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Cells Perform Sporting Interactions
The components of living cells perform such acrobatic moving interactions, one would think
they are having fun. Heres the news from the Wide World of Cellular Sports.
Human researchers seem to be joining in the games. Identifying the sports repertoire inside a cell is like
a treasure hunt.
- Speedway: A news release from
Medicine talks about how motor proteins step on the gas and the brakes in their motions around
the cell. The announcer from the booth calls the action:
Imagine that the daughter microtubule is a short train on the track of the mother microtubule,
explains [Phong] Tran. The molecular motor is the trains engine, but the
problem is that the cargo the molecular brakes gets longer, slowing down the daughter
train. But when the train gets to the end of the track it remains attached to the end of
mother microtubule. At the tail end, it stops moving and that defines the region of overlap. Our
work shows that the cell can make microtubule structures of defined lengths stable by coordinating the
sliding of the motors and the slowing of the brakes.
The press release contains videos of the speedway in action.
- Square Dance: Chromosomes line up in their territories like square dancers on cue,
explained an article in Nature
(1/25).1 They even use their arms: In addition, the structure of the DNA within chromosome
territories is nonrandom, as the chromosome arms are mostly kept apart from each other and gene-rich chromosome
regions are separated from gene-poor regions. This arrangement probably contributes to the structural
organization of the chromosome, and might also help in regulating particular sets of genes in a coordinated manner.
Remarkably, even the territories themselves arranged in particular patterns
within the nucleus,
the article explains. Heres part of the choreography inside the dance hall (i.e., the nucleus):
In lower eukaryotes such as plants and flies chromosomes tend to be polarized, with the ends of the arms
(telomeres) on one side of the cell nucleus and the point at which the two arms meet (the centromere) on the
opposite side. In mammalian cells, however, chromosome arrangement is more complex. Even so, each
chromosome can be assigned a preferential position relative to the nuclear centre, with particular chromosomes
tending to be at the nuclear interior and others at the edge (Fig. 2a). This preferential radial
arrangement also, of course, gives rise to preferred clusters of neighbouring chromosomes.
The players get to socialize, too: Even the two copies of the same chromosome within the same nucleus often occupy distinct positions and have different immediate neighbours. Each chromosome tends to hang out with partners in
the same developmental pathways, though. It seems that the actual position of a gene in the cell nucleus is not essential to its function, the author writes.
So, the interviewer asks, Why have all this organization?
Is it just for fun? It is more likely that positioning contributes to optimizing gene activity.
It also serves the time-honored strategy of networking:
The nonrandom organization of the genome allows functional compartmentalization of the
nuclear space. At the simplest level, active and inactive genome regions can be separated
from each other, possibly to enhance the efficiency of gene expression or repression. Such
compartmentalization might also act in more subtle ways to bring co-regulated genes into physical
proximity to coordinate their activities. For instance, in eukaryotes, the genes encoding
ribosomal RNAs tend to cluster together in an organelle inside the nucleus known as the nucleolus.
In addition, observations made in blood cells suggest that during differentiation co-regulated genes
are recruited to shared regions of gene expression upon activation.
How each partner finds its spot, we dont know. Somehow, they always find their way back:
Chromosomes are physically separated during cell division, but they tend to settle back into
similar relative positions in the daughter cells, and then they remain stable throughout most of the cell cycle.
The author claims this behavior is evolutionarily conserved (i.e., unevolved).
- Baton race: Passing chemical tags without stumbling is described by a paper in Nature2
that opens, Modifier proteins, such as ubiquitin, are passed sequentially between trios of enzymes, like
batons in a relay race. Crystal structures suggest the mechanism of transfer between the first two enzymes.
As the tags get passed from group to group, the players sometimes undergo large shape changes to hold the tag
properly. In one case, for instance, combined conformational changes create a surface to which an
E2 enzyme binds with high affinity. These bends and rotations make the enzymes act like a
conformational switch to turn on the next reaction in the chain, like handing off the baton.
- Capture the Flag: Another paper in Nature3 described how the cell cycle
often depends on reading tags hidden on chromosomes. Describing the intricate process
of this game, even describing the participants as players, a researcher from UC Berkeley calls the action:
Transitions between all cell-cycle phases are controlled by the activation and deactivation of a
series of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs), which control the phosphorylation of other proteins.
Researchers were having a challenge following the flag. Thus, after the origin-recognition complex had been identified, finding the actual targets for S-CDK, the CDK known to promote the switch from G1 to S phase, became a major objective.
- Acrobatics and juggling: A paper in PNAS4 describes the dynamic motions of
one enzyme that uses three metal ions and multiple conformational changes for precise action on its
substrate. It is evident that the trimetal cluster undergoes significant structural reorganization
in the course of the reaction, they wrote. Visualize this circus act as they describe it:
The analysis presented here emphasizes the significant level of
complexity involved in enzymatic catalysis by multinuclear enzymes
even when the underlying chemical transformation is
relatively straightforward. At the same time certain universal
patterns regarding the multiple mechanistic roles of the metal
cofactors emerge. First, the metal ions play a role in generating
the reactive nucleophile. This process involves precise positioning
of a carboxylate ligand to deprotonate an exogenous water
molecule and orient the resulting hydroxide for an in-line attack.
Deprotonation is further facilitated by the combined electrostatic
effect of two zinc ions (Zn1 and Zn2), necessitating a
relatively close distance between them. The second role of the
metals is to accommodate and electrostatically stabilize the
more compact partly associative transition state. Hence, an
overall contraction of the trimetal cluster is observed. Finally, a
metal cofactor (Zn3) is responsible for stabilizing the developing
charge on the leaving group toward the end of the reaction. To
effectively carry out these roles, the active site rearranges
dynamically, a finding, that underscores the crucial importance
of flexibility for the reactive transition.
Since this enzyme is part of the DNA Repair Team, the participants probably dont do it
for applause or to be heroes. To them, its all in a days work.
1Meaburn and Misteli,
445, 379-781 (25 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/445379a.
2Trempe and Endicott, Structural biology: Pass the protein,
445, 375-376 (25 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05564.
3Michael Botchan, Cell biology: A switch for S phase,
445, 272-274 (18 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/445272a.
4Ivanov, Tainer and McCannon, Unraveling the three-metal-ion catalytic mechanism of the
DNA repair enzyme endonuclease IV.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, doi 10.1073/pnas.0603468104, January 30, 2007, 104:5, pp. 1465-1470.
We used to think of chemistry as bonding of outer electrons
in orbitals as molecules bounce against each other at random. Biochemistry has shown much of the
action in cells to be mechanical in nature, with parts acting like machines, dancers and acrobats.
Its hard not to view this new living chemistry as a series of sporting events
by highly skilled players. Be sure to cheer for your home team.
Cell Quality Control Runs a Tight Ship
Next headline on:
Without the surveillance and rapid response of quality control, cells would collapse and
die. Here are some recently-published examples of nanoheroes in action.
- Plant checkpoints: Picture a child watching the wonder of a seedling breaking
through the soil into the light for the first time. Within hours, the ghostly-white stem turns green, and
a day later, leaves begin to appear. Does he or she have any idea what is going on at a
scale too small to see? Not until that kid grows into a modern lab scientist with sophisticated
equipment. The transformation requires the coordinated transportation of key elements
through specialized checkpoints, an international team reported in PNAS.1
Without boring the reader with technical terms, what basically happens is this.
The underground seedling contains pre-chloroplast parts in readiness for the arrival into sunlight,
but saves its energy by not allowing the light-gathering factories to assemble until its time.
Chloroplasts need to import a large number of proteins from the cytosol because
most are encoded in the nucleus, they reported. Once there, they have
a double membrane to get through. Specialized gates permit entry of the authenticated parts.
One particular light-sensitive part has its own unique gate. The team decided to see what happened when they
mutated one gene in the process. The results were not pretty: the light-sensitive molecules accumulated
outside the plastid because they couldnt get into the factory. After a dark-to-light shift, this
pigment operated as photosensitizer and caused rapid bleaching and cell death, they found. Our
results underscore the essential role of the substrate-dependent import pathway that this protein depends on.
Maybe this error resembles a chemical spill outside a pharmaceutical plant, or pistons firing before
they get into the engine.
- Now hear this: In a surprise finding that might provide hope for the deaf, scientists
publishing in PNAS reported that Restoration of connexin26 protein level in the
cochlea completely rescues hearing in a mouse model of human connexin30-linked deafness.2
Two protein partners are needed for healthy hair-cell formation in the cochlea of the inner ear.
Mutations in one of them, connexin26, account for about half of all cases of inherited human deafness.
Usually, connexin26 and connexin30 join together to form gap junctions, but if one is mutated, deafness
results. The gap junctions are essential for cell-to-cell communication.
Surprisingly, connexin26 (Cx26) appears able to bridge the gap when connexin30 (Cx30) is missing; therefore,
up-regulation of Cx26 or slowing down its protein degradation might be a therapeutic strategy to
prevent and treat deafness caused by Cx30 mutations.
The scientists suspected that these two isoforms of connexins regulate each other.
They also noted that this partnering occurs in the lens of the eye. Losing one by mutation, therefore,
affects the regulation of the partner. On a hunch that one of the isoforms
could compensate for the loss of the other if allowed to assemble, and could build functional
gap junctions on its own, they tried up-regulating the remaining connexin. To their surprise,
hearing was completely restored in mice.
- Bad translator triggers SOS: Weve talked about the DNA translation team a number of
times (e.g., 12/28/2006,
04/29/2003). The team of 20 aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, as they are called, have
rigid requirements. Mistranslation in bacterial and mammalian cells leads to production of
statistical proteins that are, in turn, associated with specific cell or animal pathologies, including
death of bacterial cells, apoptosis of mammalian cells in culture, and neurodegeneration in the mouse,
said Bacher and Schimmel in PNAS.3 A major source of mistranslation comes from
heritable defects in the editing activities of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases. This is because the
protein machines, which snap the right amino acid onto the appropriate transfer-RNA (tRNA), cannot perform
their vital role in protein synthesis if broken.
These researchers suspected that broken synthetases could also cause mutations. They
decided to test what happens when they caused an editing defect in one of them. (These
enzymes are usually able to proofread their own errors with a high degree of accuracy.) The result,
again, was not pretty: A striking, statistically significant, enhancement of the mutation rate in
aging bacteria was found. The bug was like flipping a fire alarm: This enhancement comes
from an increase in error-prone DNA repair through
induction of the bacterial SOS response, they explained. Thus, mistranslation, as
caused by an editing-defective tRNA synthetase, can lead to heritable genetic changes that could,
in principle, be linked to disease.
Another press release from Ohio
State also discussed the neurological disease that can result from mistranslated proteins caused
by mutated aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases.
1Pollman et al, A plant porphyria related to defects in plastid import of
protochlorophyllide oxidoreductase A,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, 10.1073/pnas.0610934104, published online before print January 29, 2007.
2Ahmad et al, Restoration of connexin26 protein level in the cochlea completely rescues hearing in a mouse model of human connexin30-linked deafness,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, 10.1073/pnas.0606855104, published online before print January 16, 2007.
3Jamie M. Bacher and Paul Schimmel, An editing-defective aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase is mutagenic
in aging bacteria via the SOS response,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, 10.1073/pnas.0610835104, published online before print January 30, 2007.
Dear Darwinist, does this increase your faith that random
accidents in working systems are going to make things better? Is this a better way to
build a plant, an ear, or a translation system? If you think
terrorism is the best way to build a civilization, reread the
Earths ugly sister cant get a date, from 08/16/2004.
Next headline on:
The Space Race: Just Staying Alive
Ad astra! the sci-fi slogan announces with eternal optimism: To the stars!
Medical doctors and astrobiologists are not sure you would want to stay there long, though.
Some recent findings give a dismal picture of the prospects for life human or bacterial at
least in our solar system, if that can be assumed a plausible random sample of the universe.
Scientist Space announced that future moon astronauts may be in grave danger from solar X-rays.
These come without warning preceding a solar flare. Without a 21-kg shield 3 square meters in area,
an astronaut roving around on the surface could be killed by lethal doses of X-rays before he even knew
what was happening.
depressing news that life on Mars is unlikely to be found. The reason? Cosmic radiation levels
would likely sterilize the first few meters down. While this article and one on
EurekAlert envision deep
aquifers providing a safe haven for life, they both admit that current and planned
missions are unlikely to get to such levels. Earths bacteria protect against DNA damage with elaborate repair
mechanisms. These would be unlikely to work, however, in the permafrost of Mars, where life would come near a
standstill. The radiation would not stop for days off by the repair crew. Tests of Martian radiation
levels on Earth organisms under various conditions were not encouraging. Even if a colony could live
for a few million years, the cumulative effects of constant radiation would eventually take their toll.
And thats under present conditions. Obviously surviving
is easier than emerging in the first place. Is anyone going to believe for a moment that the
first primitive Martian organism evolved with genetic quality control and repair right off the bat?
Its sad to have to puncture so many dreams of sci-fi writers and early advocates of space flight, bit
reality must be faced. Life underground in perpetual darkness is probably not what the dreamers
had in mind.
Dating a Star is Glamorous Only in Theory
These discoveries are having an unexpected benefit, though. They are
generating thankfulness for all we have down here.
As the old hymn expresses,
I sing the goodness of the Lord, who filled the earth with food /
Who formed the creatures through the Word, and then pronounced them good. /
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, where'er I turn my eye /
If I survey the ground I tread, or gaze upon the sky. // Theres not a bird or flow'r below but makes Thy glories known /
and storms arise and tempests blow by orders from Thy throne, / While all who borrow life from Thee are
ever in Thy care / And everywhere that man may be, Thou God art present there.
This calls for
an encore! A little Beethoven, perhaps?
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love; /
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above. /
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away; /
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day! //
All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays, /
Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise. /
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea, /
Singing bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.
The moon and Mars are interesting and worth exploring, but theres no comparison.
Rejoice and give thanks today on Gods green Earth, the best real estate in the world!
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
Hollywood stars may be fickle, but so are great balls of fire in outer space when it comes
to understanding them. Some recent examples:
This model only works, of course, if the pants are kicked at the correct angle.
- Taking the pulse: The Chandra
X-ray Observatory wrote a glowing report about a textbook supernova, which is a nice pairing of
observation and theory. It added this caveat, though, about dating stars:
By combining X-ray and radio observations, astronomers have evidence that G11.2-0.3 is likely the result of the explosive death of such a massive star, perhaps witnessed in 386 A.D. Radio observations measure the remnants expansion rate, which, in turn, can be used to calculate how long ago the star exploded. The radio data is consistent with association of the supernova remnant with the guest star reported by Chinese astronomers nearly 2,000 years ago. Chandras ability to pinpoint the pulsar at nearly the very center of G11.2-0.3 also supports the idea that this debris field could have been created around the time of the Chinese observations. Surprisingly, the age of the pulsar determined from the X-ray and radio data differs from the standard pulsar age estimate, usually determined from how fast it is spinning. In this case, the so-called spin parameters suggest the G11.2-0.3 is 10 times older than the remnant age. This argues strongly that young pulsar spin ages can be very misleading and should be considered with caution.
Previously, pulsar ages determined from spindown rates were thought to be well constrained.
- Standard (flickering) candles: An article on
EurekAlert described another
supernova remnant observed by Chandra. The goal was to determine if Keplers supernova, observed
by Johannes Kepler 400 years ago, was the Type Ia variety.
Astronomers have studied Kepler intensively over the past three decades with radio, optical and X-ray telescopes,
the article states, but its origin has remained a puzzle. In theory, the white
dwarf companion of a neutron star pulls in iron-rich material that produces a Type Ia. But the material
in the surrounding nebula is rich in nitrogen, more characteristic of a Type II. To explain the unusual
mix, the astronomers speculate that this event was a rare prompt Type Ia explosion that took place
in a young progenitor (100 million years, not several billion).
Why is it important to tease out the
oddballs among Type Ia supernovas? The ramifications are simply astronomical. This information
is essential to improve the reliability of the use of Type Ia stars as standard candles for
cosmological studies of dark energy as well as to understand their role as the source of most of
the iron in the universe.
All the hubbub over the last decade about an accelerating universe of
73% dark energy depends, in large measure, on distance measurements made using Type Ia supernovas.
This case shows that not all members of the type are cooperative.
- Anorexic black hole: The black hole at the center of our Milky Way had a snack
recently, reported Space.com.
Maybe it was a Mars bar or Starburst. Anyway, Ker Than wrote that for a supermassive black hole in a
galaxys core, ours doesnt eat much. Why our black hole is so dim is not entirely understood,
he said. Quoting an astronomer, The huge appetite is there, but its not being satisfied.
- Supernova blasts theory: Supernova 1987A was caught in the act 20 years ago. Finally,
astronomers had a fairly nearby supernova to watch develop with modern telescopes. And watch they did, with shock
A press release from UC Berkeley
contained some interesting glimpses into astronomer reactions to uncooperative data. SN1987A
provided important tests for theories of how stars die, but it also raised some new questions,
the article begins. In theory, blue supergiants become red supergiants before exploding. Three
analogues to 1987A, however, never went through such a phase. Also, the rings are supposed to form after
the explosion, not before. Why are similar rings found around some stars that havent exploded yet?
The article confesses, This makes a pretty solid case,
for what? for confirmation of a theory? No: that we should rethink models for how the rings around SN1987A
were formed. Nathan Smith remarked that this would be a bit of a shock to what? to the
interior of a star? No; to our understanding of stellar evolution. In addition,
the triple-ring nebula formed around SN1987A has been difficult to understand. Astronomers
are modeling a complex interaction between two cannibalizing stars and a supergiant to fit the data. Other problems
between theory and observation are noted in the article.
- Faux pas de trois: A rare triple-quasar system was described in
Science (Jan 27, p. 454).
How could this form? Dr. Frederic Rasio [Northwestern U] believes he has the program notes.
At a recent meeting of the American Astronomical Society, he told a story of colliding galaxies, their central black holes
waltzing happily till a third galaxy collided and its black hole intervened, leading to a violent reaction.
The three then split apart at up to tens of thousands of kilometers per second. Testing this
partner-swapping dance theory, however, might take some time. The black holes are only in
Act 1. The peroration of the denouement, when all is understood, wont happen for 100 million years.
One critic said,
The process that Dr. Rasio has modeled is very, very far in the future,
said astronomer Virginia Trimble of the University of California, Irvine. So in some sense,
the prediction has been verified by the observation, and the observation has
been explained by the theory.
Writer Tom Siegried seems to have sensed a non-sequitur here.
How can something be considered verified in the present if the verification data lies in the future?
100 million years is a long time to wait to see whether the future
behavior of the triplet really matches the theoretical forecast, he remarked.
Rasio obviously will not be concerned about defending his story then.
- Midlife crisis: Two old interacting galaxies are producing stars like newlyweds,
reported East Tennessee State
University. The Arp 82 pair looks middle-aged, the article states, but apparently never got
reproductively active till now. The puzzle is: why didnt Arp 82 form many stars earlier,
like most galaxies of that mass range? Scientifically, it is an oddball and provides a relatively
nearby lab for studying the age of intermediate-mass galaxies. They call this a case of
arrested development, that needed a kick-in-the-pants to get the stars forming
Its kind of sadistic watching astronomers try to fit their observations
to their theories. Science operates only by the constant interplay of modeling and
observing. Astronomy wouldnt be fun if all the ideas were locked up.
Its important to remember, though, as these examples illustrate, that one must always
be prepared to shed assumptions and chuck theories in the light of new evidence. The one
needing a kick-in-the-pants is the cocky astronomer.
Article: Jonathan Wells wrote about cellular zip codes on
(see 01/13/2007 entry). The problem for Darwinians,
he asserts, is much greater than reported here or in the original paper.
Next headline on:
Squid Eye Beats Zeiss
A squid whose scientific name means vampire from hell wears specs with excellent specs
(thats lenses with excellent specifications, for the pun-challenged).
Elisabeth Pennisi in Science reported on a talk given at an Arizona science conference about the vampire
squid, whose lenses are designed for seeing details, even in virtual darkness.
Researchers studying cephalopod eyes found interesting optical features in the eyes of this species.
Seeing clearly underwater requires a special spherical lens with a high refractive index
in the center but a lower index toward the edge, explained Pennisi. In the
vampire squid, This gradation is achieved with progressively lower concentrations,
from the lenss center outward, of proteins called crystallins.
How well does this design work? Pennisi ends,
After her study, [Alison] Sweeney [Duke U] is deeply impressed by cephalopod vision.
Indeed, she noted, the shipboard tests showed that the vampire squids lens, which appeared
early in the evolutionary history of cephalopods, has a visual acuity better than in a
state-of-the-art Zeiss dissecting microscope.
Pennisi explained, For a lens to be transparent, crystallins must stay folded and evenly
dispersed to create a glassy state. A developmental biologist was quoted as remarking,
Its amazing how finely tuned the squid lens is to do its job.
For more on crystallins and how they achieve transparency, see the
08/28/2003 entry. For another example of a finely-tuned
visual system in the marine environment, read about the box jellyfish eye (05/13/2005).
1Elisabeth Pennisi, News Focus
SOCIETY FOR INTEGRATIVE AND COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY MEETING:
Loopy Lens Proteins Provide Squid With Excellent Eyesight,
26 January 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5811, p. 456, DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5811.456a.
Its sad that this article was suffused with evolutionary
storytelling. The biologists told a fable about how the crystallins became optimized after some
ancient gene duplication event, and that the old crystallins were on the periphery,
and the new ones in the center of the lens. Moreover, this lucky accident that
produced a lens superior to Carl Zeiss specifications happened multiple times in different lineages!
The fability (01/16/2007 commentary) of Darwinians is fabulous.
History Anecdote: Was Alfred Russell Wallace jealous of Charles Darwin for taking
most of the praise for the theory of natural selection? Apparently not;
Science last week
(Random Samples) found a quote on a new
exhibit on the British Natural History Museum website where he confessed to a friend that he was
thankful that it has not been left to me to give the theory to the public.
Pray for poor Elisabeth. She comes up with some of the most amazing examples of
design in her reports for Science (e.g., next entry) but always has to tow the Darwin Party line.
Such mandatory myopia must be causing a splitting headache. Suggested therapy: take the blinders off.
Next headline on:
Muscles Use Gears, Automatic Transmission
Analogies may not be perfect representations of reality,
but it must pique the interest of all of us the way Elisabeth Pennisi in Science1
compared muscle to cars and bicycles:
One look at a ballerina as she pirouettes and poses drives home the remarkable ability of our muscles to adapt to diverse biomechanical demands. Manny Azizi and Thomas Roberts, biomechanists at Brown University, have now found that as certain muscles contract, they vary their shape to balance the need for speed and force. Its as if these muscles have a builtin automatic transmission, says Azizi....
Imagine--your muscles are like a bicycle with automatic transmission. The gearbox of muscle surprised the
researchers. A single muscle undergoes not one shape change but a range of different shape changes
under different circumstances, Azizi found. While pinnate muscles can rotate under light loads,
they are prevented from rotation under heavy loads by the pull on the fibers. Thus, although pinnate
muscles are supposedly specialized for force, under light demand, they can also work fast,
A colleague admired this study assessing muscle architecture with relation to function.
[Azizis] simulations showed that certain muscle shapes caused contracting pinnate fibers to shift to a less steep angle. When that happens, the muscles overall height decreases more than it would have had the fibers maintained their angle. In other words, the virtual muscle shifted into the equivalent of a high gear ratio, increasing the speed of contraction....
Azizi then looked at whether real muscles acted this way. He had expected that each pinnate muscle would have just one gear ratio, that is, undergo a characteristic shape change, and therefore be strong or contract fast but not have both features.... [they found] the muscle operated at a lower gear and took full advantage of the dense packing of pinnate fibers....
Just as one changes gears on a bicycle to crawl up an ever-steeper hill, the direction of change in the muscle gears matches the mechanical demands of contraction, Azizi said. Moreover, the muscles shifting of gears required no nervous system input, occurring automatically depending on the load applied.
1Elisabeth Pennisi, News Focus: SOCIETY FOR INTEGRATIVE AND COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY MEETING:
Muscle Fibers Shift Into High Gear,
26 January 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5811, p. 456, DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5811.456b.
Need we say? There was no mention of evolution in this article.
Picture some examples of human muscle in action: the ballerina on tiptoes, a skater doing a triple lutz, the contestant in
the Worlds Strongest Man Competition hoisting a car, the concert pianist pounding a fortissimo
section of a Rachmaninoff concerto, a gymnast doing an iron cross on the rings, a sprinter doing the high
hurdles, a Chinese contortionist balancing water-filled glasses all over her body while lifting herself
by a mouth grip or just you, reaching on tiptoe for an item in the top cupboard. Did anyone
score you a 10 for that? Youre amazing. You knew that, of course. But the right
response should be, Shucks, Im just enjoying the gifts I got for my
Darwin is the best teacher of Darwinism, from 11/21/2003.
Next headline on:
Cell Membrane Has Ticket-Operated Turnstiles
Cells are like castles surrounded by walls. A wall without gates, however, would prevent
commerce and trap the inhabitants inside. The cell has ingenious gates that control the flow of
goods and services through its outer membrane
under tight surveillance and quality control. This controlled flow, as opposed to passive diffusion or osmosis, is termed
active transport. Depending on the type of import or export required, the cell uses a variety of
mechanisms. It might wrap the cargo in clathrin proteins and send it through in a self-mending breach of the walls
11/04/2005, bullet 7).
It might use one of the specialized authenticating channels through the membrane
(e.g., aquaporins 04/18/2002
and ion channels, 05/29/2002).
It might export genetic material or proteins through one of the pumps, or secretion
systems (10/11/2005, 11/10/2004).
Or, it might check cargo through one of the varieties of self-operating ticketed turnstiles.
A description of one of these gates excited awe in a commentary in PNAS.1
Robert M. Stroud summarized decades of work on a kind of lactose turnstile. Key researchers published their latest results
in the current issue of the journal. They believe they have finally figured out how this molecule-sized
machine works. It is a protein, 417 amino acids long, folded into a kind of rocking door in
the membrane. For a lactose passenger to get through the membrane using this transporter, it has to pay the fare:
a proton ticket must first be inserted into the active site. Then, the lactose molecule gets in and fastens its seat belt,
so to speak, for the short but wild ride. The nanomachine undergoes a conformational change that seals off the outside and
opens the door to the inside, where the passengers undock. Then, the gate automatically repositions itself for
the next load. Called LacY, or lactose permease, this molecular machine operates with practically 100%
efficiency: each proton ticket grants admittance to one and only one lactose passenger.
LacY is one of a whole family of gates called the
Major Facilitator Superfamily (MFS).2 The mechanism most probably pertains
to the many other transporters of the MFS that are found throughout all
domains of life, Stroud says. Another member of this family, for instance, is
called GlpT. This machine works with a reverse-ticketing process; a phosphate outside the cell is
exchanged for a glycerol phosphate inside.
Stroud was palpably delighted with the elucidation of the mechanism of these intriguing nanomachines
after so much research by so many scientists for so many years. Heres what he said about the LacY device:
The MFS of transporters can be run in reverse, such that outward movement of lactose, driven by reverse
concentration gradient, can generate an H+ gradient across the membrane; LacY can work in either direction toward
a coupled equilibrium. It is a beautiful example of energy transduction
at the level of the membrane and is a near-perfect machine in the sense that
the stoichiometry3 is always 1:1 without any leakage.
Leakage would allow contraband through. Experimental inventory shows all goods
accounted for, before and after. The protein undergoes large global conformational changes to
transport the cargo that are reversible, providing oscillation between structural states
that become accessible alternately to one side or the other, which can therefore be coupled
to other sources of energy.
Understanding how these machines work could lead to treatments
for diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and lactose malabsorption, caused by malfunction of the gates.
In addition, medical researchers may discover novel ways to co-opt the gates for special delivery of antibiotics
and chemotherapeutic drugs.
1Robert M. Stroud, Transmembrane transporters: An open and closed case,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, 10.1073/pnas.0610349104, published online before print January 24, 2007.
2Another superfamily of transporters, the
ATP Binding Cassette (ABC) family, is driven by ATP hydrolysis inside the cell.
2Stoichiometry refers to the ratios of combining elements in a chemical reaction,
from the Greek stoichea, basic principles, as used in
Wonderful, amazing, mind-boggling discoveries come from the
investigation of design in nature. Stroud said nothing about how these machines arose
by evolution; indeed, he said these mechanisms are found throughout all domains of life.
Moreover, this particular 100%-efficient machine is made up of 417 amino acids. Our
online book calculates the probability for a 400-amino-acid protein
arising by chance as one in 10161. This unfathomably low probability rules
out its formation by any lucky accident in trillions upon
trillions of universes (ch. 7).
Moon Origins Not Set in Stone
The LacY protein machine cannot tolerate much error, either.
One primary method the scientists use to learn about them is by replacing amino acids with the
wrong ones, and watching how the machines break.
From the top of the giraffe to the lowly crocus, molecular machines
transduce life within a physical medium. This is no hocus, folkus.
This is intelligent design coming into focus at the locus of mind and matter,
at the intersection of faith and reason. Let the NCSE run for cover, wailing,
Cloak us from the face of ID, for the facts emerging from biophysics
provoke us to shame and despair. Rejoice, O science, as the lens of
molecular biology leads to a refocus on intelligent design.
Next headline on:
The leading theory for the origin of the moon has been for some time now that a massive
object hit the Earth, and the debris formed the moon.
Scientist reported one astronomer who doesnt buy it.
The collision has to be implausibly gentle, said Peter Noerdlinger to the American
Astronomical Society. You practically need someone to hold a Mars-sized object
just above Earth and drop it, to avoid messing up Earths orbit.
His theory returns to the old idea that the Earth and the moon both formed
from a primordial nebula. He adds a twist that the moon was ripped apart by a
close encounter with the Earth, then re-formed without its iron core. The iron
was redeposited as a layer on the early Earth. This fits with evidence that the Earth
acquired a veneer of iron after it formed, Noerdlinger says.
Its premature to say whether Noerdlingers ideas
will become accepted. Whats notable at this time is that the accepted theory has
problems, and that his theory seems even more ad hoc.
The Lutheran allies of Copernicus, from 04/30/2004.
Positing an unknown body to come in just at the right time and velocity to make
two bodies from one seems a tremendously lucky accident. The glancing-impact theory was a
post-Apollo invention to overcome big objections to the three other hypotheses: the primordial
nebula hypothesis, the spin-off hypothesis, and the impact hypothesis. Now, at least one astronomer
feels the consensus theory is also too improbable. But is his any better? He has to
envision a close encounter with just the right conditions to break up the moon and make the
Earth steal its iron.
If nothing else, this article shows that people living today who werent
there and dont know everything have a hard time putting the pieces together.
Theres always a way out for them: believing in miraculous luck. At least his
miracle led to iron for the hemoglobin in his brain, and iron for the sword that defined human history.
Next headline on:
Robot Legs Cant Keep Up With Animals
Robot designers are envious of animals. Insects, crabs and lizards leave them in the
dust. Alison Abbott in Nature (Jan 18) described the latest attempts
to get the bugs out of insect-imitating biological robots.1
Programming a robot to think like an insect is tough, the subtitle reads,
but it could help breed machines as manoeuvrable as flies.
Which animals are robot designers looking at?
Lest you envy the foot feats of lowly insects and crabs and lizards, you have some pretty remarkable legs yourself.
Lucy Odling-Smee in Nature (Jan 19) discussed a mathematical model developed by Herman Pontzer
(Washington State U of St. Louis) that measures an animals leg length, body weight and other
physical factors to determine the efficiency of walking and running. Although Odling-Smee and Pontzer
both assumed humans developed long legs by an evolutionary history, they agreed the proportions in the
modern human transportation system are good at saving energy.
Abbott described a German robot named Tarry II with six legs that creaks with every step.
Building legs, though, is the easy part. The legs need to be programmed to work. Tarry IIs designer
is envious of the software in a fly: Although our encounters with flies often leave an
impression of aimless and irritating meandering, Abbott writes, these tiny
creatures decisions are just as purposeful as those of other animals.
A fly scans its environment with eyes and antennae, processes this information
in its brain and then makes a decision, perhaps to turn away from potential danger
or hurry towards food.
Much of the information processing in an insect
occurs outside the brain. Circuits of nerves in the flys nerve chord direct some of
the movements. This can be seen when a fly is decapitated and a neurotransmitter is applied
onto the chord: then it will start to walk around like well, like a headless chicken.
A headless fly can even be stimulated to groom eyes that are no longer there. This kind of distributed processing
has not escaped the notice of robot designers. These basic movement programmes are well studied
and have been transferred to robots like the predecessor to Tarry II, which has been walking
with the confident coordination of a decapitated stick insect for more than a decade.
The cleverer stuff like decision making and coordinated movement, of course, requires a brain.
Designers are also observing how insects use stereo vision and parallax to sight their targets, and
how they vary step size and walking rate to achieve optimum energy efficiency.
- Cockroaches: If only the Mars rovers had been more like cockroaches,
sigh insect biologists, they might have been able to extricate themselves from the sand dunes
and rocks on which they have occasionally come a cropper and had to be carefully steered to
safety by their human controllers, Abbott writes. Roland Strauss, builder of Tarry II,
said, We are very happy if what we learn from nature can be put to use to make better robots.
Cockroach brains are about 50 times bigger than fly brains. Using brain damage experiments,
designers learn how the cockroach software works to encounter obstacles. Its a challenge
to detect an obstacle, decide whether it needs to be avoided, and decide which way to turn.
Insect biologists are eager to model ever more intricate types of insect behaviour in their
robots, such as walking uphill or climbing, Abbott writes. ....But until these
robots can be programmed with more sophisticated and autonomous software
precisely the directions that biologists are extracting from insects brains they cannot
pass for true robotic insects. Autonomous control is a highly-sought-after skill being
watched by NASA, the European Space Agency and other groups into robotics. Thats why
they are watching these experimental labs with great interest. Just a few of an insects
effortless navigational skills would be a boon for many of todays applied robots, which
can negotiate obstacles only via human intervention and remote control. Abbott envisioned
insect lookalikes someday navigating the moon or confidently striding the canyons of Mars.
On Earth, too, we can all benefit from these studies. The military will be able to perform safer surveillance.
Victims of natural disasters might some day be met by friendly search-and-rescue robots with a marked
resemblance to spiders or cockroaches.
- Crab Legs: When robots have mastered insect navigation, they might be ready for the
big time. Its hard enough to walk on a hard surface. Sand provides a new challenge:
the foot slips with every step. The ghost crab, however, is king of the sand hill. Elisabeth
Pennisi writes in Science (Jan 19),2 With legs that are a blur to the naked eye, Ocypode quadrata
scoots up to 2 meters per second on hard-packed sand the Olympic champion of sand locomotion,
at least when it is firm.
- Leapin Lizards: But soften up the sand a bit, Pennisi continues,
and the gold medal instead goes to the zebra-tailed lizard, an animal that spends little time on
the grainy material. It clocked 1.5 meters per second on soft sand that slows the ghost crab to a gecko-like
Daniel Goldman and a team from the Georgia Institute of Technology
built an artificial sand track to learn from the abilities of animals having to negotiate a variety
of surfaces in the wild: mud, gravel, sand, and debris-covered surfaces. The zebra-tailed lizard
has long, gangly toes that spread out when hitting the sand and curl up with lifting the foot.
Robot designers want to invent machines that can navigate all kinds of surfaces. Thats why
they study the animal experts for clues.
1Alison Abbott, Biological robotics: Working out the bugs,
445, 250-253 (18 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/445250a.
2Elisabeth Pennisi, Crabs Downfall Reveals a Hole in Biomechanics Studies,
19 January 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5810, p. 325, DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5810.325.
Evolution has nothing to do with it; these stories are about
design through and through. We can observe design, we can study it, and we can imitate it.
When we do, science progresses and leads to wonderful inventions that improve our lives and extend
Your Body Knows Its Allies at Gut Level
Go to the ant, thou sluggard evolutionist; consider her ways, and be wise. When youve
learned those ways, go to the fly, the cockroach, the crab, the lizard, and all the other examples
of optimized hardware and software in the living world. Catch up to the design-theoretic
scientists who are way ahead of you.
Next headline on:
How come your body doesnt fight its good bacteria? It sounds like a question only
a scientist or a kid would ask, but think about it. Your body jumps to arms to fight off
pathogens, but lets millions of bacteria live in the intestines. These bacteria help you
digest your food, but are not you. What is it that keeps these invaders
from alerting the cops? Do they carry a green card or something? Sort of; their
Margaret McFall-Ngai discussed this concept in a Nature essay Jan. 111
(see also EurekAlert Jan. 9).
It was known that the pancreas has dendritic cells that put the immune system at ease by placing antigens
of friendly allies on cell surfaces. A similar but different signalling mechanism is at work in
the intestine. Stromal cells from lymph nodes train the immune systems police, the T cells,
to tolerate the intruders as good guys. The EurekAlert article ends with this quote from
Shannon Turley, co-author of a study in Nature Immunology:
Our study points to a previously unknown mechanism of immune system tolerance, Turley explains.
When you think of the conditions in the small intestine, with so many millions of bacteria cells and so much
opportunity for dendritic cells to stimulate an immune attack, its remarkable that intestinal
tissue is so rarely the target of an immune attack. Our findings demonstrate that the immune
system has features that remain to be discovered.
1Margaret McFall-Ngai, Adaptive Immunity: Care for the community,
445, 153 (11 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/445153a.
When you say grace for a meal, you can now mean it from
the gut. In the ancient near east, the bowels were considered the seat of the emotions.
Talk to your stromal cells, T cells and bacterial allies like Paul did to
Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the
Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord. (Works best when you send down regular donations
of healthy provisions.)
SETI Head Discusses Criteria for Failure
Next headline on:
When does the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project decide enough is enough,
and close up shop? Seth Shostak, director of the SETI Institute, took up that question on
He thinks people should realize that this is a much bolder expedition than the classic voyages
of discovery by James Cook and Ferdinand Magellan. He likens it more to the multigenerational
projects of the medieval cathedrals. When will it be completed? not in my lifetime,
nor in that of my children or grandchildren.
Still, a cathedral project had a blueprint and an expectation of completion.
Shostak gave the following indications that some day it could become appropriate to at least
think about throwing in the towel.
He hastened to add that none of these has caused him to break out the worry beads at
least yet. He claims the elements of the
Drake Equation have become more encouraging with
time. The more we learn about the universe, the more it seems disposed to house worlds
with life, he claims. It didnt have to be that way.
- The search technology is picking up speed, so by mid-century it would be difficult to
continue arguing that SETI is still in its early stages.
- If missions searching for earth-like
planets fail, That would be a premium-grade bummer.
- If expeditions to Mars and Europa fail to turn up evidence that these bodies ever produced
a microbe, then that would certainly put me on the defensive.
Even so, continued failure might not mean nobody is out there. It might just
mean the search strategy is wrong (06/30/2006).
New discoveries in physics may unveil methods much more
cost-effective, he explains. This doesnt seem likely, but science is all about surprises.
His final inspirational thought for the week says more about philosophy,
anthropology and character than science:
Indeed, my personal feeling is that if SETI hasnt turned up something by the
second half of this century, we should reconsider our search strategy, rather than assume
that weve failed because there is nothingor no oneto find. Would I ever
conclude that weve searched enough? Would I ever truly give up on SETIs
bedrock premise, and tell myself that the extraterrestrials simply arent out there?
Not likely. That would be to assume that weve learned all there is
to know about our universe, a stance that is contrary to the spirit of explorers and scientists
alike. We might yearn, or even need to believe that we are special,
but to conclude that Homo sapiens is the best the cosmos has to offer is egregious
In short, dont expect the SETI Institute to close up shop any time soon.
See also the 07/25/2006 entry.
You have to hand it to Seth Shostak for at least trying to tackle the biggest
criticisms of his craft head on. We had raised the objections here that SETI had no criteria for
04/17/2006). It still doesnt, despite his hints
that some eventualities might be discouraging but at least he talked about it. As long as he
wants to spend Paul Allens millions, it doesnt hurt anything to look.
It might even keep them busy so they dont cause political trouble.
Tiny Fish Smell for Miles
be the latest incarnation of Percival Lowell. That committed advocate of life on Mars
squinted through his telescope at the red planet for decades looking for the fabled canals with nothing but faith
in flawed assumptions to keep him going. His failure bequeathed to us
the Lowell Observatory, where some legit science (like finding Pluto) has been done.
Its also a nice place to visit when passing through Flagstaff on the way to Grand Canyon
or Meteor Crater. Someday a docent may tell students at the Allen Telescope Array,
Here, children, is where people who used to believe in ET tried for 50 years to detect
signals from other civilizations (sounds of giggling from the group). Now
astronomers use it for mapping the cyanogen distribution among Seyfert galaxies.
What weve said before about SETI still holds: it is not a science till
it has a subject (06/03/2006). Using scientific equipment no more validates SETI as science than
using mortars and pestles validated alchemy. Moreover, it is held to with religious zeal
(notice Shostaks appeals to courageous faith in the face of their daunting lack of evidence).
Paradoxically, most SETI proponents are evolutionists
despite using intelligent-design
principles in the expectation of being able to separate natural from intelligent causes
But unlike the intelligent design movement, which has an observable message already in the
bag (DNA and molecular machines), SETI has nothing at this point but faith. It is, therefore,
indistinguishable from a secular religion (01/04/2007).
They can build their cathedrals if they want
to on their own time and dime. Try to force it on students in textbooks and science classes, though,
and there will be a fight for Separation of Search and State. (Wow; has anyone thought of
that SETI line before? Copyright!)
Next headline on:
Fish hatchlings no more than a few millimeters in size are able to find their way home
by smell, scientists from James
Cook University found. After hatching from a reef, baby fish are often swept out to
sea for miles. The scientists were curious how they are able to get back to the particular spot where they were born.
The team exposed tiny fish larvae in a tank to pure streams of water from four different reefs,
the article says. To their amazement, within minutes a surprisingly high percentage
of baby fish had congregated in the water flow from their home reef. Every reef
has a unique chemical signature. The scientists were surprised that so soon after hatching
fish were able to detect that signature and use it to home in on home.
The press release speculates on how this trait causes biodiversity by evolution.
We think some fishes then choose currents that smell like home and swim up them.
The ones that cannot do this perish. The ones that get home preserve the unique ethnic
make-up of their tribe and so continue the process of evolving into separate new species.
The team did not see the fish evolving into separate species.
Even if they had, they would be talking about microevolution, which is not controversial. It would
contribute no argument to how the fish emerged in the first place with their remarkable sense of smell.
Stardate: Destruction Estimate Was 0.1% Correct
For a fascinating documentary on how a salmon is able to smell its way from the open
sea all the way back up to the particular tributary where it was born, see the film
of Gods Creation by Moody Video.
Next headline on:
According to a press release from JPLs
Spitzer Space Telescope team, the famous Eagle
Nebula Pillars of Creation are eroding fast. A supernova that was possibly witnessed by humans
1,000 to 2,000 years ago is sending a blast wave at the structures. An earlier supernova that may have occurred
6,000 years ago has probably already torn them apart. Because the nebula is 7,000 light-years away, humans wont
see the destruction for another 1,000 years, the report says.
Ker Than reporting this for Space.com
mentioned an earlier link on Space.com
from 2002 that claimed these pillars were eroding, and might have only a million or so years to go.
Rodger Thompson was quoted as saying, It is hard to estimate the end point, but it will probably be in
less than a million years, since most of the material has already been dissipated. Yes, far less:
about a tenth of a percent of a million years.
Astronomers toss around millions of years recklessly. If they
were charged a penny for every year their estimates are found to be inflated, they would be a lot more
careful. Couching the fluff with qualifiers like a million years or less is like saying
Your house is worth $300 million, or less, or Honey, Ill be home at 3007 AD, or sooner.
Whats On ETV Tonight?
Next headline on:
SETI researchers are building radio telescopes that might be able to catch leaking
airwaves from the aliens, reports National
Geographic and Space.com.
Some 1,000 stars within 30 light-years may be within the reach of an array of new radio telescopes in Australia.
SETI researchers can piggyback on this astrophysics facility to listen in on frequencies used on Earth by military
radio and broadcast TV. Future arrays may extend the reach 10 times as far, to encompass 100 million stars.
Imagine the sound of snow, hissing. If someone hears occasional gunshots in
the noise, will it be a Bonanza? Maybe the mikell land on a planet in the west, listening to little
little Lorne Green men giving us cowboy logic. Ponder Rosa sitting at the console listening to all this;
will Dan block her? Boss, shell say, this aint no chance string of bits; it carries
a message. Whats it say? She pauses, translating: Keep your Hoss before
the cart. Right, he responds. Good design detection work.
Dirty little secrets of radiometric dating methods, from 10/06/2004.
Next headline on:
Skeptics Society Apology Illustrates Christian Virtue
Some evolutionists leaped onto a press release from a group named PEER last December that claimed
national park rangers at Grand Canyon were obeying some new policy under pressure from the Bush administration
that did not allow them to claim
the canyon was millions of years old (see 01/11/2007,
bullet 2). This was supposedly related to sales of the young-earth creationist book
Grand Canyon: A Different View in park bookstores (10/14/2004).*
PEERs claim got mention in Science magazine, though the journal did note that the
park denied it.
The online newsletter of the Skeptics Society,
had also parroted this claim but then gotten taken to
task for it by readers. A former park rangers blog, parkrangerx,
said on January 16 that this story just wont die and explained again why the story was unfounded.
Michael Shermer, president, decided to investigate. He explained that in our eagerness to find additional examples of the inappropriate intrusion of religion in American public life (as if we actually needed more),
he had taken the PEER press release at face value. Embarrassed and angered after calls and emails
to PEER and its executive director Jeff Ruch, he found it was an unreliable source:
PEER is an anti-Bush, anti-religion liberal activist watchdog group in search of demons to
exorcise and dragons to slay. On one level, thats how the system works in a free society,
and there are plenty of pro-Bush, pro-religion conservative activist watchdog groups who do the same thing
on the other side. Maybe in a Hegelian process of thesis-antithesis-synthesis we find truth
that way; at least at the level of talk radio. But journalistic standards and scholarly ethics
still hold sway at all levels of discourse that matter, and to that end I believe we were duped by
an activist group who at the very least exaggerated a claim and published it in order to gain notoriety
for itself, or worse, simply made it up.
After this, Shermer apologized for printing the story without checking up on it, and said Shame
on us. But he added, But shame on you too, Mr. Ruch, and shame on PEER, for this
egregious display of poor judgment and unethical behavior.
We congratulate Shermer for acting like a good Christian by
testing all things
(I Thessalonians 5:21,
and not bearing false witness
We say this tongue in cheek, of course, because Shermer lost his childhood faith under the
tutelage of a Darwin bulldog professor in college (06/01/2004),
and now treats Christians and creationists like
unscientific fools (11/29/2001). Last week, the Darwin bulldog rag
also had a moralistic editorial about the need for ethics in the laboratory. It portrayed the myth
of the honest scientist in the white lab coat, claiming that misconduct is rare and must be guarded against
by some unspecified standard of honesty: It is here in the laboratory not in the law courts
or the offices of a university administrator that the trajectory of research conduct for the
twenty-first century is being set. I.e., shape up, scientists, if you want to keep the
government off our backs.
Bats Exhibit Aerodynamic Superiority
Though Shermer illustrated diligence in getting the facts straight and
hastening to apologize, is this behavior not inconsistent with his core beliefs? He denies that
the Hegelian process is worthy of journalistic standards and scholarly ethics
for finding the truth. Yet, to quote Pilate, what is truth? To a Darwinist, whatever exists
arose through competition and power, a Hegelian process. Truth, then, is relative. Absolute truth is
incomprehensible to an evolved brain fully described by the motions of its constituent atoms. It is not
just incomprehensible; it is inconceivable.
Why do the editors of Nature and eSkeptic know
intuitively the difference between right and wrong? They use the vague words ethics and
trajectory and misconduct but you know what theyre talking about. They dont mean
some kind of wishy-washy Hegelian ethics that could some day be orthogonal to todays moral trajectory.
Moral relativism would not make any sense. They speak with conviction, assuming absolute
morality and honesty are eternally valid principles. If not, then let them admit that for now, our culture
values honesty, so lets all go with the flow till it changes. If they said that, they would
have to admit that some future society might deem it ethical to burn all the back issues of Nature.
teaches, one cannot choose the consequences of ones world view, and the
place the materialists plane is headed is not where they want to land. Dont let a materialist
think he can get off at Chicago and change planes when his ticket is only valid for Boston. (Our apologies
to Bostonians; this is the illustration Bahnsen used.)
Shermer talks materialism, but
uses his soul. He acts as if truth has external existence. He shows that the pursuit of
truth is a value in and of itself. His actions, therefore, echo his childhood memories of Ten Commandments and
other absolutes he abandoned in college. Now, however, he is a committed evolutionist and anti-creationist.
He has substituted old values for new ones. If he were consistent, he would join PEER and do whatever he
could to stamp out the creationist competitors, even if it involved lying and terrorism. That is the way
things get done in Darwinland.
If his pretensions of journalistic ethics are part of a surreptitious ploy to catch Christians off guard
(like terrorists stealing and using American weapons), then he is being consistent, and we can discount
his apology as a ruse. (One piece of supporting evidence for this theory is that he did manage to sneak in
a smokebomb that millions of years is science, and the creationist view is pseudoscience: he referred to Vails
book in the inspiration section along with other books of myth and spirituality.) But if
he was really sincere about apologizing for a breach of ethics, then he needs to
apologize for another: theft of intellectual property. We cannot allow the pro-evolutionary
materialistic skeptics to borrow a little Christianity when it suits them.
*Footnote: Interested in learning more about the creationist view
of the Grand Canyon? Want to have a lot of fun doing it?
Tom Vail, the author of the book Grand Canyon: A Different View, is leading a
3-day raft trip in August, and you can sign up here: see
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
They may look clumsy fluttering around in the twilight air, but
Flexible, highly articulated wings give bats more options for flight than birds: more lift, less drag,
greater maneuverability. Thus reads the caption to a picture of a bat in flight on a
press release. Researchers at Brown U are studying the differences between bat wings and those
of insects and birds. They are finding that bats have unique capabilities, and
that a novel lift-generating mechanism may be at work in bats and point to the highly maneuverable
mammals as a model for tiny flying machines. Those unique capabilities include highly
articulated bones, over two dozen independent joints and flexible membranes. By watching videotapes
of bats flying in an aerosol mist, the scientists discerned a number of novel flight mechanisms:
Birds and insects can fold and rotate their wings during flight, but bats have many more options.
Their flexible skin can catch the air and generate lift or reduce drag in many different ways.
During straightforward flight, the wing is mostly extended for the down stroke, but the wing surface curves much
more than a birds does giving bats greater lift for less energy. During the up stroke,
the bats fold the wings much closer to their bodies than other flying animals, potentially reducing the drag
they experience. The wings extraordinary flexibility also allows the animals to make
180-degree turns in a distance of less than half a wingspan.
The researchers also considered how bat flight might have evolved. Could
bat wings have developed from gliding mammals, like flying squirrels?
[Sharon] Swartz, an associate professor in ecology and evolutionary biology at Brown University,
and longtime collaborator with [Kenneth] Breuer, is particularly interested in how bats evolved
their capabilities. The assumption has always been that bats evolved from
some sort of flying squirrel-type animals, says Swartz. Gliding has evolved in mammals
seven times. That tells us that its really easy for an animal with skin
to evolve into a glider, but going from a square gliding wing to a long, skinny flapping wing
has not happened seven times. It might have happened once. And now it doesnt
look like bats have any relationship to these gliding things.
The Air Force funded work was published in Bioinspiration and Biomimetics.
The design work was productive; the evolutionary speculation
was useless. Actually, it was useful for one thing: to show that bats did not evolve
from gliders, contrary to the assumption that has always been.
How about fewer assumptions and more videotape?
This Bug Is Whiter than White, Brighter than Bright
Next headline on:
Detergent manufacturers should get a load of this beetle. Cyphochilus, a resident of southeast Asia,
is clothed in one of the brightest white surfaces (per unit thickness) known. British scientists reporting in
Science1 were intrigued how the bug accomplishes this shining performance. Most bright-white surfaces,
such as paint and paper, need a hundred times the thickness to achieve such brilliance.
Some insects and birds are able to intensify particular colors using photonic crystals,
which are regularly-spaced pits or shapes on scales or wings (see
The microscopic geometric patterns serve to add up particular wavelengths and
cancel others. White light, though, requires a high degree of scattering across the spectrum.
The scientists found that the 5-micron thick scales of Cyphochilus contain a random network of
interconnecting cuticular filaments with diameters of about 250 nm.
Imitating this trick may lead to several applications. Brighter paints and paper
could be in our beetle-inspired future, and maybe even whiter teeth. See also the
articles on Live Science,
BBC News and
University of Exeter.
1Pete Vukusic, Benny Hallam, and Joe Noyes, Brilliant Whiteness in Ultrathin Beetle Scales,
19 January 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5810, p. 348, DOI: 10.1126/science.1134666.
Good science can discover, understand, and imitate the natural world without any need
for evolutionary storytelling. Thats another reason why biomimetics can
provide a nonsectarian, nonphilosophical escape hatch for disillusioned Darwinists.
The authors did not need to mention evolution. Intelligent design was not mentioned
either, but was implicit.
No Evolutionary Tree for Galaxies
Next headline on:
Edwin Hubble was famous for many important discoveries, including the confirmation of external
galaxies and the expansion of the universe (no, he did not build the Hubble Space Telescope;
he died in 1953). One of his theories, though, a kind of evolutionary story of galaxies,
has not fared so well. Sidney van den Bergh discussed this subject in Nature this week.1
He commented, Galaxies are like people: the better you get to know them, the more peculiar they often seem.
Hubble had classified galaxies with his famous tuning-fork diagram showing
ellipticals evolving into normal spirals on one fork and barred spirals on the other.
Each branch supposedly evolved into more open forms. It was never clear, however, whether
the evolution proceeded from left to right or from right to left. The situation has not
become more clear over time. In fact, Hubbles classification does not mesh with more
recent plots of galaxy color vs. brightness (luminosity), on so-called Hertzsprung-Russell (H-R)
diagrams. Other complications include differences as a function of mass or of lookback time
(i.e., distance). It is not clear, he said, how the apparent dichotomy of galaxy characteristics,
seen in the distribution of galaxies over the colour-luminosity diagram, can be reconciled with
the continuous change of galaxy characteristics along the Hubble classification sequence.
After surveying the evidence, van den Bergh concluded that no simple diagram
explains the observations: A grand unifying scheme that incorporates both
the continuity of the Hubble diagram and the dichotomy in the galaxian colour-magnitude diagram does not
yet seem to be in sight.
1Sidney van den Bergh, Concept: Galaxy Morphology: Out of order,
445, 265 (18 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/445265a.
Van den Burgh raised another interesting point in passing.
Is the evolutionary tuning-fork diagram an artifact of human psychology? Maybe whats
evolving is not the phenomenon under observation, but our science:
The evolution of folly (or vice versa), from 10/14/2002.
Why humans act irrationally, and how evolutionary determinism is self-refuting.
Albert Einstein and many others have commented on the effectiveness of mathematics for
formulation of the laws of nature. As a result, science sometimes evolves
in those directions in which mathematics can be applied.
However, several areas, including friction, turbulence and morphological classification,
remain largely in the mathematical wilderness. Progress in galaxy morphology has
mainly resulted from the remarkable human capacity to recognize patterns.
Van den Bergh here speaks as a believer; he is not criticizing mathematics or pattern recognition.
He speaks of progress instead of random walk in our science.
The question deserves consideration, though, to what extent humans impose their psychological predilections
on the observations instead of truly understanding what is out there in nature. Could
there be a selection effect that biases our outlook? Because of our skill at pattern recognition,
are we seeing mainly the phenomena that can be classified by simple mathematical laws,
and overlooking the more difficult phenomena in the mathematical wilderness?
If so, how well do we really understand the universe?
Hubbles evolutionary diagram a tree with only two branches
appears simplistic. It discords with the observations. How much more the imposition of an
tree pattern onto the bewildering diversity in the living world? As we have seen,
evolutionary biologists strive to impose tree-thinking onto their psyches before
the observations speak (11/14/2005). What if the
data are discontinuous at a fundamental level? Human psychological needs
do not justify imposing continuity on a discontinuous data set that refuses to
be so classified, any more than you can have pi or e integers, evolutionize the
prime numbers, or rationalize irrational numbers (or people).
Hubbles tuning fork can still be salvaged. Instead of making it an
evolutionary symbol, make it do what tuning forks are designed to do. Youre not supposed
to look at it for meaning as if its some kind of divining rod. You strike it and listen
to a very precise, pure tone. Compare that to the observations, and you hear a very strong
Science has strayed so far off pitch from its original program (online
book) that it has become, like a John Cage concert, a bewildering cacophony
of conflicting and nihilistic discords, with blaring trumpets and clanging cymbals going nowhere
without a score or conductor. Time out for a tune up.
Following the right pitch can lead to harmonious and pleasing insights into the world (see
Next headline on:
The Evolution of Electrical Engineering: An Imaginary Tale
Nerves carry electrical impulses. Ipso facto, they are subject to laws of physics
concerning conductance, capacitance, and resistance. Getting a signal from one end
of an animal to the other in time can be a matter of life and death. In order to maintain optimum
levels of electrical conductivity to meet their lifestyle requirements, animals possess
numerous adaptations to increase throughput. In a paper in Current Biology,1
D. K. Hartline (U of Hawaii) and D. R. Colman (McGill U, Quebec) described how these adaptations
fall into two main categories:
Nervous systems have evolved two basic mechanisms for
increasing the conduction speed of the electrical impulse. The first is through
axon gigantism: using axons several times larger in diameter than the norm for other
large axons, as for example in the well-known case of the squid giant axon. The second
is through encasing axons in helical or concentrically wrapped multilamellar sheets of
insulating plasma membrane the myelin sheath. Each mechanism, alone or in combination,
is employed in nervous systems of many taxa, both vertebrate and invertebrate.
Myelin is a unique way to increase conduction speeds along axons of relatively small caliber.
It seems to have arisen independently in evolution several times in vertebrates, annelids and crustacea.
Myelinated nerves, regardless of their source, have in common a multilamellar membrane wrapping, and
long myelinated segments interspersed with nodal loci where the myelin terminates and the nerve impulse propagates along the axon by saltatory conduction. For all of the differences in detail
among the morphologies and biochemistries of the sheath in the different myelinated animal classes,
the function is remarkably universal.
Hartline and Colman went on to describe how the insulation provided by myelin increases throughput dramatically:
Myelin sheaths are frequently associated with rapid reactions, especially in invertebrate taxa.
For fibers of a few microns or more in diameter, myelin speeds the conduction of nerve impulses by a factor of ten or more compared to unmyelinated fibers of the same diameter. This increases the nervous systems information processing capacity and delivery speeds, decreasing reaction times to stimuli, increasing temporal precision, more closely synchronizing spatially distributed targets (such as different regions of a muscle sheet), and providing for shorter delays in feedback loops (for example in muscle control). Because less current is needed to satisfy the charging needs of myelinated fibers, mean sodium channel densities averaged over the length of a fiber are much lower than for unmyelinated ones. This results in a smaller ionic imbalance that must be restored after an impulse passes and confers a several hundred-fold improvement in metabolic efficiency for recouping the energy cost of nerve impulse traffic. For a nervous system such as ours, which already accounts for 20% of the bodys resting metabolic energy budget, this is not an inconsequential advantage. Another advantage is economy of space: to achieve the same ten-fold improvement on conduction speed through increasing axonal diameter, axons would have to be 100 times larger (with a comparable scale-up in soma size to accommodate the metabolic needs). Imagine yourself with a 100-fold thicker spinal cord!
The authors were also interested in how these adaptations could have evolved. Consider the
scope of their puzzle:
So despite confidence that these adaptations did evolve, they admitted they had only speculation about
natural selection might have achieved it:
- Both mechanisms (axon gigantism and insulation) are dispersed throughout the animal kingdom.
- There are great evolutionary distances between similar adaptations.
- There are no transitional forms.
- There are no clues from fossils.
So ancient is its evident appearance in each of these lines, and so sophisticated its morphological and chemical structure, that its exact origin in most of those lines is hard to establish. Even in vertebrates there is a great evolutionary distance between the unmyelinated hyperoartia (lampreys) and the gnathostomes.
The initial steps in the evolution of myelination may not, however, be that difficult
to reconstruct. Electrically sealing together two apposed membrane surfaces over a small
region of axon decreases its transverse capacitance and proportionately speeds impulse propagation
along it. The sealing can be achieved by narrowing the conductive space, either cytoplasmic or
extracytoplasmic, between adjacent axonal and/or glial membranes ... or through impermeable specializations
at margins, for example precursors of septate junctions. Even the random sealing of patches
of single-layer glial membrane over half of an axons surface is predicted to increase
conduction speed by about 20%. Once such a process has started, it is not difficult to
imagine a sequence of small improvements driven by natural selection that would
ultimately lead to the complex structures we see today. This is speculative,
however; no cases have been described so far of intermediate stages in extant groups.
Developmental sequences, the lack of fossil records and the paucity of candidate molecular
precursors so far identified have made the task more difficult. Perhaps better
insight will be gained through increased attention to myelin evolved in the invertebrates.
(Bold and underlining added.)
1D.K. Hartline and D.R. Colman, Rapid Conduction and the Evolution of Giant Axons and Myelinated Fibers,
Vol 17, R29-R35, 09 January 2007.
These guys started right off the bat with the BAD strategy (brazen assertions of
dogmatism): Nervous systems have evolved... Ahem--there are a lot of people who do
not accept that. Your evidence, please? Some fossils, perhaps? A long sequence of intermediate
steps, each with increased survival value? A clear phylogenetic pattern? None of the above.
So here is their argument: it is not difficult to imagine...
Dinosaur Fight or Common Fate?
If you thought science was about evidence and proof, welcome to the Storybook Land of the
Darwinist (see 12/22/2003 commentary). Instead of launching into another
sermon against imagination in science as a substitute for evidence,
this time we will let the Good Book do it for us. Substitute Darwin and natural selection
Paul continues, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. Here you have witnessed
academic elite scientists claiming, out of thin air, without any evidence,
that sophisticated electrical engineering emerged by mistake! Does the shoe fit,
or what? They have glorified their own speculations. They have imagined a fable that
runs 180 degrees contrary to the evidence. They have totally
refused to bend their stiff necks to alternative explanations, like intelligent design. They have shown themselves
to be dogmatist wolves in scientist sheeps clothing, walking after the imaginations of their own foolish hearts.
- God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of
the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5)
- the imagination of mans heart is evil from his youth. (Genesis 8:15)
- Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? (Psalm 2:1)
- they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform. (Psalm 21:11)
- They also ... imagine deceits all the day long. (Psalm 38:12)
- Which imagine mischiefs in their heart (Psalm 140:2)
- Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil (Proverbs 12:20)
- neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. (Jeremiah 3:17)
- But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. (Jeremiah 7:24)
- But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them. (Jeremiah 9:24;
for fun, try substituting Darwin for Baalim here)
- Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart (Jeremiah 11:8)
- This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart (Jeremiah 13:10)
- And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart (Jeremiah 16:12)
- And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart. (Jeremiah 18:12)
- Thou hast seen all their vengeance and all their imaginations against me. (Lamentations 3:60, 61)
- What do ye imagine against the Lord? (Nahum 1:9)
- He ... hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. (Mary, praising God in Luke 1:51)
- Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (Paul, in Romans 1:21)
So we end with more advice from the Apostle Paul: words that would have been understood as a mission statement
by many of the founders of science: Casting down imaginations, and
every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God (II Corinthians 10:4).
Next headline on:
A fossil discovery by amateurs in Montana, reported by the
Falls Tribune, shows a meat-eater and a plant-eater with their tails crossed like swords.
The fossils show remarkable detail, right down to tendons and teeth. The three amateur discoverers
had been scouting on private
property in Garfield County. Finding bone fragments on a canyon floor, they noticed they came from
bone sticking out of the hill in crumbly stone on the hillside.
He scrambled about 20 feet up the side of the canyon, following a trail of bone fragments, to a flat
ledge where he saw what was unmistakably a large fossil: a dinosaur pelvis exposed in the rock.
The world-class dinosaur find included a Gorgosaur (like a T. rex) and a
ceratopsian. The carnivore was nearly 100% complete except for a claw.
Literally his butt was hanging out of the hill, [Mark] Eatman said.
The team brushed away the crumbly stone, exposing a femur articulated into the pelvis
and, even more striking, tendons.
To see them like guitar strings going down the side of this big bone was pretty amazing,
The article discussed two controversies. The primary dispute was about the rights of amateurs to
find and sell fossils (see also a Nature
article this week). Another concerned the circumstances of the burial. The discoverers
found a tooth in the back of the plant-eater and wondered if the two were locked in combat when they
died. A paleontologist had another view. Based on the placement of the skeletons,
its more likely that the two unfortunates were victims of a flood event and their
bodies washed up on the same sandbar, he said.
The hypothesis of mortal combat appeals to our sense of drama
from seeing B-movies of dinosaurs, but think about it: would Gorgon be thinking about a meal while
drowning? The pro believed that they were buried in a flood event. Thats a common
explanation for a dinosaur here, a dinosaur there, and a dinosaur over yonder. The impressive
wall of bone at Dinosaur National
Monument far to the south in Utah is also explained by watery burial. They never seem
to consider connecting the dots that maybe the same flood event buried them all. For
tendons and articulated limbs to be preserved it must have been a very unusual and widespread event, unlike anything
ever seen in Dinotopia before. Does their entombment in crumbly rock really support the notion
that the burial occurred 75 million years ago, and that these explorers happened along just as the
bones were disintegrating? Only if one believes in dumb luck.
Fossil Non-Embryos Quench Cambrian Explosion Fuse
Next headline on:
Alleged fossil animal embryos in Precambrian rock in China are not. Last year
(06/18/2006) and before, researchers found what looked
like cleaved embryos in the strata under the Cambrian explosion layers.
Now, a paper in Nature reclassifies them as giant bacteria, not embryos.1
Some evolutionists had
hoped the discovery of animal embryos would soften the explosion by pushing the origin of symmetrical
body plans further back in time. In a News and Views article in the same issue of Nature,2
Philip C. J. Donoghue (U of Bristol) termed this an embryonic identity crisis that
deflates those hopes. The oldest known animal fossils, identified as eggs and embryos, had been expected
to reveal secrets from a period of great evolutionary change, he said. Will the latest theory about
the fossils origins confound these hopes? Apparently so; he ended by admitting
that evolutionists still have overarching questions about the timing and embryological basis of animal origins.
Finding that these structures are something less than embryos means the evolutionists are back at square one;
like all other theories about Precambrian animals, the classification of these fossils
is far from resolved, even at the kingdom level.
1Bailey et al, Evidence of giant sulphur bacteria in Neoproterozoic phosphorites,
445, 198-201 (11 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05457.
2Philip C. J. Donoghue, Palaeontology: Embryonic identity crisis,
445, 155-156 (11 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05520.
Evolutionists have been on their own one-yard line since they
took possession of the ball and got the referee to disqualify the other team.
Even with their overwhelming advantage, they have been moving one yard forward, one yard
back for 146 years. The crowds are getting restless.
Evolutionary Reversal: Is the Neanderthal Category Collapsing?
Next headline on:
The Oase skulls found in Romania share modern and Neanderthal characteristics, reported
in a story reverberating on major media sites (see
Reuters). From a press release by the
University of Bristol, Science Daily reported, By comparing it with other skulls,
Professor [Joao] Zilhao and colleagues found that Oase 2 had the same proportions as modern
human crania and shared a number of modern human and/or non-Neandertal features.
Thats the modern part. But:
However, there were some important differences: apparently independent features that are,
at best, unusual for a modern human. These included frontal flattening, a fairly large
juxtamastoid eminence and exceptionally large upper molars with unusual size progression
which are found principally among the Neandertals.
What history does this imply? Zilhao suggested an evolutionary reversal may have
occurred or maybe our sampling of human diversity in the period dated between 30,000 to 40,000
years is incomplete. Oase 2 is modern
in its abundance of derived modern human features, but it remains nonmodern in its
complex constellation of archaic and modern features.
The original paper was published online in the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences.1 See also the
BBC News and
Meanwhile, other scientists working in South Africa are claiming
that A 36,000-year-old skull from South Africa provides the first fossil evidence that
modern humans left Africa 70,000 to 50,000 years ago to colonize Eurasia,
according to National
Geographic News (see also a press release from
Planck Society). How can that be? Well, one researcher was struck by its
similarities to the skulls of the first modern humans found in Europe. But if
Neanderthals had already been in Europe 130,000 years ago (maybe even more than 200,000 years),
would they be expected to be interfertile with new arrivals 50,000 to 70,000 years ago? A press release from
Texas A&M University admits
that we still dont have all of the evidence required to test these models
to disprove or prove them. No one seems to be asking if it is
plausible that two divergent groups would be able to interbreed after a separation of 60,000 years
or more ten times as long as recorded history. Another study of skulls in Russia
puts the migration even later, at 45,000 years ago, reported
At the extremes dates, Neanderthals and modern humans would have been evolving on separate courses
for over 150,000 years. Ted Goebel [Texas A&M] put it this way in Science:2
Current interpretations of the human fossil record indicate that fully modern humans emerged in
sub-Saharan Africa by 195,000 years ago. By 35,000 years ago, modern humans thrived at
opposite ends of Eurasia, from France to island southeast Asia and even Australia. How they
colonized these and other drastically different environments during the intervening 160,000 years
is one of the greatest untold stories in the history of humankind.
1Rougier, Trinkaus, Zilhao et al, Pestera cu Oase 2 and the cranial
morphology of early modern Europeans,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, published online before print January 16, 2007, 10.1073/pnas.0610538104.
2Ted Goebel, The Missing Years for Modern Humans,
12 January 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5809, pp. 194 - 196, DOI: 10.1126/science.1137564
What does he mean untold stories? The
evolutionists have been telling this story and others in their molecules-to-man
tale for a century and a half. Its like guns. Fossils dont tell stories;
evolutionists do. You notice that this story is told in the absence of facts.
Goebel gets all excited because someone interprets a data point in the middle of nowhere
as being 60,000 to 50,000 years old, and he thinks theyre getting warmer.
Its like they find a brick in Russia, one in South Africa and one in Tanzania and think
they almost have their yellow brick road to Charlies emerald city. Theres
more gap than text in this fictional plot.
Relive the drama of the Huygens landing on Titan two years ago, from
01/15/2005 and 01/21/2005.
Big list of links at 05/18/2005; links to awesome animations
Latest updates at ESA.
Evolutionary reversal hows that
for an evolutionary euphemism for non-evolution?
We need an evolutionary reversal, all right, back to a science that doesnt tell fables.
If the Oase folks gained their peculiar mosaic of traits by interbreeding with Homo sapiens,
then the Neanderthal fable is over. These were people. The myth of the brutish
Neanderthal has outlived its usefulness to a discredited view of human history. Adding
new twists to the fable is not helping.
Speaking of fables, were going to coin a
new word: fability, the ability to tell fables. Darwinists are very good at this
ability. Its closely related to fibility, the ability to tell fibs.
Adding fable upon fable is similar to telling new lies to prop up earlier ones.
For a century and a half now, the Darwinists have been fibbling and fabling about
Neanderthal Man, accentuating the differences and underplaying the similarities. Using
fabled dates, they have constructed elaborate imaginary histories of early man grunting and
hunting for tens of millennia, never becoming smarter than a teen-age
videogame player. Then the wise guys showed up (Homo sapiens sapiens) and quickly
outwitted them in the job market. The whimpering dimwits retreated to their caves, leaving
bones for evolutionary paleontologists to use as props for the story.
TV producers have leapt onto the opportunity
to visualize all this fability. Especially in Darwins turf, they have found no shortage of
actors willing to go nearly naked with lots of Neanderthal brow-ridge clay and body hair
to portray the whole diorama. Its been a long-running series, but the fans are getting
bored. Can we switch now to the History Channel?
Just because our Neanderthal brethren looked slightly different
from us doesnt justify categorizing them outside the human family and considering them
less urbane. Like the cave man in the Geico commercials, it makes them very frustrated.
Next headline on:
Human Body Inspires Engineering Design
The chemical processing industry is keenly aware of the complexity of
the refineries and chemical processing plants that produce the
multitude of chemicals that make our life easier. A chemical
processing plant can have thousands of motors, hundreds of tanks, miles
of piping, and tens of thousands of transmitters sending measurements
back to a control room to allow operators to properly control a process
for making just a few products. The computers that control these
processes take thousands of hours to program. Imagine a chemical
plant that is self maintaining, self repairing, self regulating,
responds to a huge variety of conditions, uses a large variety of
feedstocks, and lasts for over 75 years! That chemical plant
would be our bodies, of course. Control Magazine published an
challenging engineers to look to the human body for
inspiration for new ways to deal with the challenges the processing
industry faces in process control and in engineering design. It
seems that a Designer has not only solved many problems processing
plant engineers face, but has done so elegantly:
" ...taking a closer look at biological
processes can help adapt or improve existing process controls and
systems. And, as available biological examples grow increasingly
sophisticated, this simple analogy may fuel more and better ideas on
the process-control side.
Opportunities for copying the body's designs exist for refinery piping,
communications, and artificial intelligence to allow computers to
improve how refineries are controlled. Self healing communication
networks now beginning to come into use in refineries have always been
in use in our bodies:
"...remember that arteries have the many
of the same backflow preventers as industrial pipes. So, I think
studying capillaries elastic properties and epithelial cells may
suggest some new flow-conditioning methods. Likewise, low-voltage
swapping across nerve-cell sheathes and neurons interactions with
receptors and ganglia at either end are the basis for nervous system
communications, and so they too might suggest better models for
process-control networking. For example, artificial neural
(ANN) models and fuzzy logic software have long sought to mimic and
benefit from biologically based decision making. Self-healing
networks already reroute data packets around obstacles, much like
phone-switching protocols and neurological pathways.
Because it functions at every size from the visible to the microscopic
to the molecular, biology also may be the key to developing and
implementing many future nanotechnologies.
Mentioning random, mindless evolution
in this editorial would be like jumping in ice water
from a warm bath, and indeed, there is no mention of evolution to be
found. Engineers appreciate the comparison of evolution to a
tornado in a
junkyard producing a 747 more than other people because they know how
much hard work it is to design something even as simple as an
airplane. How much more complicated are our bodies, with
literally thousands of little refineries producing many thousands of
chemicals, each in the right amount, at the right time, and delivered
to the right place. We have much to learn from this well oiled
Cells Use Zip
Codes to Determine Their Body Location
Next headline on: Human Body Evolution
Scientists reported in an article in PLOS1 that cells have
equivalent of a Zip-code built in to their DNA that codes
their location in the body. Skin cell DNA from 47 locations on a
subjects were compared. Three locations on the DNA were found to
the location of the cell in the body, specifying whether it came from
the upper or lower torso, near to or far from to the center of the
body, and near to or far from the surface of the body. How cells
know where they are in the body has always been a puzzle, and now it
turns out the cell address is coded into the DNA:
A major question in developmental
biology is, How do cells know where they are in the body? For
skin cells on the scalp know to produce hair, and the skin cells on the
palms of the hand know not to make hair. Overall, there are
of different cell types and each has a unique job that is important to
overall organ function. It is critical that, as we grow and
each of these different cells passes on the proper function from
generation to generation to maintain organ function. In this
authors present a model that explains how cells know where they are in
the body. By comparing cells from 43 unique positions that finely
the entire human body, the authors discovered that cells utilize a
ZIP-code system to identify the cells position in the human
ZIP code for Stanford is 94305, and each digit hones in on the location
of a place in the United States; similarly, cells know their location
by using a code of genes. For example, a cell on the hand
set of genes that locate the cell on the top half of the body
(anterior) and another set of genes that locates the cell as being far
away from the body or distal and a third set of genes that identifies
the cell on the outside of the body (not internal). Thus, each
genes narrows in on the cells location, just like a ZIP code.
findings have important implications for the etiology of many diseases,
wound healing, and tissue engineering.
1 Rinn JL,
Bondre C, Gladstone HB, Brown PO, Chang HY (2006) Anatomic Demarcation
by Positional Variation in Fibroblast Gene Expression Programs. PLoS
Genet 2(7): e119 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.0020119
This study is obviously just a first
step in what will be a long and
complex process to determine not only how a cell knows where it is, but
how it knows what to do there. At each of the many cell divisions
from single egg cell to fully formed person with trillions of cells,
each cell must pass on information to the next cell about what
what kind of cell it is and what happens next. At some point in
the path from single cell to human being, there is a single cell that
goes on to become an arm, or a leg or a pancreas. Contained in
that cell is the information about how to build an arm, leg, or
pancreas, but also, it is somehow keeping track of the fact that it is
the cell whose job it is to become that arm, leg or pancreas.
Building a body requires not only the information in
the DNA to be able to manufacture the right parts, it must also contain
the information on how to put the parts together. Scientists are
just beginning to find that this information is there in the DNA
too. Breaking the code so that they can read it, something that
cells do all the time, will take much hard work.
Evolutionist Lost Faith Over Flawed Geology Lesson 01/12/2007
Evolution is not mentioned at all in this article, which is not
surprising in light of the enormous complexity of building a working
human body from the plans coded in our DNA. Anyone working day to
day with the problem of trying to fathom how our body builds itself
probably doesn't want to think about how this could have all come about
Next headline on: Cell
Genetics and DNA
A college students Biblical faith could not survive a geology lesson that seemed to
offer convincing proof that the earth was old much older than the Bible said it was.
This test of his faith was a tipping point. He began to question the Bible, and ended up
becoming a prominent evolutionist. His books and articles present a halfway sympathetic
view of his former creationist friends, but he is convinced now that science has disproved the
Bible and established the truth of evolution. But now, the rest of the story: that evidence that challenged
his faith back then has since been shown to be wrongly interpreted so wrong, in fact,
that even secular geologists now agree with the creationist interpretation.
The man is Ron Numbers, now a professor of the history of science and medicine at
the University of Wisconsin. The geology lesson was about the fossil forests in Yellowstone.
In the 1970s, geologists taught that what looked like 30 separate forests had grown on top of each
other, one at a time, only to be buried by periodic volcanic eruptions. A sign at Specimen
Ridge in the park explained this as a matter of fact. Estimates ranged from 20,000 years
minimum to 30,000, or 50,000 years or more were required in any case, far more than a
conservative Genesis timeframe could allow.
On May 18, 1980, an explosive event with profound repercussions for geological science
took place. Mt. St. Helens erupted. In one day,
this event literally overturned the long-age interpretation of Specimen Ridge.
In the Roadside Geology book about Yellowstone sold in the park, geologist
William Fritz described his reaction to mudflows he witnessed along the Toutle River in Washington.
It was just like Yellowstone! he exclaimed. Since that widely-observed natural
experiment in catastrophic geology, the work of volcanic mudflows has become the leading
explanation for how the Yellowstone fossil forests were emplaced, layers and all. The
old sign that explained the old theory to millions of park visitors is long gone.
When telling his life story, Ron Numbers has pointed to that premature lesson about the
Yellowstone fossil forests taking tens of thousands of years to form
as the incident that began turning him away from creationism to
evolutionism. Most recently, in an interview in
Salon Magazine published January 2,
he was asked at what point his ideas about creation began to change. He responded,
I wish I knew. There are a few moments that proved crucial for me. I went to Berkeley in the 60s as a graduate student in history and learned to read critically. That had a profound influence on me. I was also exposed to critiques of young earth creationism. The thing that stands out in my memory as being decisive was hearing a lecture about the fossil forest of Yellowstone, given by a creationist whod just been out there to visit. He found that for the 30 successive layers you needed -- assuming the most rapid rates of decomposition of lava into soil and the most rapid rates of growth for the trees that came back in that area -- at least 20,000 to 30,000 years. The only alternative the creationists had to offer was that during the year of Noahs flood, these whole stands of forest trees came floating in, one on top of another, until you had about 30 stacked up. And that truly seemed incredible to me. Just trying to visualize what that had been like during the year of Noahs flood made me smile.
He went on to describe how he and a fellow Bible-believing student wrestled all night with the implications
of this explanation. Before dawn, we both decided the evidence was too strong, he
said. This was a crucial night for me because I realized I was abandoning ... the authority of
He did not indicate whether he had ever heard the rest of the story about Yellowstone.
And thus, an evolutionist professor, who writes books against creationists,
was molded partly but significantly from a flawed interpretation of geological evidence.
Ron Numbers is the embodiment of
a fable we told in our 11/13/2006 commentary. An evolutionary explanation
is presented as a matter of fact; it shakes a students faith; the damage is done; he sees the
light of evolution and becomes a convert. Then, years later, new evidence comes out showing
that the creation explanation was trustworthy all along.
Evolutionists Fret Over Persistent Creationism
In both that case and this one, we
are not saying that secular geologists have come running back to Genesis confessing their sins and saying
the Bible-believers were right. Of course they continue to talk long ages; the Yellowstone eruptions were
umpty hundred thousand years ago with multiple episodes, the Nevada eruptions were similarly age-old, etc. (as
if they were there with a stopwatch).
Whats important to remember is that data does not interpret itself. Look again at the other
story links at the end of the 11/13/2006 commentary. Despite geologists
philosophical commitment to the geologic column and its evolutionary foundation, they continually revise their
stories, sometimes overturning them completely, as new evidence comes in (e.g., last week,
01/03/2007). It just so happens that the
latest interpretations of the Yellowstone and Nevada deposits are consistent with a catastrophic,
flood-geology, young-earth view. As such, they present neither a necessary nor sufficient reason to
doubt the trustworthiness of the Bible. The sudden catastrophic model is superior in many respects
to the slow-and-gradual model. Since the Bible-believing scientists propounded this idea before it became
the new consensus, even when Ron considered it incredible and laughable, and no one took it seriously at the time,
you could even say that in this instance the Bible-believing, young-earth creationists have been vindicated.
Its ironic that the old-age view was presented by a creationist. Obviously not all
creationists accept the Genesis timetable. But creationists who subscribe
to an old-earth or theistic-evolution view should ponder the impact of that view on Ron as a student.
It did not help him resolve conflicts between the Bible and science it eroded his
trust in the Bible completely. Some old-earth creationists like Davis Young have touted the Yellowstone
fossil forests as proof positive that the earth could not be fitted into a few thousand years. Now
they have egg on their faces. Regardless of ones position on the age of the earth, one lesson
is clear: what science is claiming today is always subject to change. Using todays consensus
to argue against the Bibles history, which has withstood scrutiny longer than any scientific claim,
is risky business and of doubtful support for Biblical worldview construction.
Ron Numbers view of creationism is more nuanced and sympathetic than that of the typical Darwinist, owing to his
personal experience. But since that fateful geology lesson, it appears he began interpreting subsequent
scientific claims through a new lens an evolutionary, materialist lens. One can only wonder
how differently his life would have turned out
had someone rushed into that class at the end of the lecture, yelling, Wait! Mt. St.
Helens has just erupted, and billions of tons of logs are being deposited in layers along the Toutle River
in a matter of hours! Its just like Yellowstone!
As stated in the 11/13/2006 commentary, unbelief often
becomes a deep trench once it starts. It is
highly doubtful Ron Numbers would retrace his worldview journey back to that point if someone were to tell him
about the paradigm shift at Yellowstone. By this time he has cut too deep a trench to climb out.
His reputation among his peers is also on the line. Few people who publish books taking strong positions
ever change their minds. The twig is bent; the die is cast. He is no longer the Learnuh, he is the
Mosstuh. He has seen the light. Miracles can happen, but the new Yellowstone story is unlikely to make someone who touts
the so-called overwhelming evidence for evolution change sides at this late date.
Pastors, parents, and Christian teachers
wanting to prepare students for adulthood should take some sober lessons from this case study.
In the first place, Biblical history should be presented as more than just stories. It
needs to be shown to correspond to actual historical events. The new
Archaeological Study Bible is a great resource to show the correspondence
between Biblical history and archaeology and history from other sources.
Secondly, Christian students should not be insulated from contradictory ideas. Conflicts are
inevitable anyway, so it is very counterproductive to avoid them. Children and teens want to know
their beliefs are sound. Instruction about scientific controversies must be age-appropriate, of course,
but in Rons case, why did it take college age at Berkeley (of all places) for him to discover critical thinking?
That should have
started before age 10. (Note: Critical thinking at liberal universities often becomes imbalanced questioning of
traditional values and religious beliefs see quote by Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson in the header
of the Baloney Detector). It is by facing difficulties head-on that confidence in
ones worldview is built. Like Johnson has often teased, we should teach students more about
evolution than the schools want them to hear! A student cant understand our modern world without understanding
Darwinism and evolutionary theory and the best arguments put forth to support it. But, unlike in public
schools, they should also get the scientific arguments against it. A vast majority of American
citizens believe that.
Thirdly, and even more important, students should
learn the limits of science. They need to develop a healthy skepticism of the ability of fallible human
science to make knowledge claims about the past (or even the present, for that matter).*
Ron grew up in a Seventh-Day Adventist church. Though
outside the mainstream of Protestant tradition, SDAs are staunch Bible believers. However much his well-meaning
parents and teachers might have thought they were protecting students by teaching only the young-earth view and
avoiding contradictory scientific views from secular geology and evolutionary biology, it is clear in
hindsight that insulation from challenge can backfire. By high school and college age, young adults are questioning the
beliefs they were taught as children anyway. We should help them learn how to do it right.
Dodging hard questions or making a child feel guilty for doubt is a bad example. It gives the impression
that Christianity is anti-intellectual, or too weak to stand up under examination. The great Christian
physicist James Clerk Maxwell believed that Christianity was the only system that
allowed full and free investigation, without sacred spots that were off limits to scrutiny.
If Ron Numbers had left the safety of church and home armed with critical thinking skills and an arsenal of sound strategies to
consider skeptical claims fairly, how much different would his life had been? Its hard to say. Some students
will rebel for other reasons: perhaps, a rationalization to explore their lusts, or a desire to fit in with a peer group.
It appears, though, that Ron has maintained a soft spot for his childhood worldview, as if nostalgic for it.
Some ardent anticreationists grew up in a church but were completely unprepared for the allure of evolutionary propaganda.
They not only embraced it readily, but became ardent foes of Christianity. E. O. Wilson and Michael Shermer come to mind.
From Ron Numbers own testimony, though, it seems he and his friend sincerely wanted to keep their faith.
They respected truth and yet were conflicted by what appeared to be solid evidence against what they had been taught.
A solid education in handling difficulties and controversies honestly and critically is good insurance against
sudden challenges by conflicting ideas.
Chuck Colson and Nancy Pearcey gave a memorable example of facing controversy in chapter 5 of their book
How Now Shall We Live? (Tyndale, 1999). They portrayed a father confronted by his daughters questions about
evolution. He didnt have ready answers at the time. But he did a brave thing that made an
impression on her: he answered, I dont know, but Ill find out. And he let her know
he was willing to lay his own faith on the line to find answers. So with his daughter,
he did a research project on the evidence for creation and taught her more than just answers to her specific questions:
he taught her that a Christian need not be afraid of investigating the evidence. He showed her that the
way to handle a doubt is to confront it with research and honest analysis of both sides of a controversy.
It goes without saying that bad beliefs deserve to fall when unable to withstand a challenge.
Some Christians fall for foolish ideas that are not supportable from the Bible or scientific evidence,
like myths of NASA support for Joshuas long day, or speculations about where heaven is in the visible universe.
Critical thinking demands the honesty to abandon a belief that is no longer defensible after rigorous
investigation of the evidence and research into all the well-reasoned points of view. The same standard
cuts both ways. When will the evolutionists abandon Haeckels; embryos, junk DNA, vestigial organs and
the other discredited props for their beliefs?
Science is a search for truth, but it is not the truth. It is limited in its domain (the
observable world). It is done by fallible humans. Science is tentative at best,
and often wrong. There are deep and abiding philosophical doubts about the ability of mere mortals to
comprehend reality by our senses with any confidence that what we deem scientific today is true, necessary, universal and
certain.* It bears repeating: evidence does not interpret itself.
Over and over in these pages you have read
about evolutionists twisting and forcing contradictory evidence into the rigid container of their world view.
The same evidence can often bear one or more other equally-valid interpretations. At best, science can claim evidence
is consistent with a belief but cannot thereby claim it is True with a capital T. Even the claim
of consistency is a judgment call. It often involves willfully ignoring some inconsistent evidence rivals
might consider weighty.
Unfortunately for Ron, his doubts about a young earth were
aggravated by legitimate doubts about the credibility of SDAs prophetess Ellen White a writer
no other Christian groups consider authoritative. This contributed to him tossing the whole religious
package altogether. Most SDAs are very congenial and sincere people, but
any Christian who gets too closely tied to one particular sect or denomination should take warning.
Beware if you belong to any group that becomes ingrown and isolated, trusts only its own material and shuns
fellowship with other true Christians in other denominations. Sectarianism can pose a setup for rejection of all Christianity
by the young when maybe the fault is with unusual teachings or practices of the denomination, not the Bible itself.
The more a church, tradition, or a strong leader becomes the authority rather than the Bible itself, the greater the risk.
The next time someone shows you supposedly incontrovertible evidence that the Bible cannot be trusted, and that
science has proved it wrong, dont be so quick to believe the claim. Like the father in the story above,
go find out. The Bible has withstood millennia of attacks from all sides.
Sometimes you may have to wait a few years for the scientific consensus to shift back, or for a volcano
to blow the old theory up in smoke. A world view worth living by is one that is rooted and grounded in conviction
that has been tested by challenge. Victorious faith requires both exercise and armor. Young people should go to
world view boot camp for both. Exercise teaches one how to use the armor, and the sparring of ideas
allows quality armor to show its true mettle.
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
*Suggested resources that explain the difficulty of associating scientific claims with the truth are
available from The Teaching Company. These secular, non-sectarian, college-level courses
listed below are, if anything, favorable to evolutionism and dismissive of ID yet they grapple head-on with the
long debate over what constitutes knowledge in
science. Despite their feeling that science is onto something worth special status in society,
both professors are unable to come to a resolution. They fail to provide incontrovertible reasons why scientific knowledge should be
trusted over other kinds of knowledge including common sense, religion or even young-earth creationism.
The lectures, of course, should be listened to critically, especially
when the professors critique intelligent design (with arguments refuted by their own arguments in other lectures).
The fact that these products do not come from
Christian or creationist sources makes their refutation of scientific infallibility all the more compelling.
Many evolutionists are profoundly ignorant of the history and philosophy of science.
They are logical positivists without knowing it, assuming without warrant that science is progressive, and that
empiricism alone is sufficient and superior for understanding the world ideas that have been debunked for decades.
Learning some philosophy of science, therefore, gives you a strategic advantage in debating them.
Though challenging and requiring concentration, these lectures are highly recommended for teachers, parents,
scientists, and anyone dealing with the claims of the scientific materialists.
by Steven L. Goldman (Lehigh U), 2006.
Philosophy of Science by Jeffrey Kasser (North
Carolina State U), 2006.
Note: about once a year, any set of TC lectures goes on sale for a fraction of the list price. They can be
downloaded for MP3 players (cheapest) or ordered on CDs or DVDs with study guides. The audio versions are usually sufficient.
Fretting and fuming over the persistence of creationism (and belief in God, which usually accompanies it),
evolutionists are trying to come up with ways to combat it. This presupposes that they are not
listening to the arguments of the creationists.
Except for the undefined word dialogue by Alan Leshner (bullet 1), in none of these
cases was there a hint anywhere that the pro-evolution side was listening
to or taking seriously any of the evidences for creation or scientific criticisms of Darwinism.
- Ambassadors for Darwin: In an editorial in
Science Jan. 12,
editor Alan Leshner encouraged scientists to become ambassadors. Calling it the best of
times (in terms of the rate of new discoveries) and the worst of times (because of public
distrust of science): Perhaps worse, public skepticism and concern are increasingly
directed at scientific issues that appear to conflict with core human values and religious
beliefs or that pose conflicts with political or economic expediency,
he said. Specifically, These include embryonic stem cell research, the teaching
of evolution in schools, evidence for global climate change, and controversies over
genetically modified foods. The complex issues and tensions in the creation/evolution
issue, he said, requires a long-term commitment by scientists to public engagement, including
genuine dialogue with our fellow citizens about how we can approach their concerns
and what specific scientific findings mean. Though toned down somewhat from
last weeks war council (see Become an Evo-Warrior,
01/06/2007, bullet 3), the advice from Science
left it ambiguous whether the content of said dialogue would be bidirectional.
- Grand Canyon rapids: In the Random Samples newslets of the Jan. 12 issue of
mention was made again of Tom Vails creation book in the Grand Canyon bookstores,
Grand Canyon: A Different View that caused a furor among secular geologists three years
ago (see 01/18/2004, 10/06/2005,
09/16/2005). The group Public Employees for
Environmental Responsibility (PEER) in Washington, DC is up in arms that the book is still
sold, even after the National Park Service compromised by moving it to from the scientific section
to the inspirational section.
renewed its demand in December that the book should not
be sold at all. In addition, they issued a press release claiming that park rangers are
being agnostic about the age of the Grand Canyon, citing some kind of policy that park personnel
are not permitted to tell visitors the Grand Canyons true age of 5 million to 6 million years.
The National Park service emphatically denies this charge, Science reported
(see PDF of statement)
and defends its decision on book sales, saying Our job is not to convince the public how to think.
- Creationism a conservative plot, or evolutionism a liberal plot? In a letter to the editor in the same
Jan. 12 issue of Science,
Allan Mazur, a member of the Public Affairs Program at Syracuse U, confirmed an earlier article
hinting that American views on evolution may be related to political liberalism and conservatism.
Mazur cited polls that show correlated disbelief in evolution with political conservatism.
Political liberals were significantly more likely than conservatives to believe that humans evolved,
he added. Belief in evolution rises along with political liberalism, independently of control variables.
- Atheists on Attack: Casey Luskin found cause for criticism of the National Center for
Science Education (NCSE) which has defended the Flying Spaghetti Monster parody of an
intelligent designer (see Evolution News
entry for Dec. 25). As Luskin wrote for
does this endorsement include the flagrant mockery of world religions? The quotes he found
by a satirist invoking this myth go beyond the pale of light-hearted fun at the oppositions expense
and get downright ugly and intolerant, in his opinion.
The feedback Richard Buggs got in The
Guardian for defending intelligent design has a similar temperature and flavor.
- Turkish dogfight: After exposing the creation heresy in Turkey recently
Nature (Jan. 11)
seemed glad to print encouraging news from the evolutionary field. Two Germans and a Turk wrote the
journal relaying that Turks [are] fighting back against anti-evolution forces.
The teaching of evolution is not a lost cause in Turkey, they cheered. Against the discouraging
backdrop of a 25-year conservative trend, and a poll of biology and teachers saying only 47% accepted
evolution (27% of young teachers, a more disturbing statistic), Turkish scientists are
working to reverse these trends. How hard are they working? A group of graduate
students known as Evrim Caliskanlari, or hard-workers for evolution, has started
translating the University of California, Berkeleys
Understanding Evolution website into Turkish.
Apparently taking another tip from California, a non-governmental group in Turkey
has filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Education, demanding that creationism should be
removed from textbooks and evolutionary biology should be covered appropriately in the curriculum.
They are not sure how this will turn out. The ministry has responded by asserting that
darwinism is scientifically suspect using publications by the US intelligent-design
Discovery Institute for reference, they said. It goes on to claim that developed
countries are including creation-like theories in their curricula and to imply that
evolution is not compatible with Turkish culture and values. They ended by
calling on more Turkish scientists to engage the battle, to put pressure on their
academic bodies to take a pro-evolutionary position, to influence the ministry of
education and public opinion. Better late than never, they ended.
- Whose pressure? A News Focus editorial by Nigel Williams in
(Volume 17, Issue 1, 9 January 2007, Page R2, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2006.11.056) was titled
Creation pressure, but only spoke of the free packets with intelligent-design DVDs by
Illustra media sent teachers by
Science. These free materials included no coercion or pressure to use them; in fact,
by Williams own admission, the UK government condemned them as
not appropriate to support the science curriculum. Williams quoted
evolutionists were alarmed that these materials were being used in at least
59 schools: but, presumably, those teachers chose to use them of their own free will.
Williams went on about whether intelligent design is science or not, then alleged that
The DVDs were produced in America and feature figures linked to the Discovery Institute
in Seattle, a think-tank that has made concerted efforts to promote intelligent design and
insert it into high-school science lessons in the US, a claim the Discovery Institute
has repeated denied (see policy
statement). Williams then hailed the Dover decision as an event that should
have trumped ID once for all (see 12/12/2006).
Despite its title, it was hard to find any instance of pressure by creationists in Williams editorial.
The only creation pressure Williams is feeling is that of the victims tightening
their muscles on Darwins Rack. He wants them to just lie down and take their due like
the compliant penitent heretics.
Book review: Philosopher Alvin Plantinga thinks calling Dawkins book The God Delusion sophomoric
is an insult to sophomores. Read his review at
When confronted with challenges to their beliefs, the
Darwinists dig in their heels and become obstinate. They dont engage in
debate, they run to their lawyers and threaten lawsuits. They translate their
propaganda into Turkish, but dont reason about scientific evidence.
That tells you a lot.
Compare todays Darwiniacs with Charles Darwins own appeals to reason
and desire to weigh both sides of each issue. In the 1860s, evolutionists
were in the minority. Once they got power, it was like a communist takeover.
At first, communists just want seats in Parliament and a fair shake at the debate. When they get their
revolution, Parliament is quickly disbanded and the purges begin. Thats why you cant
trust the Darwinists with Big Science control. They talk science (reason, logic, evidence, impartiality) when
in the minority, but once in power, they redefine science to keep everyone else out,
make debate about alternatives unlawful, and force their indoctrination on the young.
And like under communism, a few elitists actually enjoy power while the masses suffer in silence.
Notice again that evolutionary faith is strongly correlated with political
liberalism. Thats the side of the coin that is often ignored. The
Darwinist People of Froth rush to link intelligent design and creationism to religious fundamentalism
but dont face the counter charge that evolutionism props up their political agenda
stem cells, global warming and all along with their entire progressivist world view and
So lets do a little scientific reasoning from a Darwinian perspective.
If you accept the logical rule that any self-refuting proposition is necessarily false, then
explain, in terms of natural selection, why Darwinism consistently fails to gain a majority
in a population of human organisms. Clearly, faith in evolution must have negative
survival value. It might be that the selfish genes are conspiring to keep their secret
about evolution suppressed. But then, how would anyone know this is true? Q.E.D.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
*If you are an evolutionist reading this, your only hope to regain credibility with
the majority of people who disagree with you is to engage the serious scientific criticisms of
Darwinism honestly. Using legal pressure and propaganda tactics
proves the point that the real motive behind the Darwin-only program is a
liberal-leftist political power trip. Tell the creationists and intelligent design people
and other Darwin skeptics how molecular machines evolved, why all
the major animal body plans arose without ancestors, and why the universe appears exquisitely
fine-tuned for our existence. Ostensibly it is scientific evidence that gives evolutionism the
epistemic priority to exert dominance in education and funding. Without that,
less noble motives are unmasked. While youre at it, tell us why atheistic materialism
must be the foundation for scientific reasoning when the history of science
Amphibious Assault Against Gradualism
A State of the Salamander Address was printed in PNAS recently.1
An international group of scientists looked for evolutionary ancestry and Global patterns of
diversification in the history of modern amphibians. It would seem Mr. Darwin has a bit of
frog in his throat:
The fossil record of modern amphibians (frogs, salamanders, and caecilians) provides no evidence for major extinction or radiation episodes throughout most of the Mesozoic and early Tertiary. However, long-term gradual diversification is difficult to reconcile with the sensitivity of present-day amphibian faunas to rapid ecological changes and the incidence of similar environmental perturbations in the past that have been associated with high turnover rates in other land vertebrates. To provide a comprehensive overview of the history of amphibian diversification, we constructed a phylogenetic timetree based on a multigene data set of 3.75 kb for 171 species. Our analyses reveal several episodes of accelerated amphibian diversification, which do not fit models of gradual lineage accumulation. Global turning points in the phylogenetic and ecological diversification occurred after the end-Permian mass extinction and in the late Cretaceous.... Approximately 86% of modern frog species and >81% of salamander species descended from only five ancestral lineages that produced major radiations in the late Cretaceous and early Tertiary. This proportionally late accumulation of extant lineage diversity contrasts with the long evolutionary history of amphibians but is in line with the Tertiary increase in fossil abundance toward the present.
Note: accelerated diversification can be considered a synonym for abrupt appearance for all practical
purposes. Because of its incompleteness, the fossil record of
amphibians sheds little light on the time and rate at which
modern taxa attained their current diversity, they said; ...the timing and intensity
of important macroevolutionary trends are obscured by fossil scarcity.
Molecular evidence, however,
failed to rescue Darwinian gradualism. Their charts show no clear upward trend in diversity
over time, but peaks and valleys and a sudden burst of diversification in the most recent epoch.
Our results, inferred from extant taxa, they said in conclusion, provide evidence for
substantial fluctuations in the history of amphibian net diversification
and reject the hypothesis of gradual lineage accumulation. See also the
report on New
Scientist and its discussion of exploding frogs.
1Roelants et al, Global patterns of diversification in the history of modern amphibians,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, 10.1073/pnas.0608378104c, published online before print January 9, 2007.
OK, another research project has falsified Darwins
prediction. Keep up the good work.
Are Evolutionists Converging on a Story of Vertebrates?
Next headline on:
Heres what the Linnean Society said in 1909, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Darwins Origin of Species,
about the rise of vertebrates (fish, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals):
When we return home and our friends gleefully enquire, What then has been decided as to the Origin of Vertebrates?, so far we seem to have no reply ready, except that the disputants agreed on one single point, namely that their opponents were all in the wrong.
Henry Gee, senior editor of Nature, quoted this remark by a participant at those meetings
as a foil to his optimistic conclusion in a review article,1 where he crowed,
we have come a long way since 1909.
Gee built his optimism around the reclassification of a hemichordate worm as the ancestor of
all vertebrates based on studies by Lowe et al. in the 4 Jan issue of Nature.
Yet the basis for optimism was hard to find in the body of his review.
He indicated that many issues in this long-running problem in evolutionary biology are still
only at the beginning of hopes for a solution, 98 years after the Linnean forfeit. Some clips:
In the end, his article really amounted to a brief look at one new perspective in a long-standing
debate, contingent upon results of more genomic studies.
- Molecular investigations of the origin of the dorso-ventral axis in an obscure marine invertebrate
illuminate one of the longest-running debates in evolutionary biology that over the origin of vertebrates.
- Vertebrates are so different from other creatures that discovering their origins within the animal kingdom has always been problematic. But molecular, developmental and genomic work on the sometimes obscure invertebrate relatives of vertebrates is prompting a re-evaluation of this vexed topic.
- The quest to understand the deployment of the dorso-ventral axis has been one of the most enduring themes in the study of vertebrate origins.
- This notion [a proposal by Geoffrey Saint-Hilaire in the 19th century] joined a list of seemingly eccentric theories about vertebrate origins that has been lengthening ever since.
- Lowe and colleagues work on hemichordates adds welcome perspective....
More seriously, this new perspective will prompt a reappraisal of the many peculiarities of the development of the mouth that are seen in lampreys (primitive, jawless vertebrates) and amphioxus (a primitive, non-vertebrate chordate). However, the central nervous systems of insects and chordates and indeed those of all animals that have them represent a range of solutions in which the location is governed by the BMP-Chordin axis, if not directly specified by them.
- The status of amphioxus itself has likewise been a matter of debate....
- Of course, sequencing a genome is not the same as understanding the evolution of morphological novelties. But we have come a long way since 1909....
Meanwhile, in the same issue of Nature,2 some Finnish scientists
in conjunction with the Denver Museum studied mammal teeth using a homology-free
approach (see Homology for Dummies, 05/05/2004).
Their method did not consider common ancestry, but just looked at tooth shape of
carnivores and their prey. They devised rules for categorizing tooth phenotype based primarily
on diet. It was striking to them how similar some teeth looked considering how long ago
their lineages diverged according to evolutionary theory:
Cat teeth and mouse teeth, for example, are fundamentally distinct in shape and structure as a result of independent evolutionary change over tens of millions of years. There is difficulty in establishing homology between their tooth components or in summarizing their tooth shapes, yet both carnivorans and rodents possess a comparable spectrum of dietary specializations from animals to plants. Here we introduce homology-free techniques to measure the phenotypic complexity of the three-dimensional shape of tooth crowns. In our geographic information systems (GIS) analysis of 441 teeth from 81 species of carnivorans and rodents, we show that the surface complexity of tooth crowns directly reflects the foods they consume. Moreover, the absolute values of dental complexity for individual dietary classes correspond between carnivorans and rodents, illustrating a high-level similarity between overall tooth shapes despite a lack of low-level similarity of specific tooth components. These results suggest that scale-independent forces have determined the high-level dental shape in lineages that are widely divergent in size, ecology and life history.
It seems that for teeth, regardless of evolutionary history, you are what you eat.
1Henry Gee, Developmental biology: This worm is not for turning,
445, 33-34 (4 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/445033a.
2Evans et al, High-level similarity of dentitions in carnivorans and rodents,
445, 78-81 (4 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05433.
How long do you give a scientific hypothesis time to be
established? Five years? Ten years? Has 148 been enough yet?
Darwins gangsters have been scratching their heads for over a century to put the
pieces of the vertebrate puzzle together. Despite Henry Gees confident
optimism, they are still at square one. (This same Henry Gee is an ardent foe of
Darwin critics and rarely prints their letters in his Huxley bulldog rag.)
microscopic object intelligently designed? It has no function, so it must be junk. Read the caption on
Live Science, then think about
the reasoning behind design detection.
Their failure to explain the origin of vertebrates and every other plant
and animal group did not stop the Darwinists from
celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the Origin, and the 100th year anniversary
in 1959 (a whopper of bombast, bravado and bluffing with
enough hot air to lift a tank). Now, plans are already underway
for a huge Darwin year of celebrations in 2009. Hate to rain on your parade,
fellas, but how about a little evidence that your theory fits the observational facts?
Meanwhile, science marches on without need for approaches based on
evolutionary homology. The researchers in the second paper assumed evolution,
but did not use it in their work. They did science the old-fashioned way:
measured things about teeth and related them to observable factors like what the
animals eat. Darwins tinker-fairy tales provided little practical help in their
actual work. The only influence of Darwinian thinking was a surprise effect:
Shazam, look how similar these teeth look after 65 million years of independent
evolution! Chew on that thought. Then put it where it belongs in
Next headline on:
The Perfect Shock Absorber An Amazing Feet of Design 01/10/2007
[Guest article] The wonders of the human foot should make you stand up and take notice.
The Los Angeles Times reported the findings of two professors, Edward Glaser, a podiatrist from Tennessee, and Dr. Nancy Kadel from the University of Washington.
Its ingenious, says Edward Glaser, a Tennessee podiatrist who switched professions from mechanical engineering to podiatry because of his admiration for the foots function. As a machine, its an engineering marvel.
Despite expressing wonder and awe at such magnificent design, the article soon dips into speculating about its evolutionary origins, claiming that the foot took millions of years to take shape. It cites the Laetoli footprints
and Australopithecus aferensis
as evidence of ancestral evolution.
The foot is built to walk on everything natural grassy knoll, pine needle forest floor, volcanic rock uphill and down. It is constantly balancing, changing direction and absorbing a pounding equal to 3.5 times the bodys weight, only to spring back in time for the next step.
With its 26 bones and 33 joints, the foot is a biomechanical masterpiece. Theres something wonderful about it, says Dr. Nancy Kadel, professor of orthopedics and sports medicine at the University of Washington. Its a flexible shock absorber, then its a rigid platform that propels you forward. It adapts to sand when you walk on the beach. Then you climb onto rocks to look at the tide pools, and it drapes over the rocks.
Despite the usage of the term design by Dr. Carol Frey, an assistant professor of orthopedics at UCLA, this is yet another example of evolutionists beholding exceptional design yet refusing to
acknowledge its source in an intelligent cause. The article admits, Gaps in the fossil
record dont allow for pinning down exactly when hominids stood up and walked on two feet,
so its unclear why they proceed to assert evolutionary ancestry, or why they cite Laetoli
footprints and Australopithecus aferensis as examples of foot evolution.
Does microevolution add up? How science
is done when the charlatans become the shamans, from 01/15/2004.
The Laetoli prints are clearly human footprints. They reveal essentially no difference between the
foot that made them and todays
modern foot structure. Fossils of Australopithecus (which evolutionists assert was from
about the same time frame) bear no relevance to the evolution of human feet, because whether they
walked upright is controversial, based only leg bones, not foot bones. Connecting fossil dots fails to account for
exactly how the interoperational complexity of the foot could have evolved. Ancient snapshots in time
show little or no change. How did the first modern shock-absorbing structure for upright balance
come about? Accidental mutations?
All changes would have to be drastic, perfect and simultaneous. As any podiatrist will tell you,
one little toe bone out of alignment in the structure of the foot can be very painful. That would most certainly
make any hopeful ape considering making the transition from knuckle walking to the full and upright
position stop dead in its tracks.
Next headline on:
Dreams of Planetary Oceans Dry Up
Astrobiologists like oceans. The vision of life evolving on Earth in
a primordial soup drives the quest to find liquid on other worlds. It doesnt
have to be liquid water: just liquid that stimulates the imagination with visions of exotic
life. Two solar system bodies once considered prime candidates for ocean front property,
though, have recently dried up substantially, reducing their value as astrobiological real estate.
Jupiters moon Europa remains as a prime candidate for a vast under-ice ocean that might harbor
exotic life. The other large Galilean satellites might have deep water, but its probably
too deep to encourage astrobiologists. The geysers of Enceladus might not require liquid water
(see 12/15/2006, last par.).
As waterfront real estate shrinks, the stakes for astrobiology marketing skyrocket.
- Titan: A JPL
press release painted a rosy picture for realtors looking at Titans lakefront property,
after Nature1 wrote up the scientific results of a July flyby by Cassini (see also the
comments by Christophe Sotin2). Though Sotin boasted Titans lost seas
found, those who know the history of the region must sigh over the long-lost global ocean
that was once thought to exist on this huge Saturnian moon (see Science 12/16/1983).3
In 1983, Titan expert Jonathan Lunine and team proposed that Saturns satellite Titan is
covered by an ocean one to several kilometers deep consisting mainly of ethane.
Cassini found, on the contrary, that the bulk of Titan is crisscrossed by sand dunes
Scientists are pretty sure now that the lakes,
only found between the 70th and 83rd parallel north, have some liquid in them. As to
what happened to the vast oceans of liquid ethane and methane thought to have accumulated over 4.5 billion years,
they can only speculate that it went underground or glommed onto solid particles
Cassini is incapable of directly confirming
- Mars: Few probably heard the whimper about Mars water expressed in Science
last week.4 In the heyday of early science results from the
Mars Exploration Rovers, scientists trumpeted the
possibility of extensive and persistent oceans of water in the Martian past
These days? Heres what was overheard about a nastier early Mars
at last months meetings of the American Geophysical Union (AGU):
When the Opportunity rover sent back signs of water early in martian history, the usual descriptor
was shallow salty seas. Sounded nice and cozy for any early martian life.
But at a press conference at the meeting, rover science team leader Steven Squyres of Cornell
University made a point of spelling out the teams best current understanding of early
Mars, which is much less encouraging. At the surface, this was primarily an arid
environment, he said. Only occasionally, here and there, would puddles
of salty, acidic groundwater form between dunes of salt sand. As the teams
latest paper puts it, dominantly arid, acidic, and oxidizing environmental conditions
would have posed significant challenges to the origin of life.
Best the Martian realtors can
advertise now are small, localized waterparks (12/06/2006).
1Stofan et al., The lakes of Titan,
445, 61-64 (4 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05438.
2Christophe Sotin, Planetary science: Titans lost seas found,
445, 29-30 (4 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/445029a.
3Lunine et al., Ethane Ocean on Titan,
16 December 1983: Vol. 222. no. 4629, pp. 1229 - 1230, DOI: 10.1126/science.222.4629.1229.
4Richard A. Kerr, FALL MEETING OF THE AMERICAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION:
Snapshots From the Meeting,
5 January 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5808, p. 37, DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5808.37a.
Liquid water is a rare and beautiful substance.
If you want to float your life boat, better do it here.
New Scapegoat for Your Golf Score: Evolution
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
Stanford scientists are blaming evolution for our difficulty at golf, according to
Stanford Daily. Working with rhesus monkeys, the researchers found that primate
brains are too adaptable to changing conditions to become good at a repetitive tasks.
One possible explanation for the observation is that evolution favored predators
who could improvise, as they never face an identical situation twice when hunting prey,
explained reporter Daniel Novinson. But with the D word designed used twice
by Mark Churchland, what is the message?
The nervous system was not designed to do the same thing over and over, said Churchland,
a co-author of the study, to the Washington Post. The nervous system was designed to be
flexible. You typically find yourself doing things youve never done before.
Apparently no one asked the traditional follow-up question, Who designed the designer?
Some weeks we may need a category for Stupid Evolution Quote of the Day.
Did it never cross their designed minds that a flexible nervous system is a good example
of purposeful design? Why give Charlie Chance the credit? Meanwhile, if you
hit the sand trap, blame yourself, not evolution. Golf would not have evolved.
It has negative survival value.
Non-Embryonic Stem Cells Found in Amniotic Fluid
Next headline on:
A vast source of possibly pluripotent stem cells without ethical problems has been discovered
in amniotic fluid by scientists at Wake Forest University. Ronald Green of Dartmouth is
hoping the science pans out, according to National
Geographic News. He said,
We are very much in need of ethically universal lines [of stem cells] that
anyone can use, regardless of their views on the moral status of the human embryo.
The amniotic stem cells also avoid the problem of cancerous tumors that plague embryonic stem
cells. See also reports on Baptist
Press, BBC News,
Family Research Council and
Agape Press, which
hopes Nancy Pelosi is listening two days before a Congressional vote on funding of stem cell research.
It will be interesting to watch the liberal pro-embryonic-stem cell
people respond to this announcement. So much money and momentum is behind the use of
embryos for stem cells, they are sure to find flaws in this study that help them argue that killing embryos
is still needed. Follow the money trail, as always. If this turns into a victory for
the pro-life side, remember that it is only one stem of a thorny tree. Last week, for instance,
a Nature editorial
(4 January, doi:10.1038/445001a) vacillated on chimera research (the mixing of human brain cells with
animals). The main thing holding back the editors from endorsing a full-steam-ahead attitude
was fear over a public outcry that might restrict funding.
Woodpecker Heads Absorb Shocks
Remember, nobody is banning
embryonic stem cell research with private funds. Why, though, should the public be forced to
spend their tax dollars on research many of them find objectionable? Some call the
harvesting of human embryos the moral equivalent of cannibalism, said the BBC News. As radio talk show host
likes to point out, we are all former embryos.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Pounding a tree with your head 12,000 times a day would tend to give one a headache,
but for woodpeckers, its all in a days work. How do they manage?
Corey Binns on Live
Science interviewed Ivan Schwab (UC Davis) who explained some of the specialized adaptations
in a woodpecker head: thick muscles, spring-like bones, a third eyelid, a compressible bone
in the skull, a firm outer eyeball, and a rigid brain without cerebrospinal fluid.
Along with their straight-as-an-arrow strikes at the tree, which safeguards against
head trauma, birds bodies are designed to absorb the impact, he said.
The whole bird participates in the act.
The third eyelid, for instance, closes a millisecond before impact, preventing the eyeball from popping out
as the woodpecker hammers its beak into the wood up to 20 times a second. Specialized claws
hold the bird in the vertical position, and tail feathers brace it against the trunk.
Schwab explained that without these adaptations woodpeckers would not advance. The excuse,
Not tonight, honey, Ive got a headache would quickly bring an end to the
woodpecker heritage. Either they are very tolerant of headaches or the systems work as
It was nice of Corey and Ivan to spare us evolutionary tales
in this short but fun look at a natural wonder. For a more complete look at the
wonders of woodpecker anatomy, learn from Job Martin in the delightful films
Incredible Creatures that Defy Evolution.
Mars Life With Bleached Hair
Next headline on:
Mars has hydrogen peroxide. Bombardier beetles use peroxide. So maybe the Viking
landers in 1976 didnt find life, because they didnt look for peroxide-based life.
Thats the essence of the reasoning in an Associated Press story circulating on the net
Reporter Seth Borenstein earns Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week for
relaying this thought from a researcher behind the idea that Mars life is peroxide-based:
[Dirk] Schulze-Makuch acknowledges he cant prove that Martian microbes exist,
but given the Martian environment and how evolution works, it makes sense.
To his credit, Borenstein quoted some skeptics. Other experts said the
new concept has a certain logic to it, but more work is needed before they are convinced.
Mitch Sogin [Woods Hole] went further. Hedging his bets that he is open to the possibility
of peroxide-based life, he cautioned against just-so stories about what is possible,
We need a new principle in science, especially in
astrobiology. All new ideas should be considered dumb until proven otherwise.
First corollary: all givens to a dumb idea are accessories to dumbness.
Second corollary: the dumbness of a proposition implicates dumbness in its accessory
givens. Try this out on: Given how evolution works.... it makes sense.
Is Legal Hammerlocking the Way to Win a Scientific Controversy? 01/06/2007
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
The cartoon stereotype of a scientist as an unbiased truth-seeking nerd wearing a white lab
coat is hard to reconcile with some recent events. Not that the cartoon stereotype was
ever realistic, but the row over Darwinism vs Intelligent Design (ID) shows just how biased
and unethical certain people and organizations can behave in support of their side. One would think a scientific
controversy would involve the debating of evidence in the open marketplace of ideas (another
cartoon stereotype). But what if some participants work instead to prevent their
opponents from even being heard? Is making ones opponent cry uncle a measure of
It would seem that school boards intellectually prepared to debate evolution and ID lack the fortitude or
budget to count the cost of protracted, expensive lawsuits. Is Darwinism winning by pressure, then?
John West of the
Discovery Institute, however, is encouraged by the events of 2006. In his podcast for
Dec. 25 on ID the Future,
he listed reasons to believe Darwinism is imploding and ID is making headway not the least of which
is the apparent paranoia of Darwinisms defenders.
- Georgia: Stickers gone for good: The Cobb County School District near Atlanta, Georgia
thought they had a strong case for appealing the decision of Judge Cooper, who ordered stickers in high school
biology textbooks calling for critical thinking on evolution to be removed
(05/24/2005, bullet 6). The appeals court did not rule
on the constitutionality of the stickers. Instead, it
remanded the decision back to the local court on grounds the records of the lower court were
In the meantime, though, the burden of legal proceedings and costs on the school board
grew too great. Weary from legal hassles and mounting costs, according to the
Journal-Constitution, the school said last month it was giving up. It settled with the
five parents who sued the school with backing from the ACLU, by agreeing to remove the stickers.
Not only that, they would never again apply any similar stickers, they said, and agreed to pay a third
of the plaintiffs costs: some $160,000.
The school board was not acknowledging fault by this action, as if they felt
they had done something wrong or without merit. Attorney Larry Taylor expressed his
feelings to the paper in an editorial Dec. 21 (article reprinted on Uncommon
Descent): Once again, the potent combination of a liberal judge and the deep pockets of the American Civil Liberties Union have proved too much to overcome, he said. ...This case was never about questioning evolution.
It was about making sure it was taught honestly, fairly, accurately and completely all of which the
current textbooks fail to do. Nature (4 Jan 2007) agreed that the decision was pragmatic:
The school board had a right to appeal but decided to abandon the case, in part because of rising costs.
CNN quoted the
board chairwoman saying, We faced the distraction and expense of starting all over with more
legal actions and another trial. They just wanted to get it over with and start the year with
a clean slate. Attorney Brian Fahling of the American Family Association, according to
Agape Press, regrets that the
school board buckled under pressure.
Needless to say, the pro-Darwin side is rejoicing over this capitulation.
justified the decision, and
smirked that the stickers are gone for good.
- California: Frazier Park a year later: What happened since the Frazier Mountain
High School capitulated to legal pressure in January? (01/25/2006)
In that case, also, it was not that the teacher or the school board felt that they had done anything wrong;
they were concerned over the cost of defending themselves in court. Even though they agreed in the
settlement to never again
offer a class that promotes creationism or intelligent design, the teacher had every intent of offering
her philosophy of design class again this year, because promoting
creationism was never the purpose to begin with.
Nevertheless, certain persons saw to it that it
wouldnt happen. Though the people in the communities around Frazier Park are overwhelmingly
conservative and supported the class, the only newspaper in the little mountain town is owned by a liberal pro-Darwinist.
She not only wrote articles strongly biased against intelligent design
(example), and tended to print only letters
of similar persuasion, but promoted anti-ID candidates in the school board election. As a result,
two anti-ID candidates won seatsone of them the plaintiff who had filed the lawsuit.
Ethics would demand he recuse himself over this issue because of a conflict of interest,
but because the community appears weary of the controversy, it appears unlikely it will be discussed again
any time soon.
for the pro-ID side, one of their allies, the district superintendent,
had to quit his position over charges of ethical violations unrelated to the ID controversy.
The school board is now strongly stacked against the class and it is unlikely a repeat will be attempted again
any time soon.
One pastor in the area says that the paper pushed the two anti-ID candidates ad nauseum
and reported against ID with false information and bias approaching hysteria. He said the people of
the community tend to get excited over an issue for awhile but quickly tire of it. Thus the anti-ID
minority in this small mountain town gained the momentum against the majoritynot by debate over the
issues, but over legal pressure, threats and propaganda.
- Darwins arsenals: Apparently not satisfied with their legal victories, or rather their
ability to wear down the opposition, the pro-Darwin forces are ratcheting up their battle tactics.
Science this week (Netwatch, Jan 5)
urged readers, Become an Evo Warrior. What, pray tell, is an evo-warrior?
The news item pointed to an arsenal of evolutionary info at FASEB,
the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, which contains pointers on
meeting with public officials, testifying at school board hearings, and related topics in case
your local school board tries something like Cobb County or Frazier Park did, or even if your hometown
newspaper runs an editorial in favor of intelligent design. The site has sample letters to write,
Powerpoint presentations, posters, cards and even buttons that proclaim Teach Evolution Learn Science.
- Paper victory: A congressional committee found evidence for harassment and discrimination
by the Smithsonian against Dr. Richard Sternberg, who had allowed publication of a pro-ID paper in a
Smithsonian journal (see Evolution
News). The report listed numerous examples of spying, plotting, lying, scheming and creating a hostile
environment against Dr. Sternberg by Smithsonian staff with the NCSEs help. It is unlikely those charged will suffer
any consequences of this report, however, or that many citizens will even know it exists. The
NCSE website makes no mention of the accusations against them in the report and shows no signs of changing
anything they are doing. Apparently there are no fines, penalties or legal consequences against those involvedunlike
the large legal costs faced by school boards sued by the ACLU or Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The report, headed by Republican congressman Mark Souder,
only makes recommendations to Congress about what should be done to prevent such behavior by the
Smithsonian in the future. With the new Democratically-controlled congress in session, that will
most likely not be on the agenda.
After the Darwin idol topples, were going to remember the litany of
shenanigans and intimidation
tactics of the Darwiniacs and hold it up for all to see. Philosophers
and historians of science are going to shake their heads over this one. Its hard to remember
a time when people ostensibly committed to evidence, debate, logic and reason behaved so badly.
Where is the rationality, the intellectual dignity and integrity, behind Darwin buttons and Darwin Days
and legal hammerlocks against poor local teachers who just want their student to hear both sides of one
of the biggest scientific controversies of our time? This is crazy. They dont have a
philosophical or historical leg to stand on for believing Darwins fairy tales and insisting
that people cant hear anything else.
Are Cellular Motors Related by Evolution?
Whenever the Darwiniacs
have tried to debate the evidence in a fair exchange they have almost always walked away with
dodo droppings on their heads. No wonder they are
paranoid. Notice that nothing in the Darwin Partys reaction deals with scientific evidence.
Its all about strategizing to silence anyone who opposes them. If they can only win by
threatening with their ACLU attack dogs and silly propaganda games, how can they look at themselves
in the mirror? The evidence, meanwhile, marches on
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Just because two things go round and round, does that make them related by common ancestry?
A Japanese team thinks so.
A bacterial flagellum rotates
(06/04/2002). So does ATP synthase, though it is about 10 times smaller
Publishing in PNAS,1 these researchers looked for a relationship, and noted that these
two motors bear some structural similarities. Also, the Type III Secretion System (TTSS) seems
involved in this evolutionary family. These results imply an evolutionary relation between
the flagellum and F0F1-ATPsynthase and a similarity in the mechanism between
FliI and F1-ATPase despite the apparently different functions of these proteins,
1Imada, Minamino, Tahara and Namba, Structural similarity between the flagellar type
III ATPase FliI and F1-ATPase subunits,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, 10.1073/pnas.0608090104, published online before print January 3, 2007.
Sad to see these researchers, who do great work on
understanding cellular motors, be drawn into the dork side of the farce.
Their argument seems based strictly on structural similarity. This represents a very
weak understanding of homology (05/05/2004)
and cannot hold up under scrutiny.
SETI: A Systematic Theology
According to Darwinian theory, each random variation or mutation can only
be selected if it has survival value. In the first place, not all bacteria have
flagella or TTSS systems, so the evolutionary need for them seems doubtful. More
importantly, how could you go from a working motor to one ten times larger in a
stepwise fashion? Imagine evolving a dump truck from a motorcycle. Lets
say that the next generation has a lucky mutation on the way to our goala
piston ten times larger. But now it doesnt fit the cylinder! The
motorcycle is broken, and stops working. Being useless to the motorcycle, it
rapidly finds its way to the junkyard.
The laws of natural selection are very demanding. Unless each small
step aids survival, it cannot be selected. (Were assuming here, too, that
you hadnt yet heard that neo-Darwinism has already been falsified, so none of this
matters anywaysee 12/14/2006). All
the parts of the ATP-synthase motor and the flagellar motor are not only necessary,
they are fitted together to each others specifications. Whats more,
the genetic code also has to assemble all these parts in the right order, in the right
location, or they wont work. In other words, you cant get from the
motorcycle to the dump truck in a series of chance mutations, nor can you get from
ATP synthase to a flagellum, or vice versa.
For these scientists, therefore, to presume for a moment that the two motors are related just because
some parts of the ATP-synthase bear some structural resemblance to the parts of the flagellum,
like motorcycle to the dump truck, admitting as they do that they have different functions,
is ludicrous. They must realize this. They work as close as anyone to the paragon of
molecular machines (10/07/2006).
They appreciate their complexity
(11/02/2005). Is this paper their annual pinch of incense to Charlie so that
they can keep their jobs? We need scientists with the courage to tell the truth:
complex interacting systems do not arise by chance.
Next headline on:
Thick books on systematic theology usually include sections about creation, anthropology, and
eschatology. Those sections are also present in condensed form in an article by
Adrian Brown of the SETI Institute at
As for origins, Darwinian materialism was implicit passim and needed no elaboration.
As for anthropology, he said man is like a god, creating beings in his own image by
his own free will: A compelling theme in science fiction
is the potential of humanity to create life and the hazards arising from such an endeavor.
As for eschatology, he suggested that our robotic creations will someday evolve to make us superfluous;
once robots destroy mankind, they will be able to live on without us.
If we can play god, so much for our eternality and omnipotence.
Though Brown admitted it is fraught with danger to tell stories about the future
to help make our decisions now, he allowed himself some imaginings
about a timeline where humankind creates life and is destroyed by its creation.
Our consolation will be to have been a part of the grand scheme of evolution:
Is this inherently bad? It certainly is not a reassuring future for the generation that
will deal with such conflict, presumably a generation that will live not far from today.
But once the conflict is over, as long as we have invested in our creation the means of
Darwinian evolution, it is likely that Earth, viewed as a complete ecosystem, will continue
marching towards further technological achievement and eco-systemic enlightenment.
Humankind will have played a heroic part in this adventure. Even robots (perhaps
especially robots) will have to acknowledge that. Our lives will have meaning
through our progeny, a common enough goal for everyday man.
He did not consider the possibility that the robots, as in 1984, will have written
the memory of humans out of their history books. Oh well, we will have been extinct
too long a time by then to care. Better this scenario than vanishing like smoke on a
burning cinder of Earth after the sun goes out, he surmises.
Can a Darwinian be the Intelligent Designer? Do we have a choice, assuming
that evolution is propelling us in that direction?
Let Brown comment on those teasers, and their corollaries:
Often the essential conflict for humans considering whether to produce intelligent life is:
are we perfect enough to consider playing God? It certainly is an achingly
poignant question to a modern progressive thinkerbut perhaps the question is moot.
Maybe machine life is inevitable in order that Darwinian evolution should continue on Earth.
Whether it is through humanitys loins or through humanities laboratories that
Darwins game is progressed may not matter. Indeed, if humans gradually augment
themselves with technology of their own creation in the coming centuries, will we fully
realise when machines have taken over? What will it be about a robot with
a few original Homo sapien brain cells that makes it human?
It seems odd that a SETI researcher would be talking about such theological matters. The relevance to SETI,
he ends, is that our alien friends may already be at that stage, and this affects what we should be looking
for. We need to realize the possibility that
when we make contact with alien beings, they may be the robotic progeny of beings similar
to ourselves. What an astonishing thought; they might be watching, but
thinking we are not yet evolved enough to be worth their fellowship. Is it possible
they are waiting for us to be smart enough to construct a robot that can talk to them?
Sure; anything is possible in Fantasyland.
There could be monsters under the bed. We could be software artifacts in the Matrix.
Or you can wish upon a star, and all your dreams come true. Your robot progeny live happily
ever after. When people give free rein to the imaginations of their own hearts, miracles can happen.
Evolution can be progressive, and we can be as gods! (at least till the heat death of the universe).
Article: What Hath Galileo Wrought?
Boy, what a weird dream. OK, time to
get up and go back to work. Wise people dont make decisions
in the daytime about their nightmares at night. Adrian, while staring at your console
today, good luck finding a persistent narrowband whistle.
If you luck out, wed love to hear your rational explanation of how it is not the work of
intelligent design (12/03/2005, 02/16/2006)
and why SETI doesnt stand for Seminary for Extra-Terrestrial Imaginings
Be sure youre wide awake when you answer, because we can tell when youre doing
science and when youre daydreaming.
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
For the PhysicsWeb site,
philosopher and historian Robert B. Crease (State U of NY at Stony Brook) wrote a
Critical Point article called The Book of Nature.
He discusses Galileos contention that there is a Book of Nature separate from
the Book of Scripture that can be investigated on its own through the language of
mathematics. What are the ramifications, and dangers, of this approach?
What impact do metaphors have on assumptions about the nature of science?
(See also the 07/04/2003 entry, Metaphors
This well-written and thoughtful short piece needs
little comment. Take a moment to read Dr. Creases penetrating analysis of
the consequences of ideas that are often taken for granted.
he was helping the church by segregating scientific interpretation from the Bible,
but did it lead to a kind of secular priesthood of science? While we do not
endorse his statements entirely, they are worth considering, and you can draw your
own conclusions. Its interesting that this nearly-theological piece
appeared on a site devoted to news about physics.
Presto! A superfast motorized amplifier in your inner ear, from
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Bible and Theology
This Bacterium Moves Like a Tank
Mark McBride (U of Wisconsin) has been trying for a decade to figure out how a gliding
bacterium glides. His conclusion: the microbe has tire treads like a conveyor belt that
make it roll over a variety of surfaces, like an all-terrain vehicle.
According to a U of
Wisconsin press release, the Department of Energy (DOE) is interested in this bacterium, Cytophaga hutchinsonii,
because it can digest paper and other forest by-products. This is the first step in converting
biomaterial into ethanol, to use as fuel.
Of the cells parts list,
McBride identified 24 genes involved in its gliding motility. He attached
tiny latex spheres to the cell surface and then watched them move in all directions.
The cell wall appears to have a series of moving conveyer belts, he said.
He described these nearly invisible filaments as like tire treads, designed to help the organism
move over a variety of surfaces, like an all-terrain vehicle. He believes these
structures also convey cellulose into the interior of the cell, toward specialized organelles
that digest it.
Figuring out how this cell digests cellulose is still a work in progress.
Unlike other bacteria that know the trick, this one may use either a novel strategy or novel enzymes.
The Department of Energy is interested in this research. It may help our energy-hungry civilization
find other renewable materials that will be cost-effective alternatives, such as paper pulp,
sawdust, straw and grain hulls.
What really intrigues McBride about his research on
C. hutchinsonii, though, is what makes it go. He and his students have been comparing it with
another gliding bug, Flavobacterium johnsoniae, that although not closely related,
may use the same basic machinery to move. How different are these two?
McBride claimed, You are more closely related to a fruit fly than these two organisms are to each other.
Question: how much did evolutionary theory contribute to
this decade-long science project? Apparently, none. The press release said
nothing about evolution, but quoted the professor using a forbidden word to describe the
structures he found:
They are designed to help the organism move over a variety of surfaces,
like an all-terrain vehicle. Have you ever seen an ATV that emerged by evolution?
How about two that arrived at the same engineering solution independently, with nothing but
mutations for information input?
Precambrian Pods Promoted to Pleistocene (!)
A mousetrap only takes 5 parts to be considered irreducibly complex;
here is one system in one cell that requires 24 parts. When any one of them was missing,
the bacterium was stuck at a standstill.
From one of his comments, McBride apparently believes in evolution, but his research
method assumes intelligent design and proceeds without Charlies superfluous counsel.
As a benefit of this teams persistent efforts for more than ten years to understand how these
microscopic ATVs work, we may some day be able to fill our car gas tanks with the output of
Could we see the world at the bacterial level, we would be astonished at
the engineering. Animators could have fun depicting these microscopic
tanks appearing over the horizon, consuming all the cellulose in their path.
What kind of sound track would go with such a scene? Imagine the crescendo
to a climax when each machine divides into two working copies. Lets see
military engineers try to duplicate that feat with just wood chips for fuel.
Next headline on:
The bulletin of the Geological Society of America started 2007 with a bang. (Geeks sometimes refer to the
exclamation point as a bang.) Its not often one sees an exclamation
point in the title of a scientific paper, but the bang in one by Donald R. Lowe (Stanford)
and Gary R. Byerly (Louisiana State)1 conveys something of the shock and awe they must have
felt when they had to reclassify a rock formation from one end of the geologic column to the other:
Irregular bodies of goethite and hematite, termed ironstone pods, in the Barberton greenstone belt,
South Africa, have been previously interpreted as the Earths most ancient submarine hydrothermal vent
deposits and have yielded putative evidence about Archean hydrothermal systems, ocean composition
and temperature, and early life. This report summarizes geologic, sedimentological, and
petrographic evidence from three widely separated areas showing that the ironstone was deposited on and
directly below the modern ground surface by active groundwater and spring systems, probably during periods
of higher rainfall in the Pleistocene....
These deposits represent a remarkable iron oxide-depositing Quaternary hydrologic system
but provide no information about conditions or life on the early Earth.
Moving the earliest rocks on Earth to modern times
is thus cause for a bang: Ironstone bodies of the Barberton greenstone belt, South Africa:
Products of a Cenozoic hydrological system, not Archean hydrothermal vents!
The prior accepted date for the Barberton deposits was about 3.55 billion years. The Pleistocene
epoch is assumed to have begun about 1.8 million years ago. This means the new date (within the
evolutionary geologic timetable) is, at most, 0.6% of the old date.
1 Lowe DR, and Byerly GR (2007), Ironstone bodies of the Barberton greenstone belt,
South Africa: Products of a Cenozoic hydrological system, not Archean hydrothermal vents!
January 2007, Vol. 119, No. 1 pp. 65-87, DOI: 10.1130/B25997.1.
Astronomy (10/01/2006, 01/16/2001),
geology (11/13/2006, 08/08/2006,
and evolutionary biology (12/13/2006)
are some of the only fields where you can be over 99% wrong and still keep
your job. Is there no accountability for the geologists who claimed these rocks
were Archean? Does this give us any confidence that the current dating method
is the final word? Notice how geologists and evolutionists could point to these rocks
and weave their stories about ancient primitive life on the planet, only to find out the rocks
are so recent, they could be forming today! (That deserved another bang.)
Fitness for dummies, from 10/29/2002.
Other articles in this months Geology and
GSA Bulletin continue to propound dates for various formations with the same
brazen aplomb with which geologists had told us the Barberton greenstones were billions
of years old. Let this be a lesson to our astute readership, because the geologists and
evolutionists are apparently not learning theirs.
Reader Research Project: Someone should do a literature search on this South African
formation and see how the evolutionists have used it in their tales about early life on the
planet, now that we know These deposits ... provide no information about conditions or life
on the early Earth. (Heres one example from the
AGU found quickly on
Google, and another on
glibly claiming these are 3.55 billion years old.) Look for the dating methods that were used to claim they were
ancient. Search especially for how the truth of their old age was presented to
students. For an advanced project, someone should follow this story and see if
there are any retractions as a result. If you find anything interesting, send it in and we
will post it.
Next headline on:
Human Endurance: Is It Evolutionary?
Some people are gluttons for punishment. Many a couch potato is probably content to watch
an Ironman or Ultramarathon on HDTV from a recliner, but the ones who take part in the grueling
endurance contests gaining popularity illustrate some human capabilities scientists
are only beginning to understand. Nature1 described one called the Primal Quest adventure race:
Trek 125 kilometres, and cycle 250 more. Kayak 131, rappel through canyons for another 97,
and swim 13 in churning whitewater. Throw in some horseback riding and rock climbing;
spread it all over six days in the blistering Utah heat; and never stop to sleep.
Only some contestants complete this adventure torture but the fact anybody does has
attracted the attention of physiologists. Participants burn more calories than can be
replaced by food. Some scientists focus on the chemistry of fat metabolism for answers;
others look at genetics. Still others think the explanation is in the minds of the winners,
not their physiques. One researcher did not think the bodies of ultraracers are significantly
different from those of other active people. The brain is the oft-overlooked organ that sets ultraracers
apart, he said; they are mental freaks, not physiological ones.
Freaks or not, ultraracers carry out feats that push their physical abilities
to the limit and seemingly beyond. Evolutionists look to something in human ancestry to
explain abilities only a few today are using.
But even couch potatoes may have something of the endurance racer in them. Daniel Lieberman,
a biological anthropologist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, argues that the human
body is well-adapted to long-distance running, as an evolutionary hangover from our
hunting and scavenging days. Ultraendurance racers are able to be freaks because
evolution has enabled us, he says. A body capable of jogging tens of kilometres at
a time helped our ancestors survive, he says. Fuelled by plentiful water, energy bars
and yet more training, that body can complete the 90 or more kilometres of an ultramarathon.
The article ended with an anecdote about one researcher who joined them to study them.
If this is true, then many of those who study ultraendurance racers have also embraced
their evolutionary past, reporter Helen Pearson remarked. A
five of the most notorious international competitions.
1Helen Pearson, Physiology: Freaks of nature?,
444, 1000-1001 (21 December 2006) | doi:10.1038/4441000a.
It was Lieberman who dazzled us in the
11/18/2004 entry about human endurance running.
This would be a good time to re-read that fascinating article that explained how unique it is in the
animal kingdom, and how many physiological adaptations have to work together to make it
possible. The myth that all these remarkable traits converged in humans so that
they could hunt and scavenge better takes great faith. No other animal requires
swimming, cycling, kayaking, trekking and running for six days in Utah heat to catch a
meal, leastwise our chimpanzee brethren who were supposedly evolving alongside us in
Africa in the same environment (09/01/2005).
The widespread phenomenon of overdesign, beyond what would be expected for mere survival,
is a major problem in quantitative evolutionary design (see
The evolution of the couch potato lifestyle would be much easier to explain.
At least there is a known physical law behind it: entropy.
2006: A Year of Evolution Inaction 01/01/2007
As usual, Darwinian evolution is just a mythoid attached to the observational facts of the
phenomenon, and contributes nothing to our understanding. The science of human physiology has
long prospered by viewing the body as a paragon of design. If the body was created, then
any attempt to embrace ones evolutionary past is tantamount to hallucinating.
Lieberman is right about one thing;
he and his fellow evolutionists have an evolutionary hangover. Dar-wine has a
deleterious effect on a researchers cognitive and logical faculties. Suggested New Years
resolution: kick the habit and sober up.
Next headline on:
followed the suit of other commentators and comedians in reviewing the year 2006. In terms of evolution,
these finds/observations were highlighted:
When researchers introduced a larger, predatory lizard onto the tiny Caribbean
islands where they live, A. Sagrei immediately began to evolve longer legs for speedier escapes.
But then the little lizards learned to flee into the branches of shrubs, where the predator could not follow
and within six months evolution had changed tack again to favour shorter-legged lizards, which are
The article went on to describe a case of butterfly hybridization, and concluded with a mention of
evolutionary misfires: i.e., failed speciations that reverted to the original type.
If this is all evolutionists can boast for the year 2006, it has clearly not been
a good year for them. Fossils such as Tiktaalik from early 2006 were not included because they were
looking for actual cases of speciation. A. Sagrei is, once again, evidence of microevolution;
no new organs or genes indicating increased complexity were involved. As New Scientist ruefully acknowledged,
the lizard story is small beer compared with the hard stuff of evolution: making new species.
The only new species of butterfly documented was merely a hybrid between two existing species of butterflies.
The concluding misfires were non-events as well; they were not misfires, they were failures. In 2006,
biologists trying to document evolution in action have only documented their own inaction.
Next headline on:
Scientist of the Month
Click on Apollos, the trusty|
|Guide to Evolution
What an absolutely brilliant website you have. Its hard to express how uplifting it is for me
to stumble across something of such high quality.
(a pharmacologist in Michigan)
I want to make a brief commendation in passing of the outstanding job you did in rebutting the
thinking on the article: Evolution of Electrical Engineering
... What a rebuttal to end all rebuttals, unanswerable,
inspiring, and so noteworthy that was. Thanks for the effort and research you put into it.
I wish this answer could be posted in every church, synagogue, secondary school, and college/university...,
and needless to say scientific laboratories.
(a reader in Florida)
You provide a great service with your thorough coverage of news stories relating to the creation-evolution controversy.
(an elder of a Christian church in Salt Lake City)
I really enjoy your website and have made it my home page so I can check on your latest articles.
I am amazed at the diversity of topics you address. I tell everyone I can about your site and encourage them to
check it frequently.
(a business owner in Salt Lake City)
Ive been a regular reader of CEH for about nine month now, and I look forward to each new posting.... I enjoy the information CEH gleans from current events in science and hope you keep the service going.
(a mechanical engineer in Utah)
It took six years of constant study of evolution to overcome the indoctrination found in public schools of my youth. I now rely on your site; it helps me to see the work of God where I could not see it before and to find miracles where there was only mystery. Your site is a daily devotional that I go to once a day and recommend to everyone. I am still susceptible to the wiles of fake science and I need the fellowship of your site; such information is rarely found in a church.
Now my eyes see the stars God made and the life He designed and I feel the rumblings of joy as promised. When I feel down or worried my solution is to praise God the Creator Of All That Is, and my concerns drain away while peace and joy fill the void. This is something I could not do when I did not know (know: a clear and accurate perception of truth) God as Creator. I could go on and on about the difference knowing our Creator has made, but I believe you understand.
I tell everyone that gives me an opening about your site. God is working through you. Please dont stop telling us how to see the lies or leading us in celebrating the truth. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
(a renowned artist in Wyoming)
I discovered your site a few months ago and it has become essential reading via RSS to
(a cartographer and GIS analyst in New Zealand)
I love your site, and frequently visit to read both explanations of news reports,
and your humor about Bonny Saint Charlie.
(a nuclear safety engineer in Washington)
Your site is wonderful.
(a senior staff scientist, retired, from Arizona)
Ive told many people about your site. Its a tremendous service to
science news junkies not to mention students of both Christianity and
(a meteorology research scientist in Alabama)
...let me thank you for your Creation-Evolution Headlines. Ive been an avid reader of it since I first discovered your website about five years ago. May I also express my admiration for the speed with which your articles appearoften within 24 hours of a particular news announcement or journal article being published.
(a plant physiologist and prominent creation writer in Australia)
How do you guys do it--reviewing so much relevant material every day and writing incisive,
(a retired high school biology teacher in New Jersey)
Your site is one of the best out there! I really love reading your articles on creation evolution
headlines and visit this section almost daily.
(a webmaster in the Netherlands)
Keep it up! Ive been hitting your site daily (or more...).
I sure hope you get a mountain of encouraging email, you deserve it.
(a small business owner in Oregon)
Great work! May your tribe increase!!!
(a former Marxist, now ID speaker in Brazil)
You are the best. Thank you.
Congratulations for the 6th Anniversary. The work you do is very important.
Please dont ever give up. God bless the whole team.
(an engineer and computer consultant in Virginia)
I really appreciate your work in this topic, so you should never stop doing what you do,
cause you have a lot of readers out there, even in small countries in Europe, like Slovenia
is... I use crev.info for all my signatures on Internet forums etc., it really is fantastic site,
the best site! You see, we(your pleased readers) exist all over the world, so you must be
doing great work! Well i hope you have understand my bad english.
(a biology student in Slovenia)
Thanks for your time, effort, expertise, and humor. As a public school biology teacher I
peruse your site constantly for new information that will challenge evolutionary belief and share much
of what I learn with my students. Your site is pounding a huge dent in evolutions supposed
solid exterior. Keep it up.
(a biology teacher in the eastern USA)
Several years ago, I became aware of your Creation-Evolution Headlines web site.
For several years now, it has been one of my favorite internet sites. I many times check your
website first, before going on to check the secular news and other creation web sites.
I continue to be impressed with your writing and research skills, your humor,
and your technical and scientific knowledge and understanding. Your ability to cut through
the inconsequentials and zero in on the principle issues is one of the characteristics that
is a valuable asset....
I commend you for the completeness and thoroughness with which you provide
coverage of the issues. You obviously spend a great deal of time on this work.
It is apparent in ever so many ways.
Also, your background topics of logic and propaganda techniques have been useful
as classroom aides, helping others to learn to use their baloney detectors.
Through the years, I have directed many to your site. For their sake and mine,
I hope you will be able to continue providing this very important, very much needed, educational,
humorous, thought provoking work.
(an engineer in Missouri)
I am so glad I found your site. I love reading short blurbs about recent discoveries, etc,
and your commentary often highlights that the discovery can be interpreted in two differing ways,
and usually with the pro-God/Design viewpoint making more sense. Its such a refreshing difference
from the usual media spin. Often youll have a story up along with comment before the masses
even know about the story yet.
(a system administrator in Texas, who calls CEH the UnSpin Zone)
You are indeed the Rush Limbaugh Truth Detector of science falsely so-called.
Keep up the excellent work.
(a safety director in Michigan)
Just wanted to drop you a line to congratulate you on the 6th anniversary of Creation-Evolution headlines,
and to thank you once again for the laborious but necessary work that you do. I know of no better way to stay
informed with current scientific research than to read your site everyday, which in turn has helped me understand
many of the concepts not in my area (particle physics) and which I hear about in school or in the media.
Also, I just love the commentaries and the baloney detecting!!
(a grad student in particle physics)
I thank you for your ministry. May God bless you! You are doing great job effectively
exposing pagan lie of evolution. Among all known to me creation ministries [well-known organizations listed]
Creationsafaris stands unique thanks to qualitative survey and analysis of scientific publications and news.
I became permanent reader ever since discovered your site half a year ago. Moreover your ministry is
effective tool for intensive and deep education for cristians.
(a webmaster in Ukraine, seeking permission to translate CEH articles into Russian to reach
countries across the former Soviet Union)
The scholarship of the editors is unquestionable. The objectivity of the editors is
admirable in face of all the unfounded claims of evolutionists and Darwinists. The amount
of new data available each day on the site is phenomenal (I cant wait to see the next new
article each time I log on). Most importantly, the TRUTH is always and forever the primary
goal of the people who run this website. Thank you so very much for 6 years of consistent
dedication to the TRUTH.
(11 months earlier): 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 medical doctor in Oklahoma)
Thanks for the showing courage in marching against a popular unproven unscientific belief system.
I dont think I missed 1 article in the past couple of years.
(a manufacturing engineer in Australia)
I do not know and cannot imagine how much time you must spend to read, research and
compile your analysis of current findings in almost every area of science. But I do know
I thank you for it.
(a practice administrator in Maryland)
Since finding your insightful comments some 18 or more months ago, Ive
visited your site daily.... You
so very adeptly and adroitly undress the emperor daily; so much so one
wonders if he might not soon catch cold and fall ill off his throne! ....
To you I wish much continued success and many more years of fun and
frolicking undoing the damage taxpayers are forced to fund through
unending story spinning by ideologically biased scientists.
(an investment advisor in Missouri)
I really like your articles. You do a fabulous job of cutting through
the double-talk and exposing the real issues. Thank you for your hard
work and diligence.
(an engineer in Texas)
I love your site. Found it about maybe
two years ago and I read it every day. I love the closing comments in
green. You have a real knack for exposing the toothless claims of the
evolutionists. Your comments are very helpful for many us who dont know
enough to respond to their claims. Thanks for your good work and keep it
(a missionary in Japan)
Congratulations on the 6th anniversary! I just thought Id write and
tell you how much I appreciate your headline list and commentary. Its
inspired a lot of thought and consideration. I check your listings every day!
(a computer programmer in Tulsa)
Just wanted to thank you for your creation/evolution news ... an outstanding educational
resource ... plus congratulations on your 6th anniversary, I wish you many more years of successful
(director of a consulting company in Australia)
Your insights ... been some of the most helpful not surprising considering the caliber of
your most-excellent website! Im serious, ..., your website has to be the
best creation website out there....
(a biologist and science writer in southern California)
I first learned of your web site on March 29.... Your site has far exceeded my expectations and is
consulted daily for the latest. I join with other readers in praising your time and energy spent to educate,
illuminate, expose errors.... The links are a great help in understanding the news items.
The archival structure is marvelous.... Your site brings back dignity to Science conducted as it
should be. Best regards for your continuing work and influence. Lives are being changed and
sustained every day.
(a manufacturing quality engineer in Mississippi)
I wrote you over three years ago letting you know how much I enjoyed your Creation-Evolution headlines,
as well as your Creation Safaris site. I stated then that I read your headlines and commentary every day,
and that is still true! My interest in many sites has come and gone over the years, but your site is
still at the top of my list! I am so thankful that you take the time to read and analyze some of the
scientific journals out there; which I dont have the time to read myself. Your commentary is very,
very much appreciated.
(a hike leader and nature-lover in Ontario, Canada)
...just wanted to say how much I admire your site and your writing.
Youre very insightful and have quite a broad range of knowledge.
Anyway, just wanted to say that I am a big fan!
(a PhD biochemist at a major university)
I love your site and syndicate your content on my church website....
The stories you highlight show the irrelevancy
of evolutionary theory and that evolutionists have perpetual foot and
mouth disease; doing a great job of discrediting themselves. Keep up
the good work.
(a database administrator and CEH junkie in California)
I cant tell you how much I enjoy your article reviews on your
websiteits a HUGE asset!
(a lawyer in Washington)
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)
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 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 youre 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 system 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. Ive 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 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 January
Sir David Brewster
1781 - 1868
The man who invented the kaleidoscope and was a leading physicist
in Britain and one of the founders of the British Association for the Advancement
of Science was a born-again Christian and opponent of Darwinism.
David Brewster, a
gentleman scientist, born 10 years before Michael Faraday, resembled his famous younger
contemporary in many ways. He was considered the greatest living experimental
physicist in his time, yet was largely self-taught and born of humble means.
He learned science as a teen from James Veitch, an ordinary plowman who had taught
himself astronomy, mathematics and philosophy and had garnered a notable following
from his inventions. For decades, Brewster designed his experiments using
simple throwaway items like bottles and pieces of wire.
Also like Faraday,
Brewster never was financially secure till well into his senior years, despite numerous
inventions that could have made him a wealthy man. He eschewed personal glory,
seeking instead to find what was interesting in each person he met. It was not
scientific education and science degrees that made David Brewster one of the great scientists of the days
before Darwin (and like Darwin, Brewsters only degrees were in theology). It was
hands-on experience, enthusiasm, diligence and love for Gods creation. An observer
once watched Brewster in the lab every few minutes leaning back with his hands stretched upward
exclaiming, Good God! Good God! How marvellous are Thy works!
The kaleidoscope, one of Brewsters clever optical inventions, became a huge fad.
Hundreds of thousands of these beautiful forms for seeing (from the meaning of
the name) were sold all over Europe. Sadly, Brewster never got much income from these curiosities,
though he needed the money for his wife and four children. Patent laws at the time
were insufficient to guard against piracy. Brewster watched helplessly as others
profited enormously from his stolen (and poorly imitated) invention. Kaleidoscopes remain
popular to this day; who can resist the geometric patterns formed from the reflection of random
bits of glass? Other contributions to optical home entertainment that sprung from Brewsters
creative genius included improvements to photography and stereoscopes. He also wrote about
optical illusions and was fascinated with the optical properties of soap bubbles.
Brewsters work in optics had much more scientific value than as mere toys, though.
For instance, he is considered the father of optical mineralogy. This discipline allows specialists to identify
minerals by their properties with light. He even invented a new tool, the lithoscope, for this purpose.
Another of his inventions probably has saved countless lives at sea. He invented the dioptric system for
lighthousesan advancement that produced a much more focused, planar beam that could be seen at much
greater distances. These lenses were adopted widely, such that his successor at St. Andrews
University remarked, Every lighthouse that burns round the shores of the British empire is a shining
witness to the usefulness of Brewsters life. (The Fresnel lens, developed independently
in France, operates on similar principles). Brewster discovered fundamental properties
about polarization, double refraction, color, emission and absorption lines in spectra,
photography, and the structure of the eye. He considered the eye the pinnacle
of Gods natural creation. He wrote,
Although every part of the human frame has
been fashioned by the same Divine hand and exhibits the most marvellous and beneficent
adaptions for the use of men, the human eye stands pre-eminent above them all as the light
of the body and the organ by which we become acquainted with the minutest and the nearest,
the largest and most remote of the Creators work.
Sir David Brewster published over 1,000 articles, including 314 scientific
papers. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society and received most of its
medals. Though his only earned degree was in theology, he received many honorary degrees
for his scientific work. Of these he mostly valued an honorary MD German scientists
had awarded him for his work to find a cure for cataracts. Sir David Brewster was knighted
by the king at age 50, having done his most significant work in his thirties. At age 56,
he was elected president of St. Andrews University in Scotland,
where he served for 21 years.
Concerned over the decline of science in Britain, he helped found the British Association for
the Advancement of Science in 1831. In 1851, he was elected president.
By the late 19th century the British Association had turned into a pro-Darwin force, but not in its
early years. Brewster resisted the rise of Darwinism and encouraged others to
take a strong stand against it. In fact, in 1851 he had found an object that should have falsified
the belief in millions of years gaining popularity at the time: a nail embedded in
a rock freshly taken out of a quarry. Clearly, this human artifact could not be more
than thousands of years old, he argued; but the scientific world ignored it, and embraced
the long-age evolutionary views of Lyell and Darwin.
Brewster remained stalwart against the Darwinian tide. When challenged about his religious faith,
Brewster proudly showed a list of 717 scientists who had signed
a statement affirming the priority of Gods Word over the changing opinions of
science. This document urged students not to be hasty to trust in the word of man over Scripture
when contradictions were alleged. It was impossible for Gods created world
and His revealed Word to disagree, the document stated, and priority should be given to
Gods word over the fallible and ever-changing opinions of man.
Brewsters contributions to a Christian philosophy of science, and to church history,
are no less significant than his scientific discoveries. As an early editor of the
fledgling Encyclopedia of Edinburgh, he wrote 40 of its articles himself. As a pre-teen,
he followed his fathers wishes to study for the ministry. Entering the University
of Edinburgh at 12, he completed his masters degree at 19. He was not cut out to
be a preacher, though, and he knew it; he was too shy as a speaker. Nevertheless, he
had many Christian associates and friends.
One episode contributed incidentally yet significantly to the Scottish Free Church movement.
While editing the encyclopedia, Brewster asked his friend and colleague Thomas
Chalmers, a mathematician, to write the article on Christianity. It was through researching this article
that Chalmers awakened to the truths of the gospel. Chalmers became a historic leader of the
Scottish Presbyterian Church, and later, a leader in the Free Church movement. This was no easy
break. It meant giving up centuries of encrusted traditions and foregoing the financial gain and prestige
of their positions in the established church. Counting the cost, 470 men, a third of the pastors
of the Scottish Presbyterian Church, bravely and willingly
signed their names in 1843 to a document committing
their lives to follow Christ and the purity of the Scriptures. Brewster joined them (he was now 62
years old. It nearly cost him his position at St. Andrews. The public rallied to his support,
so he was able to remain another 15 years.
Though Brewster believed in God and the Scriptures all his life, his faith did not become
personal and real to him till his senior years. Most of what he believed had been a collection
of intellectual convictions. Only after the death of his wife after 40 years of marriage
did he struggle to understand
the meaning of Christs death on the cross for him personally. This point should be noted
by creationists and by those in the intelligent design movement. Just knowing there is a Creator is not
the same as knowing the Creator personally. Facts are not enough. Each person must take
the step beyond the evidence to trust in the Person to whom the evidence points.
Brewster was intellectually convinced of the truth of the Bible and the divinity of Christ, he had a contentious and argumentative
streak. The work of the Holy Spirit was not evident in his life. After diligent study of
the Scriptures in his sorrow over his bereavement, he understood that he needed to trust the death and
resurrection of Christ alone for his salvation: not his science, not his fame, not his intellectual
knowledge. As each pilgrim must do to enter the door of salvation, he confessed his sin personally
and gave his life unreservedly and
completely to Christ. Only then did real evidence of regeneration begin. He grew less opinionated
and more gracious, more peaceful and contented. The last years of his life were characterized by
dynamic and confident faith and infectious love for Jesus Christ, his personal Lord and Savior.
One conviction remained constant throughout his 86-year life: the harmony of science and Scripture as means to
know God. Brewster denied there were contradictions between the two. When confronted with
alleged contradictions, he argued for the deficiency of science, not the Bible; any discrepancy was due
to imperfect understanding or faulty interpretation, not the trustworthiness of Gods Word.
On his deathbed, he lamented the growing skepticism among men of science. Few received the truth
of Jesus, he said. But why? It was the pride of intellectstraining
to be wise above what is written; it forgets its own limits, and steps out of its province.
How little the wisest of mortals knewof anything! How preposterous for worms to
think of fathoming the counsels of the Almighty! Looking ahead to his earthly end,
he said, I shall see Jesus, who created all things; Jesus, who made the worlds! His
family heard him express his innermost feelings, filled with joy and confidence:
I have had the Light for many years, and oh! how bright it is! I feel so safe, so
David Brewsters epitaph is fitting for a man who had spent so many years studying light, vision, and optics.
Quoting Psalm 27:1, it reads simply, THE LORD IS MY LIGHT.
Credit: This short biography is adapted primarily from the excellent chapter on the life of David Brewster
by George Mulfinger and his daughter Julia Mulfinger Orozco, in Christian Men of Science
(Ambassador Emerald, 2001), ch. 3, pp. 49-68. Incidentally, Brewster was also a historian of
science. He wrote works on the lives of Brahe, Kepler and Newton.
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.
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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