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Darwinists Party Hardy, But Crash ID Events 09/30/2009
If society can endure a few more months of silliness, the hoopla should probably quiet down a little in 2010. The impact of Darwins ideas, though, will continue.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. Thats the implication of the first search for planet-forming discs on the Milky Ways 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 Illustras newest documentary Darwins Dilemma and the case for intelligent design is unstoppable.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: Hubbles expansion, Zwickys dark matter, Penzias and Wilsons cosmic microwave background (CMB), and Guths 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, lets 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!
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
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?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 theres 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.
Ho-Hum, Another Feathered Dinosaur 09/25/2009
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.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, 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 doesnt. It makes it worse. Now, we are supposed to believe that upright-walking, full-brained human beings couldnt think of a word to say to each other for 150,000 years.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
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.) Theres a bright future in biomimetics, no thanks to Darwin.Tip Link
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
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 Darwins 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.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: its 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 doesnt 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 dont know. They werent 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.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
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 transporter concluded 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 thats 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. Dempseys 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 Dempseys letter deserves a response. Well 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.
Were not taking sides till the rebuttals are in, but wouldnt it be funny if the paleoanthropologists in high science have been goofing for 80 years? Actually, its 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.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).SETI at 50: Onward with Style 09/20/2009
Sept 20, 2009 Its 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 cant escape an association with UFO believers and other such crackpots. The justification for continuing the search, Natures 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 theyll 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.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 Darwins 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 Darwins admiration for Lyells 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.
Natures Designs Are Engineers Finds 09/18/2009
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.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 its a teachable moment. Lets 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.Trio of Darwin Films Released 09/16/2009
Sept 16, 2009 This month finds us two thirds of the way between Darwins 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.
The Voyage that Changed the World and Darwins Dilemma are both excellent and not to be missed. They share facts and issues that must be faced in evaluating Darwins ideas. As for the badly-misnamed Creation: The Movie, well, thats entertainment.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
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. Dont follow them into the ditch.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 Darwins 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 Darwins theory of evolution beautifully explains how molecular machines came to be.
In the scientific journals, controversies are supposed to be aired. Didnt 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. Heres 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 Darwins 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, Darwins 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.Does Hedonism Belong in Science? 09/13/2009
Sept 13, 2009 Whats 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 Braxs 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. Doesnt your philosophy also have roots in antiquity? Is there any other reason this hedonist earned free publicity in Seance Daily?Does brain size reveal anything about evolution? It doesnt for birds (09/07/2005).
Useless Evolution 09/12/2009
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).A powerful, must-see film is being released Tuesday! Watch the trailer at DarwinsDilemma.org and get excited. Darwins 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.
Illustras 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 Darwins theory impossible from biochemistry; the second rendered it unfit from astronomy. Now, Darwins 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
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.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. Its 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 brains 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 brains help. Its an alarm system thats 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... Dont 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 doesnt sit there and think to itself, Whew, that mosquito almost hit my eyeball. Id 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 dont talk. (They also dont think to themselves, but since talking implies that, well 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 doesnt 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?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 storys purpose is to jam the airways so that people are distracted from listening to their consciences. They still havent learnt their lessons (10/18/2006).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
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 arent 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.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 planets 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 earths 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.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 ones 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 ones 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 Darwins 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 Barkows 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.Material girls (and boys) are not happy campers: from 09/07/2003.
New Recipe for Life: Zinc & Zap 09/05/2009
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).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
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:Molecular Machines on Parade 09/03/2009Through causes we dont 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 dont 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 dont 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 Darwins 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 dont have to define or explain), but that doesnt 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.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. Dont even THINK about criticizing us. We are scientists. Dont even think.
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 weeks issue of Nature (Sept 3, 2009).
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?Readers Digress
How much does modern science understand about basic questions? Check out New Scientists list of 13 more things that dont 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
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.A tiny molecular machine on which the world depends: 09/06/2002.
Milking the Martian Meteorite 09/01/2009
Mission accomplished! What is the mission, you ask? Its 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!