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Faith Healers Invade Holland  12/29/2000
Weak liberal churches are being blamed by a reporter in the
Nando Times for the rise of medical quacks in Holland who invoke Christian symbols to support their healing techniques.  The reporter describes how belief in the supernatural is on the rise in this land once “deeply influenced by Calvinism.”  Dwindling mainstream liberal Protestant churches are turning to Eastern and new-age symbols in their worship, driven by parishioners’ desires for spiritual meaning.

This is a tragic and upsetting article.  It is precisely because the churches have abandoned their role as compassionate defenders of the truth that there has been a market for quacks.  The Netherlands may once have been a greenhouse for Calvinism, but not any more!  It is one of the most politically liberal countries in the world, reaping the fruits of the anything-goes ethics of Darwinism and personal autonomy.  The mainstream liberal churches, focusing on “politically correct beliefs” instead of the authority of the Word of God, are really false fronts for Darwinism, assuming evolution as true and relegating spirituality to the irrational and imaginary.  Protestant theology, properly understood, encourages good science and opposes phony faith healing with a vengeance (see our explanation of Christian world view principles), leading to scientific understanding of medicine (q.v. the history of medicine, mostly advanced by Christians).  Isaiah expressed the vehemence with which Bible-believers should oppose spiritual fakes: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa 8:20).  True Christianity promotes the scientific method for healing, but unlike Darwinism, provides meaning and promotes compassion to meet the needs of the whole person.
Next headline on: Bible.
Golden Age of Astronomy Yields Many Surprises  12/28/2000
Astronomers are flabbergasted by the flood of new data coming in from today’s giant telescopes and space observatories – more eyes on space than at any time in history, according to a report in the
L.A. Times.  The observations are yielding many surprises: stars too distant from the Milky Way’s disk, galaxies and quasars too close to the Big Bang, enormously energetic gamma ray bursts, cosmic expansion that appears to be accelerating, and supernovae bursts that don’t fit the standard theories, to name a few.  The landscape is changing so fast, says astronomer Michael Turner, that “Everything that anybody says is wrong.”
Creationists welcome new data.  It glorifies God, and contradicts evolutionary speculations that would otherwise go unchecked.  There’s a lesson here, though; should Christians build their theology on the shifting sands of current scientific understanding, which could be overthrown tomorrow?
Biggest Science Stories of 2000 Listed   12/27/2000
Science News has published its annual list of the biggest science news stories of the year.  Among them are several of interest to the creation-evolution controversy.  Here are examples, quoted verbatim:
  • New insights into the genetics of body development raised doubts about the statistical method that many anthropologists use to create evolutionary trees (November 25, 158: 346).
  • Preliminary tests supported the notion that the expansion of the universe is accelerating (February 12, 157: 106).
  • Evidence grew that life’s evolutionary explosion on Earth some 540 million years ago occurred around the time that cosmic debris began pummeling our planet at an increasing rate (March 11, 157: 165).
  • A balloon-borne experiment found that the cosmos is perfectly flat (April 29, 157: 276).  Next headline on: Cosmology.
  • Two rival groups, one public and one private, announced that each has read most of the 3 billion or so DNA subunits that spell out the human genome (July 1, 158: 4).
  • Natural selection can act on large groups, according to a test on ecosystems that have thousands of species and were miniaturized to fit in flowerpots (July 15, 158: 39).
  • Marine iguanas in the Galápagos Islands are the first vertebrates known to reduce their size during a food shortage and then regrow to their original body length (January 8, 157: 20).
  • The first atomic-resolution map of a ribosome, the cell’s protein factory, suggests that RNA catalyzes the formation of proteins (August 12, 158: 100).
  • Geologists said that significant portions of the Grand Canyon, usually considered the product of eons of erosion, may have been carved within the past million years or so (September 30, 158:218).
  • A supposed missing link between dinosaurs and birds turned out to be fossil fakery that combined bones from two different animals (January 15, 157: 38).
  • An anatomically primitive, 92-million-year-old ant, trapped in amber, pushed back the first record of its subfamily by 40 million years (November 25, 158: 343).
  • Researchers found that Caudipteryx, a feathered animal that lived 120 million years ago, may have been a flightless bird, not a bird ancestor (August 19, 158: 119).
See Scientific American for another summary of the year’s top science stories, and JPL’s list of the top stories from planetary exploration in 2000.
These always make for interesting reading.  Test yourself on which have good observational/experimental support, which are speculative or controversial, which are built on the assumption of evolution, and which show evidence of God’s wisdom built into nature.  Mapping the human genome is considered by many to be the top story of 2000.  Some stories have somber sociological or moral ramifications.  Others are encouraging in the fight against disease.  All in all, it’s been a remarkable closing year for the Second Millennium, the age of modern science.
Next headline on: Fossils.
Next headline on: Birds.
Next headline on: Solar System.
Next headline on: Geology.
Astronomer Attempts to Unscrew the Inscrutable in Cosmology  12/21/2000
Writing in the January 2001 issue of
Scientific American, noted cosmologist James Peebles attempts to make sense of the morass of contradictory claims being made about the Big Bang and modern cosmology in general.  He turns the confusion into a plus: “Confused by all those theories?  Good,” he says.  “This is an exciting time for cosmologists: findings are pouring in, ideas are bubbling up, and research to test those ideas is simmering away.  But it is also a confusing time.  All the ideas under discussion cannot possibly be right; they are not even consistent with one another.  How is one to judge the progress?”  After assessing the strengths and weaknesses of Big Bang cosmology, he concludes: “Confusion is a sign that we are doing something right: it is the fertile commotion of a construction site.”
Not necessarily.  Confusion could be the sign that everyone is on the wrong track.  Consider how just a few years ago cosmologists shunned the cosmological constant; now they embrace it.  Just recently, evidence for an accelerating universe caught everyone by surprise.  Twenty years of inflation theory still has many concerned that it has no support and seems to be an ad hoc addition to rescue the Big Bang from the flatness problem.  Dark matter rises and falls in popularity.  Where is the baby in all this dirty bath water?  Or to use Peebles’ own construction site analogy, is it possible cosmologists are building their castles on the sand, or in the air?  (See next story also.)
Next headline on: Cosmology.
Next dumb story.
Big Bang Temperature Evidence Claimed  12/21/2000
According to
Scientific American, the Big Bang theory got a big boost.  An astronomer in India claims to have made temperature measurements of gas clouds surrounding a distant quasar that are consistent with predictions of the theory.
One measurement does not make a theory.  Like many other arguments for the Big Bang, this measurement is said to be “consistent” with the theory, not proof for it.  Rarely mentioned are the many problems with the Big Bang theory.  Try these for starters:  How can something come from nothing?  What ignited the expansion?  Why is the universe so flat?  Why is it so lumpy?  Why is it so uniform in every direction, if portions were never in contact?  What is dark matter, and does it even exist?  Why is the entropy of the universe so low?  How did the constants of physics become so fine-tuned for life?  How can cosmologists propose multiple universes, which could never be observed, and call it science?  O, what a tangled web we weave, when at first we practice naturalism.
Next headline on: Cosmology.
Darwin’s Beagle 2 to Set Sail for Mars  12/19/2000
Inspired by Charles Darwin’s
Voyage of the Beagle, the European Space Agency will be sending a probe to Mars to look for life.  The Beagle 2 will be the first in-depth search for signs of life since Vikings 1 and 2 (1976), which both failed to find incontrovertible evidence.  Launch is scheduled for 2003, and landing in February 2004.
Update 12/20/2000:  The landing site has been selected: see ESA News.
The Beagle has become one of the icons of the modern mythology of Darwinism.  What did Darwin find at the Galápagos Islands and the other ports of call on his famous voyage?  Lots of microevolution, from which he extrapolated a theory of common descent of all living things, and from which his followers extrapolated a theory of everything.  Talk about giving an inch and taking a light-year.  We’re all for exploration and discovery, but what will Beagle 2 find on Mars?  Most likely, what the Viking landers found: dirt and rocks.
Next headline on: Mars. • Next headline on: Solar System. • Next headline on: Origin of Life. • Next headline on: Darwinism. • Next headline on: Cosmology.
British Vote on Future of Human Cloning  12/19/2000
Parliament heard arguments from both sides of the debate on human stem-cell research, according to the BBC News.  Proponents argued that the research will lead to cures for degenerative diseases, but a pro-life representative expressed his fear that human cloning may just be two years away. 
Update 12/20/2000  The British Parliament has voted emphatically in favor of allowing stem cell research using early human embryos.  The move effectively opens the way for the short-term creation of human embryo clones.
Update 01/02/2000  CBS News reports that a judge has struck down the Arizona law against fetal tissue research, making it legal in all 50 states.
Brave new (scary) world we live in.  It always starts with noble intentions, but where will this emphasis on “quality of life” eventually lead?  The new eugenics is coming.  If you don’t have the right quality of life, you may be undesirable; you may be terminated.  Aside from these prospects, the pro-life representative rightly said, “To deliberately create and destroy human life is dehumanizing to the scientists who carry it out and the society that licenses it.” In America, the crucial moral decisions are being usurped from state legislators by judges and the President.  Their decisions have resulted in a free-for-all for experimenting on aborted fetuses, and for trafficking in fetal body parts.
Rare Earth Presented to Geophysicists  12/19/2000
Scientists at the American Geophysical Union meeting this week heard a presentation by Peter Ward, one of the authors (along with Donald Brownlee) of the recent book
Rare Earth, Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe.  Interviewed by the Discovery Channel, Ward explains some of the peculiar things about our galaxy and solar system that led to their pessimistic conclusion that earth probably has few if any companions in the galactic neighborhood.
Ward and Brownlee’s book is a welcome taste of realism among astrobiologists, who tend to dream of a universe teeming with life.  But a referee should blow the whistle and call foul at this one statement by Ward: “Life is probably not rare, since it’s likely pretty easy to get started.  But having the right conditions to keep life around long enough to evolve complex animals and intelligence is another matter.”  On the contrary, the origin of life is the biggest impasse in the evolutionists’ grand scenario: a gulf so wide that crossing it is improbable in the extreme.  Ward also assumes macroevolution will occur given a stable planet with simple life.  Strike two.
Next headline on: Origin of Life.
Next headline on: Solar System.
Can’t Read Evolution in the Genes  12/18/2000
New research casts doubt on the theory that genes contain ‘signatures’ that can provide an insight into how the genetic code itself evolved, according to Philip Ball writing in Nature magazine’s Science Update.  A Princeton scientist has found that any alleged historical record of evolution in the way genes code for proteins is indecipherable – a blow to so-called coevolution theory.
The message in the genetic code is: information, intelligence, design, along with some degradation due to thousands of years of mutation.  Highly complex systems like DNA and protein synthesis do not arise from purposeless natural processes.
Ganymede Joins the Surf Club  12/18/2000
JPL issued a
press release 12/16/2000 that Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon, apparently has an ocean under the ice, joining Io and Callisto for moons with that distinction.  Magnetic data from the Galileo spacecraft, as well as images of apparent past eruptions of water onto the surface (click here for pictures) lead to the belief that an ocean underlies the icy crust. 
Sidelight: The Galileo and Cassini spacecraft are currently both studying the Jupiter system in tandem, as Cassini flies by on its way to Saturn.
News sites can’t resist the usual twist that since water is a “key ingredient for life,” maybe we will discover life on these moons some day.  Please read our explanation of the logical fallacy involved.
Next headline on: Solar System.
Mexican Meteor Lacks Punch to Kill Dinosaurs  12/18/2000
News sites like
USA Today, “Popular Dinosaur-Demise Theory Disputed,” are leading with the story that the Chicxulub crater in the Yucatan is smaller than once reported, making it difficult to explain the demise of the dinosaurs from the impact alone.  Scientists at the American Geophysical Union are proposing that the explosion set up a deadly chemical reaction in the atmosphere.
Many dinosaur extinction theories have come and gone, and now today’s leading theory is in doubt.  If this impact were so deadly, how come so many non-dinosaur species survived?  How come some of the dinosaurs lived for a while longer?  The theory is sounding more ad hoc as new facts come to light.  Click here for more difficulties and a creationist response. 
Next headline on: Dinosaurs.
Bulletin 12/15/2000: See this update on flagella: scientists are studying these amazing bacterial nanomotors for use in microtechnology.  Also, the assembly of these little propellers in bacteria is a much more complicated than previously imagined.
Next amazing story.

Living Trees From the Age of Dinosaurs Discovered  12/15/2000
News sites such as this in
Fox News are reporting another discovery of living trees long thought to be extinct since the age of dinosaurs.  The location of this small stand of trees near Sydney, Australia, is being kept secret to protect the specimens.  This discovery is reminiscent of the 1994 find of another species, the Wollemi Pines, also found in a rain forest near Sydney.

Living fossils continue to strain the credibility of the theory of evolution and long ages.  If everything is in a state of evolutionary flux, how can these and hundreds of other living fossils escape the flow of time, surviving virtually unchanged for millions of years, without leaving a trace in the fossil record?
Next headline on: Fossils.
Lizards Evolve More on Big Islands  12/14/2000
Scientific American reports on a team that alleges the bigger the island, the more speciation events occur.  Studying lizards on Caribbean islands of different sizes, the scientists estimated how many speciation and immigration events occurred as a function of island size.
This is all microevolution.  Lizards are still lizards, not something else.  Defining a species is also a cloudy issue, fraught with subjective interpretation.  This kind of scientific work is statistical in nature, built on evolutionary assumptions.  It also involves unobservable past events, and most of all, has nothing to do with the central question on evolution: whether macroevolution has occurred or is even possible.
     The use of the single word “evolution” for both microevolution and macroevolution is what confuses the public.  Articles like this make it sound like evolution is as observable and scientific, when they are only speaking of microevolution.  Creationists accept variation within a kind (microevolution), but counter that macroevolution has never been observed and is contrary to known scientific laws.
Martians Invade Earth, Leave Magnetic Crystals  12/14/2000
Scientists studying the famous ALH84001 meteorite said to come from Mars are now claiming they have the best evidence yet of fossil life in the rock: tiny crystals of pure magnetite that are only known on earth to be the products of bacterial action.
They just won’t give up.  We’ve been back and forth on this rock since 1996 when McKay and team first announced their discovery.  Every claim of fossil life has been debunked, only to resurface again from the true believers.  For instance, we reported earlier how the meteorite has been contaminated (9/26/00) and how the Martian surface is sterilized by radiation (9/14/00).  You can be sure this report won’t be the last word.
Next headline on: Mars.
Next dumb story.
Vast Field of Deep-Sea Vents Discovered  12/13/2000
Scientific American reports that scientists stumbled upon the largest yet known field of deep-sea vents in an undersea mountain range in the Atlantic: a virtual Yellowstone under the ocean.  Unlike other vents, these lack the tube worms, crabs, fish and other macroscopic organisms, but do support a community of microbial life.
Exobiologists often point to the biological communities around deep-sea vents as evidence life does not need sunlight to thrive, and therefore a planet does not have to be in a star’s habitable zone to support life.  Conclusion: there could be life on Europa in its ocean under the ice.  Some evolutionists even propose deep-sea vents as the breeding grounds for the first life.  Creationists respond that deep sea life is just as complex as life on the surface, and would never form by chance anywhere, let alone under the harsh conditions around deep-sea vents.  It is a logical fallacy to think that just because life is found thriving in extreme conditions that it evolved there.
      The discovery of undersea springs is one of many examples where statements in the Bible antedated the discoveries of science.  Long before submarines stumbled upon these bizarre vents, God asked Job, “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep?” (Job 38:16).
Next headline on: Bible.
Astrophysicist Studies Science of Snowflakes  12/13/2000
How are snowflakes formed?  Is every crystal truly different?  When an astrophysicist found there were no definite answers, he decided to find them, according to a report in
ABC News.  Dr. Ken Libbrecht’s findings, published on his Caltech website, along with exquisite photographs of natural and man-made snow crystals, demonstrate several surprises.  And yes, even though 1024 snowflakes fall to the earth each year, no two are exactly alike.
Evolutionists sometimes point to the beauty and orderliness of snowflakes to argue that (1) design can be produced naturally, and (2) highly improbable things do happen in nature.  This argument has no relevance to the origin of life, however, because the order in life is not repetitive, as in crystals, and is not a function of atomic and molecular forces.  The order in DNA and proteins is specified information, not just order, analogous to the difference between a string of ABC characters, repeated indefinitely, and a Shakespeare play.
     Nevertheless, the wonders of snowflakes should cause us to marvel.  The Lord Himself solicited Job to do some scientific observation when He asked him, “Have you entered into the storehouses of the snow? . . . From whose womb comes the ice?  Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen?” (Job 38:22,29-30).
Next amazing story.
Cheating Scientists Cause Concern  12/12/2000
Scientific fraud is being “swept under the carpet” in the UK, say journal editors, as reported in New Scientist.  Allegations ranged from the fabrication of results to multiple publication of the same study in different journals.  Of 30 cases, they have no idea what fraction of the whole this represents, but blames the temptation to commit fraud partly on ruthless competition for funding and academic recognition.
Scientific research requires integrity and a love of the truth.  Can this be expected from an establishment that values survival of the fittest?
India Balloon to Search for Spaceborne Life  12/11/2000
The Times of India reports that a balloon will be launched tonight to search for bacterial species that may have come from space.  A discovery in April of airborne bacteria previously unknown on earth prompted this new search.
One easy way to tell if these germs are from earth is to check if the proteins are made of left-handed amino acids (see “The Mystery of the Left-Handed Proteins” at this site).  Believers in panspermia, such as noted critic of evolution Dr. Chandra Wickramasinghe, claim life is too complex to have evolved on earth (see also story from 11/07/2000, below).  Some advocates of panspermia are vehement in their denunciation of chemical evolution.  Rather than accept Divine creation, however, they attribute it to aliens who seeded earth with life.  (Wickramasinghe even believes mad cow disease came from outer space!).  This, of course, just pushes the problem of life’s origin to another location and time in the universe.  It dodges the big question: how could complex, specified information in life arise by naturalistic processes, without a transcendent intelligent Designer?
Bible Confusing But More Trustworthy Than Newspaper, Poll Says  12/11/2000
The Washington Times reports on a Zondervan poll that finds most Americans trust the Bible more than newspapers, but find it harder to read than the supermarket tabloids.  Most confusing, according to the poll, is the Genesis account of creation.  The article asserts it is an “example of what believing scholars call a narrative with a theological or moral truth, not a scientific or historic description.”
Perhaps most of those polled were educated at public schools.  Genesis 1 has no big words or hard-to-fathom concepts, but it runs counter to what many Americans are being taught as fact in their science classrooms: evolution.  If they could just be shown how shaky the foundations of evolution are (such as by reading this news site often) maybe they would find Genesis to be more stimulating than the daily newspaper.
     Presumably Zondervan wants to find out what people want in a Bible, rather than what they need to hear.  The solution is NOT to water down the eloquence of Scripture, but to (1) teach better reading skills in school, and (2) teach more apologetics: how to counter the claims of skeptics.
     According to this article also, Gallup polls find that “belief that the Bible is ‘literally true’ has dropped from 65 percent of U.S. adults to 33 percent over 40 years, . . . but belief in its divine ‘inspiration and authority’ stays more than 80 percent.”  This kind of schizophrenic reasoning is a slippery slope to unbelief.  Jesus Himself warned, “If you believe not his [Moses’] writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:47).
Next headline on: Bible.
General Sherman Grows Younger  12/08/2000
The venerable Sequoia named General Sherman was once thought to be 6000 years old;
new studies have trimmed it back to a mere youngster at 2200 years or less.
Tree ring counting was supposed to be the most reliable dating method; what happened?  If we can’t trust dates in mere thousands of years, how can we believe methods that give dates going back millions – or billions?
Next headline on: Dating methods.
Dinos and Birds Fight It Out  12/08/2000
Rival teams are fighting over the interpretation of a new Chinese fossil specimen Protopteryx that had (in addition to modern feathers) some tail feathers that appear to be more primitive, according to a report in
CNN. The discoverers claim these structures prove feathers evolved from scales; other scientists believe the tail structures are an evolutionary throwback (devolution, not evolution) and add nothing to the debate.  [See also the story from 12/07/2000, below.]
Just relax and enjoy the entertainment.  It’s not about science, anyway.  Protopteryx existed later than Archaeopteryx, had modern feathers over most of its body, and was a strong flyer, so it could not have been ancestral to birds unless you have a prior commitment to evolution.  Don’t forget all the hubbub about Archaeoraptor and how that story washed out (see 09/27/2000).  Be alert to the code word “primitive” – primitivity is in the eye of the beholder.  So-called primitive species were highly-complex creatures adapted to their environment.  Naming this creature Protopteryx (first bird) embeds evolutionary assumptions into the name.
Next headline on: Fossils.
Next headline on: Birds.
Granite Mountains Formed Rapidly  12/07/2000
A stunning admission in
Scientific American says that granite mountain ranges could have formed in just thousands of years, not millions.  Researchers claim that granitic lavas were less viscous than previously believed and could have erupted into mountain ranges in short bursts, rather than slow-cooling, slowly-rising intrusions.
This is another major “Well I’ll be darned” type of story that contradicts long-established evolutionary beliefs.  Creationists have been saying for a long time that mountain ranges formed quickly during creation week and after the Flood.  What the report doesn’t say is that cooling lava does not produce granite; Robert Gentry has a long-standing challenge for anyone to produce even a hand-sized lump of granite through natural means.  He has found evidence from radioactive halos embedded in the rock that granites had to form not only quickly, but instantaneously – else these signatures of rapid radioactive decay would have been erased within microseconds.
Another Fossil Forgery Exposed  12/07/2000
According to the
BBC News, museum workers in Wales have discovered that a fossil believed for over a hundred years to be a perfect specimen of Ichthyosaurus was actually a composite of two different organisms embedded in two different types of rock.
The article says it all.  Read it and be wise.
Next headline on Fossils: see story below.
Another Dinosaur Bird-Ancestor Alleged  12/07/2000
News reports such as this in the
L. A. Times are claiming another specimen as a possible link between dinosaurs and birds.  Well, not exactly that this specimen was the link, but that they both had a common ancestor: the bird Archaeopteryx lived 20 million years earlier than this crow-sized theropod, according to the story.
What the dino-to-bird believers always forget to tell you is that the theropods had lizard hips, not bird hips.  There are many major differences between dinosaurs and birds.  Flight requires many specialized adaptations that would have been a hindrance to earth-bound animals.  Claims of dinosaur feathers have been alleged before but then retracted; see the embarrassing story below on Archaeoraptor from 09/27/2000.  Clearly, this specimen cannot be ancestral to birds if it lived after a true bird already existed;  to claim otherwise is just storytelling.  As with most fossils, the bones indicate fully-formed, well-adapted organisms in distinct groups.  Common ancestors exist only in the imagination of evolutionists.
Next headline on: Fossils.
Next headline on: Birds.
Next headline on: Dinosaurs.
Is Climate History Bunk?  12/06/2000
That’s what
Nature is asking this week.  The conventional wisdom about CO2 concentrations driving climate change are called into question by data from seashells.
Popularizers and politicians of science often snow the public with confident-sounding claims about past and future conditions.  This story illustrates that they really don’t know (because they weren’t there) and the data are often complicated and contradictory.  What evolutionary story will be toppled next week?  If you’re a regular reader of this page, you know upsets are a familiar theme.
Next headline on: Politics.
Human Ancestry Proven?  12/06/2000
Nature reports on a new mitochondrial DNA study that lends support to the hypothesis that modern humans evolved 100,000 years ago in Africa and quickly overtook other human species without interbreeding.
The dating and hypothesis are built on the assumption of evolution; therefore this is another case of evolutionary circular reasoning.  Despite the bravado, the proponents of this theory have their rivals waiting for their turn at bat.
Next headline on: Early Man.
Fossils Found in Los Angeles Subway Path  12/06/2000
Excavation for the Los Angeles subway turned up more than
2,000 fossils, including previously unknown species of fish.  The fossil evidence showed that, tens of thousands of years ago, ground sloths, horses, mastodons and camels roamed among redwood trees in what is now Los Angeles.
This fossil find is not far from the famous La Brea Tar Pits.  Many fossil graveyards around the world indicate that, regardless of the dating method believed, the ancient world was much richer in flora and fauna than today’s.  This is not evolution, it’s devolution.
Next headline on: Fossils.
Mars Mania Strikes Again  12/05/2000
Camera crews are gathered about the
Jet Propulsion Laboratory trying to get additional details from Monday’s NASA news conference about the “most significant discovery yet” from the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft.  The new images show sedimentary basins that most likely resulted from lakes.  Already radio reports are announcing that since Mars had surface water, it had the necessary conditions for life, and the sediments might even contain fossils.  MGS scientists admitted, however, that processes other than water (such as air fall from volcanoes) could have formed the layered deposits, and that there is no way to be sure from orbital images.
Update 12/08/2000:  National Geographic has joined the chorus, claiming the finds of sedimentary layers indicates a possible treasure trove of fossils: “exotic microbes, four-eyed fish, and other aquatic creatures of and beyond the human imagination may have swum in lakes on Mars 4.3 to 3.5 billion years ago.”
This shows the great lengths true believers in evolution will go to to strain at gnats and swallow camels.  Good grief!  All they found was layers of dirt, and now we have four-eyed fish!  Beyond the human imagination, yes; science, no.
We cannot repeat often enough that water does not equal life.  Water is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for life.  Even the simplest living organism contains complex specified information that allows intake of nutrients, growth and reproduction.  The amount of information required for these functions is staggeringly complex and will never arise by chance, even granted billions upon billions of suitable planets.  To speak of life, a masterpiece of organization and information, as just water and some building blocks is to commit the fallacy of reductionism.  While we applaud all the exciting discoveries being made by the highly successful MGS spacecraft, we feel it is wrong to mislead the public with titillating stories about life on Mars just because water may once have existed there.  And to claim that fossils might be found in the layers just because some of earth’s sedimentary rocks have fossils is a classic error in syllogism.
(For more problems about Martian water-and-life hopes, see the previous Mars reports on this page from 10/12/2000 and 09/14/2000.)
Update 01/05/2001:  The jury is still out on Martian water: according to Science@NASA, the evidence is confusing and contradictory.
Next headline on: Mars.
Next headline on: Solar System.
Millennium Man Rocks the Clock  12/04/2000
According to a
BBC report, French and Kenyan scientists have found hominid bones that shake up the genealogy of mankind.  They claim the bones of the chimpanzee-sized animal dubbed “Millennium Man” are six million years old, much older than the famed australopithecine fossil Lucy, but are in a “more advanced stage of evolution.”
It’s fun to watch the contradictions and rivalries of the myth-makers who always want to be first with the oldest.  This discoverer even has a story about how the specimen was killed by a cat and hauled up into a tree and eaten.  Of course they can say whatever they want because no one can roll the video and watch what really happened.  What do fossil hominid bones really prove?  Apes were always apes, and men were always men.  Ape-men hunters have a pretty sorry track record of fraud, hoaxes and contradictions, and this story won’t be without its detractors.
Next headline on: Early Man.
Judicial Activism Traced to Darwinism  12/01/2000
In the December 1 issue of
Human Events, Nancy Pearcey traces the origins of judicial activism from Darwin to influential Supreme Court Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.  An ardent Darwinist, Holmes turned jurisprudence into a form of societal evolution, rather than the rule of law.  His philosophy of legal pragmatism is very much alive today among judges who feel they have the right, even the obligation, to make law rather than just interpret the law, because law – like everything else in the universe – is in an evolutionary state of flux.
In this article “The Roots and Remedy of Judicial Imperialism: Why Judges Make Law” Pearcey underscores why Darwinism is far more than a biological theory, and how it influences culture, politics and our everyday life.  Churches and citizens ignore this influence at their peril.
Next headline on: Politics. • Next headline on: Darwinism.
More “Living Fossil” Coelacanth Fish Discovered  12/01/2000
The
BBC reports that several more coelacanths have been found off the coast of South Africa, the first seen at this location since their unexpected discovery in 1938 (others have been found since off Madagascar and Indonesia).  Long believed to be extinct since the age of the dinosaurs, these lobe-finned fish are adapted to deep sea life.  Contrary to now-defunct theories that they were ancestral to amphibians, using their bony fins as incipient legs, the living coelacanths are observed to swim in a vertical position and are doing just fine in the 21st century.
The coelacanth is one of many living fossils from the age of dinosaurs and earlier.  Creationists don’t have the problem of explaining millions of years between the alleged extinction and the living remnants found today, because the millions of years never existed.  For more information on the living fossil problem, read Creation Matters, and visit the living fossil museum of German creationist paleontologist, Dr. Joachim Scheven.
Next headline on Fossils: see story below.
Kansas State Fossil Supports Flood Geology  11/30/2000
A collector is trying to get his famous fish-eats-fish specimen adopted as the official Kansas state fossil, according to a news report in the journal Science.  He believes the increasing acceptance of evolution will help his effort.
Dear thinking reader, go to this link and look at the picture.  Stare at it for a moment.  Pray tell how this spectacular fossil supports evolution.  Here is a fish that just swallowed another fish and was buried so rapidly it did not have time to digest its meal.  Most fish float to the surface when they die and are eaten by scavengers, or sink and are slowly buried.  This specimen, with its exquisite detail, is one of many similar finds in the area.  These and many other fossil graveyards around the world illustrate sudden, catastrophic burial, NOT uniformitarianism.  It is empirical evidence like this that makes citizens of Kansas want to teach ALL the science, including the evidence that contradicts evolution.
Next headline on: Fossils.
Early Microbes Win Survivor Game  11/28/2000
According to NASA’s
Astrobiology Institute, a new story of the origin of life is emerging that formerly would have seemed implausible.  The first cells may have formed deep under the sea during the period of Late Heavy Bombardment, a period of meteorite pummelling that was long thought to be too inhospitable for life.
This should be restated thus: the factual landscape is too inhospitable for evolutionary theory to survive.  Consider how choked their scenario is: (1) life is so improbable, it would require vast ages to emerge, but (2) evidence mounts it appeared very early in earth’s history.  (3) It appears free oxygen was present in the atmosphere, which would have been deadly to chemical evolution near the surface.  (4) The early earth was being blasted by meteorites, but (5) deep-sea vents (places of searing hot water erupting into frigid water under pressure) may have been protected from the bombardment, at least for short periods.  Conclusion?  Here we are, so life must have evolved under these conditions.  Aren’t we lucky. 
If this were a horse race, the Darwinists would be betting on a blind, deaf, dumb, lame nag expected to win a marathon in 10 seconds during a blitzkrieg.  How broke do they have to get before declaring bankruptcy?
Next headline on: Origin of Life.
Next dumb story.
Disney Showcases Evolution Propaganda Masterpiece  11/27/2000
On the Scene Report   Opened a couple of years ago, Universe of Energy is one of several attractions at Epcot that portray molecules-to-man evolution as fact, with high-tech special effects, Star Wars quality surround sound, audio animatronics, simulation seats and fast-moving, humorous scripting.  The attraction propels 500 impressionable youngsters and adults through the dazzling displays every 17 minutes, as it illustrates everything from the Big Bang to dinosaurs to the ultimate future, where the correct answer for the Double Jeopardy question What is the only energy source that will never run out? is: brain power.
Even atheistic scientists should be ashamed at some of the shallow science presented in these attractions, such as picturing the Big Bang from the outside (there is no outside to a universe that encompasses everything), or that brain power would survive the heat death of the universe.  To be fair, Epcot in this holiday season does have a nice manger scene, Christian Christmas carols playing over the intercoms, good patriotic programs and other clean fun, but in the scientific programs, never is God mentioned any time, nor even a hint that anybody, anywhere believes anything else than that evolution is fact.  The host of “Universe of Energy,” Bill Nye the Science Guy, could better be named Bill Nye the Evolution Huckster.  And won’t parents just be thrilled to find out that the star of the show, who outwits Albert Einstein and exits to thunderous applause is none other than openly-homosexual actress Ellen DeGeneres.
Recommended Reading: Chuck Colson has an excellent treatment of Epcot’s evolution propaganda and the harm it can cause to Christian families in his millennium magnum opus, How Now Shall We Live?
All Is Not Well in Ape-Man Storybook Land  11/25/2000
The science of body development may make kindling out of evolutionary trees, according to story in the current
Science News. Genetic studies of development don’t match the family trees that paleontologists construct from bone studies.  “...A growing number of investigators, including some formerly ardent evolutionary-tree nurturers now suspect that the branching cladistic creations suffer from conceptual root rot.  The whole enterprise rests on shaky biological and misleading statistical assumptions, they say.”
If you need an illustration of the difference between evolutionary propaganda presented to the public and what really goes on behind the scenes, read this story.
Recommended Reading:  For an explanation of the difficulties that the discovery of homeobox genes (critical developmental controls) present for neo-Darwinism, read Mere Creation, ch. 6.
Next headline on: Early Man.
Microtool Designers Harness Bacterial Engineering  11/25/2000
Microscopic submarines powered by bacteria could zip round the body delivering drugs and zapping tumours, say researchers in Utah who are developing a novel biomotor, according to a report in
New Scientist.  The whiplike flagella will act as tiny outboard motors.
Update 12/15/2000 Mentioned in USA Today, the December 15 issue of Science has a report on flagella by an international team of scientists studying the miniature proton motors as a model for the future of nanotechnology.
Update 12/18/2000  How are flagella assembled in the lowly E. coli bacterium?  According to a Perspective article in Science Magazine, it is “a much more sophisticated process than any of us could ever have envisaged.”  It involves action at a distance assembly of subunits.
Biochemist Michael Behe, a leader in the Intelligent Design movement, has long used the bacterial flagellum as an example of irreducible complexity that defies Darwinian explanation.  If intelligent design is responsible for the man-made parts, does it make sense to attribute the complex outboard motor subsystem to purposeless, undirected natural causes? 
Next amazing story.
No No Nanobes  11/20/2000
New studies cast doubt on the existence of so-called nanobacteria or nanobes, an alleged life-form much smaller than any other free-living organism.  The announcement of the discovery of nanobacteria in Antarctic ice, made with much hoopla in March 1999, was hailed as evidence that the Martian meteorite structures, criticized by doubters as too small, could indeed be fossilized organisms.  Now, experiments have shown that the putative nanobes were just a relic of nonliving mineral processes.
Cells have a minimum size to contain the necessary enzymes and nucleic acids to grow, ingest nutrients and reproduce.  This irreducible complexity is one of the main arguments against a naturalistic origin of life.  It looks like this reality check has dashed another hope that life could have evolved from smaller, simpler units.
Ancestor of DNA Discovered?  11/17/2000
Chemists at the Scripps Institute have proposed a molecule named TNA as the progenitor of DNA, according to the November 17 issue of
Science.  TNA is able to maintain the base-pairing of nucleic acids but uses a smaller sugar molecule on the backbone.  The researchers were hesitant to state whether TNA could have been the precursor of RNA or DNA, both of which have been difficult to produce in early-earth simulation experiments.  Commenting on their work, long time origin-of-life researcher Leslie Orgel said, “it’s like any history–one can’t be absolutely sure since you weren’t there.”
Numerous problems here.  Even if TNA formed naturally (for which they provide no evidence, since their laboratory TNA was created by intelligent design), their speculation dodges the central issue: where did the information come from?  The simpler sugar these chemists devised is just part of the backbone of the molecule, not the side groups that carry the information.  In the case of DNA and RNA, the information is stored in the bases (the rungs of the double helix ladder), not the sugars (the sides of the ladder).  But actually, the complex specified information in cells is independent of the molecule used.  In any scenario, what is needed is an information-rich language that can code for functional proteins, and the associated machinery to carry out the instructions.  Analogy: finding slightly simpler bricks does not explain the origin of a cathedral, and finding a sans-serif font does not explain the origin of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.  Another serious problem this article dodges completely is the origin of single-handedness in the nucleic acid molecules.  See Chapter 3 of Evolution: Possible or Impossible? (at this site) for background on this intractable problem for naturalistic evolution.  Origin-of-life theorists are grasping at straws again.  Orgel’s comment sounds strikingly reminiscent of a familiar creationist retort: “Were you there?”  a question asked of Job by God Himself (see Job 38:4).
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry.
Next headline on: Origin of Life.
Genetic Revolution Begins With Lowly Worm  11/16/2000
Geneticists are beginning to understand the function of individual genes in a roundworm that is the first organism to have its genome fully mapped, according to a news report in Science.  Using a new technique that can send magic-bullet strands of RNA to turn off individual genes, scientists can switch genes off and see what happens to the organism.  In many cases, the worm dies or never develops.
We are in the initial stages of a major scientific revolution, that has as much or more potential for good–or harm–as the industrial revolution.  Since man’s sinful heart is not evolving upward, these developments should be monitored carefully.  The promise of new cures, however, for millennia of devolution (harmful mutations and genetic diseases) is one of many potential blessings of the genetic revolution.  One thing becoming clear from this tinkering with worm genes is that DNA does not tolerate much alteration.  In hundreds of cases, if a gene is switched off, the worm dies.  Who put all this software engineering into a brainless worm?  Mutations and natural selection?
Go To the Ant, Thou Paleontologist  11/14/2000
The discovery of a fossilized ant encased in amber has shaken up another evolutionary Just-So story.  According to
Scientific American, the tiny crawler was fully functional much earlier than the assumed era when ants became dominant.  A spokesman for the American Museum of Natural History stated, “We can only hope that this cycle of discovery and revision will continue or even accelerate so that our current, clouded picture of ant phylogeny will come increasingly into focus . . . .”
Emphasis on the word clouded.  Ants follow the same pattern as every other fossil: abrupt appearance, fully formed.  Think of how many thousands of transitional forms there should be in the record, yet the earliest ants are 100% ants.  Where, O where, is the evolution?  Yet the spin doctors turn this into a plus: why, the clever little critters just evolved quicker than we thought.
Next headline on: Fossils.
Update 11/15/2000  “Go to the ant, thou engineer; consider her ways, and be wise.”  The cover story of this week’s Science News reports that robot-makers are studying ants for their ingenious ways to deal with unpredictable environments and solve complex problems.  For instance, ants regularly solve the complex “travelling salesman problem” – i.e., given multiple destinations, what is the most efficient route.  Engineers observe the behavior of these tiny creatures to gain insight on how to build robots that can solve problems using teamwork.
Next amazing story.

Immune System Adapts to Promiscuity  11/13/2000
Scientific American reports that researchers have detected differing white blood counts in species of primates with differing sexual behavior.  Promiscuous macaques apparently have higher white blood counts than more monogamous primates, indicating that the stress of exposure to multiple partners causes the immune system to respond with a military buildup.  The authors say that human white blood cell counts are consistent with monogamy.

This story proves nothing and smacks of continuing sociobiological efforts to explain human behavior in Darwinian terms.  Whether or not white blood cell counts vary, and regardless of how other animals behave, the Lord spoke unambiguously to mankind in five simple words, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
Next headline on: Human Body. • Next headline on: Darwinism.

Far-Out Galaxy Clusters Detected  11/10/2000
Science reports that a team has detected more of the most distant galaxy clusters.  Using X-ray image archives, they have counted over a hundred massive galaxy clusters allegedly halfway back to the Big Bang.  The evidence fuels arguments that the universal expansion is not slowing down, but apparently accelerating.

This adds more data to the “lumpiness problem,” one of many points of contention with the Big Bang theory.  Massive structures appear too soon after the beginning.  This problem has caused maverick astronomers to consider chucking the reigning paradigm in favor of alternatives.  Spin doctors operate in science as well as politics, however.  Some astronomers turn this observation into support for the Big Bang theory and say they even predicted it.  A few years ago, however, they were caught off guard by evidence the universe is accelerating.
Next headline on: Cosmology.

Triceratops Has a New, Sleeker Look  11/09/2000
Did you know the popular image of the dinosaur Triceratops is wrong?  This week’s
Science News cover story reports that one of kids’ favorite pets is getting a makeover, because several features from the original 1905 Smithsonian exhibit are now known to be flawed.  The early museum workers had assembled the bones from 20 different animal skeletons at six different sites.  Mr. T’s missing rear feet, for instance, were filled in with those from a duckbilled dinosaur, and the skull is thought to have come from a young adult not fully grown.  It is still uncertain whether differing skeletons are from different species or different sexes from the same species.  The updates reveal that the creature had different body proportions, a lighter weight head, and walked with more erect front legs.  Its revised stance indicates Triceratops was not a slow, lumbering animal as often pictured, but could have trotted at 30 mph and even galloped.  Another surprise was that the its massive six-foot head was remarkably well-balanced, swiveling on a huge ball-and-socket joint like a big, bony trailer hitch.

Dinosaurs didn’t evolve by undirected natural processes; like every other creature, they show marvelous examples of engineering design.  But this story illustrates the fudging that goes on in the back rooms of museums before the public sees the official exhibits.  Remember Brontosaurus, the popular dinosaur that had the wrong head?  A whole generation of kids can grow up with faulty ideas of prehistoric creatures and ape-men that are sometimes based on mistakes (Java Man, Nebraska Man and Piltdown Man are good examples).  Though we applaud efforts to improve the accuracy of exhibits, this story goes to show that reconstruction of fossils still involves a fair amount of artistic license and guesswork.  Especially when scientists or movie-makers take a pile of bones and then build epic stories of how the animals lived and behaved, as was done recently with the Discovery Channel’s popular TV series “Walking with Dinosaurs,” the result can be a veritable mythology passed off as science.  Remember, as Ken Ham often says, “Fossils exist in the present.” 
Next headline on: Fossils.
Next headline on: Dinosaurs.

Origin of Flowering Plants Still a Mystery  11/08/2000
Scientific American reports on a finding that again complicates the evolutionary theory on the origin of plants.  Todd Barkman of Penn State believes that a second genus of plants that includes water lilies may have to be added to the other leading candidate for the common ancestor of this extremely diverse group of plants, the origin of which has defied evolutionary explanation since Darwin’s time.

The article quotes Darwin on the origin of flowering plants being an “abominable mystery,” agreeing it has remained so till the present day.  This is what happens when you try to force-fit nature into a preconceived naturalistic world-view.  Anyone who has enjoyed wildflowers or has cultivated a garden should appreciate instead the beauty, design, and astounding variety of the flowering plants and instead of ascribing it to chance, give glory to God.  The article concludes with a list of potential spinoff benefits to knowing plant phylogenies, but none of these are the exclusive claim of evolution.  Creationists also acknowledge relationships in terms of similarities and differences between organisms, but attribute these to common design and horizontal variability, not common ancestry.
Next headline on: Darwinism.

Panspermia Considered by Sagan’s Society, but Never the G Word  11/07/2000
Carl Sagan, one of the founders of The Planetary Society, used to wax enthusiastic on how easy it was to get all kinds of interesting organic molecules in Miller-type spark-discharge experiments.   But now two authors in the Society’s latest issue of The Planetary Report appear to be distancing themselves from that approach to life’s origin, entertaining instead a more radical hypothesis Sagan would have played down.  They describe tests they ran on the famous Martian meteorite ALH84001 that seem to confirm that it was never heated to sterilizing temperatures, therefore any life inside could have survived a trip through space.  In their opinion this lends support for the theory of panspermia, that life was transported to earth from elsewhere in the universe. 

The first three paragraphs of this article are remarkably honest about the difficulties of explaining the origin of life: the probability is extremely small, the time is too short, the early earth was a hostile environment, and panspermia begs the question.  You would think this would make an evolutionist say, “OK, naturalism loses, there is a God,” but nooooo . . . Instead, they are willing to consider a “cheating” theory (their word) rather than the logical alternative of Intelligent Design.  One can only hope readers see through the fallacy that just because life is tenacious, it must have evolved.  We may be seeing the beginning of the end of naturalism, as the facts of biochemistry require the evolutionists to add more and more epicycles to keep their story going.  At least if the evolutionary scientists don’t get it, maybe the watching public will.

Keeping a Radar Eye on Migrating Birds  11/06/2000
Scientists are utilizing radar to track swarms of birds on their annual migrations, according to a news article on the
National Geographic website.  Watchers of this phenomenon may soon be able to forecast the swarms like they do the weather, even picking out individual species by monitoring recordings made at high altitude.  This can help pilots avoid the swarms and help farmers time aerial spraying to protect our feathered friends.

Bird migration is one of the many biological near-miracles occuring all around us, which we often take for granted.  How a little “birdbrain” can not only perform aerial maneuvers to make top gun pilots envious, but also navigate in the dark by the stars and magnetic fields to cross trackless miles of ocean and reach pinpoint targets on other sides of the world that they have never seen, should be enough to make us stand in awe of the Creator.  Yet the scientific establishment continues to attribute this and countless other wonders to undirected, impersonal forces that are blind, deaf and dumb.  And no, Dr. Ken Miller, this is not just the “argument from personal incredulity,” either; mutation and natural selection are wholly unfit for such engineering feats.  Next time you see a little bird, ponder all the information built in to that tiny head.  NASA’s best hardware and software is crude by comparison.
Next headline on: Birds.

Black Sea Exploration Continues to Yield Surprises  11/05/2000
In a research project funded by
National Geographic, undersea explorer Robert Ballard has found remarkably preserved remains of three Roman-Byzantine ships in the oxygen-poor depths of the Black Sea.  In addition, hoping to substantiate the theory that a catastrophic regional flood in the Black Sea region was the genesis (pardon the expression) of the Noah’s Flood story, Ballard carbon-dated some artifacts from what appeared to be a Stone Age habitation site.  Results were disappointing, however, dating from only about 200 years ago, indicating they must have floated into the site.

This is an interesting ongoing project worth watching.  Bible-believing Christians, however, reject Ryan and Pittman’s Black-Sea Flood theory, which would make the Genesis account merely an exaggerated legend.  Whatever happened at the Black Sea was a post-Flood local catastrophe, one of many that must have occurred around the world as remnant pluvial lakes breached their dams.  Examples include the Grand Canyon and the series of inundations that occurred in California in Owens Valley, Lake Manix, Lake Mojave, and Death Valley.  See these reasons from Answers in Genesis why local flood theories do not fit the Biblical account.

Physicists Discover God Particle – or Job Security  11/03/2000
A cover story in today’s
Los Angeles Times says physicists at CERN Labs in Switzerland believe they may have recorded tracks of the elusive Higgs boson, a theoretical subatomic entity that Nobel physicist Leon Lederman calls the “god particle” presumably because of its essence of giving matter its mass and making our universe possible.  Others dispute the claim, however, and think the physicists are trying to pre-empt competitors at Fermilab and postpone the demolition and replacement of the aging accelerator.
Update 11/08/2000:  New Scientist reports that the CERN director has decided the evidence is not sufficiently conclusive, and has decided to pull the plug on the machine, paving the way for a higher-energy accelerator to be built and completed by 2005.

These measurements are always on the bleeding edge of the possible, and the blurry line between theory and reality.  Is this a case of personal ambition or fundamental discovery?  You decide.  Regardless, it is a fact that the parameters of our universe are finely-tuned for life.  This observation, called the Anthropic Principle, recognized by creationists and evolutionists alike, argues strongly for a Designer.  As the evolutionist Freeman Dyson once said, “As we look out into the universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the universe must in some sense have known that we were coming.”
Next headline on: Cosmology.

Your Ancestor Was a Worm  11/03/2000
According to
Nature this week, your genome proves you and all animals with bilateral symmetry are descended from worms.  We all share a similar RNA sequence that controls the timing of embryonic development.

Comparative sequencing doesn’t prove relationship.  For every story like this that touts similarity between gene or protein sequences, there is another that proves we are closer to snakes than to apes, or to fruit flies than to horses.  Creationists would expect similarities because we all breathe the same air and walk the same earth.  Similarities do not point to a common ancestor, but a common Designer. We are related to worms not physically, but spiritually.  As the author of the hymn At the Cross stated, “Would He devote that Sacred Head for such a worm as I?”
Next headline on: Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory.

Europa Lives in the Cracks  11/02/2000
New Scientist reports on a claim by Dr. Richard Greenberg (Univ of Arizona) that Jupiter’s little moon Europa has an ideal place for life: the cracks and fissures that riddle the surface.  “Tides caused by Jupiter’s strong gravitational pull make warm water flow up and down the cracks, creating a rich chemistry along the fissures.  ’That makes Europa extremely habitable,“ says Greenberg.”

Just as the presence of iron on Mars does not mean you will find skyscrapers, ships and trains there, the presence of habitable conditions on Europa does not mean you will find life there, or anywhere else.  Habitable temperatures and interesting chemistry are necessary but not sufficient conditions for life.  The missing ingredient these optimistic astrobiologists always seem to exclude is: INFORMATION.  Life is a masterpiece of information, not just chemistry, and as both secular and creationist scientists have repeatedly stressed, complex specified information never comes about by chance: it always comes about by design.  We will grant you billions upon billions of habitable planets throughout the universe, and guarantee you based on the universal laws of thermodynamics that though they may have interesting chemistry and geology, without a Designer, they will be dead, lifeless worlds.
Next headline on: Origin of Life.
Next headline on: Solar System.

Battle for Baylor Academic Freedom Is Up and Down   11/01/2000
World Magazine reports that William Dembski, prominent design theorist, has won one and lost one at Baylor in his attempt to keep Intelligent Design theory in the spotlight at the university’s new Michael Polanyi Center.  An independent review board has judged I.D. to be a legitimate subject for discussion.  The administration, however, reacting to fellow faculty members’ displeasure, has removed Mr. Dembski’s directorship.

It remains to be seen whether the I.D. movement will gain any more respectability in academia than creationism has.  Despite three decades of debates with Henry Morris and Duane Gish and others, in which many evolutionists admit they have lost, creationism is still a subject of ridicule and scorn on many secular campuses (at least among the ruling elite).  If it were only a matter of academics, then surely Dembski’s scholarly treatises would be given a hearing.  The design issue, however, strikes much deeper than intellectual debate, stirring visceral responses among even learned scientists whose world view cannot allow for Someone in control of the universe.  This incident is one of many that demonstrates that evolution is largely a political battle, with the materialists on the hill fiercely defending their territory from alternative views no matter what direction the scientific evidence leads.  As the wedge of truth continues to make inroads on universities, though, perhaps the I.D. David will defeat the Darwinian Goliath.  Maybe even Goliath will just topple over from his own dystrophy.  Stay tuned.
Update 11/30/2000:  Read this full account in the Dec 4 Christianity Today and ask yourself if the evolutionists at Baylor are more concerned about their own reputations than the truth.  Christian parents sending their kids to what they think is a good Baptist school need a good dose of shock and outrage.
Update 12/21/2000:  A UPI article gives glimpses into the hostility of Baylor professors against Dembski, who even stooped to using dirty tricks to thwart his successful Intelligent Design conference.  Incredible.  The worst criticism comes from supposed Christians who are more concerned for academic respectability than the integrity of Scripture, “for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43).

A Concise Guide
for Understanding
Evolutionary Theory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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).