Note: bold emphasis added in all quotations unless otherwise indicated.
Leading Evolutionist Provides His Best Proof: HIV 05/30/2006
[Guest article] Sarah Crown reports in the
(Why Creationism Is Wrong) on biologist Steve Jones speech to a crowd at an English bank holiday,
the Hay Festival:
The aim of the talk, he explained, is to establish the testability and therefore prove the truth of evolution.
After gaining the audiences sympathy with a few well-aimed gags at the creationists expense ...he waltzed
them off at top speed on a whistle-stop tour of evidence for that evolution, this fundamental theory which he described
as the grammar of biology.
Eagerly anticipating the end of a long search for the elusive proof, the reader is presented with Jones greatest
proof of evolution:
...the progression of the HIV epidemic. This example proves illustrative when it comes to the other
great principle of evolution, natural selection: if you contract the HIV virus, Jones explained, your chance of remaining
asymptomatic depends on your possession of a protective gene. Chimpanzees, in whom the virus first appeared,
tend to have the protective variant; in Africa it is becoming more common; in Europe it remains rare.
However, said Jones, if he were to make an evolutionary prediction, it is that in 1000 years time, every one of us
will possess the protective gene, rendering the HIV virus no more harmful than flu.
In his concluding remarks, he had nothing more to offer:
He stuck with the example of HIV in his concluding examination of the ways in which we as humans are evolving now.
While we have as a species evolved very little on a genetic level for many thousands of years, Jones said, there are
other ways in which we have, quite clearly, evolved dramatically. Despite our extreme physical susceptibility
to HIV, for example, we do, unlike chimps, have the power to contain the epidemic, via education and the development
of drugs cultural and intellectual evolution, in other words. There are, he concluded,
intelligent designers out there. But they work for the pharmaceutical industry.
The reviewer ends with a lament that Jones uses a religious metaphor:
The only problem, in the end, is that Jones was to use an inappropriately religious metaphor
preaching to the converted this morning. One is left wishing that the 100m American creationists
or the one in three people in the UK who allegedly believe that the universe was designed could be made to
listen to him talk. Surely even they would find it difficult to resist him.
In a related article in
Jones said he has given up trying to confront creationists directly. (See
04/21/2006 bullet on Jones podcast,
Why Creationism is Wrong and Evolution Is Right.)
Thats it? Surely there must be something more concrete than this.
Again, we have witnessed microevolution slipped in cleverly in place of some real evidence for macroevolution
Note: Reporting was suspended May 14-31 due to editor being on vacation.
So, the evidence that we evolved is that we now have the ability to design intelligently, by evolving it.
The evidence of millions of years of random events worked on by natural selection is a creature that can design
intelligently. No proof here only a logical non-sequitur
They would find him difficult to resist only because they have never been taught the truth. Unless
Jones can, in the words of ID champion Phillip Johnson, follow the evidence wherever it leads, he is as much
a preacher of religion as any pastor on the podium on Sunday morning
The evidence here of course, leads nowhere if one if trying to reach Evolutionary Promised Land.
Weeding out information from the human genetic code to gain resistance to HIV is not evidence of evolution, it is
evidence of loss of information. It is evidence of natural selection, but where did the information come from
in the first place? Jones skipped right by that problem, and for good reason: he had no answer.
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory
A Challenge to our Victorian Ethics: Humans and Chimps Interbreeding 05/22/2006
[Guest article] Newspapers chipped away at Christian ethics last week with articles describing evidence that
early humans bred (hybridized) with their supposed ancestors, the chimpanzees, for
millions of years after becoming another species. The
New York Times reports:
David Page, a human geneticist at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, said the design of the new analysis was
really beautiful, with all the pieces of the puzzle laid out. Whether the hybridization
will turn out to be the right solution remains to be seen, but for the moment I cant think of
a better explanation, he said.
These crucial events in early human evolution are hard to judge dispassionately, Dr. Page noted.
Wed like to have a more Victorian view of our genome, he said.
This reminds us that we are really animals and gives us a glimpse of our past and a
story that we might like to have told in a different way.
The paper by Dr. David Reich of the Broad Institute concludes that humans and chimpanzees must have
interbred during the early years after humans supposedly branched off from the chimpanzee
family tree. He basis this on the fact that while the human and chimpanzee genetic codes found
in their chromosomes all differ by a percentage, the most similarity on a percentage basis is found in
the X chromosome, two of which are found in females, while the male has one X and one Y. Since
evolutionists assume that the genetic code is changing at a steady rate over time, they attempt to
date the time when one species splits off from another by the percent differences in their
genetic code and the assumed rate of change. Dr. Reichs abstract reads:
The genetic divergence time between two species varies substantially across the genome, conveying important
information about the timing and process of speciation. Here we develop a framework for studying
this variation and apply it to about 20 million base pairs of aligned sequence from humans, chimpanzees,
gorillas and more distantly related primates. Human-chimpanzee genetic divergence varies from less than 84%
to more than 147% of the average, a range of more than 4 million years. Our analysis also shows that
human-chimpanzee speciation occurred less than 6.3 million years ago and probably more recently, conflicting with some interpretations of ancient fossils. Most strikingly, chromosome X shows an extremely young genetic divergence time, close to the genome minimum along nearly its entire length. These unexpected features would be explained if the human and chimpanzee lineages initially diverged, then later exchanged genes before separating permanently.
Exchanging genes of course implies these early humans were mating with chimpanzees,
a scenario that scientists found startling, according to a report in
Nevertheless, some are taking the theory seriously. However, not all are convinced.
Daniel Lieberman, a professor of biological anthropology at Harvard, is quoted by the Associated Press
in an article appearing in BBC News: Its a totally cool and extremely clever analysis.
My problem is imagining what it would be like to have a bipedal hominid and a chimpanzee viewing each
other as appropriate mates, not to put it too crudely. (If Dr. Lieberman were consistent
in his evolutionary views, the concept of crudely would have no meaning.)
Others are not so easily convinced. Science News reports that:
Anthropologist Jeffrey H. Schwartz of the University of Pittsburgh sees no merit in the new findings.
Reichs team looked for data to support an assumption of close genetic ties between humans and chimps
but skimmed over evidence of human similarities to other primates, Schwartz asserts. The hybridization
hypothesis pushes the limits of credulity, Schwartz says.
For a creationist response, see David DeWitts article on
Answers in Genesis.
So what was really found in this study? Evidence of evolution, or was evolution just assumed?
The StarNewsOnline article reports:
Bioneers Update: International Conference Held on Animal-Inspired Design 05/13/2006
A principal finding is that the X chromosomes of humans and chimps appear to have diverged
about 1.2 million years more recently than the other chromosomes... One explanation for this finding,
Reichs team says, is that there was a hybridization between the recently separated chimp and human lineages.
The principal finding of the study was not that the X chromosomes appear to have diverged over 1.2 million
years more recently than other chromosomes. This just assumes evolution and takes off from there.
The principal finding was that there is less percentage difference between the human and chimp X chromosomes
than between other chromosomes. That this happened because humans and chimps were hybridizing is an
explanation for the difference, not a finding, and is based on the assumption of Evolution and Long Ages.
Hybridization is just speculation, however, it gets good headlines. When you have no evidence,
speculation is all you have, and there is no shortage of it. Dr. Reich is quoted in the
...chimpanzee ancestors, well-adapted for living off fruit in tropical forests, seem to have been
adept at spinning off variations, such as gorillas, who live on vegetation, and the human lineage,
which exploited the drier woodlands that opened up between the forests... Reich said.
So now we not only know a bit about early mans sex life, but also what they ate and where they lived.
And all this from variations in gene frequencies. What will they come up with next? Would you
believe sexism? Notice this astonishing claim from
Geneticists have also found that women are biologically closer to chimpanzees than men are.
That is because the Y chromosome, which only men carry, has changed more than the X chromosome.
Next headline on:
Georgia Tech came out with a press
release about progress at their Center for Biologically Inspired Design (CBID) that opened
last year (see 10/29/2005).
At a two-day conference May 11-12, international representatives from 20 institutions shared
their inspirations on how nature can help them solve some of the most complex problems of the day,
just as it has inspired poets, artists and musicians.
Though evolution by natural selection is often assumed as the mechanism by which
animals solved their design problems, the main thing evolving at CBID is the belief that
every animal must solve a particular problem to survive, so every animal embodies a design solution
for a particular problem. The assumption that scientists are mining
millions of years of knowledge embedded in the DNA of each creature does not
appear to be essential for the scientists own work, which is really reverse engineering
the design that is observed in current-day living creatures.
While scientists, like Leonardo DaVinci, looked to nature for inspiration
centuries ago, biomimetics has recently caught on as a hot area of research at
universities across the country. Last year, Georgia Tech launched the Center for
Biologically Inspired Design (CBID) as a way to encourage more of the interdisciplinary research
that was already taking place among research groups. Now, the center boasts 20 members
comprised of researchers from various fields of engineering, biology, chemistry, psychology,
applied physiology and architecture.
The press release mentions that UC Berkeley, U of Illinois, Caltech, and Case Western will
be sharing results of their research. In addition, international scientists from
U of Toronto (Canada), Max Planck Institute (Germany) and Shandong University (China) are
sharing their work in progress. Here are examples coming out of this new kind of research:
And thats just for starters. Other researchers will present research on the
propulsive systems used in fish fins, jellyfish jets, insect legs and snake undulations, along
with various ways to produce and coordinate these motions,
the press release ends. The biospheres the limit.
- Worm brains: How tiny worms express genes might yield brain-inspired sensors.
- Cat balance: Learning from cats and frogs (yes, frogs) and the way their muscles produce balance might yield better prosthetic devices for the handicapped.
- Fish teeth: Fish jaws can help us better understand the mechanical properties of jaws and teeth under stress.
- Spider silk: Spider web studies are improving elasticity of artificial materials.
- Butterfly wing structure: The arrangement of butterfly scales looks promising for structural patterning.
- Gecko glue: The dry adhesive properties of gecko hairs are inspiring new artificial adhesives.
- Diatom strength: Patterns and processes in the construction of diatom shells help nanotechnologists build reinforced, shatterproof glass and porcelain.
Q: How did the Animal Plan It? A: Not by watching the
DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Channel, but through the Discovery Channel of its own built-in Design Network.
Dinosaur Boneyard: Dying Together Implies Living Together,
Not Much Else 05/13/2006
The evolution talk in these biomimetics stories (when it occurs at all) is, as Phillip Skell phrases it,
brought in, after the breakthroughs, as an interesting narrative gloss
What is really inspiring this explosion
in productive research? Its the D word: biological design.
Once the researchers realize that the Charlie mumbo jumbo is only a bad habit, a traditional
password in scientific circles that has lost its authority, a holy undergarment that
only itches and gets in the way, productivity will be liberated in this exciting
field. Pretty soon the handicapped may be leaping over tall buildings like
Superman and you may be scaling buildings like Spiderman. Go, Bioneers!
Next headline on:
(Guest article) CNN reported in an article from
Press that scientists have uncovered a small cache of
dinosaur bones that contains bones from no other animals, and in their
excitement have concluded that this means they must have hunted in
One expert called the discovery the first substantial evidence of group
living by large meat-eaters other than tyrannosaurs like T. rex. The
creature, which apparently measured more than 40 feet long, is called
Mapusaurus roseae. The discovery of Mapusaurus included bones from at
least seven to nine of the beasts, suggesting the previously unknown
animal may have lived and hunted in groups. That hunting strategy might
have allowed it to attack even bigger beasts, huge plant-eating
dinosaurs... Coria noted the dig showed evidence of social behavior in
Mapusaurus. The excavation found hundreds of bones from several
Mapusaurus individuals but none from any other creature. That suggests
the animals were together before they died, Coria said. Perhaps they
hunted in packs, though there is no direct evidence for that, he said in
an e-mail. Currie, in a statement from his university, speculated that
pack hunting may have allowed Mapusaurus to prey on the biggest known
dinosaur, Argentinosaurus, a 125-foot-long plant-eater. Holtz called
the finding the first substantive evidence of group living by giant
two-legged carnivores other than tyrannosaurs. Its not clear whether
the animals cooperated in hunting, as wolves or lions do, or simply
mobbed their prey or just gathered around after one of them made a kill,
Dinosaur bones are often found in large jumbled collections of
many different animals and species, just as one would expect if they
were buried in a catastrophic flood. This collection of bones is no
different in that respect: it is a jumble of bones from seven to nine
beasts, indicating that they are fairly disordered, since not even the
total number of animals is certain.
The only difference between this find and others is that there were no
other animal bones mixed in, and yet this is called substantial
evidence of group living. Some scientists feel a need to answer questions
that are beyond the ability of piles of bones to answer, such as the
behavior of these animals. This leads to unjustified speculations such
as those found here. Notice the large amount of qualifiers in the above
excerpt: might have, suggests, speculated. Such just-so stories add an
air of respectability to the Big Story: Evolution, but the only real facts
we have here are that a jumble of bones was found, all of the same
species, all in one place, and with no other species mixed in. If you
took off Old Earth glasses and put on Young Earth glasses, you
would see just what one would expect the Genesis Flood to produce.
Cactus Evolution Explained 05/12/2006
Next headline on:
Phew, finally: now we know how cacti evolved, reports
Ouch! On second thought, hows that again?
Two Yale scientists set out to figure out how the succulent plants turned
leaves into spines. Using molecular methods, they identified the earliest cactus,
but then said it already showed water use patterns that are similar to the leafless,
[Our] analyses suggest that several key elements of cactus ecological function were
established prior to the evolution of the cactus life form, explain the authors.
Such a sequence may be common in evolution, but it has rarely been documented as few studies
have incorporated physiological, ecological, anatomical, and phylogenetic data.
But if the key innovations for cactus ecological function were already present,
how is this an example of evolution?
The press release is shamefully titled, How did
cactuses evolve? It should be titled, Did cacti evolve?
Apparently not; they were already adapted for their water use lifestyle from the start.
If this sequence is common in evolution, where the function already exists before
the evolution begins, it sounds like creation, not evolution.
Paper View: Cosmic Questions, Personal Implications
Enough with the Darwinian tales. Focus instead on the design features
of these amazing plants. The article rightly states, The cactus form is often
heralded as a striking example of the tight relationship between form and function in plants.
A succulent, long-lived photosynthetic system allows cacti to survive periods of extreme drought
while maintaining well-hydrated tissues. That is design, folks, not evolution.
Next headline on:
A good question provokes good thinking. It stimulates the imagination and inspires reasoning
about profound issues. It focuses attention on problems, calls for clarification of assumptions,
and leads to good follow-up questions, too. Such a good question was
asked in four simple words by Sean M. Carroll1 (U of Chicago, Enrico Fermi Institute)
this month in Nature.2 As part of a special issue focused on cosmology,
Carroll asked, Is our universe natural?
It should become immediately apparent that this
question invites discussion of what we mean by natural, and touches on issues of
universal scope even reaching beyond the universe, to put the cosmos in context.
As we will see, the question also requires clarification of the nature, goals and
limits of science. Dont be deceived by the simplicity of his first sentence;
the avenues he explores to answer the question are indeed profound.
It goes without saying that we are stuck with the Universe we have. Nevertheless, we would like
to go beyond simply describing our observed Universe, and try to understand why it is that way rather
than some other way. When considering both the state in which we find our current Universe, and
the laws of physics it obeys, we discover features that seem remarkably unnatural to us.
Physicists and cosmologists have been exploring increasingly ambitious ideas in an attempt to explain
how surprising aspects of our Universe can arise from simple dynamical principles.
He gets right to the definition of natural
What makes a situation natural? Ever since Newton, we have divided
the description of physical systems into two parts: the configuration of the system,
characterizing its particular state at some specific time, and the dynamical laws governing its
evolution. For either part of this description, we have an intuitive notion that certain
possibilities are more robust than others. When we come across a situation that seems unnatural
or finely tuned, physicists seize upon it as a clue pointing towards some underlying mechanism
that made it that way. Such clues can occasionally be misleading, but they often serve to
guide our thinking about how we can extend our understanding into unknown domains.
This introduction makes it clear that Carroll views science as an attempt to get a handhold on
observables, to reduce complex data to basic principles to rationalize reality in terms
accessible to the human mind, reducible to laws and equations.
Implicit in this paragraph is a dislike for contingency or appeals beyond the natural
(whatever that means). But what if reductionist approaches fail? What if some things
in nature really are beyond the capabilities of natural explanations? How far can a
committed naturalist go in exploring increasingly ambitious ideas before admitting
defeat? Arthur C. Clarke once said, The only way to discover the limits of the possible is
to go beyond them into the impossible. This can be healthy, like T. S. Eliot said;
never cease from your explorations, and when you come back to where you started, you will understand the
place for the first time. As we shall see, though, if naturalism goes too far afield, and never comes back,
it morphs into its own nemesis: supernaturalism.
The introduction also hints that the naturalistic approach is built on faith. Scientists
believe that even in the most puzzling phenomena there exist underlying physical or
natural principles accessible to the human mind. Like the clues that lead a detective to solve a crime, puzzles
spur scientists to discover underlying regularities, and to organize the observations into a unified,
plausible account. Like Carroll said, scientists are not content to merely describe and catalog data;
they want to be able to prove
that, given certain initial conditions and natural laws, the phenomenon under investigation will follow.
Carroll surveys several instances in the history of science where this approach has succeeded handsomely.
It takes faith, however, to believe this approach can be
extrapolated without bounds.
If any system should be natural, its the Universe, Carroll states as a truism.
Nevertheless, according to the criteria just described, the Universe that we observe seems
remarkably unnatural. Example: the entropy of the cosmos is remarkably low, compared to what
it could be (everything could be in black holes, or uniformly distributed, for instance). This implies that,
for some reason, the early Universe was in a state of incredibly low entropy.
In addition, our fundamental theories of physics involve huge hierarchies between the energy scales
of gravitation, particle physics, and the recently discovered vacuum energy.
These hierarchies appear finely tuned: so much so, that he compares it to a ball perched on top of a
hill. Of course, it may simply be that the Universe is what
it is, and these are brute facts that we have to live with, he concedes.
More optimistically, however (and here is where faith comes in), these apparently
delicately tuned features of our Universe may be clues that can guide us towards a
deeper understanding of the laws of nature. There must be a point where
the clues become expressible in equations, though, else this deeper understanding becomes
gnosticism a form of intuitive wisdom for the elite, or a mystery religion.
Will Carroll succeed in bringing heaven down to earth?
A natural explanation should be testable to be considered scientific.
Yet Carroll tells us that cosmologists
have been increasingly open to radical ideas that seem untestable, even in principle. If so,
the only law discovered may be one of Murphys every solution breeds new problems.
Given this situation, physicists have been exploring dramatic extensions of our known theories,
in an attempt to provide a larger context in which our apparently unnatural Universe is seen
to make perfect sense. Interestingly, attempts to account for both the low entropy of the early
Universe and the disparate energy scales of fundamental physics lead us to a similar idea: that the
local Universe we observe is part of a much larger ensemble. This casts new light on the
problems of naturalness, while raising vexing issues of its own; considerable advances in both
theory and experiment will be necessary before we can decide whether we are learning the appropriate lessons
from the clues provided by nature.
Attempts to explain the fine-tuning of the universe through natural causes are not new. Inflation
theory, for example, got rid of the flatness problem and horizon problem by positing an exponential
expansion in the first second of the universe. Or did it? In a surprise revelation, Carroll
shows that the solution was worse than the problem:
It is worth emphasizing that the only role of inflation is to explain the initial conditions
of the observable Universe. And at this it does quite a good job: inflation predicts that the Universe
should be spatially flat, and should have a scale-free spectrum of adiabatic density perturbations, both of which
have been verified to respectable precision by observations of the cosmic microwave background. But we
are perfectly free to imagine that these features are simply part of the initial conditionsindeed,
both spatial flatness and scale-free perturbations were investigated long before inflation.
The only reason to invoke inflation is to provide a reason why such an initial condition would be natural.
Contrary to popular accounts, therefore, inflation didnt solve the fine-tuning problem at all.
Nor has it been solved since by more
exotic forms of inflationary theory, such as chaotic inflation, spontaneous inflation or eternal inflation
because these also rely on unobservable parts of the universe. Needless to say, proposals of this type
are extremely speculative, and may well be completely wrong, he says; regardless of the model
proposed, it is crucial to understand whether inflation plays a role in explaining how our observed
configuration could be truly natural.
However, as Penrose and others have argued, there is a skeleton in the inflationary closet,
at least as far as entropy is concerned. The fact that the initial proto-inflationary patch must be smooth
and dominated by dark energy implies that it must have a very low entropy itself; reasonable estimates for
this entropy SI range from about 1 to 1020. Thus, among randomly chosen initial conditions,
the likelihood of finding an appropriate proto-inflationary region is actually much less than
simply finding the conditions of the conventional Big Bang model (or, for that matter, of our Universe ten minutes ago).
It would seem that the conditions required to start inflation are less natural than those of the conventional Big Bang.
Carroll then investigates whether the laws of physics are natural. It would seem the
constants of physics could take any arbitrary values, though the laws and equations be tightly constrained.
Could the particular values of these constants reflect mere environmental conditions, like the apparently
arbitrary number of planets in our solar system?
As mentioned in the introduction, that is not what we observe, he reminds us. The values
are separated by huge hierarchies. Whats more, In contemplating the nature of these hierarchies,
a complicating factor arises: we could not exist without them. We are back to the anthropic
principle (08/16/2005), and the only way out,
to make the universe a natural consequence of physics, is to propose an ensemble of universes
a multiverse (12/18/2005):
In the first case [i.e., we were lucky], there are two separate possibilities: either we are really lucky,
in the sense that the observed hierarchies are truly unnatural and have no deeper explanation, or
there exist unknown dynamical mechanisms that make these hierarchies perfectly natural.
The latter possibility [environmental selection] is obviously more attractive, although it is hard
to tell whether such dynamical
explanation will eventually be forthcoming. Environmental selection, sometimes discussed in terms
of the anthropic principle, has received renewed attention since the discovery of
the dark energy. The basic idea is undeniably true [sic]: if our observable Universe is only a tiny patch of a
much larger multiverse with a wide variety of local environments, there is a selection effect
due to the fact that life can only arise in those regions that are hospitable to the existence of life.
Of course, to give this tautology any explanatory relevance, it is necessary to imagine that such a multiverse exists.
Carrolls brief digression into the properties of a multiverse, one that might yield our universe with its
finely-tuned cosmological constant, ends in despair: At present, then, there is no reliable environmental
explanation for the observed value of the cosmological constant. Moreover, other attempts to
use anthropic reasoning seem to lead to predictions that are in wild disagreement with observations.
But that does not mean the multiverse proposal has been falsified, he says, whether or not it is falsifiable.
Yet if we cannot observe something or test it, and if we cannot falsify it if it is an appeal to a
mystery world that someone finds attractive then have we not abandoned the goals of science?
More importantly, limitations in our current ability to calculate expectation values in the multiverse are
not evidence that there is no truth to the idea itself. If we eventually decide that environmental selection
plays no important role in explaining the observed parameters of nature, it will be because we come to believe
that the parameters we measure locally are also characteristic of regions beyond our horizon, not because the
very concept of the multiverse is aesthetically unacceptable or somehow a betrayal of the Enlightenment project
of understanding nature through reason and evidence.
But then, how could one know that the observed parameters hold true for regions beyond our horizon,
or whether those regions even exist? How does this differ from appeals to angels and demons or any
other unseen entity as a proxy for observable effects? The ideas discussed here involve the
invocation of multiple inaccessible domains within an ultra-large-scale multiverse, Carroll
admits. For good reason, the reliance on the properties of unobservable regions and the
difficulty in falsifying such ideas make scientists reluctant to grant them an explanatory role.
He also admits that extrapolating our parameters into unseen realms
is just as untestable. Maybe the multiverse concept will be testable some day; for now, it is not.
We are back to definitions. What is natural? Is our universe natural?
Is our cosmology natural? Can science even claim that a natural explanation is better
than an unnatural one? It all seems in the eye of the beholder:
Naturalness is an ambiguous guide in the quest to understand our Universe better. The observation
that a situation seems unnatural within a certain theoretical context does not carry anything like
the force of an actual contradiction between theory and experiment. And despite our best efforts,
naturalness is something that is hard to quantify objectively.
Carroll ends with appeals to the future, in effect saying that we are a long way from coming back to
where we started and understanding it for the first time.
The ultimate goal is undoubtedly ambitious: to construct a theory that has definite consequences
for the structure of the multiverse, such that this structure provides an explanation for
how the observed features of our local domain can arise naturally, and that the same theory makes
predictions that can be directly tested through laboratory experiments and astrophysical observations.
To claim success in this programme, we will need to extend our theoretical understanding of
cosmology and quantum gravity considerably, both to make testable predictions and to verify that some
sort of multiverse picture really is a necessary consequence of these ideas. Only further
investigation will allow us to tell whether such a programme represents laudable aspiration or misguided hubris.
1Not to be confused with Sean B. Carroll (molecular biologist at U of Wisconsin-Madison)
and several other scientists named Sean Carroll.
2Sean M. Carroll, Is our universe
440, 1132-1136 (27 April 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature04804.
This article is filled with fodder for philosophers of science,
historians of science, and theologians. Modern cosmology has followed the Enlightenment dream,
only to end up in the middle of nowhere, bankrupt.
The attempt to naturalize everything has pushed them out of scientific bounds; they have no equations,
no predictions, no falsification criteria, no confirming data, and no reason to continue the quest
other than that they find natural explanations
more attractive. This basically admits that
naturalism, as opposed to theism, is only a preference. Carroll cannot even explain
what natural means; he debunks the word as ambiguous and unquantifiable in one paragraph, only to
hope, a few sentences later, that science will some day find a natural explanation. Substitute
a nonsense word for natural in those sentences, to see that this makes scientific naturalism
a meaningless and futile quest.
See Comet Crumble
This paper arms the intelligent design movement in the current fight over the definition of science.
The Darwinists and other materialists insist that the rules of science require only naturalistic
explanations, regardless of ones personal religious beliefs. But
if scientific naturalists cannot even define what natural means, they have no
case for insisting on that rule. Why should materialistic cosmologists be permitted to
speculate about unobservable entities beyond the reach of observation and testability, and get
their speculations published in Nature, without competition? And, why could not a theistic
cosmologist turn a meaningless word to his advantage, and call intelligent design a natural explanation?
For the most part, Carroll wrote thoughtfully and perceptively, except for one thing: he totally
ignored theism as an option. He is like Robert Jastrows mountain climber, scrambling over
the last highest peak, only to find a band of theologians who have been sitting there for
centuries. Yet he doesnt even bother to say Howdy. Instead, he walks over to them and tries
to describe them with equations, and puzzles about how they emerged by a natural process.
As he does this, one of the theologians taps on his head and says, Hello? Anybody
home? yet Carroll continues, now trying to naturalize the pain he feels in his skull.
You have to feel sorry for the Enlightenment secular scientist. Granted a fair measure of
success explaining physical phenomena by natural causes, he has attempted to extrapolate this
programme to all the universe, only to find, as with Gödels theorem, it cannot be done from
within: one cannot prove the consistency of a system from within the system. Extending
the system into a hypothetical natural multiverse does nothing to change the predicament.
Naturalism has led to a self-refuting absurdity.
Whenever a path of inquiry leads to absurdity, it may be a clue all right, but a clue that real
understanding lies elsewhere. Accelerating on the wrong road only accelerates
lostness. Progress may require a new direction, even backtracking. By analogy,
though naturalism may have done well explaining the operation of the car, it cannot justify the direction
it is traveling. A futile insistence on naturalism is like the stubborn driver with
misguided hubris insisting he doesnt need to stop for directions, though he may be
an excellent mechanic.
To complete T. S. Eliots circuit to
arrive back from where you started and to understand it for the first time consider
taking a fresh look at an old, musty book on the home coffee table. It
just might, after all youve learned, seem remarkably perceptive and insightful
you know, that book that begins, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the
earth.* Maybe its no coincidence that most of your fellow sentient beings
have found that explanation, without the long detour, perfectly natural.
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
*If you continue reading to the end of the book, you will learn about a startling
and hopeful consequence of its opening premise: we are not stuck with the Universe we have.
A comet is breaking up before our eyes. Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 has split into dozens
of pieces and is crumbling quickly, like pieces of dried meringue.
Science News tells about
the breakup, and it made Astronomy
Picture of the Day. The Hubble
and Spitzer space telescopes
are also documenting the event.
This is not the first crumbling comet seen, nor the first breakup of this particular
one; but it illustrates that comets are transitory features of the solar system. Based
on information from the Stardust (03/14/2006)
and Deep Impact (09/07/2005) missions, we know that at
least some comets perhaps most have very low density and are easily disrupted.
On May 11, Astronomy Picture of the Day
posted a stunning photo of a conjunction of a comet fragment, a spiral galaxy, and the Ring Nebula.
Like Humpty Dumpty, a comet is more easily broken
than put together as it makes its great fall toward the sun. This destructive process
cannot be maintained for long. See Mark Looys
AiG article on why
this provides evidence that the solar system cannot be nearly as old as believed.
Claims of long age must invoke ad hoc scenarios involving unobserved sources of new material
to replenish what we see disappearing before our eyes.
Escape to Reality: Turn Off the Video Games
Next headline on:
Visitation at national parks has declined significantly, reports
of Illinois at Chicago, correlated with rising use of video games and home entertainment.
My concern is that young people are simply not going outdoors or to natural areas, said a biology
professor at the school, but are instead playing video games, going on the Internet or watching movies.
Kids need vigorous physical activity and fresh air, the
wholesome food of healthy living, instead of the processed junk food of artificial reality.
We all do. Get outdoors and see the real world; escape to reality. Let the
Creation Safaris Photo Gallery inspire you. Then turn off
the computer and go take a hike.
Mt. St. Helens Performs Fast Rock
Though the researchers measured national park attendance, we should
remember that national parks are mere artificial boundaries put around particularly interesting
parts of creation. Dont feel you have to pay the $20 entrance fee to experience the
benefits of outdoor activity. Many of the most striking pictures in the gallery were
taken outside the national parks.
Next headline on:
Before reading the caption, look at the picture of this football-field size mountain of rock at
Astronomy Picture of the Day and
guess how old it is. The answer: about five months. The smooth rock slab with its cornice
tip has grown as much as a meter a day. The caption contains links to more information about
Someone should date that rock with radiometric methods and
find out how many millions of years old it is. Since there are no fossils in it, it
must be Precambrian.
Book: Darwin Centurions Join Forces Against ID Visigoths
Next headline on:
A new book attacking intelligent design has chapters by most of the big names in evolutionary
thought: Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne, and others. An introduction
to the book Intelligent Thought: Science vs. the Intelligent Design Movement
(ed. John Brockman, Vintage Press, May 2006), with a synopsis of each chapter, is
available at The Edge.
The upshot is: materialistic Darwinism is the only scientific approach to origins, and
the bizarre claims of fundamentalists with
beliefs consistent with those of the Middle Ages must be opposed.
The Visigoths are at the gates of science, chanting that schools must teach the
controversy, when in actuality there is no debate, no controversy.
You get the flavor of this book.
OK, time for Battle of the Blurbs. If they can
summarize the points of each essay in a sentence or two, we can summarize some quick
responses. With apologies to Illustra,
well call this Unmasking the Blustery of Lie.
Fitness Costs What? Say That Again? 05/09/2006
The Darwin Party faithful are holing themselves up in their castle, shielded from debate, sending out their
diatribes like cannonballs, hoping the Visigoths will just go away. The ID party, by contrast,
welcomes debate and discussion and invites their opponents to a parley (notice how their book
Darwin, Design and Public Education
included thoughtful chapters by critics).
- Fools goal: In the introduction, John Brockman is chagrined; he supposes Europeans
must think Americans are collective fools for trying to redefine science to
include the supernatural, right here in the 21st century. Well, America leads, not
follows, least of all the Europeans, who are busy committing mass suicide (see
WND). Since everyone
is someone elses weirdo, well return the compliment and call it a draw.
Now, anything of substance you want to say, Mr. Brockman?
- Inferior science: Jerry Coyne
argues that Not only is ID markedly inferior to Darwinism at explaining and understanding
nature but in many ways it does not even fulfill the requirements of a scientific theory.
And Darwinism does? Describe for us in detail, Jerry, how Tinker Bell
created endless forms most beautiful (06/29/2005) through the mystical
process of speciation you wrote about (07/30/2004). While youre
at it, tell us your feelings about the vicious atheism of your friend Dawkins
(04/23/2003). Are you claiming that science is
what Darwinian science does? Or would you allow that scientific explanations must invoke
causes appropriate to their observed effects? While puzzling over that, wed
like to hear about your peppered moth flipflop again (07/05/2002,
- The Good Fight: Susskind tries to find the hidden
agenda of ID. He suspects it is to discredit the legitimate scientific community
so as to inconvenience if one is trying to ignore global warming, or build unworkable missile-defense
systems, or construct multibillion-dollar lasers in the unlikely hope of initiating practicable nuclear fusion.
Now, who brought politics into a discussion about science? Is Susskind revealing that Darwinists
are political leftists? If he likes debate and dissent so much, why not debate Darwinism, then?
This red herring has nothing to do with intelligent design, and is
flimsy sidestep for someone who may be missing something
fundamental himself (see 08/13/2002 and
12/18/2005). No fair misusing
Biblical phrases, Lenny; St. Pauls idea of a good fight was completely different than yours,
and you would be one of the mythmakers he warned about.
(II Timothy 4).
- Hoax Blokes: Daniel Dennett, in his essay The Hoax of Intelligent Design and How it
Was Perpetrated, agrees evolution hasnt explained everything,
but intelligent design hasnt yet tried to explain anything at all.
This from a man who hasnt yet realized that his Darwinian universal acid
eats through everything, even his own rationality. He cannot invoke rationality without
plagiarizing theism. So at least he is consistent; he employs irrationality, including
the big lie.
- Natural creationism and other brain teasers: Nicholas Humphrey makes the bizarre
argument that since belief in special creation leads to biologically fitter lives,
it must have evolved. Thus one of the particular ways in which consciousness could have
won out in evolution by natural selection could have been precisely by encouraging us to believe
that we have not evolved by natural selection, he says. If he really believed this line
of argument, he would abandon natural selection and
embrace special creation, to increase his fitness, so that he could pass on his selfish genes,
which are just using him by playing tricks on his mind to believe things that arent true.
There must be a point in here, somewhere. Could Humphrey explain why this argument is not invertible,
or how he could ever know anything? (see self-refuting fallacy).
- And now... the evidence: Tim White is at the bat to give us Human evolution:
the evidence. He says, A denial of evolution however motivated
is a denial of evidence, a retreat from reason to ignorance. Thank you for that
unsolicited and mistargeted sermon. Now, the evidence please? Strike one
two (06/11/2003), three
(09/24/2004)... yer out.
- Fish-o-pod Transition: Neil Shubin is pictured smug with arms akimbo, looking ready to take
on challengers to his prize catch, the fish-o-pod (see 04/06/2006).
He got an extended excerpt included in this book review. It includes the argument from bad design
(dysteology), his favorite just-so story about Great Transformations, and why his find was the biggest
thing in paleontological history. One concession he
makes is that mudskippers are not evolving into tetrapods but his reason is
circular; you have to believe evolution to consider it evidence.
Is Shubin as convincing as he makes himself out to be? See Brad Harrubs response on
- Intelligent Aliens? Richard Dawkins is slain in the spirit of natural selection:
an idea whose plausibility and power hits you between the eyes with a stunning force,
once you understand it in all its elegant simplicity. Lets see; the fit survive,
survivors are the fittest, therefore survivors survive. Gosh, Dr. Dawkins, youre right;
Im dumbfounded. (See evolution songs verse 2).
- Darwin rejected design, so we should, too: Frank Sulloway puts his trust in the
word of Charlie: The more extensive his reexamination became, the more he realized that the
theory of intelligent design, which gave creationism its scientific legitimacy, was overwhelmingly
contradicted by the available evidence. And what was the evidence? Simply put,
God wouldnt have made the world this way. Since this would require knowing the mind of
God, it is a religious argument and therefore should not be taught in public school.
- From chance to absolutes: It must be a fun read to see Scott Atran explain how
Nothing indicates that people who believe that life arose by chance also believe that morality
is haphazard. That isnt so obvious to historians of communism and Nazism.
If morality is not haphazard, what is directing the undirected process? Could not replaying the
tape end up with opposite moralities?
- Pinko ethics: Steven Pinker continues the morality play: An evolutionary understanding
of the human condition, far from being incompatible with a moral sense, can explain why we have one.
But if your moral sense outrages mine, who wins, if not the one deemed the fittest? (i.e.,
the side that wins through raw exercise of power). Maybe Pinker should listen to some of his auditory
cheesecake and ponder Michael Balters wisdom, Some of the things that make life most worth
living are not biological adaptations (see 11/12/2004).
- Darwin all the way down: Lee Smolin is not surprised that Bible-believers reject
evolution, but asks this disturbing question: Why do so many non-fundamentalist
theologians and religious leaders have no trouble incorporating Darwin into their worldview?
Why, indeed. Maybe they need to study the issues. His line all the way down
reminds us of a story... (see turtle cosmology).
- Self-organizing contradictions: Stuart Kauffman, a prophet of self-organization,
sweeps away centuries of probability theory by saying it doesnt apply to the biosphere.
Thats right, if one believes in Tinker Bell who can make all your Darwinian dreams come true.
Has Kauffman changed his mind since debating Phillip Johnson? (11/20/2001).
- Thus saith Lloyd: Seth Lloyd gives us the deep thought of the day: The universe is
scientific. Apparently people are not, and In societies where government or religion
has tried to replace it with ideologically inspired fictions, scientists and nonscientists alike
have resisted. Please explain the difference with Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot who tried
Darwin-inspired ideologies and when resistance was futile.
- CBA: Cute (blasphemous) acronyms: Lisa Randall flippantly remarks, We dont have an intelligent
designer (ID), we have a bungling consistent evolver (BCE). Or maybe an adaptive changer (AC).
In fact, what we have in the most economical interpretation is, of course, evolution.
Sorry, religious arguments are not allowed, remember? Youre a scientism-ist.
- Parental guidance: Marc D. Hauser asks a fair question: What counts as a controversy
must be delineated with care, as we want students to distinguish between scientific challenges and
sociopolitical ones. Agreed. Many have argued that Darwinism was symptomatic of economic and
sociopolitical currents in Victorian Britain, drunk on the idea of progress during the Industrial Revolution
and pinnacle of the British Empire. Can we move on? Now, lets talk about scientific challenges
like irreducible complexity, and other issues appropriate for the Information Age.
- Wonder as I wander: Scott Sampson rhapsodizes, Rather than removing meaning from life,
an evolutionary perspective can and should fill us with a sense of wonder at the rich sequence of natural
systems that gave us birth and continues to sustain us. Then why did your comrade Steven Weinberg
say, The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless?
Whats your point? What is a point? A point in this context is a vector, with magnitude
and direction. Darwinian evolution, though, is supposed to be undirected.
Tell us about the natural selection of wonder and its survival value, and where these things
are pointing (if not a heat death). No fair borrowing from the
The ID Visigoths feel somewhat puzzled by the savage label
applied to them. They feel quite cultured (some even enjoy Mozart: see
the Future), and count among their chieftains many esteemed scientists like Robert Boyle,
Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell and
many others. On the contrary, some of the tactics of their enemies
seem barbaric. All the Visigoths demand is that the Darwinians lay down their
arms, confess their war crimes, and discuss truth
with reason and civility.
(Good luck, heh heh.*)
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory
*If truth, reason and civility evolve, they have no validity.
On these terms, therefore, as long as the Visigoths insist both sides play by the rules, the Darwinians
must capitulate without a fight, having no recourse and there will peace in our time. But if
the Darwinians force a battle on their terms, its all about power and survival of the fittest.
Things could get ugly. The first item of business, therefore, should be to agree on whose rules
Good news: evolution has figured out how to make your wounds heal faster.
Bad news: the required mutation makes you go deaf.
Believe it or not, that is the story told on
Deafness gene has health benefit, wrote Alison Abbott.
Protein from genetic mutation helps wounds to heal. The article
treats this as a good thing, the way evolution works:
A high frequency of mutation in any gene implies that there may be an evolutionary benefit
for carriers. It is well known that various genetic mutations that cause sickness
in particular geographical areas sometimes also protect against local diseases, so there is
a trade-off, says [David] Kelsell.
The article compared this with another oft-cited beneficial mutation
another good-news, bad-news joke, that if you get the mutation for sickle-cell anemia,
you become more resistant to malaria. Pick your poison.
Kelsell says its speculation, but maybe the Cx26 deafness mutations
have been selected owing to their beneficial effects on wounds. But then,
how could the deaf winners tell each other the good news?
Darwinists, come back when you can figure out how to
get the benefits without the trade-offs. Your price is too high.
Well take the slower healing and keep the ears.
Q: Who Fights With Supercharged Harpoons? A: Jellyfish 05/08/2006
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory
Weak, transparent, limp, and drifting in the water who would have thought these
creatures possess one of the most powerful weapons in the animal kingdom? Jellyfish and hydras
have stinging cells called nematocysts that fire so fast, no one has been able to catch the
action of their microscopic harpoons till now.
summarized a study being reported in Current Biology1 by a team that photographed
them at 1,430,000 frames per second. They calculated the cells discharge in 700 nanoseconds
(less than a millionth of a second). The explosive charge is accelerated to
5,410,000 G's in that brief flicker of time. Even though the weapon weighs a mere
billionth of a gram, enough pressure is created in the discharge (15
giga-pascals, the pressure range of some bullets) giving
it enough oomph to penetrate even a tough crustacean shell.
Cnidarians use these weapons for prey capture and defense. The researchers propose
that the high speed of discharge is caused by the release of energy stored in the stretched
configuration of the collagen-polymer of the nematocyst capsule wall, the review
explains. This ingenious solution allows the cellular process of vesicle
exocytosis to release kinetic energy in the nanosecond range by a powerful
molecular spring mechanism.
1Nuchter et al., Nanosecond-scale kinetics of nematocyst discharge,
Volume 16, Issue 9, 9 May 2006, Pages R316-R318, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2006.03.089.
When God gives an animal a technology, he doesnt do it halfway. (Evolutionists
would have us believe jellyfish figured this out on their own, but this particular article
mentioned nothing about evolution.) Another amazing
fact is that some sea slugs called nudibranchs are able to ingest these nematocysts without
setting them off, and line their backs with the borrowed technology. Figure that
one out by slow, gradual, evolutionary processes.
The Porridge Before the Soup: Too Hot?
Next headline on:
In the evolutionary theory of everything, there is a soup before the primordial soup we normally
think of. Its the solar nebula, the whirling disk of dust, gas and ice that preceded
the planets. Scientists used to think the nebula was differentiated like chemicals in a
giant centrifuge, with the rocks close to the sun and the ices out near the perimeter.
The situation was apparently not so simple; now, it appears someone stirred the porridge.
Cometary material and interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) once thought pristine show signs of
mixing and heating.
This revision is discussed by Bernard Marty (geochemist, France) in Science.1
He discusses how fractionation ratios of oxygen and nitrogen vary dramatically across the solar system.
The models are having to adjust to the new findings. No longer a slowly cooling and condensing
nebula, the picture needs a solar flare here or there, UV photons of the right energies to dissociate
some isotopes but not others, etc.: On a larger scale, such isotope variations among different
solar system objects do not define a single relationship, suggesting that different paths or processes
may have occurred. Some oxygen isotopic enrichments are 300% and even 6000% above normal.
We still dont know much about the infancy of our solar system, Marty said, pointing
to the future: and there is little doubt that tremendous advances in our understanding of this
period will arise from the combination of high-precision microanalysis of extraterrestrial matter and
of missions returning samples to Earth.
1Bernard Marty, Planetary Science: The Primordial Porridge,
5 May 2006: Vol. 312. no. 5774, pp. 706-707, DOI: 10.1126/science.1125967.
OK, so now will they go back and revise all the textbook
illustrations, slide sets, posters, planetarium shows, and TV programs to reflect the
fact that all the models were wrong, and we really dont know what happened in some
past eons? No way; it would stir the pot and put the heat on too much for public
Doctors Deny Darwin 05/05/2006
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
Doctors and medical professionals may comprise the largest block of scientists with
qualms about evolution. According to a
Finkelstein poll, an average of 60% of
doctors, depending on religious demographics, reject the completely unguided Darwinian
evolutionary explanation for life. A new organization, Physicians and Surgeons
for Scientific Integrity (PSSI), has begun a website
Doctors Doubting Darwin where medical
professionals are invited to sign the following statement:
As medical doctors we are skeptical of the claims for the ability of random mutation and
natural selection to account for the origination and complexity of life and we therefore
dissent from Darwinian macroevolution as a viable theory. This does not imply the
endorsement of any alternative theory.
News had a report on these developments.
Another doctor raised a strong voice against the fruits of social Darwinism.
Dr. C. Ben Mitchell, writing for Baptist
Press, sternly denounced the National Institutes of Health for giving a school $773,000
to develop guidelines for the use of human subjects in what could be the next frontier
in medical technology genetic enhancement. Mitchell says that to all
familiar with the horrors of eugenics that led to the Nazi holocaust, and who joined in
the chorus never again, this is a dangerous development.
After reminding his readers how the original atrocities began with the most benign
intentions, he warns, This grant does not merely cross a moral line in the sand, it
uses your tax dollars and mine to demolish a brick wall 10-feet wide, turning it to rubble.
We must protest the use of our tax dollars for genetic enhancement research of any kind.
How soon we forget. We must not! Less than two months ago,
Professor Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, President of
Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), lamented the willing cooperation of doctors and scientists in the Nazi
Solar Eclipses Unique to Earth, SETI Researcher Finds
I must admit that it strikes me as bitter and disturbing that we ... at the DFG can find
barely a trace of resistance, no outcry against the exclusion of Jewish scientists and
their expulsion from universities, not a murmur against the abuse of agriculture and
humanities for the criminal purpose of displacement of nations in Eastern Europe,
no questioning of the execution or the purpose of medical experiments. Rather, the
radicalisation of science in the service of the Nazi regime was evidently sanctioned without query.
The ability of educated and otherwise rational people to quickly descend into
hideous depths of human depravity for the sake of an ideology was shockingly illustrated in a sobering
article by John Kekes in
He retold the story of Robespierre, dictator during the Terror of the French Revolution, who rationalized
unbelievable acts of human violence, cruelty and debauchery in the name of reason and liberty.
Kekes draws parallels with later ideologues of the Communist era, and todays terrorists,
to warn us that we must never assume such things could never happen again. This article is
a must read. (The contrast with the American Revolution is most instructive.)
Darwinists pushing the new eugenics on the one side, and radical Muslims pushing terrorism on the
other, this is no time for appeasement or apathy. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty
and of life.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Like many before him, Seth Shostak pondered the significance of total solar eclipses for the
one planet with observers to appreciate them. OK, Ive done the
math, the SETI Institute director said for SETI Thursday on
What you always suspected might be true ... is true: namely that the best place in the
solar system to see a total solar eclipse is Earth.
Shostak appeared briefly in the intelligent-design film
The Privileged Planet, which
makes a case that the universe and earth are designed for discovery, not only for
habitability. An evolutionist, Shostak was not promoting the premise of the film,
but merely pointing out that unless the the earth were very special miraculous almost
we should expect that other beings like us would inhabit the universe.
Shostak subsequently tried to differentiate the work of SETI from that of
intelligent design, however (see 12/03/2005) a comparison
made in another Illustra film, Unlocking
the Mystery of Life. Undoubtedly he has been dogged by questions from listeners
about how SETI differs from the principles of design detection promoted by I.D.
In this article on solar eclipses, however, Shostaks own
research arrived at two similar conclusions stated in the film: (1) solar eclipses have
allowed humans to make significant scientific discoveries, such as the detection of helium
and confirmation of Einsteins theory of relativity, and (2) the presence of a moon
like ours able to produce eclipses is probably linked to the hability of our planet.
If tides really do encourage life, then worlds with tides similar to ours are also
likely to enjoy total eclipses, he conjectured. Maybe eclipse chasers are a common cosmic breed.
He came to the same conclusions because the conclusions are
scientifically reasonable and based on observational facts. What is shameful is that
Shostak gave no credit for prior research done more thoroughly on this question by Guillermo
Gonzalez and Jay Richards in the book The Privileged Planet.
He pretends as if he were the first to think of these things. He obviously knows
that he appears in the film, and undoubtedly has watched it and understands its notoriety
in the mainstream scientific community. So we challenge Seth
Shostak to come forward and admit that he got his best ideas (that design detection is a
scientifically valid reasoning process, and that the earth is designed for discovery)
from his predecessors in the intelligent design movement. Intellectual property
demonstrates the ontological character of information. Acknowledging someone
elses intellectual contribution is the only ethical thing to do (and ethics dont evolve).
Hope for Titan Ocean Evaporates into Ice Desert
Next headline on:
Saturns moon Titan is a desert of sand made of ice grains mixed with hydrocarbons. These grains form
large fields of wind-driven dunes found over much of the planet-sized moon. Titans
Seas Are Sand, reported a press release from
U of Arizona
based on a paper in the May 5 issue of Science (see Perspective by Nicholas Lancaster1
and paper by Lorenz et al.2).
Until a couple of years ago, scientists thought the dark equatorial regions of Titan might be liquid oceans,
the press release states. New radar evidence shows they are seas but seas of sand dunes
like those in the Arabian or Namibian Deserts, as shown in the cat scratches soon detected
on radar scan images. The grains are probably eroded from the water-ice mountains as infrequent downpours
of liquid methane roar down the slot canyons onto the plains.
Another surprise is
that a moon this far from the sun could have enough solar energy to produce dune-sculpting winds.
The answer is that Saturn sets up strong enough tides in Titans atmosphere to do the work.
Though only on the order of one mile an hour, the winds in the thick atmosphere are able to transport
the coffee-ground-size particles into familiar looking linear dunes.
Today also some exciting visuals came from the Cassini and Huygens teams.
New dramatic animations, based on actual photos, of the descent of the Huygens probe onto the surface
give the viewer a probe-eye view of what it must have been like to ride the craft all the way to the dry lakebed.
Go to: JPL Cassini or
U of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Lab.
Our favorite: JPL
Titan Descent Data Movie with Bells and Whistles (you might want to provide your own
blockbuster movie soundtrack to replace the electronic sounds representing the image sequence and signal strength).
For a higher-res version of this information-filled wild ride, see the
ESA Huygens site.
For sheer drama and beauty of the descent, with Beethoven music to match, watch movie #3 at the
Some versions of the movies add captions and narration and are available in WMV and Quicktime formats,
and there are high-res stills also. The bloggers at
Spaceflight are impressed.
1Nicholas Lancaster, Linear Dunes on Titan,
5 May 2006: Vol. 312. no. 5774, pp. 702 - 703, DOI: 10.1126/science.1126292.
2Lorenz et al., The Sand Seas of Titan: Cassini RADAR Observations of Longitudinal Dunes,
5 May 2006: Vol. 312. no. 5774, pp. 724 - 727, DOI: 10.1126/science.1123257.
What an incredible finish to one of the biggest adventures
in interplanetary exploration. The worlds strangest moon, one that long-age
scientists were convinced had to be covered with a liquid ocean, is dry. Despite
Titans bizarre color, orange you glad Huygens was a smashing success?
Will Genetics Be Neo-Darwinisms Downfall? 05/04/2006
Next headline on:
The Institute for Creation Research is gearing up for a
multi-year GENE project to look for evidence for design (and against evolution) in the genome.
They may not need to work very hard. Secular scientists, by continuing to find things not all
that helpful for neo-Darwinism, are doing yeomans work for them.
While the few pro-evolutionary articles usually focus on
mere sources of variation in the genome as fodder for natural selection (such as this
Molecular Biology and
Evolution paper on retrotransposons), or try to infer phylogeny by molecular comparisons,
they usually do not attempt to apply the variations
to actual functions except at a trivial level (see
Most genetics papers, by contrast, are finding degrees of order, regulation and coordinated action
in the cell that challenge gradualistic explanations. Here are some examples from the past two months:
These are just samples pouring out of the secular literature on genomics. Clearly, a great deal more
choreographed complexity is being found in the nucleus than Watson and Crick could have imagined when the
genetic code first began to be deciphered.
Perhaps creationists will need to do little more than compile and cite.
- Rapid Gradualism? New
Scientist reported that many human genes must have evolved recently even
as recently as within the last 15,000 years. While some of the 700-odd genes they studied, they claim,
appear to have been targets of natural selection after the human line diverged millions of years ago,
some of the newly identified genes fall into categories not previously known to be targets of
selection in the human lineage, such as those involved in metabolism of carbohydrates and fatty acids.
(Ker Than at Live Science took
this to mean humans are still evolving.)
- Transcript Complexity:
Genetics had a special issue about the complexity of the transcriptome, the body of all
transcribed DNA. The lead articles teaser sounds pretty dramatic:
Besides revealing staggering complexity, analysis of this collection is providing
an increasing number of novel mRNA classes, expressed pseudogenes, and bona fide
noncoding variants of protein-coding genes. In addition, new types of regulatory logic
have emerged, including sense-antisense mechanisms of RNA regulation. This high-resolution
cDNA collection and its analysis represent an important world resource for discovery, and
demonstrate the value of large-scale transcriptome approaches towards understanding genome function.
After the human genome was deciphered, scientists were puzzled by the seeming small number of genes
about 30,000. Now, it appears that the exons of genes can be assembled and reassembled in a
modular way by alternative gene splicing (09/23/2005),
yielding many protein variants from one gene. Not
only that, the DNA negative on the opposite (antisense) strand can play a role in
regulating the gene. These articles speak as if a whole new world of complexity is coming to
- Who Regulates the Regulators?
Nature March 23
reported on important pathways that regulate the fate of RNA transcripts of genes. David
Tollervey wrote in the introduction,
Cells alter their rates of mRNA transcription to change mRNA levels, and so rates of protein synthesis,
in response to many stimuli. To adjust mRNA levels, cells must be able to rapidly get rid of
normal mRNAs that were previously synthesized (turnover). In fact, different mRNAs differ radically
in their rates of degradation, and this is subject to both metabolic and developmental regulation.
In addition, cells must guard against the synthesis of abnormal mRNAs (surveillance), which
can produce defective, potentially toxic, protein products.
The mechanisms described in the article, including go/no-go checkpoints unveil a higher
level of complexity beyond the information contained in the genes themselves.
- Ring Job: The copies during cell division must be accurate. Many protein
parts cooperate to ensure high levels of quality control.
reported March 23 on a discovery of a ring that slides along the microtubules in the all-important
stage of separation of the paired chromosomes.
- High Fidelity Proofreading: Albertson and Preston talked about quality control
of the DNA copying process in an article in
Current Biology March 23:
Proofreading is the primary guardian of DNA polymerase fidelity.
New work has revealed that polymerases with intrinsic proofreading activity may cooperate
with non-proofreading polymerases to ensure faithful DNA replication.
This means that some polymerases (copy machines) have better fidelity than others, but they
cooperate to ensure a precision product. A low-fidelity machine might be necessary to
get past a bad break, for instance like when a heftier wrench is needed
good is the system? Orders of magnitude better than a human copyist:
Normal cells replicate their DNA with remarkable fidelity, accumulating less than
one mutation per genome per cell division. It is estimated that replicative DNA polymerases
make errors approximately once every 104-105 nucleotides polymerized.
Thus, each time a mammalian cell divides approximately 100,000 polymerase errors occur, and these
must be corrected at near 100% efficiency to avoid deleterious mutations.
This is accomplished through the combined actions of... exonucleolytic proofreading and
post-replication mismatch repair.
- New Uses for Junk: Just because we dont know what it does, doesnt mean its
really junk, said Christina Cheng of non-coding DNA (U of Illinois) in an interview for
Radio Netherlands. Her work
has found that arctic cod produce antifreeze proteins (05/13/2004)
from non-gene regions of DNA,
a gene that appears to have evolved [sic] out of this DNA that supposedly serves no
purpose. Yet Preserving this rubbish [sic] seems an inefficient use of
time and resources. Evolutionary pressures [sic] should favour creatures with less junk
DNA said author Marnie Chesterton. So its conservation may be because it has functions
that we dont yet know. Cheng said, conventional thinking assumes that new genes
must come from pre-existing ones because the probability of a random stretch of DNA somehow becoming a
functional gene is very low if not nil. (see online book).
- No More Mr. Simple Guy: Embley and Martin in
March 30 had some words for those who tell simplistic tales about an ancient prokaryote being
co-opted as a mitochondrion in the first primitive eukaryote (see 08/06/2004):
The idea that some eukaryotes primitively lacked mitochondria and were true intermediates in
the prokaryote-to-eukaryote transition was an exciting prospect. It spawned major
advances in understanding anaerobic and parasitic eukaryotes and those with previously overlooked
mitochondria. But the evolutionary gap between prokaryotes and eukaryotes is now deeper,
and the nature of the host that acquired the mitochondrion more obscure, than ever before.
- Modular Programming: An article in
March 30 by 37 European scientists found an exquisite example of modular programming in
yeast. They even spoke machine language:
The richness of the data set enabled a de novo characterization of the composition and
organization of the cellular machinery. The ensemble of cellular proteins partitions
into 491 complexes, of which 257 are novel, that differentially combine with
additional attachment proteins or protein modules to enable a diversification of
potential functions. Support for this modular organization of the proteome comes
from integration with available data on expression, localization, function,
evolutionary conservation, protein structure and binary interactions.
This study provides the largest collection of physically determined eukaryotic cellular machines so
far and a platform for biological data integration and modelling.
Question is, what evolutionist would want to model 257 novel proteins and 491 complexes, all
tightly regulated and evolutionarily conserved (i.e., unevolved)?
- Pas de Deux: We know that we have two copies of each gene, one from the father
and one from the mother, but which copy leads and which follows? As in marriage, this process is surprisingly
complicated. Spilianakis and Flavell explored this important question in a Perspectives
article in Science
April 14. They showed how the dance involves the help of many servants:
The genetic information of higher organisms is encoded in DNA that is not randomly dispersed
within the cell nucleus, but is organized with nucleoproteins into different kinds of chromatin,
the building blocks of the chromosomes. Each chromosome resides in a specific region of the nucleus
when the cell is not undergoing cell division, and usually genes that are actively being expressed loop out
from their condensed chromatin territory and localize to a region of transcriptional activity.
These transcription factory areas are thus abundant with protein factors that initiate and
regulate gene expression.
The dance gets really wild, but not chaotic, when a gene on one chromosome is regulated by factors on another chromosome.
- The Parallel Universe of RNA: The title of this article in
hints at previously-unknown complexity: Short blocks from the noncoding parts of the human genome have instances
within nearly all known genes and relate to biological processes. This article
was discussed in more detail here 04/27; see also
the 09/08/2005 entry.
- Guardian Spirits: In todays
Nature (May 4),
Paul Megee titled an article, Molecular biology: Chromosome guardians on duty. He begins,
Curiously, in cell division the proper separation of chromosomes into daughter cells needs
set periods when they are stuck together. So how do they come apart at the right time and
place? Their guardian spirits intercede. Reminding the reader of the
importance of high fidelity in cell division, he discusses work by Japanese scientists who
describe how proteins known as shugoshins Japanese for guardian spirits
and an associated regulatory enzyme temporally and spatially control the removal of
cohesins from chromosomes. Cohesins keep the chromosomes together while they line up on
the spindle, but need to be broken at the right time (03/04/2004)
in a coordinated way thanks to their guardian spirits.
Darwinists are fond of storytelling with
When challenged, they retreat into accusations that anything other than 100% pure
materialistic Darwinism is religion, not science, and use other shifty-feet
tactics. The answer is to pile on the evidence. These articles are the tip of a
truckload of data-rich, fact-filled laboratory studies that shout design instead
of evolution. Lets rid secular science of its bad storytelling habit, and let the evidence
speak for itself. The Darwinists are sliding downhill with an avalanche of data
racing down against them. Perhaps a better cartoon of their predicament is to
picture Wiley Coyote hanging by his fingers on a cliff.
Jonathan Wells, by debunking the icons of evolution, is like the Road Runner lifting Mr.
Coyotes fingers one at a time, while the genetic evidence is like Tweety Bird
simultaneously piling weights on his feet. Pretty soon he fall down go boom.
Soviet Cosmonaut No Atheist 05/03/2006
Next headline on:
World Magazine reported a surprise tidbit
from history, to set the record straight: the first man in space was no atheist.
According to an urban legend, Yuri Gagarin, who flew a Soviet rocket in 1961, said that
he didnt see any god up here in space. The quote has provided fodder for preachers
ever since on the senselessness of atheism. Alas, poor Yuri; it appears now that he
was a believer and never said such a thing.
According to World, a professor
at Russias air force academy, Valentin Petrov, claims that Gagarin was baptized
in the Russian Orthodox Church and was a believer whose roots strongly influenced him.
The source of the spurious story was apparently some kind of game. Other sources
attribute the claim to Nikita Kruschev
(see SOS Globe
and Free Republic, for example).
Well. What do you know. What do you know well?
Maybe you have repeated this story without knowing the facts; we all do that sometimes
(email forwarding is one of the most unreliable sources of truth). Its nice
to know the first man in space was not so dumb as to imagine that if he couldnt see
God in earth orbit, then God must not exist or to even expect that God would be visible
at all. Not enough details were provided to know precisely what Gagarin did believe,
but this can be a lesson for us in not always trusting (and parroting) claims we hear.
A Google-search on Yuri Gagarin Valentin Petrov God will list many additional sources to check.
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
The following five articles were submitted by college students as an extra credit assignment.
Welcome the upcoming investigative reporters!
Comparing Preferences for Pain or Gain 05/03/2006
A group of researchers published in the Journal of Political Economy introduced the idea
economic loss and gain incentives are innate, not learned. To demonstrate this concept,
the researchers presented capuchin monkeys two opportunities leading to two different outcomes
for the monkey: pain or gain. The capuchin monkeys had a tendency to choose the opportunity
leading to gain. The report was summarized in Science Daily.1
This demonstrates loss-averse behavior which is the very basis for economic decisions.
Since the monkeys have not previous had exposure to human economics, this must be instinctual
choice, according to the researchers. The author concludes the article listing the qualifications
of the research team and foundation in order to qualify the opinions from the study.
1New Study Finds Similarities Between Monkey Business and Human Business,
Source: Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press Journals.
In nature, animals act according to greatest benefit. For example, when wolves hunt elk,
they do not tend to attack those which are strongest and largest. This is dangerous, and
could lead to the escape of the elk, wasted vital energy of the wolves, and even death of the
wolves. So what do researchers observe? Wolves tend to attack those old, straggling elk;
or they attack those males who expended too much energy in mating season. For what reason?
This is more beneficial to the wolves.
Limbed Snakes Initiate Evolutionary Quandary 05/03/2006
If choosing a more beneficial option, such as living, eating and breathing, is an economic principle,
then even protozoa have economic choice in choosing to eat. Indeed, this seems to be far more
deeply rooted than anticipated! In fact, ecologists study animal behavior according to an
energy budget. This refers to their only having a limited amount of energy to expend
when performing various vital activities. Does this budgeting reflect economic choice?
No. The animals act according to instinct to increase their own fitness, to survive day to day.
This is not analysis and reasoning.
Evolutionists see humans as a higher evolutionary form. Yet for decades the evolution
of the human mind, analysis, etc., have presented a major gap to the evolutionary theory. This
study attempts to close this gap by demonstrating human reasoning, as put forth in the
hypothesis of making economic decisions, is innate to animals in a lower form. But this cannot be so.
Mankind is created in the image of God, able to make decisions, able to rule, able to appreciate and marvel
at Gods creation. This is not stated for any other creature. Man stands alone with his
intellectual capacity and reasoning.
Next headline on:
Researchers have discovered the fossil of a
snake with a pelvis and functioning legs in Rio Negro, Argentina. Sebastian Apesteguía (Argentine
Museum of Natural Science) says Najash rionegrina is not the oldest snake discovered; marine snakes
have been discovered in North America as well as Eastern Europe. However, Najash rionegrina
has been considered the earliest limbed snake found in terrestrial sediment. According to
Nicholas Bakalar (National Geographic News):1,2
Early snakes, the theorys supporters say, are closely related to scolecophidians, a living group
of primitive land snakes that still have vestigial pelvic regions. But proponents of a watery
origin believe that snakes most likely evolved from extinct marine reptiles called mosasaurs, powerful
swimmers that spent their entire lives in the ocean. Snakes probably evolved during the
Jurassic150 million years ago, Apesteguía said, but there are no fossils.
During the early Cretaceous120 million years agothey exploded [into] several forms,
including some terrestrial like Najash, ...and some aquatic. The fossil record shows
that terrestrial and aquatic snakes both existed by the mid-Cretaceousabout 95 million years
agoleaving researchers unsure about which type evolved first. The question, Apesteguía
said, is, Which is more primitive, the terrestrial Najash or the most primitive water
snakes, a group called pachyophids? He points to evidence that marine snakes are less
primitive: Their skull bones suggest that they could expand their mouths to ingest larger
preya characteristic of modern snakes. The marine snakes, Apesteguía concludes,
are ancient versions of modern snakes, not really primitive.
1Snakes Evolved on Land, New Fossil Find Suggests,
National Geographic News,
Accessed April 23, 2006.
2Snake Ancestors Lost Limbs on Land, Study Says,
National Geographic News,
Accessed April 23, 2006.
It is not a surprise that evolutionists cannot decide between an aquatic or terrestrial origin
for snakes. Although researchers have realized that marine and land snakes existed at the
same time, they have only accepted this coexistence to an extent. In fact, Sebastian
Apesteguía has stated that the evidence of transition fossils does not exist. As a
result, Apesteguía and other researchers, including Hassum Zaher (University of Sao Paulo
in Brazil), are uncertain about the position of either species on the evolutionary chain.
Zaher suggested that limbed snakes are related to pythons and boas and not marine snakes.
This conflicts with Apesteguías allusion to an aquatic origin. The discovery of
Najash will only rekindled the flame of controversy as evolutionists attempt to avoid another
kink in their chain.
Can We Not Perform Similar Functions? 05/03/2006
Next headline on:
Researchers from Kings College London claim their data evidences the Human [thyroid]
gland probably evolved from gills.1 According to speculation, gills were internalized
as the thyroid gland when marine life evolved into land animals. The possibility for this
comes from the similar functions of gills and of the gland: both act as calcium level controls.
The gills act to pump calcium into the body. The thyroid gland secretes parathyroid hormone
when calcium levels drop, causing bone stores to release calcium. Therefore, researchers
had a basis for their work, a reasonable pursuit in their evolutionary mindset,
according to Professor Graham. Further support included positioning of the gills vs. the
thyroid gland: in the human neck, and near the head of the fish.
The researchers compared the gills of zebra fish with those found in various mammals.
They found the tissues development from pharyngeal pouch endoderm, an early embryonic tissue.
The tissues also express two similar genes related to development, Gcm-2, and to functioning as a
gland, expressing a gene for parathyroid hormone. This evidence suggests, the article ends,
humans do have a sort of gill after all. [Its] still sitting in our throats,
finished Dr. Graham.
1Human Thyroid Gland Probably Evolved From Gills, Science Daily.
Science Daily, posted: December
The information in this article is presented with an evolutionary mindset. All creatures
come from common ancestors; therefore similarities seem to indicate homology. The thyroid
gland evolved from a marine organisms gills, as fish came first, then mammals.
Functions of the higher organisms somehow relate to those of lower organisms.
Creationists assume that organisms have similar genes due to performing certain similar functions.
Evolutionary explanations employ circular reasoning:
These animals came from common ancestry. Why? Because they have similar functions.
Why do they have similar functions? Because they share common ancestry. The creationist is
compelled to ask, Should God make his creation obscure, unrelated, and unconnected, so as to be
incomprehensible to the observer? So as to disprove evolution, should God have made every
single creature with its very own oxidative pathways, tissues, and building blocks of life (i.e. nucleic acids,
proteins, carbohydrates, lipids)?
Tiktaalik: Evolutions Newest Link in the Chain 05/03/2006
In I Corinthians 14, Paul reprimanded the Corinthians for their
disorderly worship services, stating, God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
What implications does this have upon his beloved creation? How then should we interpret what is seen?
Next headline on:
Researchers have recently discovered a fossil on Ellesmere Island, located in the Canadian Arctic.
The creature is characteristic of tetrapods, four-legged organisms, and possesses a flattened body, fins,
scales, ribs, and a neck. James Owen (National Geographic News1) considers the species,
Tiktaalik roseae, to be the connection between aquatic and land animals and prehistoric predecessor
of the human population:
Researchers say the fish shows how fins on freshwater species first began transforming into limbs
some 380 million years ago. The change was a huge evolutionary step that opened the way for
vertebratesanimals with backbonesto emerge from the water. This animal
represents the transition from water to landthe part of history that includes ourselves,
said paleontologist Neil Shubin of the University of Chicago. Tiktaalik could become an
icon of evolution in action, write paleontologists Per Ahlberg of Swedens Uppsala University
and Jennifer A. Clack of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom in an accompanying commentary.
The paleontologists say the new fish form goes a long way toward filling the evolutionary gap between
fish and the earliest amphibians. Our remote ancestors were large, flattish, predatory fishes,
they write. Strong limblike pectoral fins enabled them to haul themselves out of the water.
Evolutionary scientists agree that all four-limbed land vertebrates, including dinosaurs and mammals, are
descended from lobe-fins, a group of primitive fishes with fins suggesting limbs.
(Emphasis added in all quotes.)
1James Owen, Fossil Fish With Limbs Is Missing Link, Study Says,
Geographic News. 04/05/2006.
Shubin et al., The pectoral fin of Tiktaalik roseae and the origin of the tetrapod limb,
Nature 440, 764-771 (6 April 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature04637.
John Roach, Fins to Limbs: New Fossil Gives Evolution Insight,
National Geographic News,
Newly Found Species Fills Evolutionary Gap Between Fish And Land Animals,
Science Daily, 04/06/2006.
Tiktaalik roseae is an important discovery for scientists and media alike.
However, evidence for a transition from water to land does not authenticate the so-called
link between humans and their aquatic associates. The previously unknown creature
is the closest known fish ancestor of land vertebrates, said Shubin. If researchers are
so confident with Tiktaaliks ability to hoist itself onto land and evolve into a land-dwelling
organism, why have we discovered so few fossils that prove the existence of missing links and their
transitions from water to land? Ted Daeschler (Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia)
said, The transition wasnt all or nothing. Its not that some animals were
thrown on land. There were certainly other functions intermediate.
What exactly were those functions? Also, how were the functions intermediate determined
based upon evidence of fossils that have not been discovered? How can researchers allude to
the existence of numerous transitional species with a lack of data necessary to substantiate their
conclusions? Perhaps, we should answer these questions before we hoist ourselves onto the
idea of human-fish relations.
Fish Forsakes Fins in Favor of Arms 05/06/2006
Next headline on:
A crucial fossil palaeontologists are hailing as a true missing link in the evolutionary
record has been uncovered in the arctic. The discovery of a well preserved species
of fossil fish bridges the gap between finned fish and their four legged relatives. This croco-fish
creature, documented in Nature,1 named Tiktaalik roseae has joints in its front arms
and can prop itself up like a crocodile, yet has the jaw and balancing fins of a more primitive fish.
The front fins are well on their way to becoming limbs, having the internal skeletal structure of an arm,
including elbows and wrists, but with fins instead of fingers. It seems as if we have caught
a transition in the act. Much of the weakness of the evolutionary theory rests on these gaps that
are unaccounted for with fossil records; but at last, one such transformation is right before our eyes.
The creature would represent an evolutionary window about 380 - 360 million years ago, about the time it
took sea dwelling fish to differentiate into land dwelling critters. A remark by one palaeontologist
perhaps steals some of the croco-fishs thunder when he says, Tiktaalik was probably an unwieldy
swimmer, probably living in shallow waters, only hauling itself on land temporarily to escape predators.
1Daeschler, Edward B., Shubin, Neil H., Jenkins, Farish A. Jr., A Devonian tetrapod-like fish and the evolution of the tetrapod body plan, Nature, April 6, 2006: Vol. 440, p. 757-763, DOI: 10.1038/nature04639.
Shubin, Neil H., Daeschler, Edward B., Jenkins, Farish A. Jr., The pectoral fin of Tiktaalik roseae and the origin of the tetrapod limb, Nature, April 6, 2006: Vol. 440, p. 764-771, DOI: 10.1038/nature04637.
Why did fish, competent swimmers that they were, develop arms and legs and walk away?
This poses just a few questions to say the least. Everyone seems to be in agreement that the
fish would not immediately develop a sophisticated method of land locomotion and would thus remain
rather ungainly on land for at least a few million years or so before the mechanism was refined.
Why then, would a creature at home in the sea forsake the very medium that sustained it, and venture
out on land to become, pardon the pun, a true fish out of water? As ungainly as they may have
been in the water they would have been even more so out of the water, therefore how is this to be
considered favorable? Natural Selection, Darwins brainchild would seem to weed out these
unfavorable mutations as opposed to propagating them. Easy for us to come in a posteriori and tie
the loose ends together; but to be completely honest, the fish did not decide it would be beneficial
to walk on land and then determine to sprout arms. I thought the Lamarckian ideas were thrown
out years ago? How then do these undertones manage to still get incorporated into modern thought?
Editors note: Each of these student reporters expressed satisfaction and
personal rewards at taking part in this exercise. We hope more young people will exercise their
skills in evaluating evidence and parsing scientific claims in the media.
Next headline on:
The Evolution of Slapstick
Some Darwinists think they have figured out the origin of laughter.
When our ape-like ancestors started walking, they found it awkward and often tripped over
their feet. Bystanding apes apparently found this humorous for some reason, and thus
slapstick comedy was born. The
found this story good for some one-liners.
How can this be? Humor and happiness has no intrinsic
meaning in Darwinian thinking. Its all about selfishness and survival
Molecular Clock Keeps Wild Time 05/02/2006
Next headline on:
Evolutionists used to hope that the mutation rates in genes were relatively constant, so that
they could provide a kind of molecular clock for inferring dates of divergence
of ancestral species. The first bad news was that not all molecular clocks tick at the same
rate (rate heterogeneity). Then they hoped that rate differences corresponded to
body size, because there appeared to be such a trend among vertebrates. The second bad news
now comes out; according to an international team
publishing in PNAS,1 rate variation does not scale with body size:
The existence of a universal molecular clock has been called into question by
observations that substitution rates vary widely between lineages. However,
increasing empirical evidence for the systematic effects of different life history traits
on the rate of molecular evolution has raised hopes that rate variation may be predictable,
potentially allowing the correction of the molecular clock.
One such example is the body size trend observed in vertebrates; smaller species tend
to have faster rates of molecular evolution....
Phylogenetic comparative methods were used to investigate a relationship between average
body size and substitution rate at both interspecies and interfamily comparison levels.
We demonstrate significant rate variation in all phyla and most genes examined,
implying a strict molecular clock cannot be assumed for the Metazoa.
Furthermore, we find no evidence of any influence of body size on invertebrate substitution
rates. We conclude that the vertebrate body size effect is a special case, which
cannot be simply extrapolated to the rest of the animal kingdom.
(Emphasis added in all quotes.)
1Thomas et al., Evolution: There is no universal molecular clock for
invertebrates, but rate variation does not scale with body size,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
published online before print May 1, 2006; Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 10.1073/pnas.0510251103.
Though disappointing to Darwinists, this will in no way
affect their theories, because Darwinism does not rely on empirical evidence for support.
Evidence is just a nice thing to have when available. Darwinism is more like
entertainment; the show must go on. Should non-Darwinists call this entertainment
a comedy, or a tragedy?
What Use Is Half a Wing?
Next headline on:
Ken Dial is at it again, trying to explain bird flight from the ground up with his own version of a Darwinian story (see
The title of his paper in BioScience1 harks back to an old criticism
of Darwins theory: What
use is half a wing? Well, half a wing could be a half a stabilizer is
the new answer. Outstretched proto-wings, according
to Dials WAIR theory (Wing-Assisted Incline Running) helps chukar partridges keep
their balance when running up slopes, presumably escaping predators who might otherwise interrupt
their ability to pass on their genes. Maybe this provides insight into the development of
full powered flight in the dim past:
As a rebuttal to Darwins (1859) explanation of the
origin and diversification of life, St. George Jackson
Mivart (1871) posed a challenge: What use is half a wing?
With this simple question, Mivart challenged Darwin to explain
the adaptive role of intermediate forms within an evolutionary
continuum, prompting Darwin to expand on the
concept of functional shifts within structural continuity
(Gould 1985). This concept of transitional functional and
structural stages is the basis for exaptation, an integral component
of modern evolutionary theory (Gould and Vrba
1982). A response to Mivarts question is that if the wing of
a flying bird is a product of small, gradual structural changes,
these transitional forms must have had some function during
the evolution [sic] of powered flight.
Discussing the ground-up (cursorial) theory and tree-down (arboreal) theory, Dial finds fault
with both. Watching partridge chicks run up ramps, his team measured the advantage
of stubby wings in helping them maintain stability:
The most significant finding from this body of work is that
developing ground birds employ their incipient wings,
adorned with symmetrical feathers, to execute brief bouts of
aerial flight (dorsoventral flapping) and to enhance hindlimb
traction (anteroposterior flapping) as they negotiate threedimensional
As for the arboreal theory, Dial notes that there are no intermediates between gliders
and flappers. But on the other wing, there are no known contemporary
analogs of cursorial bipeds that use their forelimbs to run faster, to run and glide,
or to swipe at or capture prey, assumptions proposed among various cursorial hypotheses.
He says that this debate presents a false dichotomy: both hypotheses fail to provide
the functional and incremental adaptive stages of forelimb evolution necessary
to achieve the fully developed flapping mechanics observed
among extant species... So he came up with his WAIR hypothesis
independently, yet it shares advantages of both positions.
The WAIR hypothesis
is a testable and inclusive approach to explain the evolution
of avian flight, he crows, and it appears to resolve the impasse
created from a strict cursorial or arboreal position. Not only that,
his approach provides a model for explaining transitional forms in the fossil record:
identifying analogs among extant forms.
Thus, not only does the ontogeny of
WAIR demonstrate functionally adaptive intermediate stages
or steps, it demonstrates an adaptive continuum between
featherless forelimbs, protowings with symmetrical feathers,
and derived wings with asymmetrical feathers and a complex wing stroke.
Ascribing functional explanations to transitional forms without
integrating the wealth of corroborating evidence from
other subjects (life history, behavior, development, ecology,
and the physical sciences) will only lead to endless just so
stories about the history of life.
The transition is thus explained: aerodynamic forces on the outstretched half wings
increase hindlimb traction; and short vertical movements. Rudimentary aerial ascent
and controlled descent, as observed with modern partridge chicks, might have taken off
into powered flight in gradual stages. Therefore, ontogenetic transformation
observed in juvenile species exhibiting WAIR is a
plausible behavioral and morphological pathway of adaptive
incremental stages that might have been exhibited by the
lineage of feathered, maniraptoran dinosaurs attaining powered
flight, he claims. But with Dials frequent use of words like might, could
and may have, how this differs from a just-so story might be a matter of debate itself.
We suggest that incipiently feathered forelimbs of small,
bipedal protobirds may have provided the same locomotor advantages
for inclined running as are present in extant birds.
Whether sprinting across an obstacle-filled terrain or up
inclined or even vertical surfaces, whether being chased or
chasing, an animal capable of employing WAIR experiences
improved hindlimb traction. What appear to be partially
developed wings of recently discovered theropod dinosaurs [sic]
(e.g., Caudipteryx, Sinosauropteryx, Protarchaeopteryx, Rahonavis,
Unenlagia, and others) have confused scientists:
Were these wings used for running faster, for gliding, for
protecting eggs and young in the nest, or for catching food,
or were they simply vestiges of once functional wings? In a
protobird [sic], WAIR-like behavior could have represented an
intermediate stage in the development of flight-capable, aerodynamic
See also the Science
Daily summary of this paper, with picture of Dial holding a chukar partridge.
1Ken Dial et al., What Use Is Half a Wing in the
Ecology and Evolution of Birds?
Volume 56, Number 5, May 2006, pp. 437-445(9).
Same dumb ideas, and same criticisms three years ago still apply (see
12/22/2003). All this shows is that evolutionists remain
touchy about the criticisms of just-so storytelling leveled at them, and are trying desperately to clear
this bad reputation. Dont be distracted by the charts, graphs, diagrams and drawings in the
paper; these all pertain to living, flying birds not dinosaurs. And dont be
distracted by the highfalutin-sounding term Wing-assisted inclined running as if
inventing a phrase is going to make a case. This is like the joke about the teenager being
told by his doctor his lethargy is simple laziness, to which he responds, now give me the
scientific name so I can tell my parents.
The mark of just-so storytelling is coming up with a hand-waving explanation
that cannot be tested. That is still the essence of Dials hypothesis despite his
protests to the contrary.
Sweep away the scientific mumbo-jumbo and visual aids, and the jargon, because it is an irrelevant
display of bluffing. Forget the references to so-called feathered dinosaurs, because there
were contemporary modern birds of these that already had powered flight, so the maniraptorans
could not have been transitional forms. Forget also the references to chicks of modern birds,
because they already have the genetic information for powered flight; he cannot work backwards
from the evolved to the unevolved.
And erase Dials own bravado about how much better his hypothesis is than others.
Instead, imagine the Geico gecko trying to evolve powered flight by
running up inclines with its forearms stretched out. A few moments visualization
will do wonders to put this matter to rest. There are so many vital, interconnected,
required morphological changes that would be required for the Geico gecko to do more than leap
a few inches off the ground, it is inconceivable that there would be enough lucky mutations
able to converge on turning his descendents into Woody Woodpecker, let alone the Road Runner.
Cartoonists might be able to draw the transitional forms, but evolution needs to wait for
mutations, almost all of which are harmful or neutral. Feathers, lungs, bone changes,
flight software how many thousands of beneficial mutations do you want to wait for?
They all have to arrive simultaneously. And does WAIR explain flight in insects,
pterosaurs and bats? Like Wiley Coyote forever behind the Road Runner,
Ken Dial remains far behind his prey, an evolutionary explanation for flight.
Except for a brief hand-wave to
future research needed in homeobox genes and evo-devo, Dials explanation is completely lacking
in a genetic mechanism for attaining the required information for powered flight. Rather, it has all the characteristics
of a Lamarckian story: the giraffe needed a long neck to reach the leaves, and the gecko needed
WAIR to escape the predator. Presumably, the gecko already had defenses that worked just
fine; What say, mate, like, we just set and chat about a better way to settle our
differences, hey? How would you like to save a lot of money on your car insurance?
Ken Dials only achievement was to exhibit Darwinist sensitivity to
charges of storytelling, and to point out that all the other evolutionary explanations dont
work. For that, his funny pages will get a good chuckle from creationists.
Next headline on:
Scientist of the Month
Click on Apollos, the trusty|
|Guide to Evolutionary Theory
Really, really, really a fantastic site. Your wit makes a razor appear dull!...
A million thanks for your site.
(a small business owner in Oregon and father of children who love your site too.)
Thank God for ... Creation
Evolution Headlines. This site is right at the cutting edge in the debate
over bio-origins and is crucial in working to undermine the
deceived mindset of naturalism. The arguments presented are unassailable
(all articles having first been thoroughly baloney detected) and the
narrative always lands just on the right side of the laymans comprehension
limits... Very highly recommended to all, especially, of course, to those who
have never thought to question the fact of evolution.
(a business owner in Somerset, UK)
I continue to note the difference between the dismal derogations of the darwinite devotees, opposed to the openness and
humor of rigorous, follow-the-evidence scientists on the Truth side. Keep up the great work.
(a math/science teacher with M.A. in anthropology)
Your material is clearly among the best I have ever read on evolution problems!
I hope a book is in the works!
(a biology prof in Ohio)
I have enjoyed reading the sardonic apologetics on the Creation/Evolution Headlines section
of your web site. Keep up the good work!
(an IT business owner in California)
Your commentaries ... are always delightful.
(president of a Canadian creation group)
Im pleased to see... your amazing work on the Headlines.
(secretary of a creation society in the UK)
We appreciate all you do at crev.info.
(a publisher of creation and ID materials)
I was grateful for creationsafaris.com for help with baloney detecting. I had read about
the fish-o-pod and wanted to see what you thought. Your comments were helpful and encouraged me
that my own baloney detecting skill are improving. I also enjoyed reading your reaction
to the article on evolution teachers doing battle with students.... I will ask my girls to read your
comments on the proper way to question their teachers.
(a home-schooling mom)
I just want to express how dissapointed [sic] I am in your website. Instead of being objective, the
website is entirely one sided, favoring creationism over evolution, as if the two are contradictory....
Did man and simien [sic] evovlve [sic] at random from a common ancestor? Or did God guide this evolution?
I dont know. But all things, including the laws of nature, originate from God....
To deny evolution is to deny Gods creation. To embrace evolution is to not only embrace his creation,
but to better appreciate it.
(a student in Saginaw, Michigan)
I immensely enjoy reading the Creation-Evolution Headlines. The way you use words
exposes the bankruptcy of the evolutionary worldview.
(a student at Northern Michigan U)
...standing O for crev.info.
(a database programmer in California)
Just wanted to say that I am thrilled to have found your website! Although I
regularly visit numerous creation/evolution sites, Ive found that many of them do
not stay current with relative information. I love the almost daily updates to
your headlines section. Ive since made it my browser home page, and have
recommended it to several of my friends. Absolutely great site!
(a network engineer in Florida)
After I heard about Creation-Evolution Headlines,
it soon became my favorite Evolution resource site on the web. I visit several times a
day cause I cant wait for the next update. Thats pathetic, I know ...
but not nearly as pathetic as Evolution, something you make completely obvious with your snappy,
intelligent commentary on scientific current events. It should be a textbook for science
classrooms around the country. You rock!
(an editor in Tennessee)
One of the highlights of my day is checking your latest CreationSafaris creation-evolution news listing!
Thanks so much for your great work -- and your wonderful humor.
(a pastor in Virginia)
Thanks!!! Your material is absolutely awesome. Ill be using it in our Adult Sunday School class.
(a pastor in Wisconsin)
Love your site & read it daily.
(a family physician in Texas)
I set it [crev.info] up as my homepage. That way I am less likely to miss some really interesting events....
I really appreciate what you are doing with Creation-Evolution Headlines. I
tell everybody I think might be interested, to check it out.
(a systems analyst in Tennessee)
I would like to thank you for your service from which I stand to benefit a lot.
(a Swiss astrophysicist)
I enjoy very much reading your materials.
(a law professor in Portugal)
Thanks for your time and thanks for all the work on the site.
It has been a valuable resource for me.
(a medical student in Kansas)
I wanted to tell you that the Creation Evolution headlines website is a great resource
and that I read it mostly everyday (and when I don't I catch up the next day). I really
appreciate the work and the effort that you do.
(a grad student in experimental particle physics)
Creation-Evolution Headlines is a terrific resource. The articles are
always current and the commentary is right on the mark.
(a molecular biologist in Illinois)
Creation-Evolution Headlines is my favorite
anti-evolution website. With almost giddy anticipation, I check
it several times a week for the latest postings. May God bless you and
empower you to keep up this FANTASTIC work!
(a financial analyst in New York)
I just completed reading each entry from each month. I found your site about
6 months ago and as soon as I understood the format, I just started at the very first entry
and started reading.... Your work has blessed my education and determination to bold in
showing the unscientific nature of evolution in general and Darwinism in particular.
(a doctor in Oklahoma)
I read your pages on a daily basis and I would like to let you know
that your hard work has been a great help in increasing my knowledge
and growing in my faith. Besides the huge variety of scientific
disciplines covered, I also enormously enjoy your great sense of humor
and your creativity in wording your thoughts, which make reading your
website even more enjoyable.
(a software developer in Illinois)
THANK YOU for all the work you do to make this wonderful resource! After
being regular readers for a long time, this year weve incorporated your
site into our home education for our four teenagers. The Baloney Detector
is part of their Logic and Reasoning Skills course, and the Daily Headlines
and Scientists of the Month features are a big part of our curriculum for an
elective called Science Discovery Past and Present. What a wonderful
goldmine for equipping future leaders and researchers with the tools of
(a home school teacher in California)
What can I say I LOVE YOU!
I READ YOU ALMOST EVERY DAY I copy and send out to various folks.
I love your sense of humor, including your politics and of course your faith.
I appreciate and use your knowledge What can I say THANK YOU
THANK YOU THANK YOU SO MUCH.
(a biology major, former evolutionist, now father of college students)
I came across your site while browsing through creation & science links. I love the work you do!
(an attorney in Florida)
Love your commentary and up to date reporting. Best site for evolution/design info.
(a graphic designer in Oregon)
I am an ardent reader of your site. I applaud your efforts and pass on
your website to all I talk to. I have recently given your web site info
to all my grandchildren to have them present it to their science
teachers.... Your Supporter and fan..God bless you all...
(a health services manager in Florida)
Why your readership keeps doubling: I came across your website at a time when I was just getting to know what creation science is all about. A friend of mine was telling me about what he had been finding out. I was highly skeptical and sought to read as many pro/con articles as I could find and vowed to be open-minded toward his seemingly crazy claims. At first I had no idea of the magnitude of research and information thats been going on. Now, Im simply overwhelmed by the sophistication and availability of scientific research and information on what I now know to be the truth about creation.
Your website was one of dozens that I found in my search. Now, there are only a handful of sites I check every day. Yours is at the top of my list... I find your news page to be the most insightful and well-written of the creation news blogs out there. The quick wit, baloney detector, in-depth scientific knowledge you bring to the table and the superb writing style on your site has kept me interested in the day-to-day happenings of what is clearly a growing movement. Your site ... has given me a place to point them toward to find out more and realize that theyve been missing a huge volume of information when it comes to the creation-evolution issue.
Another thing I really like about this site is the links to articles in science journals and news references. That helps me get a better picture of what you're talking about.... Keep it up and I promise to send as many people as will listen to this website and others.
(an Air Force Academy graduate stationed in New Mexico)
Im a small town newspaper editor in southwest Wyoming. Were pretty
isolated, and finding your site was a great as finding a gold mine. I read
it daily, and if theres nothing new, I re-read everything. I follow links.
I read the Scientist of the Month. Its the best site Ive run across. Our
local school board is all Darwinist and determined to remain that way.
(a newspaper editor in Wyoming)
Congratulations on your 5th anniversary. I have been reading your page for about 2 years or so....
I read it every day. I ...am well educated, with a BA in Applied Physics
from Harvard and an MBA in Finance from Wharton.
(a reader in Delaware)
I came across your website by accident about 4 months ago and look at it every day....
About 8 months ago I was reading a letter to the editor of the Seattle Times that was written
by a staunch anti-Creationist and it sparked my interest enough to research the
topic and within a week I was yelling, my whole lifes education has been a lie!!!
Ive put more study into Biblical Creation in the last 8 months than any other topic in my life.
Past that, through resources like your website...Ive been able to convince my father (professional mathematician and amateur geologist), my best friend (mechanical engineer and fellow USAF Academy Grad/Creation Science nutcase), my pastor (he was the hardest to crack), and many others to realize the Truth of Creation.... Resources like your website help the rest of us at the grassroots level drum up interest in the subject. And regardless of what the major media says: Creationism is spreading like wildfire, so please keep your website going to help fan the flames.
(an Air Force Academy graduate and officer)
I love your site! I **really** enjoy reading it for several specific reasons: 1.It uses the latest (as in this month!) research as a launch pad for opinion; for years I have searched for this from a creation science viewpoint, and now, Ive found it. 2. You have balanced fun with this topic. This is hugely valuable! Smug Christianity is ugly, and I dont perceive that attitude in your comments. 3. I enjoy the expansive breadth of scientific news that you cover. 4. I am not a trained scientist but I know evolutionary bologna/(boloney) when I see it; you help me to see it. I really appreciate this.
(a computer technology salesman in Virginia)
I love your site. Thats why I was more than happy to
mention it in the local paper.... I mentioned your site as the place
where..... Every Darwin-cheering news article is
reviewed on that site from an ID perspective. Then
the huge holes of the evolution theory are exposed,
and the bad science is shredded to bits, using real
(a project manager in New Jersey)
Ive been reading your site almost daily for about three years. I have
never been more convinced of the truthfulness of Scripture and the faithfulness of God.
(a systems administrator and homeschooling father in Colorado)
I use the internet a lot to catch up on news back
home and also to read up on the creation-evolution controversy, one of my favourite topics.
Your site is always my first port of call for the latest news and views and I really appreciate
the work you put into keeping it up to date and all the helpful links you provide. You are a
beacon of light for anyone who wants to hear frank, honest conclusions instead of the usual diluted
garbage we are spoon-fed by the media.... Keep up the good work and know that youre changing lives.
(a teacher in Spain)
I am grateful to you for your site and look forward to reading new
stories.... I particularly value it for being up to date with what is going on.
(from the Isle of Wight, UK)
[Creation-Evolution Headlines] is the place to go for late-breaking
news [on origins]; it has the most information and the quickest turnaround.
Its incredible I dont know how you do it.
I cant believe all the articles you find. God bless you!
(a radio producer in Riverside, CA)
Just thought I let you know how much I enjoy
reading your Headlines section. I really appreciate
how you are keeping your ear to the ground in so
many different areas. It seems that there is almost
no scientific discipline that has been unaffected
by Darwins Folly.
(a programmer in aerospace from Gardena, CA)
I enjoy reading the comments on news articles on your site very much. It is incredible
how much refuse is being published in several scientific fields regarding evolution.
It is good to notice that the efforts of true scientists have an increasing influence at schools,
but also in the media.... May God bless your efforts and open the eyes of the blinded evolutionists
and the general public that are being deceived by pseudo-scientists.... I enjoy the site very much
and I highly respect the work you and the team are doing to spread the truth.
(an ebusiness manager in the Netherlands)
I discovered your site through a link at certain website...
It has greatly helped me being updated with the latest development in science and with
critical comments from you. I also love your baloney detector
and in fact have translated some part of the baloney detector into our language (Indonesian).
I plan to translate them all for my friends so as to empower them.
(a staff member of a bilateral agency in West Timor, Indonesia)
...absolutely brilliant and inspiring.
(a documentary film producer, remarking on the
I found your site several months ago and within weeks
had gone through your entire archives.... I check in several times a day for further
information and am always excited to read the new
articles. Your insight into the difference between
what is actually known versus what is reported has
given me the confidence to stand up for what I
believe. I always felt there was more to the story,
and your articles have given me the tools to read
through the hype....
You are an invaluable help and I commend your efforts.
Keep up the great work.
(a sound technician in Alberta)
I discovered your site (through a link from a blog) a few weeks ago and I cant stop reading it....
I also enjoy your insightful and humorous commentary at the end of each story. If the evolutionists
blindness wasnt so sad, I would laugh harder.
I have a masters degree in mechanical engineering from a leading University. When I read the descriptions, see the pictures, and watch the movies of the inner workings of the cell, Im absolutely amazed.... Thanks for bringing these amazing stories daily. Keep up the good work.
(an engineer in Virginia)
I stumbled across your site several months ago and have
been reading it practically daily. I enjoy the inter-links
to previous material as well as the links to the quoted
research. I've been in head-to-head debate with a
materialist for over a year now. Evolution is just one of
those debates. Your site is among others that have been a
real help in expanding my understanding.
(a software engineer in Pennsylvania)
I was in the April 28, 2005 issue of Nature [see 04/27/2005
story] regarding the rise of intelligent design in the universities. It was through your website
that I began my journey out of the crisis of faith which was mentioned in that article. It was an honor to see you all highlighting the article in Nature. Thank you for all you have done!
(Salvador Cordova, George Mason University)
I shudder to think of the many ways in which you mislead readers, encouraging them to build a faith based on misunderstanding and ignorance. Why dont you allow people to have a faith that is grounded in a fuller understanding of the world?...
Your website is a sham.
(a co-author of the paper reviewed in the 12/03/2003
entry who did not appreciate the unflattering commentary. This led to a cordial
interchange, but he could not divorce his reasoning from the science vs. faith dichotomy,
and resulted in an impasse over definitions but, at least, a more mutually respectful dialogue.
He never did explain how his paper supported Darwinian macroevolution. He just claimed
evolution is a fact.)
I absolutely love creation-evolution news. As a Finnish university student very
interested in science, I frequent your site to find out about all the new science
stuff thats been happening you have such a knack for finding all this
information! I have been able to stump evolutionists with knowledge gleaned from
your site many times.
(a student in Finland)
I love your site and read it almost every day. I use it for my science class and
5th grade Sunday School class. I also challenge Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers to
get on the site to check out articles against the baloney they are taught in school.
(a teacher in Los Gatos, CA)
I have spent quite a few hours at Creation Evolution Headlines in the past week
or so going over every article in the archives. I thank you for such an informative
and enjoyable site. I will be visiting often and will share this link with others.
[Later] I am back to May 2004 in the archives. I figured I should be farther
back, but there is a ton of information to digest.
(a computer game designer in Colorado)
The IDEA Center also highly recommends visiting Creation-Evolution Headlines...
the most expansive and clearly written origins news website on the internet!
(endorsement on Intelligent Design and Evolution
Check out this site: www.creationsafaris.com.
This is a fantastic resource for the whole family.... a fantastic reference library with summaries,
commentaries and great links that are added to
dailyarchives go back five years.
(a reader who found us in Georgia)
I just wanted to drop you a note telling you that at www.BornAgainRadio.com,
Ive added a link to your excellent Creation-Evolution news site.
(a radio announcer)
I cannot understand
why anyone would invest so much time and effort to a website of sophistry and casuistry.
Why twist Christian apology into an illogic pretzel to placate your intellect?
Isnt it easier to admit that your faith has no basis -- hence, faith.
It would be extricate [sic] yourself from intellectual dishonesty -- and
from bearing false witness.
Sincerely, Rev. [name withheld] (an ex-Catholic, apostate Christian Natural/Scientific pantheist)
Just wanted to let you folks know that we are consistent readers and truly appreciate
the job you are doing. God bless you all this coming New Year.
(from two prominent creation researchers/writers in Oregon)
Thanks so much for your site! It is brain candy!
(a reader in North Carolina)
I Love your site probably a little too much. I enjoy the commentary
and the links to the original articles.
(a civil engineer in New York)
Ive had your Creation/Evolution Headlines site on my favourites list for
18 months now, and I can truthfully say that its one of the best on the Internet,
and I check in several times a week. The constant stream of new information on
such a variety of science issues should impress anyone, but the rigorous and
humourous way that every thought is taken captive is inspiring. Im pleased
that some Christians, and indeed, some webmasters, are devoting themselves to
producing real content that leaves the reader in a better state than when they found him.
(a community safety manager in England)
I really appreciate the effort that you are making to provide the public with
information about the problems with the General Theory of Evolution. It gives me
ammunition when I discuss evolution in my classroom. I am tired of the evolutionary
dogma. I wish that more people would stand up against such ridiculous beliefs.
(a science teacher in Alabama)
If you choose to hold an opinion that flies in the face of every piece of evidence
collected so far, you cannot be suprised [sic] when people dismiss your views.
(a former Christian software distributor, location not disclosed)
...the Creation Headlines is the best. Visiting your site...
is a standard part of my startup procedures every morning.
(a retired Air Force Chaplain)
I LOVE your site and respect the time and work you put into it. I read
the latest just about EVERY night before bed and send selection[s] out to others and
tell others about it. I thank you very much and keep up the good work (and
(a USF grad in biology)
Answering your invitation for thoughts on your site is not difficult because
of the excellent commentary I find. Because of the breadth and depth of erudition
apparent in the commentaries, I hope Im not being presumptuous in suspecting
the existence of contributions from a Truth Underground comprised of
dissident college faculty, teachers, scientists, and engineers. If thats
not the case, then it is surely a potential only waiting to be realized. Regardless,
I remain in awe of the care taken in decomposing the evolutionary cant that bombards
us from the specialist as well as popular press.
(a mathematician/physicist in Arizona)
Im from Quebec, Canada. I have studied in pure sciences and after in actuarial mathematics.
Im visiting this site 3-4 times in a week. Im learning a lot and this site gives me the opportunity to realize that this is a good time to be a creationist!
(a French Canadian reader)
I LOVE your Creation Safari site, and the Baloney Detector material.
(a reader in the Air Force)
You have a unique position in the Origins community.
Congratulations on the best current affairs news source on the origins net.
You may be able to write fast but your logic is fun to work through.
(a pediatrician in California)
Visit your site almost daily and find it very informative, educational and inspiring.
(a reader in western Canada)
I wish to thank you for the information you extend every day on your site.
It is truly a blessing!
(a reader in North Carolina)
I really appreciate your efforts in posting to this website. I find
it an incredibly useful way to keep up with recent research (I also check science
news daily) and also to research particular topics.
(an IT consultant from Brisbane, Australia)
I would just like to say very good job with the work done here,
very comprehensive. I check your site every day. Its great
to see real science directly on the front lines, toe to toe with the
pseudoscience that's mindlessly spewed from the prestigious
(a biology student in Illinois)
Ive been checking in for a long time but thought Id leave you a
note, this time. Your writing on these complex topics is insightful,
informative with just the right amount of humor. I appreciate the hard
work that goes into monitoring the research from so many sources and then
writing intelligently about them.
(an investment banker in California)
Keep up the great work. You are giving a whole army of Christians
plenty of ammunition to come out of the closet (everyone else has).
Most of us are not scientists, but most of the people we talk to are not
scientists either, just ordinary people who have been fed baloney
for years and years.
(a reader in Arizona)
Keep up the outstanding work!
You guys really ARE making a difference!
(a reader in Texas)
I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say that science is not
hostile towards religion. It is the dogmatically religious that are
unwaveringly hostile towards any kind of science which threatens their
dearly-held precepts. Science (real, open-minded science) is not
interested in theological navel-gazing.
Note: Please supply your name and location when writing in. Anonymous attacks
only make one look foolish and cowardly, and will not normally be printed.
This one was shown to display a bad example.
I appreciate reading your site every day. It is a great way to keep
up on not just the new research being done, but to also keep abreast of the
evolving debate about evolution (Pun intended).... I find it an incredibly useful
way to keep up with recent research (I also check science news daily) and also
to research particular topics.
(an IT consultant in Brisbane, Australia)
I love your website.
(a student at a state university who used CEH when
writing for the campus newsletter)
....when you claim great uncertainty for issues that are fairly
well resolved you damage your already questionable credibility.
Im sure your audience loves your ranting, but if you know as much
about biochemistry, geology, astronomy, and the other fields you
skewer, as you do about ornithology, you are spreading heat, not
(a professor of ornithology at a state university, responding to
the 09/10/2002 headline)
I wanted to let you know I appreciate your headline news style of
exposing the follies of evolutionism.... Your style gives us constant,
up-to-date reminders that over and over again, the Bible creation account
is vindicated and the evolutionary fables are refuted.
(a reader, location unknown)
You have a knack of extracting the gist of a technical paper,
and digesting it into understandable terms.
(a nuclear physicist from Lawrence Livermore Labs who worked
on the Manhattan Project)
After spending MORE time than I really had available going thru
your MANY references I want to let you know how much I appreciate
the effort you have put forth.
The information is properly documented, and coming from
recognized scientific sources is doubly valuable. Your
explanatory comments and sidebar quotations also add GREATLY
to your overall effectiveness as they 1) provide an immediate
interpretive starting point and 2) maintaining the readers
(a reader in Michigan)
I am a huge fan of the site, and check daily for updates.
(reader location and occupation unknown)
I just wanted to take a minute to personally thank-you and let
you know that you guys are providing an invaluable service!
We check your Web site weekly (if not daily) to make sure we have
the latest information in the creation/evolution controversy.
Please know that your diligence and perseverance to teach the
Truth have not gone unnoticed. Keep up the great work!
(a PhD scientist involved in origins research)
You've got a very useful and informative Web site going.
The many readers who visit your site regularly realize that it
requires considerable effort to maintain the quality level and
to keep the reviews current.... I hope you can continue your
excellent Web pages. I have recommended them highly to others.
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)
As an apprentice apologist, I can always find an article
that will spark a spirited debate. Keep em
coming! The Truth will prevail.
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)
Thanks for your web page and work. I try to drop by
at least once a week and read what you have. Im a
Christian that is interested in science (Im a mechanical
engineer) and I find you topics interesting and helpful.
I enjoy your lessons and insights on Baloney Detection.
(a year later):
I read your site 2 to 3 times a week; which Ive probably done for a couple
of years. I enjoy it for the interesting content, the logical arguments, what I can
learn about biology/science, and your pointed commentary.
(a production designer in Kentucky)
I look up CREV headlines every day. It is a wonderful
source of information and encouragement to me.... Your gift of
discerning the fallacies in evolutionists interpretation of
scientific evidence is very helpful and educational for me.
Please keep it up. Your website is the best I know of.
(a Presbyterian minister in New South Wales, Australia)
Ive written to you before, but just wanted to say again
how much I appreciate your site and all the work you put into it.
I check it almost every day and often share the contents
(and web address) with lists on which I participate.
I dont know how you do all that you do, but I am grateful
for your energy and knowledge.
(a prominent creationist author)
I am new to your site, but I love it! Thanks for updating
it with such cool information.
(a home schooler)
I love your site.... Visit every day hoping for another of your
brilliant demolitions of the foolish just-so stories of those
who think themselves wise.
(a reader from Southern California)
I love to read your website and am disappointed when there is
nothing new to read. Thanks for all your hard work.
(a missionary in Japan)
I visit your site daily for the latest news from science journals and other media,
and enjoy your commentary immensely. I consider your web site to be the
most valuable, timely and relevant creation-oriented site on the internet.
(a reader from Ontario, Canada)
Keep up the good work! I thoroughly enjoy your site.
(a reader in Texas)
Thanks for keeping this fantastic web site going. It is very
informative and up-to-date with current news including incisive
(a reader in North Carolina)
Great site! For all the Baloney Detector is impressive and a
great tool in debunking wishful thinking theories.
(a reader in the Netherlands)
Just wanted to let you know, your work is having quite an impact.
For example, major postings on your site are being circulated among the
Intelligent Design members....
(a PhD organic chemist)
opening a can of worms ... I love to click all the related links and
read your comments and the links to other websites, but this usually makes me late
for something else. But its ALWAYS well worth it!!
(a leader of a creation group)
I am a regular visitor to your website ... I am impressed
by the range of scientific disciplines your articles address.
I appreciate your insightful dissection of the often unwarranted conclusions
evolutionists infer from the data... Being a medical
doctor, I particularly relish the technical detail you frequently include in
the discussion living systems and processes. Your website continually
reinforces my conviction that if an unbiased observer seeks a reason for the
existence of life then Intelligent Design will be the unavoidable
(a medical doctor)
A church member asked me what I thought was the best creation web site.
I told him CreationSafaris.com.
(a PhD geologist)
I love your site... I check it every day for interesting
information. It was hard at first to believe in Genesis fully, but
now I feel more confident about the mistakes of humankind and that all
their reasoning amounts to nothing in light of a living God.
(a college grad)
Thank you so much for the interesting science links and comments
on your creation evolution headlines page ... it is very
(a reader from Scottsdale, AZ)
visit your site almost every day, and really enjoy it. Great job!!!
(I also recommend it to many, many students.)
(an educational consultant)
I like what I seevery
much. I really appreciate a decent, calm and scholarly approach to the
whole issue... Thanks ... for this fabulous
It is refreshing to read your comments. You have a knack to get to the heart of
(a reader in the Air Force).
Love your website. It has well thought out structure and will help many
through these complex issues. I especially love the
I believe this is one of the best sites on the Internet.
I really like your side-bar of truisms.
Yogi [Berra] is absolutely correct. If I were a man of wealth, I would
support you financially.
(a registered nurse in Alabama, who found
us on TruthCast.com.)
WOW. Unbelievable.... My question is, do you sleep? ... Im utterly
impressed by your page which represents untold amounts of time and energy
as well as your faith.
(a mountain man in Alaska).
wanted to say that I recently ran across your web site featuring science
headlines and your commentary and find it to be A++++, superb, a 10, a homerun
I run out of superlatives to describe it! ... You can be sure I will
visit your site often daily when possible to gain the latest information
to use in my speaking engagements. Ill also do my part to help publicize
your site among college students. Keep up the good work. Your
material is appreciated and used.
(a college campus minister)
Featured Creation Scientist for May
Leonardo da Vinci
1452 - 1519
Our scientist for May has gotten some undeserved notoriety lately, with the movie
based on Dan Browns egregious fictional novel The Da Vinci Code coming out
this month. Was Leonardo
a member of a secret society that tried to protect an alternative view of Jesus?
Was he a gnostic and feminist? Did he paint Mary Magdalene instead of John in
The Last Supper? Leonardo da Vinci himself would most likely have been appalled
at these suggestions.
Its sad to have to open a biography of a great man by defending him
against character assassination. Fortunately, a cottage industry has sprung
up to debunk the foolish ideas and historical blunders in The Da Vinci Code.
In a moment, some links to some of these, but consider one blunder Brown makes that
undercuts his whole story: the identity of the so-called Priory of Sion. Brown
claims it is a fact that this organization existed in the 11th century;
in actual fact, it was a hoax concocted by Pierre Plantard and Andre Bonhomme in 1956.
In no way, therefore, could Leonardo da Vinci or Isaac Newton or any of the other famous
personages could have been involved with it or its supposed secrets about Jesus.
Although there are some excellent evangelical
Christian books and documentaries responding to The Da Vinci Code, if one prefers secular
sources, there have already been several documentaries on TV, such as on The History Channel,
debunking it; check also this detailed
and a whole website Priori-of-Sion.com dedicated to
exposing its myths. Liberal Bible historian Bart D. Ehrman, no friend of conservative
Christianity (and a man willing to give credence to Gnostic writings), has also written a
Watch for several Christian books and TV programs coming out this
month to correspond with the movie opening, such as
Lee Strobels book and documentary, and others
by Paul Meier, Hank Hanegraaf, D. James Kennedy and others. Dr. James Dobson had a
panel on his Focus on the Family radio program sharing details of the errors in
Dan Browns absurd story. Brown may have written a clever work of fiction,
and the movie may shine like a shooting star briefly, but with the wealth of scholarly,
critical responses out there, no one has any excuse to believe its phony history.
Before getting more into the life of Leonardo, two specific slanders about
him from the book should be dispensed with. One was that he painted Mary Magdalene into The
Last Supper, because the person supposed to be John looks effeminate or androgynous.
This page on Priory-of-Sion.com
compares the work with other art of the Renaissance, showing it was common practice to depict
John as beardless, young and gentle (but certainly a man, not Mary).
There is no basis for the claim Leonardo painted a secret message in the piece.
Browns claim amounts to a slander of one of the worlds greatest artworks,
and takes attention away from its powerful depiction of the Savior, whom Leonardo regarded
with the highest reverence.
Another slander is that Leonardo was a flamboyant homosexual.
Again, this has no basis in history. It is libelous to consider a man homosexual based
on marital status; would all bachelors allow such an implication? Leonardo was an artist
of the first order. He painted all kinds of characters in various situations in
Renaissance styles. He was also a scientist and keen observer of nature; that is why
he studied anatomy so as to present his characters as realistically as possible. He did
not get along with his contemporary Michelangelo, the more likely homosexual. There is
evidence that this myth about Leonardos sexuality was promulgated by Sigmund Freud.
Here is what Jack Meadows says in The Great Scientists:
....both Morelli and Freud took up seemingly marginal clues from which
they could construct a plausible case... Earlier, in 1910, from a single sentence in the notebooks of
Leonardo da Vinci, he [Freud] had suggested that the artist had been over-mothered in
childhood and turned into a homosexual. Unfortunately, in 1923 it was shown
that Freuds analysis turned on a German translators false rendering
of the Italian word for a childs kite as a vulture. Nor were art historians
convinced by Freuds analysis on Michelangelo.
Meadows continues by saying that these studies were very influential even when
based on a mistranslation.
Its easy but unfair to use innuendo against historical heroes who are no longer
present to defend themselves. Lets give Leonardo the benefit of the doubt.
His work should speak for itself.
So who was Leonardo da Vinci? Without dispute, he was one of the greatest
stars of early science, the consummate Renaissance Man, at once a painter and sculptor par
excellence, and also a keen observer, inventor and innovator. He has been called a man
ahead of his time. He produced drawings for flying machines, parachutes, giant
crossbows, battle tanks and other devices, indicating his forward-looking mind and faith in the
power of man to harness the forces of nature. He produced detailed sketches of internal
anatomy based on his own dissections when those about him trusted the work of Galen.
He studied the proportions of the human body, and gave us enduring art treasures like the Mona
Lisa (not, as Brown claims, an androgynous figure, but a painting of a real woman, the
wife of Francesco del Giocondo), the Virgin of the Rocks, The Annunciation,
St. John the Baptist, and The Last Supper.
Many of his works have Biblical themes.
The depth and genuineness of his Christian faith is less easy to ascertain. He was
Catholic in a Catholic stronghold. How much was his artwork a matter of satisfying patrons, or a
matter of the soul? How much did his motivation stem from Christian foundations, compared to
the renewal of Classical ideals characteristic of the Renaissance? Its hard to say,
but one clue from biographer
Vasari describing his work on The Last Supper is instructive:
He also painted in Milan for the friars of S. Domenic, at S. Maria delle Grazie, a Last Supper, a thing
most beautiful and marvelous. He gave to the heads of the apostles great majesty and beauty,
but left that of Christ imperfect, not thinking it possible to give that celestial divinity which is required for the representation of Christ. The work, finished after this sort, has always been held by the
Milanese in the greatest veneration, and by strangers also, because Leonardo imagined, and has
succeeded in expressing, the desire that has entered the minds of the apostles to know who is betraying
their Master. So in the face of each one may be seen love, fear, indignation, or grief at not
being able to understand the meaning of Christ; and this excites no less astonishment than the obstinate
hatred and treachery to be seen in Judas....
Continuing, Vasari has Leonardo explaining his thoughts to the prior of the church:
He added that he still had two heads to do; that of Christ, which he would not seek for in the world,
and which he could not hope that his imagination would be able to conceive of such beauty and celestial
grace as was fit for the incarnate divinity. Besides this, that of Judas was wanting, which he
was considering, not thinking himself capable of imagining a form to express the face of him who after
receiving so many benefits had a soul so evil that he was resolved to betray his Lord and the creator of the world.
This hint shows that Leonardo believed in creation as taught in the Scriptures.
Whether Leonardo was a devout student of theology during his life may be unclear, but Vasari claims it
became more important to him later in life:
At last, having become old, he lay ill for many months, and seeing himself near death, he set himself
to study the holy Christian religion, and though he could not stand, desired to leave his bed with
the help of his friends and servants to receive the Holy Sacrament. Then the king, who used often
and lovingly to visit him, came in, and he, raising himself respectfully to sit up in bed, spoke of his
sickness, and how he had offended God and man by not working at his art as he ought. Then there
came a paroxysm, a forerunner of death, and the king raised him and lifted his head to help him and lessen
the pain, whereupon his spirit, knowing it could have no greater honor, passed away in the kings arms
in the seventy-fifth year of his age.
Since we have not the firm evidence to indicate Leonardo da Vinci was a Biblical
Christian, and the Christian motivation for his achievements is ambiguous, we will not press the point.
It is clear, however, that a Christian world view was no impediment to the work of this inventive
genius, and that he did express clear indications of reverence for Jesus Christ, considering him
to be no less than the Creator of the world.
See also: Answers in Genesis short
article; Notebooks of Leonardo;
Gallery of artworks
If you are enjoying this series, you can
learn more about great Christians in science by reading
our online book-in-progress:
The Worlds Greatest
Creation Scientists from Y1K to Y2K.
Copies are also
available from our online store.
A Concise Guide|
You can observe a lot by just watching.
First Law of Scientific Progress
The advance of science can be measured by the rate at which exceptions to previously held laws accumulate.
1. Exceptions always outnumber rules.
2. There are always exceptions to established exceptions.
3. By the time one masters the exceptions, no one recalls the rules to which they apply.
Nature will tell you a direct lie if she can.
So will Darwinists.
Science is true. Dont be misled by facts.
Finagles 2nd Law
No matter what the anticipated result, there
will always be someone eager to (a) misinterpret it, (b) fake it, or (c)
believe it happened according to his own pet theory.
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.
Murphys Law of Research
Enough research will tend to support your theory.
If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
1. The bigger the theory, the better.
2. The experiments may be considered a success if no more than 50%
of the observed measurements must be discarded to obtain a correspondence
with the theory.
The number of different hypotheses erected to explain a given biological phenomenon
is inversely proportional to the available knowledge.
All great discoveries are made by mistake.
The greater the funding, the longer it takes to make the mistake.
The solution to a problem changes the nature of the problem.
Peters Law of Evolution
Competence always contains the seed of incompetence.
An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.
Repetition does not establish validity.
What really matters is the name you succeed in imposing on the facts not the facts themselves.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
Thumbs Second Postulate
An easily-understood, workable falsehood is more useful than a complex, incomprehensible truth.
There is nothing so small that it cant 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.
The best theory is not ipso facto a good theory.
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
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,
Wisdoms fruitful search pursuing
Till, thy truth my mind imbuing,
I proclaim the eternal Creed
Oft the glorious theme renewing,
God our Lord is God indeed.
James Clerk Maxwell
One of the greatest physicists
of all time (a creationist).
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