Creation-Evolution Headlines
August 2009
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“Scientists are as fallible as the rest of us, as are their scientific theories.  Indeed, the history of science is filled with failed scientific theories that once were confidently asserted and now have been radically modified or even abandoned....  The new scientific priesthood, however, has raised the stakes considerably for the mischief that science can do.  In claiming to find and then resolve problems that threaten to overwhelm humanity, they have invaded the political scene, commanding vast research moneys and attempting to force on the wider population government-sanctioned programs for social control.”  —Dr. William Dembski in a First Person essay July 23, 2009.

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Emergence of Genetic Code Touted   08/31/2009    
August 31, 2009 — Most origin-of-life researchers have acknowledged the extreme improbability of the genetic code arising by chance.  Their approaches to get around this problem have varied considerably since the Miller experiment succeeded in generating a few amino acids.  Despite the celebrations that 1953 experiment generated (05/02/2003), it did not even begin to approach the problem of solving the origin of the code that stores and directs the information of life.  Can that problem be swept away by a bombastic title from a press release?  Rockefeller University sent this up the flagpole: “Model Suggests How Life’s Code Emerged From Primordial Soup.”  Science Daily then dutifully distributed the claim with no critique.
    The press release began by acknowledging that the Miller experiment did not solve the problem of the origin of the genetic code.  The basis of their claim is that the chemical or physical properties of RNA molecules make a code inevitable.  Jean Lehmann said, “All these molecules have different properties and these properties define their interactions.  What are the constraints that allow these molecules to self-organize into a code?  We can play with that.”  Lehmann did not consider whether it would be appropriate for a critic to play with different rules: e.g., defining the constraints that prohibit molecules from self-organizing into a code.”
    Nevertheless, by playing according to the pro-evolutionary rules, the research team decided that transfer-RNAs (tRNA) were not as finicky about the molecules they associated with back in the primordial soup age.  Using intelligent design, they “developed an algorithm to incrementally change the concentration of each molecule.  Their goal was to see which conditions, if any, could coax the system to specifically translate codons in a nonrandom fashion.”  In short, they wanted to coax the right amino acids to associate with the right transfer-RNAs.
    Why molecules would want to do such things, or who would wish to reward them if they did, they did not say.  They just wanted to present a theoretical framework, with a little bit of experimental support, to get “one step closer to understanding how life first began.”  They did not state the criteria for measuring whether the step actually gets them closer or farther.  Their paper, published in PLoS One,1 mentioned some things the press release glossed over: e.g., tRNA binding occurs with the help of a family of enzymes that associate the genetic code with the protein code: “A major issue about the origin of the genetic system is to understand how coding rules were generated before the appearance of a family of coded enzymes, the aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases.”  For more on that problem, search on “synthetase” in the search bar above (e.g., 06/09/2003, 05/26/2004, 01/31/2007, bullet 3).  They apparently thought that if a loose translation already existed, the synthetase enzymes would “emerge” in due course.  For all this, their paper did nothing to explain how the information in the genetic code emerged; their system could do no better than to translate genetic gibberish.  In the paper’s Discussion section, they said, “Although the molecular organization of genetic code is now known in detail, there is still no agreement on the reason(s) for which it has emerged.”  After that, they acknowledged the chicken-and-egg problem: “Although these facts are fundamental, and have inspired scenarios for the evolution and the expansion of the code, evolutionary considerations may not, in essence, provide an answer to the origin of the code (since it is a prerequisite for biological evolution).”  They realize that natural selection cannot be invoked before replication – and replication requires an accurate code.  Here’s the last part of the paper:

In conclusion, our results show that the properties of amino acids and RNA can naturally impose a partially coded polymerization along RNA templates.  We also found that the associated coding mechanism is remarkably robust against mismatches.  When supplied with “meaningful” RNA sequences, translation systems of this kind should be capable of generating pools of proteins a small fraction of which will be functional.  The feed-back action of these proteins on the translation itself may further increase its efficiency, allowing more codons to be added to its repertoire.  In this evolutionary perspective, it can be speculated that a critical effect of emerging synthetases will be to establish only the [amino acid – tRNA] configurations that are fit for translation, a “learning” action that RNA alone cannot logically achieve.

1.  Lehmann, Cibils and Libchaber, “Emergence of a Code in the Polymerization of Amino Acids along RNA Templates,” Public Library of Science One, 4(6): e5773; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005773.
OK, CEH volunteer police, time to take Apollos the Baloney Detector Dog and round up some more suspects (09/30/2007 commentary).  These guys are not only charged with impersonating a scientist, but committing thought crime by being willfully ignorant and selling their ignorance publicly as science.  Round up Science Daily as accomplices.  Suggested sentence: watching Unlocking the Mystery of Life and reading Signature in the Cell.  Public vagrancy at Rockefeller University is against the law.  Ignorance is no excuse.
Next headline on:  Origin of LifeGeneticsEvolutionary TheoryDumb Ideas
  Do fossil counts match sediment counts?  The 08/25/2005 entry contains a lesson on how scientific papers can get the world wrong by calibrating each other on unreliable assumptions.

Your Throat Has Tasteful Antennae   08/30/2009    
August 30, 2009 — Our airways are lined with cells that have beating oars called motile cilia.  Like galley slaves on a Roman ship, they beat in coordinated waves, setting up currents that propel dust and foreign matter out toward the mouth.  Scientists just found out another amazing capability of these motile cilia: they can “taste” toxic chemicals and send out an emergency response call when they can’t beat fast enough to sweep the airways clean.
    The findings by Shah et al were reported in Science.1  In a Perspectives piece about the paper in the same issue,2 Kinnamon and Reynolds said that “human airway epithelial cells use elements of the bitter taste cellular signaling pathway to detect and eliminate potential noxious agents from the airways.”  This was the first time motile cilia were found to be chemosensory.  The non-motile primary cilia that stick out like antennae on many cells were known to have the ability to detect foreign molecules and react to them.  Motile cilia now are found to have this ability.  They can essentially “taste” noxious chemicals, just like the tongue can.  They react by beating faster, trying to get the chemicals out.  They have receptors that can also signal more responses such as coughing or sneezing.  That’s how your body can quickly and automatically go into emergency reaction to dispel harmful chemicals.
    Here’s a sample from Kinnamon and Reynolds to show just how complex this system is:

A similar signaling pathway is initiated by bitter compounds in taste cells and solitary chemosensory cells.  Activated T2R receptors trigger the production of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3) and release of Ca2+ from internal stores.  Ca2+ activates a nonselective cation channel, TrpM5, which depolarizes the cell and together with Ca2+ evokes the release of a transmitter that activates a target sensory neuron.  In ciliated epithelial cells, bitter tastants signal through a similar pathway, but the functional outcome is an increased rate of ciliary beating.
Their article did not mention evolution.  The original article mentioned it once, but only to refer to a paper that claimed that primary cilia and motile cilia are “evolutionarily related.”
1.  Shah, Ben-Shahar, Moninger, Kline and Welsh, “Motile Cilia of Human Airway Epithelia Are Chemosensory,” Science, 28 August 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5944, pp. 1131-1134, DOI: 10.1126/science.1173869.
2.  Sue C. Kinnamon and Susan D. Reynolds, “Cell Biology: Using Taste to Clear the Air(ways),” Science, 28 August 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5944, pp. 1081-1082, DOI: 10.1126/science.1179180.
Cilia are examples Michael Behe cited as irreducibly complex structures that defy evolution and show evidence of intelligent design.  In the 11 years since his first book Darwin’s Black Box (1996) first called attention to the amazing properties of cilia, much more was discovered about them.  Behe’s second book The Edge of Evolution (2007) discussed them in much more detail.  They are just as complex as the flagellar motor – perhaps more.  They are built by a complex system of molecular trucks that carry the building materials from base to tip.  They use ATP to beat like oars.  They coordinate their movements with neighboring cells.  Now we find that they are also loaded with chemical taste sensors and connected into numerous signaling pathways.  How are evolutionists going to explain all this?  They can’t.  They don’t.  They just assume that natural selection can work any miracles required.  Behe showed how this is contrary to evidence and common sense.
    Speaking of Dr. Michael Behe, he witnessed some more Darwinian intolerance this past week.  He was invited to appear on Bloggingheads with John McWhorter and received a very cordial welcome and good response by McWhorter, an evolutionist and agnostic, who was clearly fascinated with The Edge of Evolution and its implications.  Shortly after the interview was posted, it was removed – but savvy I.D. investigators found it and posted it on Uncommon Descent.  Watch the interview, then go to Behe’s blog page on Uncommon Descent where he explains what happened and why.
Next headline on:  Human BodyCell BiologyIntelligent DesignAmazing Facts
How the Girl Evolved Fear of Spiders   08/29/2009    
August 29, 2009 — Today’s Evolutionary Just-So Story is brought to you by New Scientist: “Girls Are Primed to Fear Spiders.”  Once upon a time, while cavemen were out hunting and gathering, the women back home had to learn to avoid dangerous animals.  David Rakison of Carnegie Mellon University put this all into evolutionary terms for the rest of us:
He attributes the difference to behavioural differences between men and women among our hunter-gatherer ancestors.  An aversion to spiders may help women avoid dangerous animals, but in men evolution seems to have favoured more risk-taking behaviour for successful hunting.
    It makes evolutionary sense to acquire spider fear at a certain age, rather than to be born with it, he adds.  “There is little reason for an infant to fear an object unless it can respond to it, for example by crawling away,” he says.
Rakison did not explain how a genetic mutation became fixed in the female of the species but was not expressed in the male.  Nor did New Scientist object to the ostensibly Lamarckian explanation.  Or was there some reasoned conspiracy that early men for millions of years all decided to mate with only the females who showed fear of spiders?  That wouldn’t make “evolutionary sense.”  Nevertheless, the article continued, psychiatric help can assist those women who have trouble with their evolutionary arachnophobia.
Remember the T-shirts labeled “Stupid” and “I’m with Stupid”?  One wonders who is more stupid; the accused idiot, or the idiot who keeps hanging out with him.  Rakison just told an incredibly stupid story, but New Scientist played “I’m With Stupid” and didn’t say a word about it.  They even heard him mention “evolutionary sense” without pointing out the oxymoron.  By playing along as if Stupid said nothing stupid, New Scientist wins Stupider Evolution Quote of the Week.
Next headline on:  Terrestrial ZoologyEarly ManEvolutionary TheoryDumb Ideas
The Darwinist hangout called Talk.Origins evolved over millions of seconds from a primitive Usenet ranting place into a nasty blog.  Intelligently designed thinkers, however, may not be aware of a scholarly and civil rebuttal site called TrueOrigin.org.  This website offers a large library of articles and papers answering the claims of the evolution camp.  In fact, Ashby Camp, one of the organizers of TrueOrigin, has posted over 1,000 articles that support I.D. or Biblical creation science and critique evolution.  The site also includes rebuttals to common TalkOrigins claims.  TrueOrigin is a good place to look the next time you hear Darwinists blast away at creation science with some confident-sounding scientific claim, and need a scholarly comeback without the caricatures and personal attacks that are the trademarks of many anti-creationist sites.  Use the handy search bar and you will have tons of reliable information at your fingertips.
Next resource of the week:  08/22/2009.  All resources: Catalog.

Return of the Peppered Mice   08/28/2009    
August 28, 2009 — Slight changes in the coat color of deer mice is the latest triumph of evolutionary theory, if we are to believe the BBC News and New Scientist.   The BBC announced, without apologies to Jonathan Wells, that “A tiny pale deer mouse living on a sand dune in Nebraska looks set to become an icon of biology.”  But wasn’t a similar case argued six years ago? (see the 04/18/2003 entry).  Actually, one of the researchers in the current story was involved in that case, too.
    The new work published in Science alleges that a team has discovered a new mutation for coat color that spread throughout a population of deer mice in Nebraska.  Since those mice live on light-colored sand dunes, this supposedly gives them a survival advantage.  It seems strange to make such a big deal of this given the variation already known in fur color in mice, rats, cats and dogs, but the BBC said that this is the first time a gene that mutated has been associated with a trait that appears to confer a fitness benefit.  “That makes the fast-evolving deer mouse one of the best examples yet studied of ‘true’ natural selection in action.”  It’s not much of an advantage, though: just 0.5 percent.  Time is the hero of the plot.  Hopi Hoekstra said, “It doesn’t seem that much, but multiplied over thousands of individuals over hundreds of years, it makes a huge difference.”  The sand dunes are thought to have formed 8,000 to 15,000 years ago.
    New Scientist noted that the mutation consisted of a single amino acid deletion within one gene known to be responsible for coat color in many mammals.  So if natural selection did anything, it deleted something; it did not invent something new (certainly not a new protein or enzyme from scratch).  Calling it a “beneficial mutation,” therefore, seems a stretch.  Presumably “Any cases where you can find positive selection for a mutation are interesting,” according to Ron Woodruff of Bowling Green State University.
    To sound sufficiently Darwinian, the paper in Science began with “On the origin” and spread of this mutation.  It mentioned selection often.  The authors rigged an artificial test area with owls and mice where they believe the predatory birds attacked the darker mice more often, but admitted that their tests of fitness were overestimated, “given that predation rates were most likely artificially inflated in the enclosed arena tested.”  They also were unable to establish how the mutation actually produced the phenotypic change.  Nevertheless, they feel that a new mutation did arise and spread through the population and gave the light-colored mice a slightly better chance to avoid being eaten by owls.


1.  Linnen, Kingsley, Jensen and Hoekstra, “On the Origin and Spread of an Adaptive Allele in Deer Mice,” Science, 28 August 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5944, pp. 1095-1098, DOI: 10.1126/science.1175826.
Evolutionists get so excited about the silliest things.  Even a staunch young-earth creationist like Ken Ham would yawn over this story.  He readily shows in Powerpoint slides how all the variety of dogs could have easily arisen since the Flood by mutations and selection.  In fact, the BBC News just reported that only three genes are involved in the wide variety of fur styles in dogs.  The article said nothing about evolution.
    These mice did not really evolve in the sense Darwin wanted to explain.  Was any new function created in these mice?  No.  Was a new gene, or a new protein, or a new molecular machine invented?  No.  Did the mice grow new organs, like wings, and take to the skies?  No.  Did the scientists explain how the gene actually functioned in the mice, and how it interacted with the other genes?  No.  There are many more questions that could be asked.  Did this lighter coat color having some drawbacks, like making it harder for the mice to find each other to mate?  Did the increase in light-colored mice stimulate a corresponding increase in visual acuity in the owls, making this a zero-sum game?  Was there slippage on the treadmill (03/17/2003)?  What is the big deal, anyway?  And why would any Darwinist wish to associate this study with the shamed and discredited case of the peppered moths (07/05/2002, 06/25/2004)?
    The change in the mice is so trivial, it hardly deserves to be celebrated at all, even by evolutionists.  Yet the Darwin-drunk media are telling us this is destined to become a new icon of biology and is “one of the best examples yet studied of natural selection in action.”  If they think this is the best, we would like to see the next best, and so on.  We would like to ask how all the animal phyla, with all their complex and integrated body plans, arose without any evidence of selection, or how life itself arose in the first place.  It doesn’t help a theory when the data needing to be explained are orders of magnitude more complex than one feeble case held up as one of the best examples ever found.  Find an example that makes Ken stop yawning and then we might pay attention.
Next headline on:  MammalsGeneticsEvolutionary Theory
  Five years ago: On 08/22/2004, creationists reported finding land dinosaurs buried with fish.  A few days earlier there was a report of fossil plants found two miles under Greenland ice (08/16/2004).  Meanwhile, evolutionists were struggling with the Ediacaran fossils (08/19/2004) and the African mammal fossil record (08/27/2004).

What’s Up With the Planets?   08/27/2009    
August 27, 2009 — Here are planets and moons making news in our celestial neighborhood, the solar system.  Maybe we’ll drop in on another neighborhood while we’re looking around.

  1. Venus resurfacing:  Planetary geologists can’t get away from the evidence that Venus underwent a planet-wide volcanic resurfacing epoch.  Crater counts and lava flow surveys leave little room for doubt that, however and whenever it happened, a new coat of lava spilled over the entire globe over a short time.  It was a catastrophic, not a uniformitarian, process.  That conclusion was reported in Icarus.1  (See “Earth’s ugly sister can’t get a date,” 08/16/2004.)
  2. Earth climate:  Work at the National Center for Atmospheric Research shows how the 11-year solar cycle influences climate on decadal scales; this was reported by Live Science and PhysOrg.  But do orbital cycles cause long-term shifts, like ice ages?  That was discussed in Science magazine this week.2  Peter Huybers of Harvard explained that the interpretation of ice cores is fraught with problems.  “Coming up with orbital scenarios that look like the Antarctic record is too easy,” he lamented after examining competing models.  “If we are to use Antarctica’s orbital beat to better understand the orchestration of global changes in glaciation, we must first decipher which elements of the climate system are in play and how their responses get recorded in Antarctica’s ice.”  He put the answers in future tense.
  3. Mars floods:  Remember that big canyon on Mars that would stretch across the United States if on earth?  Maybe someone pulled a plug.  Yahoo News reported on a new theory: for at least one section, hot briny underground water caused a collapse, then the water gushed out.  They don’t know where the briny water went, and they can’t say when or how long ago this happened, but it seems catastrophic, not uniformitarian.  Regarding the entire Valles Marinaris, the University of Washington theorizers ignored Ockham’s Razor and said, “it’s likely that the whole system formed from a ‘mixed bag’ of mechanisms, including floods, drainage and tectonic forces.”
  4. Saturn dune moon:  What builds the 300' high sand dunes on Titan?  A new theory reported by Science Daily builds them out of sticky particles without oscillating winds.  The hypothesis by Rubin and Hesp leads to a sticky problem, though: if correct, “new hypotheses regarding the composition, origin, evolution, grain size, stickiness, quantity, global transport patterns and suitability for wind transport of Titan’s sediment; the velocities, directions and seasonal patterns of Titan’s winds; and overall surface wetness will all have to be completely reassessed.”
  5. Saturn geyser moon:  Here’s a PDF file of a Powerpoint presentation by Cassini scientists on the latest thinking about Enceladus, the geyser moon of Saturn.  They think the evidence points to liquid water underground, but another team publishing in Icarus this month thinks otherwise.3   
  6. Neptune anniversary:  Voyager 2’s spectacular encounter with Neptune’s large moon Triton was 20 years ago this month.  In celebration, NASA-JPL issued a set of newly-enhanced photos of the moon’s surface taken in 1989.  The oblique views and a video flyover were produced by Dr. Paul Schenk, who has perfected the stereo imaging technique and is producing flyovers of other bodies based on archive images.
        In 1989, astronomers were stunned to see Triton, one of the coldest bodies in the solar system, sporting active geysers and evidence of recent cryovolcanism.  The moon looked young: “Voyager mapped only the hemisphere that faces Neptune, but revealed a very young surface scarred by rising blobs of ice (diapirs), faults, and volcanic pits and lava flows composed of water and other ices.”
Let’s wrap up with a story of a planet outside our own solar system – an extrasolar planet that shouldn’t exist, but does.  Nature reported a “hot Jupiter” orbiting a star in less than one earth day.4  Scientists couldn’t believe their eyes.  Tidal forces should have made this planet spiral into its star in less than a million years, but the star is thought to be a billion years old.  It seemed impossible we could be seeing a planet in the last wink of its lifetime now.  Ask Science Daily.  Even more confusing is the fact that the planet is going the wrong way around the star.  This story made Science Daily twice.
1.  Romeo and Turcotte, “The frequency-area distribution of volcanic units on Venus: Implications for planetary resurfacing,” Icarus, Volume 203, Issue 1, September 2009, Pages 13-19, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2009.03.036.
2.  Peter Huybers, “Antarctica’s orbital beat,” Science, 28 August 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5944, pp. 1085-1086, DOI: 10.1126/science.1176186.
3.  Kieffer, McFarquhar and Wohletz, “A redetermination of the ice/vapor ratio of Enceladus’ plumes: Implications for sublimation and the lack of a liquid water reservoir,” Icarus, Volume 203, Issue 1, September 2009, Pages 238-241, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2009.05.011.
4.  Hellier et al, “An orbital period of 0.94 days for the hot-Jupiter planet WASP-18b,” Nature 460, 1098-1100 (27 August 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature08245.
The history of astronomy and planetary science is a history of surprises and anomalies.  Scientists build world views of how things should be, and how old they must be, and the real worlds keep astonishing them.  Some people won’t learn humility any other way.
Next headline on:  Solar SystemDating MethodsPhysicsGeology
Feather Technology Resurrected in Printer After 40 Million Years   08/26/2009    
August 26, 2009 — A fossil bird feather from Germany still shows that melanosomes – the cell organelles that produce iridescent colors in feathers – are still visible after an alleged 40 million years.  The structures were long thought to be remnants of bacteria that fed on the organic matter, but now are seen to consist of original feather material.  Derek Briggs of Yale said, “The discovery of ultra-structural detail in feather fossils opens up remarkable possibilities for the investigation of other features in soft-bodied fossils, like fur and even internal organs.”
    Meanwhile, engineers are starting to invent things based on the light-scattering properties of these structures that produce such bright colors on the feathers of birds and the wings of butterflies.  New Scientist reported on the invention of “magic ink” by South Korean scientists.  The ink works by the “interaction of light with finely-patterned surface textures, rather than relying on pigments.”  Using nanoparticles, magnetic fields, resin and a fixer, they produce “structural colors” whose brilliance relies on the interference patterns produced by reflection off repetitive shapes.  This is the same principle that produces the flashy colors on birds, insects, and sometimes even fossil feathers.
If you believe those fossil melanosomes have sat undisturbed for 40 million years, you probably also could believe that magic ink is really magical.  Once irrationality is chosen, it knows no limits.
Next headline on:  BirdsFossilsDating MethodsBiomimetics
  A molecular scissors in your eye?  Really?  It’s worth remembering from the 08/28/2003 entry how it works and why it allows you to see clearly.

Plants Use Hourglass Mechanism   08/26/2009    
August 26, 2009 — Plants need to know when to flower and produce seed.  They can read the sunshine, but what about plants living in shade or cloudy conditions?  It turns out they have two mechanisms for telling time: a light meter and an hourglass.  If the light meter doesn’t switch on, the hourglass lets the plant know it had better flower while it still has a chance to make seed.
    Science Daily reported on work by the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, published in Cell.1  The way the hourglass works is through micro-RNAs.  By binding to messenger RNAs destined to start flowering processes via SPL proteins, they inhibit their actions.  “Jia-Wei Wang and colleagues demonstrate that independent of external cues, the concentration of the microRNA declines over time, like sand running through an hourglass,” the article explained.  “When the microRNA concentration falls below a certain level, enough SPL proteins are produced to activate the flowering process even in the absence of other regulators that measure day length or external temperature.”
    The two mechanisms provide redundancy for the plant to ensure flowering.  “The redundancy of environment-dependent and –independent mechanisms ensures that plants do not wait forever until flowering,” Max Plank director Detlef Weigel explained.  “Better flower once, then never.”
    Neither the Max Planck press release nor the scientific paper mentioned evolution once.


1.  Wang, Czech and Weigel, “miR156-Regulated SPL Transcription Factors Define an Endogenous Flowering Pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana,” Cell, Volume 138, Issue 4, 738-749, 21 August 2009, doi:10.1016/j.cell.2009.06.014.
Micro-RNAs were only discovered in the last decade.  This is another example of them in action with a functional regulatory role.  Darwinians will undoubtedly have a tall tale ready to explain this, but systems biology, which sees an organism as a system of interrelated and coordinated parts (see 07/21/2009), needs Darwinian storytelling like a teenage face needs a zit.
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyPlantsAmazing Facts
Cosmic Accounting Is Wildly Inaccurate   08/26/2009    
August 26, 2009 — Counting faint celestial objects is admittedly hard, but the task should be within the capabilities of expert astronomers.  It is, after all, as simple as counting.  So much theoretical work relies on accurate counts of what’s out there, they need to get at least in the ballpark.  Recent indications hint that their counts have been way off.
  1. Galaxies:  Pavel Kroupa (U of Bonn) has told his colleagues that counts of mini-galaxies don’t match expectations.  In New Scientist, he said, “It is the cleanest case in which we can see there is something badly wrong with our standard picture of the origin of galaxies.”  In theory, there should be thousands of mini-galaxies orbiting the Milky Way; in actuality, only 25 have been found.  What’s more, they orbit in unexpected ways, casting doubt on standard theories of gravity.  Kroupa believes that Newtonian gravitational theory has to be modified to account for the observed motions.  The accounting of mini-galaxies, the article said, “has the latest battleground between the proponents of dark matter and theories of modified gravity.”  Can something as basic as gravity be questioned?  Yes.
  2. Stars:  400% off?  “Galaxies Demand a Stellar Recount,” announced a Jet Propulsion Lab feature story this month based on a paper in Astrophysical Journal last April 10.1  The upshot is that there appear to be far more small stars than thought – four times as many.  Astronomers have been using a ratio of 500 small stars to every giant, but results from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer indicate the actual count might be more like 2,000 to one.  Gerhardt Meurer used a fruity analogy: “the melons grab your eyes, even though the total weight of the blueberries may be more.”  The recount affects an important parameter called the Initial Mass Function.  The IMF is the basis for a great deal of theoretical work.  Astronomers think they understand galaxies by looking at the light they can see, but “this common assumption has been leading astronomers astray,” Meurer said.  The article said, “This belief, based on years of research, has been tipped on its side with new data from NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer.” 
Theories, like vending machines, may not work when tipped on their sides.  Many ideas about stellar and galactic evolution have depended on estimates that now appear to be highly oblique.
1.  Meurer et al, “Evidence for a Nonuniform Initial Mass Function in the Local Universe,” The Astrophysical Journal 695 (2009) 765, April 10, 2009, doi:10.1088/0004-637X/695/1/765.
Here are more reasons to be wary of the confident statements of scientists.  We can police them when their work produces a cell phone or printer that works or doesn’t work, but how is a layperson to judge a cosmologists’ assertion that dark matter constitutes 95% of reality, or galaxies evolved from mergers of mini-galaxies?  Most of us can’t, so we tend to give them the benefit of the doubt and trust their superior knowledge.  The training they’ve gone through and the knowledge they’ve acquired do command respect, but it’s dangerous to trust scientists overmuch.  There are some things they just cannot know very well.  In most respects they are just like normal people: mortal, fallible, and given to overconfidence.
    Scientific television shows are among the worst for transforming theoretical work into brazen propaganda.  Visualization techniques like animation can make dubious hypotheses seem certain.  Dust grains can grow into planets right before your eyes (cf 08/21/2009); comets can deliver oceans to the earth, and mineral grains washed into the oceans can morph like magic into living cells (these miracles were all seen on a recent TV show about earth history).  Don’t be fooled.  Those are tricks by graphic artists, not findings by the Knowers of the Deep Knowledge of All.
    Here are three warning signs that can help laymen to keep a healthy skepticism when evaluating scientific claims: (1) a new finding undermines long-held assumptions (like those above); (2) a deep, long-lasting controversy is taking place between competing theories; and (3) a scientist says, “We now know....”
Next headline on:  CosmologyAstronomyPhysics
Does Evolution Produce Winners?   08/25/2009    
August 25, 2009 — Referees at UCLA are calling the shots in an unusual sport: the evolution game.  Mammals, birds and fish swept the medals.  The losers?  crocodiles, alligators, and a “living fossil” reptile called the tuatara.  According to the judges, the more the biodiversity, the more a group wins points; the more their species go extinct or remain unchanged, the more they lose points.
    Science Daily reported the scores.  “Our results indicate that mammals are special,” judged evolutionary biologist Michael Alfaro.  He and his colleagues dished out the awards to all kinds of groups – kangaroos, parrots, coral reef fish, songbirds, and most of the mammals.  Crawling in last place were some of the reptile groups.  The tuatara, which lives on isolated places on New Zealand’s south island, was a big loser.  There may have been a few dozen species in its heyday during the dinosaur era.  Now, only one species remains.  “In the same period of time that produced more than 8,000 species of snakes and lizards, there were only two species of tuatara,” Alfaro said.
    It’s not clear, though, why the rich species are being judged winners. 
“That is one of the big mysteries about biodiversity,” Alfaro said.  “Why these evolutionary losers are still around is a very hard thing to explain.  They have been drawing inside straights for hundreds of millions of years.  It’s a real mystery to biologists how there can be any tuataras, given their low rate of speciation.  They must have something working for them that has allowed them to persist.  In species richness, these are losers, but in another sense, this highlights how unique they are.  There are incredibly disparate patterns of species richness.”
Another mystery is the timing.  “The timing of the rate increases does not correspond to the appearance of key characteristics that have been invoked to explain the evolutionary success of these groups, such as hair on mammals or mammals’ well-coordinated chewing ability or feathers on birds,” Alfaro continued.  He admitted, “We need to look for new explanations.”
Winners and losers, right.  OK.  Alfaro is just using creative writing, we understand.  Or is he?  He seems to really believe in his criterion for judging winners: species richness.  Why not the other way around?
    The Darwin Party often criticizes creationists for proposing a designer who intervenes in his creation, as if he couldn’t get it right the first time.  Alright, why couldn’t Tinker Bell, the goddess of the Darwinians, get it right?  Maybe the tuatara should be judged the winner.  It landed on a body plan and lifestyle that has persisted essentially unchanged for hundreds of millions of years (if we are to believe the article’s flexible dating terminology – you know, a million here, a few million there; pretty soon you’re talking real funny).  Meanwhile, Tinker Bell had to keep tinkering with the birds and mammals and fish, never being content with her accidental products of emergence.  It should go without question to perspicuous readers that claiming the tuatara has survived unchanged over a hundred million years calls into serious doubt their dating scheme.
    The criteria are silly, but worse are Alfaro’s oscillations between bold pronouncements and admissions of ignorance.  One moment he is announcing the winners like an impartial referee; the next moment he is admitting he doesn’t even know the rules.  He doesn’t understand the game, he doesn’t understand the metrics, and he doesn’t understand the plays.  Stuff happens, but he doesn’t know why.  Who appointed him a judge?
    There are no winners in evolution.  Everyone is a loser.  Fitness is a vacuous statement, because it can mean opposite things (12/19/2007 commentary).  The fitness landscape collapses onto the frictionless surface, infinite in all directions, with no coordinates.  Values evaporate in the evolutionary world view.  Existence is fleeting, death is certain, and extinction is inevitable.  Nobody cares if you live or die.  If a meteor wipes out all life on the planet, nobody weeps.  Undoubtedly Alfaro himself would shrink back from that thought.  Why?  Because he is more than a product of evolution; he has a soul, and he knows innately the value of values.  If we forced the Darwinists to eat the fruit of their evil roots, they would whimper away, learning not to say stupid things.  Help them out.  Embarrass a Darwinist today.  It’s known as tough love.
Next headline on:  BirdsMammalsMarine BiologyTerrestrial ZoologyEvolutionary TheoryDumb Ideas
  Seven years ago this month: In evolutionary geology, you can be off by 50% or more and nobody complains.  See how that happened in the 08/29/2002 entry.  The previous day (08/28/2002), a geologist disputed the consensus theory of the Permian extinction.

DNA Translator More Complicated Than Thought   08/24/2009    
August 24, 2009 — One of the most remarkable molecular machines in your body, the ribosome, is coming to light, nanometer by nanometer, as scientists find new ways to peer into the inner workings of the “black box.”
    Science Daily reported on work at Berkeley that has given the clearest imagery yet. 

“Ribosomes, which number in the millions in a single human cell, have long been considered the “black boxes” in molecular biology.  “We know what goes in and what comes out of ribosomes, but we’re only beginning to learn about what is going on in between” said the study’s principal investigator, Jamie Cate, UC Berkeley associate professor in chemistry and molecular and cell biology, and a faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Ribosomes are frenetically active in all cells of the body.  They take the messenger RNA transcripts from the nucleus and translate them into proteins.  Two large protein-RNA subunits make up the ribosome, but hundreds of other components (proteins, cofactors and RNAs) take part in the operation.  The ribosome needs to faithfully translate the genetic code coming from the DNA in the nucleus. 
The mRNA dutifully delivers that code to the ribosome, which somehow reads the instructions, or “data tape,” as each amino acid is added to a growing protein chain.”
    At the same time, other RNA molecules, called transfer RNA (tRNA), bring to the ribosome amino acids, the raw building blocks needed for protein construction.
How fast is the translation work?  The article said a ribosome can translate 20 codons per second – an amazing rate considering how many parts are involved, bringing in raw materials, catalyzing reactions and checking for errors.  Scientists used to picture a simple ratchet mechanism that kept the “data tape” moving.  Now, they have found at least four operations in the ratchet. 
“We suspect that the ribosome changes its conformation in so many steps to allow it to interact with relatively big tRNAs while keeping the two segments of the ribosome from flying apart,” said Cate.  “It’s much more complicated than the simple ratcheting mechanism in a socket wrench.”
Much more work will be required to learn how the mechanism works in detail.  Interruptions to the ribosome (such as hijacking by viruses) can cause deadly diseases.  For our health, and our sense of wonder at the nano-universe, we need to learn as much as we can about cellular machinery.  Cate said, “I’m looking forward to producing a movie of a ribosome with enough resolution and enough frames per millisecond that we can see what is happening at a molecular level.... We still have a long way to go, but we’re working hard.”  The article said nothing about evolution, nor did the original paper in Science.1
    Another paper in Science discussed in detail one of the many essential proteins that begins translation by forming the first peptide bond inside the ribosome.2  Called elongation factor P (EF-P), it has a special binding site inside the ribosome and binds to both major subunits, the transfer RNA, and other ribosomal components, indicating multiple specificities in its shape for the important function it performs.  During its operation, it undergoes gymnastics: it binds to L1, “which results in the largest movement of the L1 stalk that has been observed in the absence of ratcheting of the ribosomal subunits.”  This precise movement is essential for proper positioning of the amino acids so that the first peptide bond is formed as translation begins.  Essential for cell viability, EF-P is found in archaeal cells; a similar enzyme, elF-5A, operates in eukaryotes.  This paper also did not mention evolution, except to state that the active components of EF-P and elF-5A are “extremely well conserved” (i.e., unevolved).
    For an excellent animation of the whole process of translating DNA into protein, see a video at the Signature in the Cell website.  Stephen Meyer’s book of that name contains detailed descriptions of the ribosome, along with a great deal of historical, philosophical and mathematical background information that explains how these complex protein machines are behind the reach of chance.
1.  Zhang, Dunkle and Cate, “Structures of the Ribosome in Intermediate States of Ratcheting,” Science, 21 August 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5943, pp. 1014-1017, DOI: 10.1126/science.1175275.
2.  Blaha, Stanley and Steitz, “Formation of the First Peptide Bond: The Structure of EF-P Bound to the 70S Ribosome,” Science, 21 August 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5943, pp. 966-970, DOI: 10.1126/science.1175800.
Darwinists need to understand two things: (1) they are flat wrong about the oft-quoted dictum that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.  These scientists needed evolutionary theory like a swimmer needs a millstone around his neck.  (2) The trend in discovery in molecular biology is undermining their credibility.  It has been destroying evolution for decades.
    It’s not like this is the first revelation that evolution is powerless to produce these molecular machines.  How long ago did Darwin’s Black Box come out?  13 years, and they still haven’t learned.  Before that, Michael Denton blasted Darwinism’s reliance on chance in Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.  Our online book, first published in 1973, blew a chance origin of life out of the whole universe.  Before that the Wistar Institute formulated mathematical challenges to the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution.  The first glimpses of the complexity of the genetic translation process came to light in the 1950s.  And now, Signature in the Cell is continuing the tradition of offering scientific evidence that is absolutely devastating to Darwinism.
    Look at how incorrigible the Darwinians are.  Over 50 years have passed since molecular biology rendered evolution bankrupt, but they are still as belligerent and intolerant as ever.  Through the raw exercise of power, driving on fumes, they resist any attempt at letting their critics get a seat at the scientific table or on school boards.  They are ruthless in attitude but toothless in aptitude, with no gratitude for the scholarship of scholars who disagree with them.  They are totalitarian dictators.  The few who listen and reason are appreciated, but what value do the likes of Eugenie Scott, PZ Myers, Jerry Coyne and the other Darwin dobermans bring to science?  They are insufferable demagogues and incorrigible ideologues for a falsified theory that is not credible.  They are like revolutionary radicals who campaign for parliaments only to subvert them into oppressive one-party dictatorships.  They dole out perks to their friends, the Darwin Party mythmakers and storytellers, but send their critics into exile and engage in character assassination.  They’ve had the facts long enough.  If they cared about facts, they would have repented long ago in dust and ashes.  The only hope is to oust them from power.  Let’s keep pounding away with the facts of molecular biology, sharing the evidence and convincing as many unpolluted minds as we can, till freedom and sense return to the halls of science. 
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyGeneticsIntelligent DesignAmazing Facts
Are We at the Center of the Universe?   08/23/2009    
August 23, 2009 — An alternative cosmology that doesn’t require dark energy may have the effect of putting the Milky Way near the center of the universe.  That’s not the only interpretation, but it is being considered.
    Space.com reported on work by mathematicians at UC Davis who solved Einstein’s field equations without dark energy.  If the big bang produced ripples in space-time, it could give the illusion that the universal expansion is accelerating without actual acceleration.  “One potential issue with this idea is that it might require a big coincidence,” Space.com said: “For the universe to appear to be accelerating at the same rate in all directions, we in the Milky Way would have to be near a local center, at the spot where an expansion wave was initiated early in the Big Bang when the universe was filled with radiation.”  Blake Temple of UC Davis acknowledged that it may look coincidental, but may reflect local conditions from our vantage point.
    Still, National Geographic News seemed alarmed by the suggestion.  This violation of the Copernican Principle (the idea that all observers in the universe get the same large-scale view) would be a “hard pill to swallow.”  It will take more work before the evidence in favor of dark energy is overthrown.  Space.com, on the other hand, called dark energy a “hasty fix to an inconvenient truth” in the 1990s – the discovery that distant supernovae were dimmer than expected and must be accelerating from us.  Temple argued that dark energy looked like a fudge factor.  That’s why the UC Davis team tried to find an alternative cosmology without it.  Meanwhile, as Science Daily reported, most astronomers are working hard to find the mysterious dark energy.
Dark energy and dark matter continue to be offered as occult phenomena that bind the consensus assumptions of cosmology together.  They serve no explanatory function.  What good is it to say that Mysterious Unknown Stuff (MUST) must exist? (02/28/2008).  Any storyteller can say that to prove anything.  Science is supposed to observe and measure things.  Let them work on that before expecting us to accept their placeholder for ignorance much longer.
    If it turns out our galaxy is near some kind of privileged location, that would be interesting, but does Christian theology require it?  No; our significance to God is not a function of our coordinates.  There are already so many “cosmic coincidences” that make our universe, galaxy, star and planet unique (watch The Privileged Planet), we don’t need another one that puts man at point zero in sector zero in quadrant zero in the big scheme of things (if there even is a way to measure a center, considering the intertwined relationships of light and time).  Creation physicist Dr. Russell Humphreys has argued from quantized redshifts that our galaxy must be near the center of the universe.  Even so, he does not claim that we are at the exact center.  But if we are not at the exact center, it would raise all kinds of additional questions – why not?
    The center might not be a good place to be, anyway.  We obviously don’t want to be at the center of the Milky Way (too crowded), or at the center of the sun (too hot), or at the center of the earth (too dark).  A comfortable place in the suburbs works out just fine so long as we can live, move, and have our being.  What matters is not living near the civic center of the universe, but near the rescue mission.  We want to be where a Savior was coming (Galatians 4:4-5).
Next headline on:  CosmologyPhysicsTheology
For an all-around Intelligent Design website, check out Access Research Network.  Under the hood, the site is loaded with resources—books, DVDs, recordings, articles, blogs, FAQs, news stories and much more.  You can find articles by the “leading lights” of the ID Movement, including Phillip Johnson, William Dembski, Michael Behe, Jonathan Wells and others, and you can order all their book in their online store.  Some videos and audio recordings are available at ARN and nowhere else.  They even have an “ID Arts” section where writers, painters and sculptors have submitted works based on ID themes.  Drop by and check out all the things ARN has to offer.
Next resource of the week:  08/15/2009.  All resources: Catalog.

Appendix to The Origin: “Darwin Was Wrong”   08/21/2009    
August 21, 2009 — The appendix, that lowly dollop of tissue relegated to vestigial organ status by the Darwinians, is alive and well with new respect.  Science Daily announced results of the “first-ever study of the appendix through the ages.”  Conclusion: “Charles Darwin was wrong: The appendix is a whole lot more than an evolutionary remnant.  Not only does it appear in nature much more frequently than previously acknowledged, but it has been around much longer than anyone had suspected.”
    Researchers at the Duke University Medical Center had reported earlier that the appendix seems to “reboot” intestinal flora after a crisis (10/06/2007).  This time, they started with Darwin’s ideas about the evolution of the appendix from a cecum in a limited group of mammals, but found “two major problems with that idea.”  For one, some animals have an appendix and a cecum.  Second, the appendix is actually widespread in nature, indicating it has a function and is not withering away as a useless vestige.  The Duke researchers believe the appendix has a vital role in the immune system.  It becomes inflamed and dangerous not because of its uselessness, but because of cultural changes and improvements in sanitation that leave our immune systems “with too little work and too much time their hands – a recipe for trouble.”
    The article tried to soften the blow on Darwin by saying that the old wise man just didn’t have enough facts at this disposal.  “If Darwin had been aware of the species that have an appendix attached to a large cecum, and if he had known about the widespread nature of the appendix, he probably would not have thought of the appendix as a vestige of evolution.”  Whoever’s to blame for the misunderstanding, “Maybe it’s time to correct the textbooks,” advised Dr. William Parker, senior author of the study.  “Many biology texts today still refer to the appendix as a ‘vestigial organ.’”  Parker was even more careful not to offend Darwin.  He told Live ScienceLive Science, “We’re not saying that Darwin’s idea of evolution is wrong – that would be absurd, as we’re using his ideas on evolution to do this work.  It’s just that Darwin simply didn’t have the information we have now.”

Why does Charlie always get off with a tender wrist slap for his crimes?  If creationists proposed a theory that led medical science astray for more than a century, they would be thrown in the intellectual dungeon without possibility of parole.  Darwin gets away with murder.  How did these guys use Darwin’s theory to do their research?  Nothing about their work indicated that the appendix emerged from animals lacking one.  They could not explain its origin by slight, continuous, small modifications.  All they did was assume the Darwinian millions-of-years timetable.  Charlie’s only help to them was like a defense lawyer telling a crook how to lie effectively in court.
    Notice that the doctors said textbooks are still teaching that the appendix (and other body parts) are vestigial organs.  The few remaining such organs from the 100+ that were cited a century ago should be re-examined (05/20/2008) in light of this revelation.  Consider how false Darwinian ideas about tonsils led to many unnecessary tonsillectomies decades ago, to the detriment of some of their owners who needed their immune-system functions.  That’s an ideological crime.
    Just because a person can live without an organ does not mean it is vestigial.  In fact, Darwinian theory has trouble explaining any trait that is not required for survival and reproduction.  The whole population without the trait has to perish in the struggle for existence for the perpetuation of an organ to be explained in Darwinian theory (this is the “cost of fitness”).  Undoubtedly you can think of parts you could survive and reproduce without.
    Humans and animals are overdesigned for their life on this planet.  It’s a travesty to consign everything about living things as solely justified on its ability to pass on genes.  Darwin was wrong.  The appendix undermines the book.
Next headline on:  Human BodyMammalsHealthDarwin and Evolutionary TheoryEducation
  On the Origin of the Tumor; come again?  A year ago a Darwinist was proposing cancer as evidence for evolutionary fitness.  See the 08/13/2008 entry.

Planet-Makers Ask Miracles to Evade Death Spiral   08/21/2009    
August 21, 2009 — Remember the old artwork of planets gently forming out of dust orbiting a young star?  That’s all gone.  Reality has set it.  Clumps of material a meter across need help – almost miraculous help – to avoid getting sucked into the star in a giant death spiral.  If you don’t believe it, ask John Chambers of the Carnegie Institute why he wrote the following in Nature this week:1 

The rarity of planetesimals smaller than 100 km in diameter at the end of stage 1 seems to rule out the possibility that dust aggregates somehow made it across the metre-size barrier by gradually sweeping up material from their surroundings.  Instead, objects must have grown very rapidly from sub-metre-sized pebbles into 100-km-sized bodies, possibly in a single leap.
To get a handle on what he just said, he is asking people to believe that pebbles grew into planets as big as Los Angeles instantaneously.  That makes the “punctuated equilibria” theory in biology look tame by comparison.
    Chambers’ mostly optimistic article focused on the possibility of using current asteroid size distributions as a kind of archaeological probe into the early history of the solar system.  Since most surviving asteroids appear to be at least 100 km in size (though this may be an observational selection effect), some models suggest it reflects the original size distribution after “stage 1” of planet formation, which he describes thusly: “Dust grains coalesced into planetesimals, objects of 1–1,000 km in diameter, through an unknown process.”  Philosophers and logicians might enjoy a hearty debate over the difference between a miracle and an unknown process; see, for example Hugh Mclachlan’s discussion about miracles and science in New Scientist.
    Chambers relied heavily on four papers he cited, so we looked them up.  One, by Blum and Wurm,2 was supposed to guarantee that dust grains will accrete into boulders (see the 12/05/2007 where Wurm was less sanguine about this).  That paper started with a less optimistic tone: “The formation of planetesimals, the kilometer-sized planetary precursors, is still a puzzling process.”  The authors examined all the latest experiments and models, and concluded that it is possible to get pebbles up to 10cm (if charged dust particles collide below 1 m/s), but after 1 meter in diameter is reached, erosional processes dominate.  In frustration they said, “Due to the experimental findings discussed in the previous sections, it seems unlikely to form planetesimals by direct collisional sticking.”  They attempted some special pleading by invoking unusual conditions to make the particles more sticky, but then appealed to miracles to get around the giant sucking sound: “However done, the formation of kilometer-sized planetesimals has to happen fast, as large bodies possess a rather short lifetime owing to their effective inward drift motion.”  How fast?  100 years or less.  Within a century of orbit, meter-size agglomerates will meet their fate in the stellar oven.  “Thus, any model explaining the growth over this meter-size barrier has to be extremely fast to prevent the radial drift of the macroscopic bodies.”
    In the next few paragraphs, Blum and Wurm engaged in more special pleading, searching for solutions, only to conclude, “We now have a somehow detailed picture of how decimeter-sized dust aggregates form, but lack a self-consistent description of the further evolution of solid bodies to the planetesimal level.”  Chambers borrowed his optimism from the sections that talked about the pebbles, but had to admit a big problem remains with the city-sized planetesimals: “However, the transition from pebble-sized dust aggregates to mountain-sized planetesimals is problematic and remains an unresolved issue,” he said.  “This is unfortunate, because all subsequent stages of planet formation depend on it.”  Then he agreed: meter-size clumps are quickly destroyed by the death spiral and collisions with neighbors.  “For these reasons, it seems unlikely that objects will grow larger than about one metre as a result of the gradual accumulation of dust grains.”  Bad news for planet builders.
    But then, Chambers renewed his optimism by referencing two recent models (2007, 2008), that though “still in their infancy” offer hope of a solution.3,4  Both models rely in disk instability to produce large clumps almost instantaneously.  Johansen et al3 recognized the problem in their abstract: “How this process continues from metre-sized boulders to kilometre-scale planetesimals is a major unsolved problem: boulders are expected to stick together poorly, and to spiral into the protostar in a few hundred orbits owing to a ‘headwind’ from the slower rotating gas.”  Only by special pleading, invoking local concentrations of matter, were they able to model the formation of minor-planet-size bodies by processes faster than those trying to destroy them.  Cuzzi et al4 also understood the destructive processes at work, e.g., “disruption by the ram pressure of the differentially orbiting nebula gas.”  Their “scenario” which relied on turbulence and local knots of material, was stated as a work in progress: “Localized radial pressure fluctuations in the nebula, as well as interactions between differentially moving dense clumps, will also play a role that must be accounted for in future studies.”  Neither of these “scenarios” seem ready for the imprimatur of scientific theory.  Chambers recognized this.  “Ideally, one would like observational data to test their viability,” he said.  Indeed.  This recalls Yogi Berra’s quip that in theory, theory and practice should agree, but in practice, they often don’t.
    So far, the models and experiments are pretty glum.  That’s where Chambers turned a corner and talked archaeology.  Referring to a paper by Morbidelli et al,5 he argued that present distributions of asteroids can tell us about original distributions of hopeful clumps in the early solar system.  But to believe this, one has to believe that “asteroids were born big” (the title of their paper).  Only by starting out with the assumption that the original clumps were 100km in diameter could they get the size distributions to match.  Here is where Morbidelli et al stated the miracle in their words: “This supports the idea that planetesimals formed big, namely that the size of solids in the proto-planetary disk ‘jumped’ from sub-meter scale to multi-kilometer scale, without passing through intermediate values.”  While we’re having fun with miracles, let’s pile them on: “the initial planetesimals had to have sizes ranging from 100 to several 100 km, probably even 1,000 km” they said.  Now the dust particles leaped from centimeters to the size of continents.  What they said next indicates that miracles must hereafter be included in planet-building scenarios: “This result sets a new constraint on planetesimal formation models and opens new perspectives for the investigation of the collisional evolution in the asteroid and Kuiper belts as well as of the accretion of the cores of the giant planets.”
    Meanwhile, the giant sucking sound continues.  In this month’s Astrophysical Journal, Fred Adams and Anthony Bloch6 wrote more about Type I migration – the death spiral that conveys meter-size rocks to their doom.  “In many planet-forming disks, the Type I migration mechanism, driven by asymmetric torques, acts on a short timescale and compromises planet formation,” they said.  Only by appeals to luck could they get some clumps to survive the “Type I migration problem” – “If the disk also supports magnetohydrodynamics instabilities, however, the corresponding turbulent fluctuations produce additional stochastic torques that modify the steady inward migration scenario.”  How many survive?  The results for any given set of boundary conditions is “uncertain,” they admitted, but with some “expected disk properties” they arrived at calculations of 1% to 10% might survive; however, “the fraction of surviving planets decreases exponentially with time.”  They did not discuss the accretion problem.  They only said that unless something happens fast, by chance or miracle, don’t expect to find any planets left.
    For public consumption, JPL issued a feature story explaining all this in layman’s terms.  Without blinking an eye, the story just stated that asteroids were born big, as if that is all you need to know.  “Evidence is now mounting that these small space rocks quickly ‘jumped’ (or grew) in size from below one meter to multi-kilometer in size,” the article said – and that’s how they evaded the death spiral.  And what is that evidence that has been mounting?  It’s current asteroid distributions and computer simulations (and the realization that without starting big, they would be destroyed).  The only way the simulators could keep the initial asteroids from obliterating themselves was by starting them out big – pebbles that somehow “quickly morphed into asteroids hundreds of kilometers in size.”  How that happened, exactly, they couldn’t say.  “Once their growth spurt was over, these massive celestial bodies began an epoch-sized game of demolition derby as they orbited the sun.  Over the eons, and with each extraterrestrial pileup, came fewer and fewer large asteroids – a fragmentation process that continues to this day.  Despite the modest sizes of asteroids today, the paper’s authors conclude that asteroids must have been born big.”
    New Scientist followed suit, blessing the papers that prescribed instant planets with positive vibes.  This “sudden leap” scenario was blessed by John Chambers as a “big step forward.”  The only one calling for a little more caution was Scott Kenyon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.  “It’s a nice story and they have a lot of evidence supporting their point of view,” he said, but he cautioned, according to New Scientist, that “it may have been difficult to complete planet formation in a reasonable time if there were no small asteroids at the outset.”  Onlookers might question whether leaping over a gap is really increasing our understanding of how we got here.
1.  John Chambers, “Planetary science: Archaeology of the asteroid belt,” Nature 460, 963-964 (20 August 2009) | doi:10.1038/460963a.
2.  Blum and Wurm, “The Growth Mechanisms of Macroscopic Bodies in Protoplanetary Disks,” Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 46: 21-56 (Volume publication date September 2008) (doi:10.1146/annurev.astro.46.060407.145152).
3.  Johansen et al, “Rapid planetesimal formation in turbulent circumstellar disks,” Nature448, 1022-1025 (30 August 2007), doi:10.1038/nature06086; Received 19 December 2006; Accepted 5 July 2007.
4.  Cuzzi, Hogan and Sharif, “Toward Planetesimals: Dense Chondrule Clumps in the Protoplanetary Nebula,” The Astrophysical Journal, 2008 ApJ 687 1432-1447, doi: 10.1086/591239.
5.  Morbidelli, Bottky, Nesvorny and Levison, “Asteroids Were Born Big,” Icarus (July 2009), doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2009.07.011.
6.  Adams and Bloch, “General Analysis of Type I Migration with Stochastic Perturbations,” The Astrophysical Journal, 701 (August 2009) 1381, doi:10.1088/0004-637X/701/2/1381.
This has to be one of the most egregious lapses of scientific integrity in modern times.  It is so bad, so full of special pleading and ad hoc speculation and storytelling contrary to the evidence, it is almost as bad as Darwinism – and you know what that means.  Elsewhere we have complained that appeals to the Stuff Happens Law are not scientific.
In chapter 8 of his recent book Signature in the Cell, Stephen Meyer elaborated on the “chance hypothesis” and described when it is legitimate in scientific explanation and when it is not.  Something that is “one of the normal possible outcomes of a regular underlying process” can be explained as an outcome of chance.  But when a one-time, highly-improbable outcome that exhibits specified complexity is explained by chance (the Stuff Happens Law), it amounts to an admission of ignorance.  It’s a fancy way of saying, “We don’t know what happened” or “We can’t explain it” (p. 176).
So when astronomers attribute the existence of planets to the luck of the draw, when our planet exhibits numerous cosmic “coincidences” that make life possible, they are using chance as an escape hatch to avoid clear evidence of design.  Should we bless it with the honor of science?
    Some astronomers reading this may object to our use of the word “miracle” in their explanations.  Planets, after all, do exist.  They must have gotten here somehow.  And the authors of these distinguished papers are scientists, not priests.  They know calculus.  They work at universities.  They have degrees.  It follows that anything they say and do must be respected as authoritative, even when they say that clumps went from pebble size to continent size without passing through the intermediate stages.  Come on; scientists put on their pants one leg at a time like other mortals do.  If we are to treat them like gods, then they are like Janus – one face weeping over the insurmountable problems with the physics, and the other smiling blissfully over the visions of what they can achieve in their models with a few miracles sprinkled in.
    You know what would get these false gods out of their troubles?  A little exercise in thinking outside the box.  They have forced themselves into the impossible situation of believing that they have to explain humans from the bottom up.  Once upon a time, a bang happened; this led to some subatomic particles, then some atoms, then some clumps, some stars, some galaxies, some planets, some life, and some people.  This sequence requires invocations of the Stuff Happens Law and miracles at every turn.  Ask yourself: why must scientific explanation start from the bottom up?  Why not a top-down approach?
    The answer is, of course, the necessity of a designing intelligence when explanation starts from the top down.  But look at the benefits: it fits the scientific evidence (for example, see this JPL press release).  The two greatest laws of physics (the first and second laws of thermodynamics) no longer have to be violated.  Planets can have an explanation for their origin.  Instead of dust disks building themselves up into systems, they collide and decay – just as we observe them doing.  The order and design we observe has a sufficient cause.  Things have meaning and purpose – including our desire to understand the world through science.
    Janus is a bad scientist.  He needs a head transplant.  We suggest the head of Kepler, who accepted his priesthood as a scientist and believed in a designing intelligence.  He said, “Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it befits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God.”
Next headline on:  Solar SystemPhysicsStars
Cambrian Explosion Still Explosive   08/20/2009    
August 20, 2009 — Two new papers about Cambrian and Precambrian fossils did nothing to help soften the blow of the Cambrian explosion – the sudden appearance of all the animal body plans in the geological blink of an eye.  They essentially restated the problem for Darwin, who hoped that fossil discoveries would fill in the gaps where his required transitional forms were missing.
  1. Ediacaran simplicity.  In PNAS,1 three researchers from Virginia announced results of their study of the mysterious Ediacaran organisms that (according to evolutionary dating) lived prior to the Cambrian explosion, 575-542 million years ago.  They found that these organisms were most likely able to feed by osmosis.  It had been thought that the high surface area to volume ratio required for osmotrophy (direct absorption of dissolved organic carbon) presented physiological barriers to organisms this large, but they found that adaptations allowed the Ediacarans to overcome these barriers.  Combined with the fact that they lacked oral openings, this underscores the perception of Ediacaran organisms as relatively simple colonies of cells, without any internal structures that might suggest they represented transitional forms leading to the complex animals that exploded onto the scene at the early Cambrian.  Science Daily reported this finding on August 21.
  2. All phyla present at the explosion:  Desmond Collins, a retired curator of invertebrate paleontology and head of paleobiology at the Royal Ontario Museum, spent 12 seasons 1983-2000 investigating the famous Burgess Shale.  This rich fossil bed in the Canadian Rockies contains one of the richest lodes of middle Cambrian fossils in the world.  Writing for Nature,1 Collins recounted the history of exploration of the Burgess Shale by R. G. McConnell and Charles Doolittle Walcott in the late 1880s to early 1900s, with a focus on the difficulty of classifying the “wonderful life” found there.  Walcott and others attempted to shoehorn the fossils into known phyla at the time.  Others criticized that approach, but current thinking does put most of them into known groups.  “There are some extinct classes, such as the Dinocarida,” Collins said, “but very few extinct phyla.”  Then he combined Burgess fossils with the Chinese findings at Chengjiang and others from Greenland into a categorical statement: “Along with the Burgess Shale animals, they demonstrate that virtually all animal groups alive today were present in Cambrian seas.”  The Chengjiang biota, he said, includes “new chordates, the group that includes humans.”
        Collins briefly discussed “The Darwin connection.”  But it wasn’t very supportive of Darwinism.  Apparently much of the impetus for Walcott’s search in the Burgess Shale was the Darwin Centennial of 1909: 
    Walcott first visited Mount Stephen in 1907 – the year that he was appointed secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC – to study the Cambrian stratigraphy of the area.  Two years later the Darwin centennial seems to have provided the serendipitous stimulus for his discovery of the Burgess Shale.  Walcott was given an honorary doctorate at the University of Cambridge, UK, in June, as part of the 1909 celebrations.
    The celebration of the Burgess Shale as a possible help to Darwinism was apparently premature.  Collins said nothing further about Darwin.  Exciting as the Burgess Shale fossils proved to be, none of them provided the transitional forms necessary to explain the sudden appearance of phyla at the Cambrian explosion – a phenomenon Darwin himself conceded was the most serious challenge to his theory.

1.  Laflamme, Xiao and Kowalewski, “Osmotrophy in modular Ediacara organisms,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Published online August 17, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0904836106.
2.  Desmond Collins, “Misadventures in the Burgess Shale,” Nature 460, 952-953 (20 August 2009) | doi:10.1038/460952a.
Soon to be a major motion picture!  Darwin’s Dilemma: The Mystery of the Cambrian Fossil Record is being released next month by Illustra Media, the group that defended intelligent design in the cell with Unlocking the Mystery of Life and in astronomy with The Privileged Planet.  This third film, a beautiful and powerful production, completes a trilogy of documentaries that are undermining Darwin’s grip on natural history and making a strong case for I.D.  The Nature article above is a timely announcement.  It did nothing to help protect Mr. Darwin from the impact of this new film.  If anything, both articles took away whatever armor he had.  The first article said that the Ediacarans were simple organisms with no transitional connection to the Cambrian animals.  The second underscored the fact that virtually all animal groups alive today were present in Cambrian seas.  Animals just appear, as if planted there, fully formed and loaded with biological information.  In our 9 years of reporting, we have never seen any Darwinist solve this problem (search on "Cambrian explosion" in the search bar).  We have only seen it grow worse for them: every new fossil discovery amplifies the concussion.
    Through beautiful photography captivating animation, and interviews with reputable scientists, Darwin’s Dilemma tells the story of McConnell, Walcott, Darwin, the Ediacaran fauna, the Chengjiang fossils, the origin of major animal body plans, the significance of biological information – everything you need to know about the Cambrian explosion’s challenge to Darwinism.  The film will be available from RPI soon.  You can fill in a form at Illustra to be notified when it becomes available.
    What terrible timing for the Darwinians.  Just on the eve of the 150th anniversary of Origin of Species (November 2009), and the centennial of the Burgess Shale discoveries (August 2009), a trilogy of masterly blows are threatening to make Darwinism go extinct.  Darwin had hoped that further discoveries in the fossil record would provide the evidence he needed for his hypothesis that slime plus time could produce the sublime.  Little did he know that he would become a fossil himself, soon to be displayed in the museums of a more enlightened age.
Next headline on:  FossilsEvolutionIntelligent DesignMedia
Soft Squid Ink Sac Claimed to Be 150 Million Years Old   08/20/2009    
August 20, 2009 — The BBC News announced the discovery of a fossil squid with its ink sac still intact.  “The fossil, thought to be 150 million years old, was found when a rock was cracked open, revealing the one-inch-long black ink sac.”  The ink has been sent to Yale for analysis.  An article on the Daily Mail UK shows a close-up of the ink sac and a drawing being made with the ink.  Reporter David Derbyshire wrote, “The odds of finding something as delicate as a squid’s ink sac intact after so long are put at a billion to one,” but he did not explain how the odds were calculated.
    Dr. Phil Wilby of the British Geological Survey (shown in a report on the Metro UK explained why this fossil was so surprising.  “They can be dissected as if they are living animals, you can see the muscle fibres and cells.  It is difficult to imagine how you can have something as soft and sloppy as an ink sac fossilised in three dimension, still black, and inside a rock that is 150 million years old.”
A group of old men were spinning their best yarns at a reunion, playing “Can you top this?”  The prize went to old Charlie, who said, “When I was a young scuba diver, I found an old Spanish galleon off the coast of Bermuda.  It was dark and cold and looked downright haunted.  So I slithered through an opening and got inside.  Then I saw a faint glow and went toward it, and...”  The others leaned forward with anticipation.  “So what did you find, Charlie?” asked Hubert.  “I went around a corner, down a hatch, and found this old lantern, and the light was still lit!”
    If you don’t believe Charlie’s story, then why would you believe Uncle Phil’s tale that this ink sac is 150 million years old, and “The structure is similar to ink from a modern squid so we can write with it.”  Indeed, the article features a sketch made of the creature, with its Latin name, drawn with the ink they found in the fossil.  Try writing with one of the old dried up pens in your desk.  Inventing a term “the Medusa Effect” for the long-lasting fossilization of soft tissue is a euphemism for “We haven’t got a clue!”
    What does this tell you about the so-called Jurassic Era you’ve heard about all your life?  What does this do to the rest of the geologic column?  What does this do to the evolutionary belief system built on the vast ages of time they treat as scientific fact?  Get real.  If fossil squid ink is still writeable today, we’ll give him a few thousand years, but not millions.  We know old Charlie had a knack for stretching the truth.
Next headline on:  FossilsMarine BiologyDating Methods
  To a Darwinist, the world is a free lunch.  Is this a nutritious idea?  Revisit the 08/07/2007 entry.

Evolution 2.0: What’s in the Upgrade?   08/19/2009    
August 19, 2009 — Consider Evolution 1.0.  That was the old biological, Darwinian stuff.  Now, there’s Evolution 2.0 – the evolution of technology.  W. Brian Arthur explained the upgrade package for New Scientist: “On the origin of technologies.”
    Arthur is not the first to try to define a law of nature for the origin of technology.  He recognized, though, that prior attempts failed because some technologies do not fit the picture of an accumulation of small variations.  “The jet engine, for example, does not arise from the steady accumulation of changes in the piston engine, nor does the computer emerge from accumulated changes in electromechanical calculators,” he explained.  Therefore, “Darwin’s mechanism does not apply to technology.”  His new book The Nature of Technology tried to identify the laws of technological evolution.  He argued that new technologies do, indeed, derive from older ones, but not in a gradualistic way.  It’s more a combinatorial evolution, he said: “we need to tailor our thinking directly to technology, not borrow from biology.”
    In order to think technologically instead of biologically, he said, “To start with, we can observe that all technologies have a purpose; all solve some problem.”  Then, “novel technologies form from combinations of existing ones, and in turn they become potential components for the construction of further technologies.”  As a result, a kind of tree of technology emerges:

This mechanism, which I call combinatorial evolution, has an interesting consequence.  Because new technologies arise from existing ones, we can say the collective of technology creates itself out of itself.  In systems language, technology is autopoietic (from the Greek for "self-creating").  Of course, technology doesn't create itself from itself all on its own.  It creates itself with the agency of human beings, much as a coral reef creates itself from itself with the assistance of small organisms.
    Autopoiesis tells us several things: that every technology stands atop a pyramid of ancestral ones that eventually made it possible; that all future technologies will derive from those now existing (though we cannot say exactly how); and that a novel technology’s value lies not just in what it does, but also in what further technologies it will lead to.
Arthur tried to make tie-ins to Darwin wherever he could.  He has common ancestry, he has progress, he has a tree (or pyramid), he has building blocks, and he has emergence.  He even has digital organisms producing logic circuits in silico.  He fed a computer program a few simple logic circuits, some random mutations, and watched what emerged:
Once we launched the experiment we found, unsurprisingly, that most new random combinations failed to meet any needs.  But after a few hundred steps, circuits started to appear that matched some elementary needs, and could be used as further building blocks.  From these, more sophisticated technologies evolved.  After about a quarter of a million steps, we found that the system had evolved quite complicated circuits: an 8-way-exclusive-OR, 8-way-AND, 4-bit-Equals – even an 8-bit adder, the basis of a simple calculator.
He did admit, of course, that the emergence of these “technologies” was predicated on the fact that he had defined “needs” for the program.  These served as goals that could be rewarded.  “When we took away these simpler needs, these stepping-stone technologies did not emerge, and complex needs went unfulfilled.”
    How does Evolution 2.0 differ from Darwin’s kind of evolution?  The primary difference is that combinatorial evolution is rare (but not absent) in biology.  Living organisms, he argued, evolve primarily through incremental changes and selection.  Technologies only emerge when pre-existing technologies combine in new ways.  “Darwinian variation and selection kick in only once a technology exists,” he said.  “For what really counts, the formation of new ‘species’ in technology, combinatorial evolution holds sway.”
    One phrase notably missing from his theory is intelligent design.  It would seem ID would play heavily in any theory of technology, but references to human intelligence, goal-directed behavior, and purpose were referred to obliquely at best.
It sometimes seems inconceivable that such shallow logic can pass for scholarship and scientific reasoning these days.  Someone needs to inform poor Dr. Arthur that he cannot derive Evolution 2.0 from Darwinism.  What he calls Ev 2.0 is nothing more than human intelligent design.  Humans are not omniscient.  They don’t create radar and iPhones ex nihilo.  But they learn, they create, and they choose.  They know what they want, and they can move mountains and organize materials to get it, once they find a method that works.  So yes, there will be elements of progress in human technology.  When the Sicilians invented the catapult, a way to inflict damage on an enemy city from a safe distance, the Romans were quick to improve on it.  These were all purposeful actions by intelligent beings capable of arranging materials for ends.  What on earth does that have to do with Darwinian mutation and selection?  Nothing.  Even the Victorian notion of progress in biology had a serious falling out in the 20th century.  Our perceptive readers surely noticed Arthur cheating in his software.  Just like the “digital evolution” charlatans, he held the strings of his marionettes so that they would do his own purposeful bidding.
    That’s one of the fundamental errors in Arthur’s thinking.  He fails to constrain himself to the world of particles he describes.  He sits like Yoda, looking down on the world of nature, to explain it in a detached manner, like some disembodied sage on an alternate plane.  Once these guys understand that it is impossible to justify the Yoda Complex in a naturalistic world view, they will start understanding the scornful looks coming from the sentient designed beings around them.
    So what’s in the Ev 2.0 upgrade?  Intelligent design – of an inferior kind from what came in its predecessor, life.  It’s a downgrade.  Unload your stock in Darwin & Co.  The smart money is on biomimetics – imitating the advanced technology found in the living world (e.g., AskNature.org).
Next headline on:  DarwinIntelligent DesignDumb Ideas
Faint Young Sun Paradox Resolved   08/18/2009    
August 18, 2009 — For decades, astronomers and geologists have worried about a paradox.  Stellar evolution theory claims sunlight on the early earth would have been 20-30% dimmer than it is today, but geology shows the oceans were liquid in the earliest (Archean) rocks.  For that matter, so does the book of Genesis, but that record is not usually allowed in scientific discussions.  Anyway, how could the earth remained warm enough under a dim sun to keep the oceans from freezing?  This has been called the “faint young sun paradox.”  A new answer came from researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and University of Copenhagen’s Department of Chemistry, published this month in PNAS.1
    The solution involves carbonyl sulfide produced by volcanoes.  Matthew Johnson of the Copenhagen group explained the scenario in the University’s press release, “The greenhouse gas that saved the world.” (See also Science Daily.)  Carbonyl sulfide (OCS) is the perfect greenhouse gas, he said.  “We estimate that a blanket of Carbonyl Sulphate [sic; sulfide] would have provided about 30 percent extra energy to the surface of the planet.  And that would have compensated for what was lacking from the sun.”  Very convenient.  But why, then, is OCS not a problem today, with all our concern about greenhouse gases and global warming?  Because oxidizing conditions (free oxygen of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) destroy OCS.  In other words, OCS was plentiful when it was needed to warm the early earth, but gradually was depleted as life pumped oxygen into the atmosphere.  Instead of producing the warming OCS, it would have produced cooling sulfates.  This could have led to a proposed “snowball earth” period before the sun became warm enough to melt the oceans again.  Johnson tied this in to modern political fears about global warming: “Our research indicates that the distribution and composition of atmospheric gasses swung the planet from a state of life supporting warmth to a planet-wide ice-age spanning millions of years,” he said.  “I can think of no better reason to be extremely cautious about the amounts of greenhouse gasses we are currently emitting to the atmosphere.
    The story is messier inside the scientific paper.  The authors needed to thread a needle getting the right balance of factors and assumptions to make this work.  Here’s a taste of it (the scientific jargon can be overlooked to see the amount of hedging and special pleading going on):
When the column density [atmospheric gas] increases, three types of behavior are seen.  First, an increase in CO2, H2O, NH3, CS2, or O2 concentration produces a similar negative shift of 34[epsilon] and 33E (Fig. 2), because these gases generally attenuate wavelengths shorter than 202 nm (Fig. 1).  In contrast, O3 and OCS shielding shift 34[epsilon] and 33E toward more positive values because they attenuate wavelengths longer than 202 nm.  In contrast, an increase of O3 or OCS has the opposite effect.  Finally, SO2 self-shielding produces increasing 34[epsilon] and decreasing 33E.  The previous estimate of isotope effects in SO2 photolysis from self-shielding found an increasing trend in 33E (12) that is opposite to our result.  The reason for the difference may be because the spectra of the isotopically substituted species were approximated by shifting the absorption peaks of the natural abundance SO2 spectrum using a set of isotope-dependent frequency shifts.  These shifts were based on vibrational wavefunctions calculated using a single ab initio SO2 excited potential energy surface.  However, SO2 has a score of electronic states in the relevant energy region with multiple curve crossings, giving rise to the complicated pattern seen in the experimental results.  For example, three vibronic peaks of the three isotopologues are found between 200 and 205 nm (Fig. S1).  First 33SO2, then 34SO2, and then 32SO2 has the highest peak intensity.  Whereas the isotopologues’ peak positions shift linearly with distance from the band origin, the peak intensities, widths, and profiles of the vibrational structure change in a complex “mass independent” manner.  A theoretical description of the origin of these isotope effects awaits further study....
It appears clear there is much not well understood about the molecules themselves, let alone their complex, interacting effects on global warming.
    Further down in the paper, they compared other greenhouse gas candidates.  Carbon dioxide doesn’t work, because it would require too much of it – 30%, far more than present today – to produce the 30% warming needed, and it also would ruin the isotopic sulfur signal in the geological record.  Ammonia doesn’t work, because it would photolyze too rapidly.  Methane doesn’t work, because the haze would have cooled rather than heated the planet.  OCS (carbonyl sulfide) seemed the only candidate left standing.  It would allow higher concentrations of ammonia (given that the early atmosphere was reducing), or of methane, if OCS were present in concentrations of 10 parts per million or more.  Even so, the model called for more special pleading and future research:
The atmospheric models presented here are an initial attempt at predicting the [delta]33S value of aerosol sulfate for a set of atmospheric shielding scenarios.  Further model studies are needed to evaluate the relative contributions of the greenhouse gases.  Nonetheless, a CO-rich reducing atmosphere would have resulted in OCS-rich conditions when volcanic sulfur input was high enough.  Moreover, such an atmosphere is so far the only one that can explain both the preservation of MIF [mass-independent fractionation of sulfur isotopes] and the negative [delta]33S values of Archean sulfate deposits.  Hence, UV-shielding and the greenhouse effect of OCS should be considered for any model of the Archean atmosphere.  These results are qualitative and remain to be confirmed by more advanced models of the Archean atmosphere and further laboratory studies.
The tone of these paragraphs sounds much more reserved and tentative than the press release that triumphantly pronounced carbonyl sulfide as “the greenhouse gas that saved the world.”
1.  Ueno, Johnson et al, “Geological sulfur isotopes indicate elevated OCS in the Archean atmosphere, solving faint young sun paradox,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, online August 17, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0903518106.
Once again, we have revealed to you the huge discrepancy between the hedging and fudging found in scientific papers and the victory speeches in the press.  Beware of bluffing from scientists.  Always look at the data they base their conclusions on.  But even the paper announced in the title that this model solves the faint young sun paradox.  It did no such thing.  It was a like a string of if’s followed by a then maybe.  One of the authors stood on that quicksand and preached to us about global warming.  Well, if the earth goddess was smart enough to save the world when our star was weak, why isn’t she smart enough to protect the earth from carbon-belching humans?  Oh, but of course.  It wasn’t Gaia; it was Lady Luck.
    This model, with speculations interleaved between assumptions like a giant theoretical Dagwood sandwich, never questioned the presumed age of the earth and the sun, or stellar evolution theory, or the snowball earth hypothesis, or the amount of ancient volcanism, or the sulfur content of outgassing in ancient times, or the plausibility of a reducing atmosphere, or the origin of life, or the interpretation of sulfur isotopes in rocks.  Its links to scientific evidence were weak at best: a few known properties about UV shielding of certain gases, the output of modern volcanoes, and measurements of sulfur isotopes in certain rocks.  That’s it.  The rest is nebulous fluff.  The model is like tying clouds together with rope (or with silly string).  The early history of the earth is one cloud, and the early history of the sun is another cloud.  Even with multiple strands of silly string trying to hold them together, the clouds will most likely do what they do: drift apart, oblivious to these scientists’ heroic attempts to lasso them together.
Next headline on:  StarsSolar SystemGeologyPhysics
Is It OK When Astronomers Sell Stars?   08/17/2009    
August 17, 2009 — Most people have heard the ads for companies that sell you a certificate for a star they will name after you.  Professional astronomers have usually been quick to discourage people from falling for the schemes that have no professional or international authority for naming stars (for instance, see this article on Wired.com).  But now, according to New Scientist, an international consortium of astronomers with the Kepler Mission will be selling stars to raise money for data analysis from the spacecraft:
“There are plenty of phony name-a-star things on the web, but I think we were the first scientists to use this sort of model for fundraising, and as a public outreach tool,” says project leader Travis Metcalfe of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.  “We’re trying to educate people about what the Kepler mission does, and to get them excited about the quest for other Earths.”
Since Kepler has 100,000 stars in its field of view, they hope to raise a million dollars at $10 a star “to pay scientists’ salaries and bring them together at conferences.”  In return, the donor gets his or her name attached to one of the stars on Google Sky.  The program was named “Pale Blue Dot” after Carl Sagan’s book of that name.
A fly on the wall listened in to the astronomers cooking up this scheme.
“Look, we all know that International Star Registry is bunk, but we need some money.  I was thinking, maybe their strategy could be used to our advantage.  After all, their continued success proves there is still a sucker born every minute.”
“Well, we’d better distinguish what we want to do from what they are doing.  We are ethical scientists, you know.”
“If we as professional scientists assign them a star, isn’t it kind of official?”
“Nah; we’ll never get the International Astronomical Union to agree to it.”
“But we won’t be selling the star, really; we’ll just ask them to adopt one for awhile.”
“Your point is?”
“We could say this is supporting science instead of paying the salaries of slick marketers.”
“You realize, don’t you, that this money is going to pay our salaries....”
“How about emphasizing the educational benefits of our program?”
“Probably not good enough.  The star registry sends its customers victims information about ‘their’ star.”
“But we want to excite people about what we are trying to do.”
“I dunno; my aunt got pretty excited when Uncle Joe bought her a star from one of those phony companies.”
“How about the fact that we will print their star on Google Sky instead of on parchment?”
“Your point is?”
“We could emphasize our price is one fifth their price.”
“Now you’re just quibbling about the price.  It could still make us look just as sleazy as they are – and cheap, too.”
“But isn’t our program for a worthy cause?”
“Some people will complain that science shouldn’t grovel in the dirt to get its work done.”
“Isn’t that what we do already trying to get government funding?”
“I know!  Let’s get Carl Sagan’s name attached to it.  Everybody knows he was a real astronomer.  If they see his picture and slogan, they’ll flock like sheep to the slaughter.  Let’s get some celebs to donate first and pitch it on TV.  Build a slick website with promos, a donor honor roll and T-shirts with Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot logo, and we’ll be rolling in dough in no time!”
“Ethics, schmethics.  It’s a new day for science.  Three cheers!”
Next headline on:  StarsEducationPolitics and Ethics
  When calculating the number of habitable planets, don’t forget the sunscreen.  Read about the factor SETI advocates forgot in the 08/15/2006 entry.

Twitter the ET Bandwidth Wagon   08/16/2009    
August 16, 2009 — If you have nothing better to do, send a message to an alien.  Leonard David reported on Space.com that a website in Australia is collecting messages to beam up to a planet named Gliese 581d that is 20.3 light-years away.  Even a Senator who is Australia’s Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research got involved.  To jump on what article calls the “bandwidth wagon”, go to HelloFromEarth.net.
    Gliese 581d is an exoplanet 8 times the size of earth.  Once enough messages of 160 characters are collected, they will be beamed at the planet from NASA’s Deep Space Network antenna at Canberra.
    The “Hello from earth” campaign is a project of an Australian science magazine, Cosmos, celebrating National Science Week.  The editor, Wilson da Silva, explained: “We don’t know if there’s life on Gliese 581d and we don’t even know if there’s a technical civilization capable of detecting our signal.  But we do know that it might have the conditions for life.  And as soon as the conditions for life existed on Earth, life emerged.”

Notice again that the secular SETI crowd still believes in miracles.  Their word for a miraculous event is that something “emerged”.  It doesn’t matter to them that mathematics shows a chance origin of life is impossible.  It just emerged, o ye of little faith.
    Denying belief in God, today’s secular pagans still have a longing for prayer.  So they invent beings like ourselves capable of hearing our prayers and solving our problems.  Notice the spirit of the childish people writing to their invisible friends.  One submission said, “We’re trying to get over wars [on] our planet, but greed is greater that our dreams.  Lots of us know that this is wrong and won’t give up!”  How did evolution teach this person anything is wrong?  Another wrote, “come find me I have a lot of questions to ask!”  If it were true, as da Silva, said that life simply emerged when the conditions were right, that indeed would raise lots of questions.  Chief among them is why particles in motion would ever have a question, and what an answer would signify.
Next headline on:  Origin of LifeSETIDumb Ideas
Political columnist Ann Coulter is normally out mercilessly satirizing liberals, but in her book Godless: The Church of Liberalism she spent four chapters discussing science.  With her trademark wit and sarcasm, she handily dismantled Darwinism.  This shows that dismantling Darwinism is so easy, even a journalist can do it (if he or she is objective; i.e., has not sworn allegiance to Darwin in advance).
    Liberals hate science, Coulter says; they only use it to advance their agenda by very selective evidence and ignorance of common sense.  After showing how liberals misuse and ignore scientific evidence (illustrated by their stands on criminal justice, education and abortion), Coulter unveils their absolute worst abuse of science: Darwinian evolution.  Surprisingly, liberals almost ignored this major section of her book, concentrating their venom primarily on Coulter’s less-than-flattering portrayal of female victims used by the left to fight President Bush’s war on Iraq.
    If you don’t need a heavy-duty book loaded with scientific terms, and want to understand scientists’ obsession with Charles Darwin, Godless is a good choice.  Coulter reveals and explains the tight connection between Darwinism and liberal ideology.  Her arguments are as unbeatable as they are humorous.  The book is easily available in mall bookstores or at Amazon.com.  For multitasking enjoyment, get the book on CDs (read by the author) and listen in the car while commuting.  Just don’t laugh so hard, or get so angry at the Darwiniacs, that you lose your concentration and earn a Darwin Award (i.e., remove yourself from the gene pool as unfit).
Next resource of the week:  07/25/2009.  All resources: Catalog.

Fire Technology Began Much Earlier Than Believed   08/14/2009    
August 14, 2009 — A team publishing in Science1 claims they found evidence that humans were using fire treatment of stone tools much, much, much earlier than prior dates for cognitive abilities.  But they can’t seem to settle on just how early.  The dates vary by more than 100%.  One date, 72,000 years before the present, is about 50,000 years earlier than the previous record.  Kyle Brown of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State said, “We show that early modern humans at 72,000 years ago, and perhaps as early as 164,000 years ago in coastal South Africa, were using carefully controlled hearths in a complex process to heat stone and change its properties, the process known as heat treatment.”  Sure enough, their paper stated that some items they found in a South African cave may date to 164,000 years before the present.  “Heat treatment demands a sophisticated knowledge of fire and an elevated cognitive ability,” the paper said, “and appears at roughly the same time as widespread evidence for symbolic behavior.”  The team figured that some of the stones examined would have had to be heated to 450° C.
    John Webb and Marian Domanski of La Trobe University, Australia, writing in the same issue of Science,2 repeated the 164,000 year figure without blinking an eye, and went on to explain the usual evolutionary scenario:

This use of fire as an engineering tool is an early step in the evolution of means by which humans could more effectively control their environment.  Heat treatment in Africa appears at roughly the same time as widespread evidence for symbolic behavior, signaling the development of increasingly complex cognitive ability.  By enabling the manufacture of more efficient tools, heat treatment may have played a key role in allowing early modern humans to spread rapidly from the relatively benign environments of southern Africa into the colder, more hostile environments of Europe.  The Neandertals in Europe apparently lacked this technique, perhaps giving the early modern humans an evolutionary advantage as they moved into Eurasia.
But wait; if humans in Africa had this ability 164,000 years before the present, the next signs of symbolic ability appear “starting around ~71 ka,” (71,000 years), according to the paper.  That’s a gap of 93,000 years – nearly 10 times the length of all recorded history.  Are they claiming that humans could work stone with heat on purpose, and shape spear points for hunting, but never learned anything else for nearly 100 millennia?  Apparently so.  And so did Science Daily, the BBC News and National Geographic News, without blinking an eye.
    Brown told National Geographic the significance of this “sophisticated technology” for the story of human evolution.  “These people were extremely intelligent,” he said.  “These are not the image of the classic cavemen, of brutish people that are stumbling around the landscape and, in spite of themselves, surviving.  These are the people that [may have] even colonized the rest of the world.”  NG only quoted one anthropologist, John Shea of Stony Brook University, who did not think it to be evidence of a “transformative event” that showed modern cognitive abilities had arrived.  Nevertheless, Shea “praised the study, saying it will inspire people to seek out other heat-treated stone tools undetected in the African record.”  Shea also declined to explain what a transformative event would look like that could turn an upright ape into a thinking man.
1.  Brown et al, “Fire As an Engineering Tool of Early Modern Humans,” Science, 14 August 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5942, pp. 859-862, DOI: 10.1126/science.1175028.
2.  John Webb and Marian Domanski, “Paleontology: Fire and Stone,” Science, 14 August 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5942, pp. 820-821, DOI: 10.1126/science.1178014.
Dear readers, what more evidence do you need that the Darwin-drunk evolutionary shamans have gone completely nuts?  Think about this.  (Prerequisite: don’t be automatically compliant and submissive when a “scientist” says something.)  They are asking us to believe that our ancestors had (1) all the bodily equipment that you do (including brain size), (2) the ability to learn technology and learn from experience, (3) the foresight to understand that heat-treating stones gave improved performance in tools, which they were skilled at making, (4) were “extremely intelligent,” (5) created decorative objects to adorn themselves, indicating aesthetic ability, and (5) had the ability to colonize the world.  OK so far?  Now, get this: they want you to believe that these full-size, full-brained, fully-modern people sat around in caves and hunted game for 93,000 years – never learning to talk to each other, never learning agriculture, never attempting to build a city, never learning to ride a horse, and never inventing anything better than sharp rocks.  On top of that nonsense, then they want you to believe that another 50,000 to 60,000 years passed by before the first idea of agriculture and civilization popped into their intelligent heads. 
    Let the insanity of that belief system sink into your cranium.  Who could possibly believe this tale?  Everything we know about human beings screams otherwise.  Put a small clan of feral humans together and they will begin communicating with symbolic language, investigating the environment, and finding ways to get more done with less work (unless they are government employees or sophomores).  Rest assured: any humans living in a mythical time 164,000 years ago would be under no obligation to follow the evolutionary timeline.  With fire and technology and language and intelligence, nothing would have made them wait tens of thousands of years for the signal to invade Europe or plant a farm.  And what would the signal have been?  A lucky mutation that switched on civilization?  Get real.  You know what would have happened: civilization would have ensued within a few centuries and we would be colonizing the galaxy by now.
    This story should also call for a serious “time out” about the dating methods they use.  Anything that produces a story this incredible cannot possibly be right.  Need more proof?  The BBC News article claims that humans were using fire to cook food 800,000 years ago.  That’s five times the craziness that red-lined the craze-o-meter before.  Try to imagine it if you can – 800,000 years pass by in this farcical fiction, with upright large-brained humans grunting over fire, then all of a sudden, they are irrigating plantations, mining gold, building ziggurats and marching armies against their neighbors.  Talk about belief in miracles.  Belief in a miracle would be tame compared to the faith it takes to accept their fairy tales.
    The commitment of evolutionary biologists to Charles DearOne and his tall tale has obliterated their common sense.  That commitment also requires commitment to Charles Lie-all and his promise of endless millions of years.  It forces them to make reckless drafts on the bank of time (07/02/2007) whenever they need to cover their credibility deficits.  Glutted with time they didn’t work for, they toss around their tens of thousands of years like government bailouts, hoping you won’t notice their policy is scientifically disastrous.  It counts on profits from futureware that never comes, taxes the credulity of the citizens, and burdens our children with intellectual deficits they won’t be able to repay.
    Their scheme depends on the gullibility of the public.  They keep hoping that the reputation of Science will prevent a revolt.  Welcome to Town Hall.
Next headline on:  Early ManEvolutionDumb Ideas
Brett Miller explains how NOMA works
in a perceptive cartoon at Evident Creation.

Comet-Ocean Theory Gets Another Splash   08/13/2009    
August 13, 2009 — National Geographic News gave some halfway-enthusiastic press to another recurrence of a theory that circulates from time to time – that earth got its ocean water from comets.  They gave air time to work by Uffe Jorgensen and a team from the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark that concludes “comets were the culprits” in the crime of delivering water to our planet.  They made their assessment based on iridium counts in some of the world’s oldest rocks in Greenland.  “We may sip a piece of the impactors every time we drink a glass of water,” he said.
    On page 2, NG gave some air time to a critic.  A geophysicist at the University of Chicago wasn’t convinced.  He looked at the study and saw too many estimates.  “I am afraid [they have] stretched their conclusions too far,” he said.  The article ended with Jorgensen holding hands with Chandra Wickramasinghe, the Indian astronomer who thinks comets not only brought water to earth, but also life.  He thinks it was a “remarkable coincidence” that the first appearance of life on earth appeared at the end of the so-called Late Heavy Bombardment, a theoretical epoch when comet or asteroid strikes were common.  Jorgensen calls that period an accident, but agrees on one point: “If it had not happened, there would have been no water on Earth, and no life.

We citizens just sit here passively, listening to our shamans tell their stories of the history of the world.  It has become like Muzak to our ears.  We don’t even pay attention to it.  We may smile when one of them comes up with a witty line, like “we may sip a piece of the impactors every time we drink a glass of water.”  We even enjoy the manufactured controversies that seem to pit one shaman against another, knowing that it’s all rigged, and the outcome is not in doubt—Emperor Charles DearOne will always be vindicated, no matter what.  Phrases from the epic tale The Darwinian Nights, like “Late Heavy Bombardment” and “building blocks of life” are so familiar, they go in one ear and out the other.  It has the comforting lilt of a presumed truth.  Snap out of it.
Next headline on:  Solar SystemOrigin of Life
  The commentary of the 08/10/2005 entry about the anti-ID wars contains a historic poem by James Clerk Maxwell worth understanding.  Its biting satire was written in 1874 when Maxwell perceived the materialists were taking over the science establishment.  Maxwell ridiculed the rampant speculation going on, and argued in verse that the mind, will and emotions could not be subsumed within their materialistic worldview.

Evolution of the Knuckle Head   08/12/2009    
August 12, 2009 — An evolutionary anthropologist looked at the knuckles of chimpanzees.  Then she looked at the knuckles of gorillas.  Then she looked at her own knuckles.  Conclusion: humans evolved from tree climbers, not knuckle walkers.  Her theory can be read in Live Science, based on a paper in PNAS.1
    Tracy Kivell and Daniel Schmitt from Duke University admitted up front, “Despite decades of debate, it remains unclear whether human bipedalism evolved from a terrestrial knuckle-walking ancestor or from a more generalized, arboreal ape ancestor.”  Apparently those who think neither answer is correct were not part of the debate.  Those who think science should stick to evidence might notice this operative line in the Live Science article: “There are no fossils from the time of this transition, which likely occurred about seven million years ago, Kivell and Schmitt said.”  Whatever evidence there is for their hypothesis in the absence of fossils, it surely seems open to slippery interpretations, as evidenced from this quote from their paper:

The results of this study show that researchers need to reevaluate all posited knuckle-walking features and reconsider their efficacy as indicators of knuckle-walking behavior in extant and extinct primates.  In this context, the absence of several posited knuckle-walking features in extant knuckle-walkers (and the presence of some of these features in nonknuckle-walkers) makes it difficult to argue that there is unambiguous evidence that bipedalism evolved from a terrestrial knuckle-walking ancestor.  Instead, our data support the opposite notion, that features of the hand and wrist found in the human fossil record that have traditionally been treated as indicators of knucklewalking behavior are in fact evidence of arboreality and not terrestriality....
    Our data cannot reject the hypothesis that knuckle-walking evolved only once at the base of the African ape and human clade and that these differences evolved after the Gorilla and Pan [chimpanzee] split (Fig. S1).  Without fully understanding the evolutionary and ontogenetic plasticity of these osteological features or the affect on wrist morphology of other locomotor behaviors in which Pan and Gorilla engage, it is difficult to be certain about the evolution of nonhomologous knuckle-walking behavior in African apes.  However, in absence of clear evidence for a terrestrial knucklewalking origin for human bipedalism, we suggest that the independent evolution of a generalized locomotor adaptation that simply allows large-bodied apes to retain highly-arboreal morphology while also moving effectively on the ground is a reasonable and likely evolutionary scenario.
It seems clear that evidence is no longer required for the National Academy to publish a suggestion.  Whether others allowed in the debate will find their suggestion reasonable and likely remains to be seen.  Ironically, in Nature this week,2 Jonathan Marks (U of North Carolina at Charlotte) wrote a letter arguing that “Ape and human similarities can be deceptive.”  Some features can be “overenthusiastically interpreted,” he said, that are “not directly homologous.”  He was talking about behavioral studies, but then he said it can also apply to comparisons of feet: “They are similar, and are descended from a common ancestral structure, but they are by no means the same.
    But then Marks revealed something that shows that opposite interpretations can be used as support for Darwin.  He said that one can argue differences instead of similarities and still be a loyal Darwinian – maybe a better one:
A genuine Darwinian approach to primate behaviour may have to acknowledge that the brains of apes (and their capabilities) may simply be different from our own, like their feet.  Evolution, after all, is the production of difference.  If one scholar acknowledges the adaptive divergence that has occurred between a human and a chimp over 7 million years or so of separation, and another insists that they are the same, then who is really in denial of evolution?
Is it even possible to deny evolution if that is the game plan?  Opposite evidence and opposite interpretations can both be used to show one is a good Darwinian.  How can a Darwin skeptic even get a foothold in the debate?3 
1.  Tracy Kivell and Daniel Schmitt, “Independent evolution of knuckle-walking in African apes shows that humans did not evolve from a knuckle-walking ancestor,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 10, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0901280106.
2.  Jonathan Marks, “Ape and human similarities can be deceptive,” Nature460, 796 (13 August 2009) | doi:10.1038/460796a.
3.  Maybe only by pointing out that a theory that can be argued with opposite evidence and opposite interpretations is not a scientific theory at all – it can explain anything, therefore explains nothing.
What a sad state of affairs when any dumb idea can get published by the National Academy and then given a favorable review by popular science reporters.  You thought the thing that differentiated science from other speculations was the demand for evidence.  That, sad to say, is long gone.  Now, you just have to belong to the “in” crowd (i.e., those who have not been Expelled).  Then you can put forward any suggestion you want as long as it never questions the totalitarian dictator of the world, Charles DearOne.
    The word “evolution” and its cognates appear 26 times in their paper, never once questioned or supported by evidence: e.g., “Since Darwin first discussed pathways of human evolution in The Descent of Man, there has been an ongoing and often rancorous debate over the nature of locomotion in our prebipedal human ancestor.”  This debate is never about whether humans evolved from apes, but just how.  Well, how many decades or centuries do they get to debate among themselves before the referee calls the game?  That’s all this is, anyway: just a game.  None of them cares about the truth.  They just want job security in the regime of the Dear One.
    These people are completely clueless about how silly they look to the rest of us.  If they knew, they would run off into the trees with heads low, like knuckle-walkers.  Those with logic in their brains (those who haven’t knuckled under the regime’s requirement to become a knucklehead, e.g., those who argue that looking at current knuckles of living primates says nothing about human evolution without begging the question), remain camped outside with the other well-dressed, scholarly Visigoths, waiting for the right time to liberate the captives.  It shouldn’t take much longer.  The insiders are all drunk on Darwine.
Next headline on:  Early ManFossilsMammalsDarwinDumb Ideas
Protein Function: It’s All in the Fold   08/11/2009    
August 11, 2009 — Most chemical reactions involve atoms or molecules bumping into one another and exchanging electrons.  Proteins, by contrast, derive their immense functional repertoire from their shapes.  Several recent studies explore the amazing potential for strength, motility and catalysis that derives from the way proteins fold.
  1. Clots:  A picture of fibrin graces an article in Science Daily.  This protein is responsible for blood clotting.  It has a remarkable property of stretching that comes from unfolding as stresses are applied.  “Understanding blood clot mechanics could help in the design of new treatments not only to prevent or remove clots that cause heart attacks and strokes but also to enhance blood clotting in people with bleeding disorders,” the article said. 
  2. Muscle stack:  Titin is an appropriately named protein active in muscle.  Its remarkable ability to maintain strength while stretching comes from the way it folds into stacks of sheet-like material.  A commentary in PNAS by Ronald S. Rock described recent work by Bertz et al that shows how another component, telethonin, sitting like a mattress between sheets of titin, contributes to the function.  “What they found was surprising: not only was this the most robust protein or protein complex ever measured, but it also could withstand nearly half the force required to break a covalent bond.  Clearly, there are some unusual features of this complex that lead to its remarkable stability.”  They also found that the strength was dependent on the direction of the force applied.  This led Rock to ask, “With these key structural features identified, can we now engineer these stabilizing interactions where none existed?”  For a popular writeup of these findings, see Science Daily.
  3. Imitation as flattery:  Speaking of engineering proteins, an article in Science Daily discussed recent attempts to imitate the folding of DNA and protein for nanotechnology.  A German team said, “we can now build a diversity of three-dimensional nanoscale machine parts, such as round gears or curved tubes or capsules.  Assembling those parts into bigger, more complex and functional devices should be possible.”  A biophysicist on the team added, “We expect many benefits if only we could build super-miniaturized devices on the nanoscale using materials that work robustly in the cells of our bodies – biomolecules such as DNA.”
  4. Diverse origami: Science Daily reported on work at Rice University to study the forces that bind proteins together.  In passing the article explained the design of these gems:
    “Proteins are the workhorses of biology.  Each protein is a string of amino acids that are attached end to end, like a strand of pearls.  The order of the amino acids comes from DNA blueprints, but the order itself doesn’t tell scientists what the protein is designed to do.  That’s because each protein folds in upon itself shortly after its made, much like a strand of pearls curls up as it’s dropped into someone’s palm.
        Unlike the pearls, which might fall this way or that depending upon how they’re dropped, proteins fold the same way every time.  That’s important, because when they misfold, they cannot function properly and in some cases can make people sick.
    No mention was made of how a blind process like evolution could have achieved precision folding of a strand of pearls every time.
  5. One-handed trick: Speaking of design, biophysicists at New York University are excited about designing catalysts that can pick out or manufacture one-handed molecules like cells can.  “Many naturally occurring biopolymers (i.e., proteins, RNA, DNA) owe their unique properties to their well-defined three-dimensional structures,” they said in PNAS2  “These attributes have inspired the design and synthesis of folded architectures with functions ranging from molecular recognition to asymmetric catalysis.”  Sure enough, they discovered a way to do this.  The production of an endless supply of optically pure (one-handed) enantiomers (molecules that come in two hands) could have many applications, particularly when these are polymerized into “foldamers” (chains that fold into specific shapes).  “The transfer of chiral information from a folded scaffold can enable the use of a diverse assortment of embedded achiral catalytic centers, promising a generation of synthetic foldamer catalysts for enantioselective transformations that can be performed under a broad range of reaction environments.”  That’s one of the wonders of the cell – the ability to catalyze reactions like this at room temperature.  Techniques they are designing at their Molecular Design Institute are “promising extraordinary versatility for designing catalysts that can be tailored for a broad range of substrates and reaction environments.”
That last paper mentioned evolution one time in passing:
In living systems, biopolymer catalysts have evolved to accelerate specific biologically relevant transformations.  In contrast, synthetic catalysts must often be designed for nonbiological transformations to be performed in abiotic solvents, pH regimes, temperatures, and pressures that are incompatible with retention of biopolymer structure and activity.  Proteins, however, rely on a limited repertoire of amino acid monomers and require substantial chain lengths to achieve significant structural organization.
It’s clear that they did not attempt to explain how “biopolymer catalysts have evolved.”  They also did not discuss the remarkable ability of living systems to distinguish between left- and right-handed members of chiral molecules – a feature absent from non-living systems.  Their work, instead, demonstrates that achieving enantioselectivity by artificial means requires intelligent design.
1.  Ronald S. Rock, “A new direction for titin pulling, ” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences August 5, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0906989106.
2.  Maayan, Ward and Kirshenbaum, “Folded biomimetic oligomers for enantioselective catalysis,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 10, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0903187106.
A simple study of probability (see online book; also Stephen Meyer’s new book Signature in the Cell) would have convinced the NYU team that enantioselective catalysts made of “substantial chain lengths” could not have evolved.  Living things needed the selectivity before life was even possible.  That would leave only chance as a means getting the catalysts in the first place.  Is that even conceivably possible under ideal conditions?  Read chapter 3 and see.
    Evolution collapses in a heap under the selective pressure of detailed investigations into biophysics.  It becomes a tangled web with no function.  In some cases, the misfolded chain of reasoning becomes toxic and can make people sick.  It gums up the works of science, producing a kind of Alzheimer’s syndrome that makes people forget their Maker.  It paralyzes rational thought.  The NYU reference to evolution, following the formula “[complex systems a, b, and c] have evolved,” shows another symptom: the knee jerk reaction.  Pray that uninfected biophysics finds a cure soon for this debilitating malady.
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyBiomimeticsIntelligent DesignAmazing Facts
Crow Fulfills Aesop Story   08/11/2009    
August 11, 2009 — The fabled intelligence of the crow has been tested, and the crows passed.  Bird and Emery tested an old Aesop fable and were amazed:
In Aesop’s fable The Crow and the Pitcher, a thirsty crow uses stones to raise the level of water in a pitcher and quench its thirst.  A number of corvids have been found to use tools in the wild, and New Caledonian crows appear to understand the functional properties of tools and solve complex physical problems via causal and analogical reasoning.  The rook, another member of the corvid family that does not appear to use tools in the wild, also appears able to solve non-tool-related problems via similar reasoning.  Here, we present evidence that captive rooks are also able to solve a complex problem by using tools.  We presented four captive rooks with a problem analogous to Aesop’s fable: raising the level of water so that a floating worm moved into reach.  All four subjects solved the problem with an appreciation of precisely how many stones were needed.  Three subjects also rapidly learned to use large stones over small ones, and that sawdust cannot be manipulated in the same manner as water.  This behavior demonstrates a flexible ability to use tools, a finding with implications for the evolution of tool use and cognition in animals.
Science Daily reported on the story.  The BBC News report includes a video of a rook quickly solving the problem after examining the situation and appearing to “think” about it.
1.  Christopher David Bird and Nathan John Emery, “Rooks Use Stones to Raise the Water Level to Reach a Floating Worm,” Current Biology, 06 August 2009, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.07.033.
Aesop may have been a better naturalist than we expected.  OK, here are the “implications for the evolution of tool use and cognition in animals.”  Humans evolved from crows, and apes are degenerate humans who drank too much Old Crow for millions of years.
    Enjoy watching the birds in your yard – even the plain old black, raucous-sounding crows.  They may be watching back.  Nevermore will corvids be considered birdbrains.
Next headline on:  BirdsAmazing Facts
  Turn your mind in knots by pondering whether evolution evolves.  See the 08/04/2004 entry.

Don’t Just Sit There; Do Something   08/10/2009    
August 10, 2009 — Inactive people have the most health problems.  That’s why the American Psychological Association is warning that sedentary lives can be deadly, according to Science Daily.  A speaker at an APA convention called physical inactivity “the biggest public health problem of the 21st century.”
    Some 25-35% of adult Americans – 40 to 50 million people – do not get any serious exercise.  This is “doubling their risk of developing numerous health conditions compared with those who are even moderately active and fit,” Dr. Steven Blair said.  In a longitudinal study of 40,842 persons, poor physical fitness was implicated in 16 percent of deaths that could have been delayed by walking 30 minutes per day.  Another article on Science Daily also showed that physical exercise can help keep the elderly out of the hospital.
    Technology has “largely engineered the need for physical activity out of the daily lives of most people in industrialized societies,” he noted.  People should realize that physical exercise not only helps the body – it’s good for the mind as well.  “Blair also highlighted the benefits of exercise on the mind, referring to recent emerging evidence that activity delays the mind’s decline and is good for brain health overall.”
    “The message should be simple, he said: Doing something is better than doing nothing, and doing more is better than doing less, at least up to a point.”

Most of us probably don’t come anywhere near that point.  Wherever that point is for your body type, you should get closer to it.  With your doctor’s supervision, make some changes to up your activity level.  Your body was made to thrive in the outdoor environment for which it was created.  It goes with the territory.  Walking hills and valleys keeps those systems humming.
Next headline on:  HealthHuman Body
Did Evolution Create Genetic Proofreading?   08/09/2009    
August 9, 2009 — Protein manufacture in the cell is such a critical operation, there are numerous error-checking mechanisms the cell uses to get it right.  One of the most amazing is the careful association of DNA codons with amino acids, and the “proofreading” or “spell checking” that ensures fidelity.  How could spell checking evolve?
    Science Daily announced that “Scientists Find Early Evolution Maximized The ‘Spellchecking’ Of Protein Sequences.”  Sounds interesting.  What did they find?  The answer should be in the original paper in Science.1  There, Guo, Schimmel and others from Scripps Institute claim that they found homologies between the spell-checking domains of one of the enzymes responsible for linking transfer RNA (tRNA) codons with the appropriate amino acid.  In this case, it is the aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase for alanine, called AlaRS.  This particular synthetase has to distinguish alanine from two other similar amino acids, glycine and serine.  It does this through the use of additional factors or domains called AlaXps that “provide functional redundancy by capturing mischarged tRNAAla molecules that escape the embedded editing activities of AlaRSs.”2  In addition, a linker called C-Ala binds the error-correcting domains together.
    The team found that most of the domains of AlaRS are “highly-conserved” (i.e., unevolved) in all three kingdoms of life – including the modular arrangement of AlaRS itself.  That makes sense, else we would all be dead.  In their wording, “strong selective pressure retains these editing activities throughout evolution.”  But they did find C-Ala is only loosely conserved.  From this they wove a story of how this spell checking arrangement came to be:
This phylogenetic analysis implies that all three forms of AlaXp evolved in the ancestral community.  This phylogeny also suggests that AlaXp-II is derived from AlaXp-I.  The editing domain of ThrRS is closest to AlaXp-I, thus suggesting an early separation that split the original editing enzyme into two different specificities, one for tRNAThr and the other for tRNAAlaMost importantly, the phylogenetic analysis indicates that the editing domain of AlaRS appeared concurrently with the ancient, most-developed, and largest free-standing editing enzyme, the C-Ala–containing AlaXp-II.  Thus, C-Ala may have been instrumental in bringing together editing and aminoacylation domains on one tRNA to ultimately (through fusion) create AlaRS (fig. S6).
In the simpler words of the Science Daily summary, the results “show that two separate functions—alanine adding and editing—were joined together in a single enzyme during early evolution, in a way that greatly enhances these activities.  The findings provide a glimpse into how enzyme functions have evolved.
1.  Guo, Chong, Beebe, Shapiro, Yang and Schimmel, “The C-Ala Domain Brings Together Editing and Aminoacylation Functions on One tRNA,” Science, 7 August 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5941, pp. 744 - 747, DOI: 10.1126/science.1174343.
2.  There are three classes of AlaXp.  “Three types (Ia, Ib, and II) of free-standing genome-encoded AlaXps are widely distributed in all three kingdoms of life and act in trans to clear tRNAAla mischarged with Ser or Gly (7, 8, 31, 32).  Type Ia AlaXp lacks the Gly-rich motif near the N terminus of the editing motif of type Ib and type II AlaXps (33).  However, unlike types Ia and Ib AlaXps that are composed of just the editing domain, type II AlaXp has the C-Ala domain (Fig. 1A).”
They found no such thing.  They found living organisms with spell-checking and proofreading that works on a phenomenally accurate scale – much better than the output of professional typists.  Then they made up a story out of thin air about how the parts of the machinery were “brought together” during an evolutionary history that was never to be doubted.  They ignored the error catastrophe that would have brought life down to a crash before the proofreading was already working.  They expected us to believe that “selective pressure” acts like a designer substitute to work miracles.  And they expected us baloney-detectors to swallow their line as if they “found” how all this came about.  Don’t fall for it any more than if they compared engine parts from a Mazda and a Ford and told you they found a glimpse of how they emerged from the dirt, or if they compared the spell checking algorithms in Internet Explorer and Firefox and described how they had a common ancestor in an earthquake.
    Selective pressure, remember, is nothing but a set of boundaries.  It is not a creative force.  It’s like the walls and hubs in a pinball game (see 07/14/2009 commentary).  None of the constraints keep the ball from dropping in the hole and bringing the game to a stop.  It takes an intelligent agent manning the flippers to win.
    It’s time to remember Keith Wanser’s statement about evolutionary explanations.  “There is not one theory of evolution, but a body of opinions, speculations and methods for interpretation of observational facts so that they fit into the philosophy of naturalism.”  That is what you saw again here.  Until enough people call them on the carpet for this circular, question-begging tactic, it will go on and on, deceiving readers of science journalism that the Darwin Party diviners are succeeding in getting glimpses into a mythical materialistic past that produced something from nothing.  Spellchecking is something, all right, but nothing is nothing.
Next headline on:  GeneticsCell BiologyEvolutionary TheoryDumb Ideas
Paper View:  A Geology Paradigm Suffers a Paradox   08/07/2009    
August 7, 2009 — A pair of geologists found a paradox in a paradigm.  That paradigm is the belief that ancient ocean levels rose and fell in cycles as ice sheets retreated and advanced, and the cause of the cycles was periodic changes in earth’s orbit.  They modeled this process and couldn’t get it to work.  They couldn’t get the sea level to rise as high as the evidence shows it did.  And it would have required enormously high fluctuations in atmospheric carbon dioxide to get rid of the ice sheets each time.
    Horton and Poulsen [U of Michigan, Ann Arbor], writing in Geology,1 called their paper the “Paradox of late Paleozoic glacioeustasy.”  Time out for definitions: eustasy refers to global sea levels as measured from a static reference (like the center of the earth); glacioeustasy is, by extension, the global sea level during ice ages.  In theory, the earth’s cyclic orbital variations over long time scales2 force ice ages to advance and retreat.  In the Paleozoic, when the land terrain was generally lower, large ice sheets could form and melt over vast areas, producing cyclothems, or sedimentary deposits alternating between strata buried under water (subaqueous) and under air (subaerial).  Sounds plausible, but how accurate is this picture scientifically?  How well is it understood?  After all, Horton and Poulsen began by saying that this paradigm has been used to explain our planet’s past: “Models of Euramerican cyclothem deposition invoke orbitally driven glacioeustasy to explain widespread cyclic marine and nonmarine late Paleozoic sedimentary sequences.”  Presumably, a geologist doesn’t just want to catalog the rocks, but explain how they got that way.
    Things get messy real quick when fitting the field data into the paradigm.  It appears global sea levels would have had to alternate by 100 meters or more to produce the beds.  Their model, however, couldn’t get the water to rise more than 25m.  And only by adjusting the model with enormous fluctuations in atmospheric carbon dioxide could they get the ice sheets to melt away.  “These results present a potential paradox: while our model is able to simulate widespread Gondwanan glaciation, it is unable to reproduce significant orbitally driven glacioeustatic fluctuations without very large magnitude carbon cycle perturbations.”
    Their Introduction describes the paradigm: from 326 to 267 million years ago (mya), conditions “primed the late Paleozoic paleoenvironment for glaciation.”3  The continents were joined into a supercontinent called Gondwana, and carbon dioxide levels were low.  Ice sheets formed and grew when orbital changes cooled the atmosphere; they retreated when warm times returned.  “The ice sheets of Gondwana left not only direct geological evidence of continental glaciation, but also indirect sedimentary signatures of their waxing and waning,” they said.  The presence of North American deposits that appear cyclic “has been used to infer that late Paleozoic depositional environments were largely controlled by glacioeustasy.”  If that is the explanation, though, the fluctuations in global sea level were very large: up to 200m – much larger than the inches or feet that alarmists of global warming warn us about today.  Can sea level changes of that magnitude be forced by orbital cycles?  That’s what Horton and Poulsen wanted to find out.  Remember, the plausibility of a hypothesis has nothing to do with its credibility, and vice versa.  Science wants to run the numbers.
    The next section of the paper described the methods and results of their model.  A global model, of course, requires dependence on other models, like “at atmospheric general circulation model (GCM) ... coupled to a three-dimensional ice sheet model.”  They also had to rely on models of topographic elevations of a continent – Gondwana – that no longer exists.4  And, they played with carbon dioxide levels “consistent with proxy estimates.”  The growth and extent of the resulting ice sheets reflected the level of atmospheric CO2 as expected, but they couldn’t get it to melt except at the higher concentrations.  They said “increases in excess of 2000 ppm were required to cause substantial melting of Gondwanan ice sheets.”  (Note: current levels are about 384 ppm amidst all the hubbub about global warming.)  In addition, the causative factors seemed inadequate.  “The dynamic response of continental ice sheet volume to our prescribed transient orbital insolation variations is modest,” they said.  That means that orbital forcing does not have that great an effect.  It certainly did not produce global sea level rises of 100 meters or more.  And it contradicts other studies that claim to find correlations between recent ice ages and orbital periods, like a recent paper in Science.5  (See summary on Science Daily).
    In their discussion and conclusions, they evaluated possible resolutions of the paradox.  Perhaps “Orbital changes were linked to the carbon cycle through a positive feedback” like they believe was operative during the greener Pleistocene epoch.  Even so, the model required extreme concentrations of carbon dioxide to get the ice sheets to retreat completely between cycles (ablation).  But what in nature would generate such high concentrations in the Paleozoic?
Our simulation of late Paleozoic glacial conditions presents a paradox.  While our simulation of large (>100 m sea-level equivalent) continental ice sheets is in good agreement with sedimentological evidence of Gondwanan glaciation, our orbitally driven ice-volume changes are ~10 m, much smaller than the late Paleozoic glacioeustatic variations implied by both cyclothems and isotopic analyses.  The absence of significant continental-scale ice sheet ablation in the face of changing orbital insolation poses a significant challenge to our current understanding of late Paleozoic ice sheet dynamics.
More bad news.  What does this do to the more recent Pleistocene glacioeustasy theory?  It was supposed to be better understood because ice core data admittedly shows some agreement with orbital and atmospheric factors.6  But even here, “The cause of Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles is still debated,” they said, “but is generally thought to be due to a combination of orbitally controlled insolation forcing and greenhouse gas fluctuations.”  But those are the same factors used for the Paleozoic model.  They didn’t work there.  How do we know the same factors would produce Pleistocene cycles?
    To save the Paleozoic paradigm, they appealed to ignorance.  “Unlike the Pleistocene, late Paleozoic pCO2 levels are not well constrained.”  Maybe somehow the levels fluctuated wildly back then; “however, the temporal resolution of this record remains coarse,” so there is no way to know with any accuracy.  “Furthermore, a mechanism by which atmospheric pCO2 concentrations could repeatedly fluctuate by ~2000 ppm over orbital time scales is not known.”  Methane clathrates under the sea could discharge a great deal of greenhouse gas quickly; “However, the long recharge rate of clathrates would prevent repeated discharges on orbital time scales.”  So that idea is no help.  Is it possible that the sea levels rose and fell independent of carbon dioxide concentrations?  An “energy balance model” (EBM) reproduced the cycles, they noted.  But then they discounted it:
Simulations using an energy balance model (EBM) coupled to an ice sheet model indicate that orbital insolation variations alone can produce repeated ~100 m sea-level fluctuations (Hyde et al., 1999).  We cannot say with certainty why our results differ from those using an EBM; however, we suspect that differences in the paleoboundary conditions and/or the treatment of ablation and precipitation rates in the calculation of mass balance over the ice sheet might be responsible.  For example, unlike our model where precipitation over Gondwana is explicitly calculated, EBM precipitation rates are based on prescribed modern precipitation rates (Hyde et al., 1999). Predictions of equilibrium ice sheets made using GCM–ice sheet models with fixed (nontransient) orbital conditions have also been used to infer large late Paleozoic glacioeustatic fluctuations (of as much as 245 m; Horton et al., 2007).  However, our new results indicate that these estimates are too large.  The reason is straightforward: in the fixed-orbit experiments, there is no preexisting ice sheet to influence the final mass balance.  In contrast, in our transient experiments, the preexisting ice sheet (simulated during the previous orbital step) has a substantial influence on local conditions due to temperature-elevation and ice-albedo feedbacks.  Orbitally driven insolation changes are not large enough to overcome these local ice sheet effects; consequently, orbital changes produce only small ice-volume fluctuations.
Time to assess the situation.  Horton and Poulsen believe they experimented with a reasonable model, but they could not replicate the paradigm.  This may “have potential implications for the late Paleozoic climate system and for ice sheet dynamics in general.”  Maybe the model is the problem.  Any model has limitations; it is only a simulation of a process in which multiple factors interact in complex ways.  Still, if there were an orbital signature, it should appear in the simulation.  Their main obstacle was getting rid of the ice sheets once they formed (in some runs, the ice sheets reached the latitudes of modern-day Buenos Aires).  The Pleistocene paradigm invokes additional processes to get rid of the ice quickly between cycles: including “subglacial sediment destabilization (MacAyeal, 1993; Clark and Pollard, 1998), reorganization of the ocean’s thermohaline circulation (Maslin et al., 2001), and the removal of coastal sea-ice buttressing (Rignot and Thomas, 2002).”  Future runs including those factors may have better luck.  But there’s a disturbing alternative interpretation: “Alternatively, our lack of large glacioeustatic change could also indicate that the Pleistocene Northern Hemisphere glacial-interglacial cycles may not be a good analogue for late Paleozoic glaciation.”  The two epochs are not comparable, in other words.  This has a more disturbing side effect: “in which case non-uniformitarian processes (e.g., very large perturbations of the carbon cycle) may have driven late Paleozoic glacioeustatic fluctuations.”  To rework a phrase: the (almost-present) Pleistocene was not the key to the past Paleozoic.
    Here’s the upshot: they found a paradox, and couldn’t resolve it.  This undercuts a paradigm that was thought to be fairly well understood.  They only explanation left was non-uniformitarian – something that runs against the grain of the whole science of geology.  It reduces to the Stuff Happens Law (09/15/2008).  The consequences are enormous, but the solution lies in the nebulous future: “The resolution of this late Paleozoic paradox is fundamental for understanding the processes that drive glacioeustatic cyclicity and late Paleozoic climate change (Poulsen et al., 2007; Peyser and Poulsen, 2008), and is relevant to our current understanding of the climate-cryosphere system.
    This can only imply one thing: jargon and math and computer skills notwithstanding, geologists, planetary scientists and atmospheric scientists understand very little of this at all.  Politicians should take note.
1.  Daniel E. Horton and Christopher J. Poulsen, “Paradox of late Paleozoic glacioeustasy,” Geology, August 2009, v. 37 no. 8 p. 715-718, doi: 10.1130/G30016A.1.
2.  These include rates of precession, obliquity, and eccentricity that can combine into long-term cyclic fluctuations.  Presumably, this affects insolation (the amount and angle of sunlight hitting the land masses) and therefore the climate, although other non-orbital factors could be involved (e.g., volcanic outgassing).
3.  These glacial cycles are different from those in the Pleistocene when mountains were much higher.
4.  Skeptics might ask if this hypothetical continent really did exist, if its existence is model-dependent on the interpretation of the very cyclic deposits examined in this paper.
5.  Clark et al, “The Last Glacial Maximum,” Science, 7 August 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5941, pp. 710-714, DOI: 10.1126/science.1172873. 6.  See 02/05/2008 and 08/08/2006 about whether orbital forcing mechanisms match the geological record.
Time for a refresher course on our Guide to Evolution (right sidebar).  The First Law of Scientific Progress and Maier’s Law are, as you can see, not just jokes, but standard ways of doing business in the halls of academia.  Getting grants, writing computer models, and publishing them in scientific journals is all fine and good, but when the ultimate explanation is Stuff Happens, are we any better off?  When the authors throw up their hands and task future researchers with the obligation to figure this out, has our understanding of Planet Earth increased?  When the answer is Stuff Happens, and we don’t know why it happens, what is the probability the answer is outside the box?
    Unbeknown to these two well-meaning modelers, they just handed a gift to the young-earth creationists (may their memory be forever Expelled – obligatory curse).  They admitted that uniformitarianism might be inadequate.  And they revealed that no known combination of present processes can account for the field data.  Maybe it’s time to resurrect the forbidden theory of Directed Catastrophism.
Next headline on:  GeologyDating Methods
  Animal feats from six years back in the archives: the fiber-optic sponge (08/20/2003), the animal that walks on water (08/13/2003), the animal that sees with its ears (08/07/2003), and the tiny high jump champion with a 7-G leap (08/01/2003).

Mars Looks More Hostile to Life   08/06/2009    
August 6, 2009 — The methane Mars produces gets destroyed rapidly.  This is leading some planetary scientists to get depressed about the possibility of finding life there.
    The BBC News, Space.com and New Scientist all reported on the paper in Nature,1 saying this represents bad news for life.  In models by Franck Lefevre and Francois Forget, patterns of methane distribution can only be explained if the atmospheric methane is destroyed within an hour of release – 600 times faster than on earth.  Any process able to do that to the simplest organic molecule would most likely be highly deleterious to life.  As the BBC put it, whatever process is responsible for the destruction may be wiping out other organic molecules, which are necessary for life as we know it.”  Humans may have second thoughts about going there (see 07/26/2009, bullet 1).  These risks to humans from poison atmosphere and toxic dust, though, are not stopping reporters from speculating that the source of the methane may be living organisms.  When geology can produce methane without as much speculation, Ockham’s Razor would prefer the latter.
    The actual timescales for methane production and destruction are uncertain enough to require better in situ measurements by future orbiters and rovers.  The Mars Science Laboratory may be able to nail down better numbers in 2012.
    Meanwhile, ammonia is showing up at a couple of Saturn’s moons.  Science News said that signatures of ammonia were found in the Enceladus geysers.  And Space.com reported signatures of ammonia at Titan.  By decreasing the melting point of water, ammonia indicates the possibility of cryovolcanism and underground reservoirs of liquid water.  This means a prerequisite for hyped speculation about life has been met.  “The presence of ammonia and hydrocarbons could have interesting implications for the possibility of life existing on Titan,” said Space.com, and Science Daily quoted a scientist asking, “Where liquid water and organics exist, is there life?”  Such optimism seems premature when the prime location in the search for life, Mars, is looking pretty grim.


1.  Lefevre and Forget, “Observed variations of methane on Mars unexplained by known atmospheric chemistry and physics,” Nature 460, 720-723 (6 August 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature08228.
Join the Search For Terrestrial Intelligence in Astrobiology.  Go to IsThereIntelligentLifeInAstrobiology.com and run the SFTI@Home program now.  Expect a long wait.
Next headline on:  Solar SystemOrigin of Life
Frank & Honest
Would you ever expect New Scientist to allow room for miracles and say they do not necessarily contradict laws of science?  Read the surprising opinion piece by Hugh Mclachlan, professor of practical philosophy at Glasgow Caledonian University, UK, who says, “We deceive ourselves if we imagine science has established that only scientific explanations are valid or that scientific explanations can take only one particular form.”

Pterosaur Fuzz May Have Boosted Flying Finesse   08/05/2009    
August 5, 2009 — Fibers on a well-preserved pterosaur from Mongolia are unlike anything seen before.  Scientists wonder if it gave the animals better control in the air.  National Geographic News said the hairlike fibers cover the whole body and part of the wings of Jeholopterus ninchengensis.  Normally, such fine details are not preserved in fossils.  “It must have been rapidly buried after it died, perhaps by a river or maybe inside a lake,” said Alexander Kellner [Rio di Janeiro National Museum].  “Otherwise its soft tissue would have rotted away quickly and not been preserved.”
    It’s possible the fibers helped with temperature control, or functioned as elastic struts or muscle.  Kellner said that whatever they were, the fibers show that pterosaur wings were “much more complex than we thought.”  In addition, scientists are speculating that the duck-sized flyer was able to climb trees.

The trend in evolutionary explanation is for the subject matter to become more complex, and the storytelling to become more convoluted.
Next headline on:  Dinosaurs and Extinct ReptilesFossils
Readers Digress
Michael Ruse, the Darwin-worshiping “ex-Quaker shunning his childhood roots,” always looking for a clue while denying the Cluegiver, frames a false dichotomy between Heraclitus vs Parmenides, Plato vs Aristotle, organism vs machine, Gaia vs Medea in his analysis of James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis – only to combine them at the end into a wobbly idol with feet of iron and clay.  His essay is on Chronicle.com.  The questions he poses, and the philosopher’s answers through history, are worth being educated about.  You’ll have more fun reading William Dembski’s apt little spoof on “methodological counterintuitiveness.”

Spleen Scores, Darwin Loses   08/04/2009    
August 4, 2009 — Hold onto your spleen if you can.  The lowly organ, “known as much for its metaphoric as its physiological value, plays a more important role in the body’s defense system than anyone suspected.”  Natalie Angier reported in the New York Times that Harvard researchers found that the spleen acts like a fort for disease-fighting monocytes, at the ready when infection strikes.  It’s like a standing army.  “You don’t want to have to recruit an entire fighting force from the ground up every time you need it,” said Matthias Nahrendorf, an author of the report.  This is apparently a surprising discovery about an organ known since Galen studied anatomy in Roman times.  The spleen can even protect against heart attacks by surrounding the heart with millions of monocytes.  It’s a rapid-response repair team – a “sensible, desirable, an excellent display of emergency preparedness.”
    Because a person can survive without it, some Darwinists had considered it a vestigial organ – a leftover from our evolutionary past.  Angier wrote that this finding “sounds a cautionary note against underestimating a body part or dismissing it as vestigial, expendable or past its prime.”  Dr. Nahrendorf quipped, “Evolution has an edge on us.  I would be very careful about saying, ‘You don’t need this organ, get rid of it.’”

That last silly line with Evolution as the clever wizard should be enough to vent your spleen.  Evolution got medicine into this mess.  Don’t let Evolution become the hero of the story.  Evolution is a wizard, all right: the blunderful Wizard of Flaws (09/05/2008).
Next headline on:  Human BodyHealthEvolutionary Theory
  Do astronomers know how spiral galaxies form?  Revisit the 08/01/2002 entry, where a prominent theorist speculated that maybe the spiral structure comes from nothing.  How scientific is that?

Cosmologist Has a Sobering Thought: We Are Forever in the Dark About Dark Energy   08/03/2009    
August 3, 2009 — An evangelist for the standard model of cosmology is having a moment of penitence.  He is admitting to himself, and to the world, that “we will remain resolutely in the dark about dark energy.”
    In a piece in New Scientist, Pedro Ferreira [Oxford] has revealed the vicious circle of assumptions that undermine confidence in the claims of modern cosmologists.  Most models assume a flat universe for convenience.  Without knowing the geometry of space-time, or the evolution of dark energy, or whether the cosmological constant (lambda) represents acceleration, we have no basis for assuming a flat universe.

This means that we cannot pin down the geometry of space-time.  We are then caught in a vicious circle: to know the geometry of the universe we need to pin down dark energy.  Yet to determine how much dark energy there is, we need to know the geometry.  Knowing one without the other is futile and a recipe for disaster.
    These recent results are sobering.  Having proselytised about the great discovery of the millennium, that the universe is flat, I now find myself backtracking.  And there is a sense of foreboding that it may never be possible to know our cosmos as well as we’d like to.
Ferreira unraveled the hype behind COBE, WMAP and the other instruments and studies that seemed to support the standard model.  He was “brutally honest” about how little we actually know.  He talked about new findings that “shook my faith in the notion” that the universe is flat.  He ended his confession on a mildly optimistic note.  “Happily all is not lost: new experiments are being designed to probe the deepest recesses of the cosmos,” he said.  New probes and small projects are “chipping away at our ignorance.”  Getting a handle on the geometry of space-time “is just going to take a bit longer than we originally thought.”
Cosmologists are the biggest hype marketers in the universe.  How many books have been written promoting a golden age of “precision cosmology”?  How many speeches have been given?  How many dazzling planetarium shows?  Ferreira is not the only evangelist that preached to us, “repent and believe the big bang gospel” (e.g., 11/02/2002).
    Some skilled visualization can turn vicious circles into works of art.  In the land of logic, though, they are still vicious.  They have the habit of blinding the unwary of their own assumptions.  Christians should not trust the loud voices of salesmen on the big bang bandwagon promoting their snake oil potions of dark stuff.  Now that one of them has come clean, admitting its efficacy is doubtful, and that it might even be a “recipe for disaster,” have we learned our lesson?  Now that he has admitted that “it may never be possible to know our cosmos as well as we’d like to” would you drink his new, improved elixir next time?
Next headline on:  CosmologyPhysics
Dino Protein Confirmed   08/02/2009    
August 2, 2009 — An independent study of bone marrow contents from a T. rex that was reported in 2007 to contain fragments of protein has confirmed the claim, reported Science Daily.  Seven peptides from collagen, and apparently traces from hemoglobin, were detected.  The findings are scheduled to be published in the Sept. 4 issue of Journal of Proteome Research.  For a previous report on dinosaur protein see the 04/30/2009 entry.
As the evidence for original protein in these dinosaur bones grows, the discussion of how it could last for 65 million years goes strangely quiet.
Next headline on:  DinosaursFossilsDating Methods
Fertile Crescent Disappearing   08/01/2009    
August 1, 2009 — The birthplace of civilization and empire, the Fertile Crescent, is drying up.  New Scientist posted a worrisome story that modern Iraq is in dire straits as dams upstream in Turkey are threatening to reduce the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to a quarter of their natural levels.  This is happening in a land already parched by drought.  The marsh lands in lower Mesopotamia are again threatened after a brief period of hope they could be restored from Saddam Hussein’s ecological terror (see 05/01/2003 and 06/06/2006).  Scientists estimate the fertile lands of Mesopotamia where empires first thrived will be gone this century.
Sumer, Akkad, Ur, Kish, Babylonia, Assyria – so many great empires rose and fell here.  The Bible is filled with stories of events in Mesopotamia.  Great kings and armies strode through this region.  Great cities emerged and collapsed, forgotten in the dust till unearthed by archaeologists.  It’s hard to imagine the lush “land between the rivers” becoming a desert.  Perhaps politics will turn, treaties will change the situation, and the rivers can continue to bring life to the vast Iraqi desert; perhaps not.  Geography is not guaranteed.  If empires had not risen here, they would have elsewhere.  Nothing on the planet is forever.  Whatever happens, we can hope that freedom in the resurrected Iraq will allow archaeologists to continue to bring evidence to light about the first civilizations that arose in this area.
    Evolutionists believe that anatomically-modern human beings migrated throughout Europe and Asia for at least 40,000 years, if not 100,000 or a million years, never writing a stone tablet, building a city, riding a horse or inventing a wheel.  Given the rapid emergence of culture and invention that burst onto the scene in the 3rd millennium B.C., that is simply not credible.  The Bible’s timeline after the Flood (see the Table of Nations, Genesis 10) fits the evidence.  Wherever man is found, there is evidence of curiosity, artistry, language, culture, invention, religiosity, trade, violence and war.  The first written records of Sumer were already recording economic transactions implying a socioeconomic infrastructure already in place.  Why should anyone believe the evolutionary story?  Just look at Egypt and Mesopotamia where monumental achievements spoke of fully-capable humans doing what humans do, without tens of thousands of years of imaginary evolution.
Next headline on:  Bible
  Remember the hard time scientists and politicians gave President Bush over his policy on embryonic stem cells?  The 07/31/2006 entry should be remembered now that researchers are treating numerous diseases with induced pluripotent stem cells from adult tissue that have all the pluripotency of embryonic cells (05/03/2009)  Meanwhile, embryonic stem cell research has yet to produce one hope of a cure after three years since that article; its only achievement has been the biggest scandal in modern science history (02/05/2006).

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Featured Creation Scientist for August

William Harvey
1578 - 1657

A contemporary of Galileo, Kepler, Bacon, Descartes and Shakespeare, William Harvey is another important figure in the establishment of the scientific method, this time in the field of medicine.  His claim to fame is for demonstrating the circulation of the blood and the action of the heart as a pump driving this circulation.  Through a series of clever experiments, he furthered the acceptance of experimentation for determining the workings of nature, rather than putting excessive reliance on authority.  Most interestingly, his primary achievement was inspired by a statement in the Bible.

Overt indications about Harvey’s personal faith are rare, though he did speak often of design, and felt that science was a godly vocation.  Few of his manuscripts survive.  Most were looted by rioters in the Civil War of 1642 when Harvey was 64 years old (a severe trial for him), and the extant works reveal little about Harvey the man.  One short biography by a contemporary librarian divulges little else; Robert Boyle filled in one important blank.  What is clear, however, is that Harvey believed in the divine authorship and authority of the Bible and the deity of Christ, and that the search for purpose in nature resulting from God’s creative wisdom was a strong motivation behind his work.  One particular explicit reference to Scripture he made is particularly instructive for our purposes, and will provide the conclusion for this story.

Born in 1578 of “yeoman stock” in a family of Kentish farmers who had succeeded enough to move into commerce, William was eldest of six brothers, all of whom became successful merchants.  His father was a man of means who became mayor of the town.  From age 10, young William studied in Canterbury, then moved on to Cambridge on a medical scholarship.  After graduating from Cambridge in 1597, he went abroad to further his studies in medicine at the best medical school of the day, the University of Padua.  Having achieved his degree in Italy, he returned to England in 1602 and gave an impressive performance on his exams before the College of Physicians.  A couple of years later he made a fortuitous marriage to Elizabeth Browne, daughter of the king’s physician, but they had no children.

William Harvey practiced medicine in London and in 1607 was elected to the Royal College of Physicians, where he received a lifetime post as a lecturer in 1616.  His reputation as a leading physician in England was established and well earned.  Around this time, he also was making his views on the circulation of blood known.  Shortly thereafter, in 1617, he became the personal physician of King James I (of King James Bible fame), and later to King Charles in 1625, with whom he stayed during the Civil War of 1642-1648 (the Puritan Revolution and short-lived reform government of Oliver Cromwell).  With the return of royal government, Harvey, now 69 years old, returned to London in 1647 to live out his days with his brothers.  Most of his long career was spent at St. Bartholomew’s hospital in London.  Late in life, Harvey was elected president of the Royal College of Physicians but refused the honor.  He died in 1657, shortly before the careers of Robert Boyle and Antony van Leeuwenhoek took off.

Harvey’s lecture notes show him to be a witty and independent thinker.  Once he rhymed, “There is a lust in man no charm can tame: Of loudly publishing his neighbor’s shame: On eagles wings immortal scandals fly, while virtuous actions are born and die.”  Though his work on blood circulation is legendary, we should pause to observe that most scientific discoveries are elaborations of previous work.  While it is true that many physicians in Harvey’s time placed undue influence on classical authority, particularly of Galen, not all did; the popular maverick Paracelsus, for instance, declared his intellectual independence by burning the works of Avicenna and Galen.  Many read the classics only to critique them.  Harvey, like most in his time, was a staunch Aristotelian, but not slavishly so.  Furthermore, his experimentalism was heir to a long line of empirical work by his predecessors Vesalius, Fabricius and Colombo.  He was not, in other words, working on questions that had not already been matters of intense study, and he was not the only “discoverer” of blood circulation.  The Egyptian physician Ibn Al-Nafis had made significant headway 300 years earlier explaining pulmonary circulation.  Some of Harvey’s hypotheses later proved false, and his theory was incomplete in itself.   A recent book claims that the widespread story that Harvey predicted the existence of capillaries is a myth.  Nevertheless, his primary work An Anatomical Study of the Motion of the Heart and of the Blood in Animals (1628) was “certainly immeasurably influential on Western medical practice” according to historian Michael Hart, and his Essays on the Generation of Animals (1651) also formed the basis for modern embryology: Ex ova omnia, he wrote: “Everything from an egg.”

Harvey’s clever experimental approach that demonstrated the circulation of blood from one side of the heart to the other, through the lungs and around the body making one big circuit, is well known.  (Interestingly, he was not all that impressed with the opinions of Francis Bacon, one of his patients.)  Diagrams of Harvey pressing fingers at precise points on veins on the arm to illustrate his ideas are readily available.  The details of how Harvey’s theory overcame classical and medieval concepts of the motion of blood, the function of veins and arteries, the action of valves in the veins, and the role of the heart, are all available in the secular literature.  Students of history can unravel these details.  What concerns us here is William Harvey’s place in the Christian influence on science.  Some surviving references provide glimpses into his motivation and beliefs.

In a recollection by Robert Boyle, Harvey, shortly before he died, related to the young chemist the clue to his discovery.  Writing 31 years after Harvey’s death, Boyle recalls how he had asked the eminent physician about the things that induced him to consider the circulation of the blood:

He answer’d me, that when he took notice that the Valves in the Veins of so many several Parts of the Body, were so Plac’d that they gave free passage to the Blood Towards the Heart, but oppos’d the passage of the Venal Blood the Contrary way: He was invited to imagine, that so Provident a Cause as Nature had not so Plac’d so many Valves without design; and no Design seem’d more probable than that, since the Blood could not well, because of the interposing Valves, be sent by the Veins to the Limbs; it should be sent through the Arteries, and Return through the Veins,, whose Valves did not oppose its course that way.   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)

Lest this design by “Nature” appear Deistic, Emerson Thomas McMullen in Christian History (Issue 76, XXI:4, p. 41) stated that Harvey frequently “praised the workings of God’s sovereignty in creation—which he termed ‘Nature’”  We must not, in other words, read back 18th-century French concepts into 17th-century English terminology.  McMullen, a PhD in the history and philosophy of science and a specialist in the life of Harvey, provides quotes that show Harvey’s provident Nature was an active, intelligent, wise, personal agent: Nature destines, ordains, intends, gives gifts, provides, counter-balances, institutes, is careful.  Harvey spoke of the “skillful and careful craftsmanship of the valves and fibres and the rest of the fabric of the heart.”  According to McMullen, Harvey’s primary achievement, the explanation of the circulation of the blood, was occasioned in part “by asking why God put so many valves in the veins and none in the arteries.”  He believed that nature does nothing “in vain” (in Vein, perhaps, but not in Vain).

William Harvey also viewed natural philosophy as a sacred calling.  This recurring theme in this series is clearly evident in a comment he made to a friend, “The examination of the bodies of animals has always been my delight; and I have thought that we might thence not only obtain an insight into the lighter mysteries of Nature, but there perceive a kind of image or reflex of the omnipotent Creator himself.” (McMullen, Ibid.).  This glimpse into Harvey’s leitmotiv shows him to be acting freely in a worshipful spirit as he undertook his scientific studies, not under compulsion as a naturalist trapped in a predominantly Christian culture.  McMullen says that William Harvey was a “lifelong thinker on purpose” in anatomy and physiology, mentioning this throughout his writings in an effort to discern the final causes of things.  This was not mere Aristotelianism.  “Harvey was a Christian,” McMullen states unequivocally, “who believed that purpose in nature reflected God’s design and intentions.”  The appeal of being able to glimpse something of the mind of God, to understand how he had made things work, in the hope of understanding more fully both God and his works, has been a frequent and productive force in the development of modern science.

To what extent Christian faith was realized in Harvey’s personal life is hard to say for sure, but McMullen claims Harvey was influenced by the Calvinist environment at Cambridge, and had George Estey, a clergymen and lecturer in Hebrew, as a tutor.  A couple of anecdotes reveal his faith was more than cultural or intellectual assent to prevailing opinion.  Once he referred to the Apostle John’s account of the crucifixion when discussing the pericardium, hinting at his familiarity with Scripture.  On another occasion, when discussing parturition, he spoke of Mary’s pregnancy.  It’s interesting that instead of calling her child simply Jesus, he called him “our Savior Christ, of men most perfect.”

One other Harvey quote is particularly instructive on the relation of the Bible to science.  Here is where a Scriptural passage can be cited as both a scientific fact corroborated thousands of years later, and also as a principle acting as a stimulus for scientific discovery.  In Leviticus 17:11, Moses wrote, under divine inspiration, that “the life of the flesh is in the blood.”  Again in verse 14, God says through Moses, “for it is the life of all flesh.  Its blood sustains its life.... for the life of all flesh is its blood” (NKJV).  Recall that the Greek doctrine of unbalanced body humors (fluids) as the cause of disease would not be discarded till the time of Pasteur 200 years later; for many more years, physicians would routinely perform blood-letting to try to restore the balance, often hastening death by removing the very life-giving substance God had set in circulation to nourish the entire body.  Would that physicians had taken seriously this ancient Biblical insight recovered by Harvey.  It was perhaps his most important finding.  According to McMullen, Harvey concluded after demonstrating the circulatory system, that “life therefore resides in the blood (as we are informed in our sacred writings).”  Harvey also quoted these specific passages from Leviticus when making a point about the beginning of life.  There is a lesson for 21st century scientists here.  If the Bible truly is the word of the Creator, it should provide clues that can open up new areas of research – even if it was not intended primarily as a science textbook.  There could be many more scientific insights waiting to be discovered in its pages.  Could the Bible again provide keys to unlock today’s greatest scientific questions?  Could it steer us away from disastrous mistakes, like bloodletting?  Let a new generation of scientists put the word of God to the test.

In the Bible, the heart is often symbolic of the innermost being of man: the mind and the will.  Considering this chapter in the history of science, the counsel of Proverbs 4:23 is vital in both the figurative and literal sense: “Keep your heart with all diligence,” Solomon wrote under divine inspiration, “for out of it spring the issues of life.”  Harvey could not have agreed more.  The heart, he echoed, “is the household divinity which, discharging its function, nourishes, cherishes, quickens the whole body, and is indeed the foundation of life, the source of all action.”


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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“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)

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(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)

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(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).

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(a scientist).

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(a registered nurse in Alabama, who found us on TruthCast.com.)

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(a mountain man in Alaska).

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(a college campus minister)

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