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3 Out of 5 Doctors Leaves 2 02/28/2007
Every once in awhile its good to be reminded that yesterdays nutritional advice can be
wrong. We need to beware of simplistic approaches to health.
For instance, the cliches If a little is good, more is better or it worked for me
can be deadly. TV commercials are filled with glowing promises for this or that pill, followed
by rapid-talking disclaimers. Live Science warned of two principles that contradict conventional
wisdom: (1) Some
antioxidant supplements may increase the risk of death (see also
Daily about overdosing on vitamins A and E).
(2) Iron can make
you strong or kill you (ironic, isnt it?). But then there is a third announcement
University that most people will be glad to learn: chocolate is healthy.
We hope the bad news is not another cliche: less is more.
Incidentally, speaking of health and human physiology,
earlier in the month that your forearm skin is literally a zoo crawling with bacteria,
many kinds unknown to science (see also Science
Daily). If youre feeling OK, though, just dont think about it and
everything will be fine.
Human physiology is so very complex, we cannot know for
sure the truisms in which we trust will not be overturned by tomorrows findings.
Complicating the picture are the influences of genetics, age, sex, geography, weather,
time of day, time of year, ecology and psychosomatic
effects. Even prayer can render all the above irrelevant. If medical
science struggles with understanding these things, dont expect the salesperson
with supplements at your door to have the pill to cure all ills. Moderation is
usually good advice (except when it comes to
The Moth in Spiders Clothing 02/28/2007
Next headline on:
Geographic News has a picture story about a moth that mimics a jumping spider.
It appears to work. Scientists staged a battle royale between contestants of mimics
and non-mimics in the ring with their jumping spider enemies, and the mimics won hands
down. The spiders went for the normal moths 62% of the time, but backed away from their mirror-images,
the moths in spider clothing, in all but 6% of cases. The fooled spiders even made aggressive
territorial displays against some of their mimics. The metalmark moths of Costa Rica flare
up their wings and make a spidery pose when threatened. A somewhat similar strategy is
recommended for humans when facing a mountain lion.
Mimicry is a common occurrence in nature. Evolutionists
explain this as a result of natural selection, and it is, but not in the macroevolutionary
sense Darwin needs. These moths already have wings, legs, and sophisticated pigmentation software.
If Darwin had discovered a deterministic law, all species would follow this strategy, and every prey
would look like its predator. If the non-mimic moths had the same amount of evolutionary
time, why did they remain behind? Didnt they learn the Darwinian lesson?
And if the predators also had the same time, why didnt they catch onto the trick?
The Evolution of School Boards 02/27/2007
Horizontal changes can occur rapidly under sufficient predation pressure or competition (cp.
02/26/2007 with orchids). A population of dogs isolated
in the Arctic will favor long-haired survivors if the genes for long hair already exist.
A population of desert plants will favor those able to reach deep if the genes to do so already
exist. Find a
moth that evolves a machine gun via slow, incremental steps and creationists will take notice
(requirement: all the intermediate forms must be found, too).
Suggested new book: A medical doctor, Geoffrey Simmons, has just completed a new
book Billions of
Missing Links (Harvest House, 2006). It is loaded with examples of
clever and sophisticated designs in nature that could never have evolved by gradual evolutionary steps.
Next headline on:
A press release from Michigan
State University encourages scientists to run for school boards on a pro-evolution
platform. Alarmed that 40% of students are doubting evolution, Jon Miller encourages his
fellow evolutionists to get involved in improving science literacy. He sees
this as a necessary counter to other special interest groups, often conservative or
religiously fundamental, highly organized in training and supporting candidates.
Theres a price to pay for involvement beyond the 15-hour-a-week commitment.
No scientist can run on a pro-evolution platform and not expect to find themselves
engaged in other issues, Miller said. In his 3-year stint on the DeKalb County
school board, he learned more about school finances than he had thought possible.
Its a free country and whoever has the time, money and
talent can give it their best shot. But would you vote for the Stalin Party for
Checkmate, Charlie: Cellular lineman at work earn an ovation,
Its not like the Darwinists dont already have a complete
monopoly on textbooks, curriculum and media with the ACLU-KGB at their beck and call.
Isnt it interesting that, after decades of government-funded indoctrination,
this very one-sided situation in their favor has still not enabled them to
convert more students.
Dont think the pro-evolution candidates want to just add their voice to a fair and
balanced democratic process. They want to protect the Charlie Temple Mount from entry by
other religions. Thats what happened in Kansas this month
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Archaeology Alert: 02/27/2007
If youre wondering about claims of a discovery of family tombs
of Jesus, take a reality check. Read Todd Bolens Bible Places Blog,
World Net Daily,
an A.P. report on Breitbart.com, and
commentaries by NT scholars Ben
Witherington and Darrell
Bock. Even National
Geographic News said this claim has been slammed by scholars. These kind of anti-Christian
blockbuster announcements usually indicate Eastertime is near. As usual, follow the money trail.
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
Orchid Deception: Is It Evolution?
Orchids comprise the most exotic and diverse group of flowering plants. Some 30,000 species
strong, this group contains members with unusual sex organs. Some have organs that look and
smell like the female of the insect species that pollinate them. They seduce the males without giving them a
reward of nectar for their stopover. How could such a strategy of deceptive seduction evolve?
Heidi Ledford explored this question in Nature last week.1
About a third of orchids seduce pollinators without giving them nectar. The orchids that deliver
nectar typically have better reproductive success, at least in terms of numbers of offspring.
Darwin thought that the insect pollinators would eventually learn the trick and avoid the flowers,
driving them extinct. Ledford explained how evolutionary theorists believe, however, that
dishonesty gives them the evolutionary edge.
This might work, for instance, by
reducing inbreeding. A pollen-dusted but disgusted visitor may fly to more distant plants,
where they are less likely to visit the orchids kinfolk. An evolutionary biologist
explained, To be deceptive means that the orchids have less sex, but the sex is better because
its not with a close relative. From the insects point of view, though, how
do biologists answer Darwins enigma? Why dont male bees catch onto the trick?
Some suggest that young males are profligate, not picky, among the scarce females. One researcher puts himself into the
bee brain, saying, Hey, I will go for anything that looks like a female because I cant afford not to.
Does this explanation hold up? Does it explain the origin of the elaborate
reproductive organs of the flowers, and their amazing ability to mimic the pheromones of female
insects? Further digging in the article shows problems. Researchers mentioned in the article
are looking for evidence of sympatric speciation, a controversial idea that has lacked firm
evidence despite decades of investigation.2
Evidence that this has actually occurred in the case of orchids is only tentative at best.
Additionally, todays oddball orchids may represent degenerates of more complex
ancestors. Ledford comments that plants produce hundreds of volatile compounds to repel predators
and microbes; one of the pheromone mimics, in fact, a complex chemical concoction, consists of
14 different compounds that are also common components of the waxy cuticle that protects the
surface of many plants. Elaborating on how this might have happened, she said,
They showed that the same combination of compounds is present in the volatile sex pheromone that
a female bee uses to attract a mate, and that a blend of these chemicals could make bees mate with
dummy flowers. The finding also revealed how sexual deception could have evolved in this
species by gradual modification of systems the plant was already using to make its own
compounds. Each tweak in the ratio of compounds that increased pollinator
visitation would have given the orchid a reproductive advantage.
Yet it seems hardly a law of nature that some species would opt for deception, luring pollinators without
a reward, while others would stick with the standard strategy of rewarding visitors with nectar.
The former get less sex with better quality while the latter get more sex (and more offspring) yet with
risk of inbreeding. Plausible as this sounds, the same theory is being used to explain opposite
strategies among very similar plants. This seems hardly a deterministic explanation.
The most promising evidence for the evolutionary view in Ledfords article was that
a certain Australian species appears to have invented its pollinators pheromone from scratch:
The team found evidence to back this idea [that plants attract pollinators by adjusting their chemical
bouquet] in the orchid blooms of Australia. They repeated the
experiment [matching plant compounds with pollinator odor receptors]
on the orchid Chiloglottis trapeziformis, which tricks the male thynnine wasp
(Neozeleboria cryptoides). Analysis of
C. trapeziformis scent revealed a surprise rather than adapting existing mechanisms,
the orchid was producing an entirely different chemical compound they named chiloglottone, which
is also a pheromone made by female wasps. They also found that another Ophrys species, O. speculum,
concocts a different wasp pheromone by developing several novel compounds. In this case, the
orchid mimic worked so well that, when offered a choice between a female or an orchid, male wasps courted the orchid.
The article did not elaborate, however, on how the botanists knew that the ability to produce these
compounds was not already present in the ancestor. Some species produce the chiloglottone, while
others do not. To call a compound novel would require knowledge of the genetic history
of todays species. It would require knowing whether the haves evolved from the have-nots
rather than vice versa.
Nevertheless, the plants and their pollinators show remarkable specificity today.
Insect pollinators such as wasps and bees are often picky about the flowers they visit, and the flowers
often show exotic adaptations to succeed in attracting the right insects. The article left the
question of sympatric speciation unresolved. Ledford did not address, furthermore, the larger
questions of how these flowers and insects arose in the first place.
1Heidi Ledford, News Feature: Plant biology: The flower of seduction,
445, 816-817 (22 February 2007) | doi:10.1038/445816a.
2Sympatric speciation (as opposed to allopatric speciation)
suggests that species can split into two without members becoming geographically isolated.
Nothing in this article contradicts the view that
todays highly-specialized exotic plants and their pollinators represent degenerations of
original complex ancestors. By degenerations, we mean that they contain less genetic
information than the parents. If the parents already possessed the genetic information and
machinery to produce hundreds of volatile compounds, it is plausible to presume that they eventually
lost the information that was not needed for survival in specialized environments.
This is not evolution in the macroevolutionary sense the sense needed for propping up the
History Highlight: The Two Wilberforces 02/25/2007
Think of a well-equipped soldier landing in Iraq with all-purpose gear and deciding
he can shuck his snow parka. He is now better adapted to his new desert environment. Does that mean
he is more highly evolved? Of course not. As with the case of blind cave fish
(02/16/2007), natural selection (a conservative process) eliminates
the excess baggage and only retains and exaggerates what aids survival. None of this requires
new genetic information. The Darwinians cannot make a case here that orchids and wasps evolved
That being said, this article shows that the study of microevolutionary adaptations
is a legitimate area for research. Learning more about how orchids and bees have become
adapted to their unique ecosystems can help explore the processes of horizontal change over time.
Its interesting, also, that even the evolutionary biologists themselves admitted that these
adaptations could occur rapidly. One researcher was quoted saying, We think that speciation
can occur fairly quickly in that system. The plants need only to change their odour bouquet to
attract a new pollinator. These horizontal sorting-out adaptations do not require millions
Keep in mind, furthermore, that the concept of species is artificial and
controversial. The simplistic high-school definition that a species is a group of organisms
able to produce fertile offspring has problems when investigated in detail; what about asexual
organisms? What about fossils? Philosophers debate over to what extent the word species
represents something real in nature instead of an artificial construct we impose on nature.
And for those who think the scientific-sounding word species is more intellectual than the
Genesis word kind, we remind them that species comes from the Latin word for kind.
We add that the father of taxonomy, Carolus Linnaeus, was motivated
to classify living things in order to explore the limits of the Genesis kinds. As a footnote,
his method of classifying plants was by their reproductive organs. Not all botanists have agreed
with his criteria for classifying species; nevertheless, Linnaeus considered the pistils and stamens of flowers exquisitely
designed structures for both function and beauty.
Orchids surely are among the most beautiful, prosperous, diverse life forms adorning our world.
Its no wonder they are flowers of choice for corsages on that special date.
Yes, they have diversified into a splendid array of fascinating varieties.
Calling this evolution, however, risks confusing the larger issues with Darwinian
materialism (see 02/25/2007 commentary) that reduces sex to selfish strategizing
and nihilism (05/01/2002,
Evolutionists are in no position to claim they understand the origin of sex
05/12/2004) in all its bewildering complexity and diverse
manifestations. If materialism cannot deal with the origin of sex, much less can it
address questions of human mores and aesthetics. Why we find orchids beautiful,
and why we should be honest and faithful to our soulmates, are not
questions for Darwin.
Its forever important to reason properly and avoid logical pitfalls.
Confusing microevolutionary adaptive sorting with macroevolutionary innovation is the fallacy of
equivocation. Envisioning plants strategizing for reproductive
success, and being capable of dishonesty and deception, is the fallacy of
taking observable evidence from the present
and stretching it to absurd lengths into the unobservable past is the fallacy of
extrapolation. Be reasonable
(adj., not exceeding the limit prescribed by reason; not excessive).
After that requirement is met, reward your soul: take time to
smell the orchids.
Next headline on:
Those seeing the new movie
Amazing Grace (opened Feb 23)
may not realize the family connection of
the films hero with the controversy over Darwinism. William Wilberforce, the champion of
abolition who brought an end to the slave trade as depicted in the film, had a son, Samuel, who became
a leader in the fight against Darwinism in 1860. The Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce stood
strong not only against the rising tide of liberal theology in the mid-19th century, but took particular
umbrage at Darwins flimsy speculation as he called it. He wrote a strident
review against The Origin of Species for the Quarterly Review that really got under
Charles Darwins skin. Darwin recognized the input of his arch-foe, Richard Owen, director
of the British Museum, the leading paleontologist of the day.
Bishop Wilberforce was
at the focal point of a pivotal event in the rise of Darwinism. At a lively series of lectures
at the meeting of the British Association at Oxford, just months after the publication of Darwins
Origin, Wilberforce faced off against Thomas Huxley in a famous interchange about evolution.
Contrary to later depictions of the event as a victory of Huxleys rationalist science against
Wilberforces theological dogmatism, each side felt they had made the better case. Wilberforce,
not only a theologian but a professor of mathematics,
spoke for nearly half an hour before Huxley. Apparently he got strong support from the audience. It is highly
doubtful he uttered an insulting jibe about Huxleys ape ancestry as later revisionists alleged, or that Huxley delivered
a devastating counterthrust. In fact, Huxley and Wilberforce both acted on amicable terms of mutual
respect after the episode.1 Darwin himself, though, glad that illness prevented his
attendance at the meeting, told Huxley, I would as soon have died as tried to answer the Bishop in
such an assembly. He probably would have also had died to have heard his former Beagle
captain FitzRoy at the meeting giving an impassioned denunciation of the evolutionary views of the
erstwhile shipboard naturalist.
Many came to the meeting lusting for a fight over the new evolutionary views.
Activists on both sides tended to hear what they wanted to hear and report it
accordingly. Unfortunately for Wilberforce and other theists, the apparent progress of materialist
science (as evidence through industrial progress), coupled with discontent over established religion,
combined to give Darwins views a more trendy air that appealed especially to young
scientists. Darwins aides capitalized on this in a rapid-fire sequence of articles, attacks,
pamphlets, new journals and other publicity strategies in the days following the June meeting at Oxford.
Within 10 years, most opposition to evolution had been swept away.2
Throughout his life, Bishop Wilberforce continued to be an adamant opponent of Darwinism.
His prestige and trenchant criticisms gave the father of evolution fits. See also the postscript in
an article about Amazing Grace by Jonathan Sarfati on
Creation on the Web and an analysis of
the urban legend by a pro-evolution writer, J.R. Lucas.
1This was also apparently the meeting where Huxley presented his famous monkeys and
typewriters illustration that has also become an urban legend. It is not at all credible that
Wilberforce, a mathematics professor, was stupefied by Huxleys imaginative story as often depicted. See the
article by Russell Grigg on CMI.
2The event also took place during a sea change in natural science. A new class of researchers
dubbed scientists by Anglican priest and historian William Whewell
in 1834 was beginning to carve out its turf. Formerly
natural philosophers who worked either from their independent means or within church-run academic
institutions, this growing class was seeking academic respectability and a unique professional domain (and the auspices of the
universities). Darwins theory came just at the time the scientist was emerging as
a new kind of professional animal. Historian of science Lawrence Principe, for example, has emphasized this very
period as a kind of turf war for the emerging scientist class. Books characterizing a
warfare between science and religion became popular at this time. One particularly awful
example, Principe relates in his Teaching Company series Science and Religion, was written by
John Draper who, incidentally, was the first (and a rather boring) speaker at that same
British Association meeting!
Wilberforce understood better than most that Darwins views, if
accepted, would be dangerous. He also perceived that they were less scientific than anti-Christian,
relying not on evidence but on flimsy speculations.
Apes Evolved into Humans by using Tools?
Nevertheless, the Huxley-Wilberforce debate became a pivotal event in the history of science.
Its effects rippled far beyond the question of how species arise.
The significance of this event was described by Janet Browne, one of the most respected biographers of Darwin,
in a penetrating analysis of the occasion after her depiction of the events as they unfolded on June 30, 1860 at Oxford.
Notice the references to strategy, propaganda, and jockeying for position by the Darwinites as she calls them:
The significant thing is that a contest had taken place. This occasion presented a clearly
demarcated display of the respective powers of conflicting authorities as represented in two
opposing figures. Wilberforce and Huxley were perceived as fighting over the right to
explain originsa dispute over the proper boundary between science and the church that
seemed as physically real to the participants and to the audience as any territorial or geographical
warfare. Each side was convinced that its claims about the natural world were credible
and trustworthy, that its procedures were the only valid account of reality. As it happened,
these opposing forces were unequally balanced in Victorian England. Science at that time
held little innate authority in itself, and its status was sustained mainly through the
the rhetorical exertions of its practitioners, among whom Huxley would come to shine, whereas
the church was the strongest body in the nation, attracting and retaining the very best
intellects of the age. Afterwards, it was rumored that Huxleys victory for science was
falsely embellished by sciences supporters. In this dispute, the challenge was clear.
Any success for the Darwinian scheme would require renegotiatingoften with bitter
controversythe lines to be drawn between cultural domains. Science was not yet vested
with the authority that would come with the modern era. Its practitioners were exerting
themselves to create professional communities, struggling to receive due acknowledgement of their
expertise and the right to choose and investigate issues in their own manner. As Wilberforce
demonstrated, that authority currently lay for the most part with theology. The gossip
running through the crowd afterwards quickly crafted an epic narrative, a collective fiction
with an inbuilt meaning much more tangible and important than reality. All felt they were
witnessing history in the making.
Browne launched from this episode into a chapter about Darwins Four Musketeers
(Huxley, Hooker, Lyell, and Asa Grey, 01/04/2004) who capitalized on this public
relations bonanza. Within a decade, through an almost
master-planned campaign of smearing opponents and popularizing Darwins views, they pretty much won over the entire intellectual
world. Now you see why J. P. Moreland said that the Darwinian revolution was primarily a movement to
rid science of theology.
A public polarization of opinion had emerged. The issue became excitingly simple.
Were humans descended from monkeys or made by God?
Janet Browne, Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (Princeton, 2002), pp. 124-125.
The supposed warfare between science and religion was not started by the
theologians. Science and theology had a long, mutually supportive history. It was started by the
Darwinites, like Americans John Draper and Andrew D. White, whose revisionist histories (Draper, 1863; White, 1896)
needed to demonize churchmen in order to legitimate the Darwinian revolution. Historian Lawrence Principe
emphasizes that the conflict model of the science-religion interaction is dismissed by all modern historians.
For todays Darwin Party to insist they need to defend science from creationism rings as hollow as
hearing Ahmedinejad say he needs nukes for defense.
J. R. Lucas agrees in his analysis of the Huxley-Wilberforce
interchange. This is the most important reason why the legend grew, he says; At the time,
Wilberforce was perfectly entitled to have an opinion about science, but in the later years of the century
scientists were increasingly jealous of their autonomy, and would see in Huxleys retort a claim they were
increasingly anxious to assert. In matters of science, effectively, the opinions of theologians were no longer
welcomean ironic outcome considering Darwin himself had but one degreein theology!
One cannot ignore the sociopolitical and economic forces that contributed to
the rise of Darwinism. Other evolutionary theories had been proposed in prior decades (Erasmus Darwin,
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, Robert Chambers), with only a modicum of success. Why did
Darwin succeed so triumphantly? Was it the genius of his theory of natural selection, and the scientific evidence he
amassed to support it? Certainly his theory contained more detail and logical development, but
to what extent was it a well-timed pretext for more substantive social factors to come into play?
As evidence, consider that natural selection theory fell into disrepute over the next four decades
and was nearly moribund by the turn of the century. Darwin himself had to concede more to Lamarck under
repeated attacks on his mechanism by other scientists. It cannot be, therefore, that evolutionism became popular because
of the scientific soundness of Darwins mechanism. There were highly-educated, well-trained and eminently-respected
scientists who vigorously opposed Darwins ideas: e.g., Adam Sedgwick, Darwins geology teacher; Richard Owen,
founder and director of the British Museum; John Phillips, Oxford geology professor and president of the Geological Society
of London; Louis Agassiz, one of the most famous American scientists of the period, and many others. In fact,
ironically, most of the early criticisms of Darwins thesis came from scientists, not theologians.
Nevertheless, the vision of a fact of evolution
(i.e., common ancestry through material mechanisms, whatever they were) rapidly took over the intellectual world
right at the time three powerful social movements were in place to empower
its acceptance: (1) the widespread belief in progress (evidenced by the apparent superiority of the
British Empire), (2) discontent with establishment Victorian religion (with a resulting value put on secularism),
and (3) the rise of the scientist class as an independent profession. Given these forces, any cause
celebre that facilitated movements already underway could have been more celebre than cause.
One can see how the Huxley-Wilberforce story could be blown out of proportion. It became a distortion,
exploited by an avant garde ready to claim its portion by extortion.
The upshot was that science was taken captive by materialism, not by force of evidence, but
by revolutionary tactics of agenda-driven advocates on a turf war against a weakened church (whose own leaders
were either undermining the historical foundations of the faith, or were living lives inconsistent with the
teachings of Christ).
By 1874, in a presidential address to the British Association, John Tyndall had pretty much
established the claim of institutionalized naturalistic science to explore anything and everything it desired,
including origins, meaning and ultimate destiny, baptizing its speculations
(e.g., 01/17/2007) in the name of science
(see James Clerk Maxwells satirical poem in the
This went far beyond the first limited claims by Darwin to explain the origin of species.
Like communists, the Darwinites seldom concede power once they have usurped it. That explains
the histrionics of todays professional science elites when creationism and intelligent design
proponents, despite a much longer experience in natural philosophy, move to reassert rights to their
historic domains of inquiry (e.g., 01/11/2007,
Samuel Wilberforces fight against the incipient intellectual slavery of science
to materialism is another story
that must be told, because the Darwinite propaganda and subterfuge continues unabated to this day.
There are only preliminary signs its grip is weakening. The science of the 21st century is too big a
challenge for an outdated, simplistic philosophy devised by a 19th century bearded Buddha and his
Meanwhile, go see
Amazing Grace: the Movie.
Its an excellent use of the film medium to educate and inspire. Here is a movie that brings to
life a period of history that should be known by everyone. Watching
William Wilberforce struggle through the darkest days of
opposition presents a sober lesson: never underestimate the lengths to which those who allow evil to exist will
rationalize their positions with pragmatic and intellectual-sounding arguments as his son Samuel
Wilberforce would discover again in 1860. But never underestimate also the power of perseverance and
the courage of rightly-based convictions. And, as the film illustrates, a little creativity and
strategizing can help when dealing with entrenched, self-serving interests.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
The BBC News
reported on an article in
Biology on the
discovery of chimpanzees in Senegal (Pan troglodytes verus) using spears to hunt prey.
Spear-making is a multistep process that had not been previously
observed in animals. Many species use simple tools such as
twigs, and rocks to get food, but a spear requires up to five steps,
including cutting a branch to length, stripping it clean, and
gnawing the end to make it sharp. The report quickly made a
connection from chimps using tools to intelligence in
early man: The multiple steps taken by Fongoli
chimpanzees in making tools to dispatch mammalian prey involve the kind
of foresight and intellectual complexity that most likely typified
early human relatives.
Geographic News also reported the story.
Since evolution requires that we come
from something simpler, and chimpanzees are handy, we are subject to a
constant stream of propaganda each time research comes across
some similarity between humans and chimps. If toolmaking resulted in
a gradual evolutionary increase
in intelligence, then crows should soon be writing poetry, because they are
way ahead of chimpanzees. The Behavioral
Ecology Research Group website
discusses an animal that makes some
of the more sophisticated tools found in nature:
Extrasolar Gas Giants Turn Up Dry 02/22/2007
crows use tools to
forage for invertebrates in dead wood. They use at least four different
tool types including tools cut from the thorny edges of leaves of Pandanus
trees. These tools are produced in a series of manufacturing steps and
have complex shapes they are the most sophisticated animal tools yet
discovered. The shape of Pandanus tools varies
regionally, and it has been suggested that this may be the result of
cultural transmission of tool designs, with crows learning from
relatives and other members of social groups how to manufacture and use
particular designs. In other words, it is conceivable that these crows
possess a culture of tool technology akin to that found in our own
Our 08/09/2002 entry said
the tool-making ability of these crows exceeds that of chimpanzees.
Yet crows remain crows. Beavers are among the most skilled architects in the
animal kingdom, but beavers remain beavers. Egyptian vultures
use rocks to open ostrich eggs, and yet they remain vultures
(see Tufts U). Nowhere
do these articles discuss where this intelligence comes from in the
first place. It is just assumed that since it is there, and there
is no other way it could have got there except to evolve, that it
therefore somehow evolved
Evolutionists criticize creationists for invoking miracles any time they
come across something they cannot explain, yet they have no problem invoking the magical,
unseen power of Evolution to explain anything and everything in the biological
world. The difference between Pan and man is not a matter of
gradual acquisition of intelligence, but of our being made in the
image of God.
Next headline on:
A dramatic step led to a big surprise, said a press release from
Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
NASAs Spitzer Space
Telescope was able to capture the first spectral information from two planets orbiting
other stars. HD 209458b and HD 189733b are so-called hot Jupiters
similar in size to our gas giants, they orbit much closer in. The astronomers predicted
they would find evidence of water vapor in the upper atmospheres of these exoplanets, but
they found only dust.
The techniques used are called a dress rehearsal in the search for
evidence of life around smaller, rocky planets. This would allow them to look for
the footprints of life molecules key to the existence of life, such as oxygen and
possibly even chlorophyll.
York Times also reported on the story, as did
An artists conception appeared on the Feb. 27
Astronomy Picture of the Day.
Sorry for the upset. There have been many of
those in astrobiology lately (02/15/2007).
Thanks for downplaying the obligatory non-sequitur
that water equals life. Maybe we can still relate to HD 209458b and HD 189733b
in another sense. Maybe they have dust bunnies.
Submarine, Make Like a Fish
Next headline on:
Stars and Stellar Astronomy
Origin of Life
Submarine designers are learning a thing or two from fish. The latest fish trick
to imitate is the lateral line: a row of specialized sensors fish have along their
flanks. Fish use these for synchronized swimming and predator avoidance.
reported on work by scientists at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne to build artificial
lateral line sensors on submarines to augment visual and sonar systems. The sensors on
the artificial lateral line detect changes
in water pressure and movement. They may one day allow submarine operators to
autonomously image hydrodynamic events from their surroundings.
Team lead Chang Liu expressed the
motivation behind the work: Although biology remains far superior to human engineering,
having a man-made parallel of the biological system allows us to learn much about both basic
science and engineering. To actively learn from biology at the molecular, cellular,
tissue and organism level is still the bigger picture.
The 1960s slogan was: better living through chemistry.
The 2005+ slogan is, better living through biology or, make like an animal.
Watch a Ribosome in Action 02/21/2007
Next headline on:
A remarkable article about a remarkable machine: thats what
Chemical and Engineering News
has published about the ribosome, a molecular machine vital to everything alive in the world.
Stu Bormans article lavishes praise on the details of this assembly-line factory that
translates RNA into proteins. He surveys the history of investigation into the ribosomes
secrets. The article includes several animations that illustrate current understanding of how
the factory works. Molecular springs and ratchets made out of molecules show off their robotic skill.
Things really get exciting when the translation
movie revs up closer to actual speed.
Theres buzz inside the intelligent design community whether
to use this as the new mascot of ID instead of the bacterial flagellum. It surely has a lot
going for it. This is a case of irreducible complexity all the way down to borrow
a phrase Jonathan Wells elaborated on Michael Behes concept. The flagellum still has an advantage of
instant recognition everyone recognizes an outboard motor when they see one but
the ribosome is even more astonishing. Plus, it is universal, essential to life, and unevolved
from bacteria to man.
Be afraid when Darwin writes the Law, from 03/15/2005.
Be very afraid that it is already happening, from
If you remember that dazzling translation sequence in the film
Unlocking the Mystery of Life, these
new animations provided updated versions showing more detail from recent discoveries. The
mechanism gets more and more marvelous with each new discovery. This machine is well worth
getting to know. The article admits there are many questions
still to be answered: for instance, how are the correct transfer-RNAs called into position so quickly?
We have barely begun probing the depths of design of these molecular factories.
The answers to these and more questions will not come from Darwinian theory, which was not even
mentioned in the article. The future of molecular biology belongs to intelligent design.
Charlie, hand over the keys. Youre fired. What for? Fraud, thinking such
things could happen by a series of mistakes. Dr. Paley, hello!
Nice to have you back.
Next headline on:
A couple of articles lately have lumped creationism in with astrology, ESP, space aliens
and lucky numbers. How valid is this grouping?
Randolph E. Schmid (Associated Press; see
conveyed statistics presented by Jon Miller (Michigan State U) and a panel of researchers at an AAAS meeting
in San Francisco this past Saturday.
People in the U.S. know more about basic science today than they did two decades ago,
good news that researchers say is tempered by an unsettling growth in the belief in pseudoscience
such as astrology and visits by extraterrestrial aliens, Schmid began. A few
sentences down, he adds, In addition, these researchers noted an increase in college students
who report they are unsure about creationism as compared with evolution.
The association was strengthened farther down in the article,
when a paragraph about bigfoot and aliens was followed by a paragraph about creationism.
But there also has been a drop in the number of people who believe evolution correctly
explains the development of life on Earth and an increase in those who believe mankind
was created about 10,000 years ago, Schmid writes, presuming to lump these all together
into the box labeled pseudoscience. Miller said a second major negative factor to
scientific literacy was religious fundamentalism and aging. These
negative factors, Schmid contends, could be offset by the positive influences
of college education, informal science learning through the media, and having children
Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute also chimed in on this theme.
On Space.com he
asked, When Did Science Become the Enemy? Shostak deplored the portrayal of
scientists as dark, mysterious, suspicious villains, and explored why the media become so
infatuated with unscientific heroes and celebrities. Were most interested in people,
in the same way that click beetles are most interested in click beetles, he explained.
Thats evolution. Evolution is also responsible for human attraction to heroes,
he argued. Heroes, in other words, have survival value. The peculiar thing is
that American heroes arent often very good at science.
So what does science really represent, in contrast to pseudoscience and pop
culture? Shostak did not attack creationism directly in the article. The association
was implicit, though: the lead illustration prominently displays icons of science: a spiral galaxy and other
astronomical objects, an equation, and the fatherly portrait of Charles Darwin. See also
last weeks entry by another SETI Institute leader, Edna Devore, who advocated celebration of
Darwin Day and Evolution Sunday as ways of honoring science (02/11/2007).
In both of these articles is the overt or covert message that if you
love science, you will love Charlie, and if you are a fool or afraid of science, you will mistrust
the Father Figure of Evolution and run to your security blanket, the Bible. This is how
propaganda works, particularly the use of association
and loaded words. The goal is to achieve a subliminal response
without making you think. The message is: the real heroes in the world are the Charlie-worshipers,
and the poopheads are the creationists and other pseudoscientists like UFO chasers who live by their
daily horoscope or read the Bible.
Article: Phillip Johnson Still Wields the Wedge 02/19/2007
Surely many creationists reading this will say, Wait a minute; I abhor astrology.
I love science. I have nothing but contempt for the supermarket tabloids about space aliens and
ESP. Many may have degrees in science, teach science, or sit on public school boards.
How did you get lumped into the same pool with fruitcakes? The answer is: its a trick.
Its an escape from debating and understanding the issues in the creation-evolution controversy.
We could play that game, too. In fact, how would they like it if we launched a campaign to call
Darwinism pseudoscience? We could certainly make a good case. We could call attention to the
fact that it is held to with religious ardor despite being repeatedly falsified, engages in mythmaking,
dogmatizes its victims and relies on irrationality for its maintenance. Yes! Lets rid
our schools of pseudoscience. Out with Darwin! No more Darwin exhibits in our national museums.
No more finch beak pseudoscience in the textbooks. Portray, instead, the noble, lonely ID scientist as the
seeker of the truth wherever the evidence leads, even if it leads toward design.
Or, we could go on a smear campaign to lump all Darwinists with Hitler. If you
think natural selection is a good idea in any sense, you are in favor of incinerating people in ovens.
We must rid the world of hate, anti-Semitism, communism, apartheid, evolution, Jonestown-like cults, despots
and dictators. Hows that? Isnt association a fun game?
Such lumpings of conglomerates into emotionally-charged labels represent shoddy thinking.
A case can be made that Darwin influenced Hitler, and that his ideas underlie many destructive ideologies.
It does not follow that Seth Shostak is a Nazi because he believes in
evolution. There are creationists who accept a young earth (one just earned a PhD in science at a
secular university: see story at
Uncommon Descent). It does not follow that they expect a miracle around every corner.
Another problem in these articles is their failure to define pseudoscience. They do not
define it because it cannot be defined. Any time philosophers of science try to create
a line of demarcation between science and pseudoscience, they wind up excluding legitimate
sciences and including illegitimate ones. There are no sufficient conditions that, if met,
guarantee something is science, and no set of necessary conditions that, if not met, guarantee
something else is pseudoscience. Falsifiability, explanatory power, ability to make predictions,
testability, adherence to natural law or mathematical expression, simplicity, elegance, holding a
theory tentatively, acceptance by consensus of professionals
put together any combination of criteria you wish, and you will include
some pseudosciences and exclude some recognized sciences. Furthermore, there is no one scientific
method! You cannot find all sciences adhering to a methodology or set of methods that cannot
also be found in non-scientific fields, and you will find some pseudosciences that use the same scientific
methods in their work. This is not to argue that science and pseudoscience are all of the same cloth, but
the problem of demarcation is much more difficult than often realized.
The Darwin dogmatists are only speeding the collapse of their ideology by relying on
propaganda tactics like the reckless application of the pseudoscience label on their critics.
Let them attend to the rampant pseudoscience in their own house.
Meanwhile, let all who honor science practice its values: make the best case you can based on evidence, and,
humbly recognizing the limitations of science and the human propensity for self-deception, be willing to
follow the evidence where it leads. (One might notice that these values are not entirely foreign
to theologians or practitioners in most other scholarly disciplines.)
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory
Bible and Theology
The standard-bearer of the Intelligent Design Movement (IDM) since 1991, Berkeley
Law Professor Dr. Phillip E. Johnson, still wields his pen like a wedge against Darwinism.
His latest article for Think magazine (The Royal Institute of Philosophy) is reproduced
on the Discovery Institute
website. He shares the current status of the movement, his disappointments with the entrenched dogmatism of
the scientific elite institutions as well as satisfaction over the victories by design scientists, and reiterates many
of the themes for which he is famous. Memorable line: The goal of the Intelligent Design
Movement is to achieve an open philosophy of science that permits consideration of any explanations
toward which the evidence may be pointing.
Adding any comments would be gilding the lily. Go
Theories of the Moon: Looney Tunes? 02/19/2007
Next headline on:
The TV science channels tell it like a matter of fact: our Moon originated from the coalescing
debris of a glancing impact with Earth from a Mars-sized object, sometime long ago. They
even have computer animations to show how it all happened. How reliable is this theory, though?
from The Planetary Society contains some sobering qualifiers
from Dave Stevenson, a professor of planetary science at Caltech.
In many respects, our Moon is the best-studied body other than Earth.... If we have already learned
so much, what do we expect to gain by going back? .... I argue ... that we really dont
understand the Moon very well, and that it is a body the understanding of which features prominently
in our attempts to figure out what took place when the planets formed.
The Apollo program and subsequent research revealed that our Moon is an oddball.
Whats wrong with the standard story of the Moon that we need more explanation to fix the
story? ... Part of the answer lies in something that often happens in science: we have
a story that is widely accepted, but it is a story that is actually incomplete and
poorly tested. To some extent, the so-called giant impact origin of the Moon
has gained acceptance through the failure of alternatives rather than through its evident
Several alternatives to the impact origin have been proposed.... All these alternatives
have very major and extensively studied shortcomings. This is, however, not the same as
saying that we know for sure that the giant impact happenedit simply seems more likely
than rival hypotheses.
Stevenson referred to the recent finding of activity on the surface (see
11/09/2006) as an indication that the moons interior
must still be hot. Though he pointed to a few indirect evidences in support of the leading
theory, the tone of his article is that the gaps in our knowledge are still large
even after the Apollo missions make the Moon the only body (other than Earth) for which we
have rocks of known provenance. And if we cant get the Moon right, what does
that say about our theories for the origin of the rest of the Solar System?
See also the 01/26/2007 entry.
Stevensons candor was refreshing, even if it contains an
ulterior motive for justifying the Planetary Societys lobbying for new lunar missions.
Just remember these doubts the next time the news media give the impression that we have our
tidy theories all locked up. The best theory is not ipso facto a good theory
see Best-in-Field Fallacy in the
Baloney Detector. Remember also something Dr. Kevin Grazier (JPL) said in
the film The Privileged Planet:
if our moon didnt exist, neither would we.
Tangled String: Cosmology on the Brink 02/18/2007
Next headline on:
The February cover of Astronomy
Magazine poses an intriguing question: What if string theory is wrong?
Maybe you are unfamiliar with string theory. Writer Sten Odenwald is not talking about
violins or balls of string, but about the current leading theory of fundamental physics.
Superstring theory, Odenwald explains, is based on three ideas that remain
experimentally unproven after 30 years of research: the principle of supersymmetry, additional
spatial dimensions, and gravity as a force defined by the exchange of quantum particles.
You dont need to understand these three ideas in depth other than to know
they are extremely weird. They envision exotic particles like selectrons and squarks,
and physical dimensions and universes we could never know except by mathematical inference. Yet this theory
is the leading candidate in an attempt to unify the forces of nature and give a physical explanation
for why the universe is the way it is. It seems strange that scientists would cling to a
theory that has no experimental support. Odenwald mentions that the Steady-State Cosmology
held sway for some 30 years before collapsing. Is string theory, of comparable age, also on the brink?
Odenwald is not predicting an impending collapse, nor are most cosmologists.
But he does ask what would happen to physics and cosmology if it turns out string theory is wrong.
Heres where the consequences are astronomical:
Without superstring theory, wed lose the intriguing philosophical appeal for the
multiverse, with its infinite and eternal creativity in spawning new universes.
Wed have no mathematics for spanning the gap between everyday physics and the high energies
where quantum gravity operates. The road to creating a quantum description of gravity will be a
Mathematical knowledge gained from string theory has advanced so far since the 1970s, no one is envisioning
a return. Odenwald reminds readers also that general relativity had a rough time gaining experimental
support at first. Still, he leaves it as an open question whether string theory will survive middle age.
Its sobering to realize what we stand to lose if physics best bet proves to be a
complete dead end.
More immediately, dark matter and dark energy would remain imponderable enigmas,
shorn of any clues about where they come from. Astronomers can live without knowing the
quantum properties of gravity. But to learn that 96 percent of the cosmos is unknowable
would be a bitter pill for astronomers to swallow.
It would be even worse for physicists. Without a logical framework in which
to pose and answer questions, our inquiries into the fundamental aspects of the physical world
would devolve into semantic quibbles.
Something is terribly wrong with a theory that cannot make predictions
that are experimentally verifiable, posits imponderable substances, and envisions multiple universes we
can never know, just to keep the universe eternal. Earlier scientists were ridiculed for appealing
to imponderable substances like caloric and phlogiston. Those were tame compared to todays
dark matter and dark energy, extra dimensions, and multiple universes. Cosmologists claim their
imponderables make up the vast bulk of reality, such that we inhabit a tiny fraction of what must
Blind Cave Fish: Can Darwinism Be Credited for
Regressive Evolution? 02/16/2007
But why must these imponderables exist?
(see PhysOrg.com for an alternative view).
Odenwald says, In some respects, a
world without superstring theory isnt so bad. The standard model and ordinary general
relativity hold all astronomers need to describe accurately most of the phenomena they study, from
galaxy evolution and supernova detonations, to the extreme physics of neutron stars and black holes.
OK, so why not leave well enough alone? Richard Feynman said, Perhaps it is difficult for
physicists to unify gravity with the other forces because nature never intended for them to be unified
in the first place.
Two motivations may be driving the superstring craze. One is the desire for a theory
to be elegant. Cosmologists have found many laws that are simple and elegant, allowing a wide
variety of phenomena to be expressed in simple equations. Well, thats great, but does nature
owe us an obligation to dress according to our style? This is an example of a metaphysical paradigm as
the controversial philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn described it. Its a way of doing science
that the guild of scientists agrees on. Philosopher J. P. Moreland calls this a second-order theory
change not just a change of one theory with another one, but a change in what scientists value in
a theory. Scientists used to think of their craft as the art of
verifying natural phenomena by experimentation.
If we are changing the rules now, such that a theory must be elegant, then we
are on a different track entirely. A scientist remains on good terms with the guild if he comes up
with theories that are elegant, even if they have no connection with reality.
What if, however, reality turns out to be very inelegant in this arena?
What if we are stuck with an ugly theoretical mess? What if no amount of mathematical modeling will
reduce all the forces to a unified set of equations? A man spoke into the sky, Universe, I
exist! to which the universe responded, But that fact places on me no sense of obligation.
The second motivation driving the superstring craze is the desire to escape intelligent
design (11/27/2006). The fine-tuning of the laws of physics
for our existence has been studied now for well over
60 years. Theres no escaping the anthropic principle
(08/11/2006). If the laws and constants of
physics were not what they are, we could not be here to study them. Theists have a ready answer for
this. The God who spoke the universe and its laws into existence formed it to be inhabited
That cosmologists would escape into multiple universes to avoid the obvious is a measure of extreme
Where did this desperation come from? Think back to the late 19th century, when Darwinism
was on the rise. Various social, political, economic and philosophical trends were moving away from
natural theology and toward philosophical materialism. The Myth of Progress was the in thing.
Materialists such as Tyndall and Huxley inculcated a third-order theory change: a change in what
constitutes science itself. There were two sides to this theory change: an exclusion, and an inclusion.
Moreland explains that Darwinism was an attempt to exclude theology from science. As a consequence,
this led to the inclusion of storytelling.
This is commonly stated that appeals to miracles and the supernatural are no longer permissible
in science. OK, define miracle. Is it a one-time event, with no known cause? Is it
a completely unpredictable circumstance? What is supernatural? Does it involve imponderable entities
beyond the range of human experience? Undoubtedly
the materialist is thinking of angels dancing on the head of a pin, but lets ask some interesting
questions. Was the big bang a miracle? Are extra dimensions beyond experience supernatural?
In what way do extra universes differ from the supernatural, if they can never cross into our experience?
At least God interacts with the world and with human beings, but the materialists are invoking alternate
realities that can never be known by scientific investigation.
Since appeals to design have been ruled out of bounds,
todays cosmologists are forced into speculating about how material objects created worlds of exquisite
design and complexity without help from a Mind. Its not that science must be defined this way.
The purveyors of this third-order theory change won a strategic battle in academia. As a result, cosmologists
are stuck with material particles and efficient causes as their only explanatory resources even if such
limitations lead to absurdities.
Ask the question also whether intelligence
is a legitimate subject for scientific inquiry. Is information an imponderable substance? Is it
really possible to reduce intelligence and information to atoms? If we
deal with information on a daily basis (as in fact, your intelligence is right now pondering the semantics of
this information you are reading), why should not science be able to investigate information and its causes?
These examples show that the issues are more nuanced than often described in the either-or
dichotomy of natural vs. supernatural. See also the 05/11/2006
entry with its question, Is our universe natural?
The founders of science would be shocked to see modern cosmologists auditioning for the theater
of the absurd. Its one thing to discover the absurd, but quite another to stay there.
Arthur C. Clarke once said that the
only way to find out the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible. OK, fine.
Now that cosmologists have tested that boundary, will they be prepared to retreat, and escape back to reality?
Watch them. If they jump off the cliff, they werent really scientists. They werent really
interested in following the evidence wherever it leads, but rather in fulfilling their own selfish desires in
the futility of their own imaginations (01/17/2006).
Next headline on:
It is a worldwide phenomenon that cave creatures go blind. Some cave fish lose their eyes
entirely; in others, the eyes shrivel and lose function. In many cave fish, scale pigmentation also
changes. Are these gradual modifications due to natural selection, Darwins mechanism of evolution, or to
genetic drift? Darwin himself could not see any positive value in functionless eyes. He
attributed the blindness to disuse a Lamarckian idea. Maybe his mechanism was the better
explanation after all.
Some American biologists investigated whether the changes in cave fish were due to
natural selection or random genetic drift. Their publication in the upcoming issue (Feb. 20) of Current Biology1
was summarized by Science Daily.
Basically, they concluded that the pigmentation changes are due to genetic drift, because sometimes the
pigments grew lighter and sometimes they got darker. But since the eyes always atrophied, they
ascribed the blindness to natural selection regressive evolution as they called it.
Evolution selects for blindness because of the high energetic cost of maintaining eyes. Their explanation
of this cost brings out some amazing facts about animal eyes in general:
Is it possible that Darwins premise was simply incorrect? Are eyes in a
cave disadvantageous, and if so, why? In essence, the argument against selection
is that the cost of making an eye is trivial compared to the cost of its replacement tissue in
the socket or that the developmental cost is paid by cave fish anyway because the eyes start developing
and only degenerate after many cell cycles of tissue growth and replacement. However, modern
physiology and molecular biology suggest that these arguments might address the wrong costs.
The vertebrate retina is one of the most energetically expensive tissues, with a metabolism surpassing
even that of the brain. Underscoring this high metabolic demand is the observation that one
manifestation of genetic defects decreasing the efficiency of mitochondria is blindness (e.g.,
Lebers hereditary optical neuropathy). Thus, maintenance of eyes might pose a significant
burden in the cave environment. Increasing this burden, the vertebrate retina uses more
energy in the dark than in the light because the membranes of the photoreceptor disks must be
maintained in the hyperpolarized state until they are depolarized in response to light.
Oxygen consumption by the vertebrate retina is approximately 50% greater in the dark
than in the light. Adding further to the retinas cost is its structural maintenance.
Ten percent of the photoreceptor outer disks in vertebrates are shed and renewed each day, and the
structure may be completely replaced over 35 times yearly.
So in a sense, they exonerated Darwins famous mechanism for its ability to explain the phenomenon. But in
another sense, by underscoring the high cost of maintaining eyes with all their parts, they re-opened the question of
how such a complex visual system could have evolved in the first place by a blind process.
1Protas, Conrad, Gross, Tabin and Borowsky, Regressive Evolution in the Mexican Cave Tetra,
Biology, online preprint for the Feb. 20, 2007 issue.
The Bible describes a storm at sea endured by Luke and Paul
When the sailors realized the trouble they were in, they knew what to do: lighten the ship.
Over the sides went the cargo and the tackle of little use with a higher priority (survival)
in mind. In an Old Testament story of a storm at sea
the wish to survive drove another crew to toss overboard another piece of costly but cumbersome baggage: Jonah.
In neither of these cases could it be claimed that survival of the fittest was helping the
ships evolve into speedboats.
OOL on the Rocks
According to Darwinian theory, selection can be progressive and regressive.
Populations can climb up a fitness peak, and slide down a fitness peak. Natural selection can add new organs
and shed useless organs. But think; if the worlds living things are always undergoing neutral genetic drift and
regressive evolution, Charlies little myth will never produce endless forms most beautiful. Everything
will go extinct! Assuming that regressive evolution awards Charlie another medal, therefore,
gives him only fools gold. This is not the way to explain the living world.
What have we learned? Natural selection is real. It is downward! This is the
sense in which Edward Blyth (10/10/2002) and even
William Paley (12/18/2003) understood it (before Darwin plagiarized their ideas and
turned them upside down). Natural selection is a conservative process.
It either maintains what exists or gets rid of it. It cannot generate new organs and new genetic
information. As Hugo deVries quipped, survival of the fittest does not explain the arrival
of the fittest. Removal of the fitless is all this case has demonstrated. Natural selection gets rid of things that
inhibit survival in a storm and tosses them overboard. That is not evolution in the sense most
people have been taught. Have these scientists, or Darwin, actually demonstrated that random mutations could
build an eye or any other complex organ from scratch? Only in their dream-world of imagination
More importantly, these scientists have reminded us how precious and costly the
organs of sense are to their possessors. Romeo may say Juliets eyes are like pearls, but they are
much more valuable. They are the lamps
of the body. It takes elaborate, costly power plants and extensive
maintenance crews to keep them running. The crews must be paid daily in hamburgers, french fries and chocolate.
(OK, soy, garlic, and broccoli for some.)
Darwin may be able to explain how eyes break down, but not where
the blueprints and programs for eyes came from. To fail to see the sense of this is to enter
Platos cave, where lingering
too long diminishes all sense into shadows. The Darwin Party headquarters is located down there,
past the twilight zone. Temptresses at the entrance lure passers by (students) with promises
that greater enlightenment lies below (01/12/2007).
Victims are usually afraid of the dark at first, but become seduced with
the promise that the decreasing daylight will be replaced by a better, inner light of imagination
Thus the blind lead the blind into their niche with their bait and switch sales pitch.
Inductees (12/11/2006) are taught the ritual: offer the Charlie Buddha, the
idol of the cave
his daily incense and all will go well (07/18/2006, 08/07/2003 commentary). Once acclimated and accepted by the clan, novitiates find the light of imagination to be bright, beautiful, and liberating, filled with wondrous possibilities
Visions of complex creatures emerging from the void play across the screen of the minds eye
Simultaneously, the skin grows extremely sensitive. Any suggestion that a true
light can be found above ground produces a violent reaction
Beware, travelers; while you are able,
come to the light. Then learn to
walk in the light.
Caves are interesting places to visit, but never enter without a reliable flashlight and spare
batteries. Read these pages for details.
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory
Fish and Marine Creatures
An important survey of the origin-of-life (OOL) field has been published in
American. Robert Shapiro, a senior prize-winning chemist, cancer researcher,
emeritus professor and author of books in the field, debunks the Miller
experiment, the RNA World and other popular experiments as unrealistic dead ends.
Describing the wishful thinking of some researchers, he said,
In a form of molecular vitalism, some scientists have presumed that nature has an
innate tendency to produce lifes building blocks preferentially, rather than the
hordes of other molecules that can also be derived from the rules of organic chemistry.
had been explaining that millions of organic molecules can form that are not RNA
nucleotides. These are not only useless to life, they get in the way and clog up the
beneficial reactions. He went on to describe how extrapolation
from the Miller Experiment produced an unearned sense of euphoria among researchers: By extrapolation of these results,
some writers have presumed that all of lifes building could be formed with ease
in Miller-type experiments and were present in meteorites and other extraterrestrial bodies.
This is not the case, he warned in a section entitled, The Soup Kettle Is Empty.
He said that no experiment has produced amino acids with more than three carbons (life uses
some with six), and no Miller-type experiment has ever produced nucleotides or nucleosides,
essential for DNA and RNA.
Shapiro described in some detail the difficult steps that organic chemists employ
to synthesize the building blocks of RNA, using conditions highly unrealistic on the primitive earth.
The point was the demonstration that humans could produce, however inefficiently,
substances found in nature, he said. Unfortunately, neither chemists nor
laboratories were present on the early Earth to produce RNA. Here, for instance,
is how scientists had to work to create cytosine, one of the DNA bases:
I will cite one example of prebiotic synthesis, published in 1995 by Nature and featured in
the New York Times. The RNA base cytosine was prepared in high yield by heating two
purified chemicals in a sealed glass tube at 100 degrees Celsius for about a day.
One of the reagents, cyanoacetaldehyde, is a reactive substance capable of combining with a
number of common chemicals that may have been present on the early Earth. These competitors
were excluded. An extremely high concentration was needed to coax the other participant,
urea, to react at a sufficient rate for the reaction to succeed. The product, cytosine, can
self-destruct by simple reaction with water. When the urea concentration was lowered, or
the reaction allowed to continue too long, any cytosine that was produced was subsequently destroyed.
This destructive reaction had been discovered in my laboratory, as part of my continuing
research on environmental damage to DNA. Our own cells deal with it by maintaining
a suite of enzymes that specialize in DNA repair.
There seems to be a stark difference between the Real World and the imaginary RNA World. Despite
this disconnect, Shapiro
describes some of the hype the RNA World scenario generated when Gilbert first suggested it in 1986.
The hypothesis that life began with RNA was presented as a likely reality, rather than a speculation,
in journals, textbooks and the media, he said. He also described the intellectual hoops
researchers have envisioned to get the scenario to work: freezing oceans, drying lagoons, dry deserts
and other unlikely environments in specific sequences to keep the molecules from destroying themselves.
This amounts to attributing wish-fulfillment and goal-directed behavior to inanimate objects, as Shapiro
makes clear with this colorful analogy:
The analogy that comes to mind is that of a golfer, who having played a golf ball through an
18-hole course, then assumed that the ball could also play itself around the course in his absence.
He had demonstrated the possibility of the event; it was only necessary to presume that
some combination of natural forces (earthquakes, winds, tornadoes and floods, for example) could
produce the same result, given enough time. No physical law need be broken for spontaneous RNA formation
to happen, but the chances against it are so immense, that the suggestion implies
that the non-living world had an innate desire to generate RNA. The majority of
origin-of-life scientists who still support the RNA-first theory either accept this concept
(implicitly, if not explicitly) or feel that the immensely unfavorable odds were simply
overcome by good luck.
Realistically, unfavorable molecules are just as likely to form. These would act like terminators for
any hopeful molecules, he says. Shapiro uses another analogy. He pictures a gorilla pounding on
a huge keyboard containing not only the English alphabet, but every letter of every language and all the symbol
sets in a typical computer. The chances for the spontaneous assembly
of a replicator in the pool I described above can be compared to those of the gorilla composing, in English,
a coherent recipe for the preparation of chili con carne. Thats why Gerald Joyce, Mr.
RNA-World himself, and Leslie Orgel, a veteran OOL researcher with Stanley Miller, concluded that the
spontaneous appearance of chains of RNA on the early earth would have been a near miracle.
Boy, and all this bad news is only halfway through the article. Does he have any good news?
Not yet; we must first agree with a ground rule stated by Nobel laureate Christian de Duve, who called
for a rejection of improbabilities so incommensurably high that they can only
be called miracles, phenomena that fall outside the scope of scientific inquiry. That
rules out starting with complex molecules like DNA, RNA, and proteins (see online book).
From that principle, Shapiro advocated a return to scenarios with environmental cycles involving simple
molecules. These thermodynamic or metabolism first
scenarios are only popular among about a third of OOL researchers at this time. Notable subscribers
include Harold Morowitz, Gunter Wachtershauser, Christian de Duve, Freeman Dyson and Shapiro
himself. Their hypotheses, too, have certain requirements that must be met: an energy source, boundaries,
ways to couple the energy to the organization, and a chemical network or cycle able to grow and reproduce.
(The problems of genetics and heredity are shuffled into the future in these theories.) How are they doing?
Over the years, many theoretical papers have advanced particular metabolism first schemes,
but relatively little experimental work has been presented in support of them, Shapiro admits.
In those cases where experiments have been published, they have usually served to demonstrate the
plausibility of individual steps in a proposed cycle. In addition,
An understanding of the initial steps leading to life would not reveal the specific events that
led to the familiar DNA-RNA-protein-based organisms of today. Nor would plausible prebiotic cycles
prove thats what happened on the early earth. Success in the metabolism-first experiments
would only contribute to hope that prebiotic cycles are plausible in principle, not that they actually happened.
Nevertheless, Shapiro himself needed to return to the miracles he earlier rejected.
Some chance event or circumstance may have led to the connection of nucleotides to form RNA,
he speculates. Where did the nucleotides come from? Didnt he say their formation was impossibly
unlikely? How did they escape rapid destruction by water? Those concerns aside, maybe nucleotides
initially served some other purpose and got co-opted, by chance, in the
developing network of life.
Showing that such thoughts represent little more than a pipe dream, though, he admits: Many further steps
in evolution would be needed to invent the elaborate mechanisms for
replication and specific protein synthesis that we observe in life today.
Time for Shapiros grand finale. For an article predominantly discouraging
and critical, his final paragraph is surprisingly upbeat. Recounting that the highly-implausible
big-molecule scenarios imply a lonely universe, he offers hope with the small-molecule alternative.
Quoting Stuart Kauffman, If this is all true, life is vastly more probable than we have supposed.
Not only are we at home in the universe, but we are far more likely to share it with unknown companions.
Update Letters to the editor appeared in Science1 the next day,
debating the two leading theories of OOL. The signers included most of the big names: Stanley Miller,
Jeffrey Bada, Robert Hazen and others debating Gunter Wachtershauser and Claudia Huber. After sifting
through the technical jargon, the reader is left with the strong impression that both camps have essentially
falsified each other. On the primordial soup side, the signers picked apart details in a paper by the
metabolism-first side. Concentrations of reagants and conditions specified were called implausible
and exceedingly improbable.
Wachtershauser and Huber countered that the prebiotic soup theory
requires a protracted, mechanistically obscure self-organization in a cold, primitive ocean, which
they claim is more improbable than the volcanic environment of their own pioneer organism theory
(metabolism-first). Its foolish to expect prebiotic soup products to survive in the ocean, of all places,
wherein after some thousand or million years, and under all manner of diverse influences, the magic of
self-organization is believed to have somehow generated an unspecified first form of life.
Thats some nasty jabbing between the two leading camps.
1Letters, Debating Evidence for the Origin of Life on Earth,
16 February 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5814, pp. 937 - 939, DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5814.937c.
Thank you, Robert Shapiro, for unmasking the lies we have been told
for nearly a century. The Miller Experiment, the RNA World, and all the hype of countless papers,
articles, popular press pieces and TV animations are impossible myths. We appreciate your help
revealing why its all been hyped bunk. Now finish the job and show that yours is no better.
Darwinism and the Valentines Day Massacre
You know you cannot stay with small molecules forever. You have not begun to bridge the canyon between
metabolic cycles with small molecules to implausible genetic networks with large molecules
(RNA, DNA and proteins). Any way you try to close the gap, you are going to run into the very same
criticisms you raised against the RNA-World storytellers. You cannot invoke natural selection without
accurate replication (see online book).
these people presume that if they can just get molecules to pull themselves up by their bootstraps to the
replicator stage, Charlie and Tinker Bell will take over from there. Before you can say 4 Gya,
Shapiros article is very valuable for exposing the vast difference between the hype over
origin of life and its implausibilities nay, impossibilities in the chemistry of the real world.
His alternative is weak and fraught with the very same difficulties. If a golf ball is not
going to finish holes 14-18 on its own without help, it is also not going to finish holes 1-5.
If a gorilla is not going to type a recipe in English for chili con carne from thousands of keys on
a keyboard, it is not going to type a recipe for hot soup either, even using only 1% of the keys.
Furthermore, neither the gorilla nor the golf ball are going to want to proceed further on the
evolutionist project. We cannot attribute an innate desire to a gorilla, a golf ball, or a
sterile planet of chemicals to produce coded languages and molecular machines.
Sooner or later, all the machinery, the replicators, the genetic codes and complex
entropy-lowering processes are going to have to show up in the accounting. Once Shapiro realizes
that his alternative is just as guilty as the ones he criticizes, we may have an ardent new advocate
of intelligent design in the ranks. Join the winning side, Dr. Shapiro, before sliding with the
losers and liars into the dustbin of intellectual history.
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
Romance, schmomance, snarls the title of press release on
from the Association for Psychological Science. Natural selection continues even after sex.
Not only is natural selection driving the mating process in humans, in other words, but it continues even
down to the level of sperm cells competing to reach the egg. Instead of love, caring, tenderness, soul
bonding, or any kind of spiritual values, this article is all about nit and grit. Grungy descriptions
of body parts and processes present the evolutionary picture as all competition and conflict, a
coevolutionary arms race between the sexes. Natural selection is even used to explain
lustful feelings, sexual performance, rivalry, jealousy and infidelity: e.g., the human male may want
to copulate as soon as possible as insurance against possible extra-pair copulation.
Happy Valentines Day, sweetheart.
Darwinisms propensity to destroy traditional views of eros extends to
agape as well. Beginning with Darwin, evolutionists have wondered how unselfish love and
self-sacrifice could have come about by natural selection. Only humans appear moved to compassion and
charity with distant people not of their own kin. Convinced that these behaviors have a material basis,
evolutionists propose selection-based explanations in the scientific literature regularly.
view was summarized on New
Scientist in December by Richard Fisher. Altruism is costly sometimes with ones
life, ending all chance of passing on ones genes. How, then, could the gene for altruism be
passed on? While recognizing that The origin of human altruism has puzzled evolutionary biologists
for many years, Fisher suggests that Humans may have evolved altruistic
traits as a result of a cultural tax we paid to each other early in our evolution, a new study suggests.
Maybe thats like the joke about the lottery being a tax paid by people who are bad at math.
It seems a little stretched to picture Mother Theresa acting out behaviors that early apes developed as
pawns of their selfish genes.
The possibility of anything beyond blind forces of natural selection producing the appearance
of selfless love never enters the equation in these papers. Both Nature and Science the
week of Dec. 7 included book reviews and articles that dealt specifically with altruism and cooperation
none of them entertaining in the slightest way that real love had anything to do with it. To these
evolutionary biologists, human behavior was just a more difficult problem of the same nature as that of
honeybees, and subject to the same equations: for example, Samuel Bowles wrote,1 This study investigates
whether, as an empirical matter, intergroup competition and reproductive leveling
might have allowed the proliferation of a genetically transmitted predisposition to behave
Happy Valentines Day, world.
Oddly, these same scientists and mainstream journal editors do not hesitate to preach the need for
scientific ethics. This is usually after a major scandal, or public distrust of research threatens
funding for embryonic stem cells, cloning or human-animal chimeras or whatever. For instance, the editors of
Nature Jan. 18 got downright preachy,2 encouraging scientists to lead by example with high
ethical standards. Everybody likes a good scandal, and there is nothing like a fresh allegation
of research misconduct to set tongues wagging in the scientific community and outside it, the editorial
began. It ended with the following call to righteousness:
A respectable level of ethics training for all postgraduate students is an important element of this.
It needs to be introduced at all research universities alongside stricter rules on record-keeping, and
arrangements for protecting whistleblowers, where this is missing at the national level.
The wording carefully avoids the value-laden word morals, substituting more-nebulous and less-judgmental words
ethics and good conduct. It hints that there are biological studies of good conduct
that play into societys support for science. These editorials, however, usually fail to define what
good is, or why an independent researcher should subscribe to a relative ethical standard when the referred-to
studies on human cooperation allow for a certain number of non-cooperators to succeed.
But most important of all, as the first scientific studies of the factors behind good conduct
confirm, is the example set by senior researchers themselves. 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.
1Samuel Bowles, Group Competition, Reproductive Leveling, and the Evolution of Human Altruism,
8 December 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5805, pp. 1569 - 1572, DOI: 10.1126/science.1134829.
2Editorial, Leading by example,
445, 229 (18 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/445229a.
So Tinker Bell just shot Cupid.
Folks, this is where the rubber meets the road in the battle between the
Darwin-Only-Darwin-Only DODOs and the noble and altruistic Visigoths. If you are repulsed at the
ugliness of the wreckage left in the wake of Darwinian thinking, thank God: you still might have a soul.
We shudder at the criminal mind that will torture a child without any sense of right or wrong, and even get
a perverse delight out of it, but how does that differ intellectually from what the Darwinists say about
love? They have done worse than rob it of any meaning, value, purpose and virtue. They have
turned altruism into selfishness, purity into dirt, and tenderness into conflict. No wonder we are raising a generation of
sex-crazed young people looking at a meaningless existence and deciding its all about me, me, me
and what my selfish genes make me do. Never before has selfishness been given complete license by a world view
as it has by Darwinism. It has made selfishness the ultimate virtue, justified by science.
Cells Perform Nanomagic
There are three things you need to understand about the Darwinian explanations for love and
altruism that rob the DODO heads of any credibility, and make them worthy of the utmost scorn and adamant opposition.
It is only by forcing these materialists to face the
consequences of their presuppositions that we can offer them a life preserver, provided they drop their Darwinian
millstone and embrace a Christian world view where love and science are real. (They can only grab onto it
if they have some trace of unseared conscience left.)
- The evidence is against them. Here they are, 148 years after Charlie wrote his little black book, still trying
to figure out what is this thing called love? How long do you give a scientist time to scratch his
head before the head is worn away entirely? A decade perhaps? Maybe two? How many miles on the wrong
road do you let a scientist take the wheel before demanding he ask for directions?
- In their view, nothing is good.
They cannot be allowed to call anything good, ethical, right, correct, moral or worthwhile, because
those words are not in the Darwin Dictionary.
Dont let them plagiarize Christian words; they need to be consistent and use their own.
St. Paul can write a lofty, elegant paean to agape in
I Corinthians 13
because within the Christian world view, love is real. In Darwinland, by contrast, love is an illusion,
and with it, all descriptions of it are illusory as well. They cannot speak of love as if it has some
immaterial and immortal existence. To them, it must be nothing
more than a phantom produced by a certain configuration of neurotransmitters undergoing particular rearrangements
in response to stimuli. It is an artifact, an illusion, with no epistemic status. We must slap their hands when they
borrow Christian words. We must laugh at them when they hug or weep. We must take disinterested notes in our white lab
coats when they are indignant over evil. Only by forcing them to live in the prisons they have constructed for themselves
can we offer them the possibility of repentance for what they have done to the greatest word in any language.
- Their view is the death of science. The Darwinist materialists try to exempt themselves from the
human race. From their ivory towers in the air, they pontificate to the rest of us about what makes us tick.
Like gods in their own eyes, they know what is real, what is empirical, and what constitutes knowledge
that is universal, necessary, timeless, and certain. We need to unmask them and let them look in the
mirror. If humans are pawns of natural selection, then nothing is universal, necessary, timeless
and certain. Even if something in the world is universal, there is no way that a material object like a scientist could
know that. Science, therefore, under their own presuppositions, becomes impossible.
Yet, a critic counters, many atheists are doing good science, arent they? Yes; but only by
stealing from Christian presuppositions. Stop the welfare and they will starve.
It is a basic principle of logic (without which all reasoning is impossible) that any self-refuting proposition
is necessarily false. It is also axiomatic that a philosophy cannot be arbitrary or inconsistent,
else one could prove anything. Since Darwinist ontology, epistemology, and moral philosophy is self-refuting,
it is necessarily false. Since it is arbitrary and inconsistent, its postulates are incapable of
logical proof, including the postulate that science can provide knowledge about the external world.
A Darwinist cannot reason within his own presuppositions. He cannot,
therefore, be a scientist. He cannot know anything. He cannot be sure that his sensory impressions
correspond to reality. His actions must be considered products of blind selective pressures. As a
mere product of selfish genes
and memes that are using his body and brain to reproduce, he cannot claim to be
interested in Truth, or to know it when he sees it. Science is impossible in this world view.
Experience shows, unfortunately, that Darwinists are often incorrigible.
Forced into this logical corner, many of them do start
acting consistent with Darwinian values: i.e., they go on the attack, resorting to conflict, competition, and survival
of the fittest. If you observe this behavior, you understand now what is happening. Unable to reason their way
out of their dilemma, they snap, snarl, and use all means to seize power and shut up their opponents.
So be prepared for a fight. There is such a thing as a good fight. One does not have to descend
to the immoral tactics of the enemy, but should work to prevent the enemy from destroying himself and everyone else.
Its the cops struggle against the sniper shooting victims at random.
Sometimes this kind of fight is the most loving act in the world.
So, happy Valentines Day. St. Valentine gave his life as a martyr. He was an altruist.
He did the most un-Darwinian thing: he valued truth and love over passing on his genes. He followed
in the footsteps of Jesus, who said, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down
his life for his friends. Undoubtedly this happened to Valentinus because he confronted the dogmatists
of his day and refused to bow to their false gods. What the world needs now is love, tough love. If you have
it, show it. Dont allow destructive philosophies to wreak their havoc without a good fight.
Recommended Reading: C. S. Lewiss novel That Hideous Strength is as timely today
as when he wrote it at the end of World War II. Lewiss complex story, interweaving numerous themes,
cannot be adequately summarized in a few words; we hope this feeble attempt at describing one of the themes
will interest those unfamiliar with it to read the novel in its entirety.
A modern, liberal couple begins with a selfish, shallow view of love and sexual relationships. They find
through a horrendous experience with a monstrous scientific institution that its overt materialism is really
just a cover for a deeper evil. When the deeper evil is revealed and overcome, their discovery of true
agape love ends with another discovery: that eros, in its soulish context, is also real, rich,
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory
Bible and Theology
Politics and Ethics
The cell is quicker than the eye of our best scientific instruments. Biochemists
and biophysicists are nearing closer to watching cellular magic tricks in real time but
arent quite there yet. They know its just a trick of the eye, but it sure is
baffling how cellular machines pull off their most amazing feats. Think, but dont blink:
In the introduction to this last paper, the authors described how the enzyme is essential to all life.
It is a key player in the transfer of electrons and protons that feed the ATP synthase motors that produce
ATP the universal energy currency for all living things. Water is produced in the process that
generates oxygen (in plants) and consumes it (in animals). These reactions would not occur without the
machinery to drive them against the physical forces of diffusion.
- Knot Wizardry: Proteins needing a fold go into a private dressing room
(05/05/2003). The most glamorous and well-equipped room, the
GroEL-GroES chaperone, helps the star emerge just right. How it does this is as puzzling as watching
a magician untie a Gordian knot under a kerchief. There are thousands of wrong ways a protein
could fold; how does the chaperone always perform the trick correctly? Some of the bonds between domains
(disulfide bridges) are a long way apart. What brings them together, and what keeps the
wrong bridges from forming?
Some scientists at Howard Hughes Medical
Institute, writing in PNAS,1 cheated and built the chaperone with one door open
so they could peek inside. They still couldnt figure it out completely. Something
in the chaperone creates conditions that favor the correct native fold, but also
fix the mistakes before the prima donna protein emerges. Somehow they do this without any
ATP energy cost. We conclude that folding in the
GroEL-GroES cavity can favor the formation of a native-like topology, here involving the proper
apposition of the two domains of TG [trypsinogen, the enzyme in the experiment]; but it also
involves an ATP-independent conformational editing of locally incorrect structures
produced during the dwell time in the cis cavity.
- Speed Solve: Maybe youve watched a blindfolded man solve a Rubiks cube in
seconds and wondered how it was done. You can imagine the bewilderment of German and Swiss scientists
watching a protein fold in far less time. Protein chains of hundreds of amino acids have to
explore a vast space of possible folds yet arrive at the one correct fold, often in fractions of a second.
These scientists, writing in PNAS,2 used lasers to try to figure out in slo-mo how this happens.
As with a Rubiks cube, there are billions of ways a protein could fold incorrectly.
Parts of a nascent protein chain form loops in the process of solving the puzzle. Exponential kinetics
observed on the 10 to 100-ns time scale [ns=nanosecond, a billionth of a second] are caused by diffusional
processes involving large-scale motions that allow the polypeptide chain to explore the complete
conformational space, they said. The presence of local energy minima [e.g., loops]
reduces the conformational space and accelerates the conformational search for energetically
favorable local intrachain contacts. To catch these loops, they had to look fast.
Complex kinetics of loop formation were observed on the 50- to 500-ps [picosecond] time scale,
they noted. A picosecond is a trillionth of a second. Good thing they had lasers that could
flash up to a femtosecond (quadrillionth of a second), or it would all be a blur.
- Levitation: With a feat better than defying gravity, Cytochrome c oxidase
catalyzes most of the biological oxygen consumption on Earth, a process responsible for energy supply in
aerobic organisms, wrote a Finnish team also publishing in PNAS.3 To do this
trick, the enzyme has to go against the force.
Scientists like to talk in dispassionate language, but they called this enzyme remarkable,
so they must have liked the magic act. This remarkable membrane-bound enzyme also converts free
energy from O2 reduction to an electrochemical proton gradient by functioning as a redox-linked
proton pump, they remarked about the remarkable. The way this pump works has remained elusive, even though
most of the structure has been known. With special spectroscopic and electrometric techniques, they were
able to observe the trick in real time. Abracadabra led to eureka: The observed kinetics establish
the long-sought reaction sequence of the proton pump mechanism and describe some of its thermodynamic properties.
OK, tell us. Whats the secret?
The 10-microsecond electron transfer to heme [iron complex] a raises the pKa of
a pump site, which is loaded by a proton from the inside of the membrane in 150 microseconds.
This loading increases the redox potentials of both hemes a and a3, which allows
electron equilibration between them at the same rate. Then, in 0.8 ms, another proton is
transferred from the inside to the heme a3/CuB center, and the electron is transferred
to CuB. Finally, in 2.6 ms, the preloaded proton is released from the pump
site to the opposite side of the membrane.
So, there. Now you know the trick. Uh, hows that again? Actually, they only figured
out part of the trick; some important details remain unsolved, they confessed,
e.g., the identity of the proton-accepting pump site above the hemes. Their diagram of
the enzyme looks for all the world like magicians tightly-cupped hands, with the active site secreted within.
Maybe this could be dubbed sleight-of-enzyme.
The scientists are converging on a mechanical
description of how the pumping action works.
Each of the four electron transfer
steps in the catalytic cycle of CcO [cytochrome c oxidase] constitutes one cycle of the
proton pump, which is likely to occur by essentially the same
mechanism each time, they said. Here, we report on the internal electron
transfer and charge translocation kinetics of one such cycle,
which is set forth by fast photoinjection of a single electron into the oxidized enzyme.
1Eun Sun Park, Wayne A. Fenton, and Arthur L. Horwich, Disulfide formation as a probe
of folding in GroEL-GroES reveals correct formation of long-range bonds and editing of incorrect short-range ones,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, 10.1073/pnas.0610989104, published online before print February 5, 2007.
2Fierz, Satzger et al, Loop formation in unfolded polypeptide chains on the picoseconds to
microseconds time scale,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, 10.1073/pnas.0611087104, published online before print February 6, 2007.
3Belevich et al, Exploring the proton pump mechanism of cytochrome c oxidase in real time,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, 10.1073/pnas.0608794104, published online before print February 9, 2007.
We may not be able to tell how its done, but we all know that a stage magic trick is just an illusion.
But a good trick doesnt just happen, either.
It takes a lot of intelligent design to put on a good show.
Split-second timing, carefully engineered props, trained assistants, planning, and precise manipulation are all required. If and
when we figure out all the cells tricks, it should produce even more awe than a childish belief in
magic. It should produce a deeper respect for the planning and execution of a well-designed show and
a hearty round of applause.
To Coyne a phrase, evolutionists are still writing the origin of species; from
Need we say how disappointing it was for Nature
to submit this Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week about the same time as this last paper appeared:
The invention of oxygenic photosynthesis was a small step for a bacterium, but a giant leap for
biology and geochemistry. So when and how did cells first learn to split water to make oxygen gas?
(John F. Allen and William Martin, Evolutionary biology: Out of thin air,
Nature 445, 610-612,
8 February 2007). Shamelessly, they continued on and on: Biologists agree that cyanobacteria invented
the art of making oxygen, but when and how this came about remain uncertain.
It appears that some childish scientists still believe in magic. We hope the
growing brightness of design emerging from cell biology will not cause too much pain as it shatters their illusions.
If they maintain their illusions in spite of the evidence, though well, willful blindness is
its own punishment.
Next headline on:
Fossil Fish Meat Pushes Idea of Early Complexity
An article in National
Geographic News today has a title to catch the eye (or nose) of seafood lovers: Fossil Meat Found in
380-Million-Year-Old Fish. Knowing how quickly fish spoils if left out, this might strike a reader
as surprising. Sure enough, fossilized muscle, with bundles of muscle cells, blood vessels, and nerve cells
clearly visible, has been found in western Australia.1
This placoderm, an extinct kind of armored fish, was
found in the same formation as Gogonasus, another placoderm reported last year in Nature
and judged to be an ancestor of tetrapods (see 10/20/2006).
Once again, a placoderm fossil from this vicinity is claimed to shed light on evolution. The article
quickly left the soft-tissue evidence behind and concentrated on
where placoderms fit into evolutionary story of fish and land animals.
Two things are surprising the researchers about this fossil: (1) the soft tissue preservation,
and (2) its many features resembling those found on modern land animals. The article says that
most of vertebrate evolution appeared early on, that we need to get over misconceptions of slow and gradual development.
John Long, the lead who reported the Gogonasus fossil last October, explained:
Most people have the Hollywood view of evolution, in which a fish morphs into an amphibian,
followed by a reptile, then a mammal, then a primate, and finally a human, he [John Long, Museum Victoria] said.
He left it to the readers imagination how all the complexity arose in the placoderms ancestors.
But when we look at the Gogo fish, we see that so much of the human body plan is pushed
back into the fishes. So that the origin of all our anatomical systems90 percent of ithappened
within fishes, he said.
After the fishes left the sea and invaded the land, the rest was really fine-tuning of an
1The article did not make it clear if the material was entirely lithified: i.e., replaced by minerals.
To see blood vessels and individual cells would seem to indicate otherwise.
We need to learn if the soft tissue really is still soft, original tissue.
If mineralized, it is astonishing to have such detailed preservation in something so old in the evolutionary
geological timetable. If unmineralized, it is super-astonishing. This makes the 70-mya soft tissue in the
T. rex (11/11/2006,
03/24/2005) look positively recent by comparison.
Darwin Day Gift Ideas 02/12/2007
The title and body of this article illustrate again the incorrigibility of evolutionists.
(Despite Longs rebuke, most evolutionists themselves have a Hollywood view of evolution.)
Can they really expect reasonable people to accept their claim that this fossilized muscle is 380 million years old?
You cant keep fish meat in the frig for more than a couple of weeks, under ideal conditions, without it
putrefying. Yet this sample has intact blood vessels and cells. This should be a bombshell.
Just when the
Darwinist army is decimated and pounded to a pulp by a superior force of evidence, they rally around the Charlie standard
and chant Death to the creationist imbeciles!
No upset is great enough to make them leave the field and admit defeat. Valor is a good thing, but
without discretion, it is lacking its better part.
Next headline on:
Need ideas for that special someone on your shopping list? With
Darwin Day upon us (Feb. 12),
its not too late to find the gift thats just right for the occasion.
See our Top Ten list below.
Top Ten Darwin Day Gift Ideas
Evolution Sunday Honors Darwin Over God 02/11/2007
Remember also that you can find stimulating games and activities for your Darwin Day party right here.
See the 12/09/2006 and
02/13/2004 commentaries for details.
- A blindfolded Tinker Bell doll (01/13/2006),
or a Tinker Toy Set with a hammer.
- Framed picture of Haeckels embryos (02/08/2007) and the
updated version (CMI).
- The Cambrian Explosion (a toy grenade with animals that pop out fully formed).
- For a disliked person, this gag gift: a Truth in Science information pack
(01/11/2007, bullet 6;
- An amber necklace containing bacteria that havent evolved at all in 220 million years
(12/13/2006, bullet 6).
- Golf balls that wobble at random (01/09/2007).
- A Charlie statuette that looks like Buddha. The deluxe edition includes a niche with bamboozle curtains
- A glider parachute (see story on National
Geographic) to help your friend evolve on the way down
(12/13/2006, bullet 6).
- A human-cow chimera (11/29/2006) that can milk itself.
- For that special person, a radiation belt to induce beneficial mutations
If you think silly game suggestions are just a satire, you need to read this
essential article by John West posted for Darwin Day on
National Review Online.
Another good article by Anika Smith can be found on Falcon Online.
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolution Theory
An essay by Edna Devore of the SETI Institute on
encourages churches to join in Mike Zimmermans Evolution Sunday celebrations.
Zimmerman, with his Clergy
Letter Project (see also
Scientist), has gotten over 10,000 pastors to sign a statement affirming evolution as an essential
part of science and religion (02/11/2006). Devore thinks this
is a wonderful opportunity for scientists and people of faith to join in dialogue.1
Devores advertisement, dripping with praise for Charles Darwin but without a single
mention of God, includes this paragraph about why the SETI Institute is promoting Evolution Sunday:
Why is SETI Institute concerned with Darwin and evolution? Understanding the evolution of the
universegalaxies, stars, planets, and lifeis at the heart of our research. In
Darwins autobiography he states, Everything in nature is the result of fixed laws.
Discovering these fixed laws that govern the origin, nature and distribution of life is the core
mission of the SETI Institute, and exploring change over time is the powerful theme that unifies
all of our work, from laboratory to classroom. The work of our scientists working on
the NASA Astrobiology Institute research team focuses on the co-evolution of life and its planetary
context, in projects that range from studies of lifes emergence on early Earth to the habitability
of planets orbiting relatively cool M-stars. This project will directly impact the Institutes search
for evidence of life that, like us, is sufficiently complex to reflect upon its own origins.
The evolution of complexity and intelligence is a challenging research area, but one that can be
probed scientifically, and Institute research seeks to tease important insights out of both the fossil
record and animal communication systems. Darwin would no doubt be fascinated!
Regarding fixed laws in biology, however, an essay in Nature this week questioned
whether biology has any laws in the sense that physics employs.2 In A battle of
two cultures, Evelyn Keller argued from philosophy and history that physics and biology cannot be
compared on the basis of scientific laws:
How appropriate is it to look for all-encompassing laws to describe the properties of biological
systems? By its very nature, life is both contingent and particular, each organism
the product of eons of tinkering, of building on what had accumulated over the course of a particular
evolutionary trajectory. Of course, the laws of physics and chemistry are crucial. But, beyond
such laws, biological generalizations (with the possible exception of natural selection) may
need to be provisional because of evolution, and because of the historical contingencies
on which both the emergence of life and its elaboration depended.
Keller did not elaborate on why she thought natural selection could possibly be exempted from the provisional
nature of biology. She ended by stating that the influx of physical scientists into the emerging
discipline of systems biology will require some guidelines maybe even abandoning the
their traditional holy grail of universal laws.
Perhaps it is time to face the issues head on, and ask just when it is useful to
simplify, to generalize, to search for unifying principles, and when it is not.
That debate aside, Edna Devore ended with the all-encompassing questions any worldview must
ask. But strangely, for someone asking churches to come on board, she said nothing about how God might
be at least a partial source of information. No; the only personages to look to for answers, according
to Devore, are: self, and Charles Darwin.
What might be found can best be understood from a basis of self-knowledge. Where did we
come from? Where are we going? What else is out there, and how did it
evolve? What will we become? Big questions to ponder on the birthday of a man who
helped us shape them.
1Zimmerman calls it Evolution Sunday instead of Darwin Sunday because he
claims only creationists refer to evolutionary theory as Darwinism. Why he chose his special day to fall
on the Sunday before Charles Darwins birthday he did not explain. Devore seems
to understand the centrality of Darwin to evolution; her short essay contains 18 references to Charles Darwin, but none
to other evolutionary theorists. Her essay begins with a quote from Darwin and ends with praise for
the man who helped us shape the answers to lifes biggest questions.
2Evelyn Fox Keller, Connections: A clash of two cultures,
445, 603 (8 February 2007) | doi:10.1038/445603a.
Devores essay is so silly and shallow and uninformed, its easy
to dismiss it as complete poppycock. But Christians should be merciful, so lets meet her halfway,
and suggest ways we might make Evolution Sunday a meaningful occasion. Here is a suggested Order of
Worship for Evolution Sunday:
Round 'em up! Cellular cowboys rope the chromosome herd, from 03/04/2004.
We hope Edna appreciates our attempts to help make Evolution Sunday a rich and meaningful opportunity to reflect on
the development of evolutionary theory from before Darwin to the present and the rich and complex historical
interaction of evolution and Christianity.
- Begin with a moment of silence for the 148 million who died under the regimes Darwins philosophy inspired
- Scripture Reading:
(the danger of walking in the counsel of the ungodly, instead of delighting in the law of the Lord).
- Opening hymn: This Is My Fathers World.
- Sunday School Lesson: the art of Baloney Detecting.
- Testimonies: people who trusted their self-knowledge and ruined their lives till they got back to the Word of God,
or who embraced evolutionism uncritically till they studied the evidence.
- Prayer: each class prays for a communist country that is still trying to impose
atheism, justifying it with Darwins theory. Pray for the pastors and Christians being persecuted (see
Also pray that social evils will end that are rationalized by evolution: abortion, embryonic stem cell killing, cloning.
- Choir: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee
- Sermon: Matthew 7 (Sermon on the Mount) about building on the rock of Jesus word instead of the shifting
sands of human opinion. Give illustrations of the many ways evolutionary theory has shifted with each new falsifying
evidence (e.g., 12/14/2004 and the
12/27/2006 commentary). Describe how
evolutionary ideas did not begin with Charles Darwin, but illustrate the
Long War Against God.
Option Two: The contrast between Darwins Tree of Life
and the Tree of Life described in Genesis
and Revelation. Key text:
Proverbs 3:13-24. Secondary text:
(a tree is known by its fruit).
Other references to tree of life can be found on
- Hymn: How Firm a Foundation, about Gods excellent Word.
- Challenge: Every member gets a packet of materials to use in witnessing to Darwinists: a copy of
Acts and Facts newsletter with encouragement to get on the mailing list, a card listing URLs for creation websites
(like this one), a package of gospel tracts aimed at flaws in evolutionary theory such as these from
and a copy of the DVD
The Case for a Creator.
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
Bible and Theology
Enceladus Spray-Paints Its Neighbors Yards 02/10/2007
Saturns moon Enceladus is not only Yellowstone unto itself. Its shares the National Park experience with its
neighbors. The geyser spray coats nearby moons white like snow.
and National Geographic are
calling this a case of cosmic graffiti. How did scientists catch the tagger?
The original paper in Science describes how on 13 Jan. 2005, on a rare night when
the Sun, Earth and Saturn were almost perfectly aligned, scientists used the Hubble Space Telescope to
measure the geometric albedo of Saturns moons. This is the brightness of a body at the moment
the suns phase angle approaches zero. The albedo of the 11 moons embedded in Saturns E-ring
turned out to be much brighter than expected by a factor of about 1.5. The only way they could
explain this is by hypothesizing that the ice particles ejected by Enceladus
are sandblasting the nearby moons and coating them with a whitewash of ice. The bodies affected include the large
moons Rhea and Dione as well as smaller ones Tethys, Mimas and others.
The original paper said nothing about
life, but National Geographic couldnt resist. Enceladuss geysers have made the
moon a hot spot for astronomers looking for signs of life in space, the article said.
If the geysers are drawing from pockets of water below the moons surface, as some theories suggest,
those reservoirs could harbor an intriguing variety of primitive life-forms much like those found in Earths
deep-ocean hydrothermal vents. One of the scientists cautioned against speculation, though,
saying that we dont yet understand the nature of the geysers.
Saturn is nicely placed in the sky right now, according to a
JPL press release.
At opposition (opposite the sun from Earth), its high in the sky all night till April,
and the rings are nearly wide open. Many people have remembered their first view of Saturn through
a telescope as a thrilling experience. Some astronomers made their career choice because of it.
1Anne Verbiscer, Richard French, Mark Showalter, Paul Helfenstein, Enceladus: Cosmic Graffiti
Artist Caught in the Act,
9 February 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5813, p. 815, DOI: 10.1126/science.1134681.
How long could this spray-painting be going on?
Is it plausible that Enceladus has been doing this for 4.5 billion years? If not,
why is it doing it now? This is the question nobody seems to be asking.
Bug Tech: It would be hard to add anything to David Tylers news analysis about moth
gyroscopes at Access
Research Network. Check out this interesting design story.
Next headline on:
Highlights from Biblical Archaeology News
As an intelligent-design science, archaeology continues to interpret the actions of human
intelligence from the observation of physical artifacts. Here are some recent stories
bearing on Bible history and archaeology.
Another story worth watching is about the search for oil under Israel.
World Net Daily reported that
chances are good that oil will be found. It has been carrying ads for initial public offerings for
Zion Oil and Gas, a startup looking to dig for oil in
the Holy Land. It opened on the American Stock Exchange on January 3. If successful, it might
make Israel energy independent and alter the dynamics of near Eastern politics.
- Battle of the Ages: Science had a special section on Jerusalem archaeology
in the Feb 2 issue. Andrew Lawler1 critiqued the spectacular claim that the
palace of David and Solomon has been discovered in the City of David (south of modern
Jerusalem). The series included sidebars about the lead archaeologist of the site,
Eilat Mazar,2 who accepts the Biblical chronology, and her ideological opponent
Israel Finkelstein,3 a leader of the minimalist school that sees
the early kings as mere legends.
Lawler concedes Finkelsteins views have made him
a lightning rod and bad boy to other, more conservative, archaeologists.
Finkelstein himself admitted he has a
big mouth that tends to get him in trouble. Critics say he requires his
detractors to carry the burden of proof and that he resorts to bellicose rhetoric.
At the City of David, Eilat Mazar wrapped up a second season of digging on what could be the most
significant archaeological find in Jerusalems history: the palace of the king who,
according to biblical texts, united the ancient Israelites. She denies charges
that her conservative views influence her scientific interpretations. The most interesting
part of the discovery is a large building, covering as much as 2000 square meters, that she
claims dates from the time of King David. Much of the controversy is about the dating
of the building that sits above the impressive Stepped-Stone Structure on the eastern slope, 37 meters
high, portions of which have been dated to before the time of David.
Imprecision in dating methods fuels the controversy over this major find.
Dates before the Assyrian king Sennacherib (701 BC) are not considered firm. Mazars
dates are based on pottery (usually pretty reliable). Radiocarbon dates are just
imprecise enough to allow advocates of any date to rationalize their claims. Lawler ended
with hopes that refinements and more samples will shed more light--and generate less heat--on
Jerusalems Iron Age predecessor. He quoted Ayelat Gilboa
(Haifa U), who works on a radiocarbon team, who believes better dating may lead to
a new and more vigorous biblical archaeology
that uses the Bible as a guide once again.
- Tunnel Vision: Further down the City of David slope to the south, tunneling
has exposed a large cardo (street) that experts think went all the way from the Siloam Pool to
the Temple Mount in Roman times. Todd Bolens interesting BiblePlaces Blog
describes the excavations with pictures. The real Siloam Pool of Jesus day was
discovered by accident a few years ago. Now this street heading north indicates that
it was part of a large Roman complex. It could be the very path the blind man took when Jesus
told him, Go wash in the pool of Siloam
- Ramping Up: The rickety wooden ramp to the west side of the Temple Mount is being replaced
(see BiblePlaces Blog).
Anything this close to the most sacred site of the Jews and one of the three most sacred sites of the Muslims
is bound to stir up trouble, and it did; a riot erupted today (Feb. 9), reported
with hundreds of angry Muslims fighting Israeli police in the Old City.
Paleojudaica is keeping a daily tab on the activity and the
Post also has a report and background information.
Sympathy protests took place in Nazareth and Damascus. There were fears the violence could spread to the West Bank and Gaza. The fact that the Temple Mount itself was not under any threat is prompting some, however,
to interpret the ramp excavation as a pretext for a few Muslim activists in Jerusalem to gain publicity.
Some Palestinians are threatening a new intifada if the work by the Israeli
Antiquities Authority continues, even though the work, at the Western Wall plaza, is not taking
place on the Mount and poses no threat to the holy site, according to
World Net Daily. The Muslims fear that
excavations required before any new construction may turn up artifacts Jews will use as evidence of Jewish presence in
Jerusalem in Biblical times, especially their sacred Temple. Only Muslims deny the existence of the Jewish
Temple on the site now occupied by the Dome of the Rock. An article on
National Geographic News
discusses the skirmish over the ramp, and also details about the Siloam Pool excavations at the south end
of the old City of David. Palestinians are condemning those excavations as well even though they are
far from the Temple Mount. Archaeologists are finding a large complex with the main street of Jerusalem
from the second temple period.
Previous excavation work on the western and southern sides of the Temple Mount has already shed much
light on the Roman and Judahite periods despite repeated instances of violence. The public now has access
from the Jewish Quarter to attractive archaeological parks that display and explain the discoveries.
These parks do not discriminate against visitors. Friendly signs that are not partial to Jewish interests
explain all the relevant periods and civilizations involved, including the Muslim and Turkish periods.
Muslims, however, have a free rein on the Mount while denying access by Jews to their
holiest site of all. They deny clear archaeological evidence of Jewish civilization on the site from
Biblical times. Israel goes overboard to cater to the Muslims.
The Israeli government, for instance, is allowing construction of a new minaret on the Temple Mount, another
WND article reports, even though
four minarets already exist there and construction of a fifth and taller one is offensive to most Jews.
Five times a day Jews endure Muslim calls to prayer from loudspeaker-equipped minarets.
Yet with reckless disregard for the sensibilities of their Jewish neighbors,
Muslims have done massive illegal digging at the south end of the Temple Mount in order to build a huge new
underground mosque in addition to the Al Aqsa Mosque already there. While making the Temple Mount a
Muslim-only park, they purposely try to eradicate all
historical evidence of Jewish presence. Piles of artifact-laden debris sit inside the Mount. Much of it
has been recklessly tossed over the wall. Archaeologist Gabriel
Barkay has sifted through some of the rubble and found artifacts dating from the first temple period
(10/31/2006), crucial evidence for establishing
Jewish claims to the site (see pictures and descriptions at
Bible Places Blog).
The Muslim Waqf police
control all access to the Mount and forbid any Jewish archaeology there under threats of violence. Eilat Mazar
and Gabriel Barkay are among Jewish archaeologists protesting the double standard and betrayal of
the Jews archaeological heritage by their own government. Additional news and remarks can be
found on Haaretz and the
See also this Jerusalem
Post editorial link found on the news site of the
Biblical Archaeology Society. Barkay, incidentally,
is on a lecture tour in the US; see Bible
Places Blog for schedule.
- Canaanite Spell: National
Geographic News was among several sources carrying the story of an ancient Semitic text just deciphered
in an Egyptian tomb. Translated into Egyptian hieroglyphs, the text was a prayer to the snake god for protection.
Dating from 2400 to 3000 BC, this is the oldest example of a proto-Canaanite language, a predecessor of
Hebrew. Apparently Egyptians sought the help of magicians from Byblos (in modern Lebanon) for
incantations to protect from snake bite. The inscription was known since the 19th century but
was only recognized recently to be a transliteration of Semitic words into Egyptian characters.
The significance of the find is that it shows written language and commerce existed before the time of Abraham.
(Early critics had doubted that Moses, half a millennium later than the patriarchs, could have used written language.)
This is a discovery of utmost importance, Moshe Bar-Asher [Hebrew U] said.
Almost all the words found [in these texts] are also found in the Bible. Richard
Steiner [Yeshiva U, NY] added, Its not as different from biblical Hebrew as some people might
have expected. A lot of the characteristics of Hebrew that we know from the Bible are already present
in these texts. Scholars are expecting that the find may even shed light on the pronunciation
of Egyptian words.
- Flood Flash: Want to see what its like to be caught in a flash flood in
the dry, barren desert of Israel? Watch
this homemade video for a shaky experience. Israels many dry washes (wadis) can become torrents of
rapid erosion under the right circumstances. This one looks like it occurred in the Paran Wilderness
near Timnah. Biblical poets and prophets like
well acquainted with the power of torrential rains.
- Pauls Last Good Fight: Have the bones of St. Paul been discovered? Todd Bolen
thinks its within reason to believe so (see
Bible Places Blog).
This story goes back a couple of months, but excavations at the cathedral
of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome have uncovered a sarcophagus that scholars think could store the
bones of Paul the Apostle (see also
Geographic News). According to tradition, Paul was beheaded by Nero shortly after writing a final letter to his
apprentice Timothy, saying, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith
(II Timothy 4).
If the authorities allow the sarcophagus to be opened, it will be interesting to see
if the skeleton shows signs of beheading. This elaborate church has long been considered the site
where Paul was martyred. A former Pharisee, Paul traveled thousands of miles over Europe and Asia, enduring all kinds
of hardships, including stonings, beatings and shipwrecks, proclaiming, I am not ashamed of
the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe, to the Jew first,
and also to the Greek (Romans 1).
1Andrew Lawler, Judging Jerusalem,
2 February 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5812, pp. 588 - 591, DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5812.588.
2Andrew Lawler, All in the Family,
2 February 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5812, p. 590, DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5812.590.
3Andrew Lawler, Holy Land Prophet or Enfant Terrible?,
2 February 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5812, p. 591, DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5812.591.
Paul wrote, a few verses later, that the unbeliever has no excuse
for denying God, because of the infallible witness of creation
He used this argument when speaking to the people of Lystra
(Acts 14) and
to the philosophers in Athens on Mars Hill
The argument is still powerful today. To the Jews and God-fearing Gentiles, Paul also
frequently pointed to the authority of the Scriptures.
Editorial: Professor of design at Bristol University Stuart Burgess goes
against the grain about intelligent design in
He ends, its not science to rule something out because you dont like the implications.
If it werent for Muslim threats of violence, Biblical archaeology would
be in a wonderful renaissance right now. New scientific techniques and technologies hold promise for more
rapid discovery and analysis of data. Brave investigators in the 1800s revived the study of Palestine
and began uncovering amazing things, but that was before photography, computers, radiocarbon, radar, aerial
reconnaissance, rapid transportation
and all the tools we have available now. Photography arrived in the late 1800s. Biblical archaeology
began in earnest in the early 20th century, and indeed was the testbed for the science of
archaeology in general. The clumsy early techniques are now refined and standardized.
Tremendously interesting digs are going on now (dig this
blog, but after a century of work,
only a tiny fraction of historical sites have been explored. Some claim only 1% of Biblical
sites have been investigated, and of those, only a small fraction have been thoroughly excavated. What wonders
remain under millennia of soil!
Though much remains to be learned,
the well-studied sites are remarkable. You can stand in the synagogue at Capernaum, where basalt
stones still stand from the building in which Jesus taught and healed a demoniac. From there you can walk a short
distance to the remains of Peters house, where Jesus healed Peters mother. To the west a few miles
away is a first-century fishing boat, found
a few years ago, of the type the disciples used. The uninhabited remains of Bethsaida and Chorazin,
cursed by Jesus for their unbelief, are nearby. Up north in Dan, you can stand on the
platform where the apostate King Jeroboam erected a golden calf, then walk to an arched mudbrick gate
through which Abraham could have passed. A short distance farther down the trail are the iron-age walls and
city gates where kings and prophets of Israel walked.
At the ruins of Jezreel, Gibeah, Megiddo, Hazor, Arad,
Beth-Shemesh, Timnah and numerous other sites are ruins dating from Biblical times that correspond to the
way they are described in the Scriptures. You can go to the British Museum and see Sennacheribs
magnificent relief of his destruction of Lachish, and a few paces away see his stele describing Hezekiah
in Jerusalem; then you can travel to Lachish and see the ruins intact. Another stele in the British Museum
shows the Israelite king Jehu. The Moabite Stone describes Biblical kings from the time of Ahab.
Jerusalem itself is a treasure
trove of places and artifacts, like Hezekiahs Tunnel and Broad Wall, and much more from the time of Christ
to Canaanite times a thousand years earlier.
It should not be surprising that occasionally there are difficulties with dating and evidence.
The Holy Land has been the scene of many major wars and destructions for 5,000 years; in a way, it is surprising there is so
Before assuming the Bible is in error, it is good to remember what happened to previous criticisms.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. The Hittites, for instance, were unknown outside the
Bible till their flourishing civilization was discovered. The traditional site of Ai did not seem to
match the Biblical battle, but new excavations at a neighboring site show a better fit to the geographical
details described in Joshua 8.
Sometimes a third look is necessary. Early excitement about Jerichos walls matching the account in Joshua,
as excavated by Garstang, were deflated by Kathleen Kenyon when her team decided the destruction layer was too
early for Joshuas time. Now, however, evidence is emerging that Kenyons methods were flawed
and biased. A destruction layer fitting the Joshua story, including a house on the wall matching the
description of Rahabs house (on a part of the wall that did not fall), fit the story well when
the pottery-based dating is corrected. This gives renewed confidence
that the Biblical record is reliable when all the evidence is in.
The news stories reported above demonstrate that Biblical dating by archaeology is imprecise and
controversial. Nothing has been found that rules out this historicity of the Bible, and much
has been found that corroborates it. A book with that good a track record needs to be taken
seriously. Consider also the internal evidence. The Bible (unlike other religious texts) reads
like a narrative by eyewitnesses and historians. Read Joshua 12-22, for example; the
attention to detail is staggering: place names, kings, countries, cities, villages, towns, directions and
persons are all recorded. Such detail does not fit the stereotype of wandering
tribes passing along oral tradition, or priests fabricating their social history centuries after the fact.
In some cases, only contemporaries
could have known idioms of the day that are preserved in the text.
The processes by which our modern
copies of the Bible came to be do not rule out the use of some oral and external sources, later compilation, insertion
of editorial comments, and even occasional scribal errors (none of which affect major doctrines). The Bible has
better textual support and internal and archaeological evidence corroborating its authenticity and
reliability than any other ancient text. Scholars would have to throw out Herodotus, Thucydides and
other reputable sources under the same criteria by which some skeptics distrust the Bible. Remember, too, that Jews and
Christians were extremely careful handling what they believed to be the inspired Word of God.
Consider that the Dead Sea Scrolls show near-perfect correspondence with the Masoretic Text a thousand years later.
This was an astonishing confirmation of the reliability of transmission that has come to light just since 1948.
Believers add the proposition that a God able to communicate His Word is able to preserve it.
Inscriptions, though rare in Palestine, fit the Bible: e.g., Pilates name at Caesarea,
the Hezekiah Tunnel inscription, the Lachish letters.
More recent finds continue to illuminate the Bible as trustworthy history.
This include the Tel Dan inscription corroborating the existence of a dynasty of David, a seal of a
royal official mentioned in the Bible at Megiddo, the
silver scrolls of Ketef Hinnom (the earliest Scriptural fragment, 700 BC)
proving the Iron-Age familiarity with the Levitical priestly blessing, Barkays
discovery last year of a clay seal with the name of a Biblical character from Jeremiah
(10/31/2006), jar handles stamped with
Hezekiahs royal seal (and a pottery fragment with a possible sketch of the king himself)
at Ramat Rahel south of Jerusalem
(08/20/2006, and a pottery shard etched with a name resembling Goliath
found late 2005 (11/11/2005) at
the site of the Biblical giants home town, Gath.
We could expect many more if archaeologists were unhindered by political stresses and threats of violence. Many of the most
promising sites, unfortunately, are off limits in the Palestinian-controlled West Bank. Where is the scientific
community in protest?
Where is the United Nations to demand fair access to these important sites that could so enrich our understanding
of the Bible and the foundations of Western civilization?
We can only hope that more tantalizing tidbits will continue to surface during intervals
of peace in the Middle East. (Iraq, by the way, is another vast landscape filled with archaeological
treasures. We should work to ensure they do not fall to another closed dictatorship.) In the meantime, you can
hold in your hand a book unlike any other. The Bible invites scrutiny! No other ancient or religious text has this much
detail that can be cross-checked. You dont need archaeology to enjoy the
Bible and profit from its message. But for those who appreciate the value of building their views on a
solid foundation within a well-rounded and informed context, these are the best times to weigh the evidence.
Online resources like Bible Places and Todd Bolens excellent
BiblePlaces Blog can bring you the latest news.
Get a copy of the new Archaeological
Study Bible, a set of maps and a Bible dictionary. Embark on an adventure of science, intelligent
design, history, faith and contemplation that will do your soul good.
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
Politics and Ethics
Music Out of Range of Darwins Instrument
In Science this week,1 Michael Balter reported on a Montreal meeting of
the Brain, Music and Sound Research Center (BRAMS). The center is gaining attention for its
renewed interest in the biology of music, and why human beings are so good at this skill
with its dubious survival value. The topic came up about how music might have evolved.
Balter reported about his conversation with Isabelle Peretz,
a neuropsychologist at the University of Montreal and co-director of BRAMS.
Yet whereas work on musical learning is showing progress, music remains a mystery, Peretz says.
The biggest question is what it is for. Researchers have suggested many scenarios
for why musical abilities might have evolved, such as enhancement of social solidarity and increasing
communication between mothers and children (Science, 12 November 2004, p. 1120). But Peretz
is cautious about such speculations. Although she has long argued against claims by researchers
such as Harvard University cognitive scientist Steven Pinker that music is just auditory
cheesecake with no adaptive function, she conceded in a recent review in Cognition that
most hypotheses about musics role in human evolution are inherently untestable. I
believe that music is in our genes, but belief is not science--more evidence is needed, she says.
See also the 03/07/2002 and
12/09/2004 entries on music and evolutionary theory.
A new, detailed article by a medical doctor on the intricate design and construction of the human ear
can be found on Apologetics Press.
1Michael Balter, Study of Music and the Mind Hits a High Note in Montreal,
9 February 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5813, pp. 758 - 759, DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5813.758.
A scientist gets a little closer to singing on pitch (compare
Geological layers: not slow time sequences, but fractals. See
Next headline on:
Haeckel Given Soft Gloves in Nature
How should a scientists career be evaluated if he was a known fraud? How also
if he promoted views that fanned the flames of racism and genocide?
Heres what Philip Ball said about Ernst Haeckel in Nature:1
Reckoned to have been instrumental to the introduction of darwinism to Germany, Haeckel
has also inspired generations of scientists with his stunning drawings of the natural world....
Ball is reviewing a new book on Haeckel by Olaf Breidbach, Visions of Nature: The Art and Science of Ernst Haeckel
But despite enjoying the beautiful drawings of radiolarians, antelopes and other things, did Ball have any
comments about Haeckels well-known forgeries of embryos supposedly illustrating evolution?
Few scientists of his time were more complicated. He was the archetypal German Romantic,
who toyed with the idea of becoming a landscape painter and venerated Goethe. He promoted a kind of
historical determinism, akin to that of the philosopher G. W. F. Hegel, that sat uncomfortably with
Darwins pragmatic rule of contingency. Haeckels view of evolution was a search for
order, systematization and hierarchy that would reveal far more logic and purpose in life than a mere
struggle for survival. His most famous scientific theory, the biogenetic law,
which argued that organisms retrace evolutionary history as they develop from an egg (ontogeny
recapitulates phylogeny), was an attempt to extract such a unifying scheme from the natural
Still no mention of the word fraud in the embryo drawings. Maybe a little euphemism and some
mercy quotes will help as Ball also considers the more serious charges that Haeckel fueled the rise of Nazism:
It can be argued that this kind of visionary mindset, with its strong
preconceptions about how the world ought to be, does not serve science well.
Haeckel supplies a case study in the collision between Romanticism and science, and that tension is
played out in his illustrated works.
For example, historian Daniel Gasman3 and others have proposed that Ernst Haeckels influence on
German culture at the turn of the century was pernicious in its promotion of a scientific
racist ideology that fed directly into Nazism. However, Breidbach goes no further than to
admit that Haeckel became a biological chauvinist during the First World War, and that
sometimes the tone of his writing was overtly racist. Breidbach admits that
his book is not a biography as such, more an examination of Haeckels visual heritage. Yet one could argue that Haeckels dark side was as much a natural consequence of his world view as was Art Forms in Nature.
Now that Ball almost warmed up to the fraud word, can he excuse Breidbachs euphemisms?
The claim that Haeckel doctored images to make them fit with his preconceived notions of
biology is harder to ignore in this context. He was even accused of this in his
own time, particularly by his rival Wilhelm His, and to my eye the evidence looks pretty strong
(see Nature 410, 144; doi:10.1038/35065834 2001 and Science 277, 1435; 1997). But Breidbach
skates over this issue, alluding to the allegations only to suggest that the illustrations
instructed the reader how to interpret the shapes of nature properly.
On the whole, Breidbach simply explains Haeckels reliance on image without assessing it. Haeckels
extraordinary drawings were not made to support his arguments about evolution and morphogenesis; rather,
they actually were the arguments. He believed that these truths should be apparent not
by analysing the images in depth but simply by looking at them. Seeing was understanding,
as Breidbach writes. But if thats so, it places an immense burden of responsibility on the veracity of the images.
Ball continues his argument, saying that whether he hid any nascent appendages that challenged
his biogenetic law, Haeckels propensity for exaggeration makes the value of his other
drawings questionable. The German advocate of darwinism was creating, in a sense, platonic forms loosely
connected with reality. At this point, Ball seems impatient with Breidbachs euphemisms.
The book author excused the fabrications as images of nature properly organized and
the labour of the analyst was replaced by the fascination of the image. Ball adds, with
sarcasm, Absolutely as fascinate originally meant bewitch.
This is the nub of the matter. Breidbach suggests that Haeckels drawings are
schematic and that, like any illustrator, Haeckel prepared them to emphasize what we are meant to see.
But of course, this means we see what Haeckel wants us to see.
Ball further criticized Haeckel for using photography later only as a backup against charges
of forgery. He did not accept the excuse that aesthetic styles permit a scientific illustrator to
gild the lily.
In the end, he felt that Breidbachs book, despite its aesthetic appeal, should have dug deeper
into the problematic areas his subject raises.
1Philip Ball, Painting the whole picture?,
445, 486-487 (1 February 2007) | doi:10.1038/445486a.
2Breidbach is the director of the Ernst Haeckel Museum in Jena, and had access to
all of Haeckels notes and sketchbooks. Philip Ball was chagrined that Breidbachs
inadequate digging into the dark side of Haeckel represented an opportunity missed.
3Note: Richard Weikarts book From Darwin to Hitler is a much more
reliable treatise on this subject than Gasmans. See the
Philip Ball tiptoed into the problems without ignoring all of them
completely. He didnt use the word fraud, and only put the word forgery
into a quotation from the perpetrator excusing his deed. He failed to mention that Haeckels
biogenetic law is largely discredited today. He didnt respond to the
ruckus creationists have been making for decades about what a dogmatic, racist, unreliable,
lying Charlie-toady Ernst Haeckel was.
Dodo Prey Fights Back 02/07/2007
Balls words were guarded and indirect, leaving some
of the charges as hypotheticals, and putting the
worst accusations into the mouths of others. He should have demanded Haeckel be removed from
all evolutionary discussions as an imposter, ideeologue, and fomenter of genocide.
Why would any self-respecting Darwinist want anything to do with this albatross?
At least he got after Breidbach for completely whitewashing the crook. Its
doubtful Balls soft punches, though, will make Breidbach feel much remorse as he displays
Haeckels art nouveau drawings with pride in his Jena museum, suggestive interpretations
and all. This new book should have received a scornful denunciation, as much as an apologetic
treatment of Mein Kampf would.
Incidentally, read the next entry and its links for
proof that textbook writers are still using Haeckels fraudulent embryo drawings in
high school textbooks. This is a century after they were exposed by his contemporaries, and a decade
after Nature itself re-exposed them as more fraudulent than previously thought
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Irked at falsehoods promulgated by Randy Olsens film
Flock of Dodos, the intelligent design (ID)
think tank Discovery Institute (DI) is fighting back. The film presents a viewpoint that
what ID lacks in science it makes up for in public relations. The DI is convinced
the reverse is true. In an attempt to rebut what it claims are outright lies in the film, the institute
opened a new web URL HoaxOfDodos.com
that attempts to set the record straight. It shows that Randy Olsen lied about textbooks not
using Haeckels embryos as evidence for evolution. And it shows that Olsen also inflated
figures of the DIs budget by 500%, making the false claim twice in the film.
Also, in response to undying attacks that the DI had a secret
Wedge Document that, when stolen, exposed a conspiracy to insert God back
into public education (see a year-old story in the
the DI has published its
again on the site. The response explains how Darwinist paranoia fueled an urban legend.
The internal fundraising memo (stolen by a copyist and posted on the internet) said nothing that was not
already public information. Nevertheless, conspiracy theories took off, especially in the hands
of Barbara Forrest, a secular humanist, who brandished it as a call to arms for scientists against a
perceived threat by religious zealots. DIs response
prints the key parts of the alleged conspiratorial letter with explanatory (and often ironic)
comments. One example:
The best and truest research can languish unread and unused unless it is properly
also contains other articles defending the DI and its staff against smears in the media.
Its shocking but trueDiscovery Institute actually promised to publicize the
work of its scholars in the broader culture! Whats more, it wanted to engage Darwinists in
academic debates at colleges and universities! We are happy to say that we still believe in
vigorous and open discussion of our ideas, and we still do whatever we can to publicize
the work of those we support. So much for the secret part of our supposed conspiracy.
We remind all that DODOs are evolutionary related to
DINOs (see 10/29/2005
commentary). The Wedge response ends with a final thought:
Dont Darwinists have better ways to spend their time than inventing
absurd conspiracy theories about their opponents? The longer Darwinists persist in
spinning such urban legends, the more likely it is that fair-minded people will begin to
question whether Darwinists know what they are talking about. Compare the
DIs response to that of the Darwin Party in the next entry.
Turkana Boy Causes Museum Ruckus 02/07/2007
Next headline on:
Christians want the boy arrested and locked up. Scientists want to put him on stage.
The stage is Kenyas National Museum, and the boy is Turkana boy, a fossil classified by
evolutionists as Homo erectus and claimed to be 1.6 million years old.
that the museum is showcasing the fossil, the most complete hominid skeleton ever found, for the
first time. It will take center stage of a new exhibit on the theme of evolution.
The exhibit has caused protests from evangelical Christians in Kenya. According
to CNN, they have demanded the skeleton be relegated to a back room along with some kind of notice
saying evolution is not a fact but merely one of a number of theories.
Bishop Boniface Adoyo, head of Kenyas 35 evangelical denominations with 10 million
constituents, protested that I did not evolve from Turkana Boy or anything like it.
These sorts of silly views are killing our faith.
Evolutionists are responding with equally entrenched positions.
Whether the bishop likes it or not, Turkana Boy is a distant relation of his, retorted
Richard Leakey, discoverer of Lucy
and founder of the museums prehistory department.
The bishop is descended from the apes and these fossils tell how he evolved.
The news item ends by claiming that the head of paleontology at the museum, Dr.
Emma Mbua, is a Protestant who sees no problem with evolution. Evolution is a
fact, she said. Turkana Boy is our jewel. For the first time, we will be
taking him out of the strong room and showing our heritage to the world.
Nevertheless, concerns over security have made the museum take out millions of
dollars of insurance on the exhibit and protect it with a glass screen, closed circuit TV and
security guards. The museum gets about 100,000 visitors a year.
CNN says the museum renovation features additional hominid fossils and exhibits of
extinct animals that provide the clearest and unrivaled record yet of evolution and the origins of man,
according to unnamed scientists. The $10.5 million renovation was paid for by the European
Union. By contrast, the entire Creation Museum being opened this year by Answers in Genesis,
including property, buildings, and all exhibits, is $27 million.
As usual, this story creates a false dichotomy between
religion and science, between faith and knowledge. We dont have the complete story
on Bishop Adoyos efforts, but have a suggestion on the way these sorts of disagreements
should be handled. Demanding that the exhibit be censored or relegated to a back room is
counterproductive, because it reinforces the stereotype that Christians are afraid of hearing
scientific evidence that contradicts their faith.
Contingency and the Structure of Lifes Building Blocks
The shoe is really on the other foot.
Evolutionists want no debate, no public hearing on the evidence. They want to promote a very
sanitized, visualized, propagandized version of their
Myth of the Mystical Tree (see 02/01/2007). Bones exist thats
the truth part. Yes, there are skeletons of odd-looking humans, elephants and giraffes
that have gone the way of all the world. What do they mean? Thats
where if you dont have all the facts on display, you can be misled
So lets learn about Turkana Boy. Actually, creationists have written
up a lot about him and exposed some embarrassments the evolutionists arent telling you
about. Look, for instance, at the critiques of this fossil on CMI
Creation Ministries Intl.
(also this article),
where you will learn that:
Indeed, To have such a tall erectus individual with a modern postcranium appear at
such an early stage in the alleged evolutionary history of erectus is a problem for evolutionists,
CMI claims. If evolution was true, then a more intermediate postcranial skeleton would be expected,
one reflecting more of a mid-way stage between the australopithecines and modern humans, not one already
at the modern human stage.
- The brain capacity of the skull is within the range of modern man.
- The height of the skeleton for its age is within the range of modern humans.
- This fossil shows that it is no longer possible to describe Homo erectus as
a large-brained pongid.
- M. Wolpoff described the postcranium of this fossil as mostly modern.
- Wolpoff and Thorne cannot find any consistent anatomical markers which separate erectus from sapiens.
- The limb proportions resemble those of modern humans.
- The more robust bones of Homo erectus could be a reflection of routine heavy physical exertion
than of primitive characteristics; if anything, thinner bones on modern humans seem a disadvantage.
- Opinions differ widely on the status of these and almost every other alleged human ancestor.
On top of that, Apologetics Press quotes Ian
Tatersall (an evolutionist) saying that the whole classification of Homo erectus has become a kind
of dumping ground for strange and out-of-place fossils. Jeffrey Schwartz made the same complaint
in the 07/03/2004 entry, calling the designation
mythical. Some taxonomists split hairs over whether
this skeleton should be classified in another mythical group, Homo ergaster, when there is really no
reason other than evolutionary presuppositions to consider them non-human (see also
this article from A.P. and the
01/01/2005 entry here).
Brain size is no guarantee of an evolutionary sequence (see
08/05/2006). Need we also
remind our readers how many bitter fights there have been between evolutionary paleoanthropologists
themselves about human evolution (e.g.,
These fights, though entertaining, dont matter because human evolution has already been falsified
In other words, the evolutionists are hiding key parts of the story by exhibiting Turkana
Boy as a primitive human ancestor. Theyre lying to the public! A half
truth can sometimes be more deceptive and dangerous than a big lie.
This is the basis on which Christians need to go on the offense with the Kenya museum charlatans.
They are spinning a myth around selective evidence. We all have the same objective evidence to look at,
but the evolutionists are avoiding the problems with their
interpretations. They are not being scientific (objective, rational, honest) about the issues!
This is an intellectual crime that deserves the approbation of the entire public, not just the evangelical
To add insult to injury, Leakey committed a hate crime: The bishop is descended from
the apes, he said. How can Leakey, a white Englishman,
get away with that kind of insult to a respectable African person of color? Only against
Christians is it possible to speak words of racism and bigotry. But apart from that, lets do a little logic here and
turn Leakeys statement back on himself. Ask him, Are you, Richard Leakey, a descendent
of the apes too? He will have no choice but to answer yes. Great; follow up with,
Then how can you know anything is true, including the proposition that you are descended from
So heres our advice. This is an important lesson for anyone having to deal with
the Darwin propaganda, whether in museums, textbooks, or in the media. Dont whimper about how this
exhibit is killing our faith (because that reinforces their stereotype about people of
faith as opposed to science). Dont reinforce their prejudice that all
criticisms of evolution are theologically motivated. And obviously,
dont threaten violence (although there was no indication at all in the CNN article whether the fears
of the museum staff were grounded in anything but their own guilty consciences). Instead, appeal to the
honesty and intellectual integrity of the
scientists and museum staff. Convince them that they are not being honest and scientifically sound to
hide the incriminating evidence and alternative views on Turkana Boy. Show them the quotes by Wolpoff and
Tatersall and other evolutionists who dispute the views about this and other fossils. Should only one view
among evolutionists be presented, let alone the views of critics of evolution? Why should this contrary scientific
evidence be hidden from the public? We dont want to relegate Turkana Boy and other evidence to the back room; we want
to bring all the evidence the evolutionists are hiding in the back room and take it up front into the light.
We want to make it part of the showcase! Along with balanced evidence, lets bring out a few more
things from Darwins back room to put on display:
Drive the point home, because he has no answer. In a worldview of constant
change and evolution, how can you have any assurance that there are
unchanging truths beyond matter in motion? In a world where fitness and survival are the highest
virtues (whatever virtue means), how can you prove to me you are not lying so as to defeat
me in the fitness race? How can you be sure of anything, even science, without first justifying
the philosophical belief that human rationality connects with experience?
For the kids, you could have replicas of modern human skulls from around the world and see if they can arrange them
into an evolutionary sequence. As a second exercise, see if they can sort them into human and non-human bins.
Throw in some skulls deformed by disease or post-burial stresses to trip them up.
After they are convinced they have an evolutionary tree, show them pictures of the modern people groups they represent.
Describe the languages, cultures and philosophies of the intelligent persons they just assumed were primitive ancestors.
As a third game, see if they can similarly organize garage tools or toy cars into an evolutionary phylogeny
as a lesson on how similarities do not necessarily prove ancestral relationships.
For adults, how about some scholarly lectures on philosophy of science? Questions could be discussed
about the ability of finite human minds to interpret unseen past events, especially if human brains are
assumed to be products of unguided material processes. Describe how the same data can be reinterpreted
in other ways without the Darwinian worldview.
- An exhibit on how Piltdown Man fooled the entire evolutionary scientific community for 40 years.
- A wastebin filled with all the bones once thought to represent human ancestors.
- A reminder of how evolutionists exhibited Ota Benga, an African pygmy, in a zoo.
- A copy of Ernst Haeckls racist chart of how blacks were closer to Apes than to European whites.
- A description of how the iconic descent of man chart perpetuates the myth of progress.
- A list of cusswords that disagreeing paleoanthropologists have called each other.
- A chart of the warring groups of paleoanthropologists and their tactics of ruining each others reputations.
- An exhibit on the dark history of eugenics.
- An illustration of all the massacres and genocides committed in the name of evolutionary racism: say, a pile of
marbles with each marble representing a human life quenched by Darwinist dictatorships. How high would a tower of
148 million marbles reach?
Left to themselves, the Darwinists will turn the Kenya museum into a whitewashed sepulcher,
beautiful on the outside, but on the inside full of dead mens bones and all uncleanness of ideas.
Evangelicals should be in favor of turning on the lights and letting in fresh air. Give
the public all the facts and let them use their minds to decide who has the best case.
Thats fair. Thats honest. And thats exactly what the evolutionists do NOT want
(see 02/27/2006). The Kenya museum should be a well-rounded,
thought-provoking center of ideas and concepts on these important issues instead of a Darwinist shrine.
Help them out, evangelicals. Get the dirty laundry on display instead of starched and bleached and ironed
white shirts. Tell them you want to teach more about Darwinism than the Darwinists dare to reveal.
If they resist, smile and remind them that honesty is the best policy. Watch them squirm over that proverb.
To pursue this kind of winning strategy will require study. You have to research the
facts and know the best arguments on both sides. But in the end, it will pay off: it will demonstrate
to all the world that the real censors, the real people of frothy faith, are the Mbuas and Leakeys and other
dogmatists who shout evolution is a fact! A little study of these pages will provide
many examples of Darwin-worshippers trying to shove their religion down the throats of the public without
debate. The Master Strategist advised his followers, Be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
This implies that the other side is the converse.
Next headline on:
Some Yale scientists found
they could construct protein-like molecules using amino acids of a type not found in living things.
They found that beta-amino acids can fold into shapes similar to the proteins made of alpha-amino
acids used in living things. Beta-amino acids have an extra carbon on the backbone.
Yale chemists show that nature could have used different protein building blocks, reads
the title. One of the researchers said, The structure we see is
intriguing, as it suggests that natural proteins could have been composed of beta-amino acids, but
were not chosen to do so. Who did the choosing was left unstated.
Another press release from Howard
Hughes Medical Institute argued that man-made proteins made of beta-amino acids might work as
effective pharmaceuticals, because they would not be degraded by the enzymes in living cells.
The article mentions that cells actually synthesizes certain beta-amino acids but does not use them
in protein construction. The fact that cells have not avoided them entirely
raises a thorny biological question, the press release says. Why dont
beta-based proteins exist in living cells? For now, the choice seems arbitrary.
Clearly, protein-like structures can be formed from them. Jack Szostak of HHMI commented,
the implication is that biology uses its standard macromolecules not because they are uniquely suited
to their tasks, but at least in part because of other considerations, such as ease of synthesis,
or possibly historical accident.
This finding raises interesting questions in the philosophy of biology.
Some evolutionists have tried to claim that the environment forces life down certain pathways,
making life as we know it nearly inevitable. Here, though, there dont seem to be any constraints
against the use of the beta types. In addition, there are many dozens of other types of amino
acids not used by life. Having amino acids of all one hand appears to confer an advantage.
Related studies have investigated whether DNA is the only feasible carrier for the genetic code.
(So far, DNA seems to have clear physical advantages over its competitors.)
But if the choice is between objects as similar as a Ford and a Chevrolet, why would a mindless material
world stick with one brand all the time?
Undeluded fun: Explore logical and scientific reasons why educated people should not
fall for the delusion that Richard Dawkins exists.
Listen on YouTube to a classic parody on
Dawkins arguments against God.
Experiments like this are worthwhile to flesh out our conceptions of what is possible.
Do we live in the best of all possible worlds at the molecular level?
Or could eagles, giraffes and fish exist just as comfortably in a beta-amino-acid world?
Presumably so, if all the functions of a cell could be carried out as well with beta brand.
This would be a strike against the environmental determinists. Though much remains to be understood,
it appears that a choice was made to go with the alpha-amino acids. The more
that contingency is seen at the basic levels of life, the less probable are repeated appeals to
frozen accidents and the more plausible it becomes that choices were made by a Designer.
Next headline on:
Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week: What Thou Doest, Do Quickly
This award should be for last week since the article on
dated Jan 29. From a press release at Rice University, it begins:
Its a mystery why the speed and complexity of evolution appear to increase
with time. For example, the fossil record indicates that single-celled life first appeared
about 3.5 billion years ago, and it then took about 2.5 billion more years for multi-cellular
life to evolve. That leaves just a billion years or so for the evolution of the diverse
menagerie of plants, mammals, insects, birds and other species that populate the earth.
Its clear the author of that line was not asking if the speed and complexity of
evolution increased, but why it did. The article tries to make a rather logically incestuous point
that evolution selects for faster evolvability (see 08/04/2004 entry
and 10/04/2005 commentary).
Later on in the article, a quote by Michael Deem implies that the whole complex human
immune system was a simple mistake: For example, we can trace the development of the adaptive
immune system in humans and other jointed vertebrates to an HGT insertion1 about 400 million
years ago. Elementary, my dear Michael.
1HGT = horizontal gene transfer. Some other creatures gene for immunity from some
unknown source inserted itself into the line leading to man so the story goes.
How that gene provided immune function is left as an exercise (for speculation).
Evolution is the omniscient, omnipotent, inscrutable
deity of the Darwinists. At least Christians have a real God instead of a virtual one.
If you pray to a virtual deity, you only get a virtual answer. Dictionary.com also
indicates that virtual can mean: Simulated; performing the functions of something that
isnt really there. An imaginative childs doll may be a virtual playmate.
Interpretation: Darwinists are still playing with Tinker Bell dolls and should grow up.
Darwin acid eats literature, from 01/27/2006.
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory
First Euro-Stegosaur Found
A Stegosaurus fossil has been found in Portugal, reported
Previously this species with its spiked tail and prominent rows of plates on its back was only known
from North America. A tooth, some leg bones and part of the backbone have been unearthed.
So far, the fossil looks indistinguishable from its North American cousins.
The only other North American dinosaur found in Europe is Allosaurus.
Scientists infer land bridges at certain times, but
admit that much is unknown: While the similarity bolsters the
land-bridge case, it provides no information on the distribution and duration of those
bridges. Creationists suspect that much of the worlds land mass was
connected before the Flood. Every data point is like a puzzle piece for a completed
picture hidden from view. No one knows how many pieces there are but we probably
have only a small fraction. Before this find, it was easy to argue on lack of
evidence that Stegosaurus was limited to the North American continent. One
piece of evidence can blow that idea out of the running. The more pieces the better,
but one should not expect that a picture in the minds eye is free of presuppositions.
Darwinists Topple Darwins Tree of Life
Next headline on:
Darwins Tree of Life is a myth. Its based on circular reasoning.
It is a pattern imposed on the data, not a fact emerging from the evidence. We should give up
the search for a single tree of life (TOL) as a record of the history of life on earth, because it is
a quixotic pursuit unlikely to succeed and the evidence is against it.
Who said this? Not creationists, but a new member of the National Academy of Sciences in his
inaugural paper for the academys Proceedings.1
W. Ford Doolittle and Eric Bapteste decided to celebrate this inauguration with fireworks.
What they wrote is less a scientific paper than a reprimand. They let Darwin-lovers have it between the eyes:
Darwin claimed that a unique inclusively hierarchical pattern of relationships between
all organisms based on their similarities and differences [the Tree of Life (TOL)] was a fact
of nature, for which evolution, and in particular a branching process of descent with modification,
was the explanation. However, there is no independent evidence that the natural order is an
inclusive hierarchy, and incorporation of prokaryotes into the TOL is especially
problematic. The only data sets from which we might construct a universal
hierarchy including prokaryotes, the sequences of genes, often disagree and can seldom be proven to
agree. Hierarchical structure can always be imposed on or extracted from such data sets
by algorithms designed to do so, but at its base the universal TOL rests on an unproven assumption
about pattern that, given what we know about process, is unlikely to be broadly true.
This is not to say that similarities and differences between organisms are not to be accounted for by
evolutionary mechanisms, but descent with modification is only one of these mechanisms, and
a single tree-like pattern is not the necessary (or expected) result of their collective
operation. Pattern pluralism (the recognition that different evolutionary models and representations
of relationships will be appropriate, and true, for different taxa or at different scales or for different
purposes) is an attractive alternative to the quixotic pursuit of a single true TOL.
The last sentences from the abstract (above) and other quotations from the paper (below)
show that they are not abandoning evolution. They are simply claiming that this icon of a single
branching tree is unsupportable, and indeed, is a figment of human imagination. We will argue that
inclusive hierarchical classifications do not emerge naturally and consistently from the
relevant prokaryotic data considered in general (in their entirety), they state.
Instead, they have been imposed on them by selective analyses that are based on the
assumption that a tree must be the real natural pattern, even if only certain
of the data can be trusted to reveal it. Later, they said, Importantly,
Darwin did not and could not test the reality of
the tree pattern. Indeed, one is hard pressed to find some
theory-free body of evidence that such a single universal pattern
relating all life forms exists independently of our habit of
thinking that it should. Homologies, for instance, do not comprise independent
evidence for a tree of life: homologies are more often deduced from
trees than trees are from homologies, they explain. Thus, explanans melds with
explanandum, and neither is tested. The reasoning is
circular. The fossil record and biogeography cannot be used
to infer a universal tree except by extrapolation of limited
evidence from specific groups, areas, or times. No evidence, in short, produces
a tree pattern necessarily; biologists should be open to other patterns, like networks.
that lateral gene transfer (LGT) is rampant in biology, at least among the prokaryotes, render the
discernment of a tree pattern impossible. One cannot draw a tree out of a scrambled egg.
Is it justifiable to infer a tree when only 5% or less of the data conform to the expected pattern?
Some evolutionists have tried to dispute the extent of LGT, but commit another circular argument in
doing so. Doolittle and Bapteste explain: to make vertical
descent the null hypothesis against which claims for LGT must be
tested is to assume that which is to be proved: that an inclusive
hierarchy exists independently of our beliefs. In addition, the authors complain that a
phylogenetic signal in the genetic data is often weak at best. Despite what students
have been led to believe, there is no strong expectation that a universal hierarchy that
embraces all life should be produced with molecular markers.
They spent some time analyzing the TOL hypothesis from Darwins own words. This next excerpt
argues that Darwin committed a circular argument by confusing pattern with process. Doolittle and
Bapteste reveal that generations of scientists have grown up with this confusion. They claim the
TOL concept is unnecessary, given other strong evidence for evolution (which they did not specify):
Problematically, Darwin depended on the notion that the true
pattern of natural relationships is a tree in the construction of his
theory of the responsible process and, as Panchen (17) notes, his
explanandum [the thing to be explained] was subsequently considered by him as a part of the
proof that his theory (explanans [the explanation]) was right. That classifications
should be constructed as hierarchies because evolution is a
branching process and that hierarchical classification is a proof
of branching evolution is the mixed message many of us took
from our early education as biologists. But we now have ample
other evidence supporting the reality of evolution. We could thus
dispense with the tree (and such semicircular reasoning), should
this particular historical premise about branching fall short,
without weakening the solid edifice of evolutionary biology.
Why Darwins argument was called semicircular instead of circular
reasoning was not explained. Also the ample other evidence and solid edifice
was assumed, if by evolution they were implying a universal, mechanistic, unguided natural process that
gave rise to all of life without a Designer or Creator. Nevertheless, this paper clearly argued that
there was no reason inherent from the data that the pattern of relationships we observe must look like a
branching tree. It could look like a web, or a network, or something else.2
In fact, some evolutionists have argued for a ring instead of a tree (09/09/2004).
The possibility of pattern pluralism arising from multiple mechanisms requires that evolutionary
biologists rid themselves of the predilection for tree-thinking.
Elsewhere, the authors chide critics of evolution. They clearly do not want their statements to
fuel the controversy. Darwins Tree of Life may be false, but it was a useful lie that got many
biologists fired up about a new path of inquiry. That being accomplished, they no longer need the metaphor.
The metaphor of a tree is getting in the way of further understanding. To argue this,
they invoke a metaphor of their own: a ladder
Darwins TOL hypothesis, like most biological theories, is a
claim about the process that underlies a pattern. It is important
for modern phylogeneticists to remember that reconstructing the
TOL was not the goal of Darwins theory, but rather it was an
integral element of his developing model of the evolutionary
process. Importantly, this simile prompted generations of scientists
to take Darwins claim that evolution had occurred seriously,
for all his lack of a coherent theory of inheritance. The
TOL was thus the ladder that helped the community to climb the
wall of acceptance and understanding of evolutionary process.
But now that we have climbed it, we do not need this ladder
anymore. In 2006, our understanding of evolution at the molecular,
population genetic, and ecological levels is rich and pluralistic
in character and does not require (or justify) a monistic
view of the phylogenetic pattern.
Again, however, they did not provide examples of evidence supporting their emphatic assertion that
life has evolved. They just claim that it did: that the evidence is rich within
the broad categories of molecular studies, population genetics and ecology. They also did not
explain why it was necessary to struggle against those who doubt this, if in fact, as
they argued, pattern and process cannot be used as supports for each other.3
Holding onto this ladder of pattern is an unnecessary hindrance
in the understanding of process (which is prior to pattern)
both ontologically and in our more down-to-earth conceptualization
of how evolution has occurred. And it should not be an
essential element in our struggle against those who doubt the
validity of evolutionary theory, who can take comfort from this
challenge to the TOL only by a willful misunderstanding of its
import. The patterns of similarity and difference seen among
living things are historical in origin, the product of evolutionary
mechanisms that, although various and complex, are not beyond
comprehension and can sometimes be reconstructed.
Their final paragraph argues that evolutionary biology is like history.
Discerning the history of life on earth should invoke a variety of tools:
In this regard, our task is not different from that of contemporary
cultural or social historians. We know much about what
can happen and have a variety of tools by which we might unravel
what has happened. We should use them all, but without seeking
some elusive unifying metanarrative, either tree or web.
Phylogenetics could become again the rich and realistic science
of the genesis of phyla and address within a multifaceted
pluralistic framework not only new questions about the past
[identification of networks, hubs and highways of gene
exchange and vertical descent] but also the present (in particular,
through integration of metagenomic data with evolutionary and
Yet this statement begs the question of why a pluralistic
approach is better. A pluralistic approach involving mutually contradictory presuppositions
would seem fruitless. And why one correct approach should be discounted merely in favor
of pluralism seems equally pointless. One thing is clear from their argument, though:
Darwins Tree of Life has fallen.
Radical as this paper seems, others have echoed similar ideas. Carl Woese,
the one who reorganized taxonomy into three
kingdoms (archaea, bacteria, and eukarya), wrote an article with Nigel Goldenfield in Nature
last week that is even more radical.4 They even call it revolutionary.
The emerging picture of microbes as gene-swapping collectives demands a revision of such
concepts as organism, species and evolution itself they said in a Connections
article called, Biologys next revolution. In a hail of verbal gunfire, they
talked about an extraordinary time for biology in which multidisciplinary approaches
and new definitions and concepts are about to overturn much of what we thought we knew about
evolution. Such new concepts might even include cybernetics and information theory.
Old Darwin himself may have to step back, and share the limelight with none other
than his despised rival, Lamarck:
Nowhere are the implications of collective phenomena, mediated by HGT [horizontal gene transfer,
same as LGT], so pervasive and important as in evolution. A computer scientist
might term the
cells translational apparatus (used to convert genetic information to proteins)
an operating system, by which all innovation is communicated and realized.
The fundamental role of translation, represented in particular by the genetic code, is
shown by the clearly documented optimization of the code. Its special role in any form of
life leads to the striking prediction that early life evolved in a lamarckian way, with
vertical descent marginalized by the more powerful early forms of HGT.
They welcome new players into biology: statistical mechanics, dynamical systems theory, and other
disciplines more capable in dealing with the concepts of generic energy, information and gene flow.
The old habits of post-hoc modelling will give way to the methods of
quantitative prediction and experimental test more characteristic of the physical sciences.
Refinement through the horizontal sharing of genetic innovations would have
triggered an explosion of genetic novelty, until the level of complexity required a
transition to the current era of vertical evolution. Thus, we regard as regrettable
the conventional concatenation of Darwins name with evolution, because other modalities must also
Progress in biology will require something else, they argue: a new language.
Sometimes, language expresses ignorance rather than knowledge, as in the case of the word
prokaryote, now superseded by the terms archaea and bacteria. We foresee that
in biology, new concepts will require a new language, grounded in mathematics and the discoveries
emerging from the data we have highlighted. During an earlier revolution, Antoine Lavoisier
observed that scientific progress, like evolution, must overcome a challenge of communication:
We cannot improve the language of any science without at the same time improving the
science itself; neither can we, on the other hand, improve a science without improving the
language or nomenclature which belongs to it. Biology is about to meet this challenge.5
1W. Ford Doolittle and Eric Bapteste, Inaugural Article: Evolution:
Pattern Pluralism and the Tree of Life Hypothesis,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, 10.1073/pnas.0610699104, published online before print January 29, 2007.
2So firm is the grip of tree-thinking on biologists that they illustrated
the fallacy with a spoof. They gave two examples of tree-like patterns imposed on
non-biological data sets that clearly could not represent an ancestral
sequence. One was a pattern of evolutionary authors with similar surnames that are not related.
Another showed a branching pattern of departments in France based on counts of similar surnames.
This misapplication of tree-thinking is a fallacy, they argued, that traps evolutionists intent
on finding Darwins branching pattern when the pattern is not real. The authors gave real-world
examples of how, in some molecular studies, less than 5% of the data is in agreement with a TOL pattern.
In the case of the tree of cells, the phylogenetic signal is as low as 1%.
They decry the continued enthusiasm for universal tree building and its
broad application on the basis of very few and often contradictory data.
The reader can decide whether this situation constitutes a Half Truth or a
3Here is another example of their defense of evolution:
To be sure, much of evolution has been tree-like and is captured
in hierarchical classifications. Although plant speciation is often
effected by reticulation and radical primary and secondary
symbioses lie at the base of the eukaryotes and several groups
within them, it would be perverse to claim that Darwins
TOL hypothesis has been falsified for animals (the taxon to which
he primarily addressed himself) or that it is not an appropriate
model for many taxa at many levels of analysis. Birds are not bees,
and animals are not plants. Yet these claims depend on generalities,
dogmatic assertions, and arguments that are self-refuting
from other arguments in the paper, such as the propensity of biologists to follow an elusive unifying metanarrative
to explain the data when other metanarratives or patterns might explain it just as well. At the risk of being
perverse, we refer the reader to the 01/10/2007
discussion of animal phylogeny.
4Nigel Goldenfield and Carl Woese, Connections: Biologys next revolution,
445, 369 (25 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/445369a.
5Embedded within this paragraph are a couple of presuppositions: (1) that science is progressive,
and (2) that a new language brings improvement. If, as Woese has illustrated,
language can express ignorance instead of knowledge, who would be able to judge that a new language
for expressing evolution would not represent a regression into a new kind of ignorance?
Biology may be about to meet this challenge, but who is the judge who will be able to declare
the outcome a victory?
Once in awhile, among the hundreds of tedious titles in scientific journals about the
effect of gamma rays on marigolds or whatever, a paper announces its presence like a trumpet. Without news sources
like CEH to bring these papers to the attention of the lay public, this blast by Doolittle and Bapteste might have been
muted. The intellectual elite readership in academia, already deafened by Darwin, might fail to heed
its warning. They might explain it away as a false alarm, or hush it up. No longer: the trumpet has sounded!
Darwins Tree of Life
is fallen! The sound has reached the Visigoth camp (05/06/2006)
and elicited shouts of triumph. Echoing through the
valleys round about Darwins castle is heard the taunt, We told you so!
First, its necessary to dispense with Doolittle and Baptestes protestations
that the castle is still safe. They
bluffed that the walls are solid, buttressed with mounds of evidence
from molecular biology, genetics and ecology. They mocked the doubters who, by willful
misunderstanding, would use their arguments to question evolutionary theory itself. Dont fall
for this trick. Their own arguments refute evolution without our help. They have cut the
branch Darwin was sitting on. Worse, they cut down the whole tree! They have replaced the tree
with a web, Charlies Web, that spells out SOME PIG in a feeble attempt to bolster his self-esteem while doing
nothing to change his circumstances. Then Woese adds insult to injury by inviting Lamarck back into the leadership.
This is sure to bring on another of Charlies worst vomiting attacks, right when he was already gagging
over intelligent design, to the point where he cant stop gagging even when theres nothing more
down below to up Chuck.
How could PNAS let this trade secret get out? We know nothing of the motives or
beliefs of the authors except what they stated in this paper, and by all appearances, they are loyal members
of the Darwin Party. They did, of course, pay the obligate incense to Charlie and curse the doubters.
You cant publish in the Darwiniac-controlled Big Science journals without it. But the damage is
done. Do you realize how big this admission is? The Tree of Life is arguably the central icon
of evolution. From the single illustration in Charlies book till now, the image of a branching
tree from a single root emerging from a primordial soup has been the symbol of evolution.
Papers are regularly published with phylogenetic trees. There are whole journals devoted to
tree-building. Phylogenists employ elaborate software programs that take genomes and try to decipher
the hidden tree within. Is this all for naught? Is it nothing more than playing games, tilting
at windmills that dont fight back and arent even aware of you?
basically said that tree-thinking evolutionists are dreaming. Data dont build trees, people do! The
software programs only succeed in finding a consensus tree or maximum likelihood tree
or maximum parsimony tree because
that is what biased programmers told them to find (see
07/25/2002). If the programs job is to find a tree, then
find a tree it will. It may have to throw out long-branch attraction
(04/30/2005), massage the data to account for
molecular clock heterogeneity
and select between a dozen equally-valid results or whatever, but out pops a
tree whoop-de-doo! The scientist gets a nice graphic to publish
in his paper, and everyone is happy except Mother Nature. If you doubt this, look at what they
do with evidence in the 06/13/2003 and
The wishful-tree fallacy perpetuates itself because
evolutionists approach the data with tree-thinking lenses
on. (Blinders help, too.) Their tree may only be supported by 5% of the data,
after tossing out the other 95% as irrelevant, but they feel justified in believing in it because they
know in their hearts from the get-go that Darwin was The True Prophet. Look how giddy some of the disciples
get (see this Darwin Day advertisement
with the Worlds Largest Edible Tree of Life).
Can you imagine how grating it must be to be told that Darwin confused pattern with process, that the
trees exist only in their imaginations, and that the evidence contradicts this 146-year-old myth Darwin sketched
on paper, the only place it exists in the world? What does this paper do to the $150 million NSF project
Assembling the Tree of Life? (09/08/2006,
It pulls the rug out from under it!
No amount of rationalizing about potential applications or better storytelling can justify spending
$12 million a year of public money on a quixotic pursuit by a few dogmatic disciples of a tree-worshipping
Despite their pledges of allegiance to evolution,
you will look in vain in these two papers for actual evidence that life emerged and
diversified by a blind, materialistic, aimless process from molecules to man. Yes, scientists observe mutations in genes.
They find variations within the clades, evidence of duplicated genes, and various homologies. So what?
Other non-Darwinian, non-materialistic explanations are available. The Darwinist
may counter that all life uses the same genetic code, and that this proves a universal common ancestor.
But think outside the Darwin box: does this not fit the creation
model? A network of highly adapted kinds, each springing from a common Hand what else would you expect?
For instance, Walter ReMine made it a theme of his book The Biotic Message that life was designed
to indicate that it did not evolve, and that it came from a single Creator. The universal genetic code
proves the latter, and the intransigence of lifes nested hierarchies to fit a tree pattern proves the
former. If each group had completely separate codes, one might be justified in believing polytheism.
If all life had a clearly-traceable ancestry, then one might be justified in believing in evolution.
According to ReMine, the Creator guaranteed that the biotic message would rule out those
alternatives and validate a single, intelligent origin.
While were outside the box, consider further
that the evidence fits just what a Bible-believing Jew or Christian would expect. The world was
created perfect, but has degenerated since Creation and the Flood. Limited diversification from the
original created kinds has occurred because of variability built into the genomes of each created kind for
robustness and adaptability to change features perfectly consonant with good design. Diseases
represent degenerative process and a curse on the original creation. Natural selection works on horizontal
scales but does not add new genetic information or functional novelty. If Carl Woese is justified
in looking at the genetic code as an operating system, why should not these patterns based
on a Biblical metanarrative, which fit
the evidence to a T, be allowed in the Garden of science? If everybody starts with a metanarrative,
why should Charlies mythical Tree of Life be
protected by angles with flaming words? (puns intended).6
6The pun density in our commentaries is proportional to p(u)n,
where n is the number of stinking evolutionary ideas in paper p, a function of
its underlying assumptions u.
A sinister side of this comical tale is embedded in Doolittle and Baptestes fable of the ladder.
What does a ladder do? It is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. The ladder helped
the Charlietans climb into the castle of Science and pretend to belong: The TOL was thus the ladder that helped the
[atheistic storytelling] community to climb the wall of acceptance and understanding of evolutionary process,
they admitted. But now that we have climbed it, we do not need this ladder anymore.
Having invaded the stronghold, the cultists were in position to enter the inner sanctuary of Science.
They desecrated it by removing its Commandments of observability, testability and repeatability. They
built in its place a Temple of Charlie with a mystical
Tree hidden behind a material veil, promising golden apples of enlightenment.
The Darwin Party conspirators carried out their plot,
working tirelessly till their cult became
the State Religion. They hypnotized the peasants with just-so stories to keep them from revolting.
They changed the language into a dialect of materialism and made it illegal to speak the old language of teleos.
Critics were shouted down by mob rule and kicked out of the city. Former heads of state, despite their eminence
and experience, were labeled barbarians and forced to build their own camps outside the walls. Children were
taught that the barbarians were ignorant, insane and wicked. They had to be kept at bay lest they chop down
the sacred Tree. Children gasped at the prospect of never receiving the promised golden apples.
Unopposed, the conspirators consolidated their power. All groups in the castle were required to
obtain and display the Darwin Party imprimatur. They had achieved Utopia.
For over a century, the Darwinian conspirators have maintained a totalitarian rule
over Science. Indulging their lusts at banquets amply supplied with tantalizing speculations
(12/22/2003), they have become fat, lazy and corrupt.
They send their lackeys to enlist cult prostitutes
(e.g., 12/11/2006), plan the Tree Festivals and Darwin Days,
perform ritual child sacrifice (i.e., the Darwin-only rule in
the schools), persecute infidels, brainwash reporters and supervise the cult propaganda in the media.
The noble barbarians, denied access to the institutions, communication channels, funding sources and
positions of influence, have suffered long and done the best they can.
But hark! A messenger. He brings word that the people inside are suspecting the Tree was a fake all along.
A trumpet blast from within the wall hints that officials inside are scrambling to maintain order. Panicking, they issue
public service announcements to explain away the embarrassing revelation,
claiming that the Tree symbol was necessary to establish the Utopia they all need and enjoy.
They command the people to continue the Darwin Day celebrations, Tree or no Tree. Edible icons of Darwins
Tree of Life (example) are distributed to
placate the crowds. Yet murmurs of doubt and discontent remain. The shrillness of the Party
propaganda rises as the enthusiasm of the peasants wanes. OK, Visigoths and Ostra(cized)goths, now you know
why its time for Biologys Next Revolution.
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory
Scientist of the Month
Click on Apollos, the trusty|
|Guide to Evolution
I wanted to personally thank you for your outstanding website. I am intensely interested in any
science news having to do with creation, especially regarding astronomy. Thanks again for your GREAT
(an amateur astronomer in San Diego)
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 February
1707 - 1778
Sweden is kicking off Linnaeus 2007, year of celebration for their homeboy hero of science
(see MyWay article).
What better time to learn about this father of Taxonomy? Hes not Darwins boy;
Whats more scientific than a scientific name?
To a scientist, your pet dog is Canis familiaris.
Your pet cat is Felis domesticus. A grizzly bear
is Ursus horribilus, and you are Homo sapiens.
The convention of two Latin names (binomial nomenclature),
denoting genus and species, is the foundation of taxonomy, the
science of classification of living things. It comes
straight out of the work of Carl Linnaeus. Why did he
pursue the huge task of classifying plants and animals?
He took his inspiration from the Bibles first chapter,
which states that God created plants and animals to reproduce
after their kind. Linnaeus was attempting
to determine what the Genesis kinds are.
Linnaeus is rightly called the Father of Taxonomy.
His classification scheme assumes that organisms fall into
recognizable groups of animals in nested hierarchies.
At the lowest level are species, which are loosely defined as
organisms capable of producing fertile offspring. (This
is complicated by the inability to determine this for fossils,
and the difficulty of determining the reproductive success for
many living organisms. Sometimes males and females of the
same species can look so different, they might be incorrectly
classified as separate species.)
Species (pronounced SPEE-sees
for both singular and plural) are sometimes subdivided into
subspecies and varieties, which are often labeled with
a third Latin name (as in Homo sapiens sapiens, or
with a variety designation, as in Genus species, var.
variety-name. Species, the bottom of hierarchy, is the second term in
the Linnaean system, and is not capitalized. The first
term, which is capitalized, is the next unit in the hierarchy:
the genus. Working up the ladder are families, orders,
classes, phyla, and kingdoms.
It becomes clear that the nested hierarchy
is a problem for evolution. The farther up the scheme,
the larger the gaps between types. At the level of
phyla, for instances, think of the huge differences between
a starfish (an echinoderm) and a fish (a chordate),
or between a beetle (an arthropod) and a snail (a mollusk).
Within each phylum are many common characters, but there are
large, systematic gaps between the phyla, classes, orders
and families. House cats, bobcats, lions, tigers and
cheetahs share many common characteristics within the cat
family, but in every case we know, these are always
distinct from members of the dog family. Dogs and cats belong to
the class mammalia, but all mammals are very different from
all class aves (birds). Mammals and birds share
characteristics (a backbone) within the phylum chordata (subphylum vertebrata),
but all vertebrates are very different from clams
in the phylum mollusca. Higher up, members of the
plant kingdom are even more different from members of the animal
The same picture of increasing gaps holds
true within the fossil record. This fact is common knowledge
to both creationists and evolutionists. The latter take
the data and infer a branching tree connecting them all, but
the actual observational evidence shows only tips of
the branches, not the trunks and nodes. The true picture
is more like a lawn than a tree; small groups of organisms at
the species level show variations, but there is no evidence,
living or fossil, for one kind of animal changing
into another, such as a reptile into a bird or a fish into
a salamander. Actually, one could say that species are the
only level we observe. The other relationships
families, orders, classes, phyla are all inferred
because they share one or more similar characteristics.
Taxonomists can be confused about what phylum or class an
organism should be placed in, because many animals and plants
are composed of mosaics of characteristics from several groups.
Consider the platypus, for example.
It lays eggs like a reptile, has webbed feet
like a duck, a venomous spur like a rattlesnake, and fur like a
mammal. Classification can be even more confusing for one-celled
organisms. Some have been recently placed into whole kingdoms
separate from plants and animals.
It is often an arbitrary choice where to classify an organism.
The sunflower family, for instance, is kind of a catch-all category
for many diverse flowering plants that do not fit well into other
families. Evolutionists have a hard time with these mosaics,
often invoking the hand-waving answer convergent
evolution when asked to explain how unrelated organisms
share common characteristics, such as the remarkable similarities
between placental mammals and their marsupial look-alikes.
On the other end, it is often difficult to know where the species
boundaries are. Consider that bison and many different kinds
of cattle can interbreed (ever had a beefalo burger?).
Horses, donkeys and zebras can interbreed more or less,
and so can lions and tigers, yet most of us would consider each of these
animals to be separate species. At the level of species, many
organisms show great variety in size, shape and coloration: think
of dogs, pigeons and roses for example. Yet higher up, at the
genus and family levels, there appear to be stricter boundaries.
No one has ever seen a dog change into a cat, or a goldfish turn into
Evolutionists believe that variation has no limits
and all things are interrelated, but that is a belief, not an
observed fact. Even breeders know they can only take a horse
or a rose or a cow or a sugar beet so far before a trait becomes
impossible to modify further. Taking the data as we find it, without an
evolutionary presupposition, we see living things organized into
groups within groups within groups, with the major groups
separated from one another by large gaps. The Linnaean
classification system reflects the observational evidence.
Despite its occasional points of debate or confusion, it has stood the
test of time.
Sadly, some evolutionists are trying to push an alternate PhyloCode
classification scheme, which organizes plants and animals according to
their presumed evolutionary relationships. If successful, this
would only cloud the issue. It would embed evolutionary assumptions
into the way students approach the data.
Young Carl von Linne was a lover of plants and wildlife, as was
his father, a Lutheran minister, and avid gardener.
His father hoped young Carl would
go into the ministry, but it was evident the boy was a born naturalist.
Though he eventually pursued a medical career, and both practiced
and taught medicine as a professional, Carls heart was forever drawn
to the natural world. He has been described as a workaholic
with a mania for organization. He loved learning, reading
and knowledge, and was also ruggedly strong and
physically fit. It would take those qualities to take on a
project of classifying every plant and
animal on earth!
Others before him had shared this passion.
John Ray, the English naturalist who had died
two years before Linnaeus' birth, was a like-minded naturalist,
who, by the way, was also a Christian and a creationist.
But the universal classification scheme using Latin binomial nomenclature
was the innovation Linnaeus
brought to the discipline. He chose Latin because it was not only the universal
language of science, but being a dead language, it was stable and
unchanging. It provided a universal scheme that all naturalists
in all countries could use to communicate with each other, as well
as to publish their discoveries and cross-check their findings
against those of others. At age 40, Carl latinized his
own name into Carolus Linnaeus the name by which he is
best known. He moved to Holland in 1735 for three years,
then back to Sweden, where he lived out his days as a doctor
and professor. Taxonomy remained his obsessive hobby throughout
Linnaeus at first actually believed it possible to classify every
living thing in the world.
At age 25, Carl secured a grant from the University of Upssala to
take a thousand mile tour of Lapland to catalog plants.
One can only imagine the delights and dangers, the fatigue and
satisfaction this creation safari entailed as he waded
icy streams, slogged through bogs and avoided nervous landowners.
He kept detailed journals and catalogued thousands of plants.
A similar trip through central Sweden added many more. Linnaeus
traveled over four thousand miles on foot in his quest to catalog all the
species in Gods garden. He also leveraged his
talent to students that he motivated, who often went on long and
arduous journeys to far lands to collect more specimens (Dan Graves
said a third of these died on their dangerous treks).
Linnaeus continued updating, expanding and improving his catalogs
throughout his life, and as a
legacy, he left the Linnaean Society, which continues to this day
as an international taxonomic institution.
Linnaeus was a firm creationist, says Dan Graves,
but comments that Certain aspects of his theories were
enigmatic. He seems to have doubted that there was a universal
flood. Sediments were deposited over a long period of time,
he said. He paid little attention to fossils and insisted
on classifying humans with apes. Nevertheless, Linnaeus
did not believe in any theory of evolution. He firmly believed
that the kinds God had created in the Garden of Eden still existed.
Although he believed in fixity of species at first, he did allow for
variation with the Genesis kinds later on.
Linnaeus wrote in rhapsodic lines about the wisdom of God in
creation. Dan Graves provides some examples:
Linnaeus introduced the idea of classifying plants by their
reproductive structures. Sometimes he went a little
overboard in his descriptions: The flowers leaves...
serve as bridal beds which the Creator has so gloriously
arranged, adorned with such noble bed curtains, and perfumed
with so many soft scents that the bridegroom with his bride
might there celebrate their nuptials with so much
the greater solemnity. Notwithstanding the
romanticism, who could doubt that
a firm belief in the Genesis version of creation can be
a strong stimulus for scientific research?
- One is completely stunned by the resourcefulness of the
- I saw the infinite, all-knowing and all-powerful God
from behind.... I followed His footsteps over natures
fields and saw everywhere an eternal wisdom and power, an
Linnaeus continued classifying plants and animals into his
sixties, till he suffered a series of strokes.
The frontispiece of his magnum opus Species Plantarum,
the work that set established taxonomy as a scientific
discipline, is a passage from the Psalms that could be viewed
as a life verse of all great creation scientists
both past and present, who similarly quoted it with
feeling: Psalm 104:24
O Jehovah [Lord],
how ample are Thy works! How wisely Thou hast fashioned
them! How full the earth is of Thy possessions!
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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