Creation-Evolution Headlines
September 2009
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“And we shall worship and reverence that God the Maker of all these things; we shall admire and adore his Providence and wonderful Wisdom which is displayed and manifested all over the Universe, to the confusion of those who would have the Earth and all things formed by the shuffling Concourse of Atoms, or to be without beginning.”  —Christiaan Huygens, Cosmotheoros (1698)

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Darwinists Party Hardy, But Crash ID Events   09/30/2009    
Sept 30, 2009 — As the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species approaches in November, institutions are promoting Darwin in some bizarre ways.  When other events are held critical of Darwin’s ideas, though, the sponsors know to expect trouble and media distortion.
    Last night, the new film Darwin’s Dilemma (review) was shown in the auditorium of the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, and the prior evening, Dr. Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute spoke about the thesis of his book Signature in the Cell; this received a fairly balanced review in the student newspaper Oklahoma Daily but with a rather unflattering photo of Meyer.  According to Evolution News, Darwinist blogger PZ Myers said the university should be ashamed for allowing Meyer and the film on campus.  “Where are the rational people of the state of Oklahoma?” he exclaimed, displaying his feelings about diversity and tolerance.  “They should all be rising up in disgust to mock this ridiculous affair.”
    Prior to the film showing, Museum Director Dr. Michael A. Mares felt it necessary to assure the university and museum visitors that Darwin was safe.  In an open letter on the Museum website, he indicated that the university had to comply with diversity policies by allowing the film to be shown, because “The museum does not discriminate against recognized campus organizations based on their religious beliefs, political philosophy, scientific literacy, or any other factors,” hinting that the IDEA club that sponsored the events was motivated by other than scientific concerns.  Mares listed 15 Darwin-friendly programs that had been held at the museum in 2009 and 11 more that were upcoming.
    According to a live blogger at the IDEA Club, during the Q&A after the film, someone claimed that the interviews of Valentine and Morris had been made 9 or 10 years ago and that they had since renounced the claims in the film.  John West on Evolution News quickly responded that this “Gotcha” moment fell flat, because it simply was not true.  The recordings had been made in 2006 when the filming project began.  The interviews were conducted with full disclosure and cooperation of the two Cambrian experts.  Both had signed releases and accepted payment for the interviews.
    Meanwhile, Darwin Bicentennial celebrations are continuing around the world and ramping up again for the 150th Anniversary of Darwin’s bombshell book.  John Travis highlighted the new Darwin Centre at the London Museum of Natural History.  Some Darwin celebration events consist of lectures, but others seem strange for honoring a scientist.  Virginia Morell reported favorably on a British dance company presenting The Comedy of Change, “a distillation of Darwinian ideas about evolution, particularly sexual selection.”  One dance features male dancers dressed in bird feathers who “vigorously shake their heads and necks while sliding across a stage—all while being critically observed by a gallery of females.”  Whether this method of getting a date supersedes eHarmony.com remains to be seen.
    A new website called the Darwin 150 Project shows Darwin surrounded by balloons.  It’s trying to get a crowd of admiring fans: “Help our Darwin Facebook Group get to 1 million members!” the headline reads.  “250,000 have already joined.  Join now!”  The campaign was promoted by Science magazine’s Darwin Bicentennial blog, Origins.  You can follow Darwin on Twitter, too, by subscribing to “Darwin 150 Tweets.”  A calendar on the page shows Darwin events worldwide.  Since community organizing is trendy these days, Darwin gets his own grass-roots promotions, too: “If you’re not listed below or if you want to get involved in campus/community outreach and become a Darwin150 representative for your organization,” the website tells you where to write.  The website also has a campaign to get the movie “Creation: the Movie” (09/16/2009) booked in U.S. theaters, as if distributors were afraid of the reactions of creationists, when in fact it has been getting poor reviews even from evolutionists (e.g., Science Origins blog).  Those who want to voice their opinion about the celebrations can join the “Darwin Shoot-Out” and add their comments to the first entry, “Darwin rocks!  Awesome mission.  Definitely will be sharing with all my friends. :)”

If society can endure a few more months of silliness, the hoopla should probably quiet down a little in 2010.  The impact of Darwin’s ideas, though, will continue.
    As for Dr. Mares and his open letter, it’s understandable in terms of human nature.  Ken Ham would probably write a similar letter if he allowed a prominent evolutionist to speak at the Creation Museum.  The difference, of course, is that Oklahoma Museum of Natural History presents itself as an unbiased scientific institution.  Despite the fact that Darwin’s Dilemma contains 100% science, no religion, and interviews with experts all with exceptional scientific credentials, and that lecturer Stephen Meyer has two PhDs, Mares painted them as religiously motivated and scientifically illiterate.  He made it sound as if he had to tolerate the stench of intelligent design in the interest of complying with non-discrimination policies.  His list of pro-Darwin events at the museum, though, contains many topics that are either irrelevant to Darwinian views of universal common descent or problematic for evolutionary theory.  The list only makes a pretense of overwhelming support for evolution.  None of the events provide an opportunity for debate.  That’s the Darwinian method (artificial selection).
    There’s a good side to the celebrations.  They raise public awareness of Darwin and the impact of his ideas.  The issues raised by his book are important.  They deserve to be discussed.  It would be good strategy for the Darwinists to show they are not afraid of challenge.  Instead, they hype Charlie in ways that make them all look silly.  More power to them.  Let the public see the shenanigans for what they are – the actions of power-hungry, bigoted ideologues who mistakenly think that the way to win friends and influence people is to dumb them down and insult them with balloons and tweets and Facebook fan clubs.  Darwin would have been insulted, too.  Do a good deed for Charlie.  When you see his grizzled visage caricatured with balloons and Twitter logos at the next Darwin Party circus, or at the next DODO Lecture Series (Darwin-Only, Darwin-Only), post his statement about balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question (see February page) by his picture, and draw some tears coming down his face.
Next headline on:  Darwin and Evolutionary TheoryIntelligent DesignMedia
Outer Limits Not Lively   09/29/2009    
Sept 29, 2009 — One of the “cosmic coincidences” cited in the intelligent-design treatise The Privileged Planet1 is the “galactic habitable zone” – a fairly narrow region of the galaxy where planets can form and exist safely.  The outer regions of the galaxy were described as lacking the heavy elements necessary for planet formation.
    Score one for the authors.  New Scientist reported on a planet search by astronomers at the University of Tokyo who failed to find planets in the outer reaches of the galaxy.  “Astronomers have long doubted that life could exist there,” the article stated.  “Now they have solid evidence for their pessimism.”  Only 1 in 5 of 111 stars examined in some young clusters had dust disks at all, and those appear to dissipate quickly because of the scarcity of silicon, oxygen and iron that makes up the bulk of earth.  “No home in the galactic outer suburbs” was the article title.  “If the sun had been born near the edge of the galaxy, chances are neither the Earth nor life would have arisen,” the article said.  “That’s the implication of the first search for planet-forming discs on the Milky Way’s outskirts.”
1.  Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards, The Privileged Planet (Regnery, 2004); see also the Illustra documentary based on the book.
The documentary version of The Privileged Planet showed animation of puzzle pieces converging to form a picture of Earth.  This is just one of the pieces, but each one is important.  The sheer number of coincidences that make our planet and our universe habitable is enough to make a reasonable person think the puzzle spells design.  Combine those astronomical evidences with the biological evidences shown in Unlocking the Mystery of Life and the paleontological evidences shown in Illustra’s newest documentary Darwin’s Dilemma and the case for intelligent design is unstoppable.
Next headline on:  StarsSolar SystemIntelligent Design
Cosmology: Crossroads or Crosswinds?   09/28/2009    
Sept 28, 2009 — Earlier this month in Science, Charles L. Bennett (Johns Hopkins) wrote a status report called “Cosmology at a Crossroads.”1  It included a brief survey of how cosmology got to its current paradigm and how future instruments should narrow down the unknowns.  The “standard model” as it has become known hangs together if one allows for three factors to overwhelm the observations: cold dark matter, dark energy, and inflation.
    Bennett reviewed the pivotal discoveries that propelled 20th century cosmology: Hubble’s expansion, Zwicky’s dark matter, Penzias and Wilson’s cosmic microwave background (CMB), and Guth’s inflationary cosmology.  More recent measurements of Type-1a supernovae, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and the WMAP constraints on CMB fluctuations have contributed to the standard model.  Cosmologists have still not agreed, though, on a specific type of inflation.  They also have not been able to pin down the energy density of the universe or determine if it is responsible for cosmic acceleration.
    Bennett listed “six generic predictions of the simplest versions of inflation.”  These include (1) a highly uniform CMB temperature, (2) nearly flat Euclidean geometry (which seems to be within 1%), (3) very slight temperature fluctuations in the CMB, (4) acoustic oscillations on large scales that are in phase, (5) random Gaussian phases, and (6) a polarization pattern in gravitational waves.  He indicated that most of these predictions are on track but further refinement is needed.  “New CMB data will improve inflation constraints and possibly detect the key gravitational wave signature,” he ended.  “With new spectroscopic redshift surveys of a quarter of a billion galaxies, the new combined data will help elucidate the reason for the accelerated expansion, characterize dark matter, probe galaxy evolution, determine the mass of the light neutrinos, and test the Gaussianity and power spectrum of inflation.”  By putting these in future tense he indicated they are as yet unknown.
    Bennett had begun by asking the ultimate question:
A fundamental question in cosmology is, “How did the universe begin?”  The two pivotal ideas of inflation and cold dark matter (CDM), combined with extensive observational results, including the unpredicted accelerated expansion of the universe, underpin a new standard model of cosmology.
By stating that inflation and CDM need to be combined with obervational results, Bennett just indicated that neither are observational.  He also just said that the acceleration was not predicted by the standard model.  So now there is a “new standard model.”  Is it new and improved?  He did not say, nor did he return to the question of how the universe began.  The remainder of his article proceeded from a point after the beginning (inflation).  He did briefly offer this hope about the beginning built on the paradigm of inflation:
However, the big bang theory only describes the expansion and cooling but says nothing about the origin of the universe.  Within the standard model, the beginning of the universe is effectively “inflation,” the rapid expansion of a tiny region of space to astronomical scales.  Inflation is a paradigm that encompasses a wide range of specific implementations that are at the intersection of quantum and gravity theories, the two great but incompatible theories of 20th century physics.  Measurements of inflation not only will probe the origin of the universe but also may help reveal the basic structure of physics itself.
If inflation is a paradigm that describes the rapid expansion of a tiny region of space, it should be evident that it is a post-beginning phenomenon.  Where did the tiny region of space come from?  Why did it possess a vacuum energy density?  One sees the spectre of an infinite series.
1.  Charles L. Bennett, “Cosmology at a Crossroads,” Science, 11 September 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5946, pp. 1347-1348, DOI: 10.1126/science.1172427.
To see what the cosmology gurus are doing to science, let’s revisit the Peanuts cartoon from the 09/21/2009 commentary (q.v.).  Lucy is not about to abandon her paradigm that the object came from Brazil – butterfly, potato chip, or whatever.  So she comes up with a new paradigm she calls “migration” to explain how it got here.  “There is a mysterious force acting in the jungles of Brazil,” she tells Charlie Brown, “that transports butterfly-shaped objects around to astronomical scales.  This migration is much faster than the speed of light – for all intents and purposes, it is instantaneous.  This fits well with the standard model of Brazilian butterfly and potato chip origins.”  A credulous Charlie Brown asks, “You call that science?  Where is the evidence?”  Without breaking cadence, Lucy exclaims, “What do you mean, you ignoramus?  The evidence is right in front of you – right there on the sidewalk!”
    Bennett should be ashamed of saying inflation makes predictions.  For one thing, he agreed that the concept is mushy.  “Inflation is a paradigm that encompasses a wide range of specific implementations that are at the intersection of quantum and gravity theories, the two great but incompatible theories of 20th century physics.”  It’s like an oreo cookie.  It’s a mushy, moldable paradigm between two non-intersecting theories.  It’s also disingenuous for Bennett to say that inflation can be measured.  Inflation is not an observation.  Inflation is not data.  It is a rescuing device for the big bang theory, conceived to get around three falsifying criticisms: the horizon problem, the flatness problem, and the lumpiness problem. 
By the early 1980s these problems threatened the foundations of modern cosmology.  The horizon problem stated that it was highly improbable to get a uniform universe during an expansion when different sectors had no way to be in thermal equilibrium.  Enter inflation to rescue the big bang: it smoothed out those temperature differences by expanding them to astronomical scales.  The flatness problem stated that it was highly improbable to get a universe finely balanced (flat) between the extremes of positive and negative curvature.  Enter inflation to dilute any initial curvature by spreading it out to hyper-astronomical dimensions, so that our local region (the “observable universe”) appears flat, like a bacterium on a large beach ball might think it is living on a flat surface.  The lumpiness problem stated that it is highly improbable to expect an explosion of a sea of particles to condense into stars and galaxies.  Enter inflation theory to generate matter out of vacuum energy that leftover temperature fluctuations in the CMB were able to condense into lumps – the seeds of the first galaxies.  All that is required to appreciate this elegant solution to these problems is to believe that something can come from nothing, and that the something would undergo a one-time, unobservable expansion from the size a tennis ball to the size of the whole universe, 26 orders of magnitude, in about a trillion trillionth of a second.
Alan Guth invented the concept of inflation to rescue the big bang from these very problems (02/21/2005).  It is disingenuous to turn around and say that inflation predicted these things.  Remember?  Guth (Grand Unified Theory Huckster) said in the 2/21/2005 entry that “Without inflation, this large-scale smoothness appears quite puzzling.”  It was certainly puzzling to Lucy how the potato chip got to her sidewalk from Brazil, too.  Some puzzles evaporate when you think outside the box.
    Everyone who respects science respects observational data.  Supernovae are real.  Gravitationally-lensed objects are observed.  A nearly smooth CMB that matches a blackbody spectrum is not controversial.  But inflation and dark stuff are figments of cosmological imagination.  If they only serve to keep a 20th century paradigm moving along the track, how much credence should be given them?  We’re all for sky surveys and spacecraft (within the limits of a society to fund them) but it is not society’s goal or responsibility to fund speculation endlessly when that speculation is propped up by occult phenomena like dark matter, dark energy and inflation.
    There is a phenomenon that is not occult, that ties together the observations, and explains the fine-tuning of the universe.  It is already used productively in science.  It should be included along with matter and energy in the list of fundamental properties of the universe.  It brings sense to the discussion.  It doesn’t dodge the origin of the universe but explains it.  You know what it is, because you are employing it right now.  It’s information.  If information could be derived from nothing, you know secular cosmology would embrace it wholeheartedly, but because from our uniform experience information always comes from an intelligent source, the materialist shamans who rule the scientific religion (listen to ID the Future) refuse to take the right turn at the crossroads.  Turn right at the light.
Next headline on:  CosmologyPhysics

New Baloney Detector cartoon by Brett Miller!
Subject this time: STATISTICS.  Click “funnies” and enjoy.
Then visit Evident Creation for his Cartoon of the Week!
 

Evangelist Takes On Darwin   09/27/2009    
Sept 27, 2009 — What would Darwin do?  Just in time for the 150th anniversary of The Origin of Species, his magnum opus has been reprinted with an introduction not by a scientist or historian, but by a Christian evangelist.  He and a Christian movie actor are trying to get their special edition to students at major universities.  Talk about brashness.  Darwin’s defenders are stepping on themselves to condemn this – well, blasphemy.
    World Net Daily told how actor Kirk Cameron is taking heat for working with evangelist Ray Comfort to get the “special edition” of Origin on 100 university campuses for the anniversary.  Cameron (Growing Pains, Left Behind, Fireproof) is now unwitting star of a YouTube spoof making him out to be a “willfully ignorant idiot” for taking on Darwin.  Comfort seems to enjoy watching the response.  “The atheists are going crazy,” he told World Net Daily.
    Ray Comfort’s introduction to the Origin includes intelligent design arguments, a look at Darwin’s influence on history, and a short gospel message.  Kirk Cameron commented, “An entire generation is being brainwashed by atheistic evolution without even hearing the alternative; and it’s radically changing the culture of our nation.”  The two have gained years of street smarts talking with atheists.
    Comfort defends his edition of the Origin by pointing out other printings through the last century have had critical introductions.  You can read his special Introduction to the Origin of Species on His ministry website, Living Waters, where there is additional information about the Origin into Schools Campaign.  Other Christian ministries are participating.

Why not?  Darwinolatry is so easy to knock over, anyone could do it with half a brain.  How many degrees are required to point out that design demands a designer?  How much math training is required to show that “nothing times nobody equals everything” is nonsense?  A group of circus clowns could do it.  How much more a couple of sharp, witty, courteous, bold, talented evangelists?
    Unlike the Darwin Party hatemongers, Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron love people.  They have a lot of experience talking with individuals about their beliefs.  They understand how atheists think.  They know the shallowness of atheist arguments.  It’s not hard to quote Richard Dawkins, the atheist champion, and ask them to evaluate his statement, “The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved literally out of nothing, is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice” (The Ancestor’s Tale, 2004).  He’s right.  Trying to do justice to that kind of folly would be mad.  Look at the fodder in our 09/24/2009 entry alone, to say nothing of nine years of reporting here about Darwinist mythmaking, magic wands, Tinker Bell, Yoda and Popeye stories.  All one has to do is quote a few Darwinists to common people and the lights come on.  A small printed collection of Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week awards would not even require any debating skills.  Someone may wish to take that on as a project.
    Some Darwin-critic scientists are frankly too stuffy and shy about going on the offensive.  They are worried that unless we argue with scholarly rhetoric and finesse they might disturb the totalitarian dictators of science.  They think this debate needs more nuance.  After all, we wouldn’t want to provoke PZ Myers to spout more toilet talk on his blistering blog or anything.  They wouldn’t want to interrupt the magic act of the Blunderful Wizard of Flaws.  Enough appeasement!  Storm the castle!
    It’s refreshing to see some boldness and brashness for a change.  Here are two nice guys willing to go into the Darwin Party strongholds with a smile and the confidence of their convictions.  They’re willing to take the mudslinging that is to be expected from the other side.  They’re only doing what Darwin told them to do anyway.  “A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question,” Charlie said in his own introduction 150 years ago.  Ray and Kirk see one-sided indoctrination and brainwashing going on.  They want to give students a rational alternative.  For crying out loud, they’re giving students an entire free copy of Darwin’s book – Darwin gets 300 pages, and Ray Comfort gets 50.  Fair enough?  What’s the problem?
    There’s no reason to be shy when the truth is on your side.  Remember the unlearned fishermen who changed the world?  Unlike Darwin, they were not spreading cleverly devised fables.  They were eyewitnesses.  They knew what they were talking about.  They were excited about the good news they had to share.  Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron are showing us that it’s time to be bold to get the living waters to the masses.  More power to them.
Next headline on:  Darwin and Evolutionary TheoryBible and Theology
  Our 09/29/2006 “Paper View” entry evaluated six evolutionary papers in Science and found them all telling tall tales: The Molecules that Made Our Mind, the Light that Gave Rise to the Eye, the Mystical Tree of Life, and other fables.

“Ideas have consequences.”  We often hear the phrase, but there’s nothing like examples to turn it from a cliche into a call to attention.  Of the many excellent courses offered by The Teaching Company, there is one that should be required of all college students and adults: Utopia and Terror in the Twentieth Century by Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius (U of Tennessee).  Note: This course goes on sale regularly for 70% off and comes in a variety of formats.  The cheapest and most convenient is the MP3 download.
    Of particular interest to Creation-Evolution Headlines, this course begins with the Darwinian mind virus that infected the late 19th century into the beginning of the 20th.  The lecturer is not anti-Darwin, but he explains right from the start how ideas of progress, science, evolution, and atheism laid a foundation for a new world order and dreams of utopia that would be brought about through revolution – the destruction of history and individual liberty.  Mobs fueled by fanatical revolutionaries swept across Europe and into Russia and the Far East.  The remaining lectures present a withering onslaught of horrors bequeathed by their radical disciples – Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Kim Il-Sung, the Khmer Rouge, the Cambodia genocide, the Rwanda genocide, Saddam Hussein (lecture recorded prior to his death), and more.  Many of these 1984-style dystopias unfolded within living memory.  Some remain with us today.  And almost all were rooted in the ideas of social Darwinism.
    In his role as a university historian, Liulevicius tends to understate the horrors of the totalitarian dictators he describes.  Listeners should keep in mind that the events told, inconceivably awful as they were, were in reality far worse.  You’ll get the most out of this highly-recommended course if you keep in mind the ideas that led to the incalculable atrocities that flowed from them, and to visualize some of the millions of individuals who were swept along into the most horrific regimes in human history (the professor says 34 million were killed in the military conflicts, but 169 million were slaughtered in state-sponsored terror).  We must know this history, because the same crisis of ideas is looming its ugly head again.  Will the next round be even worse?
Next resource of the week:  09/19/2009.  All resources: Catalog.

Ho-Hum, Another Feathered Dinosaur   09/25/2009    
Sept 25, 2009 — Another Chinese fossil its discoverers are calling a “feathered dinosaur” has been announced by Nature News.  It is ostensibly a more complete specimen of Anchiornis huxleyii that was announced last January (see 01/21/2009).  The full paper on this specimen is to be published in Nature next week.
    The fossil is said to have four feathered legs and probably glided rather than flew.  What is most interesting to the discoverers is that it predates Archaeopteryx by one to 10 million years, according to the dating of the strata.  The article announced confidently, “The report is seen as wiping out the last vestige of an argument by a handful of scientists that birds couldn’t have evolved from such two-legged dinosaurs.”  Those arguments were not based entirely on sequence however.  Even if this specimen is earlier, it does not follow that it was an ancestor of birds.

Last January when the most recent flap about feathered dinosaurs made the rounds (01/21/2009), we listed 18 questions that should be asked before believing the claims made about bird and feather evolution.  It would be a good time to review those again (see also footnote 3).  The rush to judgment and eagerness to prove dinobird evolution should raise red flags.
    This new story has several potential pitfalls.  For one, it was presented to paleontologists by a farmer.  Even if their detective work recovered the correct site, that opened the door to tampering en route.  Chinese peasants know they can get a lot of money or fame for finding high-interest specimens (remember the Archaeoraptor fraud?).  Second, the dating of these strata is all based on evolutionary assumptions.  It’s a case of circular reasoning.  Third, the classification of animals into schemes that include birds and dinosaurs together (maniraptorans) is contrived and artificial.  Even if this creature glided with some kind of integumentary covering, that doesn’t make it a bird ancestor any more than a flying squirrel is ancestral to bats.  We’ll have to wait and see how good the data is next week when the paper is published.
    Fourth and most important, evolution has already been falsified, so Darwin has nothing to say about this fossil.  The Cambrian Explosion (watch the movie) renders all Darwinian explanations for the origin of animal body plans superfluous.  That applies to birds and dinosaurs as well.  And since soft tissue and blood vessels have been recovered from dinosaur bone, the dating of specimens labeled Jurassic and Cretaceous has been falsified, too.  (See the bonus features in the film The Voyage That Shook the World where evolutionary paleontologist Phil Currie makes a stunning admission about how his colleagues refused to believe that evidence when it was announced, because their preconceptions rendered it impossible.)
    So what was Anchiornis?  We’ll have to look at the details in the paper next week to evaluate the claims, but keep in mind that the earth has been blessed with a much richer variety of life in the past than we have today.  If there was some strange four-legged, feathered glider, great; we have learned about a previously-unknown extinct animal that is interesting.  You can find gliders among mammals, insects and reptiles now.  It doesn’t mean they descended from one another.  Look how the evolutionists wave their magic wand of “convergent evolution” to explain the independent emergence of flight in insects, birds, reptiles (pterosaurs) and mammals (bats).  If Anchiornis was not capable of powered flight, did it lose that ability?  The amount of new genetic information required to reorganize its lungs and muscles and brain to make it a true flyer exceeds the power of natural selection to achieve.
    For background information, the reader may wish to search on the phrase "feathered dinosaur" for previous fantastic claims made over the years about bird evolution from dinosaurs.  The claims usually don’t fly when the whole story comes out.  In evaluating science news reports, it has become a necessary skill to remove layers of crusty Darwin barnacles to get an unbiased look at the evidence, but it always pays off.
Next headline on:  DinosaursBirdsFossils
Human Evolution Celebration Exposed   09/24/2009    
Sept 24, 2009 — The evolutionary story of human origins is often told like a cultural myth that is intuitively obvious.  Humans emerged in Africa after their ancestors came down from the trees and walked upright.  They began to hunt with stone tools and used fire.  They migrated north out of Africa and populated Europe, overtaking the Neanderthals who lacked the brain power and culture of their more evolved cousins.  How much of this story is based on actual evidence?  How much is interpolation of what “must” have happened based on an evolutionary view of natural history?
    As part of its celebration of the Darwin Bicentennial, PNAS invited a special series of papers on human evolution, called Out of Africa: Modern Human Origins.  A careful reading of these papers reveals more gap than knowledge, more bluffing than evidence.
  1. Richard Klein’s lead editorial:1  Richard Klein of Stanford summarized the views of Darwin and Huxley and surveyed the history of fossil finds since Darwin.  “In the absence of fossils, Darwin could not have predicted the fundamental pattern of human evolution, but his evolutionary theory readily accommodates the pattern we now recognize,” Klein asserted, but he acknowledged a number of controversies among paleoanthropologists.  The story requires two out-of-Africa migrations – one 200,000 years ago that kept the Neanderthals isolated from the modern human gene pool, and another 50,000 years ago when modern humans overtook the Neanderthals.
        “Many details of Out-of-Africa remain to be worked out,” he admitted, “and disagreement persists, for example, on the extent to which dispersing modern Africans and archaic Eurasians may have interbred and especially on what promoted the relatively sudden Out-of-Africa expansion.”  As to what stimulated the moderns to gain survival advantages to win the fitness game, he proposed two ideas: “Some attribute it to a genetic mutation that promoted the final development of the modern human brain with its seemingly infinite capacity for innovation.  A larger number ascribe the behavioral change to social, economic, or demographic change, perhaps above all to population growth that increased the frequency and density of transformative interactions among individuals and groups.”  It would seem that ultimately the behavioral changes would have also had to have roots in genetic mutations to be passed on.
  2. Ian Tattersall on the Out-of-Africa hypothesis:2  Tattersall presented Africa as the “fount of human evolution” but ascribed that evolution to unexplained, unobserved acts of chance.  Whatever happened to make human beings capable of symbolic communication after their physical traits were in place left no trace, he admitted: “The event concerned was apparently short-term,” he said, “because it is essentially unanticipated in the fossil record.”  In a remarkable statement that seems tantamount to a miracle, he said, “The radical reorganization of gene expression that underwrote the distinctive physical appearance of H. sapiens was probably also responsible for the neural substrate that permits symbolic cognition,” he said.  “This exaptively acquired potential lay unexploited until it was ‘discovered’ via a cultural stimulus, plausibly the invention of language.”  As examples of exaptation, he later said, “Birds, for example, had feathers for millions of years before coopting them for flight, and tetrapods acquired their limbs in an aquatic context.”  So why not believe that man had a brain before he thought of thinking?
        If one can believe Tattersall’s story thus far (that modern man’s physical body, intelligence, symbolic cognition, culture and language all appeared suddenly by an unplanned “exaptation” of a previously useless “neural substrate”), then the reader clearly has the credulity to accept the rest of the tale.  It relies on a “relevant fossil record [that] is fairly thin” and the argument that “sparse as they were, the earliest fossils that resembled members of our species came from southern and eastern Africa.”  Does the evidence get better after accepting that premise?  “Beyond this, however, the picture is a little hazy,” he said, but he told it anyway: modern humanness arrived in two stages: a body, then a brain, and migrated north out of Africa twice separated by 150,000 years of stasis.  In case the reader didn’t catch his miracle story, he repeated it in the conclusion:
    Symbolic reasoning appears to be qualitatively different from all other forms of cognition, including its own immediate precursor.  Its neural substrate continues to be strenuously debated; but, whatever it was, that structural innovation was most plausibly acquired as part and parcel of the radical biological reorganization that gave birth to H. sapiens as an anatomically distinctive entity.  In which case (like those feathers and limbs) it remained unexploited, at least in the cognitive context, for a very substantial length of time, until its new use was “discovered” by its possessor.  How this discovery was made remains a matter for conjecture, but a leading candidate for the necessarily cultural stimulus to symbolic processing of information is the invention of language.
  3. Tim Weaver on Neanderthal Man:3    Let’s turn our attention to one part of the human evolution story that has abundant fossils: the Neanderthals.  This should provide an opportunity for an evolutionist to backfill the story with ample evidence.  The story is usually told that Neanderthals, with their barrel-chested robust frames, were adapted to living in the ice age cold.  Weaver surprises the reader that it’s hard to establish a correlation with the anatomy and the climate.  In fact, the anatomical differences point to genetic drift rather than adaptation.  “Neither climatic adaptation nor anterior dental loading are well supported, but genetic drift is consistent with the available evidence,” he said.  It’s also hard to connect anatomy with activity patterns, including diet.  Modern humans living in cold climates today seem to share some features with Neanderthals, but “relationships in extant humans between morphology and activities are typically not well established.”
        Weaver described a number of unknowns about Neanderthals.  Here are a few.  We don’t know the extent to which skeletal anatomy reflects life habits as opposed to genetics (although some of the distinctive Neanderthal traits in the few juvenile specimens can help sort them out).  We don’t know if lab experiments on animals have relevance to the real world.  We don’t know which traits vary together (covariance) or which originated separately.  We don’t know the extent of covariance within groups and within individuals; therefore, analysis of a given individual Neanderthal specimen should be “interpreted cautiously”.  We don’t understand how “evolutionary forces” act over long time periods.  We don’t know if the cranial features of Neanderthals had any adaptive significance.  We don’t know if the post-cranial features (below the neck) had any adaptive significance.  We don’t know the extent to which diet affected facial features such as prominent brow ridges.  We don’t know to what extent the skeletons reflect adaptations to cold.  We don’t know the extent to which Neanderthal and modern human populations were isolated from each other.  We don’t know whether the post-cranial differences are secondary consequences of a change in overall body proportions.  We don’t know why both Neanderthals and Pleistocene modern humans were both more robust than those living today.  Lastly, it may well be that the differences between modern humans and Neanderthals tell us less about evolution and more about genetic drift – random gene frequency variations between populations that have nothing to do with adaptation.
        As an example of how difficult it is to give an evolutionary explanation, Weaver described how it’s done.  Let’s say the anthropologist has decided that a certain trait represents an evolutionary adaptation.  How would he or she test the idea?  Say, for example, that Alice is looking at a Neanderthal cranium and proposes that its distinctive shape was a response to cold climate.  One way she could test it would be to see if similar shapes are found in living animals in cold climates.  “This approach implicitly assumes that whatever factors lead to a relationship in the extant species are also important for the extinct species, and consequently, is most robust when similar relationships are found for multiple populations or species.”  A second way Alice could test her idea would be to see if the cranium shape fits the purported function.  “This approach does not attempt to directly model how natural selection would have acted; it simply evaluates the internal consistency of an adaptive hypothesis,” Weaver said.  But it should be noted: “An internally consistent adaptive hypothesis is not necessarily correct, but an inconsistent one can be rejected.”  This could lead to numerous incorrect but unrejected hypotheses.  A third way Alice could test her adaptive hypothesis would be “by explicitly modeling evolutionary forces with quantitative and population genetics,” i.e., to see if genetic drift would fit the evidence just as well.  One advantage is you get some numbers this way: “A strength of this approach is that the dynamics of the evolutionary process are quantitatively incorporated into the testing of hypotheses.”  Sounds good in theory, but in practice, “The value of this final approach and the previous one would increase substantially if we knew more about how evolutionary forces typically act over hundreds to thousands of generations.”
Time and space do not permit reviews of the six other papers on early man.  These discuss the origin of Neanderthals,4 the diets of Neanderthals and early modern humans,5 the spread of modern humans in Europe,6 the spread of hominins in Africa and Asia,7 how early African hominins decorated themselves,8 and how founder populations might have migrated out of Africa.9  Hopefully these three surveys will provide a sample of the state of the art in evolutionary explanations of how we got here.
1.  Richard Klein, “Darwin and the recent African origin of modern humans,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 22, 2009, vol. 106 no. 38, 16007-16009, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0908719106.
2.  Ian Tattersall, “Human Origins: Out of Africa,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 22, 2009, vol. 106 no. 38, 16018-16021, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0903207106.
3.  Timothy Weaver, “The meaning of Neandertal skeletal morphology,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 22, 2009, vol. 106 no. 38, 16028-16033, DOI:10.1073/pnas.0903864106.
4.  J. J. Hublin, “The origin of Neanderthals,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 22, 2009, vol. 106 no. 38, 16022-16027, DOI:10.1073/pnas.0904119106.
5.  Richards and Trinkaus, “Isotopic evidence for the diets of European Neanderthals and early modern humans,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 22, 2009, vol. 106 no. 38, 16034-16039, DOI:10.1073/pnas.0903821106.
6.  John F. Hoffecker, “The spread of modern humans in Europe,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 22, 2009, vol. 106 no. 38, 16040-16045, DOI:10.1073/pnas.0903446106.
7.  G. Philip Rightmire, “Middle and later Pleistocene hominins in Africa and Southwest Asia,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 22, 2009, vol. 106 no. 38, 16046-16050, DOI:10.1073/pnas.0903930106.
8.  d'Errico et al, “Additional evidence on the use of personal ornaments in the Middle Paleolithic of North Africa,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 22, 2009 vol. 106 no. 38 16051-16056, DOI:10.1073/pnas.0903532106.
9.  DeGiorgio, Jakobsson and Rosenberg, “Explaining worldwide patterns of human genetic variation using a coalescent-based serial founder model of migration outward from Africa,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 22, 2009 vol. 106 no. 38 16057-16062, DOI:10.1073/pnas.0903341106.
CEH takes the deep dark secrets of the Darwin mystics and holds them up in the daylight out on the public streets.  What could this be other than a mystery religion?  How is this scientific?  The number of unknowns vastly outstrips the claims in the story, and the evidence is force-fit into a preconceived story with the Darwin idol in the center.  Miracles are everywhere.  It takes brain sacrifice to believe it.  In no other area of scholarly inquiry would this be tolerated.  A sudden radical change in gene expression, or a combination of unknown mutations, invents a human body, walking upright and capable of everything you can do today, if not more so.  Then, independently, another sudden radical change in gene expression or combination of chance mutations invents a “neural substrate” (read: fully-functioning human brain) out of an ape head (cf. 09/02/2009).  These capabilities lie fallow, with no purpose or use, for millions of years.  Suddenly, those innate capabilities are “exapted” by a “cultural stimulus” like the immediate and unforeseen invention of language.  Tattersall calls this “plausible” – do you?  This is so wacko it makes New Age look downright philosophical.  Whenever the credibility seems to be unraveling, the Darwin Party Rescue Committee runs in with a new load of millions of years to add in, as if time heals all.  It doesn’t.  It makes it worse.  Now, we are supposed to believe that upright-walking, full-brained human beings couldn’t think of a word to say to each other for 150,000 years.
    Some Darwinian reading this might object to calling it “deep dark secrets.”  This is published in a scientific journal available online and in libraries.  That’s right, but who really reads this stuff?  Mostly the faithful Darwin Party members.  What the public sees is the highly-sanitized, carefully-packaged fluff on the Science Channel and Discovery Channel and National Geographic TV.  There, handsomely-paid animators make the miracles seem plausible.  They can throw in whatever is needed to cover the difficulties – a little Lamarckism, some scantily-clad actors with ape-face makeup, some carefully scripted interviews with scientists made up and lighted to enhance their image of credibility, whatever.  The public is led to believe this represents the consensus of all scientists who “know” these things because the evidence is so overwhelming and convincing.  Boy, would it be fun to remake some of those shows with Barnum and Bailey circus music and Tinker Bell zapping apes and turning them into rocket scientists.  It could hardly be any more comedic than reading the words of these scientists quoted above and understanding what they just said.  (Need more?  Browse the Chain Links on Early Man for an endless supply of laughs.)
    This entry is already long after examining only a third of the papers in this series.  The eminent, scholarly, honorable National Academy of Sciences just published all this nonsense with pride.  That means that there is a gold mine of quote material to expose the Darwin myth for what it is.  Let’s get it out there and deprogram the dupes.  Let’s expose the Charlietans and their miracle myth.  Let’s shame the deceivers out of business.  Turn on the lights!
Next headline on:  Early ManFossilsHuman BodyDarwin and Evolutionary Theory
  Four years ago, biochemists were beginning to appreciate the storehouse of information stored in RNA.  See the 09/08/2005 entry, where it was described as a universe of genetic information, an “embarrassing plenitude” of previously unknown complexity beyond the genes in DNA.

Lotus Glass Repels Water, Dirt, Bacteria   09/23/2009    
Sept 23, 2009 — Imagine never having to wash your windows again.  That would be a huge boon not only for window washers on skyscrapers, but for astronauts on the space shuttle or space station.  It may become a reality, thanks to the lotus plant.
    Science Daily reported on work by a company in Atlanta that has developed a transparent coating for glass that renders it impervious to dirt and water.  The secret: imitating the surface of a lotus leaf, which “contains innumerable tiny spikes that greatly reduce the area on which water and dirt can attach.”  NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is taking a keen interest in this technology, because it can “prevent dirt from accumulating on the surfaces of spacesuits, scientific instruments, robotic rovers, solar array panels and other hardware used to gather scientific data or carry out exploratory activities on other objects in the solar system.”  The latest work seeks to manufacture the material such that it can withstand the harsh space environment.
    For us earthlings, the applications of lotus-leaf surface coatings to everyday objects – eyeglasses, windshields, camera lenses and windows – promises a low-maintenance, clear view through the looking glass.  And there’s an extra benefit.  The material also repels bacteria.  Think of how hospitals could stay more hygienic with lotus-like surfaces on walls, windows and equipment.
    For previous stories on the properties of the lotus leaf, see 10/17/2006, 01/18/2005 and 10/27/2004.

This all began when someone looked at lotus leaves in the rain and noticed how the water beads up and runs off, leaving a clean surface.  Look around at nature and notice what other technologies have already been designed and could be applied to human needs. (You may want to get an early start if you manufacture windshield wipers.)  There’s a bright future in biomimetics, no thanks to Darwin. 
Next headline on:  PlantsBiomimeticsAmazing Facts
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With his usual articulate wit and candor, David Berlinski discusses Darwinian intolerance and misanthropy in a 12-minute interview for ID the Future.

Evolutionists Answer “Why” Questions With “Stuff Happens”   09/22/2009    
Sept 22, 2009 — Why do ants walk single file?  Why are goldfish gold?  Why do worms come up on the sidewalk in the rain?  Exasperated parents sometimes answer the incessant questions of their young children with “It’s just the way things are!”  Presumably science does a better job of explanation, but one might wonder if the following evolutionary explanations improve on the exasperated parent response.

  1. Diatom distribution:  A paper in Science last week tried to explain the distribution of diatom species in the ocean.1  They found no evolutionary pattern of certain species inhabiting certain oceans but not others.  Perhaps mixing of ocean waters swamps the expected evolutionary radiation or environmental selection.  “To the extent that marine diatoms are a model microbial taxonomic group,” they said, “our results imply that the biodiversity and macroevolutionary patterns at the microbial level fundamentally differ from those of macroscopic animals and plants, negating the idea that all living things follow similar ecological and evolutionary rules.”  Apparently evolutionary laws are not disconfirmed by opposite outcomes.
  2. Autumn leaves:  “Why fall colors are different in U.S. and Europe” is the title of an article in Live Science.  European deciduous trees lack the rich reds of the Americas.  Why is that?  Once upon a time, 35 million years ago, “large areas of the globe were covered with evergreen jungles or forests composed of tropical trees,” but then “many tree species evolved to become deciduous, dropping their leaves for winter.”  The article did not say whether the spirits of the trees convened to work out this strategy.
        But then, pesky insects must have made the trees get the itch for protection: “Many of these trees also began an evolutionary process of producing red deciduous leaves in order to ward off insects.”  How the trees strategized to initiate the evolutionary process was not explained.  Nevertheless, this set off an evolutionary arms race as species migrated north and south.  In Europe, though, the mountains got in the way.  The red trees and their insects died from exposure to ice age temperatures – except for “the exception that proves the rule,” dwarf shrubs that still retain their red autumn leaves.  They survived because they (and their insect pests) were able to live through winter under the snow.  At least according to reporter Andrea Thompson, that’s how “the thinking goes.
  3. Mister T Junior:  A small version of T. rex has been discovered in China.  It has the big head and puny arms of its famous star of stage and screen, but was only about 100th the body weight – about the size of a man.  A boxer might have a fighting chance against one of these.  He could pound the jaws of Raptorex left and right without fear, because the monster would not have the reach to grab him.  The short arms are an evolutionary puzzle, though.  National Geographic said, “The find runs counter to previous theories, which had said that T. rex’s stumpy arms were a relatively recent evolutionary development.  As tyrannosaurs got larger, their arms simply didn’t scale up fast enough, and the limbs eventually became small in relation to the dinosaurs’ oversized bodies, the older theories say.”  So much for that idea.  Here’s how the article displayed the flexibility of evolutionary explanations:
    Study leader [Paul] Sereno [U of Chicago] noted that it can be hard for people to appreciate the trade-offs that evolution inevitably entails.
    “It would seem to a human that forelimbs are so useful, that only when you got to the size of a tyrannosaur and you could frighten everybody with a growl could you get rid of [forearms],” he said.
    “But this common sense type of thinking almost never works with evolution,” Sereno said.  In the tyrannosaurs, for instance, “long, heavy forelimbs are a significant burden and would seriously curtail agility in the hunt.” 
    Sereno did not explain if this means evolution should have produced short arms in all predators.  If this early tyrannosaurid had short arms, why did other subsequent tyrannosaurs have longer arms before T. rex showed up?  Perhaps that question falls into the trap of “common sense type of thinking.”  We’re not supposed to use that with evolution, Sereno said.  Live Science was confident, regardless, that “The new finding ... suggests a T. rex blueprint for taking down prey evolved, and was successful, in the pint-size, well before the giant tyrannosaurs emerged.”
  4. Flamingo stance:  Here’s a question a young child would ask at a zoo: why do the flamingos stand on one leg?  Live Science tackled that with a smorgasbord of possibilities: keeping body temperature stable, avoiding parasites, preventing muscle fatigue.  Whatever the reason, “more research needs to be done....”
  5. Australian egg-layers Live Science tried to explain why egg-laying mammals called monotremes are found in Australia but not elsewhere.  The explanation for the evolution of the platypus and echidna includes numerous escape hatches: some of their ancestors became aquatic, or semi-aquatic, or terrestrial, or evolved between these habits; maybe they diverged a long time ago, or maybe recently; some stayed the same but some evolved rapidly; etc.  But we don’t know because the fossil record of these enigmatic creatures is poor.  Somehow, Charles Q. Choi found evolutionary confidence in all this puzzling.  “These oddballs are often considered primitive ‘living fossils’ that shed light on what our distant ancestors might have looked like.
  6. Horny females:  If the male animals have horns for fighting other males over females, why do some female animals have horns?  New Scientist says this old evolutionary chestnut has been “solved.”  Two evolutionists plugged a bunch of variables into a computer (body size, openness of habitat, territorial behaviour, group size or conspicuousness) and ran a mathematical model.  Conspicuousness is the predictor of female horns, they concluded.  Another evolutionist said they forgot to consider competition for food.  That suggests that other variables might have also been neglected – or combinations of variables, or none of the above.
  7. Naked apes:  Why are humans naked?  Most mammals are covered in fur (exceptions include naked mole rats, hippos and elephants, but they are not close evolutionary kin).  Elaine Morgan tried to give an evolutionary explanation in New Scientist (caution: nude photo).  Since Darwin, the explanation for human nakedness has been controversial, she began.  Darwin’s idea that men selected for hairless females has not stood the test of time.  “Of all the thousands of mammal species, it is hard to believe that the males of just one species would develop an arbitrary preference for balder-bodied females, or that in just one species of primate it was the male’s preference that decided the issue.” she said.  “If a man of Darwin’s genius could not have come up a more [sic] convincing solution than that, some key factor must have been missing from the narrative.”
        So have evolutionists since Darwin improved on the explanation?  (Scientific explanations that are too flexible or convoluted amount to “stuff happens” – the failure of explanation.)  One explanation that held sway for decades was Raymond Dart’s 1924 theory that when our ape ancestors came out of the trees to hunt in the savannah, they shed their hair to prevent overheating.  “For most of the past century it was assumed that the problem had been solved,” Morgan remarked.  Well, then, why haven’t lions, cheetahs and other savannah predators followed that rule?  Russell Newman debunked Dart’s theory in 1970 by arguing humans would never have evolved in the savannah with their traits of too little hair, too much sweat and their need to drink too much water.  Now most evolutionists picture man evolving in a forest or woodland environment.
        Stephen Jay Gould suggested nakedness was a tradeoff for evolving a bigger brain.  Others suggested skin afforded better protection against ticks (but then, again, why didn’t other mammals use this strategy?).  Alister Hardy suggested humans got naked when they adapted to swimming – the “aquatic ape” (or skinnydipping) theory.  No one explanation has gained acceptance among evolutionary anthropologists.  Morgan said the focus has shifted away from why humans are naked to when they lost their hair.  Recent thinking says nakedness coincided with walking upright.  This, however, skirts the question of why those two traits would be correlated.  She concluded that Hardy’s aquatic ape theory remains the best contender (or the last one standing) so far, but not by much.
Morgan ended her article with a statement that could apply to all the above.  “Only one thing is certain: the question is not going to go away,” she ended.  “Any scenario which fails to tie up this loose end will continue to be less than satisfying.  It will always be haunted by the suspicion that something in the story of our emergence is still missing.
1.  Cermeno and Falkowski, “Controls on Diatom Biogeography in the Ocean,” Science, 18 September 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5947, pp. 1539-1541, DOI: 10.1126/science.1174159.
Does anyone still doubt that evolutionary biology is a giant storytelling contest?  You thought science was all about discovering the laws of nature, making predictions and understanding the world.  Evolution accomplishes none of these things.  The only “law” discovered by Darwin’s disciples is the Stuff Happens law (09/15/2008).  They like it that way, because it keeps their quest for a good “scenario” (i.e., story) open-ended.  Only their dupes would consider this scientific progress.
    Humans have been studying the natural world for thousands of years before Darwin came along.  Greeks and Romans had catalogs, and so did medieval scholars.  Most naturalists (meaning observers of the natural world) agreed that the form and complexity of animals and plants showcased design.  Linnaeus, the father of taxonomy, was a creationist, and so was John Ray.  Sure, the early naturalists made mistakes, but guess what – so do we!  Modern naturalists have many advantages: better observational tools, more extensive collections, more observers, genomes, photographs, fossils, specimens, microscopes and state-of-the-art analysis.  None of this requires Darwin’s “one long argument” (translation: one grand myth) of common ancestry by means of unguided variation.  If anything, it is a rogue spirit of divination possessing the soul of science, clouding its vision with images of magical emergence.  Faith in the natural world’s Designer will cast out its demons and let science once again become clothed and in its right mind.
Next headline on:  Darwin and Evolutionary TheoryMarine BiologyPlantsDinosaursFossilsBirdsMammalsHuman Body
Mars Red-Faced Without Water   09/21/2009    
Sept 21, 2009 — The Martians are singing How dry I am.  Scientists have a new explanation for how Mars turned red without water: it’s just dry dust tumbling in the wind.  This new hypothesis was announced by Live Science, Science Daily, New Scientist, and Space.com, based on a presentation at the European Planetary Science Congress last week.1 
    This has been dubbed a “surprising” new theory.  Why?  Because for many years scientists thought that water was required to rust the iron in the rocks.  Lab experiments at the Aarhus Mars Simulation Laboratory in Denmark have shown that quartz grains mixed with magnetite in a tumbler turn red in a few months as the surfaces wear down and oxygen atoms bind to the magnetite, forming reddish hematite.  Because hematite is deep red in color, it doesn’t take much of it to color the dust red.  These experiments do not rule out water on Mars; they just remove water as a requirement for staining the surface red.
    If this is the source of the redness on Mars, it has implications for the age of the surface.  Space.com said, “since the process can occur relatively quickly, it could be that the thin red layer of dust on Mars is somewhat new.”  How new?  Jonathan Merrison said “millions of years instead of billions of years.”  His experiments, though, reduced the sand grains to dust in just seven months, and they turned red quickly when magnetite was added.
1.  Merrison, Gunnlaugsson, Jensen and Nornberg, “Mineral alteration induced by sand transport; a source for the reddish colour of Martian dust,” Icarus (in press, published online 9/12/2009), doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2009.09.004.
The moyboys should be red-faced (moyboys: those recklessly spouting claims about “millions of years, billions of years”).  Not only does this potentially undermine the astrobiologists’ hopes for water on Mars, it casts doubt on whether the surface is really billions of years old.  Remember, even 100 million years is a tiny fraction of the assumed age of the solar system (A.S.S.).  What color was Mars before?  Yellow?  Green?  Purple?  Why are we seeing the tail-end of a rapid process if Mars dried up billions of years ago and its sand grains have been tumbling around for eons?  The truth is, they just don’t know.  They weren’t there.  The fact that a hypothesis this radical can upset everything previously believed about a planet should give one pause before accepting the next moyboy pronouncement on faith.
Next headline on:  Solar SystemDating Methods
  For once, Darwinists took on a fellow Darwinist for telling just-so stories.  Revisit the 09/27/2004 entry.

Stone Tools May Be Crocodile Stomach Stones   09/21/2009    
Sept 21, 2009 — “Were crocodiles responsible for the stones we call tools?” is the title of a surprising letter to the editor in Nature last week.1  Patrick Dempsey (the archaeologist, not the actor) raised a possibility that paleoanthropologists and the journals have been making a big mistake for a long time.  He asked, “Could Nature have been unknowingly publishing papers for the past 80 years about crocodilian gastroliths (stomach stones) instead of stones concluded to be 2.5-million-year-old hominid tools?”
    Surely anthropologists have thought of this and know how to tell the difference, right?  “Palaeontologists use a simple eyeball test to distinguish stone tools from gastroliths,” Dempsey said.  If there are only wear marks on the outer surface, it’s a gastrolith.  “But wear on both inner and outer surfaces indicates that it has been used for some sort of pounding or battering and can confidently be considered a tool.”  That’s the thinking, but Dempsey stared at photographs from a recent paper in Nature by 18 scientists claiming stones from Africa were tools,2 and noticed the stones only had wear on extended surfaces.  These were not tools.  According to him, they had been tumbling inside some crocodile stomach for awhile.  How could so many scientists be mistaken?

Identification of the Oldowan specimens as tools is based on the fact that the soft relict sands of Olduvai Gorge contain no natural stones of their own, so any stone found there must have been moved from distant river beds by some unknown animal transporterconcluded by high science to be Homo habilis.  But crocodiles have the curious habit of swallowing rocks: these account for 1% of their body weight, so for a 1-tonne crocodile that’s 10 kg of stones in its stomach at all times.  Surprisingly, science has never even considered the crocodile as transporter.
Homo habilis is nicknamed “Handy man” by evolutionary anthropologists because of assumed evidence he was a toolmaker.  Dempsey’s scenario for the tool evidence, however, pictures crocs on ancient riverbeds vomiting up their gastroliths with no handymen in sight.  “Hippo herds would naturally trample riverside gravel stones into the shape of Oldowan cutting tools, quantities of which the crocodile would then swallow and transport to other places.”  The stones were deposited at the river edge where the crocodiles lived and died.
So far, all East African Oldowan specimens have come from the same waterside environments where crocodiles are known to have dwelt.  Millions, perhaps trillions, of transported crocodile stomach stones must remain where the old crocodiles left them, deep in relict East African sediments, though none has ever been reported.
A quick Google search does not reveal any response to this letter yet.  A future issue of Nature will undoubtedly contain rebuttals – probably from the 18 anthropologists accused of misidentifying the Oldowan stones.  The point is that science needs to be open to alternative interpretations of mute historical evidence.  The fact that Nature published this letter and even dressed it up with a Sidney Harris cartoon of a croc ordering stones at a fast-food counter indicates that the editors felt Dempsey’s letter deserves a response.  We’ll have to wait and see if that comes after awhile, crocodile.
1.  Patrick Dempsey, “Were crocodiles responsible for the stones we call tools?” Correspondence, Nature 461, 341 (17 September 2009) | doi:10.1038/461341a; Published online 16 September 2009.
2.  Haslam et al, “Primate archaeology,” Nature 460, 339-344 (16 July 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature08188.
3.    Recently, Dempsey also questioned interpretations of “stone tools” in the California desert by the late great Louis Leakey.  His publication by the SCA Society alleges they were products of lightning spalls at the same location that had been reported in a scientific paper 25 years earlier.  The fact that a famous scientist could be so mistaken is what led him to also question the stone tool interpretation at Olduvai Gorge.
We’re not taking sides till the rebuttals are in, but wouldn’t it be funny if the paleoanthropologists in “high science” have been goofing for 80 years?  Actually, it’s not so funny if our children have been told falsehoods about Homo habilis for the last four generations.  The evolutionary storytellers are likely to be upset with this upstart “Great Basin avocationalist” throwing stones into their glass house.  They will need to preserve their reputations as much as the evolutionary Myth of Handy Man evolving into Man the Wise.
    What can we learn from this story?  For one, stones do not interpret themselves.  It takes a fallible human to put them into an artificial explanatory framework.  Other fallible humans can look at the framework to see how well the evidence fits, but fallible humans make mistakes (by definition).  Second, scientists sometimes get on bandwagons.  They train each other and learn how to interpret the evidence according to the reigning paradigm.  The paradigm can become self-reinforcing.  Science needs observers outside the box who aren’t affected by bluffing and peer pressure.  Third, evolutionists have been caught again using design detection principles in spite of themselves, but this time, they may have reported a false positive.  Fourth, where indeed are the trillions of gastroliths that should be there if this site was inhabited by crocs and hippos for millions of years?
    Finally, some paradigms can become so intransigent that contrary evidence may not dislodge them.  In the cartoon strip Peanuts, Lucy was showing Charlie Brown a butterfly on the sidewalk one day.  She explained that butterflies this large usually are found in Brazil.  Looking closer, Charlie Brown exclaimed, “That’s no butterfly, it’s a potato chip!” to which Lucy responded, “Well I’ll be, you’re right, Charlie Brown.  I wonder how a potato chip got all the way here from Brazil?”
    If the paleoanthropologists come to agree with Dempsey that the Oldowan stones are indeed gastroliths, they will not likely apologize for 80 years of mythology about Homo habilis.  They will just merge the antithesis into a new synthesis.  They will claim that the Handy Men were so handy, they even kept crocodiles as pets and harvested their gastroliths to use as tools.  An alternative interpretation might be the classification of a new genus, Crocodylus habilis.  Irrefutable complicity; wouldn’t that be a handy crock.
Next headline on:  Terrestrial ZoologyEarly Man
Crusty Salt Incubates Raw Ingredients for Life   09/21/2009    
Sept 21, 2009 — Science Daily asked, “Could salt crusts be key ingredient in cooking up prebiotic molecules?”  What if the answer is “No”?  Just asking the question must be newsworthy.  It invokes the power of suggestion.
    Stefan Fox told members of the European Planetary Science Congress last week that his team cooked up a new idea about the origin of life.  First, they imagined what the ocean chemistry might have been like 3.8 billion years ago.  Then they added salt to their imagined seawater recipe.  After performing experiments “evaporating solutions of artificial primordial seawater and then baking the salty residue in an atmosphere of nitrogen and carbon dioxide to volcanic temperatures of 350 degrees Celsius,” they found pyrrholes – molecules that can be found in heme and chlorophyll.  The salt crusts bind to amino acids and stabilize them against evaporation, they said.
    So what?  These molecules are not alive in any sense of the word.  “Our aim is to identify types of small molecules that might have participated in a hypothetical next step of chemical evolution,” they said.  So far they got some simple amino acids, peptides and pyrrholes.  (Presumably the amino acids came from Miller-style lightning discharges or from comets, and were in very small concentrations – but Fox said there were hundreds of thousands of years in which they could have accumulated.)
    The astrobiologists at the conference were probably happy to hear about a new way to keep amino acids from being rapidly destroyed.  “A clear chemical pathway for the development of the raw materials of life would add support to the theory of life evolving beyond Earth,” the article ended.
Allowing storytellers into the science lab (12/22/2003 commentary) was a crime against humanity.  It permitted all kinds of mischief to be tolerated in the name of science.  Fox (who should stop following in the footsteps of the previous Fox, Sidney Fox, in mythmaking, but should watch Fox News instead), is apparently unaware that salt is the last thing you want around to cook up life (06/25/2009).  But in the new Darwin Storytelling Contest view of science, anything that lends itself to bottom-up thinking (hydrogen to people) is considered progress.  No matter the illogic and contradictions, these liars will take their amino acids with toxic salt if they have to.  They need those building blocks of lie (03/19/2008).
Next headline on:  Origin of LifeDumb Ideas
SETI at 50: Onward with Style   09/20/2009    
Sept 20, 2009 — It’s been fifty years since the first scientific paper suggested listening in on the stellar radio dial for signs of intelligence.1  Nature celebrated the occasion with two articles and an Editorial that said,2 “Despite the long odds against success, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence has come a long way.”
    SETI sure has come a long way in hardware and software.  The new Allen Telescope Array, described in another Nature article,3 can sweep hundreds of millions of radio frequencies simultaneously – a huge advance over the first eavesdropping attempt in 1960 that listened to only one radio channel.  But hardware alone cannot justify a scientific endeavor.  Alchemists used the best techniques and equipment available for centuries.  Surprisingly, Nature noted that SETI is “arguably not a falsifiable experiment,” and has long been “on the edge of mainstream astronomy,” because “no matter how scientifically rigorous its practitioners try to be, SETI can’t escape an association with UFO believers and other such crackpots.”  The justification for continuing the search, Nature’s editors suggested, lies elsewhere – in “the enormous implications if it did succeed.”  The implications of SETI are greater than those of astrobiology (which would be content to find unicellular life).  A SETI success would bring to us all the implications of “finding other thinking creatures like ourselves.”  (Presumably, evidence for thinking beings like God or angels, no matter how well founded, is automatically excluded.)
    In another Nature op-ed piece, Fred Kaplan recounted the history of SETI.4  (He used the unfortunate word “cohabitants” for the other sentient beings we might discover.)  The glorious 50 years of technical advances are told against the seemingly-futile ambitions of the early searches – with snippets of the Drake equation, famous science fiction novels, and the founding of the SETI Institute – but a callout quote keeps the reader near reality: “In the 50 years since the search began, nothing has been heard.”  Could he justify the search as science, then?  He passed that hot potato to Jill Tarter: “She likens the nay-sayers to someone who dips an eight-ounce glass into the ocean, brings it up empty, and concludes that the oceans have no fish.”
    Understandable as that logic sounds, it still does not offer a basis for calling SETI a scientific quest.  There needs to be some foundation for expecting success, and a metric for falsification.  How many eight-ounce glass dips into the ocean would be sufficient?  A well-chosen sample might answer the question about fish in one attempt.  With hundreds of millions of samples collected from space already, is a final answer within reach, or will continued attempts amount to trying to explain away the negatives endlessly?
1.  Giuseppe Cocconi and Phillip Morrison, “Searching for Interstellar Communications,” Nature 19 Sept. 1959.
2.  Editorial, “SETI at 50,” Nature 461, 316 (17 September 2009) | doi:10.1038/461316a.
3.  Eric Hand, “Ear to the universe starts listening,” Nature 461, 324 (Sept 16, 2009) | doi:10.1038/461324a.
4.  Fred Kaplan, “An alien concept,” Nature 461, 345-346 (17 September 2009) | doi:10.1038/461345a.
Alchemists eventually had to give up, partly because of centuries of failure, and partly because new discoveries about chemistry redirected their energies in more productive paths.  We suggest that astrobiologists and SETI researchers channel their intelligence and energy into more productive paths, too.  They can begin by reading Signature in the Cell and getting excited about the amazing possibilities available by working out the implications of intelligent design at the very core of life.  Maybe they’ll realize that their approach has been using intelligent design concepts anyway (12/03/2005).  Perhaps they will also find that what they have been looking for – a signature of cosmic intelligence – is nearer than they currently imagine.
Next headline on:  SETIIntelligent Design
The Voyage That Shook the World is a new documentary by Fathom Media sponsored by Creation Ministries International, perfect for the Darwin Bicentennial.  Featured in this beautiful, 54-minute production are scenes from Darwin’s childhood, youth, young adulthood and old age, acted out by credible actors on realistic sets, both indoors and out.  Of particular interest are scenes aboard a full-size Beagle and on-location shots along the coast of South America and the Galapagos Islands.  These are all beautifully edited into modern shots of the same locales with stunning photography.  Interviews with numerous scientists (some creationists and some Darwinists) provide intellectual depth to the production – philosopher Alvin Plantinga, biochemist Cornelius Hunter, historian Janet Browne and many others.  Ted Baehr of MovieGuide.org rated it highly and called it one of the best-produced documentaries ever made.
    Themes that stand out are the non-scientific and non-rational influences that can cause scientists (and other people) to see what they choose to see.  The secular and creationist scientists agree on this point: Darwin was influenced by childhood traits, his evolutionist grandfather Erasmus Darwin, the tenor of Victorian England and the friends he made.  The film shows how Darwin’s admiration for Lyell’s uniformitarian geology made him misinterpret geological evidences.  Geologists Emil Silvestru and Robert Carter showcase clear examples of catastrophic processes Darwin could not see because of the worldview glasses he was wearing.
    Interviews of Darwin biographer Janet Browne, paleontologist Phil Currie and other secular scholars are tasteful and respectful.  The pro-evolution scholars make some pretty startling admissions about Darwin and the scientific evidence (especially in the Bonus Features, which are just as interesting as the main show).  The creation scientists make a good case for catastrophism and for doubts about “deep time” without being pushy.  The point is that we need to follow the evidence and be aware of our presuppositions.  General audiences should find this film attractive, interesting and thought-provoking.  It belongs in your lending library.  Order it from Creation.com.  Learn more about it (and watch the trailer) on TheVoyage.tv.
Next resource of the week:  09/12/2009.  All resources: Catalog.

  Learn how dinosaurs stretched, shrunk and twisted into bird costumes.  Revisit the 09/06/2007 entry.

Nature’s Designs Are Engineers’ Finds   09/18/2009    
Sept 18, 2009 — Nature is a treasure trove of technology.  Though engineers have garnered inspiration from nature since the Wright brothers and before, it seems that in recent years there has been a gold rush to follow nature’s lead.

  1. Wet glue:  Worms may not be very inspiring to most people, but Science News reported that scientists at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City are developing “worm-inspired superglue.”  By watching how the sandcastle worm glues pieces of sand, minerals and shell pieces into its shell, the scientists imitated the technique and invented a glue that works underwater.  The secret is in proteins possessing strong positive and negative charges.  The new glue may help doctors repair bone in the wet environment of the body during surgery.  After the bone regrows, the non-toxic glue would simply break down in the body.
  2. Super velcro:  Velcro became one of the early triumphs of modern biomimetics when in 1941 George de Mestral became intrigued by the cockleburs that stuck to his dog’s fur.  The famous “hook and loop” fabric he developed has become as indispensable in our lives as adhesive tape.  Science News reported that researchers at the Technical University of Munich have developed “velcro on steroids” – a metallic version that can hold 35 metric tons per square meter.  The article said the connectors are “patterned on the burrs that some plants have evolved to adhere to the coats of animals for seed dispersal.”
  3. Wing wonders:  Did you know that locusts are the long-distance champs of the insect world?  They can fly for hundreds of miles.  Science News, Live Science and Science Daily reported on work at Oxford to understand the wing design of “nature’s most efficient flyers.”  (Science News likened the dragonfly to fighter jets and the locust to 747s.)  The researchers are finding that the flexibility in the wing is crucial to the efficiency.  Dr. John Young of the University of New South Wales (Australia) said, “The message for engineers working to build insect-like micro-air vehicles is that the high lift of insect wings may be relatively easy to achieve, but that if the aim is to achieve efficiency of the sort that enables inter-continental flight in locusts, then the details of deforming wing design are critical.”
        Dr. Young said that until recently it has been impossible to study insect wings in detail because they flap so fast and their shape is so complicated.  Now, with wind tunnels and computer models, the problems are becoming tractable.  Incidentally, he pointed out, the “bumblebee paradox” (the claim that insects defy the laws of aerodynamics) is dead.  He affirmed, “Modern aerodynamics really can accurately model insect flight.”  That doesn’t mean it is simple.
  4. Pearl of great price:  “Nature’s ability to generate with ease amazingly complex and functional inorganic structures is the envy of materials engineers,” wrote Nils Kroger in Science last week.1  He was talking about nacre – the mother-of-pearl material found in oysters.  It’s hard enough to predict a material from the genes that form it, he said: “An additional level of complexity exists for organisms that form body parts composed of mineralized structures such as sea shells, bone, and teeth.”  Why is that?  “These organisms must also carefully control the interfaces between the soft body parts and the growing mineral.”  And that is what oysters do that is the envy of materials engineers.  “These highly organized aragonite layers, termed nacre, are unique to mollusks and endow the material with extraordinary toughness and a characteristic luster,” he said.
        Nacre’s secret is in careful control of minerals by protein layers in the growing material.  It appears now that proteins high in the amino acid aspartate are key to growing mineralized structures.  “Indeed, aspartate-rich proteins appear to be a common tool of biomineral-forming organisms, irrespective of the chemistry of the mineral phase,” he said.  “They are involved in the formation of calcium phosphate biominerals of bone and teeth and the amorphous silica cell walls of diatoms.”  It may be a challenge for evolutionary biologists to explain this convergent technology among such diverse organisms, but aside from that, “Knowledge of the molecular details of biomineralization processes is key to enable biomimetic syntheses of new high-performance composite materials.”
Graphic designers should have ample opportunities to design cartoon logos of plants and animals for the suite of new products that are coming out of biomimetic engineering.  How to make locusts and worms look attractive in advertising could be a challenge, though.  According to The Guardian, artists are up to the challenge.  The London Zoo had a 3-day “Pestival” to “celebrate insects in art, and the art of being an insect.”  One of the displays is a human-size “termite pavilion” that shows termites are not just home destroyers – they might just be the inspiration for future energy-efficient homes.
1.  Nils Kroger, “The Molecular Basis of Nacre Formation,” Science, 11 September 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5946, pp. 1351-1352, DOI: 10.1126/science.1177055.
Evolution cannot rightly claim credit for any of this.  Silly phrases in the form, “technical achievements that plants or animals have evolved to do such and such” are useless distractions.  The focus is on design, design, design.
Next headline on:  BiomimeticsTerrestrial ZoologyPlantsMarine BiologyIntelligent DesignAmazing Facts
Intelligent Design Found in DNA   09/17/2009    
Sept 17, 2009 — Readers of this headline may say it is not news to say that intelligent design has been found in DNA.  Others may be ready for a fight on that issue.  But in this case, the design has been verified beyond any shadow of doubt.  The designers are not who you may be suspecting.  They are researchers at Brigham Young University, who spelled out BYU using strands of DNA.  Readers can see for themselves in an article on Live Science.
OK, maybe this was a setup, but it’s a teachable moment.  Let’s continue the line of reasoning to see “where the evidence leads.”  No question here – the letters were arranged to spell the university acronym because of a purposeful, intelligent plan.  We even know the names and identities of the designers.  OK so far?  Now, let us ask: did they intervene in nature?  Well, presumably so.  But did they use miracles?  No; they manipulated existing natural particles and forces to achieve the end they desired.
    All right then, was it necessary to know the identities of the designers?  No; anyone could see at a glance the arrangement of letters matched an independent specifiable pattern (and that it was not just happenstance the letters were found on the campus of BYU).  But even in this simple case, the complexity of the result lies far below the universal probability bound.  Remember the guy that photographed all the letters of the English alphabet in butterfly wings? (see Daily Mail).  Somewhere, in some lab, a researcher might happen upon a random arrangement of DNA strands spelling out BYU.  Already, though, it would take more faith to believe that than to believe this case was a result of intelligent design – even if one did not have the backstory explaining how it was done.
    With that in mind, let’s extend the logic further.  Say that instead of arranging DNA into the shapes of BYU, the researchers used the familiar nucleotide bases of DNA (A, C, T, G) and made up a code that could represent any letter of the alphabet (AAA might represent the letter A, AAC=B, AAT=C, AAG=D, or something like that).  Then they show their product as an ordinary-looking DNA strand that spells out BYU in code.  It might be harder to detect without being shown, but those of us with background knowledge still know it was done by design.  A scientist might crack the code without the background knowledge and discover the phrase “Brigham Young University” spelled out.  Even without knowing the designers, such a discovery would almost certainly be recognized as the result of intelligent causes, not chance (see PhysOrg for an actual case where a scientist stored information in the DNA code of living bacteria).
    Next, imagine that the researchers designed something more subtle.  They built a gene by sequencing ordinary-looking DNA, that would be translated by the ordinary processes of gene transcription and translation, that would come out of the ribosome as a string of amino acids that spontaneously folds into the letters BYU.  Now we’re talking some pretty heavy-duty design.  It would probably astonish other biochemists.  Would it be any less praiseworthy if the researchers sequenced DNA to perform a function?  Just spelling out one’s alma mater is kid stuff; they would want to do something useful.  They design a gene to produce a cancer-fighting drug.  All this, we know in our developing story, is the work of intelligent design.
    Now imagine a designer putting together a whole suit of enzymes into systems, such that it builds a cell that grows into a whole organism.  The organism grows, develops, walks upright, and joins with fellow organisms to build a university, whose scientists play with the building blocks of which they are comprised to spell out the acronym of their institution.  Oh – that can be explained by chance and natural selection.  Don’t give us any of that interventionist, religious stuff!  What are you trying to do, bring science to a stop?
Next headline on:  Intelligent DesignGenetics and DNA
Trio of Darwin Films Released   09/16/2009    
Sept 16, 2009 — This month finds us two thirds of the way between Darwin’s 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of his Origin of Species.  Taking advantage of the extra attention Darwin is getting this year (as if he needed more), three films on his life and ideas are being released from three different companies.
  1. The Voyage that Shook the World was produced by Fathom Media for Creation Ministries International.  It features interviews with scientists and historians, interspersed with re-enacted scenes from Darwin’s boyhood, Beagle days, and old age.  Filmed on five continents, the film centers on themes and influences in Darwin’s life that caused him to doubt the Scriptures and to interpret evidence through a biased lens – especially concerning the antiquity of the earth.  See the trailer at Creation.com.  For more on this film, see the 09/19/2009 Resource of the Week.
  2. Darwin’s Dilemma:  As described in our Resource of the Week last weekend, this new film from Illustra Media shows the challenge to Darwin’s ideas from the Cambrian fossil record.  Scenes taken from Darwin’s Down House and the Galapagos islands form just a small portion of the stunning footage (also filmed on five continents) and animation.  See the trailer at DarwinsDilemma.org.  A 25-minute interview with the producer, telling about the making of the film, is available on the ID the Future podcast from the Discovery Institute.
  3. Creation: The Movie:  CEH did not review Creation: The Movie (directed by Jon Amiel), but Rowan Hooper gave his impressions at New Scientist.  This is a fully-acted dramatic story, not a documentary like the other two reviewed above.  It airs in UK theaters on September 25th.  The movie (see trailer at CreationTheMovie.com) describes Darwin’s loss of faith in Christianity that was exacerbated by the death of his beloved daughter Annie.  It concentrates on the religious struggle between Charles and Emma, and focuses on the religious impact of Darwin’s views on Victorian society.
        Hooper, a staunch pro-Darwinist (agreeing with Daniel Dennett that Darwin developed “the single best idea anyone has ever had”) did not give the film much praise.  He was dismayed at the ghost stories: “The problem with the film is the conceit of having Annie materialise and interact with Darwin in order to illustrate the impact her death had on him.” he complained.  “As a device, it is unsubtle and irritating, and makes for a cartoon account of the writing of On the Origin of Species, one that presupposes that an audience will only appreciate Darwin’s anguish if it is spelled out in gigantic, sentimental letters waved by a pretty ghost.”
        The producers have blamed American creationists for discouraging distributors from scheduling the film in the United States, but Katey Rich at Cinema Blend didn’t find that excuse convincing.  Lots of controversial films get aired on American movie screens.  In her opinion, it’s just a boring film.  “The film will inevitably be picked up for distribution, and expect there to be another round of complaints about the creationists when the movie doesn’t perform as well as they’d hoped.  It’s a handy boogeyman,” she quipped.
A century and a half after The Origin, Darwin is still being talked about.  For better or worse, we cannot exorcise his ghost.  If ideas have consequences, Darwin’s “dangerous idea” has been one of the most consequential in history.  The end of Darwin’s story is yet to be seen.
The Voyage that Changed the World and Darwin’s Dilemma are both excellent and not to be missed.  They share facts and issues that must be faced in evaluating Darwin’s ideas.  As for the badly-misnamed Creation: The Movie, well, that’s entertainment.
Next headline on:  DarwinIntelligent DesignMedia
  Bacteria yoked up like oxen to do work: is it intelligent design?  Revisit the 09/06/2006 entry.

Science: Knowing vs. Crowing   09/15/2009    
Sept 15, 2009 — Every week, it seems, some new discovery casts doubt on common scientific knowledge.  News reports about embarrassing finds contrast sharply with confident claims about less observable things – like evolution.

  1. Mystery illnessScience reported last week that the Veterans Administration has pulled the plug on research about “Gulf War Syndrome.”1  Why?  The suite of ailments from the first gulf war did not re-materialize in the second gulf war, and no one is sure there even is a biological cause.  Yet the “syndrome” was widely reported in the news at the time and led to lawsuits and investigations.  There may have been other causes, like exposure to sarin toxin, but nobody is sure what it was, or if it was psychological.  Was it much ado about nothing?  Science has not been able to say one way or the other for 18 years.
  2. Squid mixup:  A common belief about neurons has been turned on its head.  NPR and New Scientist reported that modeling human neuron energetics based on squid neurons is misleading.  Mammalian brain cells are apparently much more efficient than the easily-studied neurons in squid, which had been used to model neuron efficiency.  One researcher noted from this discovery how much we have to learn: “There is always this tendency that if you’re working in an area and your experiments are working well and you’re getting good data, to not think of the larger context in which this is occurring.”
  3. Rethinking hate crime:  Who hasn’t heard about the menace of hate crimes?  There ought to be a law.  That’s the common reaction to well-publicized crimes motivated by hate against particular groups, but Science Daily reported that criminologists at the University of Leicestor are rethinking the concept.  The article said, “many hate crimes are in fact lower-level forms of harassment committed by so-called ‘normal’ people who may not necessarily ‘hate’ their victim.”  Although the researchers supported hate crime legislation, their findings seem to undermine the reason for the legislation in the first place.
  4. Rain gauge:  Scientists at the University of Mexico in Mexico City announced a surprise: measurements of rain by meteorologists may be way off the true amount.  Live Science reported this “audacious” proposal “the scientists, and not the instruments, have been wrong.”  At issue is whether raindrops are able to break a “speed limit” used in scientific models.  The result: “meteorologists relying on specialized rain gauges or Doppler radar over the years might have been overestimating the amount of rainfall by as much as 20 percent.”
  5. Shower risk:  Here’s another thing to worry about.  Your showerhead may be teeming with disease bacteria.  A paper in PNAS2 said that biofilms inside your showerhead may harbor many more opportunistic disease bacteria than previously thought.  They’re kidding, right?  Surely health scientists have been on top of this.  “Despite implication as a potential source of disease, the microbial composition of the showerhead environment is poorly known,” they said.  “Characterization of natural microbial communities by use of culture techniques may drastically under-sample the actual numbers and diversity, because most microbes are not readily cultured with standard methods.”  If you are running to soak your showerhead in bleach, they said that some of the worst types are resistant to chlorine.  Maybe it’s time to use the bathtub.3 
These articles were about subjects right under the scientists’ noses, so to speak.  They raise serious questions about what other scientific claims hold up to scrutiny and what other commonly-accepted notions will be undermined tomorrow.  When it comes to Darwinism, though, science reporters seem to cast all caution to the wind and make wildly confident pronouncements:
  1. Plant genesPhysOrg proudly announced an “evolution coup” describing a study that “reveals how plants protect their genes.”
  2. Chimp tools:  Anthropologists watched chimpanzees hunt army ants in Africa, and saw the light.  “Chimps pack specialized tools,” reported Live Science.  The researchers explained that this “could shed light on the evolution of humans,” according to reporter Charles Q. Choi.
  3. Human tools:  Speaking of tools shedding light on evolution, Science Daily said that a survey of stone tools in Botswana “sheds new light on how humans in Africa adapted to several substantial climate change events during the period that coincided with the last Ice Age in Europe.”  One anthropologist gave an eyewitness account of a history he never witnessed: “As water levels in the lake went down, or during times when they fluctuated seasonally, wild animals would have congregated round the resulting watering holes on the lake bed,” he said.  “It’s likely that early human populations would have seen this area as a prolific hunting ground when food resources in the region were more concentrated than at times when the regional climate was wetter and food was more plentiful and the lake was full of water.”  His subjects were unavailable for comment.
  4. Seed light:  Light was also shed on evolution in a report on PhysOrg.  A new paper in American Journal of Botany is helping solve Darwin’s “abominable mystery” about the evolution of flowering plants (angiosperms).  Researchers peering into seeds are finding “clues into the evolution of the first flowers,” the article claimed.  The findings “shed some light on the possible role of the endosperm in early angiosperms,” but not whether angiosperms evolved in the first place.
  5. Evolve or perish:  “A dinosaur-killing asteroid may have wiped out much of life on Earth 65 million years ago,” stated as if this is obviously true by Live Science.  Jeremy Hsu of Astrobiology Magazine talks like he knows just how life survived.  The story revolves around microbes named mixotrophs.  Presumably this sheds light on how larger organisms also survived, because some of them (like birds and mammals) obviously did.
Science last week printed two warm, complimentary stories about Hopi Hoekstra (Harvard), the peppered-mice lady (see 08/28/2009) and how her research is shedding light on evolution.  “We’re trying to reconstruct the evolutionary path, genetic step by genetic step,” she said, with kudos from her colleagues.  No one questioned whether fur color changes in mice has anything to do with molecules-to-man evolution.
1.  Eliot Marshall, “VA Pulls the Plug on Disputed Study of Gulf War Illness,” Science, 11 September 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5946, pp. 1324-1325, DOI: 10.1126/science.325_1324.
2.  Feazel et al, “Opportunistic pathogens enriched in showerhead biofilms,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, September 14, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0908446106.
3.  To avoid panic, we should realize that bacteria are with us constantly.  “In our daily lives, we humans move through a sea of microbial life that is seldom perceived except in the context of potential disease and decay,” the authors said, pointing out that there may be a million bacteria per square meter in the air in your house, and ten million in a liter of tap water.  The ones who should be concerned are “persons with compromised immune or pulmonary system.”  Still, you might want to avoid breathing in the aerosol directly from the showerhead, as this could invite mycobacteria into the lungs in higher quantities than normal.
These articles speak for themselves.  The Darwinists pontificate on things they cannot possibly know.  Scientific verification should be directly proportional to the detail available for study, but with evolution, the detail available is inversely proportional to the chutzpah in the press releases.  Wandering in the dark of their naturalistic world view, evolutionists are blind guides thinking each new tall tale is going to shed light on evolution.  Don’t follow them into the ditch.
Next headline on:  HealthMarine BiologyMammalsHuman BodyPolitics and EthicsPhysicsPlantsEarly ManDarwin and Evolutionary Theory
I.D. Defeated by Triumphant Press Release   09/14/2009    
Sept 14, 2009 — As if having withstood a terrorist attack, “Evolution [is] still scientifically stable,” announced a Monash university press release.  After a threat from a non-Darwinian explanation, “An international team of researchers, including Monash University biochemists, has discovered evidence at the molecular level in support of one of the key tenets of Darwin’s theory of evolution.
    Actually, no intelligent design scientist specifically addressed the subject matter under study.  Trevor Lithgow and the other scientists used evolutionary theory to try to show that a transporter system in mitochondria was not “irreducibly complex.”  That term was coined in an influential I.D. book by Dr. Michael Behe of Lehigh University,2 but he did not use this transporter system as an example.  Nevertheless, the press release stated that the paper published in PNAS1 “provides a blueprint for a general understanding of the evolution of the ‘machinery’ of our cells.”
    The Darwinists understand that molecular machinery presents a challenge.  “Our cells, and the cells of all organisms, are composed of molecular machines,” Lithgow noted.  “These machines are built of component parts, each of which contributes a partial function or structural element to the machine.  How such sophisticated, multi-component machines could evolve has been somewhat mysterious, and highly controversial.”  The press release mentioned intelligent design then knocked it down with the research.  Lithgow stood over the defeated non-Darwinian explanation, exclaiming, “Our work ... shows that Darwin’s theory of evolution beautifully explains how molecular machines came to be.”
    In the scientific journals, controversies are supposed to be aired.  Didn’t any I.D. supporters fight back?  Actually, they did.  Michael Behe himself wrote a response to PNAS, but they refused to print it.  If you want the comeback arguments, you will have to look in the I.D. literature, because the Darwin-controlled journals are announcing their win by muffling the outcries of the opponents.  PhysOrg reprinted the press release without “teaching the controversy.”  Here’s where you can find responses by I.D. scientists and reporters: Behe on Evolution News and Uncommon Descent, Luskin on Evolution News, and Cornelius Hunter on Darwin’s God.
1.  Clements et al, “The reducible complexity of a mitochondrial molecular machine,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, August 26, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0908264106.
2.  Behe, Michael, Darwin’s Black Box, Free Press 1996.
This is the only way the Darwinists win.  They close the doors and announce themselves the winner.  Meanwhile, nature is held hostage to their bluffing.  This is analogous to certain news networks that always give the liberal spin and refuse to report news that is embarrassing to liberalism.  Here, we report both sides so you can decide who makes a stronger case.
    Lithgow doesn’t have much to bluff about with us.  He earned Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week with his inebriated worship of Tinker Bell: “Francois Jacob described evolution as a tinkerer, cobbling together proteins of one function to yield more complex machines capable of new functions.  Our work describes a perfect example of Jacob’s proposition, and shows that Darwin’s theory of evolution beautifully explains how molecular machines came to be.”
Next headline on:  Evolutionary TheoryIntelligent Design
Does Hedonism Belong in Science?   09/13/2009    
Sept 13, 2009 — What’s an article advocating hedonism doing on Science Daily?  Sure enough, an article entitled “Hedonism As the Explanation of Value” appeared today on the science news site without controversy or debate.  The entry gave David Brax of Lund University a platform to preach that “pleasure is the only thing that is valuable in itself.”
    The article acknowledged that this idea is nothing new.  “His theory develops the hedonistic philosophical tradition, with roots in antiquity.”  What, then, justified reporting this as science?  “What is new is that David Brax’s theory also takes into consideration new studies of how people function – studies carried out in cognitive science, neuroscience, and psychology.”
OK, preachers: if he can do it, you can do it.  If Science Daily will print the opinions of a hedonist just because he alludes to neuroscience, all you need to do is a little research into the latest findings on how the brain works and apply it to support your position that people are basically selfish and evil and need redemption.  Doesn’t your philosophy also have roots in antiquity?  Is there any other reason this hedonist earned free publicity in Seance Daily?
    How this story got sanctified in a science news site is astonishing.  It basically sends a message that science legitimizes one’s lust for pleasure.  Secular and pagan philosophers have been preaching this message for years – from Epicurus to Hobbes to Hugh Hefner.  To be sure, some of the more eminent advocates of hedonism had a more nuanced explanation of pleasure.  It did not mean the reckless pursuit of immediate gratification, but the building of a lifestyle or a society that might maximize long-term pleasure for the most people.  Roman Stoics and Enlightenment theologians had many debates over these issues.
    Still, any system built on hedonism is doomed.  If my pleasure is my highest value, why should I care about anyone else’s pleasure?  Why would a marine throw himself on his grenade to save his buddies?  That’s not very pleasurable.  Why should there be any self-sacrifice, any sense of duty, any justice in the world?  Why should I judge any other man’s evil if it brings him pleasure?  Look what this philosophy does to love.  The most unpleasurable thing in the world was for a Man to hang on a cross in agony and cry out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
    What the world needs is righteousness.  “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people,” the wise ruler Solomon said.  If you have righteousness, you may get some pleasure as a return on investment – but pleasure is not the principle – only some of the interest.  Pleasure is a gift of God, but it’s the dessert, not the main course; the decorations, not the foundation.  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied,” Jesus Christ said.  That’s not just good science or good investing.  It’s wisdom; it’s the truth.
    In an act of tough love, doing the best for the most, we will be happy to give the Darwin Party all the wine, women and song they want, if they will just agree to shut up.
Next headline on:  Politics and EthicsTheology
  Does brain size reveal anything about evolution?  It doesn’t for birds (09/07/2005).

Useless Evolution   09/12/2009    
Sept 12, 2009 — Most people think of evolution producing useful traits.  But isn’t it also supposed to get rid of useless ones?  Science Daily reported work by researchers trying to figure that out.
    The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, North Carolina sponsored a team seeking to explore the removal of useless traits by natural selection – termed “relaxed selection” in the literature.  “Numerous cases of trait loss illustrate that evolution isn’t necessarily progressive, said one co-author of the study published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution.  Another co-author added, “It seems that not all the same evolutionary rules are followed when you’re losing a trait as when you’re gaining it.”
    The closest thing to a law or principle they found is that traits tend to get lost faster if they cost more.  “The biggest reason why a trait goes away quickly is because it’s costly,” that same co-author said.  As an example, they cited blind cave creatures whose eyes deteriorate in the dark.  Presumably it requires too much metabolic energy to maintain eyesight.
    The article was too short to say how they measure cost, or whether exceptions to the rule had been found.  Presumably it is easier to lose genetic information than gain it – raising doubts about whether natural selection theory applied to one has anything to do with the other.  The cover of the journal shows a cartoon of a herd of zebras standing at a safe distance from a relaxed lion sipping lemonade with an iPod headset on.

Once again, evolutionary theory shows its inherent plasticity.  It can explain opposite things (see “Evolution Goes Forward, Backward and Sideways,” 12/19/2007).  Every law in evolutionary biology is subjective and riddled with exceptions (see 09/15/2008).  Biologists moan over the fact that their evolutionary theories do not have the regularities of physics 08/22/2005).  This should raise real questions whether evolutionary biology, which tries to reconstruct an unobservable history, deserves the status it gets in science.  Maybe it should be classed under Divination (03/14/2003 and 01/25/2008 commentaries).
Next headline on:  Evolutionary Theory
A powerful, must-see film is being released Tuesday!  Watch the trailer at DarwinsDilemma.org and get excited.  Darwin’s Dilemma, the Mystery of the Cambrian Fossil Record is being officially released September 15, but you can order it right now at RPI.  This long-awaited documentary, filmed on five continents and three years in the making, completes a powerful trilogy of films on intelligent design from Illustra Media.
    Illustra’s films are well-known for their high-quality production values and scholarly content.  This new film is no exception.  It is loaded with stunning original animation, beautiful photography, and an original musical score.  All these production qualities enhance the content, a story of the sudden emergence of biological design, shared through superb interviews by leading scientists.  The cumulative effect of their arguments, both negative against Darwinism and positive for intelligent design, is breathtaking.  The arguments seem to accelerate to the end until no other alternative but I.D. makes any sense.
    It is hard to see how Darwinism will survive the triple knockout of this film after the successes of Unlocking the Mystery of Life and The Privileged Planet.  The first film rendered Darwin’s theory impossible from biochemistry; the second rendered it unfit from astronomy.  Now, Darwin’s Dilemma uses paleontology to render Darwinism dead and extinct.  Read reviews at Uncommon Descent, Access Research Network and Evolution News and Views.  Get this film in quantity and start getting the message out.
Next resource of the week:  09/05/2009.  All resources: Catalog.

Velociraptors as Tree Climbers?   09/11/2009    
Sept 11, 2009 — Remember those sickle-shaped claws on the feet of Velociraptor that terrified visitors in the Jurassic Park movies?  New Scientist reported a radically different theory about them.  They weren’t for eviscerating their prey; they were for climbing trees.  Phil Manning (U of Manchester) previously showed they were insufficient for tearing dinosaur skin.  Now he is suggesting the animals used the claws as hooks to climb up into the trees.
    Not everyone is buying into the idea.  A serious problem is that much heavier dinosaurs like Utahraptor also possessed the claws.

We should avoid jumping to conclusions about extinct animals we cannot observe.  There are no velociraptors around to see how they used those claws.  There are just fallible humans proposing various ideas that cannot be scientifically tested other than to support whether or not such things were physically possible.  Still, it is interesting to think that Jurassic Park may have the story completely wrong.  Maybe Velociraptor was the sloth of its day.
Next headline on:  Dinosaurs
Your Eye Sees Trouble Before You Do   09/10/2009    
Sept 10, 2009 — In slapstick comedy, the fall guy gets the pie in the face when the clown in front of him ducks.  It’s funny because most of us instinctively duck when we see something coming.  But two recent experimental studies are revealing new automated capabilities built into the eye and brain that are quicker and more automatic than our reflexes or the brain’s visual center.
    A team from the Canadian Institutes of Health, publishing in PNAS,1 ran experiments on a subject that had damage to the visual cortex.  They were surprised to learn that the subject could still avoid obstacles in the way during hand-reach experiments.  Another experiment showed that the obstacle avoidance was nullified when a 2-second delay was introduced, providing “compelling evidence that these mechanisms can operate in ‘real-time’ without direct input from primary visual cortex (V1),” they said.  What does this mean?  The subject “was able to code the position of the obstacles despite being unaware of their presence.
    The researchers said scientists are in the dark about how this works.  The visual inputs that are necessary for obstacle avoidance have remained unknown, and remain so now.  “These findings have far-reaching implications, not only for our understanding of the time constraints under which different visual pathways operate, but also in relation to how these seemingly ‘primitive’ subcortical visual pathways can control complex everyday behavior without recourse to conscious vision.”  The paper did not mention evolution.  On the contrary, it ended, “the results of the current study clearly indicate that we have to rethink the role of what are often considered primitive visual pathways in the mediation of complex motor behavior.”  It would seem evolutionists might call them primitive, but now we are learning they are surprisingly complex.
    An even more up-front mechanism was discovered by a Swiss team.  New Scientist reported on a paper published in Nature Neuroscience that demonstrates the “eye sees trouble before the brain notices.”  Certain neurons in the brain have been known to respond to sensations of approaching objects.  Now, those neurons have been found in the retina itself.  This means that eye cells can warn us of approaching danger without the brain’s help.  It’s “an alarm system that’s as close to the front end of the organism as possible,” said Botond Roska (Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Basel, Switzerland), because waiting for the brain to respond might take too long.  The study was done with mice but is assumed to operate in all mammals.  (For a related story, see Science Daily on news about the hippocampus, eye movements and memory.)  Reporter Sanjida O'Connell of New Scientist speculated how this came about: “This ability may have evolved to speed escape from predators.”
1.  Striemer, Chapman and Goodale, “‘Real-time’ obstacle avoidance in the absence of primary visual cortex,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, September 2, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0905549106.
“This ability may have evolved to...”  Don’t you get sick and tired of that silly formulaic phrase?  It is sheer nonsense even from a Darwinian view.  Evolve is not an active verb.  It is not a force with a goal, but the outcome of unguided, purposeless processes beginning with random mutations – that is the core dogma of the Darwin Party.  The mouse doesn’t sit there and think to itself, “Whew, that mosquito almost hit my eyeball.  I’d better evolve some specialized neurons in my retina and tie them into my reflex muscles so I can dodge objects better next time.”  For one, mice don’t talk.  (They also don’t think to themselves, but since talking implies that, we’ll just call one strike instead of two.)  For two, there are multiple interacting systems involved here, more than a single mutation or two could ever hope to provide.  Furthermore, claiming that mice “evolved” the ability for a function would be Lamarckian.  Strike three.  Why doesn’t Ms O'Connell get fired for incompetence by the Darwin Party thought police themselves?  Why do we have to be the ones to point out the fallacies?  Why do we have to flick the slapstick and sound the siren for this clown act?
    Sorry for the diversion.  We should be marveling with joy at the design principles in the eye, brain, and reflexes we just learned about.  Next time you instinctively dodge approaching objects, or avoid them when reaching across a table, take a moment to think about these findings.  They are among thousands of complex systems and mechanisms and processes operating 24 x 7 in your body without your conscious thought.  They keep you alive so that you can think clearly and rationally, and avoid obstacles like futile philosophies that would obstruct your view of your Creator.  “He who formed the eye, does he not see?” says Psalm 94:9, the obvious truism implying that vision is a top-down creation, not an accident emerging from matter in motion.  He who has eyes to see, let him see.  Then do your part to clear away obstacles in others’ visual field.  Don’t let your neighbor be the Fall guy.
Next headline on:  Human BodyAmazing Facts
Human Evolution Story Confounded – Again   09/09/2009    
Sept 9, 2009 — Human fossils in Georgia (Asia) have confounded the timeline of human evolution again.  The UK newspaper Independent reported that the 3 skulls of Homo erectus are rewriting the history of man.  If these are as old as claimed (1.8 million years), it would toss overboard the long held belief that modern humans first emerged in Africa (e.g., 12/19/2007)  Or, perhaps, they came out of Africa, then back again.  Professor Lordkipanidze of the Georgia National Museum puzzled, “The question is whether Homo erectus originated in Africa or Eurasia, and if in Eurasia, did we have vice-versa migration?  This idea looked very stupid a few years ago, but today it seems not so stupid” – at least to some observers.
    The Dmanisi skeletons (cf. 09/20/2007) show modern proportions but small stature and small brain size (cf. 08/05/2006, 08/22/2008).  Lordkipanidze said, “What is interesting is that their lower limbs, their tibia bones, are very human-like so it seems they were very good runners.”  He inferred also that “they were sophisticated tool makers with high social and cognitive skills.”
Pay no mind.  They do this every couple of years (e.g., 02/07/2001, 10/09/2002, 07/03/2004, 09/03/2004, 08/16/2008) to look busy and keep the funding coming.  The “story of human evolution” is not one story; it is an endless sequence of variations on Darwin-applied-to-humans that resembles a random walk (10/27/2004)  The story’s purpose is to jam the airways so that people are distracted from listening to their consciences.  They still haven’t learnt their lessons (10/18/2006).
Next headline on:  Early ManFossilsDating Methods
  Amazing animals: fastest muscles in the world, from 09/08/2004; a scientist fish that understands the laws of optics, from 09/07/2004.

Do You Need a Darwinian Doctor?   09/08/2009    
Sept 8, 2009 — Visualize a cartoon of Charles Darwin as Hippocrates.  It accompanies a book review in Science by Peter T. Ellison (Harvard).1  Ellison realizes that the mass of material doctors need to master is formidable, but thinks that “Evolutionary biology, however, is no longer an expendable topic in medical education.”
    The book is Principles of Evolutionary Medicine by Gluckman, Beedle, and Hanson (Oxford, 2009).  Ellison had only minor gripes about the book.  He was thrilled to see a new treatise on a topic he feels important.  “In 2009, the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, evolutionary biology is still trying to earn a place in medical education,” Ellison said.  He was glad to see a book on this topic specifically designed as a medical school textbook, “and it succeeds brilliantly.”
    What, exactly, does Darwinism have to offer?  Ellison summarized three parts of the book:

  1. Background: Part one introduces evolutionary theory “from ground zero to a sophisticated, contemporary level.”  Topics discussed are life history, game theory, intragenomic conflict, and human evolution.  “Side boxes present compelling examples drawn from current research literature that convey the excitement and relevance of research in human evolutionary biology,” Ellison said, but he did not cite any examples that would excite a doctor or encourage him to be a better help to patients.
  2. Explanation: Part two, Ellison said, includes four chapters that “showcase the power of evolutionary biology to organize and explain complex areas of human biology relevant to modern medicine.”  These include sex, “an evolutionary understanding of reproductive physiology and the forces that have shaped it”; nutrition and metabolism, “topics particularly pertinent in a time of increasing obesity and prevalence of metabolic syndromes that also demonstrate the potential of an evolutionary perspective in forging a synthetic understanding of genetic, developmental, environmental, and behavioral risk factors”; defense, e.g., “the evolution of virulence, antibiotic resistance, immunization strategies, and autoimmune disease”; and human behavior, “including mental illness as well as the influence of lifestyle factors on human health and disease.”  Again, though, Ellison did not explain why an evolutionary explanation is better than a design explanation when it comes to performing surgery.
  3. Understanding: Part three “presents a set of effective organizing principles for understanding the causes of human diseases from an evolutionary perspective.”  Ellison says this section can help doctors “internalize and readily apply” what they have learned about evolution.  He did not say how it would make their medical practice better. 
Medicine has apparently been advancing just fine without Darwin’s input.  Ellison began his review with a puzzling anecdote.  He noted that in 1870, Darwin’s Bulldog himself, Thomas Huxley, addressed medical students at University College London and yet did not mention evolution once.  Huxley’s point was that medical schools need to cut out extraneous material, because students already have too much to learn.  So if Darwin’s Bulldog did not include evolution as an essential element of medical education then, how can Ellison make the case that medical students need lessons in evolutionary theory now, with 140 years of additional complex material added to the curriculum?  Most of the major discoveries in anatomy and physiology at the metabolic, cell and tissue level have been made since then.
    Ellison noted that a panel of deans and faculty from medical schools from around the world “endorsed the incorporation of evolutionary principles in medical curricula” last April, “And yet one can probably count on the digits of a three-toed sloth the number of medical schools currently offering such instruction.”  Ellison did not comment on whether that illustrates the survival of the fittest.
1.  Peter T. Ellison, “Evolutionary Biology for Doctors,” Science, 4 September 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5945, p. 1207, DOI: 10.1126/science.1179152.
The Darwin Party has been pushing this agenda for years (11/16/2002, 01/13/2003, 05/31/2004, 04/25/2007).  Thankfully med schools aren’t buying it – at least in the free market.  If government takes over medical care, Darwinism will undoubtedly become the central unifying theme of medicine, because it will justify eliminating the unfit to save costs.  Darwinism is all about selfishness, costs and benefits.  It is NOT about compassion and oaths to “do no harm.”
    If you would avoid a charlatan trying to fix an ailment you don’t have, then run for your life from a doctor wearing a Darwin fish.  We don’t need the head of Darwin on the body of Hippocrates.  We need the opposite.
Next headline on:  Darwin and Evolutionary TheoryHealthEducation
Earth Size Gives Life Edge   09/07/2009    
Sept 7, 2009 — The earth seems to be holding onto its status as a privileged planet.  New Scientist reported that a rocky planet’s size is linked to its ability to sustain a magnetic field and plate tectonics.  This means that some of the “super-earths” found around other stars (5-10 times the size of earth) may not be habitable.  Vlada Stamenkovic (German Aerospace Center) will be presenting these ideas this month at the European Planetary Science Congress.
    Astrobiologist David Grinspoon disagrees with the constraint on planet size being crucial for life.  While plate tectonics removes excess carbon dioxide, stabilizing earth’s atmosphere and climate, “the possibility that other forms of crustal recycling on super-Earths might do so should not be ruled out.”  But the example he gave is Venus, which is neither habitable, nor has a stable climate, nor a magnetic field.  This suggests that planet size is a necessary but not sufficient condition for habitability.  The article did not say whether he has an answer for the claim that large rocky planets would be unable to generate a magnetic field.
You can watch The Privileged Planet in segments on YouTube.  None of the factors listed that support life on earth has been shot down, though there has been some dispute about the role of Jupiter deflecting debris.  In addition, the finding that most stars are small (see JPL feature) promotes our sun to a privileged few.  The film goes beyond just the lucky coincidences.  It discusses additional philosophical and evidential material that must cause a thoughtful observer to ponder our place in the universe.  In the 1980s, Carl Sagan made it popular to think of the earth as an insignificant speck, lost in space.  That mood has changed in the intervening years as more discoveries highlight the combination of multiple, independent, surprising factors that came out just right on our home base.
    These findings are not surprising to Bible believers.  Isaiah the prophet said God did not make the earth in vain, but formed it to be inhabited (45:18).  Isaiah also rightly stated that earth is a sphere and that its inhabitants are as puny as insects and dust from God’s perspective (read Isaiah 40-45).  He also emphasized, though, that humans are more than mere dust.  God gives to each of them breath and spirit (42:5), and offers salvation to the humble (45:5-10, 21-22) and strength to the weary (40:28-31).
Next headline on:  Solar SystemGeologyStarsIntelligent Design
What Darwin Does to Psychology – And Humanity   09/06/2009    
Sept 6, 2009 — “Traits that we may find unsavory are nevertheless also products of our evolutionary history.”  This quote stands out boldly in a call-out from an article by psychologist Jerome H. Barkow (Dalhousie University) in a review of evo-psych (evolutionary psychology) in PNAS.1
    Barkow acknowledged controversy about the premise that the evolutionary history of our psyches produces a deterministic picture of human behavior (e.g., 05/02/2008, 06/06/2008), but then embraced it, based on a paper in PNAS by Sell, Cosmides, and Tooby on the evolutionary history of anger.2  Those authors claimed 11 predictions confirmed by the “welfare tradeoff ratio” theory of anger, in which strong men tend to be angrier and women are more attracted to them: “This theory proposes that anger is produced by a neurocognitive program engineered by natural selection to use bargaining tactics to resolve conflicts of interest in favor of the angry individual.”  In other words, they justify anger as an evolutionary virtue – the ability to get one’s own way by inflicting costs on others.  Barkow began,
Let us not ask whether the brain is “really” a biological computer.  The more productive question is whether it is useful to think of the brain as a computer, one designed by evolution to solve problems of adaptation via specialized “circuits” and “architecture.”  Does this biocomputational approach, pioneered by Leda Cosmides and John Tooby and then developed and expanded by them and others [such as David Buss, Geoffrey Miller, and Steven Pinker] lead to theory and research that further our understanding of human behavior?  Critics notwithstanding (e.g., ref. 7), the evidence of the article in this issue of PNAS,2 indeed, of the myriad books and research papers produced by the Cosmides–Tooby school of thought, is “yes.”  But, of course, there are caveats.
Barkow put the engineering terms (computer, circuits, architecture) in quotes because those words usually imply intelligent design.  What, though, are the caveats he had in mind about evo-psych?  To find the answer, the reader has to wade through his discussion of controversies about intuition, welfare tradeoff ratios (WTRs), the levels of consonance between predictions of evolutionary psychology and folk wisdom, and whether competing schools of thought are contradictory or complementary.  Barkow reasons that whether or not evo-psych is true, it is useful.  “It is leading to theory, hypotheses, and data that are broadly compatible with other evolutionary perspectives rather than developing into an encapsulated and self-perpetuating citation circle,” he said.
    What makes evolutionary psychology controversial is the unflattering picture it gives of the human psyche.  According to the theory of Sell, Cosmides and Tooby, for instance, “the strong and attractive, the people who are presumably winners in life, use anger to improve their bargaining position with those less strong and attractive.”  This would tend to promote anger as a Darwinian virtue.  It produces fitness.  Barkow remarked, “what we have here is one more rip in the romantic portrait of our species that many nonevolutionists would prefer to continue to enjoy.”  This provided the context for that bold call-out quote:
From the unsentimental perspective of evolution, however, not just anger but sexual jealousy, male sexual insistence, infidelity (on the part of both men and women), sibling rivalry, preoccupation with one’s relative standing, nepotism, and individual and collective aggression are not pathologies or even errors to be corrected once and for all by morality and religion or at least proper child socialization, they are strategies that have often, at least in the past, been biologically adaptive.  Like socially valued traits such as love, loyalty, cooperativeness, and forgiveness, traits that we may find unsavory are nevertheless also products of our evolutionary history.
Has Barkow just sanctified male chauvinism and nepotism as evolutionary virtues?  Has he destroyed the whole corpus of romantic literature?  Apparently so.  He also pointed out that evolutionary psychology gives the death blow to notions of human perfectibility, whether through the sermons of preachers, or through Marxists hopes of utopia via the distribution of wealth.
    At this point Barkow mentioned some of the promised caveats.  Some criticisms of evo-psych are valid.  Contrary to the “biocomputationalism” that “unabashedly locates our ‘failings’ in the architecture of the human brain,”  some work on infants finds enough variability and contingency in human brain development to cast doubt on the apparent determinism of evo-psych.  Barkow excused this failing on two fronts: evo-psych can tolerate variability, and any useful theory is bound to be oversimplified.  “Even if the Cosmides and Tooby school of thought is indeed guilty, at times, of simplification, that is only to be expected: theoretical models necessarily simplify, and when predictions nevertheless receive empirical support it is difficult to argue that a simplification is excessive.”  Earlier, Barkow had acknowledged the fallacy of affirming the consequent: “accurate prediction can make a construct useful but is not, in my opinion, sufficient for one to be as certain of its ontological status,” he had said.  Usefulness of a construct is not the same as validity.  Ontology notwithstanding, evo-psych is a program on the move.  Examples he cited are part of a “broad enterprise of research and theory that, while not yet ready for full integration, is at least on its way.”  Spoken like a Kuhnian.
    In passing, Barkow made a remark that may raise the hackles of critics of evolution.  He said, “Antievolutionist attacks have waned, in recent years, as Darwin’s insights have gradually spread from field to field and now, in an often lamentably simplified form, are part of popular discourse.”
1.  Jerome H. Barkow, “Steps toward convergence: Evolutionary psychology's saga continues,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, September 1, 2009, vol. 106 no. 35, 14743-14744, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0907723106.
2.  Sell, Cosmides and Tooby, “Formidability and the logic of human anger,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, September 1, 2009, vol. 106 no. 35, 15073-15078, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0904312106.
Preachers, theologians, philosophers and any man or woman with a sense of decency should be outraged at this commentary, for numerous reasons.  Let us first dispense with any claim to validity by Barkow and his idols (to show that our righteous indignation is not an artifact of ape in our past).  Reason: the whole premise of evolutionary psychology is self-defeating.  Anything that is self-refuting, remember, is necessarily false.  Why is it self-refuting?  Because Barkow’s own brain is determined by his evolutionary past.  Within his world view, he cannot act as an independent spirit taking control of his biocomputer from the outside and trying to run logic programs on it.  It comes pre-programmed.  He is inside his computer, not outside of it (according to the evolutionary view).  Everything he just said, therefore, has no ontological basis; he wrote all this because Darwin and his ape ancestry told him to.    By appealing to logic (something that refers to truths that are timeless, eternal, and immaterial), he just played the Yoda card.  His comments can be therefore summarily dismissed as nonsense.
    Barkow, of course, and all the other evo-psych charlatans, cannot live with that realization.  Their innate createdness as beings made in the image of God forces them to talk as if Christianity is true.  Notice how this works.  “Perhaps there are ways in which the tendency to use anger as a negotiating tactic may be mitigated, just as good parenting can mitigate sibling rivalry,” he said.  “From the perspective of Sell, Tooby, and Cosmides, however, tactical anger is part of our biology and cannot be definitively eliminated by, say, a change in the distribution of wealth.”  Here’s the question to ask him: why should it be mitigated?  That’s his created conscience speaking.  How did such a thought even enter his head?  From whence did he get a notion that the inexorable march of evolutionary change needs mitigation?  How does he judge “good parenting”?  What angel whispered these notions in his ear?  If Barkow is a pawn of the evolutionary game, this hint of self-identity and conscience has no justification at all.  Notice that our criticism here goes beyond a possible comeback argument that evolution somehow produced elements of romanticism and virtue in addition to anger.  No; the point is that his position is self-refuting.  The very act of employing logic and morality as a disembodied Yoda on a higher plane of consciousness refutes the very notion that the human mind is a biocomputer produced by irrational, amoral processes of natural selection.  Don’t let him get away with it.  Evolution is what evolution does.  Any hint that we “should” mitigate it or alter it is, therefore, pointless.  It’s not only foolish to even try to alter evolution, it is impossible to conceive the thought of altering it if one is consistent with that world view.  The only way Barkow could have conceived those thoughts was by reaching outside his presuppositions into the Christian world view, where anger deserves to be suppressed, women deserve to be treated with respect, and righteousness has ontological validity – because there really is a righteous God who created us with that knowledge.
    Make sure those points are well-grounded in your head.  We have just unplugged the black light creating a false mystique around Barkow’s intellectual pronouncements and shown him to be wearing a lycra Yoda costume, like some spiritualist fake.  Now he no longer looks like a wise man, but a clown.  This gives you the basis for strong opposition to evolutionary psychology – indeed, toward all the Darwinian baggage that has been a hodgepodge of illogical, irrational, self-refuting ideas, rationalizing the worst of human sin and producing the worst evils the world has ever seen (e.g., 11/30/2005).  (Note: If Barkow tries to say Mao didn’t realize that Marxism is based on a false premise of human perfectibility, penalize him for using Christian notions of reason, and say to him, “There you go again.”)
    Regarding the paper by Sell, Cosmides and Tooby, it is predictably full of evolutionary nonsense and storytelling: e.g., “what (if anything) was anger engineered by natural selection to accomplish?”  Such a statement is completely nonsensical when they get outside their Yoda costumes and stop pretending to be Wise Ones above the human condition.  They spoke of “neurocognitive programs in social species [that] have been designed by selection” in another place.  Poppycock.  A bad case of equivocation trying to Darwinize ID language.  Their view also depends heavily on controversial views of kin selection and game theory.  They spoke of “selection pressures” which, as we have stated several times (e.g., 07/14/2009 commentary), are mindless constraints powerless to design anything.  Why is no one pointing out the illogic of their premises?  As would be expected for a theory built on generalities about human beings, their paper is filled with Darwin-style just-so stories.
    If you want a world in which it is pointless to fight evil, in which men can commit any brutality against women they darn well please in Darwin’s name, in which might makes right, in which the angriest gets his way, a world in which there is no recourse to justice, then go ahead and embrace evo-psych.  If not, then understand the folly of what he just said and recognize its potential for horrors without end.  Any preachers reading this should feel a sermon coming.
    Get righteously angry also at his suggestion that antievolutionist attacks have waned, and that now, in an often lamentably simplified form, Darwin’s insights are part of popular discourse.  “Darwin’s insights” – what a lamentable oxymoron.  This is time to wax, not wane.  Wax eloquent with well-placed whacks against waning myths that masquerade as reigning facts.
Next headline on:  DarwinismBible and Theology
  Material girls (and boys) are not happy campers: from 09/07/2003.

New Recipe for Life: Zinc & Zap   09/05/2009    
Sept 5, 2009 — Two scientists are overturning the Miller icon of the origin of life – you know, the illustration in almost every textbook showing sparks zapping gases and amino acids emerging from the goo.  That doesn’t wash any more, claim Armen Mulkidjanian (University of Osnabrueck) and Michael Galperin (U.S. National Institutes of Health).  Instead, Astrobiology Magazine reported, they are thinking zinc.  Why?  Life needed a source of energy in the realistic atmosphere of the early earth where Miller’s experiment is doomed.  Enter the “Zinc World” scenario for the origin of life: zinc and zap.
    The two didn’t actually produce any prebiotic molecules in any plausible primordial conditions.  They just looked at proteins thought to be “evolutionarily old” and found high proportions of zinc.  Ever since the heyday of the Miller experiment in 1953, scientists have come to the glum conclusion that earth’s atmosphere was not like the gas in Miller’s flask.  It was not reducing (it did not contain hydrogen and other energetic molecules).  It most likely contained carbon dioxide, nitrogen and more neutral molecules.  “Researchers who have repeated the Miller-Urey experiment under the new atmospheric assumptions, including Miller, have shown that this new mixture does not produce amino acids.”
    To get around the problem, Mulkidjanian and Galperin are suggesting that zinc sulfide at hydrothermal vents might have provided the reactive potential needed to build biomolecules.  The zinc in sunscreen, for instance, allows it to store light energy.  “Mulkidjanian explains that, once illuminated by UV light, zinc sulfide can efficiently reduce carbon dioxide, just as plants do.”  They didn’t mention that plants have sophisticated light-harvesting nanomachines to perform photosynthesis – one of the most complex systems in biology.
    The two admitted that a lot of work will be needed to test the zinc theory.  NASA astrobiologist Max Bernstein politely agreed: “Whether it will be adopted or not eventually I cannot say, but I expect that many will want to see experimental evidence of the viability of reactions consistent with the hypothesized scheme under prebiotic conditions.”

This joke of a hypothesis does not deserve even a dishonorable mention, but it does accomplish some good in a reverse way: (1) it tells readers that the Miller Myth has been falsified (even though this article included the obligatory icon as a kind of imprimatur), and (2) it illustrates once again that astrobiologists are pseudoscientific storytellers unburdened by the necessity of experimental proof in their quest to find the next Useful Lie (05/02/2003, 08/06/2006, 06/29/2007).
Next headline on:  Origin of LifeDumb Ideas
Want depth?  If you are looking for deeper scholarship in your creation evidences, subscribe to the Creation Research Society Quarterly.  Published since 1964, CRSQ is the longest-running peer-reviewed creation science journal in the world.  In its pages you will find scholarly research papers on everything from the core of the earth to the biosphere to the farthest reaches of the universe.  Each issue also contains book reviews, short articles on a variety of subjects, and dialogues between authors and critics.  It looks like any other scientific journal, in other words, but each member of the CRS holds to the Biblical account of creation and history.  Go to CreationResearch.org to order.
    Subscribers to CRSQ receive a bimonthly newsletter Creation Matters that usually includes selected articles from Creation-Evolution Headlines, and can read selected papers from the journal online.  Back issues are available on CD, and additional resources are available at the CRS website.
Next resource of the week:  08/29/2009.  All resources: Catalog.

Permian Extinction Recovery Story Stretches Credibility   09/04/2009    
Sept 4, 2009 — It goes without saying that Darwin’s theory fits hand in glove with the geological dating scheme, but how reliable is the latter?  The textbook age names – Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Eocene and all the rest – have taken on their own life as assumed truths.  Every once in awhile, though, papers are published that require heavy doses of credulity to keep the scheme intact.  The Permian extinction is a case in point.  The textbook story is that 80 to 85 percent of marine organisms perished at the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB).  A new kink in the story requires believing that cephalopods, those most affected by the crisis, recovered spectacularly within one million years of the extinction, but everything else took five times as long, as measured by species diversity.
    Charles Marshall, the “Master of Disaster” of the Harvard Museum who tackled the Cambrian explosion problem in 2006 by saying that animals evolved because they evolved (04/23/2006), tackled the Permian extinction with David Jacobs of UCLA in Science last week.1  They were commenting on a paper in the same issue by Brayard et al who presented evidence that ammonites (a kind of shelled squid) recovered much faster than everything else.2  The two papers invoked copious amounts of hand-waving to explain the evolutionary difference.  Many statements amount to references to the Stuff Happens Law (i.e., the negation of explanation; see 09/15/2008 commentary).  For instance, Brayard et al entitled their paper, “Good Genes and Good Luck.”  Here are some example quotes from Marshall and Jacobs that cast doubt on scientific confidence in the Permian extinction story, both its causes and its effects:

  1. Two hundred and fifty-two million years ago, the Paleozoic Era came to a cataclysmic close with the end-Permian mass extinction, when as much as 85% of readily fossilizable marine species became extinct.  It took 5 million years for the biosphere to begin to recover from the event.  At least this has been the conventional view.  However, on page 1118 of this issue, Brayard et al. show that ceratitid ammonoids (see the figure, panel A) recovered much faster than did most other marine groups, attaining considerable diversity just 1 million years after the mass extinction.  Moreover, these mollusks reached a peak in their diversity at the end of the Early Triassic, when the diversity and body size of most other groups (particularly bivalves and gastropods) was still depressed.
  2. The cause of the end-Permian mass extinction has long been controversial.  There is increasing agreement that toxic waters decimated bottom communities in shallow waters, but it remains unclear whether the kill mechanism was hypercapnia (high CO2 levels), euxinia (anoxic water infused with H2S), or something else.  There is even less agreement on what might have caused the toxicity.
  3. Whatever the ultimate cause(s) of the extinction, the proximal cause appears to have been the inability of many species to handle the physiological demands of a changed ocean chemistry.  Evidence that conditions remained difficult for 5 million years after the extinctions comes mainly from the observation that the diversity and size of fossil bivalves and gastropods remained low, indicating stressed conditions.  Furthermore, the carbon cycle was unusually volatile, although the exact meaning of this volatility is not understood.
  4. The ammonoid data reported by Brayard et al. suggest a much more rapid recovery, at least for part of the biosphere.  Unlike the bottom-dwelling gastropods and bivalves, ammonoids live in the water column.  Thus, Brayard et al.'s study suggests that conditions in the water column were better than those on the bottom.  Or does it?
  5. To better understand the meaning of Brayard et al.’s data, we need to know more about the biology and physiological tolerances of ammonoids in general, and of ceratitids in particular.
  6. These species lie deep in the evolutionary trees of living coleoids and living cephalopods, respectively, suggesting that a tolerance for low oxygen was ancestral for living cephalopods.
Their Perspectives article did little more than to suggest this and that, and then to say more work needs to be done.  How about the other paper?  Did Brayard et al have anything more solid to lean on?  Keep in mind that classic Darwinian evolution explains diversification as gradual and continuous.
  1. One problem has been a lack of absolute age calibration of evolutionary trends across the PTB.
  2. It has usually been assumed that the end-Permian mass extinction affected ecological assemblages so deeply that the postcrisis biotic recovery spanned the entire Early Triassic [~5 million years (My)], if not more.
  3. The Triassic part of the time series consists of four successive diversity oscillations of declining magnitude, probably primarily shaped by global climatic and oceanographic changes.
  4. In the first oscillation...only 1 to 2 My after the PTB, based on the available radiometric ages and associated uncertaintiesammonoid diversity reached values equal to, if not higher than, those for the Permian (~85 sampled genera) and then were followed by still higher values .... This late Early Triassic generic richness is unsurpassed during the Middle and Late Triassic, where diversity oscillated around an average value...close to the Middle Permian maximum.  This rapid recovery less than 2 My after a mass extinction is also seen for Early Jurassic ammonoids.
  5. The Early Triassic rapid ammonoid diversification diverges from delayed recovery after the PTB suggested for many benthic groups.... Apparently, recovery rates strongly varied across marine clades, and ammonoids boomed well before the oceanic realm returned to a long-term steady state.
  6. Extreme contraction of survivorship and prenascence contour lines is diagnostic of high evolutionary rates, as echoed by the simultaneously high numbers and rates of Early Triassic originations and extinctions (Fig. 3).
  7. Ammonoid diversification during the Early Triassic produced more than 200 genera in less than ~5 My and was accompanied by a progressive change from cosmopolitan to latitudinally restricted distributions of genera.
  8. This trend was not a gradual, continuous, and smooth one.
  9. How did these cephalopods flourish in the presumably unstable and harsh environmental conditions prevailing at that time?  The same question applies to conodonts, whose Early Triassic diversity dynamics tend to parallel that of ammonoids.
  10. Ammonoids are morphologically and taxonomically so diverse that it is likely that they occupied a great variety of niches and exploited various food resources.  Their high diversity and abundance suggest that diversified and abundant food resources were already available less than 2 My after the PTB.  Consequently, even if Early Triassic trophic webs were possibly less complex than Permian and Middle-Late Triassic ones, they were far from devastated.  At least some sizeable, while still unknown, primary production made it possible for these two clades to diversify profusely and rapidly despite short-term fluctuations of environmental conditions.
  11. The Early-Middle Triassic transition was again marked by a severe drop in ammonoid diversity.  In this case, a fall in global sea level is implicated.
  12. In addition, the empirical (log) richness-rates relationships (table S4) illustrate a possible niche incumbency effect.  This hypothesis, which predicts that richness and extinction rates are independent, allows the estimate of an average steady-state generic niche saturation level of ~85% under the hierarchical model, compatible with species niche saturation levels previously published for various clades of marine organisms.
  13. Numerous Lazarus taxa3 among benthic and pelagic mollusks reappear during the Smithian.
  14. Coupled with the Triassic ammonoid nondelayed diversity dynamics evidenced here, this suggests that complex trophic webs based on abundant and diversified primary producers were already functioning less than 2 My after the PTB and opens the possibility that heterotrophic taxa other than ammonoids also rapidly recovered.
  15. This phased scenario for the Triassic biotic recovery accounts well for its generally accepted delayed character, which may reflect still inadequate sampling and time resolution and/or biased diversity estimates due to the lack of sampling standardization in the first million years after the PTB.
  16. Recoveries obviously show environment- and clade-specific dynamics.  Nevertheless, our results indicate that the time duration of the post-PTB recovery is likely overestimated, at least for some marine taxa.
It should be noted that the statistics of biodiversity on which they relied for their graphs and charts depend heavily on sampling – a human enterprise.  The fossils, in other words, do not speak for themselves.  This was clear from several paragraphs in the paper that explained why Brayard et al leaned on some data sets but rejected others.
1.  Charles R. Marshall and David K. Jacobs, “Paleontology: Flourishing After the End-Permian Mass Extinction,” Science, 28 August 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5944, pp. 1079-1080, DOI: 10.1126/science.1178325.
2.  Brayard, Escargue, Bucher, Monnet, Brühwiler, Goudemand, Galfetti, and Guex, “Good Genes and Good Luck: Ammonoid Diversity and the End-Permian Mass Extinction,” Science,28 August 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5944, pp. 1118-1121, DOI: 10.1126/science.1174638.
3.  Lazarus taxa: resurrected extinct groups or “living fossils” – see 03/10/2006 and 12/04/2007.
Who else but CEH is revealing, line by line, in detail, the arbitrariness of story generation in the evolutionary scientific literature?  The Framework is never called into question, no matter how many anomalies are found, and no matter how many suspensions of disbelief are required.  The Stuff Happens Law is everywhere – “good genes and good luck.”  There is no pattern or sense to any of this.  Here is the story in a nutshell:
Through causes we don’t understand, something happened at some uncalibrated time, and, if our sampling methods are not completely biased, some groups of animals, based on some method of deciding what constitutes a species or genus among extinct animals we cannot observe except by their shells, using controversial measures of classification and sampling, recovered much faster than others, through reasons we also don’t understand, perhaps due to their level in the water column, or climate, or availability of food, or tolerance to carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, or a number of other possibilities.  This points out that their evolutionary potential, whatever that means, was greater than that of shellfish, because of mechanisms not well understood, i.e., some sizeable, while still unknown, primary production that made it possible for ammonites and conodonts to diversify profusely and rapidly compared to their depressed contemporaries, despite rapid fluctuations and oscillations in their environment, illustrating their ability to occupy a variety of ecological niches, though stressed by the unknown extinction event of unknown duration or cause--perhaps volcanoes, which surprisingly killed almost everything on the sea floor (which one would think more robust against calamities in the climate or on the surface, but whatever).  Yet some of them, nevertheless, somehow, resurrected like Lazarus (but we don’t want this to get anyone started thinking about the Bible or miracles, which is forbidden; only Darwinian miracles are allowed).  So whatever the cause, or causes, or no cause at all, while all we have is confusing data and a Framework to put it in bequeathed to us by Saint Lyell, we at least came up with a “scenario”, illustrated with a few graphs and charts and math, that was good enough to get published by the Keepers of the Darwinian Flame in Science, even though we diverged a little bit from Saint Darwin’s concept of gradual, smooth, continuous change, because we know his heirs have become more tolerant of unexplained hiccups in the geological record, or the biological record, or in evolutionary theory itself, because of the need to keep Evolution reigning supreme in the public eye, by sounding sophisticated with terms like “diversity dynamics” (which we don’t have to define or explain), but that doesn’t matter because it sounds scholarly, and helps to keep at bay the constant threat from those rascally Creationists, who might expose our methods and threaten our jobs and funding unless we present a unified front and an air of confidence in the journals and cooperative science news outlets.

Abbreviated version:  Something happened.  We’re not sure what, when, or how, or why, or even if something happened at all, but some day we may figure it out.  Praise Darwin for modern science!

Welcome to modern evolutionary biology.  Stuff happens.  Evolution happens.  Diversity happens.  Niches magically get filled.  Rates of change vary with no known reason.  Facts are convenient props, but keeping the Framework intact while weaving more intricate stories is the name of the game.  Don’t even THINK about criticizing us.  We are scientists.  Don’t even think.
Next headline on:  Dating MethodsFossilsEvolutionary Theory
Molecular Machines on Parade   09/03/2009    
Sept 3, 2009 — Scientific papers continue to exhibit the exquisite mechanisms in the cell for handling all kinds of situations, through the operation of molecular machines.  Here are a few recent examples from this week’s issue of Nature (Sept 3, 2009).
  1. Molecular sieve:  What happens when a cell gets bloated?  Too much water entering a cell can increase the pressure against the membrane, “potentially compromising the integrity of the cell,” said Valeria Vásquez and Eduardo Perozo in Nature this week.1  They described findings about a molecular sieve named MscL by Liu et al in the same issue of Nature.2  MscL in bacteria is made up of multiple protein parts that form a pore in the cell membrane.  The research team from Caltech and Howard Hughes Medical Institute found that the components flatten out and pivot, opening up the pore like an iris when sufficient pressure is applied.  This is called “mechanosensation” because it operates automatically via mechanical pressure.  “These channels act as ‘emergency relief valves,’ protecting bacteria from lysis [disruption] upon acute osmotic down-shock,” the authors said.  “MscL has a complex gating behaviour; it exhibits several intermediates between the closed and open states, including one putative non-conductive expanded state and at least three sub-conducting states.”  The team’s contribution was to image one of the intermediate states.
        The research paper did not mention evolution.  Vásquez and Perozo, however, said, “free-living cells have evolved a variety of mechanisms to deal with sudden variations in the physicochemical properties of their surroundings,” and later said, “Most prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) have therefore evolved a ‘pressure-release valve’ mechanism in which changes in membrane tension open up channels to form large, aqueous pores in the membrane,” but they did not explain how evolution could have accomplished this.  They made it sound like the bacteria purposely employed evolution (whatever they meant by the term) to solve a real problem.  They did not explain how bacteria got through osmotic down-shock without the pressure release valves.
  2. Molecular taxicab:  Transfer RNAs (tRNA) are made in the nucleus but need to commute to work outside, in the cytoplasm, where the ribosomes are.  They are small enough to barely squeeze through the nuclear pore complex (NPC) – the complicated gates in the nuclear membrane that control traffic in and out – but they don’t avail themselves of that freedom, lest their exposed parts interact with the authentication mechanisms of the NPC.  Instead, they hale a taxicab to escort them through.  That taxicab, or “tRNA export factor,” is called Xpot.
        Xpot is a complex molecule that fits around the exposed parts of the tRNA.  It literally “wraps around” the tRNA, undergoing conformational changes as it clamps on.  Imagine a taxicab wrapping around you, and you get the picture.  Xpot is general enough to fit all 20 kinds of tRNAs, but specific enough to protect their delicate active sites.  It is also able to recognize and reject tRNAs that are immature.  Only tRNAs that have passed a processing exam are allowed in the taxi.  The authors of a paper in Nature who studied Xpot said, “Xpot undergoes a large conformational change on binding cargo, wrapping around the tRNA and, in particular, binding to the tRNA 5' and 3' ends.  The binding mode explains how Xpot can recognize all mature tRNAs in the cell and yet distinguish them from those that have not been properly processed, thus coupling tRNA export to quality control.3  As an additional control, Xpot does not interact with tRNA except in the presence of another factor in the nucleus called RanGTP.  After safe transport through the nuclear pore complex, another factor in the cytoplasm unlocks the RanGTP, allowing the Xpot taxicab to unwrap from the tRNA.  The tRNA then heads off to the ribosome to fulfill its work shift as a scribe, translating the genetic code into the protein code.  “Transfer RNAs are among the most ubiquitous molecules in cells,” they said, “central to decoding information from messenger RNAs on translating ribosomes.”
        The authors of the paper did not discuss how Xpot originated, but six times they said that parts of Xpot are either “conserved,” “evolutionarily conserved” or “highly conserved” (i.e., unevolved) throughout the living world.
  3. Molecular sherpa:  Kinesin is among the most fascinating molecular machines in the cell, because it literally “walks” hand-over-hand on microtubule trails, carrying cargo.  In doing this, it converts chemical energy from ATP into mechanical work.  Writing in this week’s Nature,4 Guydosh and Block of Stanford described direct observation of the binding state of the hands (called heads) of kinesin to the microtubule.  They found that it walks tiptoe on the tightrope: “Here we report the development of a single-molecule assay that can directly report head binding in a walking kinesin molecule, and show that only a single head is bound to the microtubule between steps at low ATP concentrations.”  The rear head has to unbind before the forward head can bind.  This keeps the kinesin from getting stuck with both feet (heads) on the tightrope.  If you can stand some jargon, here is what they said about the complexities of how this works:
    The inability of one head to bind the microtubule offers a natural explanation for the observation that the microtubule-stimulated release of ADP is inhibited until the microtubule-attached head binds ATP and docks its neck linker (Fig. 4, state 2).  Strain produced by an unfavourable neck-linker conformation also explains the observation that ATP does not bind prematurely to the front, nucleotide-free head of a 2-HB kinesin molecule (Fig. 4, state 3).  Any tight binding of ATP is disfavoured because it is coupled to neck-linker docking and, therefore, to the generation of a strained configuration in which both neck linkers are docked (Fig. 4, S3).  We anticipate that the single-molecule techniques presented here will be applicable to the study of dynamic properties of other motors and macromolecules that undergo analogous conformational rearrangements.
The fact that protein machines use energy to undergo conformational rearrangements, and that these “moving parts” perform functional work, places them squarely in the realm of machinery – except on a scale so tiny, their operations are only now coming to light.
1.  Valeria Vásquez and Eduardo Perozo, “Structural Biology: A channel with a twist,” Nature 461, 47-49 (3 September 2009) | doi:10.1038/461047a.
2.  Liu, Gandhi and Rees, “Structure of a tetrameric MscL in an expanded intermediate state,” Nature 461, 120-124 (3 September 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature08277.
3.  Cook, Fukuhara, Jinek and Conti, “Structures of the tRNA export factor in the nuclear and cytosolic states,” Nature 461, 60-65 (3 September 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature08394.
4.  Guydosh and Block, “Direct observation of the binding state of the kinesin head to the microtubule,” Nature 461, 125-128 (3 September 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature08259.
Molecular machines – the very concept is only a couple of decades old.  This is phenomenal.  It is marvelous and wonderful beyond description.  You can almost sense the astonishment and excitement of these biophysicists uncovering these tiny wonders in the cell.  Who could have imagined this is how life works?  Think of the centuries, the millennia, of people going about their business, oblivious to the fact that at scales too tiny to imagine a whole factory of automated molecular machines was keeping them alive.  The few thinkers after the discovery of cells by Robert Hooke envisioned little people (homunculi) doing some of it, but our instruments were too coarse to elucidate the workings inside till recently – till our generation.  Next to the discovery of DNA and the genetic code this must be considered one of the most important discoveries in the history of science.  If Antony van Leeuwenhoek was astonished at what he saw with his primitive hand lens, how much more should we be flabbergasted at what is coming into focus, now that we can discern the activity of individual molecules?
    The Darwinists are strangely silent about all this.  In our 9 years of reporting, very few papers on molecular machines have even mentioned evolution (e.g., 10/02/2001, 01/09/2002), and those that did usually just assumed it rather than tried to seriously explain how the most primitive life-forms could have became endowed with factories of mechanical filters, scribes, taxicabs and walking robots by chance (e.g., 09/16/2000, 08/24/2009 08/26/2005).  Search on “molecular machines” in the search bar above and check.  There are lots of examples.  It’s time to cast off that antiquated 19th-century mindset that tried to imagine all this from the bottom up.  Let us regard as silly the tales of miracles of “emergence” occurring mindlessly in “a chance Motion of I don’t know what little Particles,” as Christiaan Huygens, our Scientist of the Month, quipped.  Paley is back with a vengeance.  The contrivances of nature are more wonderful than he or any other philosopher or scientist could have imagined.  It’s a Designed world after all.  Rejoice, give thanks and sing!
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyPhysicsIntelligent DesignAmazing Facts
Reader’s Digress
How much does modern science understand about basic questions?  Check out New Scientist’s list of “13 more things that don’t make sense.”  Question: does the apparent nonsense of any of these things stem from flawed ways of imagining how the world works?

Mutation: Not a Bug, a Feature   09/02/2009    
Sept 2, 2009 — Evolutionary biologists are sometimes risque with the way they discuss mutations.  They treat them almost like magic wands, able to produce wondrous new organs and functions by accident.

  1. Health to them, death to you:  One article on Science Daily discussed a mutation that causes congenital heart disease in humans, but may have been a stepping stone to the origin of the 3-chambered heart.  “First Genetic Link Between Reptile And Human Heart Evolution Found,” the article announced.
  2. What elevates you above the apes:  Genetic changes (presumably by mutational accident) are what separate us from chimpanzees, another article on Science Daily suggested.  Researchers at Trinity College Dublin identified genes not found in chimpanzees.  They “arose” somehow – evolutionist code for mutations that provided some kind of benefit.  “Researchers have found genes that arose from non-coding DNA in flies, yeast, and primates,” the article stated.  A cute picture of a blond human holding a less-mutated chimp accompanied the picture.
  3. Instant intelligence by kickstart:  While Science magazine’s blog Origins was puzzling over the date of the first indicator that humans had arrived with symbolic behavior, Michael Balter let out this admission: some scientists argue that “modern human cognition, including language and other complex symbolic behavior, needed the additional kick-start of a genetic mutation about 50,000 years ago.
        While it could be argued that Balter was critiquing that position, he was only comparing it to this: “Yet an increasing number of researchers have come to think that Homo sapiens was capable of modern behavior from the very beginning of its history.”  Since the Origins blog was set up in celebration of the Darwin Bicentennial, it can be safely assumed Balter’s statement was not intended as support for Genesis 2:7.  Instead, Balter was only pushing the date for the mutation that brought wisdom to the human brain a few tens of thousands of years earlier.  But then, those believing that story have to explain, if those long-ago ancestors possessed the complete physical and intellectual equipment of us modern humans, why it took them so long to build cities, plant farms, and write books (see 08/14/2009).
In summary, like the BBC News reported, “We are all mutants.”  Get used to it; each of us was born with about 100 mistakes in our gene library.  This provides “insights into our evolution,” you see.  We should look at mutations not as bugs in the code, but features – chance variations loaded with possibilities.  Employing language straight out of Darwin’s Origin, the BBC said, “New mutations are the source of inherited variation, some of which can lead to disease and dysfunction, and some of which determine the nature and pace of evolutionary change.”
Folks, here we are, nine years since the launch of Creation-Evolution Headlines, and the Darwinists are still worshiping Tinker Bell, the goddess who zaps slime into endless forms most beautiful with her mutation wand.  They still show no sign of shame for saying such silly things in public.  We must work harder to expose the Blunderful Wizard of Flaws (09/05/2008 commentary) till he comes clean and confesses that this whole act of evolution being Science was a charade all along.
Next headline on:  Human BodyEarly ManDarwin and Evolutionary TheoryDumb Ideas
  A tiny molecular machine on which the world depends: 09/06/2002.

Milking the Martian Meteorite   09/01/2009    
Sept 2, 2009 — One would think everything has been told about ALH 84001, the Martian meteorite that made a splash in 1996 with claims it contained fossils of living organisms.  That claim was essentially discarded in subsequent years.  Its major contribution was giving life to a new science called astrobiology and energizing NASA’s Mars program.  Now, a new claim is being made about the rock, reported New Scientist: the rock was once bathed in cool water.
    Paul Niles of NASA Johnson Space Center, not a part of the original 1996 team, examined some of the carbon-based minerals in the rock.  One of the criticisms of the life claim was that these minerals would have had to form in temperatures too hot for any organisms.  Niles’ research “suggests the water involved was cool enough to allow for life, which at least keeps open the possibility of fossilised life in the meteorite.”  To him, it also means that the environment in which the rock sat for a long time was potentially habitable.
    A JPL scientist who was not part of the team called this meteorite “probably the single most examined rock in all of human history.”  He did not think this proves life existed.  Finding out that answer “may require a mission to bring back rock samples from the planet,” New Scientist said.

Mission accomplished!  What is the mission, you ask?  It’s twofold: (1) keep the possibility of life on Mars open, and (2) provide more reasons to support the Mars program.  This is like keeping the possibility of gnomes open, because their fossilized representations keep turning up in gardens and on Travelocity commercials.  Now, scientists have found that the environment in remote forests is not as harsh for gnomes as previously believed.  If the forests were cool enough to allow for life, it at least keeps open the possibility that gnomes may be found.  Support tax-funded gnome research!
    There are better reasons to study Mars than to pursue certain atheists’ unending quest for fellowship with space brethren.  Learning more about Mars, for instance, might help earthlings appreciate the gift of God’s green earth.  The only gnomes we know about were produced by intelligent design.  They are not mystical beings that emerge from the environment.  They were created by human beings for a function: decorating gardens, selling vacation packages and providing amusing stories for children, like imaginary life on Mars.
Next headline on:  Solar SystemGeologyOrigin of LifeDumb Ideas

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“...this is one of the websites (I have like 4 or 5 on my favorites), and this is there.  It’s a remarkable clearinghouse of information; it’s very well written, it’s to the point... a broad range of topics.  I have been alerted to more interesting pieces of information on [this] website than any other website I can think of.”
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“I would assume that you, or anyone affiliated with your website is simply not qualified to answer any questions regarding that subject [evolution], because I can almost single-handedly refute all of your arguments with solid scientific arguments.... Also, just so you know, the modern theory of evolution does not refute the existence of a god, and it in no way says that humans are not special.  Think about that before you go trying to discredit one of the most important and revolutionary scientific ideas of human history.  It is very disrespectful to the people who have spent their entire lives trying to reveal some kind of truth in this otherwise crazy world.”
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    Anyone who has interest at where science, as a whole, is at in our current times, does not have to look very hard to see that science is on the verge of a new awakening....
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    CEH helps illuminate the true picture that is shining in today’s science.  A bright clear picture, full of intriguing details, independence and fascinating complexities.
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“I discovered your site about a year ago and found it to be very informative, but about two months back I decided to go back to the 2001 entries and read through the headlines of each month.... What a treasure house of information!  ....you have been very balanced and thoughtful in your analysis, with no embarrassing predictions, or pronouncements or unwarranted statements, but a very straightforward and sometimes humorous analysis of the news relating to origins.”
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“I want to express my appreciation for what you are doing.  I came across your website almost a year ago.... your blog [sic; news service] is one that I regularly read.  When it comes to beneficial anti-evolutionist material, your blog has been the most helpful for me.”
(a Bible scholar and professor in Michigan)

“I enjoyed reading your site.  I completely disagree with you on just about every point, but you do an excellent job of organizing information.”
(a software engineer in Virginia.  His criticisms led to an engaging dialogue.  He left off at one point, saying, “You have given me much to think about.”)

“I have learned so much since discovering your site about 3 years ago.  I am a homeschooling mother of five and my children and I are just in wonder over some the discoveries in science that have been explored on creation-evolution headlines.  The baloney detector will become a part of my curriculum during the next school year.  EVERYONE I know needs to be well versed on the types of deceptive practices used by those opposed to truth, whether it be in science, politics, or whatever the subject.”
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(an accountant in Illinois)

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

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(a PhD professor of scientific rhetoric in Florida and author of two books, who added that he was “awe-struck” by this site)

More feedback

 
Featured Creation Scientist for September

Christiaan Huygens
1629 - 1695

One of the most prominent scientific geniuses of the 17th century, Christiaan Huygens would be known as an “intelligent design” scientist if he lived today.  He made this clear in his book Cosmotheoros in 1698:

I suppose no body will deny but that there’s somewhat more of Contrivance, somewhat more of Miracle in the production and growth of Plants and Animals, than in lifeless heaps of inanimate Bodies, be they never so much larger; as Mountains, Rocks, or Seas are.  For the finger of God, and the Wisdom of Divine Providence, is in them much more clearly manifested than in the other.  One of Democritus’s or [de]Cartes’s Scholars may venture perhaps to give some tolerable Explication of the appearances in Heaven and Earth, allow him but his Atoms and Motion; but when he comes to Plants and Animals, he’ll find himself non-plus’d, and give you no likely account of their Production.  For every thing in them is so exactly adapted to some design, every part of them so fitted to its proper life, that they manifest an Infinite Wisdom, and exquisite Knowlege in the Laws of Nature and Geometry, as, to omit those Wonders in Generation, we shall by and by show; and make it an absurdity even to think of their being thus haply jumbled together by a chance Motion of I don’t know what little Particles.

If this quote were stated in modern English today, it would anger many origin-of-life researchers and evolutionary biologists.  They would undoubtedly attribute it to one of the leaders of the intelligent design movement.  This would be a good trick to play on them.  Read an updated version of this quote, then tell the Darwinists it was stated by the man who invented the pendulum clock, wrote the first book on probability, described the wave theory of light mathematically, belonged to the Royal Society and the French Academy of Sciences, accurately described Saturn’s rings as not touching the planet, and discovered Saturn’s large moon Titan.  They would recognize the name of this great natural philosopher instantly.  He was honored by the Cassini program when the first spacecraft to land on Titan was named the Huygens probe.  He is recognized as one of the most eminent mathematicians and scientists of the 17th century.  And he believed in intelligent design.

A. E. Bell opened his biography Christian Huygens and the Development of Science in the Seventeenth Century (1947) with a list of his achievements:
There can be no doubt that Christian Huygens was one of the greatest scientific geniuses of all time.  A man who transformed the telescope from being a toy into a powerful instrument of investigation, and this as a consequence of profound optical researches; who discovered Saturn’s ring and the satellite Titan; who drew attention to the Nebula in Orion; who studied the problem of gravity in a quantitative manner, arriving at correct ideas about the effects of centrifugal force and the shape of the earth; who, in the great work Horologium Oscillatorium, founded the dynamics of systems and cleared up the whole subject of the compound pendulum and the tautochrone; who solved the outstanding problems concerned with collision of elastic bodies and out of much intractable work developed the general notion of energy and work; who is rightly regarded as the founder of the wave theory in light, and thus of physical optics such a man deserves memory with the names of Galileo and Newton....” ().

Cosmotheoros was written near the end of Huygens’ life and was published by his brother after his death.  The point of the book was to speculate about the likelihood of life on the planets, and on planets around other stars throughout the universe, and how this does not contradict the Holy Scriptures.  Huygens recognized that this was all conjecture but argued it was not a waste of time to ask such questions.  Seen from our vantage point, his arguments that inhabitants of Jupiter walked upright and were like us, having houses and astronomy, sound absurd – but he was doing the best he could with the scientific knowledge available to him.

Never, though, did he think that extraterrestrial life emerged out of matter by itself.  It was clear to Christiaan Huygens that the design in life was proof of an all-wise, omnipotent, intelligent Creator – indeed, the God of the Scriptures.  Huygens was born of Protestant Christian parents and considered himself a Protestant.  Bell said that Cosmotheoros presented Huygens’ religious beliefs more fully than his other works.  Some historians have tried to position Huygens in the Parisian agnostic rationalist tradition because of his associations with the Paris Academy, but Bell said “the evidence rather shows, on the contrary, that he continued to support Protestantism up to the end of his life.”  This indicates that Huygens did not just follow the beliefs of his age.  There were plenty of competing ideas about God and religion in the 17th century.  He knew about the atheists and agnostics of his day as well as those of ancient Greece.  It is important also that his view on design represented his mature thinking at the end of his life, not something he grew out of when he discovered science.  Huygens’ position on design was his personal, rational choice, and he supported it with informed arguments using logic, science and Scripture.

Huygens was usually private about his religious and philosophical beliefs, but this one quote is sufficient to place him in a long line of great thinkers and experimenters who not only believed in Design, but stated it emphatically.  He also stood in the tradition seen so often in the scientists in this series that viewed scientific investigation as an honorable work undertaken “for the glory of God and the service of man.”  To Huygens and the rest, Creation was the only logical position a natural philosopher could hold.  Fast forward to 2009; what’s the problem?  Has Darwin or Stanley Miller overcome the logic Huygens presented?  It is “an absurdity even to think of their being thus haply jumbled together by a chance Motion of I don’t know what little Particles.”  Call those particles hydrogen or amino acids; the absurdity remains.


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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    I tell everyone that gives me an opening about your site.  God is working through you.  Please don’t stop telling us how to see the lies or leading us in celebrating the truth.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.”
(a renowned artist in Wyoming)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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