Creation-Evolution Headlines
 February 2002
“ debate does work well as long as concepts are observable and testable, and ‘referees’ remain open-minded.  However, if the mainstream academic community accepts an unproven concept as fact and excludes alternative thinking by decree, then the potential for error to be systematically preserved and promoted is institutionalized.”
–Dr. Jeremy L Walter, mechanical engineer, In Six Days: Why Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation (New Holland Publishers, 1999), p. 11.

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Natural Selection Works in Fruit Flies   02/28/2002
Two papers in the
Feb 28 Nature, one by Smith and Eyre-Walker, another by Fay, Wyckoff and Wu make a case that natural selection works in fruit flies.  They claim their evidence discredits the theory of neutral evolution, that most mutations have no effect on the fitness of the organism.

These papers are basically evolutionists fighting among themselves which theory is correct, when neither explains the origin of information and new organs.  The sample size is sufficiently small and the tweak space sufficiently large to allow them to prove their a priori assumptions.  But they start with fruit flies and end up with fruit flies; where’s the evolution?
Next headline on: Darwinism.
Intelligent Design Discussed in Missouri Newspaper   02/28/2002
The Feb 24
Digital Missourian has a feature story by John Heys entitled, “Deconstructing Darwin: A new theory of evolution challenges conventional thought.”  It gives approximately equal time to William Harris, proponent of Intelligent Design, and Jan Weaver and Garland Allen, defenders of Darwinism.
As public consciousness of Intelligent Design theory grows, it will become increasingly important to recognize the types of rebuttals the Darwinists use.  Unfortunately, they often convey a tone of patronizing arrogance (“These people just don’t understand evolution and don’t understand science”) that comes from their long hegemony over the scientific institutions.  We want to take this opportunity to hunt, in their defense of Darwin, for substance instead of propaganda tactics, logical fallacies, and smokescreens (i.e., baloney).  Consider these quotes from the article, that amount to essentially their whole case:
  • “statements like the one advertised by the Discovery Institute [e.g., biological information is the fingerprint of intelligence; evolution is a philosophy that stifles consideration of all but naturalistic causes] show a lack of understanding of evolution, its mechanisms and the calculation of probabilities.  In particular, says Weaver, the statement ignores several other mechanisms for evolution like symbiosis and jumping genes.”
    Big lie and bluffing.  I.D. proponents often know more about evolution than the evolutionists do.  Symbiosis and jumping genes are not mechanisms of evolution.  Neither of these explain the origin of information, and evolutionists themselves rely on traditional mutations plus natural selection as the mechanism, almost all of the time.
  • “Weaver also doubts the nature of the evidence cited by proponents of intelligent design.  ‘There is no objective, independent way to determine if something is designed,’ she says.”
    Big lie, or ignorance.  William Dembski’s book The Design Inference, widely known as a key I.D. text, defines an objective explanatory filter that can segregate design from chance or natural causes.  Design explanations are used routinely in other sciences: cryptography, forensics, archaeology, and SETI.
  • “The majority of her peers in the scientific community, Weaver says, agree.”
    The old Bandwagon tactic.
  • “A more troubling implication, Weaver says, is that intelligent design’s proponents attack the secular purposes of evolution science but allegedly camouflage their educational and public policy motives.”
    Fear-mongering and hate-mongering.  This argument ignores any merit in I.D. arguments and just tries to speculate about conspiracies and hidden agendas, as if Darwin’s defenders have none (but the sole purpose of the NCSE is to keep evolution in the science classroom and keep creation out).
  • “Allen, sharing this concern, describes the theory as ‘watered down creationism.’”
    Loaded words and ridicule.  Again, no serious response, just mudslinging with arrogance.
  • “Weaver explains including a concept like intelligent design in science curricula could lead to the introduction of other subjects that lack the underpinnings of prior scholarship and evidence, which are the hallmarks of Western education since the Renaissance.”
    More fear-mongering and association, and red herring.  Weaver associates Darwinism with the Renaissance, when history shows it was creationists and believers in design who gave us the scientific method in the first place, and made some of the most important discoveries.
  • “‘That could be a dangerous door to open,’ Weaver said.  Behind this door, Weaver says, lie other unverifiable concepts like alien abductions, astrology, mind reading and ghosts.’”
    Oh, the bogeymen.  This fear-mongering and negative-association tactic is so absurd it need not be dignified with a response. 
  • “Allen says the Discovery Institute’s dissent and the ensuing debate underscores that science is always open to challenge.  Debates in science, he explains, often confuse many non-scientists because they misunderstand that science always evolves.”
    Equivocation and association.  Allen equates evolution with science, when it is a philosophy: methodological naturalism, a system of interpreting the observational facts that both evolutionists and creationists accept.
  • “Allen cites a Colorado effort, funded by the National Science Foundation, to develop a science curriculum that teaches evolution as an example of how the science process works.  Efforts like these, Allen says, can help raise awareness of how science is done.
    Ignoring the opposition, indoctrination, non-sequitur.  How is teaching more evolution, and ignoring the controversy, supposed to improve science education?  Is that how science works?
  • “‘Every theory we’ve (science has) ever had has changed over time,’ Allen says.  ‘We may someday have an evolution theory that looks very different from what we have now.’  But Allen does not believe that future refinements of the theory will ‘invoke a mystical part’ similar to ideas advanced by intelligent design advocates.”
    Straw man argument.  I.D. proponents are not mystics.  In fact, they are trying to get scientific discussions of origins away from the mystical pantheism of evolution that treats natural selection like a goddess, able to work miracles like creating bat sonar and wings without leaving a trace in the fossil record.  If evolution evolves, maybe some day it will evolve into intelligent design; is that a possibility in their thinking?  Of course not; evolution is a fact [dogma].
  • “This conventional wisdom [i.e., evolution] has guided work in other scientific areas.  Garland Allen, a biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis, says many advances in plant science have been based on evolutionary ideas.  Some of these same ideas, Allen says, ‘have changed the way we practice medicine’ in the fight against disease.  Allen, who also studies the history, philosophy and sociology of science, cites a thesis defended in his department that applied models based on conventional evolutionary ideas to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.  The virus can mutate rapidly, requiring changes in medical treatment to match its evolution.”
    Here is the only attempt to supply a substantive idea that evolution is good for science, but it is just bluffing with only one questionable example cited.  We have reported often in Creation-Evolution Headlines that evolutionary explanations in botany and zoology are forced and unnatural, leading to conundrums and contradictions (wander through the Chain Links on Darwin for many examples).  This argument also begs the question whether evolution is the best explanation, or the only one.  Regarding HIV, we reported on August 28 that some scientists feel HIV represents a stable quasi-species, and that there is “no evidence whatsoever” it is evolving. 
    It could also be argued that evolution is bad for science; look at the old argument about vestigial organs that quelled research on tonsils, the appendix, the pineal and pituitary glands, and other organs assumed to be useless evolutionary leftovers.  A belief these organs were designed could have encouraged scientists to discover their functions.  Belief in intelligent design has often spurred great scientists to make their discoveries.
Have Allen and Weaver made a good case for the exclusion of intelligent design in science classes?  Have they defended Darwinism as the only contender?  Sift their arguments through the Baloney Detector and see what remains.
Next headline on: Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory. • Next headline on: Intelligent Design.
Tyrannosaurus Not a Sprinter   02/28/2002
A new analysis in the
Feb 28 Nature claims that T. rex was too heavy-set to run, and probably only managed a 12 mph walk.  For summary, see Nature Science Update.
Sorry to ruin all your Jurassic Park nightmares.  You’d still have to run, though.
Next headline on: Dinosaurs.
Paper: “Evolution of ‘constants’: has the speed of light or the electric charge changed?” a new analysis about how to discriminate between which component has varied if the fine structure constant has varied: the speed of light, or the electric charge.  Paper by Maguiejo, Barrow and Sandvik, in arXiv preprint server.  (For background, see our Aug 15 headline on the possibility of varying physical constants.)
Next headline on: Physics.

Protein Folding an Olympic Event   02/27/2002
A news release from the
University of Pennsylvania puts biological molecules into the Winter Olympics:

It’s a long-simmering debate in the world of physical chemistry: Does the folding of proteins into biologically active shapes better resemble a luge run - fast, linear and predictable - or the more freeform trajectories of a ski slope?  New research from the University of Pennsylvania offers the strongest evidence yet that proteins shimmy into their characteristic shapes not via a single, unyielding route but by paths as individualistic as those followed by skiers coursing from a mountain summit down to the base lodge.
The researchers, who published in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found a great deal of variety in the paths and rates of folding.  Only when a protein is folded correctly can it perform its function.  Misfolded proteins are the cause of many serious diseases.  The team explains that there are chaperones on hand to fix errors:
“In the skiing analogy, chaperones could be thought of as rescue helicopters that return wayward skiers to the summit so they can try to make their way down the mountain again,” said [Feng] Gai, an assistant professor of chemistry at Penn.
Protein folding is fiendishly intricate, yet crucial to the chemistry of life - so much so that a small army of biologists and chemists has devoted itself to better understanding the process.
Another article in another source describes just how fiendishly intricate the process is.  The March 12 issue of PC Magazine has a feature section on Technology in America.  Alan Cohen describes how supercomputers, after showing their skill in deciphering the human genome, are trying to tackle the puzzle of protein folding:
Problems like protein folding, where the number of possible shapes for the average-size protein is greater than the number of atoms in the universe, are far more complex.  Thus, such problems require “a tighter, faster, parallel machine, where the processors of each work in conjunction with the others,” says Professor [David A.] Bader [director of the High Performance Computer Lab at the University of New Mexico].
... Advances like these require intense computation, and as impressive as the clusters that sequenced the genome are, they’re not enough for this new phase.
IBM’s Blue Gene project, which will be able to perform 1 quadrillion operations per second, sets out to tackle protein folding.  IBM scientists estimate that calculating the folding process of even a very small protein on today’s most powerful computer would take 300 years.  Even Blue Gene, once completed in 2005, will take a year to crunch the numbers.
In other words, the cell accomplishes with ease, thousands of times a day, within milliseconds, what today’s most powerful computers would take 300 years to figure out.
Proteins are likely to overshadow DNA as the hottest topic in biology.  Most lay people think of meat or poultry when they hear the word protein, thinking of one of the basic ingredients of food, which of course, protein is.  But on the molecular level, proteins are a toolkit of staggering complexity and design.  Made up of chains of amino acids, all left-handed and often hundreds of units long, their precise folded shapes allow them to perform thousands of tasks in the cell.  They are the Legos of molecular biology, but not just toy tanks and planes and soldiers, but real ones made of the same 20 building blocks.
Proteins shuttle cargo around, they speed up chemical reactions, they open and close gates into the cell and the nucleus, they form structural scaffolds and roadways, they proofread DNA, and much more.  Perhaps most astonishing, they form actual motors that can spin up to 100,000 RPM (in the case of the bacterial flagellum).  Modern biochemistry is pulling back the curtain on a new universe of microminiature machines that keep us, and the simplest bacteria, alive.  In Darwin’s day, such wonders could not have been imagined.  The time has come to cast off a paradigm far too simplistic to account for a technology this advanced.
See also this May 3 headline about the dynamic stresses affecting protein folding.
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry. • Next amazing story.
Introns Found in Primitive Eukaryote   02/26/2002
Another evolutionary assumption needs revision. 
Science Now reports that introns have been found in Giardia, a primitive eukaryotic single-celled organism.  Sometimes considered “junk DNA,” introns are pieces of genetic code that do not code for proteins, that have to be cut out of the strand by genetic scissors called spliceosomes before transcription can begin.  Introns were thought to have evolved later in the eukaryotic line, but here they were, scissors and all, in an early “primitive” eukaryote.  The original paper is in the Feb 19 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Introns are a bit of a mystery as to their function, but we have learned to question the assumption that anything in biology is useless.  The machinery to handle introns and move pieces of genetic code around is very sophisticated and complex.  Introns and transposons are subjects of intense research; indications are that they will prove to be vital for proper operation of the cell.  This story puts more pressure on evolutionists to explain how complex machinery that cuts and splices DNA – and knows just where to put it – could have evolved by chance in the earliest, simplest nucleated cells.
Next headline on: The Cell.
Alaskan Dinosaurs Cause Shivers for Meteor Impact Theory   02/26/2002
Everybody knows that a big
meteor impact killed off all the dinosaurs 60 million years ago; that’s what scientists have been telling us for almost two decades now (and it was the dramatic ending of Walking with Dinosaurs).  But a cache of finely-preserved dinosaur bones along the Colville River in Alaska, reported in the Alaska Daily News, is calling that theory into question.  The dinosaurs at this high latitude were too well adapted to cold to have been knocked off by one “nuclear winter” (which we reported on Jan 22 may not have resulted from a big impact anyway; today, National Geographic released a summary of that story).  Meanwhile, scientists are drilling into the Chicxulub Crater in the Yucatan, so we shall have to wait and see what becomes the next conventional wisdom.
The massive deposits along the Colville River have the potential to upset a lot of theories.  Creationists claim to have found unfossilized bone and cartilage.  This could call into question the whole idea that dinosaurs went extinct millions of years ago. 
Let the impact theory be a lesson about how one generation’s accepted truth might become the next generation’s trash.  The real impact was not from a meteorite, but from propaganda, the power of a fictional story made real by artistic computer graphics and doled out by authoritative-sounding experts.
Next headline on: Dinosaurs.
Scientists Harness Cell’s Machines as Robots   02/26/2002
Nano-robots have been designed to map out surfaces of materials at 20-nanometer resolution, according to an article in
Nature Science Update.  The University of Washington team harnessed cell scaffolding called microtubules that are ferried about by cell motors called kinesins.
This underscores the fact that kinesins are indeed true machines; we can get into the driver’s seat and drive them around.  They are freely called motors in the literature.  The old argument by Scottish skeptical philosopher David Hume is dead, that living tissue could not be compared to artificial machines, like wristwatches.   Enlightenment rationalists have used this argument to combat William Paley’s “Divine Watchmaker” argument for the existence of God.  But now, in our time, the discoveries in molecular cell biology have resurrected Paley’s argument and given it increased force.
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry. • Next headline on: Intelligent Design.
PBS Clears the Air on Scopes Trial   02/25/2002
In his Weekly Wedge Update for Feb. 25,
Phillip Johnson says that PBS has done a service to dispel myths about the Scopes Trial in their recent airing of Monkey Trial, Feb. 17.  He states, “You may assume on the basis of their record that WGBH and PBS would present only Darwinist propaganda, but you would be mistaken.  Perhaps WGBH is trying to atone for its sins.  MT totally demolishes the ‘Inherit The Wind’ myth of the Scopes trial and tells all kinds of truth about the event and the participants, truth that has long been suppressed or distorted.”
Johnson also recommends an article by Barry Commoner in the February 2002 Harper’s, which, he claims, inadvertently debunks neo-Darwinism while debunking myths about DNA.  Commoner seeks to dispel the “central dogma” of molecular biology, that DNA alone is the sole repository of the code of life, arguing that the proteome is just as important.
The movie Inherit the Wind is a classic propaganda piece geared to make evolutionists look respectable and critics of evolution (particularly Bible-believing Christians) look like bigoted obscurantists.  Those familiar with what actually took place in the Scopes Trial (1925 in Dayton, Tennessee) know that William Jennings Bryan stuck to the issue while evolutionists held a media circus with loaded words, ridicule, and other propaganda flying fast and furious.  Inherit the Wind did not claim to be a re-enactment of the Scopes Trial (the names of characters were changed, etc.), so that its producers were free to lie and invent incidents out of thin air, but everybody knows the Scopes Trial was the basis for the movie.  It’s good that some historical facts are coming to light to clear the air, but caution is still advised for any PBS treatment of such a heated subject.  The old Inherit the Wind, however, should be viewed only as a case study in twisting history to advance a point of view.
Next headline on: Movies.
Crabs Evolved Five Times   02/25/2002
A paper by Morrison et al in the Feb 22
Biological Proceedings of the Royal Society claims that gene sequence studies show that the crab-like form evolved five times independently, “a remarkable case of parallel evolution.” Some crabs are so similar that observers have a hard time telling they come from different lineages.  The authors explain that in convergent evolution, selective forces in the environment produce similar structures (such as in streamlining in sharks and in marine reptiles), but in parallel evolution (such as crabs), no selective forces are known: “More enigmatic are cases in which a group of organisms seem to have a tendency to produce the same form or structures repeatedly, but in which the basis for selection is not so obvious.”  They postulate that some developmental mechanism must lead to this body form, and it appears to be irreversible.  But they admit they cannot say for certain why the crab body has evolved so many times independently.
Something is seriously wrong with this hypothesis.  How can anyone believe the highly unlikely crab form appeared not once, not twice, but five times independently, with some so similar that a casual observer would not be able to tell them apart?  Darwinists keep saying that evolution is directionless; that it is unlikely that aliens would ever look like us, for instance.  But here you have them saying five different families of organisms are all walking the same road.  How can “parallel evolution” even exist within a strict understanding of Darwinism?  The terms parallel evolution and convergent evolution are vacuous terms; they are merely equivocations designed to save Darwinism from the evidence.
Here we have another serious case of molecular phylogeny disagreeing with phenotypic phylogeny (see also this Feb 6 headline about birds and many more in the back issues).  DNA comparisons are not proving to be the help to Darwinism that was hoped.  If chance is the author of nature, why did it go to such lengths to make organisms look like they were designed?
Next headline on: Bugs and arthropods. • Next headline on: Darwinism and evolutionary theory.
Meteorites Pose Puzzle for Solar System Age   02/22/2002
“If their analysis of two major components is correct, ‘the whole idea about the chronology of the solar nebula can be wrong,’ said Alexander Krot, associate researcher at the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology,” reports the
Honolulu Star Bulletin Feb 19.  What’s the problem?  Chondrules and calcium-aluminum rich inclusions (CAIs) in two meteorites are hinting that planets formed early on in the solar nebula: “Originally, it was thought the disk lasted 50 million years around the sun before planets formed, he [Alexander Krot, associate researcher] said.  That shrank to 10 million years, and now people are talking about the solar nebula lasting 1 million to 5 million years, he said.”  The researchers suspect that the two types of materials, long thought to have formed at different epochs, may have nothing to do with age, but with where they were formed.  The researchers dated the CAIs to 4.568 billion years, published in the Feb 8 issue of Science.
The thing to note in this story is not the bluffing about ages, but the internal inconsistency of theories.  They cannot speak dogmatically about planet formation processes, because their models are built on imagination.  Planetary Scientist Edward Scott at the HIG said, “It has been a tough struggle, particularly because we have to imagine what’s happening.”  The imagination is resting on philosophical assumptions about long ages and evolutionary processes of planet formation.  Alarm bells should go off when they have to cram the process of planet formation into a timeline one fiftieth what they were originally comfortable with.  Planet formation theory was already rife with problems of its own, and now this makes it worse, similar to the Cambrian explosion in biology and the rapid formation of stars in the early universe.  Does this story give you any confidence that the current “imagination” is any improvement?
Next headline on: Dating Methods.
Bacteria Survive a Big Squeeze   02/22/2002
Two kinds of bacteria continued to move and metabolize while being squeezed between diamonds, according to a paper in the
Feb 22 issue of Science.  The scientists watched them wiggle and oxidize formate under 1.6 gigapascals of pressure, equivalent to 50km deep in the earth’s crust, and act as if nothing happened when returned to ambient pressure.  They conclude, “Evidence of microbial viability and activity at these extreme pressures expands by an order of magnitude the range of conditions representing the habitable zone in the solar system.”  The BBC News also reported this story. In a related story from the NASA Astrobiology Institute, scientists found extremophiles living two miles deep in a South African gold mine, munching on rocks without benefit of photosynthesis.  They estimate these bacilli divide about once every thousand years and represent half the biomass of the earth.
While remarkable, these findings say nothing about the origin of life on Europa or Mars, a subject which is primarily the interest of the NASA Astrobiology Institute that supported them.  The authors in Science are within their bounds in stating that “The pressures encountered at the depths of thick ice caps and deep crustal subsurface may not be a limiting factor for the existence of life.”  It would be a non sequitur, however, to deduce that these locales have life, or that life could originate there by chance.  The capabilities of life to deal with extreme environments require extreme engineering.  Time and chance are not engineers; they are the wrecking crew.
Next headline on: Origin of Life.
Plants Rate High in IQ   02/22/2002
According to Anthony Trewavas in the
Feb 21 issue of Nature, plants deserve our respect: they’re pretty darn smart.
For centuries, plants have been regarded as passive creatures.  Their development is thought to be predetermined, with only temporary interruptions in response to stress.  Because plants lack obvious visible movement, they seem to be bereft of behaviour and intelligence.  Yet they dominate every landscape, representing 99% of the biomass of the Earth.  There is a clear conflict between the commonly held view and the success of plant life.  Only now are we beginning to expose the remarkable complexity of plant behaviour.  A revolution is sweeping away the detritus of passivity, replacing it with an exciting dynamic - the investigation of plant intelligence is becoming a serious scientific endeavour.
Trewavas describes the many problems plants have had to solve “from their evolutionary beginnings.”  He provides examples of plants that almost seem to be assessing their surroundings and making decisions.  He says that research into the field of plant communication has exploded in recent years, then asks the question if our concept of intelligence, related as it is to movement, is adequate.  Plants seem to act smart in spite of the lack of a central nervous system.  “How is such intelligent behaviour computed without a brain?” he asks.  “The challenge is set - remarkable years of discovery lie ahead.”
Is software intelligent?  Software applications in industrial robots and autonomous vehicles can be pretty sophisticated.  You could watch a pilotless aircraft and conclude it was intelligent.  Plants have some of the most intricate hardware and software humans have ever encountered, but that does not make them able to originate their own code.  The examples are interesting, but the author honors the creature rather than the Creator.
Next headline on: Plants.
Deep-Sea Extremophiles Eat Tungsten   02/22/2002
Bacteria found near deep-sea vents use tungsten instead of molybdenum as a key metabolic nutrient, says the
NASA Astrobiology Institute in an article “From Lightbulbs to Life.”  Tungsten has an extremely high melting point (6192o F.).  These organisms live at temperatures at the sea-level boiling point of water.  A Princeton chemist comments about the substitute nutrient, “They have the capability of playing the same roles.  What is really interesting is that the rest of the proteins - which make up the largest part of the entity - are not at all similar.  Thus, molybdenum and tungsten enzymes seem to point to a case of convergent evolution.  Nature picked related elements to perform similar functions. ... Biology is very resourceful.  You never know exactly how Nature is going to compensate, how it is going to replace one thing with something else”
Evolutionists are magicians who are experts at sleight-of-mind.  They invoke the spirit of Nature with a capital N, and wave their magic wand of convergent evolution whenever Nature needs to do a trick.
Next headline on: Origin of Life.
Bewildering Complexity – RNA Editing   02/21/2002
Feb 22 issue of Cell contains a paper by Alabama biochemist Stephen J. Hajduk entitled “Editing Machines: The Complexities of Trypanosome RNA Editing.”  RNA editing is critical to the accurate building of molecular machines like ATP synthase vital to cells.  The author asks, “How many proteins does it take to edit an RNA?”
Recent studies, using conventional protein purification, homology modeling, and mass spectrometric analysis, have focused on identifying the components of editing complexes.  This is an important yet somewhat bewildering exercise since at least a dozen proteins have been identified that putatively contribute to RNA editing in trypanosomes.
He describes how these proteins form editing complexes, and how RNA strands pass through several iterations of editors on their way to the protein assembly plant.  In the last section, “Increasing complexities and unresolved issues,“ Hajduk states: “As we begin to understand the composition of the editing machinery, new complexities emerge.”
The author does not explain how evolution could have built this machinery.  He only notes that the machinery is “conserved” (i.e., unchanged in many types of organisms), suggesting that they had a common ancestor.  Clearly, however, he is bewildered by the complexity of the system.  There is no need to stuff the facts into an evolutionary box far too small for them.  Simply describe them and let people think.
Creationists, too, need to think about these issues.  This level of complexity is found in trypanosomes, which cause serious blood diseases, including sleeping sickness.  This fact is part of the larger question of why there is disease, suffering and death in the world today.  Many organisms responsible for disease and suffering show exquisite design.  Evolution explains everything as competition for survival.  But why would a trypanosome care whether it survives or not?  And how could such high levels of organization, involving multiple interrelated parts (editing complexes; think about it), arise without design?  On the other hand, if everything was designed, did the designer intend for the suffering?  Intelligent design is sound science but incomplete philosophy; it needs an answer to suffering. 
We mortals may not understand all the reasons, but Biblical creationism has a coherent answer.  It describes a world that was created perfect, but was cursed temporarily because of sin.  A sovereign Creator has the right to punish and judge disobedience.  The Bible clearly teaches God does so; God makes no apology for sending pestilence, disaster, and plague according to His own will, though it grieves Him, and He desires all people to repent and be saved.  The original curse could have involved modification of existing structures to become agents of harm, as a constant reminder of the consequences of sin and the imminence of death.  Yet the Bible also makes clear that God did not leave Himself without witness, showing ample proof of His goodness (Acts 14).  What better proof than to send his only Son to take the penalty we deserve?  The mixed message of creation – beauty and suffering – is deciphered in Christ.  You can be reconciled with your Creator at the foot of the cross.
Next headline on: The Cell.
Gene that Led to Insect Body Plan Alleged   02/21/2002
The Feb 21 issue of
Nature contains two papers that speculate about how insect body plans, with just three segments and six legs, might have evolved from critters with lots of segments and legs.  Their experiments suggest that just a few DNA changes were sufficient to allow early insects to lose limbs.
Evolutionary stories like this seem so ridiculous in light of the emerging vistas of cellular complexity coming to light (see next headline for example).  This latest theory is about a loss of structure, if anything (fewer limbs), not a gain of information.  What about all the other new structures that characterize insects: wings, compound eyes, guidance and control systems, and countless other autonomous robotic subsystems?  Number of segments and number of legs is nothing compared to these hurdles for evolution to explain without design.  The Hox genes studied in these papers are interesting, but they are only like master control switches during development.  Like if-then routines in software, they do not write code, but just direct how existing code functions.
Next headline on: Bugs. • Next headline on: Darwinism.
Presto!  Prestin Wins the Gold in Molecular Motor Race   02/21/2002
A “new type of molecular motor, which is likely to be of great interest to molecular cell biologists” has been discovered.  Named prestin, this protein motor, made up of 744 amino acid units, is a speed demon, ferrying negative ions across cell membranes in millionths of a second.  It appears to function as part of the mechanical amplifier in the cochlea, helping the ear to achieve its “remarkable sensitivity and frequency selectivity.” 
Nature Molecular Biology Reviews describes the unique features of this biological machine:
Prestin is a new type of biological motor.  It is entirely different from the well-known and much-studied classical cellular motors in that its function is not based on enzymatic processes, but on direct voltage-to-displacement conversion.  The action of prestin is also orders of magnitude faster than that of any other cellular motor protein, as it functions at microsecond rates.
Prestin has an external voltage sensor that causes it to respond.  Its action apparently mediates changes in length of the outer hair cells of the cochlea, greatly amplifying the responsiveness of vibrations reaching the inner ear.  The illustration in the article shows how the cochlear amplifier works to provide variable, automatic, amplitude-dependent response.  The “gain” on low-level signals can be 1000-fold, but intense signals are not amplified.  This allows the brain to hear very faint signals but not get saturated by loud ones.
Update 02/26/2002: A paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes prestin further and finds that it is dependent on regulation by thyroid hormone.
Interesting that other cellular motors are called “classical”: the whole field of molecular motors is almost brand new.  Every time a motor is found in living cells is cause for astonishment.  There are hundreds of them.  This one goes directly from voltage to force, without requiring other enzymes.  If it is true that prestin is crucial in the inner ear amplifier system, it is another one of a host of finely-crafted parts that enable us to hear, by converting mechanical waves in the air to electrical signals sent to the brain. 
Sound begins as miniscule pressure waves in the air.  These are first channeled by the outer ear into a tunnel, where they set up vibrations in the eardrum, then are transmitted mechanically through three lever-action bones to the inner ear, then are amplified by hair cells in the cochlea (each responding to its own characteristic frequency), which open and close ion channels that send electrical pulses down the auditory nerves.  The brain, then, sorts out all this information to determine frequency, amplitude, direction, and meaning.
Delays in hearing could be dangerous.  The rapid response of prestin and all the other components of our amazing sound system helps us to hear in real time.  Scientists are just now beginning to understand the details of operation of the long-mysterious cochlea, with its keyboard-like rows of inner hair cells and outer hair cells that expand and contract in perpendicular directions.  It is far more wondrous than we could have imagined; who would have thought it included direct-drive motors with microsecond response?
See also our Feb. 7 headline on this subject.
Next headline on: The Cell. • Next headline on: Human Body. • Next amazing story.
Human Brain Not Bigger than Ape Brain   02/20/2002
It’s not the volume, but the wiring, claims a new study in Nature Neuroscience, summarized by
Scientific American.  A team from the University of California at San Diego studied MRI scans of 24 monkeys and apes and 10 humans, and found that the frontal cortex, the supposed seat of human wisdom and understanding, was not proportionally larger than expected for a primate of our stature.  This undermines evolutionary theories that an enlargement of the frontal lobe is what gave early humans the capacity for increased cognition and intelligence.
It is simplistic to assume that the size of the bucket is a measure of the quality of the contents.  None other than evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould in The Mismeasure of Man has berated early evolutionists for using brain size as a judge of intelligence.  Time to revise the TV documentaries (again): “A lot of the story is entirely unknown, and the results of a new study suggest that some of what scientists thought they knew may actually require revision” (emphasis added).  Well I’ll be.  Shazam.
Next headline on: Early Man.
Are Creationists a “Small Minority” Threatening School Science?   02/19/2002
Rodger Doyle in
Scientific American claims creationists are changing school standards although being a “small minority.”  Answers in Genesis responds that Scientific American is guilty of distortions and perpetuation of myths in its story.
Doyle’s report has a color-coded map of United States evolution-teaching standards that is interesting (interpret with caution).  Read both sides and think critically
Next headline on: Schools.
New Dinosaurs Raise New Questions   02/18/2002
Paul Sereno, dinosaur hunter, speaking at the
American Association for the Advancement of Science last week, surprised participants with descriptions of exotic new dinosaurs his team has uncovered in Niger, including super-croc, tiny “duck crocs,” and a 45-foot fern-mowing sauropod with 1000 needle-shaped teeth.  He claims the fossil record of dinosaurs has been transformed in the last decade, but mysteries remain:
“Why did it take 50 million years for dinosaurian predators and herbivores to reach their maximum body size but mammals only a handful?“ he asked.  “And, why is there so much empty ecospace during the Mesozoic, in comparison to mammals during the Cenozoic?  Where are the burrowers, the climbers, the aquatic specialists?”
The answers, Sereno suggested, lie in the posture and body size of early dinosaurs and the constraints these imposed on all subsequent evolution.  Computer simulation of the fragmenting dinosaur world, Sereno says, will help us unravel the large-scale rules at work.
Sereno also showed a wishbone from a primitive carnivore which he claims establishes an evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds, even though the bone played a “very different role” between them.
The word “primitive” has embedded evolutionary assumptions.  The “primitive carnivore,” like every other creature, was a highly complex animal well adapted to its habitat.  If it had a wishbone for a very different role than used in birds, only faith makes it an evolutionary link to birds.  Left unexplained are the many differences, such as scales v. feathers, and the totally different lung design between reptiles and birds, a difference that molecular biologist Michael Denton has described as an unbridgeable gap for gradualistic evolution (each step needing to provide more fitness than the prior model).
What Sereno has showcased is a variety of interacting, well-adapted creatures with remarkable diversity.  But there is more diversity today between insects than between dinosaurs.  Diversity is not evolution.  The fitting together of these bones into a family tree is a belief imposed on the evidence, as illustrated by Sereno’s unanswered questions.  Sereno presumes they will be answered by studies of body size and posture of early dinosaurs.  But why would body size or posture constrain evolution?  There is a wide diversity of sizes and postures in every group of animals today; if size or posture were constraints, would not fitness favor extremes?  If not, does evolution explain anything at all?  The idea is self defeating. 
The computer modeling Sereno advocates cannot substitute for field observation.  As we have seen before, such computer modeling is usually built on a priori assumptions of evolution, then used to demonstrate evolution.  Thus it is a case of petitio principii.  The observational facts of diversity and adaptation cannot be claimed as exclusive properties of evolutionary theory.
Next headline on: Dinosaurs.
Window for Life is Narrow, Claims Astrobiologist   02/18/2002
Norman Pace at the
University of Colorado at Boulder, renowned astrobiologist and recent winner of a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation, said at the Boston AAAS meeting this week that the best chances to find life beyond earth are outside our solar system.  Neither Mars or Europa look promising, he feels.
Pace knows a lot about organisms that can survive extreme environments on earth, but no one knows that life exists anywhere else.  Like many astrobiologists, he defines life in terms of evolution: he speaks of “the intrinsic fragility and complex organic systems coupled with the powerful force of natural selection....”  The fragility and complexity of life are unquestionable.  Natural selection, however, is not a powerful force.  It is not a force at all.  Whoever believes natural selection can create life and evolve it into sentient beings is engaging in the fallacy of chance of the gaps.
Next headline on: Origin of Life. • Next headline on: Solar System.
Renowned Inventor Calls Pastors to Preach Against Evolution from the Pulpit   02/17/2002
Exclusive  Dr. Raymond V. Damadian, our
featured creation scientist of the month, sharing his testimony at Frazier Park Evangelical Free Church in California, described how prayer played an essential role in the development of the MRI scanner.  Founder and president of Fonar Corporation, Dr. Damadian told how he had grown up convinced of evolution until he began reading creation evidences in books such as those by Henry Morris.  He turned his final comments toward pastors: “The battle of the beginning, as John MacArthur calls it – and our theologians cannot run from it.  They need to learn this evidence and preach it from the pulpit.  The Battle for the Beginning is not the property of the scientists.”
The prior evening, Dr. Damadian was featured speaker at the annual George F. Howe Creation Symposium at The Master’s College.  He described the development of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), the invention that earned him entry into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.  He explained how it works, and shared the prospects for the near future, when surgeons will be able to precisely target therapeutic agents directly to cancers while working in MRI Operating Rooms which Fonar Corporation has recently developed.  But Damadian spent a good deal of time also describing creation evidences that have convinced him of the absolute authority and trustworthiness of the Bible.  He said that, putting it gently, evolution is a fraud and that “an undevout scientist must be mad.”  He reprimanded Christians who have never read the Bible cover to cover, stressing that reading it all, without qualification, is essential to understanding its true sense and full message.
Next headline on: The Bible.
Early Man (and Theory): Evolve or Perish   02/15/2002
Just as early man had to adapt to changing climates rapidly to survive, theories of the evolution of early man are also evolving quickly, but not in any particular direction.  In two News Focus articles on “Becoming Human” in the
Feb 15 issue of Science, Michael Balter discusses current controversies about what distinguishes humans from apes.  The longer article, “What Made Humans Modern?” reaches no conclusions but just watches the political football game that modern anthropology has become.  Cambridge anthropologist Daniel Lieberman thinks skull and face shape are the defining characteristics of modern humanity, but others retort that the first signs of culture and intelligence come tens of thousands of years after anatomically modern humans appeared.  Some think a few genetic switches made the difference, others argue that many changes had to take place.  Some think changes had to be slow and gradual (evolutionary), others propose human intelligence experienced a big bang (revolutionary).  Some think modern man arose out of Africa, others think humanness arose in different parts of the world simultaneously (here’s one claiming Europe as the seat of human evolution.  Some trust the molecular clock, others don’t.  Some think Neandertals were brutish, some think they were as smart as modern humans.  It seems every idea has its critics, every solution breeds new problems, and each new discovery overturns previously sacred beliefs.  Balter covers the fruitcake with this frosting: “There may be few sure answers so far, but one thing seems certain: Sometime during the last 200,000 years or so, evolution blessed us with the wisdom to ask the questions.”
Balter’s second article in the same issue, “Why Get Smart?” discusses the theory of some anthropologists that intelligence evolved in response to rapid climate changes. 
To us humans, it may seem that smarter is always better.  But only once in the history of life on Earth did natural selection favor the evolution of brains sophisticated enough to send people to the moon, paint the Mona Lisa, or wonder about their own origins.  However that evolution unfolded ... most anthropologists think that advanced human cognition was no evolutionary accident but an adaptation to a challenging environment.
Balter discusses Richard Potts’ theory of “variability selection,” the emergence of capabilities to deal with rapidly changing environments.  He quotes Steven Pinker, “The minds of our ancestors were not hardwired with specific strategies for felling mastodons but with more general categories....”
Balter’s concluding line from the first article easily qualifies for Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week: “There may be few sure answers so far [understatement], but one thing seems certain [name anything that seems certain in the article; if the observations are contradictory, how can the conclusion be certain?]: Sometime during the last 200,000 years or so [plus or minus 195,000 years], evolution blessed us with the wisdom to ask the questions.” Good grief; what is evolution, a goddess?
Do you see what is going on here?  Lack of evidence is juxtaposed with authoritative pronouncements.  We spend some time on this News Focus series in Science (see also next headline) to point out the contrast between the vacuum of evidence and the almost ex cathedra authority with which these scientists speak.  Here we are, almost 150 years beyond Darwin’s Descent of Man, and paleoanthropology is still at square one.  But in spite of this fact, evolutionary anthropologists speak out of both sides of their mouths to mislead and confuse.  On one side they moan and groan over the paucity of evidence and all the contradictions.  On the other side, they speak with glib na´vetÚ about how humans evolved, assigning godlike powers to climate or skulls as if they can produce brains capable of abstract reasoning and building rockets to the moon.  Evolutionists have something better than God to work their miracles: chance!
So convinced are they that humans evolved from animals, despite the utter lack of evidence, that all this cognitive dissonance is viewed as normal.  It wouldn’t occur to them in their wildest dreams to consider that God created man for a purpose, even though that is what the majority of Americans believe.  No, that would not be “scientific.”  See our Baloney Detector on the Best-in-Field Fallacy.  When creation has been ruled out from the starting gun, and all you have on the track are the lame, the blind and the disoriented, then any one of them that is ahead an inch at the moment is by default the reigning world champion. 
Next headline on: Early Man. • Next dumb story.
Into the Trash: Old Ideas About Early Man   02/15/2002
The Feb. 15 issue of
Science Magazine has four articles on early man.  One “State of the Disunion” address by Ann Gibbons, “ BECOMING HUMAN: In Search of the First Hominids”, describes the disarray in which paleontologists find themselves because of new findings that are challenging old views (emphasis added):
The first surprise is that more than one type of hominid may have been living between 6 million and 5 million years ago and that these very early hominids show diversity in their teeth and anatomy.  That suggests a period of hominid evolution even earlier than most researchers have believed and also prompts questions about how reliably the molecular clock is calibrated ...
Into the trash, in fact, may go the very definition of what it means to be a hominid, as there is now little agreement on what key traits identify an exclusively human ancestor.  Nor is there agreement on which species led to Homo, or even whether the fossils represent different species or variation within a single species.  “Preconceptions of a large-toothed, fully bipedal, naked ape standing in the Serengeti 6 million years ago are X-Files paleontology,” says [Berkeley anthropologist Tim] White.  “What we’re learning is we have to approach this fossil record stripped of our preconceptions of what it means to be a hominid.”
Gibbons describes how the two-decade reign of Lucy as first hominid is over, and how the origin of bipedalism may have to be described as “yo-yo evolution” in the words of Martin Pickford of France.  The caption of a new proposed timeline says, “Who begat whom?  Researchers have a new view of hominid diversity through time, but the picture is full of question marks–indicating uncertainty about dates, classification, and lines of descent.”  The spate of recent finds like Kenyanthropus, Millennium Man, Chad Man, etc. (follow the Chain Links on ApeMan) are either contradictory or describe not an evolutionary tree but a branching bush.  The diversity between the putative ancestors appears from the very beginning.  Moreover, it appears that some ancient apes may have been bipedal, removing a long-held defining criterion of hominids.  Bernard Wood of George Washington University tells his students, “I’m sorry, but I don’t know how to distinguish the earliest hominid from the earliest chimp ancestor anymore.”
The article tries to keep an optimistic tone about what might turn up, but clearly these statements are damaging.  Anyone who has faith that paleoanthropologists have any credible story of man’s descent from ape-like ancestors should read this article by Marvin Lubenow who has followed reports of human evolution for over 20 years.  The situation is worse now.  Today’s article basically says, (again), “Everything you were taught in school and in National Geographic and on the Discovery Channel is wrong.”  Paleoanthropologists are farther away from a solution than they were two years ago.
Here’s our solution: turn around, and repent of this thine evolutionary storytelling.  Instead, look at recorded history, and thou shalt find who begat whom.  Luke’s genealogy, derived from Genesis 4 and 10 fits the observations perfectly by omitting conjured-up speculations about ape in our ancestry: “... Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” 
Next headline on: Early Man. (See also next headline.)
Evolutionary Anthropologists Stretch Their Dates   02/15/2002
A million here, a few million there, pretty soon it adds up to real money, Senator Everett Dirksen used to say.  Paleoanthropologists seem to have the same flexibility with their timelines as politicians do with our tax dollars, the way Ann Gibbons describes molecular dating in the
Feb 15 Science, in a news focus entitled, “BECOMING HUMAN: New Fossils Raise Molecular Questions”.  Evolutionists have clung to a theory that humans and chimpanzees last shared a common ancestor about 5 to 7 million years ago (emphasis added):
But with paleontologists uncovering two or more hominids already on different evolutionary paths by about 6 million years ago ... some researchers say that the timing is getting too close for comfort.  By molecular reckoning, before 7 million years ago there shouldn’t even be a clear “hominid” lineage.  That raises the question: “Has our molecular clock been correctly calibrated?” asks Phillip Tobias of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.  For now, there’s enough fudge in both kinds of data to make a consistent scenario, but some geneticists are reviewing their calculations.
To help provide more time, Swedish geneticist Ulfur Arnason thinks he can push back the ape-man divergence point to between 10.5 and 13.5 million years ago.
The key word here is fudge.  It’s Skinner’s Constant in action: that quantity which, when added to, subtracted from, multiplied or divided by the answer you got, gives you the answer you should have gotten.  Apparently evolutionists have “enough fudge ... to make a consistent scenario” which translates, “enough pure faith to maintain their a priori assumptions.”  This article makes it clear that molecular clock dating is based squarely on evolutionary assumptions of when animals diverged, making it a classic case of circular reasoning, using evolution to prove evolution.  We reported a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on October 10 that molecular dating is unreliable.
Next headline on: Dating Methods.
Animal Sex Is War, Not Love   02/14/2002
Just in time for Valentine’s Day is a story to take the romance out of your relationship: sex evolved as a battle.  A press release at the
University of Toronto, based on a paper in the Feb 14 Nature by Swedish researchers, explains that the battle of the sexes led to an evolutionary arms race, with males evolving means to subdue the females, and females retaliating with means to resist the males (has anything changed?).  They use the example of water striders whose males have hooks on their antennae to hold onto the female, while the female has spines to hold him at bay.  One of the researchers explains,
Males of most animal species benefit from mating often with as many partners as possible while females, who are already mated, lose from mating too much.  Males, therefore, seek to ‘convince’ females to mate while females evolve resistance measures to foil the male’s mating attempts.
The press release admits, however, that “Such arms races are, however, very difficult to study. ... The fact that the male and female adaptations counterbalance each other means that the underlying conflicts often remain hidden.  Thus, while both sexes may be frantically battling in an evolutionary sense, their match essentially remains at a standstill.”
Let’s stop putting human emotions into insect heads, shall we?  Water striders could not care less about the benefits of sex, strategizing, or convincing potential partners.  They don’t care about anything.  They just do what comes naturally, like little robots.  Evolutionary theory has a story for everything: sexual dimorphism and monomorphism, brilliant colors and dull colors, struggle and acquiescence, selfishness and altruism.  Has it really explained anything at all? 
Next dumb story.
Happy Valentine’s Day anyway.  Practice some love and altruism.
Another Dino-Bird Missing Link Found   02/14/2002
A news release from the
Field Museum of Chicago claims that a small chicken-size dinosaur named Sinovenator found in China is the missing link between dinosaurs and birds.  The fossilized bird “probably had feathers” and is about the same age as Archaeopteryx.  The find is published in the Feb 14 issue of Nature.
Update 03/07/2002: in the March 7 Nature, scientists claim to have found another Dromeosaur fossil with pinnate feathers identical to those on birds.  This came from the same Liaoning area of China where similar finds have been alleged.  The authors claim this shows feathers evolved before flight.
Always separate the facts from the interpretations.  The bones are the facts.  The dates and ancestries are interpretations.  Note that word “probably” about the feathers.  Even though the artwork shows them, none were found.  The scientific paper is more cautious than the press; it just states that a few bones are bird-like, and that it is the oldest known troodontid dinosaur.  The article admits the phylogeny of the troodontids is hotly debated, and attributes some of the debatable features to the evolutionary trick card “convergent evolution.”  What may be just as important about this story as the claims, is what is not said, or what will be disputed, or found out later.  Evolutionists have been known to exaggerate.
Next headline on: Birds. • Next headline on: Dinosaurs. • Next headline on: Fossils.
State of the Evo-Devo Address   02/14/2002
Wallace Arthur in a review article in the
Feb 14 Nature reports on “The emerging conceptual framework of evolutionary developmental biology” (evo-devo for short).  Evo-devo is a hot new area of evolutionary research, concerned with the relation of the developing embryo–its pathways, including epigenetic influences–and classical Darwinian selection, which operates at the phenotype level.  Evo-devo represents a confluence of sorts between geneticists, embryologists, and evolutionary biologists, who have tended to be somewhat isolated.  Their enthusiasm revolves primarily around the discovery of highly-conserved developmental genes (homeobox or Hox genes) that control major body plans; this was highlighted in the PBS TV series Evolution as a promising answer to a fundamental mystery in evolutionary theory: how do major changes in body plans occur?
So how is evo-devo doing these days?  Arthur examines in detail two of five major areas of conceptual debate among evo-devo biologists: (1) Developmental reprogramming and bias: i.e., the path from mutated gene to altered mature organism, what he calls “a mutationally driven change in something that is itself a state of change,” but cautions that this concept needs to be interpreted carefully, taking into account epigenetic factors (factors beyond just genes that can influence development).  (2) Co-option and paramorphism: i.e., whether existing genes or gene “cassettes” can be recycled for other purposes (co-option) or modified into new structures (paramorphs).  (Neither of these concepts is supported by much experimental work, Arthur confesses.)  He asks whether evo-devo is approaching a synthesis, but cautions that there is still much we don’t understand and much work to do: “In other words, we should attack the problem at both ends–its origins in terms of mutation and reprogramming within species, and its long-term results, manifested as accumulated evolutionary divergence over hundreds of millions of years.”
The impression reading this is that evo-devo biologists really know very little at all.  Evo-devo involves generalized concepts only, with no rigorous testing, and arguments on both sides of every point.  Like most evolutionary theory, it is a patchwork of just-so stories connected at a few isolated points by observation, shrouded in jargon that sounds impressive, but signifying nothing you can grab onto.  It is so slippery, it explains convergence and divergence, stasis and rapid change.  Whenever something puzzling is found, appeals are made to the magic words convergent evolution and selection, or another hypothetical concept is introduced.  There is the usual lament that much is poorly understood and more rigorous testing needs to be done (which never seems to show up).  Should anybody have confidence in this group of blind guides?
Evolutionists often reply that Well, at least we are trying to understand it by scientific means.  They fail to recognize that their primary assumptions might be flawed, and they are hopelessly wandering in circles or in the wrong direction, and will never get closer to a solution until they turn around.  It’s interesting to note that Arthur calls Haeckel’s famous 1866 “biogenetic law” wrong (or, if partly true, only in a very general way, not in the details of his popular but faked drawings).  But Haeckel with his catchy phrase Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny was the father of a then-accepted evo-devo paradigm that has since fallen into disfavor.  We are not building on Haeckel’s progress, therefore; it’s like starting over.  But there is no basis for confidence that history is not repeating itself here.  Everywhere we look in genetics and development, we see complexity on a vast scale.  Trying to force-fit these wonders into a mindset of chance and purposelessness appears doomed from the starting assumptions.  In a hundred years, will biologists be looking with the same scorn at today’s paradigm?  Not all motion is progress; it might just be commotion.
Next headline on: Darwinism.
Answers in Genesis posted a response to the claims the Hox genes demonstrate evolution.  See also a recent article by William Dembski on why natural selection cannot create anything.
Navy Wants to Know: How Do Animals Excel at Lift?   02/14/2002
Certain fish and insects seem to be masters of efficient lift, and the
Office of Naval Research wants to learn from the gurus.
What do the hawkmoth, the fruit fly, and the bird-wrasse fish all have in common?  Over millions of years, each of these animals seems to have figured out how to achieve high-lift in their respective medium .... quickly, and with more stability and less heave, pitch, yaw, torque, drag and cavitation than man-made machines have yet been able to approach.  The Office of Naval Research wants to know how they do it.
The secret: just sit around for millions of years.  Time works all miracles.
Next headline on: Fish. •Next headline on: Bugs.
Doctor’s Orders: Get Off the Sofa and Get Active   02/13/2002
The generation following
The Greatest Generation is fat and lazy, says the American Physiological Society  Raised on TV, obese, lethargic and addicted to pleasure, they are crippling their own health and that of future generations.  Primary care physicians need to be the first line to play drill sergeant: Get off the sofa and get active!
There’s nothing on TV worth watching anyway.  Go take a hike.
Next headline on: Health.
Article 02/13/2002:  On the Discovery Institute website, senior fellow David Berlinski has an article for the March 1 issue of Discover magazine entitled “Einstein & Gödel.”  Berlinski compares and contrasts the German physicist and the German mathematician whose lives became intertwined in common interests but different priorities and personalities, and whose theories changed our modern perceptions of space and time.  Berlinski describes Kurt Gödel as a neo-Platonist who believed the world was rational, and a theist who rejected evolution and believed in an afterlife.  “He dismissed the Darwinian theory of evolution,” Berlinski claims, “ and declared flatly that ‘materialism was false.’”
Next headline on: Physics.

Rotating Gate in the Cell Membrane a “Beautiful Design”   02/12/2002
Another gateway into the cell has been explored, and it’s a beauty, say the three biochemists who describe it in the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Feb 12 online preprint.  This one is called KcsA, a potassium ion channel that is critically important for nerve impulses in humans, but also is used by bacteria.  KcsA is one of many membrane proteins that are subjects of intense scrutiny by biochemists.  It is so effective, it can let in 10,000 potassium (K+) ions for every unwanted sodium ion (Na+), even though sodium ions are smaller but have same charge. 
How the KcsA channel does this was a surprise.  Apparently, four helical rod-shaped parts rotate clockwise in such a way as to keep parts of the gate rigid while allowing other parts to flex.  To picture this in a simplified way, visualize four chopsticks hanging vertically, forming a square looking from the top down.  Each stick has a pivot point about 1/3 of the way down, allowing it to rock.  The bottom ends of the sticks are bundled together in the shape of an inverted teepee, in such a way that as each stick pivots, the bottoms trace out a circle.  Moving in concert, they cause a rotary motion that allows the potassium ions funnelling into the stiff upper part, the “selectivity filter” wide berth as they exit into the interior of the cell.  The selectivity filter, like a one-way ID-checking turnstile, attracts positive potassium ions but keeps unwanted molecules out. 
The authors explain how only a clockwise rotation allows the gate to work.  They did not state the rotation rate of the gate, but it must be phenomenal; the throughput of KcsA is an astonishing 100 million ions per second, very near the diffusion limit.  The authors apparently could not help expressing a little awe in their otherwise straightforward scientific paper; they used the word “design” twice: “The interplay of the two pivot points is a beautiful design by nature for solving the gating problem of KcsA,” and “The swinging rotational motion of TM2 helices with two pivot regions is an exquisite design by nature to ensure an effective gating of KcsA without having to loosen up the structural integrity near the intracellular side of channel in the open state.”

It’s hard not to gasp at what scientists are discovering every week in cellular biology.  Who would have thought that your muscles, nerves, and brain functions are made possible by such wondrous mechanisms as these?  Who can continue to believe that such molecular motors and machines could ever self-organize without intelligent design?
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry. • Next amazing story.  See also a related story from Jan 16 about the chloride channel.
Dino Vomit Found   02/12/2002
To some people at least, what a dinosaur barfed is interesting. 
Reuters News Service reports that English paleontologist Peter Doyle found the fossilized upchuck in a quarry and claims it regurgitated from the mouth of an ichthyosaur 160 million years ago, making it the oldest dinosaur vomit yet found.  See also this summary in Nature Science Update.
One of our readers asks perceptively, “How would it have remained intact, not decomposed and flushed away by rain and wind?”  (Try an experiment next time you call Ralph at the beach.)
Next headline on: Dinosaurs. • Next headline on: Fossils.
Saturn Described as Lord of the [Young] Rings   02/12/2002
Science @ NASA says that Saturn’s rings are still a mystery 400 years after their discovery.  Jeff Cuzzi, planetary scientist, says there are two reasons they cannot be as old as the solar system: (1) they are too bright (interplanetary dust should blacken them over time), and (2) they would have spread out by now due to exchanges of angular momentum between the inner moons and the ring particles.  “This is a young dynamical system,” he explains.  He suggests they might have formed a few hundred million years ago by a collision of asteroids, or from a wandering moon that traveled too close.  A few hundred million years from now, they will be gone.  The article muses, “We can only be sure that Saturn’s rings are lovely now.  And if they are indeed fleeting, as such ages are reckoned for stars and planets, their short life makes them even more wonderful.”
Actually, the situation is more difficult than this article describes.  There are other forces working to disrupt the rings on time scales much shorter than the assumed age of the solar system.  Gas drag is drawing the inner particles in, while micrometeorite impacts and sputtering by atomic particles are blasting them away.  Sunlight pressure (the Poynting-Robertson effect) should have caused many of the particles to spiral into the planet by now.  100 million years sounds like a long time, but it is only one fiftieth the assumed age of the solar system.  Other estimates have put the age of the rings at an upper limit of a few tens of millions of years, or a few hundred thousand years, or less. 
The particles in Jupiter’s rings are the size of smoke dust.  They would quickly be obliterated if not continuously fed by the inner moons Metis and Adrastea, but that supply cannot last forever either.  The rings of Uranus and Neptune are also tenuous and short-lived.  These facts do not prove the solar system is young; they are just additional hurdles that planetary scientists have to overcome, concocting improbable ad hoc scenarios to maintain their sacred parameter that “the solar system is 4.5 billion years old.”  Maybe some day when enough anomalies prove intractable (comets, Io’s volcanoes, lunar recession, as possibilities), a planetary scientist will arise with enough courage to question the sacred parameter itself.
Next headline on: Solar System. • Next headline on: Dating Methods.
Why Snowballs Feel Cold   02/11/2002
Scientists have found a new skin receptor that senses cold, but it may just be the tip of the iceberg, says
Nature Science Update.  According to two new studies, there may be an entire class of previously unknown receptors that open ion channels in nerve cells to give us the sensation of temperature.  One researcher called this “totally unknown and extremely interesting.”  Nature describes the effect of these receptors: “A snowball in the face or a chilly breeze around the ankles opens a molecular trap door in our skin’s nerve cells.” The article concludes,
Like any well-engineered system, the body’s temperature-sensing network almost certainly has back-up mechanisms.  Says [Arthur] Craig [physiologist at Barrow Neurobiological Institute, Phoenix]: “Biology is based on redundancy” - the teams are probably just working on different parts of the problem.  “We can be sure that the biology is more complex than either study,” he adds.
Notice the phrases well-engineered system and back-up mechanisms.  This is the language of intelligent design.  Evolutionists are schizophrenic.  On one side of their brain they marvel at the engineering.  On the other side they say there is no Engineer.  They want it both ways.  Sorry.
Next headline on: Human Body. • Next amazing story.
Europa’s Cracks Hint of Tides, Life   02/11/2002
Richard Greenberg of the
Lunar and Planetary Lab of the University of Arizona at Tucson writes in SpaceFlight Now that Jupiter’s moon Europa might have the conditions that favor evolution of life.  The tidal forces that have riddled the moon’s surface may hint at warm water that approaches the surface.  “The combination of tidal processes, warm waters and periodic surface exposure may be enough to not only warrant life but also encourage evolution, Greenberg said.”
Observation: cracks in a moon’s surface.  Conclusion: life.  Fascinating.
Next headline on: Solar System. • Next headline on: Origin of Life.
Third Eye Sets Biological Clock   02/08/2002
A third light-detecting mechanism in the eye, independent of rods and cones, has been discovered, reports
Feb 8 Science.  The cells and their photoreceptors appear to send their signals to the brain’s clock that governs circadian rhythms and day/night cycles.  The surprising finding is the culmination of a “burst of papers published in the past 2 months” that resulted in two reports in the current issue.  The system responds primarily to the luminance, or brightness, of the light, rather than the details of an image, as do the rods and cones.  The scientists believe this new light-detection system not only affects the body’s biological rhythms, but also controls pupil constriction and emotions: “The impact of this light-sensing system may go far beyond pupil size and the clock.  In humans, light levels can modulate mood and performance.  ‘This photoreceptor system may be incredibly important in our general physiology and well-being,’ says [Russell] Foster” of Imperial College, London.
The study of biological clocks is just coming into its heyday.  The field is not getting any less complex.  If scientists are just now finding about new “eyes”, what other wonders remain to be discovered?
Next headline on: Human Body. • Next amazing story.
Dinosaur Bones Abundant in Arctic   02/08/2002
Finding dinosaur bones in the frozen north is a job for
Roland Gangloff of the Alaska Museum, who says, “These dinosaurs were doing quite well in high latitudes in both hemispheres 110 - 65 million years ago.  They were well adapted and the evidence is so overwhelming it cries out to be understood.”  His paper published in the Feb 8 Science puzzles over how allegedly cold-blooded creatures survived in such a habitat.  He sees deposits along the Colville River as most promising for research.
There have been reports of unfossilized dinosaur bones found in Alaska, some even with blood protein traces in them that should long have decayed.  If true, they could not be as old as claimed by evolutionary theory.  Keep your eye on the anomalies, not on the conventional wisdom, which assumes evolution and geological time scales.
Next headline on: Dinosaurs. • Next headline on: Fossils. • Next headline on: Dating Methods.
How Your Ear Electronic Organ and Mixing Console Works   02/07/2002
The cover article in the
Feb 8 issue of Cell describes a new motor found in your ear.  Inside the ear is a very complex and sophisticated system that, for all practical purposes, can be described as an electronic organ and mixing console.  Have you ever been at a meeting where the sound system went berserk and feedback sent a shriek through the room?  Well, the ear has a mechanism to prevent that, and a motor called myosin is apparently involved, according to Jeffrey R. Holt and a team of eight cell biologists. 
The inner ear needs to convert (transduce) mechanical signals to electrical signals – pressure waves in the fluid of the inner ear to nerve pulses that go to the brain.  The way it does this is to use “hair bundles” of about 50 hairs that look for all the world like organ pipes (a picture is on the cover).  These hairs are tied together and bend over in response to vibrations (sound).  This bending opens up channels in the cell to which they are attached, allowing electrical ions to flow in and start nerve signals.  This is the act of transduction.  But there has to be a way to shut off the flow or tame it down, else you would have a stuck note: a flood of irritating messages hitting the brain.
That’s where adaptation comes in.  The ear has two kinds of adaptation: fast and slow, and they involve very different mechanisms.  In fast adaptation, a calcium ion enters the channel and blocks the flow; this happens within a few thousandths of a second.  A few tens of milliseconds later, slow adaptation kicks in.  In this process, a motor climbs up the hair cells and adjusts the tension of “gating springs” and relaxes the tension so that the ion channels close.
These scientists proposed myosin-1c, a member of the the myosin superfamily of motor proteins, as the probable motor that climbs up the actin filaments.  Their diagram shows actual springs (not that they are like metal springs we know, but proteins that function like them) with myosin-1c like a little ratchet motor that can climb up the hairs and adjust the tension in the springs, to relax the hair and close the channel.  In effect, the myosin acts like a mixing board operator with his fingers on sliders, adjusting the volume level on each line. ... only even more elaborate, and quicker.  Another analogy would make this like an automatic compressor-limiter.
And this study was done on mice, turtles and bullfrogs.  Human ears are no less wonderful; probably more so.  When you listen to speech or music, two million of these hair cells go into operation, with the mixing console adapting to intensities of 10 billion to one.  You can distinguish up to 300,000 pitches, far more than needed for mere survival, but abundantly adequate to enjoy music. 
The motorized compressor-limiter described by these scientists is just one part of an elaborate system that converts nearly infinitesimal pressure waves in the air into the joy of music.  Inside your head right now is one of the most complex and sophisticated sound systems imaginable: a combination microphone, electronic organ, mixing console, sound processor and stereo receiver, all automatic, all self-adjusting, able to respond to a jet takeoff or the footsteps of a cat, able to pick out a familiar voice in a crowd, able to pinpoint the direction of a sound, all self-servicing for up to a lifetime.  Don’t be deaf to the shouts of “Design!”
Next headline on: Human Body. • Next amazing story.
Macroevolution Demonstrated?   02/07/2002
Scientists at
UC Davis, publishing in the upcoming issue of Nature, claim to have discovered how major changes in body plans take place.  They describe how mutations in regulatory genes during embryonic development could change a multi-legged arthropod into a six-legged insect-like body plan.  They claim this answers the arguments of creationists that macroevolution has never been observed, and that it would be too improbable to get major leaps in evolutionary change.
The evolutionists are overplaying their card.  Read this brief response by Don Batten that Hox genes are not macroevolution’s savior.  They only switch on functions; they do not create them.  Read also this paper by Wells and Nelson that each mutation has to contribute not just novelty but improved fitness to be heritable.  The PBS Evolution program pushed this idea of rapid transformations; for responses see Answers in Genesis and Discovery Institute
Next headline on: Darwinism.
New Images of Western U.S. from Space Released   02/06/2002
Several dazzling images of Utah and the
Western United States were released at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory website today.  In time for the Winter Olympics are several shots of the Wasatch Mountains and Salt Lake City rendered from the highly successful 2000 Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, which continues to release newly-processed high-definition images each month.  Also, of special interest is a wide-sweeping view of the Western United States composited from data from the Multi-Angle Imaging Spectro-Radiometer on board the NASA Terra orbiting spacecraftClick here for the full hi-resolution image, in which volcanoes, mountains, lakes, faults, the Colorado Plateau and the Grand Canyon stand out in unprecedented detail.
Take a moment to peruse these images.  They are not only beautiful, but are sure to provide food for thought about the forces that shaped this varied and colorful part of our planet.
Next headline on: Geology. • Next amazing story.
Evolutionists Tease Bird Family Trees from DNA   02/06/2002
Royal Society Proceedings: Biological Sciences for Feb. 7 has two papers on the origin of passerine birds (which includes songbirds).  One postulates they radiated from Gondwana, based on molecular evidence: “A Gondwanan origin of passerine birds supported by DNA sequences of the endemic New Zealand wrens” by Ericson et al.  The other, “A phylogenetic hypothesis for passerine birds: taxonomic and biogeographic implications of an analysis of nuclear DNA sequence data” by Barker, Barrowclough and Groth, rearranges earlier theories with its own evidence.
These papers are valiant attempts to bring order out of chaos, but they utilize techniques and assumptions that have so much wiggle room, it’s hard to expect any confidence that their ideas will not be overturned by the next.  For instance, they assume the geological column, which is circular reasoning (using the assumption of evolution to build the column, then using the column to support evolution).  They also assume the molecular clock dating method, which we reported earlier is unreliable.  So you know right off the bat that any theorizing about evolution is going to beg the question.  Then, they compare just a few hundred or thousand base pairs of genomes that have millions of base pairs, so the evidence is selective.  Yes, they come up with models that appear to match some form of phylogenetic trees (with a lot of room for error), but it appears the very same data could be matched up equally well with other trees, or with none.  There are similarities that could as well be explained in a creation paradigm.
What’s really instructive about these papers are the admissions of doubt and uncertainty by the authors.  First, in the Barker paper (emphasis added),
  • Passerine birds comprise over half of avian diversity, but have proved difficult to classify.  Despite a long history of work on this group, no comprehensive hypothesis of passerine family-level relationships was available until recent analyses of DNA-DNA hybridization data.  Unfortunately... [They go on to describe how previous studies had not been adequately tested, but their analysis contradicts previous work...]
  • In contradiction to previous DNA-hybridization studies, our analyses suggest paraphyly...
  • The phylogenetic hypotheses inferred here from our sample of passerine nuclear-DNA sequences support some previous notions of passerine phylogeny, contradict others and offer novel insights into relationships among passerine groups.
Excerpts from the Ericson paper (emphasis added):
  • There is an apparent anomaly between these estimates and those based on the fossil record...
  • If the molecular datings are correct, the fossil record of both birds and mammals is severely biased.
  • The details of these radiations are difficult to correlate with the fossil record...
It should be apparent, in the most conservative terms, that evolution does not just “jump out” of the data.  This is not to say that the authors don’t make a case; no author is going to get published just throwing up his hands in despair.  But every solution breeds new problems.  Their resulting diagrams of family trees appear contrived, and as unsteady as a house of cards.  As we have seen many times with other groups of plants and animals, molecular phylogeny is not clarifying family trees, it is confusing them, often contradicting both the fossil evidence and the morphology.  It’s time to allow alternative hypothesis, without the requirement to force-fit contradictory data into assumptions of evolution. 
Next headline on: Darwinism. • Next headline on: Birds.
Universe or Multiverse?   02/05/2002
In a series on “Five Great Cosmic Mysteries” on
Space.Com, Andrew Chaikin asks, “Are there other universes?” 
There’s a reason some theorists want other universes to exist: They believe it’s the only way to explain why our own universe, whose physical laws are just right to allow life, happens to exist.  According to the so-called anthropic principle, there are perhaps an infinite number of universes, each with its own set of physical laws.  And one of them happens to be ours.  That’s much easier to believe, say the anthropic advocates, than a single universe “fine-tuned” for our existence.

But there’s a problem.  If these other universes exist, there's no way for us to detect them.

For this reason, some astronomers dismiss the idea as unscientific.  But Chaikin reserves room for hope; based on previous ideas that used to be considered unthinkable, like the existence of atoms, you never know what science may discover some day.
The lengths to which atheists will go to escape the obvious is amazing.  In the real universe we inhabit, we see numerous anthropic properties that make life possible.  We also see information-rich life, and we know from science that information only arises from previous information.  We also know our universe is running down and cannot be infinitely old.  We know that chance does not produce specified complexity. Why is it so hard to accept the conclusion In the beginning, God?  Why such desperation to escape to anything, including a mystical, untestable belief in multiple universes (which would not be of any help anyway), to avoid facing the Creator?  This very attitude helps affirm the truth of Romans 1:28, “They did not want to retain God in their knowledge.”  This is not scientific pursuit of truth; it is not even faith.  The Apostle Peter called it willful ignorance.
Next headline on: Cosmology.
Closer to Life in a Test Tube?   02/05/2002
Nature Science Update reports that David Lynn of Emory University has found a way to make DNA copies without enzymes, then comments, “It may even hasten the advent of synthetic biology: the creation of life from scratch.”  Normally a host of enzymes are needed to copy DNA.  Lynn was able to get copies made of a DNA template but using amide linkages, like translating English into French.  Nature claims they hope to find a way to translate it back into true DNA, like translating it back to English.  Lynn’s paper, published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, states, “The ability to read a DNA template sequence and chain length specifically represents a critical extension of biology’s template-directed syntheses, represented by its Central Dogma.”
(Central Dogma?)  The spin doctoring Nature does on this story is appalling.  Lynn’s paper is concerned with techniques for synthetic manufacture of DNA polymers, not with the origin of life.  Nature glosses over monstrous problems, like the origin of single-handed sugars in DNA, and the origin of information.  Phillip Johnson has said, “The fundamental error of the materialists who rule biology is that they want to explain the chemicals – they want to explain the matter.  They don't have any explanation for the information content.  And once that’s realized, then that’s their downfall.   Yet they claim, “This might then enable the two kinds of molecule to support their mutual replication, allowing the possibility of molecular evolution and the appearance of life-like complexity.”  Hope reigns eternal, but it is a false hope.  Complexity alone is worthless.  The complexity must be specified, tied to function, or it is just as useless as random alphabetic letters in nonsense chains.  ic1qD9i1 uiopasq vqp8iqwerasdp[oi jv.
Next headline on: Origin of Life.
Cave Man Diet Make Strong Like Bull   02/04/2002
Let’s grab our clubs and go off to hunt wild game. 
Purdue News reports that “anthropological nutritionist” Bruce Watkins, author of The Paleo Diet (John Wiley and Sons, 2002) thinks the cave man diet is good for you.  Reporting in the January European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, wild game like venison and elk (and cattle fed on grass) had a higher proportion of healthy omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed cattle.  He explains that fat is good if in the right proportions of good and bad fatty acids.  His paper is entitled, “Fatty acid analysis of wild ruminant tissues: evolutionary implications for reducing diet-related chronic disease.”
What’s evolution got to do with it?  That part is all spin, in another vain attempt to make evolution look useful for understanding our physiology.  How about a different spin: the Genesis diet.  Regardless of angle, this theory is reductionist.  Try an experiment.  Feed elk-meat Big Macs to a gluttonous couch potato, and feed almost anything to a deer hunter willing to lug rifles and packs all over the mountains, and observe who stays healthier.
Next headline on: Health. • Next dumb story.
Humans Have Reached Evolutionary Utopia   02/04/2002
It’s all downhill from here, says British professor Steve Jones, reports
Guardian Unlimited.  Because humans have insulated themselves from the dog-eat-dog world of natural selection, this is as good as it’s going to get for our species.  Others disagree strongly, claiming humans are still subject to the inexorable force of evolution.  Others say that Western civilization is immune, but developing nations still play survival of the fittest.
Survival of the fattest seems to be the trend in Western societies.  Anyone who realizes that natural selection is a tautological chance-of-the-gaps fallacy incapable of working the biological miracles it is expected to perform, sees articles like this as humorous.  The rantings of these rival prognosticators are no more to be taken seriously than the controversies between Nebuchadnezzar’s soothsayers about who was saying the real sooth, until Daniel walked in.
Next headline on: Darwinism. • Next dumb story.
Ohio School Board Braces for Battle over Origins Teaching   02/04/2002
Phillip E. Johnson in his
Weekly Wedge Update for Jan. 31 provides more detail on the controversy developing in the Ohio state board of education over the teaching of origins.  The ID Network has several articles on this developing story, including the speech to the board by John Calvert on Jan. 13, who offers $20 to anyone who can prove that the rule requiring Methodological Naturalism in science classes has a secular purpose.
Deja vu from Kansas, or a sea change?  The board will be voting in March, and the usual foes are lining up their forces.  This time the ID folks seem better armed, and they also have the Education Bill backing them up (see next headline).
Next headline on: Schools.
Santorum Explains Education Bill Language: “Teach the Controversies” Includes Evolution   02/04/2002
Discovery Institute has posted excerpts from the Congressional Record in which Senator Rick Santorum and Congressman Thomas Petri explain the language in H.R. 1, the Education Bill passed in December, that students should learn about both sides of controversial issues in science.  He clearly explains that the intent of this language, albeit revised before final passage, includes Darwinian evolution and alternative views like Intelligent Design.  He concludes,
The public supports the position we are taking today.  For instance, national opinion surveys show–to use the origins issue again–that Americans overwhelmingly desire to have students learn the scientific arguments against, as well as for, Darwin’s theory.  A recent Zogby International poll shows the preference on this as 71 percent to 15 percent, with 14 percent undecided.  The goal is academic excellence, not dogmatism.  It is most timely, and gratifying, that Congress is acknowledging and supporting this objective.
Thomas Petri added, “Additionally, this conference report makes a strong statement that, where Darwinian evolutionary theory or other controversial scientific topics are taught, students should be exposed to multiple viewpoints.  Too often, students are taught only one theory where evolution is concerned, and this language gives support to those at the local and state level who uphold the value of intellectual freedom in the teaching of science.”
Santorum’s and Petri’s unequivocal statements contradict the view of the National Center for Science Education that the H.R. 1 language means that creation or intelligent design is excluded, because only “scientific theories” may be taught.  In the first place, evolution is not a scientific theory, and in the second place, Intelligent Design does not specify the identity of the designer, and therefore does not involve itself with religion. 
Senator Santorum’s comments are important and worth reading.  He apparently was influenced by a paper published in the Utah Law Review (February, 2001) by Stephen Meyer, David K. DeWolf, and Mark E. DeForrest called Teaching the Origins Controversy: Science, Religion or Speech?  After decades of triumph by Darwinist propagandists, this is an important development by the Congress that has not received much attention.  Though it is only a recommendation and not a mandate, it is highly significant that a majority of both houses, liberals and conservatives, even Ted Kennedy, supported this language.  Students and teachers should take this ball and run with it.  Why not teach both sides of controversial issues?  Who can be against that?  Michael Shermer, for one...see next headline.
Next headline on: Politics. • Next headline on: Schools.
Stamp Out Creationism...Gradually   02/04/2002
Last month in an essay in
Scientific American, professional skeptic Michael Shermer strategized about the best way to help Darwinism triumph over creationism (despite the latter’s popularity in the polls, a finding he calls disturbing).  He compares denial of evolution to denial of the Holocaust, and recalls Darwin’s reflection that direct attacks on Christianity seem to have little effect on the public.  Shermer agrees with Darwin that the best method is not through direct attacks but by the continued advance of science. 
Shermer, who grew up believing the Bible (isn’t it interesting that some of the most vocal atheists are Christian apostates), perpetuates several myths in his essay, (to say nothing of the ridiculous association of denying evolution with denying the Holocaust).  First is the myth of scientism, that scientific advance is always upward and onward and can explain everything.  Second is the myth that Intelligent Design (what he calls the “recent incarnation” of creationism) is stifling to scientific inquiry (then why did Newton, Boyle, Pascal, Leeuwenhoek, Joule, Maxwell and many other great scientists in history pursue science so vigorously and with such excellence?).  The third is that the convergence of evidence from every field supports evolution.  He needs to start reading Creation-Evolution Headlines.  Regarding Darwinism, Shermer bluffs, “It must stand or fall on the evidence, and there are few theories in science that are more robust than the theory of evolution.” (cough, choke)  Well, we agree that it must stand or fall on the evidence.  Show us some.
Next headline on: Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory.
How Cellular Transporter Machines Work   02/01/2002
Your body, and the cells of all living things, are filled with transporters: miniature shuttles called dynein “motor proteins” that move cargo around subway tunnels called microtubules.  Dynein consists of two heads that scientists thought move past each other in a hand-over-hand fashion.  But now, a team of three biochemists publishing in the
Feb 1 issue of Science claim to have found evidence that dynein moves more like an inchworm, in 8-nanometer steps.  But it’s a pretty fast and brawny inchworm, transporting cargo molecules much bigger than itself at high speeds down the tracks.  In the same issue, Jennifer Couzin describes the excitement and surprise at this new theory of dynein movement.  She begins with, “Behind a beating heart, fingers running fluidly across a piano, or a stomach cell shuffling nutrients to its neighbor are hundreds of motor proteins that make such motion possible.”
Like we noted before, the study of molecular machines is the Biology of the Future.  Watch for continuing exciting discoveries in this dynamic field.
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry.
How Life Defends Against Harmful Mutations   01/31/2002
Different populations have different ways of defending themselves against the destructive effects of harmful mutations, say David C. Krakauer of the Sante Fe Institute and Joshua B. Plotkin of Princeton, in a paper “Redundancy, antiredundancy, and the robustness of genomes” in the Jan 29
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  Although presuming genetic mutations are a source of evolutionary novelty, they explain that damage must be guarded against. 
The authors propose that small populations of large organisms (like mammals) use redundancy to maintain fitness: i.e., copies of genes and backup systems.  But large populations of small organisms, like bacteria, appear to employ antiredundancy strategies: i.e., they are hypersensitive to mutation, but employ methods of removing harmful mutants:
Assuming a cost of redundancy, we find that large populations will evolve antiredundant mechanisms for removing mutants and thereby bolster the robustness of wild-type genomes; whereas small populations will evolve redundancy to ensure that all individuals have a high chance of survival.  We propose that antiredundancy is as important for developmental robustness as redundancy, and is an essential mechanism for ensuring tissue-level stability in complex multicellular organisms.  We suggest that antiredundancy deserves greater attention in relation to cancer, mitochondrial disease, and virus infection.
The authors propose a mathematical model for explaining the dynamics of redundancy and antiredundancy in differing populations.  Populations exhibiting redundancy have hilly fitness landscapes with steep, narrow peaks.  Antiredundant populations have a flat fitness landscape with small peaks, forming a “quasispecies” of mutants with similar fitness. 
Although this paper is listed in the category “Evolution,” it is hard to see how it helps evolutionary theory.  Whether a population is large or small, it works to shield itself from mutations and achieve stability.  The fitness peak concept comes from graphing fitness as the vertical axis on a 3D plot of a population.  Evolutionists have been realizing that fitness is not a progressive slope of “onward and upward” improvement, but an undulating landscape with peaks and valleys.  A population on a peak is stable, and would actually have to devolve to get off its peak and onto a higher one.  This is not evolution in the Darwinian sense.  It fits in better with the view that natural selection is a conservative process, allowing enough variation to compensate for contingencies (like mutations) that would otherwise destroy the population.  The authors do not describe how “evolutionary novelty” can become established, nor do they provide any example of a beneficial mutation.  It appears, therefore, that this paper is promoting a view of life being in a state of dynamic equilibrium, not upward evolution.
Next headline on: Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory.
Technology Imitates Nature Dept. 01/30/2002: Science News Jan 26, 2002 has a story about how designers are imitating biological cilia, the little beating hairlike projections on many types of cells, to coax micro-spacecraft into position.  Unlike the complex biological cilia, the artificial ones are made of silica and powered by electric heaters to make them vibrate at about 60 Hz.

Talk of the Walk of Dinosaurs   01/30/2002
Jan 31 Nature has two dinosaur articles.  A brief communication by four UK scientists determines the gait of theropod dinosaurs from the extensive Oxfordshire trackways.  They conclude that the large beasts were able to run and walk, and used different gaits for each, but additional questions are left unanswered:

Furthermore, the anatomical correlations between leg and hip anatomy associated with the adoption of wide- and narrow-gauge gaits are not yet known and we are therefore unable to determine the phylogenetic distribution of these locomotor styles.  Nevertheless, the Ardley trackways offer new insight into dinosaur locomotor capacity and will stimulate enquiry into the evolution and biomechanics of large theropod dinosaurs.
Brian Maurer discusses the work of Burness on the size of animals related to land area, asking why dinosaurs grew to be so big:
Dinosaurs present us with a puzzle.  In many respects they seemed to be constructed like warm-blooded animals.  Their posture indicated they were more active than living cold-blooded vertebrates.  They apparently had extended parental care and complex mating rituals.  Yet, ecologically, they filled continents as if they were cold-blooded.  So what on the surface appears to be a case of convergent evolution between dinosaurs and modern vertebrates may in fact be the result of unique evolutionary events occurring in different ways at different times.  Dinosaurs lived in a very different world from any modern animal, and may have interacted with their environment in ways that have no clear parallels among living land vertebrates.  The more we study them, the more we get a glimpse into the complex workings of the evolutionary engine.
The references to evolution seem forced.  What scientists observe and what they speculate on about family trees and evolution have no necessary connection.  Maurer’s comment about the “complex workings of the evolutionary engine” could qualify for Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week.  Evolution is a rusting hulk, not an engine.
Next headline on: Dinosaurs.
Water Lilies: the Missing Link?   01/30/2002
A press release by the
National Science Foundation argues that water lilies may be a missing link.  The origin of flowering plants, Darwin’s “abominable mystery,” has long been a problem.  Since all angiosperms have triploid endosperm but water lily endosperm is diploid, it may be represent a precursor to the divergence of angiosperms from gymnosperms.  This is the theory of two Colorado biologists writing in the Jan. 31 Nature, who admit (emphasis added):
Recent phylogenetic hypotheses suggest far greater evolutionary distances between flowering plants and all other extant seed plants than had previously been imagined.  Thus, the task of determining the homologies and evolutionary histories of defining angiosperm characters, in essence solving Darwin's “abominable mystery”, appears as daunting as ever.  If diploid endosperm represents the ancestral condition for flowering plants, a key intermediate condition in the early evolutionary history of angiosperms has been revealed. ... The presence of diploid endosperm in an early angiosperm lineage brings us one step closer to bridging the substantial gap between flowering plants and their seed plant ancestors.
There is no way to prove this is a transitional form.  Water lilies are doing just fine today with their diploid endosperm.  The NSF project officer gloats that “This is a significant first-time discovery because now we are a big step closer to understanding the evolution of flowering plants.”  Notice his bluffing exaggeration (“a big step closer to understanding the evolution”) compared to the measured optimism of the authors (“one step close to bridging the substantial gap”).  In actuality, due to other major problems with evolutionary theories about the origin of plants that keep mounting in biochemistry, they are taking only small steps north on an iceberg speeding south.
Next headline on: Plants.
Birds Evolved Flight Out of Love   01/29/2002
A UC Davis biologist, discontent with both leading theories of the origin of bird flight, presented his own: parental care. 
EurekAlert says that James Carey finds flaws with the two leading theories: (1) the top-down theory (that wings grew as lizards jumped out of trees) would predict wings between front and hind legs.  (2) The bottom-up theory (that wings started out as insulation or insect swatters) would predict that each stage must be advantageous, but no intermediates are found.  So he presents a new theory: that reptiles, tenderly caring for their eggs, found the trees a safer place.  The report summarizes:
In time, these early ancestors of birds developed more advanced techniques for caring for their young.  They started to feed their young in the nest, pumping liquid food or placing small food items in their mouths.  They also began to produce fewer and more dependent offspring and smaller eggs, and began nesting in bushes and then small trees to better protect their offspring from predators.
Gradually the forelimbs of these creatures became feathered and even more elongated, enabling them to better manipulate their eggs and to “parachute” from their tree nests to a soft landing.  Later they would develop the ability to glide and eventually fly by flapping their wings.
Writing in the German journal Archaeopteryx, Carey “also discusses why flying dinosaurs with nonfeathered membrane-like wings, such as the pterosaurs, became extinct.  He suggests that they perished, not because they were out-competed by birds but because they lacked the sophisticated parenting skills needed to cope with a changing environment.”
Did you know there was a whole journal dedicated to Archaeopteryx, the discredited link between reptiles and birds?  We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: evolution is not a scientific theory, but a game for storytellers who amuse themselves by competing for who can tell the biggest whopper.  The only thing worth noting in Carey’s ridiculous speculation is how he trashes the other two leading theories for the origin of bird flight.
Next headline on: Darwinism. • Next headline on: Birds. • Next dumb story.
Briefly Noted  01/29/2002
Gleanings from the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Jan 29 online preprints (emphasis added in quotations):
  • Biochemistry: A team describes a Human Elongator Complex that helps in the DNA transcription operation.  The introduction states, “The formation of a transcription initiation complex at a particular promoter is a complicated and highly regulated process.  However, the establishment of a transcription initiation complex seems much simpler than the process of transcription elongation with respect to the chromatin impediment, where the elongating polymerase has to traverse a nucleosome approximately every 200 base pairs.”  They describe how human Elongator performs just this function.
  • Biochemistry: A team from the Netherlands describes a second endonuclease enzyme that aids in DNA excision repair (see our Jan 4 headline on DNA Damage Response).  This enzyme they named Cho is even more effective than UvrC and appears to come into play when the other repair enzymes are unable to complete the job: “If, however, a specific lesion remains because UvrC is not able to induce 3' incision as argued above, a replication block at this damage to which UvrB will probably remain bound will trigger the SOS response, resulting in expression of the Cho protein.  The Cho protein in its turn will attempt to incise the preincision complex.  When this incision is successful the UvrC protein will induce the second incision and the repair process can be completed. ... Taken together, the combined action of UvrC and Cho broadens the substrate range of nucleotide excision repair in E. coli. ”  E. coli, is, of course, a lowly bacterium, mindless of these fail-safe mechanisms taking place within its interior.
  • Fossils: Symbiotic bacteria and protozoa have been found in the gut of a remarkably preserved termite preserved in Miocene amber presumed 20 million years old.  The organisms “markedly resemble” those in living termites.
  • Evolution: A team of geneticists writes that “mtDNA from fossils reveals a radiation of Hawaiian geese recently derived from the Canada goose.”  The surprising and unexpected results lead them to postulate a case of convergent evolution.
  • Evolution: Biologists from Utah have found a gene for gamma-carboxylation, long thought to be a vertebrate specialty involved in blood clotting, in a marine mollusc Conus.  The gene had remarkable similarity to its human counterpart, and to a gene in Drosophila (fruit fly) whose function is unknown:
    The unexpected conclusion that emerges from our study of the Conus gamma-carboxylase gene is that all eight introns in the human gene, corresponding to the Conus genomic interval analyzed, are evolutionarily ancient, older than the Cambrian explosion (~540 million years ago) when the molluscs and chordates are first detected in the fossil record.  This finding raises the intriguing question of whether most introns in other human genes have a similarly ancient lineage.  Our results suggest that Drosophila (and perhaps, other insects) may not be the appropriate invertebrate standard for evaluating whether vertebrate introns are likely to be relatively recent or more ancient than the Cambrian explosion.
Surprises, always surprises, for those who think evolution explains everything.
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry. • Next headline on: Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory. • Next headline on: Fossils.

Compound Eyes Evolved Multiple Times   01/29/2002
The molecular phylogeny wars are heating up again.  Todd Oakley, biologist at Duke university, writing in the Jan 29 preprints of the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explains three reasons biologists have assumed that compound eyes had a single origin: (1) detailed similarities appear between diverse groups, even at the gene level; (2) the number and arrangement of cells in the eyes of diverse groups are similar; and (3) the neural circuitry is the same (conserved) across diverse groups of arthropods.  These would seem conclusive, but Oakley argues based on molecular evidence that compound eyes evolved multiple times separately.  The abstract states (emphasis added):
Eyes often take a central role in discussions of evolution, with debate focused on how often such complex organs might have evolved.  One such debate is whether arthropod compound eyes are the product of single or multiple origins.  Here we use molecular phylogeny to address this long-standing debate and find results favoring the multiple-origins hypothesis.  Our analyses of DNA sequences encoding rRNA unequivocally indicate that myodocopidsthe only Ostracoda (Crustacea) with compound eyes are nested phylogenetically within several groups that lack compound eyes.  With our well-supported phylogeny, standard maximum likelihood (ML) character reconstruction methods significantly reconstruct ancestral ostracods as lacking compound eyes.  We also introduce a likelihood sensitivity analysis, and show that the single-origin hypothesis is not significantly favored unless we assume a highly asymmetric model of evolution (one favoring eye loss more than 30:1 over gain).  These results illustrate exactly why arthropod compound eye evolution has remained controversial, because one of two seemingly very unlikely evolutionary histories must be true. Either compound eyes with detailed similarities evolved multiple times in different arthropod groups or compound eyes have been lost in a seemingly inordinate number of arthropod lineages.
If his multiple-origin hypothesis is true (and he sounds confident it is), then other ways of inferring evolution are all wet: “Our molecular phylogeny clearly indicates that myodocopids are monophyletic and are nested within several groups lacking compound eyes.  Based on this phylogeny, methods of character reconstruction significantly favor the independent origin of myodocopid compound eyes, constituting the strongest phylogenetic evidence to date for multiple origins of arthropod eyes.  If this is not an independent origin, and compound eyes were actually lost many times, then this is a case where commonly used methods of historical inference are positively and significantly misleading.” (Emphasis added).
The gullibility of evolutionists is positively and significantly astounding.  Of course eyes are more easily lost than formed.  Why is that hypothesis hard to believe, unless it fits in with creationist principles?  Instead, in order to rescue evolution at all costs, he is more willing to believe that organs that gave Darwin “cold shudders” evolved multiple times.  Read Michael Behe’s description of vision, then realize that Oakley assumes that a naturalistic miracle occurred not just once, but numerous times, resulting in structures that are nearly identical! 
This story illustrates two things: (1) the growing tension between molecular phylogenies and morphological phylogenies (genes vs looks), and (2) the dogma of Darwinism.  Evolution is a fixed parameter that must not be challenged, questioned, or doubted, no matter the evidence.
Next headline on: Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory.
The Mathematical Equations of Political Corruption   01/28/2002
A Polish team of physicists and economists has concluded that political corruption, resulting in wealth accumulating in the hands of the super-rich, follows the same power laws that polymer molecules obey. 
Nature Science Update comments on the theory in Physical Review, “Wealth condensation in Pareto macroeconomies.”
How can this theory have any validity when they left out the primary factors: sin, greed and personal responsibility?  This is scientism run amok.  Some scientists think you can analyze anything according to mathematical equations, even the fortunes of evil dictators.  Let’s see them apply the same methodology on themselves; how about a paper on “The dynamics of implosive logic collapse in naturalistic hypotheses.”
Next headline on: Politics. • Next dumb story.
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Featured Creation Scientist for February
Raymond Damadian
b. 1935

On a given Sunday morning, in a small Bible Baptist church on Long Island, New York, sitting alongside his wife, you might find a quiet, unpretentious white-haired gentleman who changed the world.  Other than by his distinguished appearance, you might not know he warrants a place in our hall of fame, but in fact, millions owe their life and health to him.  His name is Dr. Raymond V. Damadian.  He invented the MRI scanner.

MRI is a household acronym these days; everybody knows somebody who has had one (if not themselves) when needing to be diagnosed for a serious disease.  But in the 1970s, it would have seemed like a device out of Star Trek.  To see inside a living body in fine detail, without the harm of X-rays, was a doctor’s impossible dream then; today it is a reality.  And it is going to get better.  His latest invention, just now coming on the market, will revolutionize the operating room.  More on that later.

Dr. Damadian, biophysicist, took a relatively new discovery of physics called nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and applied it to biology.  But it was to prove an uphill battle against doubters and patent thieves.  The three stages of reaction to a new invention are, (1) It’s impossible, (2) It’s possible but impractical, and (3) It was my idea.  Dr. Damadian experienced all three.  After years of legal hassles and near loss of his livelihood, he was vindicated, and is rightly honored today as the inventor of the first practical MRI scanner.

His story comes right out of a Hollywood David-and-Goliath script, the lone entrepreneur against the giant corporations, the optimistic man with a vision against the skeptics in the establishment.  Physicists had been using NMR, first reported in 1938, to study various materials, but it was Damadian who reasoned that hydrogen (in water) might prove responsive within the cells of living tissue.  Moreover, he speculated that cancerous tumors might respond differently than healthy tissue.  Working on borrowed time, experimenting on mice, he gained confidence that his hunch was right.  He published a seminal paper in 1971 on his preliminary findings, then applied for a patent and attempted to get a research grant to build a prototype of the invention he had in mind, a device that would flood a human torso with high-energy magnetism and then receive radio emissions from the water in the tissues.  But his academic colleagues said it couldn’t be done; why, he would have to spin the patient at 10,000 RPM to make it work!  The experts laughed his idea to scorn; the National Institutes of Health refused his request for grant funds.

Undaunted, Damadian appealed directly to President Nixon, who in 1971 had just declared war on cancer.  He received a modest grant, but then found himself in a race to produce a working scanner when he learned that others, envious of his preliminary successes, were beginning to steal his idea.  Scientific American says, “Damadian pushed himself and his students relentlessly and found private backers to keep research going on a shoestring budget.”  Finally, in 1977, he was ready to step into his contraption he had named “Indomitable”  It must have looked like a scene from Frankenstein.

Damadian proved on his own body that the intense magnetic fields produced no harm, but the machine was too small for him.  He got a smaller graduate student to play guinea pig and made history by producing the first NMR image of a human torso.  The press leaped on this story, gaining him some notoriety, but since the image was imprecise (it showed the heart, lungs and chest, but needed improvement), no venture capital could be found.  Convinced of his belief it could detect cancer, he decided to go it alone.  With a small group of friends and supporters, he started FONAR Corporation to design and build Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners.  But the Big Boys wanted to play, too, and he was in competition with General Electric, Toshiba, Siemens, and other corporate giants wanting to capitalize on his discovery.

The big competitors nearly robbed him of his invention.  He learned first-hand about corporate greed, and had to spend millions defending his patent.  In 1982, a jury trial vindicated him against international corporations that were manufacturing scanners overseas, but a judge single-handedly reversed their verdict (any corruption there?).  After years of legal wrangling, Fonar Corp. was eventually awarded $100 million in damages, but the really big bucks are still going overseas to those never involved in the invention at all.  From his experience, Damadian became an energetic advocate for the lonely inventors competing against corporate giants, lobbying Congress for protection of patents from infringement and warning against the consequences of weakening the patent laws.

His reputation, however, seems secure.  In 1988, Damadian was awarded the National Medal of Technology, the nation’s highest award for applied science.  The following year he was enrolled in the Inventor’s Hall of Fame in company with Thomas Edison, Samuel F. B. Morse, and the Wright Brothers, among many other famous inventors.  Today, his prototype scanner ’Indomitable” resides in the Smithsonian alongside the first electric light bulb and the first airplane.

Needless to say, Magnetic Resonance Imaging has swept the medical world.  After years of embellishments and refinements by Damadian and others, thousands of MRI scanners are in daily use around the globe, detecting not only cancer but many other diseases and ailments, better and more safely than X-rays,.  Fonar Corporation remains the leader in MRI technology.  Damadian’s newest invention takes Star Trek to The Next Generation: a whole Operating Room MRI.  Soon, it will be commonplace for the whole surgical team to surround the operating table, unaffected by the intense magnetic field that is being applied only to the patient.  A projected 3-D image will allow the doctors to pinpoint the tumor precisely in real time, giving the surgeons unprecedented accuracy in treating life-threatening conditions.  Who knows how many more thousands, if not millions of lives, will be saved by this latest application of Damadian’s vision and genius.  His secretary told this author that he feels, however, like he did at the beginning when he could not find backers for his idea.  To date, few hospitals have been willing to pay for this invention, just now coming on the market.  We can only hope it will succeed as magnificently as before.

Scientific American described Raymond Damadian as a man of intense convictions and energy; “Twenty years later he seems able to muster the same enormous drive that allowed him to prove NMR scanning of the body would, after all, work.  One wonders whether the most indomitable thing to emerge from that dingy laboratory in Brooklyn was a novel machine or Damadian himself.”  But you might not know this from watching him in church.  With nearly a tear in his eye, he told this author, whose sister (a member of the same church) was dying of cancer in early 2000, that he regretted his new operating room MRI was not ready in time to help.  During her illness, and that of her husband who had brain tumors, he donated free MRIs for which they could not pay, and his dear wife Donna would come and sit with them for hours just to show she cared.  They are the most unpretentious and gracious people you could know.

Does creation play a part in Damadian’s philosophy of science?  No; it does not play a part, it plays the lead role.  Dr. Damadian, a young-earth creationist, is convinced that the Bible is the reason for the advancement of science and the blessings of Western civilization, and that our country is in great peril if we do not return to Biblical principles, including the foundational doctrine of creation.  He considers creation a vitally important message for America today.  He told Creation magazine in 1994 that acceptance of the unqualified Word of God “has been the foundation for Western civilization since the printing of the Gutenberg Bible in the fifteenth century,” resulting centuries of blessing.  But that blessing is now imperiled by greed for the almighty dollar.  “If America is to be rescued, she must be rescued from the pulpit,” he said, adding that any country “runs off its spiritual batteries, not off its bank accounts, and when those batteries are drained, its bank accounts will be empty.”

For himself, Dr. Raymond V. Damadian emphatically affirms that his greatest single scientific discovery was to find that “the highest purpose a man can find for his life is to serve the Will of God.”  And that he does, as a creation scientist, exploring and applying the laws of nature and of nature’s God for the benefit of all mankind.

The Bible-Science Association is pleased to announce that Dr. Raymond Damadian will be honored speaker at the annual George F. Howe Creation Symposium at The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, California, on February 16, 2002.  Those in the area are encouraged to come and hear this great American.

Aren’t you glad you read this true story?  Please write us with your comments, and tell a friend!

For more information on Raymond Damadian and other great Christians in science, see our online book:
The World’s Greatest Creation Scientists from 1000 to 2000 A.D.
Copies are also available from our online store.

A Concise Guide
to Understanding
Evolutionary Theory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Souder’s Law
Repetition does not establish validity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advice from Paul

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

I Timothy 6:20-21

Song of the True Scientist

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

from Psalm 104

Maxwell’s Motivation

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

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

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