers have relied on a hierarchical model of galaxy formation.... the models predicted that, to reach the massive galaxy sizes seen today, galaxies would have to steal their stars through mergers – a slow process – rather than growing their own.
  • It’s not yet certain how much of a readjustment the hierarchical model will need if the observations hold up.... But Collins says the underlying models of dark-matter mergers could have problems.  “I think the problem could be more general than just needing a tweaking.
Continuing the Cambrian explosion parallel, both the hierarchical model and newer, more radical model have to come up with a lot of growth and structure in a shorter amount of time.  The simple hierarchical model, which expected stars would grow into galaxies and then into clusters, ran into problems early on, when it was realized that when cool hydrogen flows toward a nascent galactic center, it heats up.  The heat quenches or stops further star formation, because “Shock waves are produced that expand outwards to agitate and heat up new gas on the periphery, preventing it from collapsing and falling in to form new stars.
    That was the reason astronomers had for years used mergers to explain the growth of galaxies.  If large galaxies already existed in the early universe, though, mergers become implausible.  What is the alternative?  One group suggests “veins of cold gas, clinging to filaments of dark matter” that can “pierce the hot gas shell of a growing galaxy and fuel its continued growth” and lead to early galaxies growing “rapaciously”.  It sounds like an ad hoc solution.  It was proposed to get around the age problem.  Is there any evidence?  No one has seen dark matter, or knows what it is.  The story ended with a hunt to explain “glowing blobs of hydrogen gas in distant, ancient corners of the Universe” that might correspond with the proposed filaments.  All parties agree that “more work needs to be done.”
We can see here the kind of mental gymnastics Darwinists would perform if someone found a Precambrian rabbit.  The surprise level seems almost comparable.  It never changes their core beliefs; it just changes the implausibility of the natural miracles they are willing to invoke to maintain their world view.  For background, read an article in this month’s ICR magazine.
Next headline on:  AstronomyCosmologyPhysicsDating Methods
  Your cells are so well-prepared for all eventualities, they even give dying cells an orderly shutdown.  Read how it works in the 04/09/2002 entry.

Darwinists Upset When Their Hegemony Slips   04/01/2009    
April 1, 2009 — How do Darwinists react when their 100% authority in the schools and the scientific institutions slips a little?  Some recent stories provide glimpses into what the public can expect to see.

  1. Turkish outrage:  It was as if a Watergate scandal were uncovered.  “The main Turkish government agency responsible for funding science has provoked outrage by apparently censoring a magazine article on the life and work of Charles Darwin,” Nature reported last week.1 (see also NatureNews).  Anti-evolution sentiment is strong in Turkey.  It was unclear from reports why Omer Cebeci, vice-president of Turkey’s funding and research agency, decided to switch from a cover story honoring Darwin to one on global warming in the country’s widely-read popular science magazine published by the government agency, but Nature said some professors were calling for his ouster.  The article quoted scientists calling the action “outrageous” and “a very bad thing.”  Another calling for Cebeci’s resignation over the “affair” said, “The issue is not only about evolution but also about the proficiency of Turkey’s most important science organization.
        Nature’s editorial last week announced “Turkey censors evolution.2 
    It has been the biggest crisis in Turkish academia since last year’s lifting of the headscarf ban in universities.  Last week a portrait of Charles Darwin was taken off the cover of the March issue of the government-backed science magazine Bilim ve Teknik (Science and Technology) just before it went to press.  TÜBITAK, Turkey’s national science funding agency, which publishes the magazine, then sacked its editor, Çig brevedem Atakuman.  Scientists, assuming censorship, are justifiably outraged and protests are ongoing.
    Suspicions were aired that the publishers were trying to avoid provoking the voters on a sensitive issue before local elections, but Cebeci denied it was censorship.  “This row has brought into focus two issues that plague Turkish science,” the Editorial said.  “One is political interference in the scientific civil service; the other is high levels of public support for creationism.”  The editors called for a transparent investigation of the incident, and a statement denouncing creationism:
    The organization should also consider making an unambiguous statement of its position on evolution, intelligent design and creationism to reconfirm its credentials as a serious scientific body.  In the past, TÜBITAK has provided reliable information on Darwin’s theory in a country where creation is offered as an alternative to evolution in high-school biology teaching.  The agency could do that again.  After all, none of the world’s religions commands its believers to be creationists.  Many Islamic scholars and thinkers have speculated on the origins of life.
        Turkey’s ruling party must learn from this latest affair.  It must keep religion out of science policy, and be seen to be doing so.
    Later, on March 25, Nature News indicated that Cebeci was backpedaling on the affair, blaming the cover change on a subordinate who has been transferred.  “TÜBITAK has now issued a statement confirming its commitment to science and scientific literacy in the country, where many people do not believe in evolution.”
  2. Canadian outrage:  In the same issue of Nature last week,3 Hannah Hoag reported that Canada’s minister of science and technology is “under fire” for making comments that provoked “fierce criticism.”  What on earth did he say, to get a reaction described as fierce?  It’s more what he did not say.  He was asked whether he “believed in evolution,” and he took the 5th, so to speak: “I’m not going to answer that question.  I am a Christian, and I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate”.  A caption by his picture stated, “Gary Goodyear had a surprising take on evolution.”  His later admission that he does accept evolution was too little, too late.  He tried to cover the embarrassment by saying he thought the question was a distraction when he should be focused on the economy and creating jobs, but now a cloud of doubt about his qualifications has Nature worried.  The worry was couched in circumlocution: “At this point no one seems interested in calling for Goodyear’s resignation,” suggesting it might be a good idea if someone did.
  3. Texas outrage:  Pugnacious verbiage (fighting words, that is) characterized a press release from the American Institute of Physics (AIP) published by PhysOrg about the Texas Board of Education vote to authorize critiques of evolution in its science standards (see 03/27/2009).  The title set the spin: “Science setback for Texas schools.”  The mood of the Darwin army was glum in the opening lines: describing the vote, it said, “The results weren’t pretty.”  Arousing defenders of evolution, the article said that the new standards open “loopholes and language that make it even easier for creationists to attack science textbooks.”  Eugenie Scott and others at the NCSE got quotes – defenders of the Texas vote did not.  “The final vote was a triumph of ideology and politics over science,” Ms Scott said.  “The board majority chose to satisfy creationist constituents and ignore the expertise of highly qualified Texas scientists and scientists across the country.”  Here’s how the AIP viewed the changes:
    For example, the revised biology standard (7B) reflects two discredited creationist ideas--that “sudden appearance” and “stasis” in the fossil record somehow disprove evolution.  The new standard directs students to “analyze and evaluate the sufficiency of scientific explanations concerning any data of sudden appearance, stasis and the sequential nature of groups in the fossil records.”  Other new standards include language such as “is thought to”, or “proposed transitional fossils” to make evolutionary concepts seem tentative when, in fact, such concepts are well-documented and accepted by the scientific community.
    Eugenie Scott and Josh Rosenau of the NCSE made their frustration clear.  “There’s a reason creationists are claiming victory,” Scott said.  The vote threatens to produce “watered-down science textbooks across the U.S.” because of Texas’s clout in the textbook market.  The ending line accentuated the frustration: “NCSE’s Josh Rosenau summed up the frustration of scientists and educators alike: ‘This is a hell of a way to make education policy,’” even though the State Board of Education held numerous public hearings with ample input by experts on all sides.

1.  Alison Abbott, “Turkish scientists claim Darwin censorship,” Nature Published online 10 March 2009, updated 18 March, doi:10.1038/news.2009.150.
2.  Editorial, “Turkey censors evolution,” Nature 458, 259 (19 March 2009) | doi:10.1038/458259a.
3.  Hannah Hoag, “Canadian science minister under fire,” NatureNews, Published online 25 March 2009, Nature 458, 393 (2009),doi:10.1038/458393a.
This is not an April Fool entry.  Maybe it should be.  It’s hard to believe the Darwiniacs can be such spoiled brats, but they are, and they have clout.  If democracy, public hearings and testimony by experts on both sides is a “hell of a way to make education policy,” what would heaven be for them?  Dictatorship.  The Science Mandarins would be able to tell everybody what to believe, and punish anyone who dares question their authority.  Almost sounds like the world of 2009.
    The defenders of Darwin’s Sacred Image cannot endure one speck of tarnish on their idol.  They become unglued at any hint of blasphemy.  It doesn’t matter to them whether there might have been some legitimate reason for denying Charlie the cover of a Turkish science magazine: failing to give him center stage, for any reason, is tantamount to “censorship” – so heads must roll.  Darwin’s visage must be shoved in the face of a country where a lot of people doubt his omnipotence.  Failing to shout “Darwin is lord” with the right amount of enthusiasm is enough to call for the ouster of a science minister.  And when a state finally allows its high school students to think critically and analyze evidence, the Darwiniacs are beside themselves with frustration and rage, flinging out loaded words and ridicule and assorted other propaganda tricks.  They characterize the Texas vote as the death of science and the onset of the Dark Ages.
    The outrage of these people is no more plausible than the denunciations of a hypothetical totalitarian dictator screaming about the end of democracy when one member of the opposition party makes it to Parliament.
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Featured Creation Scientist for April

James Clerk Maxwell
1831 - 1879

In our roll call of great scientists of Christian faith, it would be hard to find a better role model than James Clerk Maxwell.  Just take a look at his report card!  His scientific work alone puts him in a triumvirate with Newton and Einstein, but no matter what other way you examine his life – intellect, personality, creativity, wit, work ethic, Christian character, integrity, breadth and depth of knowledge and accomplishments – Maxwell comes out on top.  He pursued science with exuberance, and with grace and charm and unselfishness, giving glory to God.  In his too-brief life of 48 years, Maxwell changed the world.

Do you use a cell phone?  A pager?  A remote control for your TV?  A radio?  Television?  You owe these inventions in large part to Maxwell.  Radar, satellite, spacecraft and aircraft communications – any and every means of transferring information through thin air or the vacuum of space, comes out of his work.  The inventors of all these devices all built on Maxwell’s exceptional discoveries in electromagnetism, discoveries that required the best in experimental method with the best in mathematics and theory.  Maxwell discovered many things, as we shall see, but his crowning achievement was the summation of all electromagnetic phenomena in four differential equations, appropriately named Maxwell’s Equations in his honor.  These equations, that express natural laws, not only brought together all the work of Faraday, Ohm, Volta, Ampere, and everyone else who had studied the curious properties of electricity and magnetism, but made an absolutely astounding and important prediction: that light itself was an electromagnetic wave, and through manipulation of electromagnetic waves, it might be possible to transmit information through empty space.  Thus, our modern world.  The importance of these equations can hardly be overstated.  Dr. Richard Feynman, Nobel laureate and influential 20th-century modern physicist, paid his respects this way: “From a long view of the history of mankind–seen from, say, ten thousand years from now– there can be little doubt that the most significant event of the 19th century will be judged as Maxwell’s discovery of the laws of electrodynamics.”  Electricity and magnetism, mere curiosities when explored by Faraday and explained by Maxwell, turned out to generate more economic wealth than the entire British stock exchange.  Our modern world is inconceivable without the experimental and theoretical foundation laid by these two great Christians and scientists who harnessed mysterious laws of nature for human benefit.

And that was only one of Maxwell’s claims to fame.  One biographer described him, “a man of immense intellectual capacity and seemingly inexhaustible energy, he achieved success in many fields, ranging from colour vision and nature of Saturn’s rings to thermodynamics and kinetic theory.  In a short life he published a hundred scientific papers and four books.  His was perhaps the last generation of scientists to whom so wide a field of interest was possible: with the rapid increase in knowledge in the latter part of the 19th century specialization became unavoidable . . . . on any assessment Maxwell stands out conspicuously among a race of giants.  How much more might he not have achieved had his life run a normal span.”

We are fortunate to have a great deal of original source documents on Maxwell, thanks largely to his biographer and lifelong friend, the Rev. Lewis Campbell, who collected many personal letters, essays, anecdotes and tributes into his excellent 1882 biography, The Life of James Clerk Maxwell, co-authored by William Garnett, one of his Cambridge colleagues.  In addition, Cambridge University (where Maxwell was a distinguished scholar) has recently (1990, 1995) published two thick annotated volumes of Maxwell’s collected scientific papers and letters–including even his postcards–and a third volume was just completed in late 2002.  Yet in spite of these resources, few have even heard of James Clerk (pronounced Clark) Maxwell and his work, because these books are rare and costly.  The biography, long out of print, can only be found on dusty shelves of large libraries, and the new volumes of his collected papers cost $300 apiece.  But now, a Maxwell devotee software engineer has put the whole Lewis Campbell biography online, so Maxwell’s personal life story, the kind you never get in the textbooks, is accessible again.  We will include some choice examples here, but if there is one of the great scientists in this series you would pick to study in more detail, try this one.  You’re in for a treat, because Maxwell’s personality is as captivating as his equations.  He was the kind of fellow you would want to chat with over dinner every chance you could.  No matter what the subject, he would keep you entertained and fascinated for hours. 

Most important, Maxwell’s Christian faith was the core of his being.  It guided his life’s work and personal habits, and motivated him to search out the laws of the great Lawgiver with diligence, as a mission from God.  Thoroughly versed in classic literature and philosophies ancient and modern, Maxwell was uniquely qualified to speak to science, theology, and philosophy–and he did.  He was a true Christian in heart as well as mind; he loved the Lord Jesus Christ with all his heart, mind and soul.  And, he knew his Bible inside and out.  Clerk Maxwell opposed any philosophy (like the new Darwinian evolution) that exalted itself against the God of creation, yet he did it with wit and grace (sometimes even in clever poetry) that earned the attention and respect of all.

Maxwell’s letters sparkle with a joie de vivre that is infectious, but he also knew hardship and tragedy.  He knew what it was like to be taunted and bullied as a young boy at school (like when he was inadvertently sent to a new school a bit “overdressed” for his peers’ taste).  He knew what it was like to have to learn to defend himself and earn respect without losing his composure.  At age eight, he faced a devastating tragedy for a boy: he watched his mother suffer and die of stomach cancer.  Fortunately, his father, John Clerk Maxwell, filled the emptiness better than most single parents could.  He became his son’s dearest mentor and supporter, well into James’ college years.  His fatherly letters reveal his proud interest in everything his son was doing.  John’s expansive Scottish estate at Glenlair (which you can visit on the Web), provided young James with woods, streams, horses and books enough to fill his sponge-like mind, a repository that could not absorb enough fast enough.  Playful and jocular, young James would one moment be swinging from trees, “tubbing” in the creek, creating his own spinning tops, reading books, or surprising his friends with a frog leaping out of his mouth.  All his life James never tired of a good joke, though his humor became much more sophisticated at Cambridge  To his university colleagues he would sign his postcards dp/dt, which being translated in the language of mathematical physics, became “JCM”–his initials.  Sometimes he would write backwards, or pose puzzles or riddles for his friends.  His writing is peppered with Latin, Greek, French, and German quotes.  It would take a scholar in Greek mythology and Sophocles’ plays, for instance, to comprehend this whimsical line from a postcard to his friend Peter G. Tait: “The Hamiltonsche Princip., the while, soars along in a region unvexed by statistical considerations while the German Icari flap their waxen wings in nephelococcygia.”  His best wit, though, can be found in his poems.  Early on in grammar school, Maxwell also became quite the poet.  (Part III of Campbell’s biography contains examples both witty and profound).  He was often known to slip his latest verse to a friend, his wife, or to a philosophical rival.  Many of these make excellent reading and allow us to peer into his soul.

The Scottish schools of Maxwell’s youth were old-fashioned.  Instead of building self-esteem, they forced students to learn Latin, Greek, and classic literature.  Good thing, because Maxwell’s grasp of history, philosophy, and rhetoric served him well as a writer, professor, scholar, and defender of Christianity.  As a young student at Cambridge, Maxwell once wrote Lewis Campbell that he intended to plow up all the secret hiding places of philosophy and world religions, the sacred plots their owners want you to tiptoe around.  Not Maxwell; he was going to charge in and investigate whether their claims could stand up to scrutiny.  And he was unafraid to apply the same rule to the Bible.  He said, “Christianity–that is, the religion of the Bible–is the only scheme or form of belief which disavows any possessions on such a tenure.  Here alone all is free.  You may fly to the ends of the world and find no God but the Author of Salvation.  You may search the Scriptures and not find a text to stop you in your explorations.”  Christianity, to Maxwell, was not stifling to the scientist or truth seeker; it was liberating.

At age 22, Maxwell graduated at the top of his class at Trinity College, the Second Wrangler (tied for the highest grade), and Smith’s prizeman.  In those arduous days of preparing for the Cambridge final exams, the toughest in the world, he composed a ten-verse poem, A Student’s Evening Hymn.  He must have taken a moment away from the intense pressure of studies to go outside a watch a sunset.  As the stars came out and reminded him of God’s great power in creation, he pondered the big picture of his life and priorities, and put his thoughts into verse.  This gem of poetic worship and supplication, long forgotten after 148 years, we have reproduced here and set it to a new original melody.  These eloquent lines can be seen as an encapsulation of Maxwell’s purpose in life.  He never deviated from these sentiments, even through his final, greatest trial.

Graduation opened the door to a 26-year career in science characterized by a series of exceptional discoveries, culminating in his famous equations.  Maxwell became a Cambridge scholar par excellence, always humble and devout, and loved and admired by his colleagues.  He was close friends with Peter Guthrie Tait, the father of vector calculus, Michael Faraday, and Lord Kelvin.  He served as professor at Kings College and Trinity, but always kept close ties to Glenlair, his home for life.  At age 27, he married Katherine Mary Dewar.  Though described by some as a “difficult woman” and frequently ill, Katherine was this model husband’s target of loyalty and love, though they bore no children.  Some of his love letters and poems have survived, including Bible studies they shared, in which Maxwell’s deep understanding of and reverence for the Scriptures is manifest.  Through their married life, they attended church faithfully where the Word of God was preached, supported their church, and walked their talk.  Clerk Maxwell even took time out of his busy schedule to teach poor working men science, to give them a chance at a better life than the dismal factories that enslaved them.  Always the lover of wisdom, his many letters, essays, lectures and articles are both deep and cheerful, and, however they traverse the theories of the day, always lead back to the wisdom of God.  Maxwell stood firmly against the creeping atheistic Darwinism that got its foothold in the scientific establishment, but was perhaps too much the gentleman.  We have good statements by him on the matter of evolution, but with hindsight of the atrocities committed in the name of Darwinism in the next century, we could only wish that Maxwell and Faraday both had spoken out even more firmly than they did.  Perhaps it would not have made a difference, but this is perhaps the only criticism that can be made against these great Christian heroes of science.

Maxwell’s scientific work was varied and colorful.  When a contest for the Adam’s Prize was announced, Maxwell took up the challenge and set to explain the nature of Saturn’s rings.  His 60-page analysis, filled with recondite mathematical logic, proved that the rings must be made of separately orbiting particles following their own Keplerian orbits.  Along with the paper he provided a mechanical model of how the ring particles orbit the planet.  He easily won the prize in 1857, but the real honor came 124 years later in 1981, when the Voyager 1 spacecraft visited Saturn and verified his theoretical proof with direct observations.  Maxwell also explained color vision and demonstrated a technique for color photography, taking the first color photograph by combining monochromatic images taken through filters with the three primary colors.  In addition to being the father of electrodynamics, Maxwell was the father of statistical thermodynamics and kinetic theory, which deals with the aggregate motion of large numbers of particles.  He thus gave thermodynamics a firm foundation in mechanics.  A puzzle he left for future theoreticians came to be known as “Maxwell’s demon.”  He surmised that it might be possible to violate the Second Law of thermodynamics and separate hot from cold molecules in a gas if you had a little man at a trap door able to sort them out as they flew by.  Later physicists proved that the entropy of the little man would more than compensate for the ordering of the molecules, thus the Second Law would not be violated.

Maxwell and Faraday gave us our modern world of motors, radio, and telecommunications; they complemented each other perfectly.  Where Faraday was weak in mathematics and theory, Maxwell excelled.  Maxwell took the results of Faraday’s years of experimentation with magnets and wires and organized them into his famous four equations.  This was a monumental step, requiring years of analysis, thought, experimentation, insight, and genius, culminating in the publication of his 1873 Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism.  Here is a case of one little item starting a revolution: in the fourth equation, Maxwell (through theory and experiment) added a term to Ampere’s Law (a law which relates the magnetic effect of a changing electric field or of a current) he called the “displacement current” i.  Such a little thing, the letter i; what does it mean?  It means, as he wrote, “light consists in the transverse undulations of the same medium which is the cause of electric and magnetic phenomena.”  Thus, he unified light with electricity and magnetism, and formed the theoretical basis for radio, TV, radar, and all the spinoffs of these technologies such as remote controls, spacecraft telemetry and cell phones which poured like gold from Maxwell’s Equations in the years after his death.  Concerning these equations, Ludwig Boltzmann (quoting from Goethe) remarked, “Was it a god who wrote these lines . . . ”  J. R. Pierce, in a chapter titled “Maxwell’s Wonderful Equations,” wrote, “To anyone who is motivated by anything beyond the most narrowly practical, it is worth while to understand Maxwell’s Equations simply for the good of his soul.”  A college physics textbook states, “The scope of these equations is remarkable, including as it does the fundamental operating principles of all large-scale electromagnetic devices such as motors, synchrotrons, television, and microwave radar.”  Interestingly, Maxwell’s Equations needed no revision when Einstein published his theories of relativity 40 years later, but Newton’s laws did.  Maxwell’s Equations already had relativity “built in” – they are invariant in all frames of reference.  Truly remarkable.  Engineers frequently use these wonderful equations in the most advanced work today.  Another phenomenal result of these equations is that it became possible to derive the speed of light from theoretical considerations alone. 

In his forties, Maxwell devoted himself to building the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge, named for the pioneering physicist who in 1798 first measured the gravitational constant G.  This laboratory was destined to become the hub of many major discoveries in atomic and nuclear physics in the coming century.  But by 1879, Maxwell became ill.  Hiding his discomfort so as not to worry his wife and his colleagues, he continued working until it was too late; he was diagnosed with the same stomach cancer that had taken his mother’s life forty years earlier.  Throughout his ordeal, Maxwell’s thoughts were only for others, especially for his wife Katherine.  As grieving friends and pastors visited him in his sick bed, Maxwell would quote Scripture and Christian poems from memory:

Christ is my only head,
My alone only heart and breast,
My only music, striking me e’en dead;
That to the old man I may rest,
And be in Him new drest.

Also frequently quoting from a hymn,

Lord, it belongs not to my care,
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve Thee is my share,
And that Thy grace must give.

His faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ was his great consolation that eternity lay before him as a joyous entrance to heaven.  Toward the end, after giving the glory to God for all his achievements, he said, “I have been thinking how very gently I have been always dealt with.  I have never had a violent shove in all my life.  The only desire which I can have is like David to serve my own generation by the will of God, and then fall asleep.”  That he did on November 5; his doctor observed, “His intellect also remained clear and apparently unimpaired to the last.  While his bodily strength was ebbing away to death, his mind never once wandered or wavered, but remained clear to the very end.  No man ever met death more consciously or more calmly.”

Tributes poured in after James Clerk Maxwell’s death.  Few grasped the significance of what he had discovered, and what it would bring to civilization, but all who knew him honored his intellect and reputation.  Not diminishing his scientific achievements, however, Dr. Butler at the funeral focused on his spiritual side:

. . . we may well give thanks to God that our friend was what he was, a firm Christian believer, and that his powerful mind, after ranging at will through the illimitable spaces of Creation, and almost handling what he called “the foundation stones of the material universe,” found its true rest and happiness in the love and the mercy of Him whom the humblest Christian calls his Father.  Of such a man it may be truly said that he had his citizenship in heaven, and that he looked for, as a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the unnumbered worlds were made, and in the likeness of whose image our new and spiritual body will be fashioned.

To get a true glimpse at the spirit of Maxwell, you need to read his own writings.  We will provide samples of his best wit and wisdom here soon, but could only whet your appetite.  In the meantime, see if you can find a copy of Lewis Campbell’s biography.  May the testimony of James Clerk Maxwell, and other great Christians in science like him, inspire a new generation to fulfill their calling with similar zeal, humility, joy, and dedication.  Maxwell expressed his work ethic in these profound words:

He that would enjoy life and act with freedom must have the work of the day continually before his eyes.  Not yesterday’s work, lest he fall into despair, nor to-morrow’s, lest he become a visionary,–not that which ends with the day, which is a worldly work, nor yet that only which remains to eternity, for by it he cannot shape his actions.
Happy is the man who can recognise in the work of To-day a connected portion of the work of life, and an embodiment of the work of Eternity.  The foundations of his confidence are unchangeable, for he has been made a partaker of Infinity.  He strenuously works out his daily enterprises, because the present is given him for a possession.
Thus ought Man to be an impersonation of the divine process of nature, and to show forth the union of the infinite with the finite, not slighting his temporal existence, remembering that in it only is individual action possible, nor yet shutting out from his view that which is eternal, knowing that Time is a mystery which man cannot endure to contemplate until eternal Truth enlighten it.

The largest, tallest mountain on Venus – over 10 miles higher than the average height – is named after Maxwell, the only feature named after a historical person.  A crater on the moon on the moon is also named in his honor.  On the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope is exploring the universe in the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

“His name stands magnificently over the portal of classical physics, and we can say this of him; by his birth James Clerk Maxwell belongs to Edinburgh, by his personality he belongs to Cambridge, by his work he belongs to the whole world.”  —Max Planck, physicist


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

A Concise Guide
to Understanding
Evolutionary Theory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Souder’s Law
Repetition does not establish validity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advice from Paul

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

I Timothy 6:20-21

Song of the True Scientist

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

from Psalm 104

Maxwell’s Motivation

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

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

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

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

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

“I visit your website regularly and I commend you on your work.  I applaud your effort to pull actual science from the mass of propaganda for Evolution you report on (at least on those rare occasions when there actually is any science in the propaganda).  I also must say that I'm amazed at your capacity to continually plow through the propaganda day after day and provide cutting and amusing commentary....  I can only hope that youthful surfers will stop by your website for a fair and interesting critique of the dogma they have to imbibe in school.”
(a technical writer living in Jerusalem)

“I have enjoyed your site for several years now.  Thanks for all the hard work you obviously put into this.  I appreciate your insights, especially the biological oriented ones in which I'm far behind the nomenclature curve.  It would be impossible for me to understand what's going on without some interpretation.  Thanks again.”
(a manufacturing engineer in Vermont)

“Love your site and your enormous amount of intellectualism and candor regarding the evolution debate.  Yours is one site I look forward to on a daily basis.  Thank you for being a voice for the rest of us.”
(a graphic designer in Wisconsin)

“For sound, thoughtful commentary on creation-evolution hot topics go to Creation-Evolution Headlines.
(Access Research Network 12/28/2007).

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

“I’ve been reading the articles on this website for over a year, and I’m guilty of not showing any appreciation.  You provide a great service.  It’s one of the most informative and up-to-date resources on creation available anywhere.  Thank you so much.  Please keep up the great work.”
(a senior research scientist in Georgia)

“Just a note to thank you for your site.  I am a regular visitor and I use your site to rebut evolutionary "just so" stories often seen in our local media.  I know what you do is a lot of work but you make a difference and are appreciated.”
(a veterinarian in Minnesota)

“This is one of the best sites I have ever visited.  Thanks.  I have passed it on to several others... I am a retired grandmother. I have been studying the creation/evolution question for about 50 yrs.... Thanks for the info and enjoyable site.”
(a retiree in Florida)

“It is refreshing to know that there are valuable resources such as Creation-Evolution Headlines that can keep us updated on the latest scientific news that affect our view of the world, and more importantly to help us decipher through the rhetoric so carelessly disseminated by evolutionary scientists.  I find it ‘Intellectually Satisfying’ to know that I don’t have to park my brain at the door to be a ‘believer’ or at the very least, to not believe in Macroevolution.”
(a loan specialist in California)

“I have greatly benefitted from your efforts.  I very much look forward to your latest posts.”
(an attorney in California)

“I must say your website provides an invaluable arsenal in this war for souls that is being fought.  Your commentaries move me to laughter or sadness.  I have been viewing your information for about 6 months and find it one of the best on the web.  It is certainly effective against the nonsense published on Talkorigins.org.  It great to see work that glorifies God and His creation.”
(a commercial manager in Australia)

“Visiting daily your site and really do love it.”
(a retiree from Finland who studied math and computer science)

“I am agnostic but I can never deny that organic life (except human) is doing a wonderful job at functioning at optimum capacity.  Thank you for this ... site!”
(an evolutionary theorist from Australia)

“During the year I have looked at your site, I have gone through your archives and found them to be very helpful and informative.  I am so impressed that I forward link to members of my congregation who I believe are interested in a higher level discussion of creationist issues than they will find at [a leading origins website].”
(a minister in Virginia)

“I attended a public school in KS where evolution was taught.  I have rejected evolution but have not always known the answers to some of the questions.... A friend told me about your site and I like it, I have it on my favorites, and I check it every day.”
(an auto technician in Missouri)

“Thanks for a great site!  It has brilliant insights into the world of science and of the evolutionary dogma.  One of the best sites I know of on the internet!”
(a programmer in Iceland)

“The site you run – creation-evolution headlines is extremely useful to me.  I get so tired of what passes for science – Darwinism in particular – and I find your site a refreshing antidote to the usual junk.... it is clear that your thinking and logic and willingness to look at the evidence for what the evidence says is much greater than what I read in what are now called science journals.  Please keep up the good work.  I appreciate what you are doing more than I can communicate in this e-mail.”
(a teacher in California)

“Although we are often in disagreement, I have the greatest respect and admiration for your writing.”
(an octogenarian agnostic in Palm Springs)

“your website is absolutely superb and unique.  No other site out there provides an informed & insightful ‘running critique’ of the current goings-on in the scientific establishment.  Thanks for keeping us informed.”
(a mechanical designer in Indiana)

“I have been a fan of your site for some time now.  I enjoy reading the ‘No Spin’ of what is being discussed.... keep up the good work, the world needs to be shown just how little the ‘scientist’ [sic] do know in regards to origins.”
(a network engineer in South Carolina)

“I am a young man and it is encouraging to find a scientific ‘journal’ on the side of creationism and intelligent design.... Thank you for your very encouraging website.”
(a web designer and author in Maryland)

“GREAT site.  Your ability to expose the clothesless emperor in clear language is indispensable to us non-science types who have a hard time seeing through the jargon and the hype.  Your tireless efforts result in encouragement and are a great service to the faith community.  Please keep it up!”
(a medical writer in Connecticut)

“I really love your site and check it everyday.  I also recommend it to everyone I can, because there is no better website for current information about ID.”
(a product designer in Utah)

“Your site is a fantastic resource.  By far, it is the most current, relevant and most frequently updated site keeping track of science news from a creationist perspective.  One by one, articles challenging currently-held aspects of evolution do not amount to much.  But when browsing the archives, it’s apparent you’ve caught bucketfulls of science articles and news items that devastate evolution.  The links and references are wonderful tools for storming the gates of evolutionary paradise and ripping down their strongholds.  The commentary is the icing on the cake.  Thanks for all your hard work, and by all means, keep it up!”
(a business student in Kentucky)

“Thanks for your awesome work; it stimulates my mind and encourages my faith.”
(a family physician in Texas)

“I wanted to personally thank you for your outstanding website.  I am intensely interested in any science news having to do with creation, especially regarding astronomy.  Thanks again for your GREAT website!”
(an amateur astronomer in San Diego)

“What an absolutely brilliant website you have.  It’s hard to express how uplifting it is for me to stumble across something of such high quality.”
(a pharmacologist in Michigan)

“I want to make a brief commendation in passing of the outstanding job you did in rebutting the ‘thinking’ on the article: “Evolution of Electrical Engineering” ...  What a rebuttal to end all rebuttals, unanswerable, inspiring, and so noteworthy that was.  Thanks for the effort and research you put into it.  I wish this answer could be posted in every church, synagogue, secondary school, and college/university..., and needless to say scientific laboratories.”
(a reader in Florida)

“You provide a great service with your thorough coverage of news stories relating to the creation-evolution controversy.”
(an elder of a Christian church in Salt Lake City)

“I really enjoy your website and have made it my home page so I can check on your latest articles.  I am amazed at the diversity of topics you address.  I tell everyone I can about your site and encourage them to check it frequently.”
(a business owner in Salt Lake City)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hey Friends, Check out this site: 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 www.BornAgainRadio.com, I’ve added a link to your excellent Creation-Evolution news site.”
(a radio announcer)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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