Creation-Evolution Headlines
 December 2001
 
“Facts do not speak for themselves–they must be interpreted according to a framework.  It is not a case of religion / creation / subjectivity vs science / evolution / objectivity.  Rather, it is the biases of the religions of Christianity and of humanism interpreting the same facts in diametrically opposite ways.”
–Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, physical chemist, In Six Days: Why Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation (New Holland Publishers, 1999), p. 64.

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Top Science Stories of 2001 Listed   12/29/2001
Science News has catalogued what it considers the top science news of the year in the areas of Anthropology and Archaeology, Astronomy, Behavior, Biomedicine, Botany and Zoology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Environment and Ecology, Food Science and Nutrition, Mathematics and Computers, Paleobiology, Physics, and Technology.

These always make for a fascinating year-end review.  There are too many stories to list here, but it can be noted that most of the stories (many of which were reported in Creation-Evolution Headlines) seem to fall into two categories: those that are repeatable and verifiable and have practical benefits, and useless speculations about the past that could never be verified.  Most evolutionary stories fall into the latter category.  It is hard to find any value in hypothesizing which organism was the common ancestor of flowering plants, or which skull fragment fits into one team’s concept of human evolution, or whether a hypothetical parallel universe smashed into ours and ignited the big bang.  Deciphering the human genome, or finding proteins implicated in cancer, or monitoring hurricane or sunspot activity, however, are examples of scientific studies that do impact our lives.  A browse through the list in Science News Vol 160, No. 26 reveals a broad gray area between these extremes.  Perhaps many of the claims made in 2001 are ripe to be reversed by new findings in 2002.
Evolutionists Tend to Exaggerate   12/27/2001
In the Biological Proceedings of the Royal Society, “Relationships fade with time: a meta-analysis of temporal trends in publication in ecology and evolution,” a study was made of publication bias in scientific papers about evolution and ecology.  The authors claim to have found evidence that big effects on small populations tend to get published quicker, but the alleged effects fade with time.  Publishers tend to bypass studies on large populations or studies that show smaller effects.  This can distort the resulting theories or popular beliefs about them.  “In conclusion, publication bias, whatever the underlying cause, appears to be a problem in biology because both year of publication and sample size are correlated with effect size.  This raises questions about the validity of drawing general conclusions from the biological literature, using formal meta-analysis or traditional narrative reviews. ... Publication bias is therefore a general problem, which is apparently not unique to strongly hypothesis-driven science.”
We’ve been showing over and over in Creation-Evolution Headlines how evolutionists announce dramatic evidence for evolution in bold headlines that are overturned in fine print later.  This paper is an interesting look at the sources of bias in scientific publishing (which we were taught was objective, neutral, and self-checking).  Yes, even scientists and their publishers are gullible for fads, bandwagons, and bravado, especially in a “hypothesis-driven” subject like evolution.  Read this paper first before others in the same issue of the Proceedings about the evolution of peacock tails, vertebrate teeth, pheasant wattles, cabbages, kings, or anything else.  (See also next headline.)
Six Methods for Estimating Evolutionary Ancestors Don’t Work   12/27/2001
In a study discouraging to evolutionists, A. J. Webster and Andy Purvis applied six common methods for estimating the traits of evolutionary ancestors to populations of foraminifera, and found that they all failed.  Writing in the
Biological Proceedings of the Royal Society, “Testing the accuracy of methods for reconstructing ancestral states of continuous characters,” they also admitted that the morphological and genetic lineages are not compatible.  They undertook the study because “Many methods are available for estimating ancestral values of continuous characteristics, but little is known about how well these methods perform.”  Unfortunately, “No method produced accurate estimates for any variable: estimates were consistently less good as predictors of the observed values than were the averages of the observed values.”  The authors studied continuous characteristics: those traits assumed to vary gradually over time instead of in spurts.  Their study was the largest to date of its kind, but “overall accuracy [of the methods] was less than zero.” (I.e., the methods did not correlate at all with the observations.)  The authors conclude that the evolutionary relationships between the subjects studied are too complex and too little understood to allow any method to infer the ancestral appearance of organisms from their descendents: “These problems–lineage identification, data error and phylogenetic uncertainty–are inevitable for any study that aims to compare estimates of ancestral traits based on descendants with estimates based on measurement of putative ancestors themselves.  Further studies on groups with adequate fossil records are needed in order to determine the generality of the results found in this study and the robustness of the conclusions they suggest.”
Take heed, perceptive reader: these authors tested evolutionary storytelling and found it to be no better than dreams or lies!  The storytelling methods have fancy names: “unweighted squared-change parsimony, two-parameter maximum likelihood model” and so forth, but they were worse than nothing– they showed no correlation whatsoever when used on living and fossil shellfish that have the best fossil record of all.  So how can they possibly describe the alleged common ancestor of apes and humans, or the common ancestor of whales and hippos, or the common ancestor of anything, especially when the fossil evidence is much weaker ?  They can’t, and these scientists demonstrated it.  Evolution is a game for storytellers who cannot connect their stories to observational evidence.  Why don’t papers like this make it into the mainstream media, the Discovery Channel, and PBS?  Why aren’t we told the truth about the disagreements between genetic and morphological evidence?  Instead, we are treated to imaginary computer-generated make-believe animals that supposedly evolved into today’s zoo, with confident-sounding narration about how and when they evolved.  This paper is a damaging admission.  It provides ammunition for creationists who would claim that evolutionary storytelling is pure mythology.  For another example, see the next headline below .
Next headline on: Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory. • Next headline on: Fossils.
Bee Societies Evolved Repeatedly Without Intermediates   12/26/2001
A paper by Bryan Danforth of Cornell in the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences investigates the origin of social behavior in insects, primarily bees.  Danforth compares phylogenies (evolutionary family trees) based on gene sequences with the observed social behavior of halictid bees (which have more diverse social behaviors than ants, termites and corbiculate bees, such as honeybees, that show advanced social structure from the beginning).  He concludes that social behavior likely had few origins but multiple reversals back to solitary nesting.  The most striking finding, he says, is the lack of correspondence of the phylogeny with the complexity of the societies.  Some species, for instance, have huge colonies right off the bat with no “intermediate” stages of social complexity, and “Likewise, the magnitude of queen/worker dimorphism [body difference] also shows no clear phylogenetic pattern .... The pattern of social evolution is one of increased and decreased social complexity independent of the phylogeny” (emphasis added).
This paper demonstrates that theories about the evolution of social behavior are contrived.  What is the observational evidence?  Only that different species of bees have widely different amounts of social behavior and dimorphism within their colonies.  Fitting these observations into assumed family trees is based on the prior assumption of evolution, not the evidence.  Although he believes eusociality evolved somehow, Danforth admits that the family trees and the observed social behaviors appear to have little to do with each other.  So why even claim it evolved?  See one entomologist’s frustration with the pressure to force-fit observations into Darwinian tales in our 12/21 headline.
Bee social behavior is an amazing phenomenon that defies Darwinian explanation.  For good visuals and explanations of the complex relationships, roles and communications of bees, see the Moody Science film Wonders of God’s Creation, part 2, Animal Kingdom.
Next headline on: Bugs. • Next headline on: Darwinism.
Kepler Spacecraft Approved to Search for Earthlike Planets   12/26/2001
About 80 planets around other stars have been discovered to date (indirectly by their gravitational tugs on the stars), but almost all these have been giants in the Jupiter-size class. 
NASA has just approved a new mission for launch in 2006 that will include a specially-designed telescope targeting earth-size planets.  Although unable to image such small planets directly, the telescope will hunt through the light of thousands of stars simultaneously, looking for extremely faint changes in brightness caused by the passage of a planet across the face of a star (a transit).  The mission is named after Johannes Kepler, the 17th century astronomer who discovered the laws of planetary motion, and who speculated whether life exists in outer space.
See our biography of Kepler on The World’s Greatest Creation Scientists.  Although Kepler would have enjoyed such a search, he would not have believed life could evolve on a planet.  He was a firm believer in the Creator God as revealed in the Scriptures.
Next headline on: Solar System. • Next headline on: Stars.
Dawn Mission Approved to Study Evolution of Solar System by Observing Asteroids   12/26/2001
Another
Discovery mission approved by NASA is called Dawn.  It will orbit the asteroids Ceres and Vesta to look for clues to the early evolution of the Solar System.  Scheduled for 2006 launch, it will take nine years to arrive at its targets, using an ion-drive engine.
The Dawn website home page uses the word evolution eight times in as many paragraphs.  But it also says “Dawn has the potential for making many paradigm-shifting discoveries.”  Maybe one of those will be that evolution is untenable.
Next headline on: Solar System.
Butterfly Author Launches Tirade Against Darwinian Establishment   12/21/2001
William Dembski found a coffee-table book on butterflies, loaded with pretty pictures, that has a surprising introduction: an angry description of the Darwinian scientific establishment, which the author describes as a “global pseudo-scientific cultism” and “totalitarian absolutism of unproveable dogma” among other sizzling epithets.  In his book review posted on the
Intl. Society for Complexity, Intelligence and Design website (see our Dec 12 headline), Dembski describes Bernard d’Abrera’s new 2001 Concise Atlas of Butterflies of the World (available for order online at www.biobooks.com at a discount till January 1), to be an otherwise standard taxonomy book with some of the most stunning pictures of butterflies he has ever seen, by one of the world’s best renowned lepidopterists from the British Museum of Natural History.  The author’s apparent “public call to allow informed dissent of Darwinism” in the introduction was a surprise; Dembski portrays d’Abrera as a victim of a “suffocating ideology” whose purveyors are bullies, and a man who “has seen himself, his colleagues, and their work pushed around long enough and will not stand for it any longer.”
Dembski includes some choice quotes from d’Abrera’s fire-breathing introduction ... quite revealing!  The review is short; read it.
Next headline on: Bugs. • Next headline on: Darwinism.
Science Lists Breakthroughs of the Year   12/21/2001
Nanotechnology is top on its list, but several stories referenced in Creation-Evolution Headlines were voted as runners-up in Science Magazine’s most significant science breakthroughs of 2001:
  • RNA Molecules have become increasingly recognized for their versatility of functions in the cell.  There is a whole new class of regulators made up of short pieces of RNA, and some RNA molecules have enzymatic activity.
  • The solar neutrino mystery has apparently been solved.
  • Neurons use signals to guide their growing tips to the correct junction.
The RNA story is pretty amazing; look at the picture of the enzyme for an idea of the complexity of enzymes.  Keep in mind this is a simplification: each helix is composed of left-handed amino acids that twist in this way, and the whole complex is intricately folded into a precise shape for the function it must perform.  The magazine’s statement that “RNA could have preceded DNA in the earliest life-forms” is just whistling in the dark.
The neutrino story was convincing enough for creation writer Dr. Walter Brown to retract the solar neutrino deficit as evidence for a shrinking sun in his detailed book, In the Beginning, but this has no impact on evidence for creation or the age of the earth.  The latest edition of the entire book is online at creationscience.com.
New Method for Studying Evolution Found   12/20/2001
The
Stanford press release begins: “Evolutionary biology has always faced a major hurdle - how to test a process that takes place over thousands, if not millions, of years.  Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution.”  And what is it?  Studying stickleback fish.  David Kingsley wanted two populations that had diverged recently yet could still cross-breed, so he could map their genetics and determine whether evolution occurs through small or large jumps. In a paper in Nature this week, he begins by saying, “The genetic and molecular basis of morphological evolution is poorly understood, particularly in vertebrates.”  Then he proposes the stickleback as a good field-testing candidate,
Dr. Kingsley, they are just fish.  They are just stickleback fish.  The size and color of scales and fins signifies nothing.  Call me back when you evolve them into giraffes.
Did you catch the admission that after all these years they still don’t understand the mechanism of evolution?  It shouldn’t take millions of years to figure it out; they’ve been breeding thousands of generations of fruit flies and bacteria in the lab for decades (with no new kind of organism coming out of the test tube).  If evolution is supposed to be such a universal life principle, the same mechanism should work for vertebrates. 
This paper sounds like another empty promise.  Darwin did his wishful thinking in 1859, and here we are in 2001 with evolution still poorly understood (but you students had better believe it).
Next headline on: Darwinism. • Next headline on: Fish.
Article 12/20/2001: In the latest Creation magazine (Dec 2001), Carl Wieland in an article entitled “Fouling the Nest: Christianity and the Environment” discusses the complex issues of global warming, species preservation, animal rights, and more aspects of environmentalism, seeking to strike a balanced Christian perspective.
The next day, Nature Science Update posted an article on the enigma of man’s impact on the environment.  Despite what the news reports, and what the United Nations leaders decide, it’s not so clear cut what is happening: “Environmental even keel or global crisis - no one knows.”
Next headline on: Politics.

Christmas Star an Astrology Cover-Up?   12/20/2001
Michael Molnar, an American astronomer, thinks early Christians covered up the astrological roots of the Christmas star story because it seemed pagan, reports
EurekAlert based on a story in New Scientist.  He bases his conspiracy theory on a fourth-century manuscript by a converted Roman astrologer named Firmicus Maternus, who describes a double eclipse of Jupiter in 6 BC as a sign of the birth of a great king.  Molnar believes Maternus did not mention Jesus’ name for fear of angering Christian leaders at a time when they despised pagan beliefs.

Conspiracy theories make for good press, but this is one is pretty weak.  Matthew was much closer to the events than Maternus, and walked with Jesus for three years as a disciple; why shouldn’s his clear account, written within a few decades, be given more credence than a veiled reference by an obscure astrologer hundreds of years after the events took place? 
Besides, it is not improbable that the Magi, living in a culture that accepted astrology as a given, would have been products of their time to some degree.  Seeing an unusual star (possibly foretold by the prophet Daniel), they could have come without completely understanding the significance of the Christ child.  If even the disciples following Jesus around for three years did not grasp the nature of His kingdom, we cannot expect the Magi to have fully understood what He would do, as they presented to Him their royal gifts.  But they “rejoiced with exceeding great joy” when they saw the star, having at least a profound sense that something momentous was happening.  Matthew’s description does not fit a conjunction, comet, supernova, meteor, or any other known natural phenomenon, though planetarium directors this time of year like to speculate.  It was a one-time sign from God.
The Star of Bethlehem in no way promotes astrology; pagans were looking at the stars anyway, so the Creator of the stars upset their expectations by giving them a star like no other, that moved and stood over where the child lay, as if to say, “You want a sign?  Here’s a sign– my beloved Son: learn from Him!”  God led them from natural revelation (the star) to special revelation: messages from angels and the sight of His own Son.  This is the message of the gospel, leading people of all nations from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God (Acts 26:18).  “For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people; for unto is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord” (Luke 2). 
Next headline on: The Bible.
Wonders of the Water Gate   12/20/2001
The Dec. 20 issue of
Nature has a detailed description, with diagrams, of one of the water gates inside you (and all living things): AQP1, one of the aquaporins, the superfamily of complex proteins in cell membranes that transport water into the cell interior.  There are ten families of these water channels.  In this paper, Berkeley scientists achieve the highest yet resolution (2.2 Angstroms) of the structure of AQP1, and show it to be a highly-organized, specifically shaped and sized pore with inner and outer vestibules, between which is a constriction region with a “selectivity filter” that lets water in but not anything else.
The complexity of life continues to boggle the mind.  Although this paper is difficult for laymen to read because of the technical jargon, the gist of it is clear: AQP1 is an elaborately designed security gate.  Nebuchadnezzar or the Pentagon never had anything so marvelous.  You would think water transport into a cell would be simple, that it might just leak across by osmosis, but no!  The cell has to carefully regulate how much water comes in or goes out, and has to regulate every other substance – salts, ions, nutrients – very carefully, usually against the concentration gradient (i.e., contrary to what would happen naturally, by osmosis).  This is called active transport.  A cell has to be able to take in scarce water while its surroundings are drying up.  How?  This article opens a window into the answer, and it is wondrous. 
It can best be approximated by analogies: think of an automated turnstile that whisks you through the eye of the needle if you pass authentication, but blows you away if you are an alien.  Think of a multi-tier security check that reads your badge electronically at Stage 1 then checks your fingerprint at Stage 2, then transports you through an isolation gate so narrow you have to inhale as you pass single file.  Think of a club with an outer bouncer that won’t even let you near the door if you don’t belong, but grabs your hand and pulls you in if you are a member.  Think of all these systems, yet completely automated, and you start to get a picture of AQP1. 
To be able to do all this, AQP1 has to be composed of thousands of atoms, composing hundreds of amino acids, all left handed and precisely ordered; even the substitution of a single amino acid at the “selectivity filter” would alter the security checks and let aliens in.  (The authors describe another channel in bacteria that, with a difference of one or two elements, allows glycerol through.)  The channel is composed of four complex proteins arranged into a tight ring through which the security pore passes from interior to exterior of the cell.  These water gates are “highly conserved” (i.e., unchanged) in all living things from bacteria to people, showing no variation from simple to complex; it is complex from the very beginning.
We spend a little time on this little marvel just to remind readers of the wonders of God’s creation being revealed by modern biochemistry, and to emphasize the difficulty evolution has explaining this kind of design.  The argument for design in the cell has a one-two punch: irreducible complexity (multiple parts must simultaneously be present or there is no function), and (2) the sheer magnitude of the design.  This water gate AQP1 is one of the simpler structures in the cell, yet look at the level of complexity even here.  And each other molecule the cell must transport in or out has its own elaborate gate as well, some more sophisticated than this one.  This alone should blow evolution out of the water, but there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other examples here in the most simple, basic unit of life, the cell.  It’s as if God did overkill on the message design demands a Designer, just when modern science needs to hear it most. 
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry.
Next amazing story (see also next headline).
Horses’ “Vestigial Muscles” Are Really Dampers   12/20/2001
Horses and camels have tiny muscles in their legs, as short as 6mm, attached to very long tendons (almost as long as the leg itself).  Evolutionists have thought these muscles must be vestigial; i.e., useless leftovers from earlier ancestors.  But now, writing in
Nature 12/20/01, Alan M. Wilson and colleagues think there’s a reason for these unusual muscles.  Modeling the forces and tensions and vibrations involved in galloping, the researchers demonstrate that the muscles serve as dampers, to reduce damage to bones and tissues from vibrations caused by the foot striking the ground. 
A layman’s summary of the paper was added December 21 on Nature Science Update and is well worth reading.  It explains that tendons are like elastic springs, giving the horses’s legs the bounce of a pogo stick.  But the 93% recoil of the tendons causes a problem: “Spring heels are all very well, but they could shake horses and other runners, such as camels, to bits.”  The small muscles, being more “squashy,” act like rubber washers to damp out the otherwise damaging vibrations.  “As it is, racehorses run at their limits.  Fatigue damage is a leading cause of injury, and the spring system can fail in as little as 10,000 strides when galloping.  Without the muscle fibres, this rate would be even worse.”  The summary also explains that “These fibres may be costly to develop and maintain but they are ideally suited to absorbing the shockwaves that accompany each stride.  They are not mere evolutionary vestiges, as some had suspected.”
The argument for evolution based on vestigial organs has been dying a slow death for a long time.  Evolutionists sometimes accuse creationists of taking the lazy way out, failing to explain something by giving up and saying, “God did it.”  But in the sorry history of vestigial organ theory, isn’t the shoe on the other foot?  Instead of finding the function of an unknown organ, evolutionists have tended to give up and say, “It’s just an evolutionary leftover.”  A belief in creation, on the other hand, has often been the stimulus for outstanding scientific research, because of the conviction that nature is intelligible, follows intelligently-formulated laws, and possesses an underlying plan and design that can be discovered and utilized.
For “Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week,” let’s enter this line from the Nature Science Update article: “Why use muscle as the damping material, when practically any squashy material would do?  One answer is that muscle just happens to be available - evolution didn’t equip horses with rubber washers.”  No, Henry, the infinite-personal Creator gave them something far more wonderful: self-healing, self-regenerating, living dampers, filled with DNA code and molecular machines. 
In our day of cars and freeways, we should still consider the marvel of the horse and camel.  For thousands of years, these sturdy animals have been the staple of the human economy.  As mounted police and rescue workers know, they still have superiority over man-made vehicles in many situations (plus, they can live off the land and don’t pollute).  Horses are sleek, handsome, versatile, lovable animals, and now we find they are equipped with hi-tech shock absorbers, too.  Get a horse.
Next headline on: Mammals. • Next headline on: Darwinism.
How Sweet the Meteorites   12/19/2001
Analysis of two meteorites that fell in 1950 and 1969 has yielded sugars thought to be extraterrestrial in origin, according to
National Geographic.  and Nature.  The NASA-Ames crew believes they have ruled out terrestrial contamination.  This adds to the earlier finding of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, in some meteorites.  National Geographic titles the story “Building Blocks of Life Found in Two Meteorites” and states, “Some scientists have speculated that material from meteors may have provided some starting material for early life forms, possibly even jump-starting the origin of life itself.”   Nature describes these extraterrestrial compounds “well along the road to primitive life.”
That phrase building blocks of life, common in popular astrobiology, is so misleading.  It assumes life is nothing more than chemicals, and suggests that chemical evolution is becoming well understood.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The origin of life is one of the most vexing problems facing naturalistic philosophy today, because of the extreme complexity of all living system (even the simplest), and the presence of molecular machines and motors inhabiting all of life (to say nothing of the complex DNA code that necessarily is even more complex than the machines for which it codes).  Should it be surprising that living systems also possess simple molecules like amino acids and sugars?  Why not take a step back and call atoms the building blocks of life? 
Many organic compounds have been discovered in space, because they are thermodynamically probable and stable under the right conditions.  It is the arrangement of the molecules of life into informational and functional structures that is crucial; these are arrangements that are not predestined by their atomic valences.  Paul Davies said in The Fifth Miracle, “the whole point of the genetic code is to free life from the shackles of nonrandom chemical bonding.”  Furthermore, many cellular structures are composed of interdependent parts that could not have assembled into working systems by gradual steps, but will not function until fully assembled.  Dr. David Rosevear (chemist) stresses, “Nothing works until everything works.”
The astrobiologists’ “building blocks of life” are no more helpful to explaining life than finding iron ore, oil, water, and coal would be to explaining the chance origin of a factory, or the discovery of scattered Scrabble letters would explain a Shakespeare play.  Until astrobiologists can explain the origin of information that leads to directed function, they will have no cause for celebrating, nor for ending the head-scratching and hand-wringing, as Davies describes it, over these intractable problems.
Next headline on: Origin of Life.
Moving Hot Spots Undermine Plate Tectonics Beliefs   12/18/2001
At the American Geophysical Union meeting this week, geologists presented evidence that the Hawaiian hot spot has moved around.  The conventional wisdom about hot spots has been that they remain stationary relative to moving plates.  The classic example, the Hawaiian islands, were said to form as a plate moved over a stationary hot spot.  But now, evidence from magnetic polarization in Hawaiian rocks indicates the islands may have formed at different latitudes.  This finding casts doubt on a reference frame used to measure plate motion, and “undermines many of the accepted ideas about how the Earth’s tectonic plates are moving,” reports
New Scientist.
It’s also possible that we don’t know all we think we do about the earth’s magnetic field polarization over time, or the influences on polarity in rocks.  Either way, we see again a difference between TV and textbook dogma and what geologists actually find and report to each other.
Next headline on: Geology.
Bacterial Ancestor of Man Found   12/17/2001
If all the higher animals evolved from one-celled organisms, which modern one-celled organism is the closest to the primitive ancestor?  The authors of a paper in the 12/18/01
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences think they have a candidate: choanoflagellates.  They found a molecule called receptor tyrosine kinase in one of these bacteria that had never before been seen in single-celled organisms.  According to one of the authors, this is “important because it implies that the choanoflagellates had evolved some of the machinery necessary to interact with one another like animal cells. ... In general, these discoveries have made us confident that we’ve picked the right organism to understand what happened on the eve of animal evolution.  Thus, we believe we can discover in this organism more elements of the genetic toolkit that was first used to build animals.”  Sources: EurekAlert and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Now whoa there.  Bacterial cells and human cells have a lot of common counterparts; why pick out this one and call it evidence of ancestry?  And tell us how bacteria engineered a toolkit without intelligence or consciousness, and how, without intelligence or consciousness, bacteria could use a toolkit to “build” anything, even if the toolkit was handed to them, unless the DNA instructions were already present to direct the process.  Natural selection can’t build anything, and mutations are not a engineering substitute.  The receptor tyrosine kinase and the flagellum motors these organisms possess are irreducibly complex structures that could not self-organize in any conceivable cosmic time frame, so how does this paper present any credible case for evolution?  It’s an argument only a believer could love.
Next headline on: Darwinism.
Placental Mammals Family Tree Redrawn Again   12/17/2001
Three evolutionists writing in
Science (summarized in Science Now) claim placental mammals arose in Africa, not a northern landmass, then diversified into four major groups.  They used a 250-year old logic technique called Bayesian inference, that seeks to deduce the likeliness a model is correct based on identifying the variables involved, and observing the model’s response to new information.  The authors devalue the role of molecular phylogeny (inferring evolution from animal genomes) with this approach.  Their model puts rabbits in the same group with people, elephants with aardvarks, and carnivores with whales and horses.  Their theory is getting mixed reviews from other evolutionists.  One likes the grouping, but considers their idea of the timing of mammalian divergences “completely unreasonable.”
For another recent article on Bayesian inference applied to evolutionary theory, see this 12/20 story on Uppsala University at EurekAlert.
Bayesian inference can only be useful if you identify all the variables and define all their possible values.  It’s the old garbage in, garbage out problem.  When they rule out design from the get-go, and define only evolutionary values to the variables, they are inbreeding flawed ideas and producing a retarded theory.  The apparent logic is just bluff for more circular reasoning: the assumption of evolution is used to prove evolution.  This paper is another volley in the ongoing fight between the molecular phylogenists and the morphologists, an amusing but worthless controversy if evolution isn’t true.  See our important Oct 22 headline on the confused state of evolutionary family trees.
Next headline on: Mammals. • Next headline on: Darwinism.
Geophysicist Proposes Multiple Edens   12/17/2001
According to Stanford geophysicist
Norman Sleep, earth’s garden of Eden was not interrupted by sin, but by asteroid impacts.  In the opening presentation to the American Geophysical Union Friday 12/14, Sleep presented his theory that life repeatedly evolved and diversified after periodic impacts.  These impacts either sterilized the earth or allowed only thermophiles (bacteria able to live in hot conditions) to survive in the “Goldilocks Zone,” regions between the burnt surface and the molten interior.  He bases his theory on two lines of evidence; (1) two of the three major branches of life have primitive thermophiles (presumably the common ancestors of their respective branches), and (2) geophysicists believe there were less than 20 large asteroid impacts between the formation of our moon and the first fossil evidence of life, with gaps of hundreds of millions of years in between.  In addition, Sleep thinks some of the impacts could have blasted microbes to Mars (at the time a more congenial water-filled environment), which might have acted as a nursery for earth’s life until it was blasted back to earth again by meteors hitting Mars.  This report was posted on EurekAlert 12/14/01.
The only evidence he supplies is evolution, so the whole theory is circular reasoning.  It is incredible what tall tales evolutionists are allowed to weave in the media and to each other at their scientific meetings.  Now, instead of asking us to believe one highly improbable, incredibly unlikely miracle, we are asked to believe in multiple miracles, up to twenty recurrences of the origin of complex life, with a couple of bonus miracles thrown in, that life survived trips to Mars and back.  “Did it really happen?  So far there is no direct evidence of life on other planets or asteroids, although it is becoming clear that conditions exist, at least on Mars and Europa – one of Jupiter’s inner moons – where microbes that life comfortably in Earth’s harsher climates would have felt at home,” writes the author of the story, science writing intern Etienne Benson, echoing a common astrobiology non-sequitur.  Would there were science writing interns bold enough to ask hard questions and not take this kind of guff as science.
See also last year‘s similar tall tale. Next headline on: Origin of Life. • Next dumb story.
Plant Kingdom Tree of Life Closer to Solution?   12/14/2001
“Some 470 million years ago, the first land plants emerged from prehistoric waters, put down roots in soil and ended up ruling the plant world.  But scientists haven’t been certain about the family history of those pioneer plants,” begins the press release from the
National Science Foundation.  With funding by the NSF, researchers at the University of Maryland sequenced genes from 40 different algae and landed on Charales, a branching alga that reproduces sexually, is the closest living relative.  “What used to be a very short story - land plants evolved from aquatic algae - just became a much more interesting narrative,” said an NSF representative.
More of the same, like we relayed on February 20: begging the question, assuming evolution in spite of evidence, and wild extrapolation.  The admissions in the story are more important than the alleged evidence: “Science has long believed that land plants are derived from primeval algae that became adapted to live on land, but we weren’t sure exactly how this happened, or which living algae were most closely related to land plants. ...  It’s an important part of the Tree of Life that has been unresolved” (emphasis added), in spite of 142 years since Darwin; “...their common ancestor has been extinct for even longer and hasn’t been identified in the fossil record.”  So when they say, “Our data confirm that land plants and the Charales both evolved from a common ancestor...” (emphasis added) they’re just bluffing in the dark.  Ironic that they capitalize Tree of Life, access to which was blocked because of disobedience.
Next headline on: Plants.
Cells Squeeze Out Their Dead   12/13/2001
Cells die, and if left in place in tissues, they would shrivel, rot and leave a hole.  Something must be done, and the cellular machinery is built to handle every contingency.  At the American Society for Cell Biology meeting this week, the process was described by London biologists, reports
Science Now.  Early in its death throes, the dying cell sends out a warning to neighboring cells, who produce extra motor proteins actin and myosin.  These go into action retracting the healthy cells around it into a contractile ring, as if saying Heave ho on cue, squeezing the dead cell out like toothpaste, then reforming the intact tissue.  The scientists switched the proteins on and off in skin epithelial tissue to test their hypothesis.
There are thousands of things like this going on in our bodies that we take for granted, but are necessary. Even cell death (apoptosis) and tissue regeneration requires the motor vehicles we described in last week’s headline.  A cell has been likened to a city; this story takes a look at the morgue.
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry.
African Rift Valley Mysteries Investigated   12/13/2001
Researchers from
Penn State are trying to figure out the origin of the Great Rift Valley that runs from the Dead Sea to the southern part of the African continent.  By mapping the distribution of rare earth minerals in lavas, they hope to shed light on the origin and evolution of the Rift Valley, which is “shrouded in mystery.”  They suspect a mantle plume, unrelated to continental drift, has been rising and splitting the continent.  Their isotopic analyses “suggest that plume lavas have been erupting at Turkana for perhaps 35 million years.”
The news media grant evolutionary geologists far too much license to weave tall tales.  Just two sentences later, the article states, “The African Rift Valley is a heavily seismic area and there have been volcanic eruptions in the past 50 years.  The area is actively changing, but while Furman and Knight know that the rift north of Ethiopia is now an ocean ridge and that the rift south of Turkana is not, they still do not know when, where and how the change from mantle plume to mid ocean ridge occurs.”  If they were not there watching it happen, and if they don’t know how it happens, and if the origin of the Rift Valley is “shrouded in mystery,” how can they say when it happened?  How can they allege so confidently that Turkana had three separate rift events, and that a mantle plume was responsible, and that lavas have been erupting there for 35 million years?  Evolutionary geologists do not know any of these things.  We’ve seen before that radioactive dates of lavas can give wildly inaccurate results, so who’s to say that the valley could not have formed suddenly and catastrophically in much more recent times?  Geologists gather a few pieces of a vast puzzle and try to fit them together into a plausible story, but like we reported last week, every geological story has anomalies and counterarguments.  It’s more like watching sports than news, except there’s no referee to declare the winner.
Next headline on: Geology.
Survival of Fittest Used to Produce Coal-Eating Bacteria   12/13/2001
Scientists at
Brookhaven National Laboratory have been awarded a patent for producing coal-purifying bacteria.  By pushing “survival of the fittest” to the extreme, they isolated a strain of bacteria that can eat away impurities in fossil fuels, yielding a clean burning coal.
This is not natural selection; it is old-fashioned artificial selection, like dog breeding, to accentuate characters through intelligent design.  Using the phrase survival of the fittest is misleading and anachronistic, as if this supports evolutionary research.  The bacteria are still bacteria, and the capabilities were present in the original genome.
Next headline on: Darwinism.
Monkey Clones Are Monsters   12/12/2001
“A high percentage of cloned monkey embryos that look healthy are really a ‘gallery of horrors’ deep within,” reports
New Scientist.  This comment is from ACT, the company that claimed the first cloned human embryo last month.  The trauma of taking a nucleus from another cell, or some other unknown process, causes developing clones to go horribly awry at some point, in most cases.
Even if they get it right some day, will that justify cloning humans?  For now, even advocates should admit it is far too risky.
Next headline on: Politics and Ethics.
New Microscope Technique Shows Cells in Action   12/12/2001
A secret new light microscope technique has been unveiled at the American Society for Cell Biology meeting in Washington DC this week, reports
Nature Science Update (see also this report in Science).  The technique achieves twice the resolving power of existing light microscopes and is able to image fine details of living cells without harming them.  Tim Richardson and colleagues from a hospital in Toronto could not reveal details of the method since it has not yet been patented, but they awed participants at the conference by showing a colorful movie set to music of mitochondria zipping around inside the cell.  Richardson said they were not expecting mitochondria to move, perhaps the little powerhouses, with their ATP synthase motors, rush around to the sites where energy is needed.  Now wouldn’t that be nice if the gas station came to you?
Existing high-resolution microscopes damage or kill cells during the preparation, creating doubt about the validity of the observations.  Electron microscopes, for instance, can only work on dead material.  This new technique promises to open new windows on cellular processes at work with less interference.  Richardson’s movie showed mitochondria zipping across the cell in five seconds, a surprising rate of speed that some biologists are not yet convinced is natural or an artifact of the imaging process.  Microtubules (the intracellular railroad) were seen to “randomly branch and fuse,” though undoubtedly this will be found to be not so random as knowledge progresses.  The secrecy of this new technique makes it somewhat controversial, but we can look forward to wonderful new motion imagery of cellular processes at work, and can safely predict amazing new discoveries within creation’s ultimate showcase of intelligent design, the cell.
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry.
Mature Muscle Stem Cells Can Make Blood   12/11/2001
Nature Science Update is reporting that mature muscle cells in mice have stem cells that can migrate to form blood cells, then come back and make more muscle, an “amazing thing,” according to the University of Pittsburgh researchers who reported to the American Society for Cell Biology.  They weren’t even looking for stem cells in the muscle tissue.  Helen Blau at Stanford says, “It shows that cells can go in many different directions given the right environment.”  She believes the traditional view that stem cells permanently lose their ability to produce other cell types is changing.  Others argue that research on embryonic stem cells should continue.
More and more discoveries are taking the wind out of the sails of those who advocate tinkering with human embryos for medical progress.  This is a highly charged ethical drama worth watching.  If embryonic stem cell researchers can no longer claim it’s the only way to get the totipotent cells, will they have a case for continuing at all?
Next headline on: Politics and Ethics.
How Did Racism Evolve?   12/11/2001
Evolutionary psychologists ran experiments to see if racism is hardwired in the human brain, and concluded it is not, says
Scientific American.  While this is encouraging that racist feelings can be overcome, it leaves the psychologists at a loss to explain how racism evolved: “Yet whereas natural selection could conceivably favor automatic categorization according to those two factors [sex and age], exactly how our ancestors might have benefited from encoding race is difficult to imagine.”  The authors of a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Can race be erased?”, propose that the ability to detect alliances might have provided an evolutionary advantage on early humans.
The authors are members of the University of California at Santa Barbara Center for Evolutionary Psychology.  Evolutionary Psychology is a reductionist pseudoscience that tries to explain any and all human behavior in Darwinian terms.  It’s a form of spin doctoring that deprives humans of any moral responsibility for their actions.  Some of the worst instances of racism in history were rationalized by evolutionary thinking, from Nazi atrocities to the shooting gallery game against the Tasmanians, who were viewed as expendable evolutionary misfits.  Darwin himself, and many of his followers, were racists; Darwin believed that whites by virtue of an alleged innate superiority would eventually eradicate non-whites.  Let us put a stop to this unscientific, immoral nonsense.  Racism results from hatred and sin, and there is a Creator who will hold His creatures accountable for those who do not love their neighbors as themselves.  See Answers In Genesis for more information on Biblical vs Darwinist views on race, and also their One Human Race website.
Next headline on: Darwinism.
How the Bladder Stretches   12/11/2001
The human bladder can stretch from walnut size to basketball size in two hours; how does it do it?  According to
Nature Science Update, scientists from the University of Pittsburgh, reporting at the American Society for Cell Biology this week, are learning that it’s quite a neat trick.  For one thing, folds of tissue in the empty bladder unfurl.  But more amazing is how the inner surface of the bladder recycles itself through a process of fusing and budding.  The scientists discovered that during stretching, vesicles in the inner edge of cells in the bladder lining fuse together, while those in back bud off.  Fusing and budding fine-tunes the amount of surface area to keep the watertight seal between neighboring cells as the bladder constantly stretches or relaxes.  This process also helps refresh cells damaged by proximity to urine toxins.  In addition, this flexible, waterproof membrane helps defend against bacterial infection.  “The bladder lining is gaining newfound respect,” says Monica Liebert of the American Urological Association.
Even the secret organs we don’t like to talk about are pretty amazing.  The bladder lining is not just like a stretchy rubber glove; it is a complex system of cells that continuously maintains a barrier to liquid waste and holds it in till safe to discharge.  We take it for granted until something goes wrong, but day after day, for decades, most of us have fully functioning equipment that allows us to drink the supersize cola and drive a hundred miles before the alarm goes off, which is another wonder in itself.  (If your baby grows a bladder the size of a basketball, better get the king-size Pampers.)
Next headline on: The Human Body. • Next amazing story.
Nature’s Perfect Snack Food: Bugs   12/11/2001
In a story sure to gross out the teens, scientists have determined that mealworms are good for you:  “Next time you find worms in your sack of flour, try adding water, salt and oil and cooking the mixture on a hot griddle,” suggests
Nature Science Update.  Doug Whitman, an entomologist at Illinois State University, says, “Anyone splitting logs for winter is going to come across lots of big, juicy beetle grubs full of protein and lipids.”  Mealworms, instead of being pests, could be viewed as a blessing in disguise for poor countries; the larvae are excellent sources of protein and essential fatty acids.  Volunteers found ground-up mealworms in tortillas delicious.  “Entomologists have been eating chocolate-chip mealworm cookies at conferences for years,” says Chris Carlton from Louisiana State University.
Or try out the John the Baptist diet of locusts and wild honey; he seemed pretty healthy.  Why, with the right outlook, the next locust plague could be a bountiful harvest for free.  Keep the kid away from the stinkbugs, however.
Next headline on: Bugs.
Dark Matter Mapped   12/11/2001
A team of 30 astronomers has mapped the distribution of dark matter surrounding 200,000 galaxies, according to a
Rutgers University press release, which includes a picture of the finished map.
Of course they are not seeing the dark matter (it’s dark, remember?), but they are inferring it from the clustering of galaxies.  Click the chain link below for another recent article that complained that dark matter theory is in trouble.
Next headline on: Cosmology.
Mayo Clinic Cautiously Advises Faith Is Good for Health   12/11/2001
Patients who have an optimistic belief system that gives life meaning and purpose in the setting of pain and suffering, those who have a large group of supportive friends committed to their welfare, and those who live healthier lifestyles and abuse their bodies less often with drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes, are bound to be healthier and recover more quickly from illness.  Who could deny that such factors are relevant to the practice of medicine?
Thus concludes Harold Koenig of Duke University Medical Center, summarizing two studies in the
Mayo Clinic Proceedings December 2001.
The first of the two studies in the December 2001 Proceedings is entitled, “Religious Involvement, Spirituality, and Medicine: Implications for Clinical Practice” by Paul S. Mueller et al.  Combing the research literature on spirituality and health, Mueller’s group concluded that faith does appear to have positive health benefits, primarily through “psychosocial, behavioral, and physiological mechanisms that are known, understood, and accepted within the field of traditional science,” according to Koenig.
The second study by Jennifer M. Aviles and colleagues is entitled “Intercessory Prayer and Cardiovascular Disease Progression in a Coronary Care Unit Population: A Randomized Controlled Trial,”  The abstract states, “The results of 26 weeks of intercessory prayer, a widely practiced complementary therapy, were studied in 799 patients randomized to an intercessory prayer group or to a control group after discharge from a coronary care unit.  As delivered in this study, intercessory prayer had no significant effect on specifically defined medical outcomes, regardless of risk status.”  Commenting on the results, Koenig admits,
The weakness of the study is that the effect explored has no basis within the current scientific paradigm.  If found to be true, such an effect would indeed challenge our understanding of the universe and perhaps even overturn much scientific knowledge accumulated to date.  Not only are there scientific difficulties with such a finding, there are also theological ones.  Thus, not only would most scientists expect a null result from such a study, but most Western theologians would as well.  Furthermore, this study contributes almost no information to the area of research reviewed by Mueller and colleagues (who have not included a single intercessory prayer study among the 146 references cited in their article).
Although neither of these studies provide conclusive empirical evidence for the effect of religion/spirituality on health, Koenig thinks doctors should take these factors into account: “Despite the many unknowns and the need for further research and greater understanding of these relationships, physicians can even now begin to address the spiritual needs of patients and yet avoid most of the dangers and pitfalls.”  They can do this by taking a spiritual assessment of the patient (understanding his or her faith background) to allow for cooperation with the patient’s clergy, but must avoid endorsing or prescribing religion for nonreligious patients or favoring one over the other.
It is noteworthy that Koenig starts his summary with the recognition that it was primarily Christians and religious people who founded hospitals and advanced medical care:
Religious groups built the first hospitals in Western civilization during the fourth century for care of the sick unable to afford private medical care.  For the next thousand years until the Reformation and to a lesser extent until the French Revolution, it was the religious establishment that built hospitals, provided medical training, and licensed physicians to practice medicine. ... Likewise, the profession of nursing emerged directly from religious orders that until the early 1900s staffed the majority of hospitals both in the United States and other Western countries.
Though the association of religion to medical practice had divided by the late 1600s, Koenig says that, “Over the past decade, the medical community has become increasingly interested in the possibility of bringing down the wall that has separated religion from medicine for more than 2 centuries.”  The question is how to go about it without appearing coercive, or how to know what really works.
You can’t submit the sovereign Lord of the universe to the scientific method.  Prayer is not a vending machine.  Most people know a family member that died despite prayer, partly because God calls everyone home sooner or later, by His own sovereign will.  Even if it could be proved prayer works, would God submit Himself to a scientific test, so that the Mayo Clinic could be the ones to announce to the world what the Bible already teaches?  Wouldn’t prayer become a bandwagon, with every hospital patient calling up as many friends as possible to do “intercessory prayer” with no regard for repentance from sin or trust in the will of God? 
Nor is prayer some kind of natural law or force guaranteed to work, some “effect” to be discovered within a “scientific paradigm” as Hoenig characterizes it.  It is a Person responding to another person’s plea.  Sometimes the answer is “No” or “Not now; wait.” You can’t submit that to a double-blind test.  Jesus demonstrated instantaneous power over death and disease, but that doesn’t mean it is always God’s will to heal everyone instantly.  Sometimes healing will come in the form of spiritual strength to grow in wisdom in spite of suffering.
Not just any prayer is acceptable to God, either; He will not hear the prayers of those worshiping false gods or living in sin.  How many of the prayers in this study were directed to Allah or the spirit of the coyote?  Will having the local witch doctor dance around the bed with a rubber chicken be effective, just because it includes faith or spirituality?  Even good prayer with the right words and directed to the true God can come from a heart that has the wrong motives.  How is a scientist supposed to account for all these variables?
For these and other reasons, one cannot conclude anything from the second study about the efficacy of prayer.  Pray without ceasing anyway.
Following Biblical lifestyles will not give you eternal physical life, clearly; but in most cases, it will make your threescore and ten more joyful and productive.  Follow the chain links on health for more recent stories on the relation of faith and health.  Read also our essay, Creation is the reason for hope in suffering, and Jeanne Tomlinson’s online book Hope For Those Who Hurt.
Next headline on: Health.
Rutgers Continuing Faraday Tradition   12/11/2001
Rutgers University has announced its fourth annual
Faraday Christmas Children’s Lecture for December 22 on the campus, free of charge and open to the public.  Patterned after the popular lectures given to children at Christmas time by Christian physicist Michael Faraday in London during the mid-1800's, the lecture is “designed not just to inform students but with an eye toward humor and exciting the imagination.  The object of the show is to emphasize the fun in science.” Demonstrations will include an exploding hydrogen balloon, a man lying on a bed of nails and the use of a fire extinguisher to shoot a person on roller skates across the room.
This should be great fun, but it is doubtful Rutgers would present science from a theistic viewpoint like Faraday’s.  For terrific stage demonstrations on science from a Christian perspective, contact Dean Ortner, the renowned “Million Volt Man,” at Wonders of Science.
Next headline on: Schools.
Higgs Boson, the “God Particle,” Probably Doesn’t Exist   12/06/2001
Physicists at CERN laboratories have been poring over the data collected at their now-dismantled LEP detector, hoping to find evidence of the elusive Higgs boson, but have turned up empty, says
New Scientist.  The Higgs boson is central to current theories, begun by Peter Higgs in the 1960s, about what gives mass to matter.  Without it, physicists are at square one.  Some want to keep looking with higher energy experiments, but prospects are not promising since most of the best hunting grounds turned up empty.  The article laments, “For physicists who have spent years trying to find the Higgs, admitting it could be fantasy is a huge and difficult step.  But [John] Swain [Northeastern University] is ready to get over the disappointment and move on.  ‘You search for the truth, and the truth is whatever it is,’ he says.”
George Johnson in the New York Times (12/04/01), in an article copied on Access Research Network, asks whether particle physics is really a path to ultimate truth or just reductionist philosophy that isn’t matching the observations.
We first reported this search on November 3, 2000.  For now, there is no explanation for the basic question of why matter has mass.  Did you see the word fantasy?  And you thought physics was hard science.  Sometimes the walk between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland is just a few steps in the wrong direction.
Next headline on: Physics.
Cellular Motor Vehicles Souped Up for Speed   12/06/2001
The awe is palpable in Susan Gilbert’s News and Views entry in the Dec. 6 issue of
Nature, “Cell biology: High-performance fungal motors.”  Reviewing recent findings, she introduces the subject matter:
Motor proteins are tiny vehicles that move molecular cargoes around inside cells.  These minute cellular machines come in three broad families, the kinesins, the myosins and the dyneins.  There are over 250 kinesin-like proteins, and they are involved in processes as diverse as the movement of chromosomes and the dynamics of cell membranes.  They all have a similar catalytic portion, known as the motor domain, but beyond this they are astonishingly varied - in their location within cells, their structural organization, and the movement they generate.
She spends time especially on the “Ferrari” of these motor vehicles, a kinesin from the fungus Neurospora crassa, that can move along its microtubule tracks at 2.5 microns per second, five times faster than other similar kinesins (if this molecule were the size of a car, it would top 1200 mph).  Describing three possible means of achieving such speeds, she suggests ways microbiologists might learn more about “these splendid molecular machines.”
Two other papers (1), (2) in the same issue discuss ATPase or ATP synthase, the molecular motor of exquisite precision and function discussed earlier in Creation-Evolution Headlines.  The second describes how it is involved in helping stomata (openings) in a plant leaf open and close to exchange gases.  Apparently ATPase creates an electrical potential that works with other proteins that are responsive to blue light.
These motor vehicles (80 times smaller than a wavelength of light) and the microtubule tracks they run on have been likened to a nanotrain or intracellular railroad system in the cell. 
Molecular motors in all living cells: think of it!  And there are not just one or two, but hundreds of them, each finely crafted, each enormously more efficient than any motors man has ever produced (ATP synthase approaches 100% efficiency).  This is all recent discovery; it is big news; it’s one of the hottest areas of research right now, and engineers are actively studying molecular motors as models for nanotechnology.  But who is asking the obvious question of how these motors could originate, without a Designer?  The motor Gibson describes operates in a fungus!  Do you know any engineering fungus among us, any mushrooms that are masters of nanotechnology?
The science of biochemical motors fits intelligent design theory to a T, but is a major headache for evolution.  It is not necessary to mention God, Genesis, creation, or the identity of the Creator to observe the obvious, that these are wonderfully crafted machines.  You don’t have to know the manufacturer to look at a Ferrari and conclude it was designed, and designed well.  Just do good observation, measurement, and reporting, and leave the obvious conclusion to the reader instead of stretching credibility to come up with a story about how they designed themselves.
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry. • Next amazing story.
Overheard from Nature, Dec 6:
  • Genesis: In an angry letter to the editor, Robert C. Fleck argues that the Genesis dominion mandate is a step backward.  Responding to a story about the Vatican approving animal experimentation to benefit humans, Fleck thinks, “This smacks of a return to pre-darwinian human arrogance and egotism.  Didn’t humanity long ago abdicate its monarchy over creation, giving up at last the notion of ‘special creation’ and human ‘dominion over all things’? .... I can think of few more dangerous attitudes than that promulgated in Genesis 1:28 and now by the Vatican, exhorting humanity, as the crown of creation, to ‘have dominion ... over every living thing.’”
    Thus he whacks down a straw man.  Genesis teaches benevolent management under God, not human monarchy.  God is the Monarch (His right as Creator, wouldn’t you say); we are just the stewards, who should be good caretakers of His workmanship.
  • Eugenics: Nick Martin, reviewing books by Carlson and Lynn on the dark history of eugenics, tries to put the eu- (good) back in the word.  He admits it has a “horrific” record and left “disastrous wreckage,” (i.e. Nazi Germany), but thinks rational debate can bring about positive effects, reasoning that “Evolution is value-free.  The high-school dropout with six children by the age of 25 is clearly more fit (or ‘better’ in darwinian terms) than the career woman pregnant for the first time in her late thirties.  If we would wish to alter the relative reproductive success of these two women to favour the latter, make no mistake that it is because we want it, not because Darwin, or God, or the teleological destiny of man demands it.”
    But then who gets to choose, and on what moral grounds?

Teenager Is an Evolutionary Disease   12/06/2001
The Dec. 6
Nature has a new theory about the evolution of adolescence, and National Geographic wasted no time reporting it.  A London paleoanthropologist studied teeth of Homo erectus and concluded they didn’t have teenagers; their adults were fully grown at 14 (based on their teeth).  He believes this shows that adolescence didn’t evolve till much later up to the time of the Neandertals.  The Nature Science Update summary states, “Although apes cut the apron strings at around 12 years, despairing human parents are well aware that their kids take at least 18 years to grow up.  The development of this prolonged growth period is seen as a key event in human evolution, allowing extra time for learning.”

Is it any wonder that the ApeMan and Dumb chain links usually go together?  How can they possibly make these pronouncements about the family life and behavior and social evolution of people from teeth?  We reported June 10 that Science News said the data from juvenile skeletons is conflicting and contradictory, yielding more questions than answers.  If these paleoanthropologists were not already convinced that man evolved from ape-like ancestors, all this speculation would be totally unjustified.  National Geographic includes a picture of a cute coed and pipes in, “It may be the dream of many parents to have their children skip the teenage years altogether.  But it was a major step forward in human evolution, and scientists have long been intrigued by when the change first took place.”  Now ask yourself some very logical questions: who decides that this is a step forward or backward?  If it is all an unguided, purposeless game, and if it drives parents crazy, is it really progress?  How will your teenager live if he/she is convinced he/she is just an evolved ape, driven along by impersonal forces?  How can scientists know these teeth and bones are as old as claimed, and fit into the sequence assumed without first assuming there is a sequence?
We should learn from the historical analysis by Stephen Jay Gould (an ardent evolutionist) in The Mismeasure of Man about an anthropologist named Broca.  Measuring skull capacities with care and precision, Broca was convinced he was doing objective science, but was in fact selecting data that fit his preconceived bias that some humans were intellectually superior to others.  What’s the difference here?  Nothing in this data supports the idea that adolescence evolved 300,000 years ago; a few tooth measurements are being force-fitted into an already inviolable, slavish commitment to human evolution, despite their surprise at a detail here or there.  If you read back through the Early Man links, it’s clear that the whole story is just made up, not built up by the evidence.  (See the quote by Sarfati at the top right corner of this page.)  Tell your teen she/he still has to obey the rules.
Next headline on: Early Man. • Next dumb story.
New Organization 12/05/2001: William Dembski, mathematician, author and speaker on intelligent design theory, with several colleagues has launched a new organization called the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design (ISCID), that seeks to explore complex systems without the restraints of naturalistic philosophy.  It will have biennial conferences, essay contests, workshops, postdoctoral fellowship programs and grant research programs.  The organization was announced by a press release on the Access Research Network.

Geologists Continue to Find Anomalies   12/05/2001
Unlike the concrete displays in national parks, the explanations in scientific journals for geological phenomena seem to be more flexible.  Several anomalies and findings contrary to established opinion are reported in the December
Geology journal of the Geological Society of America:

  • A University of Colorado geologist finds that arid regions might show more flood erosion: “Thus, a shift toward more arid conditions may have increased relative magnitudes of rare floods or, conversely, increased the frequency of large floods.  Such a shift, despite a decrease in precipitation and discharge, could have doubled incision rates, particularly in regions already quite arid.”
  • Two Ohio and South Carolina geologists study a Santa Barbara foraminifera trap for evidence of El Nino effects, and find that, “Surprisingly, despite greatly reduced upwelling conditions, foraminiferal flux values during the spring 1997 upwelling season were more than four times greater than the year before.  The contrast between normal and El Niņo foraminifer populations has important implications for reconstructing the past history of both El Niņo events and more general climate histories from the Santa Barbara Basin varved sediment record.”
  • Canadian geologists studying a region of Western Canada explain the absence of certain fossils with erosion and mountain-building events that had the effect of “concealing the extent of the Late Devonian faunal crisis and its recovery.”
  • Two Michigan geologists propose an alternative theory to the popular subduction hypothesis for the origin of continental crust, lamenting that “The processes that created the first large cratonic areas such as the Pilbara and the Kaapvaal remain poorly understood.  Models based on the uniformitarian extrapolation of present-day arc volcanic processes to a hotter early Earth have not adequately explained the observations in these terranes.”
  • Two University of California planetary scientists did experiments on river erosion dependence on sedimentary particles in the water, admitting that “Recent theoretical investigations suggest that the rate of river incision into bedrock depends nonlinearly on sediment supply, challenging the common assumption that incision rate is simply proportional to stream power.”  Finding the situation more complex and variable than popular belief would suppose, they conclude, “Our results suggest that spatial and temporal variations in the extent of bedrock exposure provide incising rivers with a previously unrecognized degree of freedom in adjusting to changes in rock uplift rate and climate.  Furthermore, we conclude that the grain size distribution of sediment supplied by hillslopes to the channel network is a fundamental control on bedrock channel gradients and topographic relief.”
  • Two Canadian geologists find interleaved fossils of stromatolites and metazoans in British Columbia similar to a find in Namibia, which “greatly extends its geographic range, and suggests a more widespread distribution in similar facies in intermediate areas.  Both assemblages constitute the earliest occurrences of shelly fossils in their respective regions.”  (Stromatolites are presumed to be early blue-green algal structures preceding the evolution of metazoans.)
  • Seven geologists studying remains of a Montana glaciation use radiometric dating to find that “These cosmogenic chronologies identify a late Pinedale glacial maximum in northern Yellowstone that is significantly younger than previously thought, and they suggest deglaciation of the Yellowstone plateau by ~14 10Be ka.”
  • Six geologists studying Antarctica find that a coast section of east Antarctica was largely ice free during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and stayed that way, puzzling that “Previous reconstructions of LGM ice limits for the area are incompatible with this new evidence.”
  • Italian geologists find the “oldest pristine Milankovitch cycle” in the Latemar formation in Italy, admitting that “This evidence deepens a widely noted disagreement between radiometric and cyclostratigraphic time scales for the Latemar buildup.”
  • Two Ohio geologists experiment with the “vexing question” of sheet erosion and rill erosion.  Measuring radionuclides on an Iowa soil after thunderstorm runoff, and evaluating 15.5 million possible combinations, they suggest that “rill erosion produced 29 times more sediment than sheet erosion.”
  • Geologists from California, New York and Australia contest the “snowball earth” hypothesis of P.F. Hoffman as an explanation for cap carbonates and other negative isotopic incursions that would otherwise require short-term perturbations in the global carbon cycle during glaciation.  These geologists think the carbon ratios show a healthy ocean during the periods Hoffman and others believed evidence showed the earth must have been a frozen ball of ice.
We cite enough technical samples here (the reader can find more in the abstracts) to exemplify the difference between national park geology and back-room geology.  National park displays typically pontificate authoritarian certainties in words like, “64.265 million years ago, such and such an event occurred in this way,” giving the mistaken impression that all geologists agree.  Actual field geology is done by scientists who look at one small part of the whole, find an anomaly and try to fit it in with current thinking or propose another theory; or claim that everyone else is all wet.  There are egos and competition involved, and so many variables and exceptions to everything that it is well nigh impossible to weave all the disparate facts into a coherent story that will satisfy everyone.  Most of the time they just assume it fits in somehow with the geological time scale and accepted uniformitarian wisdom.  But over and over you find statements like these where the actual data contradict the “big picture” of earth history, sometimes in drastic ways.  Evolutionary geology resembles the joke about a farmer’s ramshackle house; when asked how it stood up, he replied, “The termites are holding hands.”
Next headline on: Geology.
Nature Benefits Children With A.D.D.   12/05/2001
If you’re a mom, having plants and trees around the house might help your mood and improve the attention of your children, claims Nancy Wells, a researcher at
Cornell University.  Her study correlated the extent of natural surroundings at home with scores on the Attention Deficit Disorders Evaluation Scale.  Wells concluded, “The results suggest that the natural environment may play a far more significant role in the well-being of children within a housing environment than has previously been recognized.” The study also indicated that mothers’ psychological relief from stress was noticeable and sustained in homes with more natural settings.
This is a somewhat fuzzy result from a limited sample, and may have overlooked other significant factors, but it seems to reinforce common sense notions that the sight of trees, grass, plants and other beautiful parts of God’s creation is more satisfying than endless expanses of concrete.  It also coincides with previous findings (follow the Chain Links on Health.)  Try it out; view our Gardens photo gallery and see if it brightens your day.  If you’re a student, try studying in the park.  Maybe this story will make you feel good about catching up on the yard work.  You need it; your kid needs it.
Next headline on: Health.
All-Natural Miracles Explained   12/04/2001
The December issue of
Popular Mechanics has an article by Mike Fillon that tries to give natural explanations for some of the Biblical miracles like manna, the collapse of the walls of Jericho, the shadow of Ahaz’s sundial, and others.
See the response by Andrew Lamb in Answers in Genesis.
Next headline on: Bible.
Mars Once a Mile Deep in Water?   12/03/2001
NASA’s
Astrobiology webnews is echoing an Associated Press story that Johns Hopkins scientists believe Mars was once up to a mile deep in water.  They base this on the discovery of molecular hydrogen (H2) detected in the Martian atmosphere by the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) spacecraft.
Scientists are stepping on each other to drown Mars with a global flood.  Better wait for better data before transferring Noah’s Ark from a water planet to a desert.
Next headline on: Mars.
World’s Tiniest Vertebrate Found   12/03/2001
A lizard so small (16mm) it can turn on a dime has been found on a Caribbean island, reports
Nature Science Update.  This makes it the smallest known vertebrate.  “Islands are natural evolutionary laboratories.” the article states.  “Their isolation means that the creatures that do wash up, perhaps clinging to floating vegetation, have less competition, and can evolve to do ecological jobs that are already taken on the mainland.”
The article mentions other examples of exotic island animals: “Island species are often unusually large or small.  Mauritius’ dodo, for example, was an overgrown pigeon, while the ancient inhabitants of Crete included a pygmy elephant and hippopotamus.”  One cannot assume they were transported and then evolved, however; they might have become isolated by land bridges that disappeared.  Regardless, the lizards are not evolving into another type of animal.  A lizard is still a lizard, large or small.  Genetic characteristics can be exaggerated among isolated populations.  Look at the variety among dog breeds, which are one interfertile species (Canis familiaris) from one original gene pool.  To extrapolate variation endlessly into evolution from a reptile to a mammal, however, is unwarranted, both in fossil evidence and observation of living species.
Next headline on: Darwinism.
Mission to Pluto Approved   12/03/2001
The Johns Hopkins
Applied Physics Laboratory has been selected by NASA to plan a mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt for 2006 launch and arrival in 2020.  The mission, to be jointly operated with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, “is likely to rewrite textbooks regarding the origins of the planets, the nature of the outer solar system, and even the origin of primitive materials that may have played a role in the development of life.”
They always have to sneak in that word life to get the public excited about it, because otherwise they think nobody would care about scientific missions of discovery.  But why not?  Millions of youngsters find astronomy and planetary exploration exciting, whether or not we are looking for life or its so-called building blocks.  What’s evolution got to do with it?  Just explore the unknown regions and let the evidence speak for itself.  Pluto is the last planet to be explored; that should be exciting enough.  The thing needing a rewrite in textbooks is the unscientific hype about chemical evolution.
Next headline on: Solar System. • Next headline on: Origin of Life.
Molecule May Remove Need for Embryonic Stem Cells   12/03/2001
University of Pennsylvania scientists have identified a receptor molecule that plays a key role in pluripotency, the ability of a cell to develop into any kind of adult cell type.  This may eliminate the need for embryonic stem cells with the ethical controversies they entail.
If the cloners keep pushing for their way after enough stories like these, you can suspect an ulterior motive.
Next headline on: Politics.
Film Announcement 12/01/2001: A new film of exceptional quality about DNA and evidence for intelligent design in living things, especially the cell and its DNA code, is nearing completion.  It will feature interviews with scientists, original nature photography and stunning microbiology images, and award-quality computer graphics of DNA in action.  To finish it and get it distributed, the production team really needs prayer and financial support right now.  To learn more and get involved, contact Discovery Media Productions or mail them at PO Box 703, Murrieta, CA 92564.

Review: National Geographic December 2001

The Geographica column mentions a species of black bear called the Kermode bear on the coast of British Columbia; one in ten is born white.  It would be interesting to conjecture whether polar bears originated from a colored stock, but the genes for white coats got segregated into the population as they migrated north.  This is not evolution (they are still bears, part of a bear “kind”), because all the genes for bear diversity were present at the beginning, but became accentuated in isolated populations.  NG is making a big deal of its new super-crocodile, with museum displays and a TV episode.  A short article states, “Extinction has trimmed the largest and smallest of the croc family.  Yet unlike dinosaurs, crocs today are much as they were more than a hundred million years ago...” (So where’s the evolution?  And are you sure they lived a hundred million years ago?)  The magazine has a colorful adventure story about Antarctica, with pictures of dangerously hard-to-get-to organisms living comfortably under an iceberg, and another about the Internet and life in Silicon Valley, but its cover story is about Abraham, “Father of Three Faiths.”  Bible students may find the pictures of Abraham’s travels enlightening, though a politically-correct magazine like National Geographic cannot appear judgmental about which faith, if any, is more historically accurate or makes better sense.  But the following story about Afghanistan, with all its war, poverty and despair, renders its own verdict.  You can study the enclosed map of Afghanistan better to follow the nightly news of the war effort against this enclave of terrorism.
Next headline on: Bible.
Click on Apollos, the trusty
Scientist of the Month
Guide to Evolutionary Theory
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A Concise Guide
to Understanding
Evolutionary Theory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Souder’s Law
Repetition does not establish validity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advice from Paul

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

I Timothy 6:20-21

Song of the True Scientist

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

from Psalm 104

Maxwell’s Motivation

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

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

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

 
Featured Creation Scientist for December
Blaise Pascal
1623-1662

Blaise Pascal was one of those students classmates hate; the kind that keeps the average so high, everybody looks dumb by comparison and has to struggle to get C’s.  This genius did not offend too many classmates, however, because he was home-schooled.  And although his father did not feel mathematics was a proper subject till age 15, young Blaise took interest at 12, and when his father relented, math became his best subject – one of many best subjects. Pascal went on to excel at just about everything he tried: physics, hydrostatics, hydrodynamics, mathematics, statistics, invention, logic, debate, philosophy, and prose.  We speak of “pascals” of pressure, Pascal’s Principle, and a computer language named Pascal.  Computer scientists remember the Pascaline, an early mechanical calculator he invented, and mathematicians speak of Pascal’s triangle.  Literary historians call Pascal the Father of French Prose, and theologians debate Pascal’s Wager while evangelists use it to reason with sinners about the gospel.  Few, however, know much about the personal life of this scientific and mathematical genius.  He knew pain, he knew conflict, and he knew Jesus Christ with a depth and sensitivity few experience.  And he accomplished all his discoveries without reaching his 40th birthday.

Blaise Pascal was the youngest of three children, the only boy.  His mother died when he was three years old.  His father, Etienne, a tax collector, took to schooling the children himself.  At age 19, Blaise started working on a mechanical calculator to help his father with his work.  The Pascaline was the second such invention (the first, by Schickard, was 18 years prior).  Pascal’s invention consisted of toothed wheels which engaged each other in such a way that rotating the first 10 steps would increment the next by one, and so on.  It was not successful because the French currency was not a decimal system, and the calculator could only add, not subtract.  Nevertheless, it was a clever piece of work for a young man who went on to greater things.

Pascal grew in reputation as a mathematician so that in his prime he corresponded with other notable scientists and philosophers: Fermat, Descartes, Christopher Wren, Leibniz, Huygens, and others.  He worked on conic sections, projective geometry, probability, binomial coefficients, cycloids, and many other puzzles of the day, sometimes challenging his famous colleagues with difficult problems which he, of course, solved on his own.

In physics, Pascal also excelled in both theory and experiment.  At age 30, he had completed a Treatise on the Equilibrium of Liquids, the first systematic theory of hydrostatics.  In it he formulated his famous law of pressure, that states that the pressure is uniform in all directions on all surfaces at a given depth.  This principle is foundational to many applications today: submarines, scuba gear, and a host of pneumatic devices.  By applying the principle, Pascal invented the syringe and the hydraulic press.  Blaise Pascal’s perceptive mind enabled him to explain the rising liquid in a barometer not as “nature abhorring a vacuum,” but as the pressure of the air outside on the liquid reservoir.  He argued against Descartes (who did not believe a vacuum could exist) and other Aristotelians of his day.  Observing that barometric pressure dropped with altitude, he reasoned that a vacuum existed above the atmosphere.  James Kiefer writes, “In presenting his results, he taunts his enemies the Jesuits with getting their methods backward, accusing them of relying on ancient authority (Aristotle) in physics, while ignoring ancient authority (the Scriptures and the Fathers, especially Augustine) in religion.

Pascal’s controversies with the Jesuits had begun in his early twenties.  Two brothers from a religious movement, while caring for Pascal’s father, had a profound influence on Blaise.  He took great interest in a movement called Jansenism that was a kind of “back to the Bible” movement within Catholicism, that stressed salvation was the free gift of God by grace through faith.  Pascal became one of their chief apologists, and in writing his Provincial Letters, also showed himself to be an exceptional logician and writer.  His wit, irony, perception, knowledge, and a logic honed by mathematics, made his writing sparkle with enthusiasm and force.  Kiefer writes, “He taught his countrymen how to write work that could be read with pleasure.” And indeed it can!  We encourage our readers to find out by sampling his work.  Pascal is a good source of pithy quotes, proverbs, witty sayings, and thoughtful paragraphs.

His best-known work was not even titled or completed.  In his thirties, he was apparently working on an “Apology [Defense] of the Christian Religion,” but, unfortunately, at his death there was only found a stack of unorganized papers that was published as Pensées (Thoughts).  Nevertheless, enough was written to give believers and unbelievers alike a great deal of food for thought: on the nature of man, sin, suffering, unbelief, philosophy, false religion, Jesus Christ, the Scriptures, heaven and hell, and much more.  The entire work is available online and highly recommended reading.

Much has been made of “Pascal’s Wager,” a philosophical challege usually unfairly oversimplified as follows: If you choose Christianity and it is false, you lose nothing.  If you reject Christianity and it is true, you lose everything.  Skeptics (and many Christians) feel this is a weak argument to become a Christian.  It is, but it is not what Pascal meant.  James Kiefer explains that the Wager is an educated choice, not a flip of the coin.  Having decided that the evidence for Christianity is strong, and having decided that union with Christ is a worthy goal in life, it is the best bet to train for it like an athlete would train for the highest prize, even though the athlete cannot be sure he will win or the contest will even occur.  Kiefer says, “Obviously, if Christ is an illusion, then nothing will move me closer to Him, and it does not matter what I do.  But if He is not an illusion, then obviously seeking to love Him, trust Him, and obey Him is more likely to get me into a right relation with Him than the opposite strategy.  And so it will be the one I take.”  Understanding this, the Wager is not a blind hope that I’ll find myself on the right side after I die; it is a positive choice that will order my life and give me peace, joy, and purpose in the present.  To avoid misrepresenting Pascal’s Wager, we encourage readers to read the argument in his own inimitable words in the Pensées.  When used properly, it’s still a powerful argument for accepting Christ.

Pascal’s last writings are all the more poignant when we remember he wrote much of them while suffering intensely.  A contemporary wrote, “He lived most of his adult life in great pain.  He had always been in delicate health, suffering even in his youth from migraine ...”  Pascal died at age 39 in intense pain from stomach cancer.  After his death, a servant found a surprise in the lining of Pascal’s coat.

At age 31, Pascal had a spiritual experience that was so overpowering, he wrote it down so that he would never forget it.  Somehow, after a sweet hour of prayer or worship service – he never mentioned what it was to anyone – he felt so close to God, so overjoyed with His grace and salvation, so convinced of the urgency of trusting Him, that he took hasty notes of his feelings and sewed them into the lining of his coat, to be near his heart forever.  Here are those words.  Consider the brilliant scientist and mathematician, the logical thinker and debater, the inventor and writer and genius that got this close to the heart of God:

Memorial

In the year of grace, 1654, On Monday, 23rd of November, Feast of St Clement, Pope and Martyr, and others in the Martyrology, Vigil of St Chrysogonus, Martyr, and others, From about half past ten in the evening until about half past twelve,

Fire!

God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, (Ex 3:6; Mt 22:32) not of the philosophers and scholars.

Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy.
Peace. God of Jesus Christ.
“Thy God and my God.” (Jn 20:17)
Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except God.
He is to be found only in the ways taught in the Gospel.
Greatness of the Human Soul.
“Righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee, but I have known Thee.” (Jn 17:25)
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
I have separated myself from Him.  “They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters.” (Jr 2:13)  “My God, wilt Thou leave me?” (Mt 27:46)
Let me not be separated from Him eternally.  “This is the eternal life, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and the one whom Thou hast sent, Jesus Christ.” (Jn 17:3)  Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ

I have separated myself from Him:
I have fled from Him,
denied Him,
crucified Him.
Let me never be separated from Him.
We keep hold of Him only by the ways taught in the Gospel.
Renunciation, total and sweet.
Total submission to Jesus Christ and to my director.
Eternally in joy for a day’s training on earth.
“I will not forget thy words.” (Ps 119:16) Amen.

Blaise Pascal took the wager, and won.


For more information on Pascal 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.