Creation-Evolution Headlines
July 2007
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“Darwinists boast that ‘nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,’ but the major disciplines of biology – including anatomy, botany, embryology, genetics, microbiology, paleontology, physiology and zoology – were founded either before Darwin or by scientists who rejected his theory.  Agriculture and medicine – the two disciplines that have provided us with the most practical benefits – owe nothing to Darwinism.”
—Jonathan Wells, PhD, “Top Ten Highlights” from The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design (Regnery, 2007), from Amazon.com.
AstronomyBiomimeticsBirdsBotanyCell BiologyCosmologyDating MethodsDinosaursEarly ManEducationEvolutionFossilsGenetics and DNAGeologyHealthHuman BodyIntelligent DesignMammalsMarine LifeMediaOrigin of LifePhysicsPolitics and EthicsSETISolar SystemTheologyZoology     Awards:  AmazingDumb       Note: bold emphasis added in all quotations unless otherwise indicated.
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Motorized Ears Give Mammals Acoustic Acuity   07/31/2007    
Back in March 2001 (03/27/2001), we reported on the discovery of prestin, a motor protein that acts as an amplifier in the inner ear.  One of the fastest-acting molecular motors known (02/21/2002), prestin works by stiffening the rod-shaped cell body with its cilia.  Somehow, the action of this motor protein amplifies hearing in mammalian ears by several orders of magnitude (09/19/2002).
    In the intervening years, cell biologists and physiologists studying prestin have debated its role in amplification.  Some have thought that the cilia were the main players in amplifying the sound, as in non-mammals.  Now, according to an article in Science Daily, prestin’s role is to affect the sensitivity of the entire cell, not just the cilia.  Researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital bred mice with mutated prestin that extends the cilia instead of pulling them in.  If cilia were the key agents of amplification, they should have shown more gain – but they did not.  Somehow, prestin assists the entire cell to “bounce” more effectively in response to the sound ripples in the cochlear fluid.  This whole-cell response is called somatic motility.
    “The researchers concluded that somatic motility was not simply a way to make cilia do their job better; rather, there is no connection between the hair cell contractions and how the cilia do their job,” the article explained.  “Instead, somatic motility, generated by prestin, is the key to the superior hearing of mammals.”
    The presence of these prestin-assisted outer hair cells in mammals increases sound sensitivity a hundredfold, the article said.  “The finding could explain why dogs, cats, humans and other mammals have such sensitive hearing and the ability to discriminate among frequencies.”

Motors in your ears that amplify sound.  What more could be said?  He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyMammalsAmazing Facts
Trilobite Tree Is Upside Down   07/28/2007    
Darwin predicted that life would become more diverse over time, like the branches on a tree.  The pattern of trilobites in the fossil record is just the opposite: more diversity appears in the lower layers, and less diversity in the upper layers.  Surprisingly, evolutionary paleontologists are turning this into evidence for Darwin’s theory.
    Science Daily titled their article, “Fossils Older Than Dinosaurs Reveal Pattern Of Early Animal Evolution On Earth.”  Acknowledging that trilobites appeared in “an unprecedented explosion of life on Earth” in the Cambrian strata, the article doesn’t hint that this causes any problem for evolution.  It quotes Mark Webster (U of Chicago) explaining the evidence in support of evolution: “From an evolutionary perspective, the more variable a species is, the more raw material natural selection has to operate on.”
    The idea is that trilobites started out in a more plastic state – more variable – and became channelized into specific body patterns later.  Maybe this was because ecological niches forced the later trilobites into particular habitats that inhibited variation.  Or maybe developmental processes within the early trilobites caused fewer constraints on the appearance of the organism.  Or maybe neither.  Webster said, “We need to tease apart what’s controlling this pattern of high within-species variation.  There’s a lot more work to do.
    Regardless, evolutionary theory itself was not pictured in any danger.  The article did not explain how the complex body types arose almost instantly by an evolutionary mechanism.  Instead, it just claimed they “emerged” rapidly: “during the Cambrian Period, more complex creatures with skeletons, eyes and limbs emerged with amazing suddenness.”  Webster gave his explanation a warm, fuzzy feeling.  The article paraphrased him saying that it appears that organisms displayed “rampant” within-species variation “in the ‘warm afterglow’ of the Cambrian explosion.
    Trilobites had bilateral symmetry, specialized body segments, articulated limbs for mobility, and some of the most complex eyes known in marine invertebrates (09/18/2003,   No precursors to trilobites in earlier strata have been identified.  The first trilobites were already fully formed with all their complex organs and structures.
    Because the data were found to be opposite what evolutionary theory would have predicted, Gene Hunt of the Smithsonian won Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week for the following statements in Science that spun the contrary evidence into support for evolution (words indicative of miracles are highlighted in bold):
This study, in establishing the reality of increased Cambrian variability for trilobites, implies that evolutionary processes in the distant past may have acted differently, or in a different balance than in more recent periods of time.  The cause or causes for these differences likely relate to the proposed explanations for the extravagant evolutionary inventiveness of this period.  These explanations fall into two broad categories: genetic and ecological.  The former suggest that Cambrian genomes were less constrained, or otherwise less apt to generate profoundly novel morphologies, whereas the latter invoke the relative sparseness of early animal ecosystems in allowing large evolutionary jumps to become successfully established.
    As Webster notes, either or both of these explanations may account for the greater variability of Cambrian trilobites; more loosely organized genomes might be expected to produce a greater range of morphologies, and less occupied adaptive landscapes might be more permissive of the broad production of variants.  Nevertheless, this work highlights the uniqueness of the early Cambrian interval in the evolution of animals and thereby the importance of placing broad evolutionary patterns in a historical and paleontological context.
Mark Webster also used the term “evolutionary inventiveness” in the original paper in Science.2
1Gene Hunt, “Variation and Early Evolution,” Science, 27 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5837, pp. 459-460, DOI: 10.1126/science.1145550.
2Mark Webster, “A Cambrian Peak in Morphological Variation Within Trilobite Species,” Science, 27 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5837, pp. 499-502, DOI: 10.1126/science.1142964.
When the media, museums and universities are able to propound these magical fairy tales without any critical scrutiny, creationism doesn’t stand a chance being heard above the din.  Anything goes in ev-illusion (07/27/2007 commentary), including cartoons like Popeye (05/31/2005 commentary).
    How can this multiply-discredited theory ever get falsified?  The evidence can be 180° opposite Darwin’s prediction, and yet they turn it into a great victory.  Nobody asks any hard questions.  Nobody calls foul.  Nobody sees the intellectual crime being committed.  They get away with it, time and time again.  Doesn’t anyone in the scientific and media establishments have any sense any more?
    For a detailed look at the Cambrian explosion and a prominent evolutionist’s attempts to explain it, read our entry “Cambrian Explosion Damage Control” from 04/23/2006.
Next headline on:  FossilsEvolution
Photosynthesis Requires the Right Kind of Star   07/27/2007    
Where can photosynthesis occur?  The answer depends on the energy of starlight, the atmosphere, the amount of water vapor, and the organisms equipped to harvest it.
    A new kind of photosynthetic bacterium was just discovered in a Yellowstone hot spring (see Science Daily).  Exciting as this is (and the discoverer felt he had struck gold), the new species is just another tally among the bacteria and plants with the amazing ability to harvest light and produce energy for food and growth.  Some bacteria produce chemical energy from light in one step; plants and algae utilize light in two stages (photosystem I and II), and liberate oxygen in the process – an energy-intensive process.  They couldn’t do it, though, if Earth orbited most stars.
    John Raven took a look at this coupling between starlight and photosynthesis in Nature.1  He reviewed some recent studies on how light energy penetrates atmospheres and bodies of water.  Water is an efficient absorber of solar energy; that’s why plants and seaweed are restricted to the photic zone of lakes and oceans, or to the land surface.  “This biological dark side of water – its absorption of solar electromagnetic radiation – creates habitats that restrict or eliminate the roles of solar radiation in supplying energy for photosynthesis and information to sensory systems,” Raven noted.
    What is the minimum energy required to trigger photosynthesis?  And what is the wavelength of the peak energy reaching the photic zone?  These questions yield answers about habitats on planets around other stars.  The “longest wavelength that has sufficient energy per photon to bring about the appropriate photochemical reaction (in which photon energy is converted into chemical energy)” sets physical constraints on photosynthesis, and thus on astrobiology.  Raven considered the likelihood that the plentiful M-type (red dwarf) stars could host life:
Putative planets associated with stars of the M spectral type are commonly taken to be locations where life might occur, given the abundance of these stars and their longevity.  Photosynthetic organisms on an Earth-like planet orbiting an M star would experience stellar radiation with maximum photon fluxes at wavelengths in the infrared spectrum.  The ‘average’ photon would have a lower energy content, and there would also be a much greater absorption by water, than for solar radiation on Earth.
This does not rule out life on such worlds, he said, but there are problems:
Significant photosynthesis could nonetheless occur on such a planet.  But there would be energetic problems in using the relatively low-energy photons to reduce carbon dioxide with electrons from water, with production of oxygen.  The mechanism on Earth relies on two photochemical reactions in series; on planets orbiting an M star more than two reactions in series would be required.  On any such planet, the longer wavelengths at which photosynthetic pigments would absorb would have implications for the remote sensing of pigments by reflectance spectroscopy as an indicator (with appropriate caveats) of photosynthesis, and hence life.
Raven said it cannot be taken for granted that oxygen-producing photosynthesis will be a likely outcome of “biogeochemical changes that accompany photosynthesis,” as evolutionists believe happened on Earth.  “Accordingly, in the search for life outside our Solar System,” he ended, “an astrobiological niche presents itself.”  Searchers for life around extrasolar planets will have to know what pigments to expect, as well as the signature of oxygen.
    Speaking of pigments, Freeman Dyson speculated in an article for the New York Review of Books about why plants are green instead of black.  Plants only utilize 1% of the incident energy for photosynthesis, he noted.  Wouldn’t black absorb all the energy of sunlight?  Yes, but that fact must be balanced against the need to prevent overheating.  Plants absorb at the peak energy of solar radiation but have elaborate mechanisms for dispersing excess heat.  Dyson wondered, then, from an evolutionary perspective, why plants are still green in the arctic, when it would seem they need all the energy they can get.
If the natural evolution of plants had been driven by the need for high efficiency of utilization of sunlight, then the leaves of all plants would have been black.  Black leaves would absorb sunlight more efficiently than leaves of any other color.  Obviously plant evolution was driven by other needs, and in particular by the need for protection against overheating.  For a plant growing in a hot climate, it is advantageous to reflect as much as possible of the sunlight that is not used for growth.  There is plenty of sunlight, and it is not important to use it with maximum efficiency.  The plants have evolved with chlorophyll in their leaves to absorb the useful red and blue components of sunlight and to reflect the green.  That is why it is reasonable for plants in tropical climates to be green.  But this logic does not explain why plants in cold climates where sunlight is scarce are also green.  We could imagine that in a place like Iceland, overheating would not be a problem, and plants with black leaves using sunlight more efficiently would have an evolutionary advantage.  For some reason which we do not understand, natural plants with black leaves never appeared.  Why not?  Perhaps we shall not understand why nature did not travel this route until we have traveled it ourselves.
From there, Dyson speculated about how humans may some day improve on photosynthesis.2  But perhaps he is right; plants know something we don’t.  They are obviously very good at making use of the light falling on “God’s green Earth” as Michael Medved calls it when signing off his radio program each day.  God’s black Earth somehow wouldn’t sound as nice.
1John Raven, “Astrobiology: Photosynthesis in watercolours,” Nature 448, 418 (26 July 2007) | doi:10.1038/448418.
2As typical for the futurist Dyson, his article is filled with wild speculations about the future of evolution and civilization unfettered by logistics and eternal values, but that’s beside the point of this entry.
Solar radiation is also just the right energy for the transitions in rhodopsin in our retinas that allow us to see the green plants.  The fine-tuning is observational fact; the evolutionary speculation is superstition.  That’s what we should call it.  Superstition is believing something totally without evidence, like believing a rabbit’s foot will bring good luck.  Actually, one could adduce evidence selectively in favor of a superstition, and that is what evolutionists do.  A child has a lucky day and thinks it proves the rabbit’s foot worked (selectively ignoring the owie of the day).  An evolutionist sees the success of photosynthesis and thinks evolution was responsible.  What’s the difference?  Dyson and Raven may envision exotic bacteria around an M-star with multiple stages of photosynthesis to harvest infrared light using black, purple and mauve pigments, but that is illusion.  [light bulb] Hey; that gives us an opportunity to coin a new word to describe Darwin’s brand of science, the result of superstitiously speculating in the absence of evidence: ev-illusion.
Next headline on:  PhysicsCell BiologyPlants
Origin of Life: Speculation vs. Evidence   07/27/2007    
The European Astrobiology Magazine reviewed a book1 that tries to give “detailed scrutiny” the problem of “the transition from small, simple molecules to large, complex cells.”  The initial reaction by reviewer Toby Murcott points out glaring problems in origin of life research: uncertainty, lack of consensus, and lack of evidence:
What hits you immediately about this subject is the large amount of uncertainty and the many different possible scenarios.  Concerning the transition from prebiotic chemistry to life, there is no clear evidence of chronology.  There are many different pathways from pre-biotic soup to living organisms, and numerous possible intermediate stages with any number of complex organic and biochemical reactions en route.  It’s also clear that the biochemicals of today may have performed very different functions in the past.  For example, the majority of chemical reactions are today mediated by protein enzymes but some indications from biology suggest that RNA was widely used as a catalyst during early chemical evolution.
The tone of uncertainty was not mitigated by evidence in the article.  The word perhaps appeared 4 times, possible twice and impossible to say once, scenario four times, uncertainty twice, may and might a dozen times.  We know that today’s organisms rely on proteins, amino acids, fats and sugars, “But just what happened and in what order is a matter of much debate and likely to remain so for some time.”
    Specifically, “Three different scenarios for chemical evolution are discussed in the review; co-evolution; self-replicating peptides and the RNA world.”  How did these three fare?  About the co-evolution scenario, “It is the simplest of the models, requiring perhaps the least detailed explanation but it is not a particularly satisfying description.”  For self-replicating peptides, “There is, as yet, no convincing rationale for this transition and what’s more, there is no hint of PNA in any modern organism,” the reviewers said, adding this speculation: “While that does not rule it out, both biochemical and Darwinian evolution are expected to leave detectable traces of their heritage behind.
    That leaves the RNA world by default.  It gets the most attention, but a key step is a big hurdle: “However, an efficient prebiotic pathway for nucleotide synthesis remains to be found.”  In short, origin-of-life research is big on speculation and short on evidence.  Maybe astrobiology could help, Murcott said in conclusion, by actually finding some exotic life somewhere someday:
This book covers every element of the evolution of life from the emergence of simple organic molecules to theories on how the first cells might have got together.  How did groups of chemicals and their associated reactions become compartmentalised into prototype cells?  What was the involvement of inorganic matrices and, the big one, how did complexity arise from simple origins?  The authors painstakingly pore over the limited evidence and make intelligent, though guarded, speculations as appropriate.  Anyone who is not comfortable with biochemistry might struggle at times but the summaries are less intense and will allow virtually all readers to grasp the concepts and uncertainties.  In describing the problem of how life emerged the authors also illustrate why astrobiology might provide one of the few experimental opportunities to test the hypotheses.

1From Suns to Life: A Chronological Approach to the History of Life on Earth, edited by M. Gargaud et. al. and reprinted from Earth, Moon, and Planets, Vol. 98/1-4, 2006.
It’s all futureware, speculation, smoke and mirrors, bluffing and ignorance.  Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking this is scientific.  The use of scientific instruments does not justify calling this science.  Alchemists used the best instruments available and even came up with many useful techniques for physical chemistry.  Their findings about what did not make gold proved useful when the real science of chemistry supplanted alchemy.  But none of the effort, the experimentation, the writing, or the speculation justified the premise of alchemy at all.  Similarly, astrobiologists and chemical evolutionists are revising experimental methods and learning many things about chemicals while ruling out scenarios that prove hopeless for evolving life.  What remains is a bundle of raw speculation that has not yet been ruled out.  Speculation is not science.  If efforts to confirm the speculation result in some interesting scientific observations on the side, well and good for those observations, but the bundle of speculation itself is indistinguishable from modern alchemy – a fun trip on a dead-end road.  Someone quipped, if you don’t care where you are going, you ain’t lost.  We think people should care.  You may be lost and not know it yet.
Next headline on:  Origin of Life
The Simpsons Producer Treats Evolution as Fact   07/26/2007    
The TV cartoon The Simpsons was praised for its “greatness” in, of all places, the premiere scientific journal Nature.1  Michael Hopkin interviewed “Executive producer Al Jean, the show’s head writer and a Harvard mathematics graduate.”  One of the questions was, “One episode in which the show does take sides is the one in which Lisa protests against creationism in her school.”  Jean explained the thinking behind the episode:
What we say is that there are conservatives, like Pope John Paul II, who believe in the theory of evolution, and that it’s far from a liberal theory: it’s scientific, it’s as close to a fact as can be.  We did say that Flanders, who opposed the teaching of evolution, is sincere in his beliefs.  We tried to take his emotions seriously.
    What’s really funny is that they had a debate here between the Republican candidates [for the presidential nomination], and the moderator said “so, which of you believe in evolution?”  And you could see a couple sort of raising their hands and then changing their minds, and I’m going “how can you not be sure whether you think that’s true or not?  It’s not a matter of opinion.
Jean did not explain what he meant by evolution, but since it was put in contradistinction to “creationism” one could safely infer he meant the common ancestry of all organisms by an unguided, undirected process that did not include a designing intelligence.  Because of that, and for assuming the factual objectivity of the most controversial theory in science and philosophy, and for propounding a grade-school-level philosophy of science, he wins Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week.
    For the Pope’s most recent statement about evolution, see this translation of his July 25 speech posted by ID Net.2
1Michael Hopkin, “News Feature: Science in comedy: Mmm... pi,” Nature 448, 404-405 (26 July 2007) | doi:10.1038/448404a.
2This is provided for reference only.  CEH makes no claim that the Pope’s opinions on this matter carry any particular credibility or authority.  Since his words were widely reported in sound bites, however, one should view them in their context.
We think people need to be reminded that cartoons don’t just drop out of the sky into TV sets from unbiased sources.  They are the work of producers, writers, and publicists who are just as biased as anyone else.  You’ve just seen a portion of the mindset of the executive producer of a popular cartoon that always portrays the father as a bozo, the son as a delinquent, the religious leader as the sincere fool, and the girl who adores science as the savior of society from dangerous myths like creationism.  Why do you think they do this?  No agenda at all, would you say?  There’s nothing like humor to slip propaganda past the family radar.
    Al Jean may be a math whiz but he needs to do some homework.  If he thinks evolution is the closest thing to a fact as anything can be, and that one is not allowed to have opinions about it, even if the skeptic is a PhD scientist or world-class philosopher or theologian, then he needs to go back to school himself.  His assignment is to read all seven years of Creation-Evolution Headlines.
    Jean’s answer to a subsequent question in the interview provides a great case of dramatic irony.  He was asked, “Do you have a dream scientific guest who you’d love to have on the show?”  Without blinking an eye, he said, “Living or dead, it would be Isaac Newton.”  Ha!  Gotcha.  Now read this article by Jeff Jacoby at the Boston Globe, and the entry on Newton in our online book.  Better send your cartoon heroine to keep this kook out of the public schools, Al.
Next headline on:  Darwinism and EvolutionEducationMediaDumb Ideas
Stars Found Almost as Old as Universe   07/25/2007    
A new record was set by a Caltech team using the Keck telescopes on Hawaii: they detected a galaxy nearly as old as the universe.  The consensus age for the universe is 13.6 billion years.  The light from this galaxy, they claim, is over 13 billion years old – “a mere 500 million years after the Big Bang” itself was supposed to have brought the universe into being.  The discovery was reported by the BBC News based on a paper in the Astrophysical Journal.1
    Some astronomers are questioning the accuracy of the report and its use of gravitational lensing to see the distorted light from the distant galaxy, but agree the work was done carefully.  This exceeds the previous redshift record (z = 6.96) into the 8 to 10 range.  The authors found six candidates and proposed that at least two of them are real, and may lie at redshifts close to or beyond z=10.  They assumed metallicities of 1/20 solar abundance.  This means that heavy elements (metals) would have had to be products of a prior generation of hydrogen stars.  The authors also believed that their candidate galaxies were representative of a large abundance of similar low-luminosity galaxies that were present in that epoch.
1Stark, Ellis et al, “A Keck Survey for Gravitationally Lensed Lyman-Alpha Emitters in the Redshift Range 8.5 < z < 10.4: New Constraints on the Contribution of Low-Luminosity Sources to Cosmic Reionization,” The Astrophysical Journal, 663:10-28, 2007 July 1.
These measurements are indirect and tentative.  Confirmation must await observations from the refurbished Hubble, the James Webb Space Telescope, and refinements of the gravitational lensing technique.  There is also a fuzzy line between observation and theory in cases such as these.  Even using their own assumptions, however, the situation is paralleled by that in biology: more maturity and complexity as far back as they can see.
Next headline on:  AstronomyDating MethodsPhysicsCosmology
Dinosaur Sex and Other Tales   07/24/2007    
How much do we really know about dinosaurs?  How much can be inferred from their bones?  Two recent stories illustrate conflicting themes: much of what we thought we knew was wrong, but that doesn’t stop evolutionary paleontologists from speaking with confidence.
  1. Walking with dino ancestors:  Paleontologists used to think that the alleged precursors of dinosaurs were quickly supplanted by their more successful progeny.  That assumption was called into question by findings in New Mexico reported by National Geographic.  Now, they think the dinosaurs and their precursors lived side by side for up to 20 million years.  This was based on a paper in Science.1  The finding was not limited to one locale; the authors said, “Our investigations have found the same co-occurrences in several other Chinle Formation and Dockum Group localities in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.”  In summary, they said, “The appearance of the first dinosaurs in the Ischigualasto assemblage, along with the late occurrences of basal dinosauromorphs from the HQ assemblage, extends the transition time from assemblages of dinosaur precursors to assemblages exclusively of dinosaurs and indicates that models of rapid competitive or fortuitous replacement are not correct.”  They were contemporaries for a long time, in other words.
  2. Teen sex:  Another story in National Geographic claims that dinosaurs had teen sex.  This contradicts previous assumptions that, as ancestors of birds, dinosaurs must have behaved like them and waited till adulthood.  Now, they believe that they behaved more like promiscuous crocodiles.  Studies of bone maturation rates gave this idea to a paleontologist at University of Florida.  It was “a surprise because most scientists believe birds are akin to modern dinosaurs.”
        Does this upset the evolutionary apple cart, then?  Not at all; another paleontologist remarked that it is “a nice illustration that birds aren’t all dinosaur.”  They must have learned abstinence on their own.  The adolescent dinos, though, had good reasons: by mating early, they were “really holding on to their ancestry, rather than jumping into the modern-bird style of reproduction.”  Don’t tell that to the junior high class.
Incidentally, another Coelacanth was caught off Indonesia in May, National Geographic reported.  This is the famous “living fossil” from the age of dinosaurs that was found in swimmingly good health in 1938 – after scientists had assumed it had gone extinct with the dinosaurs over 60 million years ago.  This means that no fossils of this unusual fish were found in any strata above that of dinosaurs, yet it certainly was prospering and thriving all the way to the present.
1 Irmis, Nesbit, Padian et al, “A Late Triassic Dinosauromorph Assemblage from New Mexico and the Rise of Dinosaurs,” Science, 20 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5836, pp. 358-361, DOI: 10.1126/science.1143325.
The dates and claims are all poppycock, you realize, because they have been falsified with the soft tissue (04/12/2007) and protein (11/26/2006) found in that T. rex bone (11/11/2006).  We already know that dinosaur bones cannot be as old as claimed.  The evolutionary paleontologists are living in Fantasyland to deny it.  Alan Boyle, bless his low-rating MSNBC heart, wrote in his column today about “dinosaur’s soft spots” and said soft tissue has been turning up in specimens as far apart as Madagascar and Montana.  Looking inside the bones for soft tissue remains opens up a whole new book of information on dinosaurs, he said, and tells how the soft tissue, once exposed to the air, rapidly decays – yet he still fails to question the ages!  He repeats the dates without any twinge of conscience: “Seventy million years ago, a killing drought was followed by torrential rains, which sent waves of mud and wet sand to cover up dead and dying dinosaurs,” he said, like an actor rehearsing the lines of a fictional play.  And these are the people you trust to tell us about dinosaur sex lives?
    To understand what’s really going on in evolution reporting, you have to realize that the Darwinists must balance two conflicting priorities.  One is to sound dogmatic enough to persuade the naive that they know what they are talking about.  The other is to discover surprises occasionally to convey the message that there is still enough mystery out there to keep the funds flowing (04/17/2007). 
Next headline on:  DinosaursFossilsDating Methods
Cosmologists in Search of Dark Ghosts   07/23/2007    
Dark matter and dark energy: do they exist?  Cosmologists and physicists are spending large amounts of money building huge and expensive detectors to find them, but so far have found nothing.  This raises profound questions about the limits of science, the interaction of observation with theory, the presuppositions behind scientific models, and the sociology of the scientific community.  The universe, clearly, owes no obligation to scientific models; it is what it is.  If scientists were to pursue a false path in their search for understanding, how long could they be wrong?  For a thousand years?
    Two articles in Nature explored the search for dark stuff.  Jenny Hogan wrote about the search for dark matter,1 and Geoff Brumfiel wrote about the search for dark energy.2  In short, the dark matter search seems more promising than the dark energy search.  “Jenny Hogan reports that attempts to identify the mysterious dark matter are on the verge of success,” The heading before the two articles reads.  “In the second, Geoff Brumfiel asks why dark energy, hailed as a breakthrough when discovered a decade ago, is proving more frustrating than ever to the scientists who study it.”
    Yet even Hogan’s dark-matter article contains some disturbing revelations.  After describing large tanks of xenon and argon deep in European and American tunnels that hope to feel the bumps of passing dark matter particles, and the race to be the first scientist to detect them, she admitted, “Despite the enthusiasm, there is still a chance that nature will refuse to cooperate, and the experiments will chase ever better limits but never detect a particle.”  Some of the feverish activity behind the search has the feel of a snipe hunt or ghostbusters escapade. 
No one knows what dark matter is, but they know what it’s not.  It’s not part of the ’standard model’ of physics that weaves together everything that is known about ordinary matter and its interactions.  The standard model has been hugely successful, but it also has some problems, and in trying to fix these, theorists have predicted hordes of new fundamental particles.  At first, these hypothetical particles were viewed as unwelcome additions, but now some of them are leading candidates for dark matter.  “These days a theory without a dark-matter candidate is not considered an interesting one,” says [Leszek] Roszkowski [CERN].  “The existence of the dark-matter problem is perhaps the most convincing evidence for physics beyond the standard model.”
Could it be that the community of physicists has jumped on a fast-moving bandwagon going nowhere?  They give names to theoretical entities: neutralinos, gravitinos, axions, and other things with exotic names, which might not even exist.  The scientists talk about weakly-interacting massive particles, or WIMPs, and tell us that 10 billion of them pass through every square meter of the Earth every second – yet no instrument, no matter how sensitive, has ever detected one.  Even the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, going into operation next year, will not be able to detect their presence with certainty: “Because such evidence is indirect, finding a WIMP signature at the LHC would not confirm it to be dark matter,” Hogan acknowledged.
    Why, then, do theoretical physicists and cosmologists believe they exist?  Part of the reason comes from observations dating from the 1930s that galaxy clusters seem too loosely bound gravitationally to keep from flying apart over billions of years.  The belief also stems from physical theories about the nature of gravity and fundamental particles.  Having elegant models and expensive instrumentation, however, cannot legitimize a belief that fails observational confirmation.  But even if observations find a ghostly particle, don’t expect that there is only one kind of ghost.  Hogan ended with this escape clause for the theorists:
Dark matter might prove to be a richer problem than anyone is expecting.  [Max] Tegmark [MIT] hopes for this outcome.  “This could be a wonderful surprise.  It’s very arrogant of us humans to say that just because we can’t see it, there’s only one kind of dark matter.
Critics might see this as job security for people with vivid imaginations.  And that was the good news.  Searchers for dark energy have even bigger problems.
    Geoff Brumfiel’s article contains a strange mix of observation and theory.  It is commonly reported that the universe is flying apart faster than cosmologists expected from the normal expansion of the universe – but that presupposes acceptance of inflationary big-bang cosmology.  Inflation was invented to solve the flatness problem.  Our universe is finely balanced between its density and expansion rate.  Explaining this degree of fine tuning naturally has been a challenge for cosmologists for decades.  Inflation seemed to solve it by positing a rapid, exponential expansion in the early stages of the big bang.  Brumfiel wrote, “the expansion provided a way out of a theoretical impasse.  Observations of the Big Bang’s afterglow made by various groups, including Bennett’s, indicated that the Universe’s gravity had flattened it out.”
    As happens so often in science, a solution breeds new problems.  There didn’t seem to be enough matter to have this effect on space-time.  Enter dark energy: “it turned out that the amount of energy needed to drive the acceleration was pretty close to that needed to solve the flatness problem by means of its gravity,” he wrote.  This created initial excitement in 1998 when evidence for an accelerating universe was announced.  Dark energy, he said, seemed “poised to provide great insight into the origin and future of the cosmos.”  Those hopes have been replaced by bigger problems:
But a decade further on, researchers seem to have swapped one theoretical conundrum for a bigger one.  Follow-up measurements have revealed little about the nature of dark energy, and theories to explain it have failed to gain traction.  And although astronomers are trudging forwards with a battery of new measurements, there is little guarantee that any will solve the problem – and thus no clear consensus on how much effort to put into them.  “The issue is: how much information do we get from these future observations?” asks Avi Loeb, an astrophysicist at Harvard University.
The fine-tuning of the expansion has caused some, like Leonard Susskind (Stanford), to propose a nearly infinite “multiverse” in which our universe’s vacuum energy is just right to allow for stars and planets and life (see 12/18/2005, 01/04/2006, 08/11/2006).  While others dislike the anthropic implications of this view, nothing better has been proposed that does not create more problems than it purports to solve:
This sort of anthropic argument irks many scientists.  Critics say such reasoning is almost impossible to verify and doesn’t provide any deeper insight into the cosmos.  “Anthropics and randomness don’t explain anything,” says Paul Steinhardt, a theorist at Princeton University in New Jersey.  “I’m disappointed with what most theorists are willing to accept.”
    The trouble is that no other approaches are proving any more fruitful.  Some suggest that the problem lies with Einstein’s idea of gravity, which they then seek to modify in a way that fits in with dark energy.  “It would be very fortunate if the dark energy were a modification of gravity,” says Georgi Dvali of New York University, “because it would address fundamental questions of physics.“ But others see little mileage in such changes.  Leaving aside the cosmos, “it’s not so easy to get those theories to be consistent with our Solar System”, says [Michael] Turner [U of Chicago].....
    In general, the theoretical side of the debate is not a pretty thing.  “We’ve tried a whole bunch of things and nothing has sprung forward,” says Sean Carroll, a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
So how far can a cosmologist go before admitting defeat?  As far as he wants.  Secular cosmologists never want to give up and just say that “things are as they are because they were as they were,” as Thomas Gold once joked.  The search for ultimate answers is part of the game.  So the observationalists will continue to build huge detectors, trying to sharpen measurements that might nail down the ‘equation of state’ of the universe to finer degrees of precision, while the theoreticians, arguing that observations can only describe but not explain, will continue to theorize exotic particles.  When the particle zoo gets too cumbersome again, a new, more fundamental theory will be erected with smaller, more abstruse building blocks.
    No matter how frustrating or hopeless, no matter how far off course, the show must go on: this is the game of secular science.  Being right is no fun.  Exasperation is the angst that propels the game onward, right or wrong.  Here is how Brumfiel ended his article:
For now, many in the field are left with a sense of unease: the tantalizing clue they thought they had discovered has turned into an exasperating mystery.  And with no clear explanation of something that could be up to three-quarters of everything out there, it’s hard not to feel like you’re missing a big part of the picture, Susskind says.  “We could be wrong about cosmology for the next thousand years. Deeply wrong.

1Jenny Hogan, “Unseen Universe: Welcome to the dark side,” Nature 448, 240-245 (19 July 2007) | doi:10.1038/448240.
2Geoff Brumfiel, “Unseen Universe: A constant problem,” Nature 448, 245-248 (19 July 2007) | doi:10.1038/448245a.
They can’t even figure out our nearest star (the sun) and they want to tell us about the ultimate origins and fate of the universe – and even of multiple universes that would be beyond observation even if they existed.  What unconscionable arrogance.
    You know what the whole problem is?  These people refuse, by choice (not because of the evidence), to acknowledge God in their thinking.  Searching for answers is a noble undertaking, but if you throw away the key before you start, no one should feel sorry for you when you get lost.
    The secular cosmology community will not acknowledge the Creator despite being dragged kicking and screaming to the anthropic principle (08/11/2006, 05/11/2006).  They are determined to work out solutions to the universe by themselves, without recourse to the key to the problem.  They have made this choice a priori, before even looking through a telescope or at the output of a particle accelerator.  Materialism is so engrained, it has become an addiction.  The pain of withdrawal now is unthinkable.  A thousand years of being deeply wrong is preferable to kicking the habit.  This is your tax dollars at work: keeping an elite community hooked on a fruitless addiction. 
You can almost hear the irate comeback: “Well, what would you do?  Dismantle all this equipment and just say God did it?”  Of course not.  First of all, though, it should be clear that open-ended searches for ghosts is not good scientific practice, nor is spending a thousand years being deeply wrong.  Hopefully we can also agree that the public cannot be expected to pay for any and all quixotic pursuits scientists dream up.
    The LHC and other megascience projects employ many thousands of people, and require many bright, highly-trained PhDs to design and operate.  This alone, however, is not a justification.  One could just as well imagine building parallel-universe detectors – or fairy detectors.  Would job security for thousands justify such expenditures?  How about a megaproject to dig a big hole, then fill it in again?  We must think rightly about the uses of technology and the expected payback to the people who pay for it.  There has to be some relationship between the investment and the expectation of success.
    There is value in pure research.  A Murphyism states, “When you are investigating the unknown, you do not know what you will find.”  Perhaps some useful fact will come out of dark-matter detectors that will improve our lives.  If the goal is only to keep scientists busy, though, or to rationalize a materialistic philosophy, then the proponents should engage their hobbies on their own time and dime.
    So what do we do with the LHC and the dark-matter detectors, the WMAPs and other such projects?  We change the presuppositions.  We start with the presupposition that there is a Creator who has revealed Himself in His creation.  This is the presupposition that motivated the great founders of science.  Our efforts, then, are directed once again at “thinking God’s thoughts after Him” to understand how He ordered the world and the universe and life.  And, as Francis Bacon admonished, we gear our efforts for the betterment of mankind.  These two goals can justify large expenditures on elaborate projects.  This is a far cry from today’s elitist mindset that misuses science to eliminate all thoughts of God and thinks the public should give scientists anything they want just because they are curious about the latest unverifiable, materialist fad.
How ironic that the secularists should end up in quixotic pursuits after imaginary entities.  Their refusal to admit in their thinking a Holy Ghost who hovered over the surface of the waters at Creation did not free them from the need for ghosts.  They had to invent their own so that they could search endlessly for them.  What else can a soul do to alleviate the pain of denying its own existence?
Next headline on:  CosmologyPhysics
Human Variability May Swamp Ancestral Hominid Claims   07/22/2007    
Here are some things to think about when paleoanthropologists draw inferences from fossils alleged to be human ancestors.  A seven-foot-nine-inch man in Mongolia just married a lady more than two feet shorter (see picture at National Geographic).  And a man with just a narrow rim of brain material inside his skull had no symptoms except a weakness in his leg, reported News@Nature.  More than half his skull was filled with “a huge pocket of fluid where most of his brain ought to be,” yet the man was married with two children and had a steady job as a civil servant.  After the fluid was removed, he returned to normal, but “a subsequent scan showed no change in his brain size.  So the man with the tiny brain lives on.”
Evolutionary anthropologists make a big deal out of brain size (as inferred from skull capacity), but look how normal this man’s tiny brain functioned inside a normal skull.  This calls into question any measure of intelligence based on skull capacity.  And might not they have classified Mr. Bao Xishun and his bride as separate species?
Next headline on:  Early ManHuman Body
We Live in a Rare Solar System   07/21/2007    
Surveys of extrasolar planets are making our solar system look unusual.  Most stars that host a family of planets have the gas giants close in, an article on Space.com states.  The “hot Jupiters” seen around many stars would most likely eject any rocky planets from the habitable zone.  “Of the nearly 250 planets discovered so far outside our solar system, most are gas giants that orbit extremely close to their stars.”
    The observations may be a selection effect.  It’s easier to detect hot Jupiters than distant ones.  A team from University of Arizona looked for gas giants at the 10 AU range, assuming that “young” gas giants would be brighter.  They found none around 54 nearby stars.  This could mean that gas giants at large radial distances are too faint to detect, or that they are rare.
    Current theory also predicts that gas giants would be less common the farther away from the star.  “The two leading theories about how planets form—core accretion and disk instability—have problems making gas giants out at distances beyond 20 AU.”  In our solar system, Jupiter is at about 5 AU, Saturn at 10, Uranus at 20, and Neptune at 30.  This arrangement allows a suite of rocky planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars) to occupy stable orbits closer in to the sun.  The Earth-Moon system occupies the narrow “sweet spot” called the continuously habitable zone.
    A more speculative article on Space.com claimed that signatures of heavy elements on some stars might indicate that planets had fallen in.  The article claims that this might support the “disk instability” theory which suggests planets form rapidly from knots in the debris disk.  These inferences were only made indirectly from spectra, however, not from actual observations of planets impacting their host stars.  But if validated, it would indicate another hazard in making solar systems: keeping a planetary system in orbit safely out of reach of the planet-eating monster.
How many AU is the Earth from the sun?  Exactly one!  That’s a silly question, because the astronomical unit (AU) is defined in terms of the sun-Earth distance.  Impress your gullible friends with this coincidence.
    Though insufficient as a standalone piece of evidence, this article’s claim adds to the growing realization among astronomers that our solar system is special.  When you add in all the other independent evidences as described in The Privileged Planet, the cumulative case becomes convincing.
Next headline on:  Solar System
Harnessing Cellular Machines for Humans   07/20/2007    
The cell is loaded with molecular machines, so why reinvent the wheel?  or the whole truck?  Martin G. L. van den Heuvel and Cees Dekker wrote in Science that engineers ought to put the existing technology to work.1 
The biological cell is equipped with a variety of molecular machines that perform complex mechanical tasks such as cell division or intracellular transport.  One can envision employing these biological motors in artificial environments.  We review the progress that has been made in using motor proteins for powering or manipulating nanoscale components.  In particular, kinesin and myosin biomotors that move along linear biofilaments have been widely explored as active components.  Currently realized applications are merely proof-of-principle demonstrations.  Yet, the sheer availability of an entire ready-to-use toolbox of nanosized biological motors is a great opportunity that calls for exploration.
It’s time to put these ready and willing workhorses to work.  Their illustration shows diagrams of ATP synthase and a bacterial flagellum, kinesin, dynein, myosin and RNA polymerase.  Of the flagellum, they said, “This powerful motor, assembled from more than 20 different proteins, is driven by an inward proton flux that is converted by several torque-generating stators into a rotary motion of the cylindrical rings and central shaft.”
    They reviewed the various motors and experiments to date to harness and control them.  Some day we might use cellular motors to sort, assemble, concentrate or manufacture materials on demand.  Or, we might try to copy them from scratch with our own building blocks.  But why do that?  “The small size and force-exerting capabilities of motor proteins and the range of opportunities for specific engineering give them unique advantages over current human-made motors,” they said.  The sky is the limit; the field seems limited only by our own imaginations.  “Upon studying and using biomotors, we will gather a lot of knowledge that is of interest to biology, material science, and chemistry, and it is reasonable to expect spin-offs for medicine, sensors, electronics, or engineering,” they concluded.  “The exploration of biomotors in technology will thus remain an interdisciplinary playground for many years to come.”
    Oh, one other thing.  They did make a quick comment about where these machines came from.  Here is paragraph two of their article:
A huge amount of biological research in recent decades has spurred the realization that the living cell can be viewed as a miniature factory that contains a large collection of dedicated protein machines (1)2.  Consider the complicated tasks that a single cell can perform: It can create a full copy of itself in less than an hour; it can proofread and repair errors in its own DNA, sense its environment and respond to it, change its shape and morphology, and obtain energy from photosynthesis or metabolism, using principles that are similar to solar cells or batteries.  All this functionality derives from thousands of sophisticated proteins, optimized by billions of years of evolution.  At the moment, we can only dream of constructing machines of similar size that possess just a fraction of the functionality of these natural wonders.
While we’re on the subject, let’s look at a cellular device that recently got more praise: the cilium.  This little rod-like projection on most cells is doing more work than previously thought.  “Appreciation is now growing for primary cilia,” said Christenson and Ott in Science,3 primary cilia being “the nonmotile counterparts, present as a single copy on the surface of most cell types in our body.”
    If primary cilia don’t beat and wave like the moving kind, what do they do?  Well, for one thing, “they function as unique antenna-like structures, probing the extracellular environment for molecules that are recognized by the receptors they bear.  This sensory function allows primary cilia to coordinate numerous intercellular signaling pathways that regulate growth, survival, and differentiation of cells during embryonic development and maintenance of healthy tissues.”  New research shows that a suite of molecules move in a coordinated fashion in and out of the cilium, creating a powerful switch by which cells can turn on and off a set of signaling pathways.  That’s pretty cool for an complex antenna previously thought to be nothing more than a little bitty hair on a tiny cell.4
1Martin G. L. van den Heuvel and Cees Dekker, “Motor Proteins at Work for Nanotechnology,” Nature 20 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5836, pp. 333-336, DOI: 10.1126/science.1139570.
2This reference was to Bruce Alberts’ 1998 paper that made a similar statement, calling the study of molecular machines the “biology of the future” (see 01/09/2002).
3Søren Tvorup Christensen and Carolyn Marie Ott, “Cell Signaling: A Ciliary Signaling Switch,” Science, 20 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5836, pp. 330-331, DOI: 10.1126/science.1146180.
4The ones that move are way cool: see 12/19/2005, 03/12/2001.
So, “thousands of sophisticated proteins, optimized by billions of years of evolution.”  Gimme a BREAK!
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyPhysicsBiomimeticsAmazing Facts
  How cilia are made: little ore-carts deliver the parts, from 06/14/2004.

Keep the Stem Cell News Straight   07/19/2007    
Stem cell technology continues to make news, but the phrase “stem cells” alone can mask serious ethical issues.  Adult stem cells (AS) and embryonic stem cells (ES) are both being investigated for their ability to transform into any cell type in the body.  Both are advertised as promising dramatic cures for debilitating diseases, with their ability to regenerate damaged tissue.  ES cells are controversial, however, because a human embryo must be created and destroyed to harvest the cells.  AS cells have no such ethical baggage: they can be harvested safely from an individual’s own bone marrow, from skin, from cord blood, from placental tissue and other organs.
    News articles about “stem cells” do not always highlight the source of the cells, but the distinction is important in more than one sense.  As the following examples illustrate, ethically-challenged ES research holds only empty promises, while ethically-safe AS research has a growing record of impressive real-world therapies:

  1. Adult Stem Cell News
    1. Amyloidosis:  A debilitating condition known as amyloidosis, which results in organ failure and death from misfolded proteins, has been successfully treated in 31% of test cases at Boston University Medical Center by blood stem cells and chemotherapy, reported EurekAlert.  The patients showed improvement in both organ function and quality of life, the article said.
    2. Cornea Defects:  Experiments on rabbits by Basque Research showed that adult stem cells from one cornea can regrow damaged cornea cells on the other eye.  “The aim of the procedure was to regain the damaged epithelium and thus restore transparency to the cornea,” the researchers said, and “The technique is being currently applied to patients with satisfactory results.”
    3. Tissue Replacement:  Researchers at UC Berkeley and Stony Brook University achieved remarkable success growing mesenchymal stem cells on a scaffold of biodegradable nanofibers.  The results, published in PNAS,1 not only grew new endothelial cells, they resisted the formation of clots that occurred without the stem cells.
    4. Parkinson’s Disease:  In the same issue of PNAS,2 a team of scientists from Yale, Harvard Medical School, UC San Diego and other institutions successfully treated primates suffering with Parkinson’s disease with human neural stem cells.  The cells “survived, migrated, and had a functional impact” in the subjects.  The neural stem cells, however, though not embryonic, were derived from human fetal brains, raising other ethical red flags.  The article did not say if neural stem cells could be derived in other ways.
    5. Hearing:  As reported here 07/01/2007, adult stem cells have also shown promise to cure hearing disorders that were once thought beyond the reach of medicine.  Bone marrow stem cells survived and grew in the inner ear, regenerating damaged hair cells.
    6. Magic brewNature3 reported on the promising method of obtaining “ES-like” pluripotent stem cells from skin.  The new “induced pluripotent stem cell” technique, tried on mice, is showing promise for getting all the benefits of ES cells without the need for the embryos.  “If this method can be translated to humans,” Janet Rossant wrote, “patient-specific stem cells could be made without the use of donated eggs or embryos.”  The reported cells passed the test of being able to contribute extensively to all cell types, including the germ line.
          Next will be the hard task of going from proof-of-principle to actual therapy.  Rossant called the new stem cell elixir a “magic brew” ending with these encouraging words: “direct reprogramming of adult cells is clearly the way of the future, and promises to open up new frontiers in human biology and future therapy.

  2. Embryonic Stem Cell News
    1. Slated to die anyway:  Last month, Science reported on the ethical concerns over human embryo use from fertility clinics.4  Acknowledging the “moral concerns” and “contentious debates” over the use of human embryos in research, Anne Lyerly and Ruth Faden made the case that stored embryos from clinics will die anyway, and argued that 66% of the public doesn’t have a problem with using them.  They also cited “mounting evidence that American scientists are losing ground to other countries with less restrictive policies.”
    2. Technical progress, but...:  Late in June, Constance Holden expressed the frustration among stem cell researchers at President Bush’s refusal to allow federal funding for ES research.5  (President Bush had just vetoed a second bill on June 18; see Science Daily.)  Although she cited several recent advances in methods for harvesting the stem cells for embryos, no applications or cures were mentioned.  The tone of the article was that the Administration should relent and let the scientists do what they want: “Advocates were outraged by Bush’s second veto and were not mollified by an accompanying Executive Order encouraging the National Institutes of Health to continue to hunt for pluripotent cells that do not entail the destruction of embryos.” 
    3. Adventure stories:  M. Ian Phillips reviewed a stem-cell book for Science.6  Cynthia Fox’s book, Cell of Cells: The Global Race to Capture and Control the Stem Cell, is mostly an adventure story of the global race to tap the stem cell.  Phillips mentions that the Hwang scandal was nearly as disappointing as if Armstrong had been found to fake the moon landing.  In praising the book’s story, he did not mention any cures that have come from ES cells.  Yet he ended with this criticism of the Bush administration and a plea that the show must go on:
      Bush has twice vetoed congressional bills to increase federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research.  Cell of Cells illustrates the consequences for global science, states that fund their own researchers, and the dashed hopes of those who need potential treatments.  Fox eloquently chronicles the consequences of this isolationist policy and squarely advocates a rational approach to funding research on both adult and embryonic stem cells.
      His only reference to ethics was after a sad line about “desperate stories of patients with heart failure, autoimmune disease, kidney failure, and Duchenne’s dystrophy.”  Neglecting to mention whether ES cells provide any plausible hope for curing these, he said: “She [Fox] also warns of the trap of unethical, unscientific stem cell treatments in locations such as Moscow, Ukraine, and the Caribbean.”  In other words, Phillips acknowledged that ES hype is leading to abuses, but he neglected to mention the seriously-held moral qualms of many about harvesting human embryos.  Neither did he distinguish between the ethics of ES vs. AS stem cells.
    4. Giving up:  A news item in the same issue of Science7 seems a strange bedfellow to the book review mentioned above.  Dennis Normille reported that a Singapore firm named ES Cell International (ESI) is quitting ES research.  Why?  Investors have decided that “the likelihood of having products in the clinic in the short term was vanishingly small.
          Normille treated this as bad news.  “ESI’s setback may dampen investors’ enthusiasm for stem cell therapies, says Robert Lanza, vice president for R&D at Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, Massachusetts: ‘What the field badly needs is one or two success stories.’”  This implies that there have been none.  Indeed, Normille had no success stories to tell: only trials using other techniques that American institutions have “in the pipeline.”  The ex-executive of ESI, Alan Colman, admitted to “a tinge of disappointment that the field is moving more slowly than I had hoped.

1Hashi et al, “Antithrombogenic property of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells in nanofibrous vascular grafts,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 104: 11915-11920; published online before print July 5 2007, 10.1073/pnas.0704581104.
2Redmond et al, “Behavioral improvement in a primate Parkinson’s model is associated with multiple homeostatic effects of human neural stem cells,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 104: 12175-12180; published online before print June 22 2007, 10.1073/pnas.0704091104.
3Janet Rossant, “Stem cells: The magic brew,” Nature 448, 260-262 (19 July 2007) | doi:10.1038/448260a.
4Lyerly and Faden, “Willingness to Donate Frozen Embryos for Stem Cell Research,” Science, 6 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5834, pp. 46-47, DOI: 10.1126/science.1145067.
5Constance Holden, “Stem Cell Science Advances as Politics Stall,” Science, 29 June 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5833, p. 1825, DOI: 10.1126/science.316.5833.1825.
6M. Ian Phillips, “Passage to Global Stem Cells,” Science, 20 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5836, p. 322, DOI: 10.1126/science.1146229.
7Dennis Normille, “Singapore Firm Abandons Plans for Stem Cell Therapies,” Science, 20 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5836, p. 305, DOI: 10.1126/science.317.5836.305.
Do you ever wonder how the entire international scientific community can seem to be unanimously in favor of Darwinism, unanimously anti-Bush, and all in agreement that humans are to blame for global warming?  Just look at the “official” party line about stem cells.  Certainly there are hundreds, if not thousands, of ethically-sensitive researchers who are pursuing adult stem cells and legitimate therapies to help the afflicted.  They have made great strides.  Why, then, is the editorial staff of Nature, Science and the other spokespersons for Big Science pursuing the vain hope of ES cells, when they have nothing but scandals and empty promises to show for it?
    It is uncanny how they keep pushing their unethical research down the throats of people who think it is wrong to kill one life to save another.  Nobody is even stopping them; they are free to pursue it, if they wish – provided they get their own money.  Instead, they expect the taxpaying public, morally opposed or not, to pay for it.  Why?  Because real investors know how to read the tea leaves, and notice that funding ES research is a bad investment, with a “vanishingly small” hope of success.
    ES advocates rarely mention the arguments of ethicists, and never treat them seriously.  Their appeals are invariably based on selfishness or fraud: Americans will fall behind in the race, the embryos are not really human, and the like.  They make tear-jerking commercials with Hollywood actors pulling on our heartstrings about the afflicted (as if ES stem cells would help), promising cures that don’t exist.  One of the biggest scientific frauds in recent history was committed in the pursuit of ES cells.  All the while, adult stem cell research has been galloping ahead with real results with little fanfare from the media.  This puzzling behavior is documented in detail by Anne Coulter in her book Godless (Crown Forum, 2006), pp. 192-198.
    This is the only explanation that makes sense, and Coulter makes the connection: the same people who abuse science to promote ES research are the same ones opposing intelligent design to promote Darwin’s theory of evolution (p. 198).  The irrational pursuit of an untenable position in one arena characterizes the same godless, materialistic, amoral liberalism that pushes evolution on students.  It’s done in the name – but not the spirit – of science, but requires allegiance to a liberal agenda that cannot tolerate controversy, questioning, or debate (e.g., 07/13/2007).  Let the evidence speak to a candid world.
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyGeneticsHealthPolitics and Ethics
It’s Not a Bird, It’s a Plane   07/18/2007    
Look to the birds of the air, and they will teach you aeronautics.  That’s what designers of the Robo-Swift did.  PhysOrg reported about a new plane that imitates a swift thing on the wing:
RoboSwift is a micro airplane fitted with shape shifting wings, inspired by the common swift, one of nature’s most efficient flyers.  The micro airplane will have unprecedented wing characteristics; the wing geometry as well as the wing surface area can be adjusted continuously.  This makes RoboSwift more maneuverable and efficient.  Resembling the common swift, RoboSwift will be able to go undetected while using its three micro cameras to perform surveillance on vehicles and people on the ground.
The article says that RoboSwift, designed by Dutch engineers, will also be able to fly along with swifts and study them up close.  One can only imagine what would be going through a swift’s bird brain upon seeing such a thing.  (See also the 04/29/2007 story on swifts.)
    Scientists continue to learn more about bird flight.  Birds seem to break the rules of aerodynamics, reported MSNBC News.  But that can only mean that we don’t understand the rules very well yet.  Bird maneuverability vastly exceeds man’s aircraft.  PhysOrg explained that a new study of 138 bird species overturns “aerodynamic scaling rules that explain how flight varies according to weight and wing loading.” 
Their analysis reveals that the difference between the speed of small and large birds is not as great as expected; they suggest that this surprising result is likely to be the result of disadvantages associated with very slow speeds among smaller birds and with very fast speeds for larger birds.  They also show that the evolutionary history of the species helps explain much of the variation in flight speed: species of the same group tend to fly at similar characteristic speeds.  For example, birds of prey and herons had slow flight speeds, on average, given their mass and wing loading, whereas the average speed for songbirds and shorebirds was faster than would be predicted.
Yet it would seem hard to claim knowledge of evolutionary history in the past when the article goes on to say that “there exists a diversity of cruising flight characteristics among birds that remain to be explored and understood” in the present, right under our noses.  David Tyler, writing for Access Research Network, has explored which paradigm – design or evolution – is more suited to the explosive rise in biomimetic engineering.
Scientists should be swift to learn, slow to mythologize.  Evolutionists could not begin to explain how a lumbering dinosaur got the right combination of mutations to turn into a flying swift with aerodynamic engineering that is the envy of our smartest inventors.  Evolutionary claims are vacuous and useless.  Give us RoboSwifts and other useful inventions inspired by nature – as long as the government doesn’t use them to spy on honest citizens.
    A reader wrote in about witnessing birds in flight:
About two years ago I was privileged to watch two (presumably male) nighthawks performing in front of a third (presumably female) nighthawk that was sitting on a rock and incidentally performing for me, sitting on a tractor a few yards from the one on the rock.  One appeared to be chasing the other as they flew up the road, came back down through the orchard, dodging limbs in the tops of the cherry trees.  The tail of the first and the beak of the second were separated by about a foot, no more than 18 inches.  They flew at pursuit speed, much faster that when they are feeding hundreds of feet above the ground.  They matched wing strokes as they flew around and over limbs, trees, sagebrush and rock, usually no more than two or three feet from the obstacles.  Now and then the leader would perform some type of pull-up maneuver and the follower would become the leader.  I think this is what happened, but it was too swift for me to be sure.  In a word, it was awesome.
Next headline on:  BirdsPhysicsBiomimetics
Mosquitos Are Water-Walking Champions   07/18/2007    
We hate ’em, but in one sense we should admire them: mosquitos are the water-walking champions of the animal kingdom.  They even beat out water striders, reported Live Science and EurekAlert based on research from Physical Review E.  Science Daily wrote of “miraculous mosquito legs” and had a picture of the intricate fan-shaped superhydrophobic structures that allow mosquitos to comfortably stand on the surface of water like a cat on a feather pillow.
    The legs of water striders can support 15 times their weight on water, but mosquito feet can support 23 times their weight.  “The secret to mosquito water walking appears to be feathery scales a few microns across that in turn are covered with nanoscopic ribbing, forming what the physicists have dubbed (in an apparent fit of excessive prefixing) a micronanostructure.”  That’s something to think about before swatting.
    Like geckos, mosquitos take advantage of millions of tiny hairy pads that can adhere to about anything.  Speaking of geckos, PhysOrg reported a new super glue product that was inspired by gecko feet and mussels.  It’s called geckel (gecko + mussel) and has been shown to endure 1,000 repeated applications.  It even works underwater.  National Geographic also reported on the nature-inspired invention.
You have to wonder how such intricate micro-machines like mosquitos got to be so nasty.  If they didn’t desire our blood and carry diseases, we would probably not notice them or mind them.  Did they have a beneficial purpose originally, like many other insects still do?  Did they pollinate plants or provide food and games for bats and toads?  Did something go wrong after the original creation?  That’s a question science cannot answer, but theologians can and do try to incorporate the observations of today’s world into the limited record of creation that has been revealed.  It’s clear from the Bible that God has on many occasions used his creatures as agents of judgment – but it is also clear that not every instance of a natural disaster or handicap is related to a specific sin by the victims.  Laymen might retreat to rhymes like: I don’t know why God made the fly, the mosquito, gnat or chigger; I’m just not sad, but indeed glad, he didn’t make them bigger.
Next headline on:  Terrestrial ZoologyPhysicsBiomimeticsAmazing Facts
Council of Europe anticreationist manifesto defeated: see 06/22/2007 update.

Iapetus, Charon Look Young for Their Age   07/18/2007    
Hard bodies in the solar system are supposed to be billions of years old.  Why, then, do so many look smooth and young-looking?  Two examples made news today:

  1. Charon So Smooth:  Pluto has a moon named Charon (KAR-on) that apparently leaks beauty cream out of its interior.  Live Science and Space.com report about a study of Charon’s spectrum in the July 10 Astrophysical Journal that indicates it is being resurfaced by cryovolcanism.  They detected crystalline ice that would normally become amorphous in tens of thousands of years.  Though the paper claims water leakage is recoating the surface at a snail’s pace, it is remarkable that a body this small, this far from the sun, in the cold outer regions of the solar system, would be active at all.
        A press release from Gemini Observatory describes how astronomers detected the ice coating using spectra obtained through adaptive optics.  It says, “This action could be occurring on timescales as short as a few hours or days, and at levels that would recoat Charon to a depth of one millimeter every 100,000 years.”  These estimates, of course, were inferred from spectra without actually being able to see the eruptions.  Cryovolcanism, where water erupts outward through cracks in the surface (as on Enceladus), was proposed as the only mechanism to explain the presence of crystalline ice.  For this to occur, a large portion of the interior must consist of liquid water, and it must be able to propagate through cracks.  As water approaches the freezing point and expands, the article says it could propagate up half a kilometer to the surface in a matter of hours.
        But how could this small moon retain water?  The astronomers detected the signature of ammonia hydrates, which depress the freezing point of water and presumably allow the interior to remain liquid.  Ammonia hydrates have also been detected on Quaoar and at least one other KBO (Kuiper Belt Object).  Signs of active cryovolcanism have also been seen on Ariel, a moon of Uranus.  Ariel may have been subject to tidal flexing in the past, the article says.  “By contrast, Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) such as Charon, Quaoar, Orcus, and others are not tidally squeezed,” the press release states.  “Yet, they seem to show evidence of cryovolcanism.”  The only other source of heat they suggested was internal radioactivity.  Other KBOs larger than 500 km across also show crystalline ice on their surfaces, suggesting that cryovolcanism may be a common feature of these icy bodies in the outer solar system.
        An artist’s conception of Charon accompanying the press release shows eruptive plumes spraying crystalline snow onto the surface.  Close-up observations of Charon may be obtained when the New Horizons spacecraft flies by in 2015.
  2. Iapetus Youthful Figure:  That’s JPL’s headline: “Saturn’s Old Moon Iapetus Retains its Youthful Figure.”  A press release claims that “The moon has retained the youthful figure and bulging waistline it sported more than three billion years ago,” leaving the question unanswered why it stands alone in that respect.  “Unlike any other moon in the solar system, Iapetus is the same shape today as it was when it was just a few hundred million years old; a well-preserved relic from the time when the solar system was young.”
        The model published in Icarus requires large amounts of short-lived radionuclides to heat the interior, and a rapid spin that created the equatorial bulge.  But then what happened?  “The challenge in developing a model of how Iapetus came to be ‘frozen in time’ has been in deducing how it ever became warm enough to form a bulge in the first place, and figuring out what caused the heat source to turn off, leaving Iapetus to freeze.”  Despite these challenges, the scientists feel it tells them Iapetus must be “roughly 4.564 billion years old.”
        National Geographic claimed the mystery of Iapetus’ shape is “solved,” but this represents just one competing model and does not answer all the questions, such as the origin of its equatorial mountain range, the source of the dark material that coats half the moon, and the reasons this particular moon would have had such different initial conditions from its neighbors.  Extreme close-up images of Iapetus are hoped for when Cassini flies by on September 10 at less than 1,000 miles above the surface.
These announcements should be considered in the context of other recent announcements about age anomalies, such as Enceladus and its geysers (05/21/2007 and 04/20/2007), Titan’s low crater count (03/28/2007), lunar transients on our moon (07/12/2007, activity on Saturn’s Tethys and Dione (06/16/2007), Mercury’s magnetic field (05/04/2007) and indications of activity in Kuiper Belt objects (03/31/2007).
You never see these planetary scientists proving the solar system is billions of years old.  You only see them assuming it.  Then, because that parameter cannot be altered, you see them squirm and wriggle the models to fit young-looking phenomena into old ages.  Proposing an ad hoc set of conditions that might fit the data is not the same as proving this is what happened, so National Geographic was way out of line to claim the mystery of Iapetus has been “solved.”
    As to the “roughly 4.652 billion years” figure, that is ridiculous.  What did they expect, the exact month and year?  There’s no way the evidence from Iapetus can yield a date to four significant figures without assuming the very thing they ought to be proving.  Dates are inextricably linked to the assumptions made.  Those assumptions should have been stated up front.  They have blindly accepted a consensus date from uniformitarian, evolutionary theories, and molded their data to fit it.  Yet they spoke of these dates as facts.
    Good thing the planets don’t talk back, because that wouldn’t go over too well on a date.  Imagine a college student telling his sweetheart, “Your figure is so youthful, and your skin so smooth; you look mighty young for a 4500-year-old.”
Next headline on:  Solar SystemDating methods
  Diatoms’ crown jewels make nanotechnologists drool, from 07/21/2004.

News Reporters Knuckling Under to Darwinian Storytelling   07/17/2007    
The science news media are virtually going ape over a claim about how chimpanzees might have evolved into upright-walking humans: what is going on?  It began with a paper in PNAS.1  Sockol, Raichlen and Pontzer measured the gaits of chimpanzees and humans and concluded that it is more efficient to walk upright than to propel oneself by knuckle-walking along the ground.  They began, “As predicted by Darwin, bipedalism is the defining feature of the earliest hominins and thus marks a critical divergence of the human lineage from the other apes.”  So their measurements seemed to support the idea that the cost of energy is what drove our imaginary forebears to gradually rise, stand up and walk.
    That was enough to send science reporters into a frenzy of headline writing:

  • PhysOrg said, “For early man, two legs better than four.”
  • News@Nature: “This chimp was made for walking.”
  • BBC News: “Energy use ‘drove human walking’”
  • Yahoo News (AP): “Humans walk upright to conserve energy.... ‘We think about the evolution of bipedalism as one of first events that led hominids down the path to being human.’”
  • National Geographic: “Humans beat chimps at walking efficiently.... anthropologists...get a glimpse of what drove the evolution of our bipedal stride.”
  • SciTech Today: “Humans Prove Genius with Bipedal Movement.”
  • Live Science: “Why We Walk Upright: Beats Being a Chimp.... According to this theory, the energy saved by walking upright gave our ancient ancestors an evolutionary advantage over other apes by reducing the costs of foraging for food.”
  • Science Daily: “Study Identifies Energy Efficiency As Reason For Evolution Of Upright Walking.”
  • Breitbart: “Why did humans evolve to walk upright?  Perhaps because it’s just plain easier.”
  • MSNBC News: “Why we quit aping around, began walking.”
In none of these stories did any reporter question the evolutionary angle.  They also failed to ask some of the obvious questions, among which might be: (1) If upright walking is so efficient, why didn’t the apes catch on for millions of years?  and (2) How could a desire to use energy more efficiently cause random mutations to appear so as to produce the multitude of anatomical changes involved?  Or, (3) Isn’t the assumption of energy cost leading to bipedalism a form of Lamarckism or orthogenesis, ideas long discredited?
    The original paper itself, in fact, did not address these questions.  Sockol, Raichlen and Pontzer only measured the energy cost of locomotion in modern humans and modern chimpanzees, assuming this was a determining factor in the rise of human bipedalism.  In their words, this was the extent of the investigation:
Here, we compare human and adult chimpanzee locomotor energetics and biomechanics to determine links among anatomy, gait, and cost.  Our study focuses on two primary questions.  First, do adult chimpanzees follow the pattern of costs found previously for juveniles?  Second, do differences in anatomy and gait between bipedal and quadrupedal walking, as well as between chimpanzees and humans, explain observed differences in cost?  Using this biomechanical approach to link differences in anatomy and gait to cost, we then examine what changes, if any, would lower the cost of bipedalism for an early hominin, such that bipedalism would be more economical than the ape-like quadrupedalism of the last common ancestor.
Thus, from the beginning, they merely assumed that there was an evolutionary “last common ancestor” of apes and humans, though no record of it exists.  This begs the question that humans evolved bipedalism from non-bipedalism.  Even so, in the end they admitted that their measurements could only in principle play some role in the story, not explain all the adaptations required for upright locomotion:
Our results, therefore, support the hypothesis that energetics played an important role in the evolution of bipedalismUnfortunately, a lack of postcranial evidence from the earliest hominins and their immediate forebears prevents us from testing the hypothesis that locomotor economy provided the initial evolutionary advantage for hominin bipedalism.  However, regardless of the context under which bipedalism evolved, our biomechanical analysis of adult chimpanzee costs, coupled with previous analyses of early hominin pelvic and hindlimb morphology, suggests that improved locomotor economy may have accrued very early within the hominin lineage.  Future fossil discoveries from the earliest hominins will resolve whether this energetic advantage was in fact the key factor in the evolution of hominin bipedalism.
Raichlen, one of the authors, won a runner-up for Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week with this short line: “We think about the evolution of bipedalism as one of first events that led hominids down the path to being human.”  William Jungers, the winner, topped this with: “Evolution needed a foot in the door, and we kind of got a snapshot of that here, which is kind of cool.
1Michael D. Sockol, David A. Raichlen, and Herman Pontzer, “Chimpanzee locomotor energetics and the origin of human bipedalism,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 10.1073/pnas.0703267104, published online before print July 16, 2007.
You have just seen another gratuitous, egregious, rambunctious, atrocious, nefarious, preposterous, loquacious, bodacious example of Darwin foot-kissing (cf. 11/19/2004).  Measurement of modern-day chimpanzees and humans has nothing to do with the evolution of upright posture, unless you already have sold your brain to the idea of evolution.  What does it mean?  Only that five chimpanzees, under artificially controlled conditions, spent a little more energy walking around on the ground with their knuckles than four human subjects did walking upright.  Big deal!  Guess what: chimpanzees spend much of their time climbing trees, for which they are well adapted.
    To get really rigorous here (as scientists are supposed to be), this study cannot really tell us anything about the entire population of chimpanzees or humans.  Why not measure a really fit monkey with a morbidly obese man?  Pygmy chimps vs marmosets and mandrills and orang-utans?  Tall people vs short people?  You cannot justify measuring five apes and four people on a treadmill and then making broad-brush generalizations about all apes and all hominins and all people for all time.  And you certainly cannot justify linking them historically through an unobservable process of evolution that happened once if at all, and cannot be repeated.  Why didn’t they ask Bonzo if he is envious of his human friends?  He seems pretty happy being all chimp.  He’s certainly more energy efficient moving about in the trees.
    To get an idea of how many major anatomical changes would be required to evolve upright locomotion, re-read our report on human endurance running.  What’s really disgusting is to see so many science reporters sucking up to Darwinian foolishness and spewing it out uncritically to the public, time after time.  Progress will only be made when science reporters acquire a new trait: an immaterial trait called courage.  Don’t expect it any time soon, though.  It requires intelligent design and purpose, and there’s a prerequisite: common sense.
Next headline on:  Early ManDarwinismDumb Ideas
Cool Cell Tricks   07/16/2007    
Some cell parts act like acrobats, some like rescue workers, and some like I.T. professionals.  Here are some recent stories about the tricks that living cells perform each day.
  1. Precision formation flyingThe Scientist expressed amazement at the precision of key factors in development of the body plan in fruit flies.  The levels of expression in the bicoid factor “suggest a surprising level of accuracy in regulation of protein controlling body plan development.”  Words like “stunning,” “surprising” and “more complicated than we think” season the article.  “It’s very difficult to imagine how this could work,” said one.  The original papers on this process were published in Cell and summarized in a review article by Matthew Gibson.1
        A press release from Princeton elaborated on the precision of this process.  During development, it says, “cells make decisions to become one part of the body or another by a process so precise that they must be close to counting every available signaling molecule they receive from the mother.”  The article also says, “This signaling requires a sensitivity approaching the limits set by basic physical principles.”  One result of being able to measure things in biology these precisely was mentioned in the first paragraph: these are “discoveries that could change how scientists think not just about flies, but about life in general.”  The press release mentioned nothing about evolution.
  2. Chromosome triage:  Cells maintain a special “chromosome glue” called cohesin that can repair damaged DNA and keep sister chromatids together during cell division, reported EurekAlert.  The repair kit comes ready for emergencies: “Their results show that DNA damage can reactivate cohesin, which runs counter to the commonly held view that cohesion only arises during the DNA copying that takes place before cell division.”
        A paper on DNA repair was published in Nature last month,2 titled, “Chromatin dynamics and the preservation of genetic information.”  After mentioning the harm that can come from double-stranded breaks in DNA, the abstract said, “Recent work indicates that chromatin – the fibres into which DNA is packaged with a proteinaceous structural polymer – has an important role in initiating, propagating and terminating this cellular response to DNA damage.
        Science also chimed in on this subject, with a Perspectives article by Erwan Watrin and Jan-Michael Peters describing “How and why the genome sticks together.”3  Two papers in the issue give a new vista on the work a cell does to protect its library: “cohesion can be established in response to DNA damage independently of DNA replication,” they said.  “This overturns a long-held belief that cohesion is strictly coupled to DNA synthesis.  The papers also imply that DNA damage may have a broader impact than previously thought, triggering genomewide protection of chromosome integrity.
  3. Word processing foremen:  Non-coding sections of DNA may act as punctuation, an article on the Times Online reported.  This is further evidence that the concept of “junk DNA” is defunct. For years, evolutionary geneticists were puzzled by long stretches of apparently useless DNA: “This is puzzling, because scientists thought that evolution would fine-tune the human genome to preserve the essential bits and discard the rest,” wrote Anjana Ahuja for the Times. 
    Now an international team of scientists has discovered that junk DNA might regulate the activity of the genes they surround.  While genes do the hard work of making proteins, the junk DNA could be responsible for starting and stopping protein production.  “Some of the junk DNA might be considered punctuation markscommas and full stops that help make sense of the coding portion of the genome,” says Dr Victoria Lunyak, of the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, one of the authors of a paper published in Science.  Another analogy is to think of genes as building labourers, and the surrounding pieces of junk DNA as foremen.
    This almost makes it sound like the “junk DNA” is in some sense more important than the genes – that is, if managers are more important than laborers – a dubious proposition.
  4. Time to unwind:  A press release from Cornell shows an unwinding device at work: helicase, a molecular machine that unwinds DNA strands during replication.  “The research found that the helicase appears to actively exert a force onto the fork and separate the two strands,” the article said.  This shows that helicase is not a passive device.  It really works at its vital job.
  5. A bouquet with love:  You may have heard of telomeres, the tips of chromosomes, as mere caps on DNA to keep it from unraveling.  Cell published a new study that shows that these DNA ends organize into a “bouquet” that is essential for spindle pole formation during meiotic cell division.4  The authors said, “This discovery illuminates an unanticipated level of communication between chromosomes and the spindle apparatus that may be widely conserved among eukaryotes.”
  6. Talk to me:  The phenomenon of cell communication is a huge area of study.  Science Daily reported a finding that red blood cells “talk” to platelets, and that disruption of this communication leads to diabetes and heart attacks.
        In Current Biology,5 Paul Jarvis wrote about the “backchat” that goes on between chloroplasts and the nucleus in plant cells.  He assumed that chloroplasts evolved as once free-living cells that were engulfed by an ancestral prokaryote, and that their separate genomes were partitioned, most of the DNA going to the nucleus of the host.  Still, a remarkable degree of communication is required to ensure the proper amounts of chloroplast proteins are produced in the nucleus: “To ensure the correct, stoichiometric assembly of these complexes, and to enable their rapid reorganization in response to developmental or environmental cues, the activities of the nuclear and chloroplast genomes must be synchronized through intracellular signalling,” he said.  Each protein must then traverse the inner and outer membranes of the chloroplast, assisted by complexes of molecular machines.  Jarvis presented one example of the complexity involved in signalling:
    A particularly nice example is provided by the plastid protein import 1 (ppi1) mutant, which lacks the chloroplast protein import receptor atToc33.  This is actually one of two similar receptors in Arabidopsis, the other being atToc34, which are thought to have distinct substrate preferences: atToc33 mediating the import of the highly abundant precursors of the photosynthetic apparatus, and atToc34 the import of ‘housekeeping’ proteins (for example, components of the plastid’s genetic system, or enzymes of non-photosynthetic metabolism).  Remarkably, the ppi1 mutation triggers the specific down-regulation of photosynthesis-related genes (Figure 2), suggesting that retrograde signalling mechanisms exist to prevent the futile expression of proteins not able to reach their final, organellar destination.  Clearly, such exquisite regulation specificity could not be achieved were all plastid signalling pathways to converge and control gene expression through a common process.
    He did not elaborate on how all this “organellar repartee” could have evolved, though.  He just ended on the note, “Observations such as these suggest that a great deal remains to be learnt concerning plastid-to-nucleus signalling.”
  7. We brake for spindles:  Kinesin is usually thought of a molecular motor that power-walks down a track.  But what good is an engine without a brake?  When kinesin needs to carry a load, or when it needs to winch apart chromosomes during cell division, something needs to tell it when to stop.  An article in Current Biology6 shows that in some cases, kinesin-5 has a built-in braking mechanism:
    Faithful chromosome segregation depends upon the formation and function of a bipolar, microtubule (MT)-based mitotic spindle, which uses multiple mitotic motors to assemble itself and to separate sister chromatids.  Among these motors, members of the kinesin-5 family are thought to have critical and often essential mitotic functions, by pushing apart the spindle poles, for example during anaphase B spindle elongation.  Curiously, however, the single kinesin-5 present in Caenorhabditis elegans, BMK-1, is dispensible for mitosis.  Now, new work from the Saxton and Strome laboratories, published recently in Current Biology, shows that, in this system, BMK-1 has novel mitotic functions, serving as a brake that restrains the rate of anaphase spindle-pole separation driven by other cortical force generators.
    The authors thought it “somewhat surprising to find such distinct, indeed opposite, roles for kinesin-5, acting as a brake on ipMT sliding in the spindles of C. elegans embryos versus actively pushing apart ipMTs in spindles of other systems, such as Drosophila embryos.”  More work is being done to figure out how this is possible.
None of these papers explained how evolution could come up with the tricks.  The last entry, though, simply stated as a matter of fact that natural selection did it somehow.  Still, the authors’ astonishment at the diversity and complexity of molecular motors left it challenging to believe it all just happened:
Some of us recall the time when the world of motor proteins seemed relatively uncomplicated; cilia used dynein, muscles used myosin, and we sensed that the discovery of ‘THE mitotic motor’ lay just around the corner.  Subsequently, mitosis researchers have uncovered a far more fascinating scenario in which multiple mitotic motors, a dozen or so in Drosophila for example, are deployed to functionally coordinate the highly choreographed sequence of motility events associated with spindle assembly and chromatid separation.  The work of Saunders et al.  on kinesin-5 extends our growing appreciation of mitotic motor diversity by suggesting that this key mitotic motor can be used to carry out a previously unrecognized function in C. elegans spindles.  As these authors point out, it is striking how natural selection adopts such diverse strategies in different cell-types to move apart sister chromatids the few microns required to ensure that the products of each cell division inherit a complete set of genetic instructions.  This diversity presents a challenge, since useful general models for spindle assembly and function must not only incorporate the basic principles common to all spindles, but should also be sufficiently adaptable to encompass the diversity of spindle design produced by natural selection.

1Matthew Gibson, “Bicoid by the Numbers: Quantifying a Morphogen Gradient,” Cell, Volume 130, Issue 1, 13 July 2007, pages 14-16, doi:10.1016/j.cell.2007.06.036.
2Jessica A. Downs, Michel C. Nussenzweig and Andre Nussenzweig, “Review article: Chromatin dynamics and the preservation of genetic information,” Nature 447, 951-958 (21 June 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05980.
3Erwan Watrin and Jan-Michael Peters, “Molecular Biology: How and When the Genome Sticks Together,” Science, 13 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5835, pp. 209-210, DOI: 10.1126/science.1146072.
4Kazunori Tomita and Julia Promisel Coope, “The Telomere Bouquet Controls the Meiotic Spindle,” Cell, Volume 130, Issue 1, 13 July 2007, pages 113-126, doi:10.1016/j.cell.2007.05.024.
5Paul Jarvis, “Intracellular Signalling: Chloroplast Backchat,” Current Biology, Volume 17, Issue 14, 17 July 2007, Pages R552-R555, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2007.05.021.
6Gul Civelekoglu-Scholeya and Jonathan M. Scholey, “Mitotic Motors: Kinesin-5 Takes a Brake,” Current Biology, Volume 17, Issue 14, 17 July 2007, Pages R544-R547, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2007.05.030.
We must continue to juxtapose the unfolding intricacies of cellular machinery with the farcical explanations proposed by evolutionists.  Darwinian thinking is so entrenched, only repeated application of detailed instances as shown above can produce the cumulative effect on brainwashed minds that is obvious to the rest of us: trying to explain these wonders by unguided processes of mindless evolution is just plain dumb.  Some day, this will be obvious to everybody.  Future biologists will look back with bewilderment that so many smart people fell for such silly notions for so long.  They will understand intuitively that quality control, effective communication and choreographed performances are hallmarks of planning, guidance, and intelligence.  How could anyone have thought otherwise?  Someone’s motors weren’t turning, for sure.
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyGeneticsAmazing Facts
Roadrunner and Largest Flying Bird Described from Fossils   07/15/2007    
A bird with a 23-foot wingspan was described in the BBC News.  At an estimated 155 pounds, this bird probably had to jump from a height to get airborne and likely rode on thermals.  The article says the bird rivalled in size some light airplanes.  A diagram shows the Argentinean giant with wings upwardly stretched extending some twice the height of a man.
    News@Nature reported tracks from a roadrunner-like bird from China dated 110 million years old, some 50 million years earlier than any similar species.  The bird had two forward-facing toes, and two backward-facing toes – a condition called zygodactyly.  Wading, perching and gliding birds from the period are known, but “we know of nothing as large, as fast, or with the same foot structure as the one that made these tracks.”  It was a surprise to find a zygodactyl this far back, since modern roadrunners are assumed to have evolved in the last million years.  “Not expecting to find a zygodactyl bird in rocks that old, researchers originally thought the footprints belonged to a shorebird,” the article said.  It then stated that this fossil bird must have evolved zygodactyly independently of the modern roadrunners.
Is there any living creature from modern times that has a claim to being “better evolved” than fossilized forms from the past?  Evolutionary claims are for the birds (beep, beep, aoogah).
Next headline on:  BirdsFossilsAmazing Facts
But Is It Evolution?   07/14/2007    
Every week the news media cheerfully present the latest finding that is claimed to be evidence for evolution.  The following recent examples, though, might leave a perceptive reader wondering, “What’s Darwin got to do with it?”
  1. Slow? No!:  If you thought evolution was a gradual process too slow to watch, get a load of this: MSNBC News announced, “Butterflies fast forward evolution to evade death.  Within 10 generations, males developed immunity to deadly parasite.”  The males of the Blue Moon Butterfly seemed doomed.  A parasite targeted them but left the females intact.  Only 10% of the males were left, when bingo!  They hit on an immune response, and bounced back to 50-50 in just 10 generations.
        “We usually think of natural selection as acting slowly, over hundreds or thousands of years,” Gregory Hurst (University College London), co-author of the paper, “But the example in this study happened in a blink of the eye, in terms of evolutionary time.”  This illustrates “power of positive natural selection,” the article claimed.  “Evolution saves Samoan butterfly,” chimed in Science Daily, and the BBC News portrayed this as, “Butterfly shows evolution at work.”  But the blue moon butterflies were the same species before and after.  The males only bounced back to previous levels after a crisis.  Didn’t Darwin write about the origin of new species?
  2. Weird, but where?  Astrobiologists need to expand their horizons to envision what Darwinian evolution could create on other worlds, wrote Ker Than for Live Science.  “Experiments in synthetic biology have created structures with six or more nucleotides that can encode genetic information and also potentially undergo Darwinian evolution,” he said.  But without observation of such entities, and with intelligent designers on Earth doing all the work, where’s the evolution?
  3. The cat came up:  Without directly using the E word evolution, an article in the BBC News spoke of the origin and ancestry of the domestic cat.  “Ancestors of domestic cats are now thought to have broken away from their wild relatives and started living with humans as early as 130,000 years ago.”  This is based on mitochondrial DNA comparisons.  But without an observer to watch the process, how could they know what happened?
          The article says “At least five female ancestors from the region gave rise to all the domestic cats alive today, scientists believe.”  The article also says that scientists believe cats sought out human company.  No evidence was presented for these beliefs.
        Remarkably, one scientist even implied the cat chose to do its own evolution.  Other members of the cat family may be threatening to humans, “But this little guy actually chose not to be that,” said Stephen O’Brien.  “He actually chose to be a little bit friendly and also was a very good mouser.”  This sounds like little more than a tale told after the fact.  Evolution is not supposed to proceed by an animal choosing to be something else, but by the natural selection of random mutations.
  4. The Human Element:  Up to 10% of the human genome may have changed within the last 100,000 years, reported Science Daily.  Yet this is all within the time humans were Homo sapiens, and the article hastens to add that the claim implies no ranking: “It is important to emphasize that the research does not state that one group is more evolved or better adapted than another.”  But this seems to represent a study in variability within a species.  And if no one group is more evolved or better adapted than another, and all are interfertile, where is the evolution?
  5. Decorate the tree:  A new hominid jawbone from Ethiopia has been announced by National Geographic, but experts aren’t sure how to classify it.  It could “shake up the fossil record” the title says.  The claim that it could bridge a gap between other hominids seems tentative at best.  They’re not ready to say it is ancestral, or how it was related to other hominids, or whether it is different enough from other bones to have its own species definition.  The article bemoans the lack of fossils to answer these questions.  The BBC News also reported the story, quoting discoverer Yohannes Haile-Selassie claiming that it fills one of the “small gaps” in the record of human evolution.
Though these and other similar articles use the word evolution, they usually deal with either small-scale changes, which are not controversial even among young-earth creationists, or else they try to fit together pieces in an ancestral lineage that begs the question whether they truly are related, or even changed at all.
Evolution means anything the Darwin Party wants it to mean – so long as it achieves the desired effect: lull the public into thinking evolution from molecules to man is a proven scientific fact.
Next headline on:  Evolutionary TheoryMammalsTerrestrial ZoologyEarly Man
The War of the Museums   07/13/2007    
Some evolutionists have become very alarmed at the opening of the new Creation Museum in Kentucky (05/26/2007).  They are so alarmed, in fact, that they are using pro-Darwin museums to counter-attack.  Scientific American published a lengthy article on the war of the museums.
    Elisabeth Landau quickly used terms to label creationism as pseudoscience: “Science Museums Adapt in Struggle against Creationist Revisionism,” the subtitle reads right off the bat.  Additional slams in the article include, “a bogus idea” and “completely unfounded challenges to the theory of evolution.”  Intelligent Design was quickly lumped into the same pot of boiling oil.  By contrast, evolution is labeled as, “the only plausible thesis we have for explaining what we see in nature today.”
    Given this mindset, the strategy is clear: take no prisoners, and counterattack.  Evolutionists are mounting a museum and media campaign to counter the likes of the Creation Museum.  They realize that the attractiveness of the Creation Museum needs to be outdone.  The goal is to make evolution approachable and exciting with upbeat displays.  Here are some examples mentioned in the article:
  1. Fly karaoke:  Visitors attempt to mimic the courtship displays of Hawaiian fruit flies.  This is part of “Explore Evolution,” a permanent exhibit at six museums throughout the midwest and southwest.  The goal is to help visitors to explore evolutionary concepts in new ways.  “Explore Evolution,” designed by Judy Diamond, is “one of many recent efforts by science museums to counter such resistance to evolution.”  She came up with a “new plan to lure visitors: interactive activities about evolution and lessons on how scientists ply their trade.”
  2. Where’s Pääbo:  Another exhibit at “Explore Evolution” was described: “A giant wall of nucleotides compares the DNA of humans with that of their closer relatives, chimpanzees.  And, in a Where’s Waldo-type game, visitors are challenged to find small figures representing famous evolutionary scientist Svante Pääbo, director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, to illustrate the 1 percent difference between human and chimp genomes.”  (See 06/29/2007, “The Chimp-Human 1% Difference: A Useful Lie”).
  3. Act up:  Another new traveling exhibit named “Life Changes,” funded by a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, will open in 2009 (Darwin’s 200th birthday).  This exhibit is “mainly directed at children and will feature actors, who will tell stories about different birds to convey evolutionary principles.”  Internet discussion groups and online courses are included.
  4. Heal thyself:  “Surviving: the Body of Evidence” is another exhibit aimed at explaining evolutionary medicine.  Opening at the University of Pennsylvania next April, it will attempt to show that evolution is important to understanding our bodies and benefiting health.  Lactose intolerance and obesity, for instance, are claimed to be evolutionary artifacts of the change from a hunter-gatherer existence to an agricultural economy.
        Remarkably, this exhibit will avoid evolutionary trees.  It will only classify human ancestors into broad categories as early, middle and late.  Why?  The designer explained, “In evolution you can’t necessarily draw these ancestor-descendent relationship lines, because people are always in the process of discovering new things.”
  5. The Man:  The “Darwin” Exhibit is currently at the Field Museum of Chicago after its run at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.  For earlier entries on this exhibit, see 11/11/2005, 11/21/2005, and 12/16/2005, bullet 5.
  6. Meet the ancestors:  The American Museum’s 13-year-old Hall of Human Origins has been reopened with updated exhibits and interactive displays.  The SciAm article shows a picture of the dramatic entrance to the exhibit with skeletons of a chimpanzee, human and Neanderthal against backdrops of cells and DNA.  This is part of a slide show on evolutionary exhibits included with the article.
  7. Get the story right:  Upset at misrepresentations (or avoidance) of evolution at some secular museums, Colin Purrington (Swarthmore U) has a new website with ideas for helping your local museum present evolution properly and effectively.  His photo page has 94 examples of evolutionary displays, some he considers good, some bad.
        The first photo (one of his favorites) shows a child peeking through a hole at the top of an evolutionary tree.  “Every zoo should have one of these,” he said, “though the caption at the bottom should be fixed to be less accommodating to evolution doubters.”  He said he has been trying to convince a few zoos to erect bronze replicas of the evolutionary tree, “but generally people just roll their eyes at me.”  Bronze was suggested so that “local fundamentalists wouldn’t be able to burn them.”  This is a reference to a janitor who took umbrage at a Dover District school’s risque depiction of naked humans emerging from primitive ancestors.  Apparently he burned the mural one night.  Purrington considers this a cause celebre to portray Darwin doubters as anti-science, but it was not stated whether the janitor was opposed to evolution or might have considered the gratuitous nudity inappropriate (or distracting) for students. 
  8. Dino Shuffle:  A traveling exhibit based on the BBC Series “Walking with Dinosaurs” began making the rounds in Tacoma, Washington, reported PhysOrg.  The stage show features 15 animated, life-size dinosaur models.  “The show is so big it can only play to two-thirds of the seating at typical American arenas,” the article says.  “The Tacoma Dome, for example, will seat 8,000 for each of the eight performances.”  Tickets cost nearly $80 for adults.  The show is slated for 100 American cities over the next few years.  “The story ... travels 200 million years from Triassic to the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods,” clearly a different take from that of the Creation Museum.
In short, it appears that the evolutionists have plenty of ammo to return fire against the Creation Museum.  Virtually every other state and county museum in the country presents the evolutionary story as fact.  The SciAm article ended with Purrington promoting a more in-your-face attitude by evolutionists toward doubters.  He urged museums to take down disclaimers or warnings that visitors might be offended.  The National Zoo in Washington, for instance, had a Stop sign erected before its display on chimpanzee-human relationships, stating that it “contains some things you may agree with, some you may disagree with, and others that may even trouble you.”  Bosh, thinks Purrington: “You don’t get any of that foolishness in Europe” (cf. 06/22/2007).
    “Darwin” exhibit curator Niles Eldredge (see 03/03/2007) summed up the attitude of the article toward public creationist displays: “hey people, we’re not going to take this lying down and we’re going to fight back.
    See also the 09/22/2005 story about how some museums are training their guides to deal with creationists.
One cartoon from Answers in Genesis says a thousand words.  Unfortunately, it is not posted on their website, so we’ll attempt to describe it.  The little Creation Museum is in the center, surrounded by terrified and angry buildings expressing fear and outrage that such a thing should exist.  The buildings are personified depictions of dozens of huge, multi-million dollar, government-funded museums of dogmatic Darwinism.
    Let’s do a brief survey of the evidence marshaled in support of the evolutionary displays, shall we?  After all, these expensive and elaborate exhibits are doing their dead-level best to present evolution attractively to the public.  One would think they would put their best scientific foot forward – here, if anywhere.
  • Fruit flies: the 800 “different flies” that have evolved from a common ancestor: this is microevolution, which even Ken Ham believes.  Irrelevant.
  • Meeting real scientists: the appeal to authority and bandwagon fallacies.  Why do they exclude Kepler, Boyle, Maxwell, von Braun, Damadian and other creationists?
  • Humans and chimps: Explore Evolution repeats the myth that human and chimpanzee DNA differs by a mere 1%.  That evolutionists would promote a bald lie (see 06/29/2007) is reprehensible.  (Compare with this week’s claim in Science Daily that up to 10% of the modern human genome has changed in a few tens of thousands of years.)
  • Kiwi: “Life Changes” uses the flightless bird from New Zealand as evidence for evolution.  Creationists acknowledge kiwis as either created for their niche, or having lost flight – devolution, not evolution.  Irrelevant.  The other examples of “bird evolution” are not described in detail; maybe they meant finch beaks (08/24/2005).
  • Evolutionary medicine: lactose intolerance and obesity easily fit into creationist models of human history and owe nothing to Darwinian evolution.  They, too, represent downward steps, not increase in genetic information that evolution requires.  Uncontroversial and irrelevant.
  • Darwin: just a man with some weird ideas.  Lot’s of people have weird ideas about how the world came to be.  Another irrelevant appeal to authority, not evidence.  Any Darwin-hyping is an appeal to the emotions, not to logic and reason and the weighing of evidence.
  • Neanderthal: despite some DNA differences and skeletal morphology, most anthropologists believe Neanderthals fit within Homo sapiens and could have interbred with modern humans (see, for instance, 05/19/2005).  For recent reports on the re-admission of Neanderthals (once considered human ancestors) into the modern human group, see 09/23/2005, 01/24/2006, bullets 2-3, 03/08/2007, bullet 8, and search on “Neandertal” or “Neanderthal” in the search bar.
        Yet here is what the article claimed about all this.  Note the lack of evidence:
    Through DNA evidence, for example, scientists now know that Neandertals are a distinct kind of hominid with their own identity.  Visitors can view a vial of actual 40,000-year-old Neandertal DNA alongside vials of human and chimp DNA and learn about how, say, Homo sapiens migrated out of eastern Africa 70,000 years ago.  Fossils alone have not been able to tell this story, because of gaps in the fossil record, Tattersall says.
    (Remember what we said about the phrase “now we know” in evolutionary parlance? (see 07/02/2007 commentary).  They have relegated our Neanderthal brothers, who had bigger brain capacity, to an outcast group, like some kind of historical racism.   The paragraph above is all bluffing about things they cannot know and do not have evidence to support.  Of course, evolutionists would never stoop to lying to the public about human evolution, would they? (11/19/2004, 02/25/2005).
So that’s it.  That is all the actual appeals to scientific evidence mentioned in the article.  Impressed?  The rest is all hot air and blathering about how ignorant and dangerous the creationists are, with their one museum against dozens parading Darwin’s dangerous idea unquestioningly.
    One last thing you should notice about this article.  As usual, the Darwin Party wants no debate or discussion – even about the difficulties or problems evolutionists argue about among themselves.  This is so typical.  (Exercise: think of other segments of society that behave this way.)  Some of us were taught as teens that science is an open-minded inquiry into the phenomena of the natural world, where no ideas are sacred, and every idea must be supported with evidence and subject to falsification.  But whenever anyone dares to question something that might besmirch the holy robes of Pope Charlie, the wrath of the inquisition knows no bounds.  The Darwinists force their ideas on children at zoos and museums with an in-your-face haughtiness, yet become aghast when a creation museum dares present a different view (with loads of evidence).
    Creationists, by contrast, have long taken the initiative to discuss these issues in the open marketplace of ideas.  Early creationist attempts tried to promote balanced treatment.  When that lost, maybe an appeal to accuracy about Darwin’s theory (no more lies in textbooks about Haeckel’s hoaxed embryos, etc.) but the verdict of judges (not scientists), acting singlehandedly (Overton, Jones, Cooper), was No!  Darwin only!  Dogmatism only!  D.O.D.O.!  We won’t even allow you to read a disclaimer or put one in a textbook encouraging students to be open-minded!  Then, when a meek well-liked teacher says “Fine; we’ll talk about it not in a science class, but in an elective philosophy class,” her small-town school was threatened with a bankrupting lawsuit (01/25/2006).  This is the kind of paranoia Darwinists routinely exhibit against free speech.
    In their 30 years of evolution debates on college campuses, Morris and Gish went to leading campuses in America and abroad, winning debate after debate.  It got to the point where it was hard to find an evolutionist willing to take part.  Eugenie Scott even advised her fellow evolutionists not to debate them.  Why?  Despite her spin that Morris and Gish were expert debaters (they were not, never having been trained or taught in debating), the fact was that crowds usually sided with the creationists.  Votes showed they thought the creationists made the better case based on the evidence.  Evolutionist debaters often made fools of themselves, appealing to religious arguments instead of scientific arguments.  Often they came completely unprepared to defend the very theory they were glibly teaching their students year after year.  The audience could see right through them.  Richard Dawkins refuses to debate creationists about scientific evidence any more (though he has recently debated some theologians), but he doesn’t hesitate to spew his one-sided venom against anyone who believes in a Creator.  There have been some intelligent-design debates in recent years, but again, these were almost all initiated by the anti-evolution side.
    For decades, Dr. Walter Brown has had a standing offer to hold a refereed written debate with an evolutionist on scientific evidence (no religious arguments allowed).  He has never had a taker.  Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo offers a $10,000 prize to any evolutionist who can win a debate before a superior court judge on evidence that is “scientific, that is, objective, valid, reliable and calibrated.”  141 leading evolutionists and 35 institutions have all been challenged to this debate but have declined.  Over and over again, the Darwinists have dodged the opportunity to prove their view scientifically before a neutral audience.  Instead, they want to crush all dissent yet be free to present their lopsided, one-sided views dogmatically without any questions or challenges (02/24/2006)  Here, we see them trying to dress it up with techno-pop like “fly karaoke.”  For crying out loud (or laughing hysterically), it’s pathetic (02/10/2006).
    The creationists have one wildcard going for them in this battle: common sense.  Decades – nay, centuries – of materialist propaganda has not convinced the majority of the public that humans have bacteria ancestors.  Biblical creationists would add that this is a spiritual battle for the soul of man, motivated by Satan, the father of lies, but the gates of hell cannot prevail against God’s truth written in man’s conscience.  Given the behavior of the evolutionists demonstrated above, you are welcome to form your own conclusion.
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  Darwin’s Nigeria scam: Evolutionists have trouble with ontogeny and phylogeny, from 07/16/2003.

The Daily Planet   07/12/2007    
This entry is not about birds or planes; it’s supernews from the solar system.

  1. Sponge Blob:  Hyperion, an oddball moon of Saturn between Titan and Iapetus, was featured at Jet Propulsion Laboratory last week (see stunning image from Sept. 2005 at the Cassini imaging team website).  Two papers in Nature July 5 analyzed its sponge-like appearance and surface composition.  The moon is so porous, impactors just plow in and compress the material rather than excavate it.  The dark material in the floors of craters resembles reddish material found on the surfaces of Phoebe and Iapetus, suggesting a link.
        The second paper mentioned the possibility of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in the dark material, and briefly stated, “When aromatic molecules are embedded in H2O ice and irradiated with ultraviolet light, new molecules of biological interest are created.”  That was enough to send the popular press into a tizzy about “building blocks of life.”  National Geographic asked in bold print, “Saturn ‘Sponge Moon’ Has Ingredients for Life?” even though Hyperion has no atmosphere and PAHs are the like the toxic compounds in tailpipe soot.  Science Daily used the L word four times, embellishing the soot as “hydrocarbons that may indicate more widespread presence in our solar system of basic chemicals necessary for life.”  Ker Than for Space.com admirably avoided all references to life (but spelled Iapetus wrong 3 times).
  2. Constant Comets:  There’s less differentiation in the interiors of comets than thought, reported National Geographic and PhysOrg.  This “contradicts assumptions about the fiery celestial bodies,” and “has prompted astronomers to take issue with a mainstream theory about the impact of ‘space weather’ on these enigmatic wanderers of the Solar System.”  These stories were based on a paper in Nature1 about Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, a short-period comet that had fragmented, allowing astronomers to analyze its deep interior.
  3. Mars Beachfront Dries UpNature had a news story July 5 lamenting evidence that the thermodynamics of ancient clays argues against a warm, wet period on the red planet caused by a thick carbon dioxide atmosphere.2  “What did cause it remains an enigma,” David Catling said.
  4. Rubble Blarney:  Asteroids appear to be mostly rubble piles.  Science May 18 commented on the surprise from the Japanese Hayubasa mission that the density of asteroid Itokawa is so low, it must be boulders all the way down.3  Better not expect to divert an earth-bound asteroid by blowing it up, therefore.  Erik Asphaug asked whether any asteroids are made of solid, monolithic rock, as previously thought.
        JPL’s Dawn Mission is scheduled for launch in September.  It is slated to visit two of the largest asteroids: Vesta (2011) and Ceres (2015).
  5. Belching Moon:  Evidence for outgassing on the moon (lunar transients) continues to rise.  Scientific American published an article June 26 about these flashes in the pan that have been reported for centuries.  J.R. Minkel wrote that the observed radon gas may arise from “dust stirred up by such emissions—possibly volcanic in origin.”  Often doubted as artifacts of the observer’s imagination, some astronomers are taking them very seriously.  Arlin Crotts (Columbia U) said this is not like UFO studies: “this is real science.  And it’s something people should have done 30 years ago.”
  6. Iron Supplements:  Some geophysicists publishing in Science May 25 pondered the presence of short-lived radioisotopes in some meteorites.4  Things like aluminum-26 and iron-60 burn out too fast to have been part of the original solar nebula, they said.  Though aluminum-26 appears primordial, the iron-60 does not.  Their solution was to have a nearby supernova go off near the solar system during its formation, to seed the planetesimals with the iron-60, which a half-life of 1.5 million years.  The Earth, though, does not have much residue of this material, so they had to make it a special case: “Earth accreted from material distinct from that of any known primitive and/or differentiated meteorites.”
        The European Astrobiology Magazine did a feature story on this subject, called “The Violent Origin of the Solar System.”  The article points out that it is not normal for molecular clouds to collapse into solar systems.  Heat and pressure pushes the material back outward.  They suggest that turbulence in the cloud causes localized clumping that overcomes the gravitational barrier and triggers collapse.  “But what feeds the turbulent energy in molecular clouds?  There are several imaginative scenarios, all of which are hotly debated.”  Supernovas to the rescue, the article continues: not only do they trigger star formation, they seed the gas with heavy elements critical for planets and life.  “A species of radioactive iron known as iron 60 was discovered only two years ago,” it stated.  “This discovery provides new evidence in favour of a supernova explosion in the vicinity of the young solar system.”  In conclusion, Simon Mitton wrote, “Astronomy has much to offer astrobiology in terms of explaining the formation of stars and their planets.  What the astronomers are saying in this case is that our solar system had a violent origin of a kind that is not typical.  That extra dose of iron 60 in meteorites speaks volumes about our cosmic origins.
  7. Hot Wet Jupiters:  The press all caught onto an announcement that the Spitzer Space Telescope detected the spectrum of water vapor around an extrasolar planet.  Don’t expect swimming holes around HD 189733b just yet; the “hot Jupiter,” that zips around its parent star every two days, “is a fiery 1,000 Kelvin (1,340 degrees Fahrenheit) on average.”  The scientific team only suggested that this means other rocky planets in the system might also have water, presumably in a liquid form if located far enough away from the star.  No such planets have been detected yet.  This did not stop the BBC News from using the L word life four times in its writeup.  Most reports, like that on National Geographic, emphasized the word water when “steam” might have been more appropriate.
Briefly noted:  The Mars rovers are trying to ride out a “scary” dust storm that came up suddenly (see Space.com).  A new Mars lander named Phoenix is slated for launch next month, for a landing near the northern ice cap.  And the Cassini spacecraft is ending a year-long series of tight orbits around Saturn with frequent flybys of Titan.  For a detailed look at the upcoming T34 Titan flyby on July 19, download this PDF mission description.  Saturn’s ring spokes are now being seen more frequently.  Evidence for outgassing from Tethys and Dione was reported last month.  New images of Tethys were taken June 27, revealing more about its scar, Ithaca Chasma, that is 3 times as long as Earth’s Grand Canyon.  One of the biggest highlights of this year’s tour comes September 10 when Cassini skims a mere 932 miles above the surface of mysterious yin-yang moon Iapetus.  The Cassini website recently featured a new slide show of 9 highlights from its third year in orbit around Saturn.
1Dello Russo et al, “Compositional homogeneity in the fragmented comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3,” Nature 448, 172-175 (12 July 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05908.
2David C. Catling, “Mars: Ancient fingerprints in the clay,” Nature 448, 31-32 (5 July 2007) | doi:10.1038/448031a.
3Erik Asphaug, “Planetary Science: The Shifting Sands of Asteroids,” Science, 18 May 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5827, pp. 993-994, DOI: 10.1126/science.1141971.
4Bizzarro et al, “Evidence for a Late Supernova Injection of 60Fe into the Protoplanetary Disk,” Science, 25 May 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5828, pp. 1178-1181, DOI: 10.1126/science.1141040.
Planetary exploration is an adventure the whole world can share.  Just beware the marketing claims of certain charlatans who want you to think evolutionists have a complete cosmic package all neatly tied up.  Three things are commonly found in their spiels: (1) they need to insert finely-tuned miracles, like supernova explosions, to get things to work out right, (2) anomalies (like lunar transients) surprise them but never get them to question their assumptions, and (3) the word “organic” (even though it only refers to carbon compounds not necessarily biological) sends them into euphoric visions of life emerging from the dust.  Hyperion’s soot has nothing to do with life, OK?  The first four letters of the moon’s name are appropriate.  Turn off the Darwin commercials and enjoy the ride.
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Archaeology: Babylonian Clay Tablet Mentions Biblical Name   07/11/2007    
Jeremiah mentioned Nebo-Sarsekim and Nebuchadnezzar, and so did Babylonian scribes.  The Times Online reported today, “The British Museum yesterday hailed a discovery within a modest clay tablet in its collection as a breakthrough for biblical archaeology – dramatic proof of the accuracy of the Old Testament.”  An article in the Telegraph calls it “a fantastic discovery, world-class find” and includes a picture and full translation of the small tablet.
    The great King Nebuchadnezzar had been known from extra-Biblical sources, but Nebo-Sarsekim was not – till now.  He is mentioned in Jeremiah 39:3 as one of the officials of Nebuchadnezzar present at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BC.  Jeremiah was an eyewitness to these events.  Now, the same name has been deciphered on a clay tablet from Sippar, a site a mile from Baghdad, where the Babylonians had a huge sun temple.  The tablet, recording Nebo-Sarsekim’s gift of gold to a temple in Babylon, dates to 10 years before the siege of Jerusalem.
    The British Museum acquired this small tablet in 1920, but it had never been translated.  Dr. Michael Jursa (U of Vienna), one of the few scholars who can read cuneiform script, made the discovery while translating tablets on a research trip to the museum.  “Finding something like this tablet, where we see a person mentioned in the Bible making an everyday payment to the temple in Babylon and quoting the exact date, is quite extraordinary,” he said.  Dr. Irving Finkel of the British Museum added, “If Nebo-Sarsekim existed, which other lesser figures in the Old Testament existed?  A throwaway detail in the Old Testament turns out to be accurate and true.  I think that it means that the whole of the narrative [of Jeremiah] takes on a new kind of power.”
    This story was found on Todd Bolen’s Bible Places blog.  Bolen is compiling a list of Biblical characters mentioned in extra-Biblical sources, and says the list is already long; now he can add another one.
    Meanwhile, what’s new with the Jehoash Inscription and the James Ossuary? (See 04/21/2003, 06/19/2003.)  Dissatisfied with the rush to judgment by the Israel Antiquities Authority that they are forgeries, the Biblical Archaeology Society has pushed for more unbiased analysis, claiming the evidence is strong for their authenticity.  They issued a special report this month to bring readers up to date.  The full report from their conference of scholars last January is available.
Todd Bolen took umbrage at the Times’ quote of a scholar who responded that the name on the clay tablet means “the Biblical story is not altogether invented.”  It is not invented at all, he retorted.  The more evidence, the weaker the case of liberal skeptics becomes.  This would be a good time to read the book of Jeremiah.
    The Old Testament narratives have the feel of history.  Sure, there are great stories of adventure, intrigue, relationships, accomplishments, heroes and villains, but they are not just invented stories: the amount of detail provided (names, places, dates, events) is far and above what would be expected in fiction.  The details are presented in a matter-of-fact way that has the ring of truth (see, for example, the listings of David’s officers, priests and assistants in I Chronicles).  No reader would look at this and think it is made up: it has the look and feel of official documentation.
    Names mentioned in the Bible have turned up in inscriptions from Egypt, Moab, Babylon and throughout Israel itself.  Another interesting point to consider is that the Bible presents its heroes in all their human frailty.  Most inscriptions from kingdoms outside Israel exaggerate their victories and quash their embarrassments: not the Bible.  The sins of even David and Solomon are exposed in all their ugliness, right next to other passages describing their moments of victory and godliness.  Combined with the detail and the archaeological attestations, this is unprecedented in ancient records.
    Today’s news is another small piece of silent testimony, rising from the dust and from the back rooms of a museum, that the Bible told real history about real people and real events.  No other ancient “religious” text has so much internal and external corroboration.  Israel and its surrounding kingdoms have been plundered and destroyed so many times, it should be understandable that evidence is scattered and fragmentary: think of the serendipitous discoveries of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Codex Sinaiticus (almost burned in the hearth by monks), and the Moabite Stone (almost destroyed by nomads thinking it contained gold).  Much remains hidden in the dust, but there is enough to give an honest inquirer confidence to take the Biblical record very seriously.
    For another look into Biblical archaeology, read Dr. Alan Millard’s 2002 review of the historical and archaeological case for King Solomon’s riches, republished this month on Associates for Biblical Research.  (Note that this article predated the 2005 possible discovery of Solomon’s palace, 02/09/2007, 08/09/2005).  Solomon lived 360 years before Jeremiah.  The farther back in time, the more fragmentary the evidence, but why not consider the Bible as primary evidence?  Its record fits the period and the hard evidence we do have.  Millard explains why the critics’ argument from silence represents bias, not scholarship.
    A good layman’s-level paperback overview of Biblical archaeology is The Stones Cry Out by Randall Price (1997).  Many exciting Bible-corroborating artifacts have surfaced in the intervening decade.  Archaeological pieces have been falling into place and silencing critics for a long time now.  It’s tantalizing to ponder what more discoveries remain to be made among the 130,000 clay tablets still lying untranslated in dark shelves of the British Museum.
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Baby Frozen Mammoth Found Intact   07/10/2007    
The BBC News has a picture of a baby frozen mammoth that was found intact in northwest Siberia.  The article says it is one of the best-preserved frozen mammoths ever found, complete with eyes, fur, and trunk.  One investigator said, “In terms of its state of preservation, this is the world’s most valuable discovery” of a mammoth.
    “It was discovered by a reindeer herder in May this year,” the article said.  “Yuri Khudi stumbled across the carcass near the Yuribei River, in Russia’s Yamal-Nenets autonomous district.”  The carcass has been sent to Japan for detailed study.
    Some are wondering if this specimen will allow the extraction of DNA for resurrecting the great beasts that died out thousands of years ago.  The number of carcasses out there must be great, because “scientifically valuable Siberian mammoth specimens were being lost to a lucrative trade in ivory, skin, hair and other body parts.”  Investigators are worried that “more carcasses could be falling into the hands of dealers than are finding their way to scientists.”  There are even fossil marketing websites that advertise mammoth parts for sale.
    How did this mammoth die?  The article speculates, “What caused their widespread disappearance at the end of the last Ice Age remains unclear; but climate change, overkill by human hunters, or a combination of both could have been to blame.”  MSNBC posted a picture and video of the specimen surrounded by eager scientists.
Two unlikely possibilities do not add up to a likely possibility.  Would climate change freeze a baby mammoth on the spot?  The herds would have migrated out of the area unless something very sudden and spectacular happened.  Neither would thousands of mammoths have frozen if hunters left them for dead.  No; the widespread distribution of these mammoths frozen so completely that eyeballs, fur and stomach contents are often preserved are a silent testimony to a global, catastrophic event.  Mammoth remains have been found from Alaska clear across northern Russia.
    Creationists, without the blinders of evolutionary geology hindering their view, have thought about the connection of these frozen mammoths to a worldwide flood.  One detailed and compelling analysis was done by Dr. Walter Brown at the Center for Scientific Creation.  Copiously illustrated and referenced, it makes for a good read and think.
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Elephant Trunk Inspires Robot Arm   07/09/2007    
A German company took inspiration from the soft, supple, yet powerful trunk of the elephant and built an arm to imitate it.  Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a company engaged in “research of practical utility,” rhapsodized on the abilities of the elephant trunk:
It is long, gray, soft and – endowed with no fewer than 40,000 muscles – extremely agile.  An elephant uses its trunk to grasp objects and for drinking.  With their trunks, the pachyderms can tear down trees and pull heavy loads, and yet are also capable of performing extremely delicate manipulations.  Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart have used the elephant’s trunk as a design model.  “Its suppleness and agility gave us the idea for a bionic robot arm, ISELLA,” recounts Harald Staab, the IPA researcher who invented and developed the technology.
The ISELLA arm uses a new kind of servo motor system with pairs of motors, each with a high transmission, attached to cords that twist in a helical shape when moving.  The motors are paired to prevent each other from going into wild, uncontrolled movements.  “What we can learn from elephants,” the title said.  The answer is low-cost, flexible prosthetic devices.  The article was echoed on Science Daily.
    The article did not mention if the arm can pull down trees, drink, or pick up peanuts out of a child’s hand.
... or reproduce itself.  This arm only has 10 of the paired servo motors, not 40,000.  Oh well, progress takes time.  The press release mentioned nothing about how evolution could have achieved the remarkable elephant’s trunk.  That in itself was inspiring.
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  Everything you thought you knew about genetic evolution is wrong, from 07/25/2005.

What Are Human Genes Doing in a Sea Anemone?   07/08/2007    
The genome of a sea anemone has been published, and of all things, this lowly animal has genes common to vertebrates, even humans.  Science Daily began with a conundrum, “The first analysis of the genome of the sea anemone shows it to be nearly as complex as the human genome, providing major insights into the common ancestor of not only humans and sea anemones, but of nearly all multi-celled animals.”  UC Berkeley’s Center for Integrative Genomics deciphered the genome and published the results in Science.1  “Surprisingly, the team found that the genome of the starlet sea anemone, which is lumped with jellyfish and corals into the earliest diverging eumetazoan phylum, Cnidaria, resembles the human and other vertebrate genomes more than it resembles the genomes of such well-studied ‘lab rats’ as fruit flies and nematode worms.”
    The starlet sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis, is just a few inches in diameter and has about 16 to 20 tentacles.  It lives in brackish lagoons and marshes and feeds on passing nutrients.  It’s not just that this creature’s genome is as complex as that of humans that was surprising.  It has a comparable gene number, and, “Many of the anemone’s genes lie on its 30 chromosomes in patterns similar to the patterns of related genes on the 46 chromosomes of humans.”  Nicholas Putnam of the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) of the Department of Energy said, “Many genes close together in the sea anemone are still close together in humans, even after six or seven hundred million years.
    A story entitled, “Surprises in the sea anemone genome,” from The Scientist, added another anemone-human connection: “The researchers also discovered that exon-intron structure is very similar between modern vertebrates and sea anemones.  Both have intron-rich genomes and about 80% of intron locations are conserved between humans and anemones.”  Insects, by contrast, have a 50 to 80% dissimilarity from humans in their intron patterns.  Science Daily added, “This similarity is present in the sea anemone and human genomes, despite the obvious differences between the two species.”  The original paper commented on the “extensive” amount of conserved linkage with muted astonishment, “This is a notable total, given that any chromosomal fusions and subsequent gene order scrambling on either the human or Nematostella lineage during their ~700 million years of independent evolution would attenuate the signal for linkage.”  The team also found that the sea anemone possesses about 1500 novel genes, unique to this animal compared with other eukaryotic groups.
    A consequence of the study for evolutionists is that complexity must be assumed to have been present farther back in time, back in the Cambrian when the basic body plans of animals are first seen in the fossil record.  According to the team’s analysis, “The ancestral eumetazoan already had the genetic ‘toolkit’ to conduct basic animal biochemistry, development and nerve and muscular function,” Science Daily said.  Putnam explained, “Basically, the sea anemone has all the basic mechanisms of interacting with the outside world seen in more morphologically complex creatures.”  These traits appeared abruptly and have persisted ever since.  Not only that, the exon-intron structure, chromosome positions and other similarities not usually associated with natural selection would have been conserved (i.e., unevolved) since the beginning of metazoan animal life.
    As could be expected, evolutionists are trying to make the most of these surprises and claiming they are “shedding light on evolution”.  Elisabeth Pennisi used that line, titling her commentary in the same issue of Science, “Sea Anemone Provides a New View of Animal Evolution.”2  Daniel Rokhsar (UC Berkeley) said, “Anything the sea anemone has that also is found in humans, flies, snails or any other eumetazoans must already have been present in the common ancestor of eumetazoans.”  Why, then, did more advanced organisms like flies and nematodes lack many of these genes?  It’s “because both the anemone and vertebrate genomes have retained many ancestral genes that flies and nematode worms apparently lost over time,” Putnam said.  “The genes of flies and worms also have been jumbled up among the chromosomes, making it hard to track genes through evolution.”  This does not explain, however, why over much longer periods of time these genes did not get lost or jumbled in the sea anemone for 600 million years – and in the vertebrates, who presumably use the same genetic toolkit as fruit flies and nematodes (e.g., genes for muscles, nerves, senses, reproduction and digestion).
    Science Daily also used the word “apparently” based on the assumption of common descent: “The anemone genome, on the other hand, has apparently changed less through time and makes a good reference for comparison with human and other vertebrate genomes in order to discover the genes of our common ancestor and how they were organized on chromosomes.”  Nevertheless, Eugene Koonin of the National Center for Biotechnology Information in Bethesda, Maryland, was surprised at the complexity of this supposed primitive creature.  He told The Scientist that this implies that the common ancestor of all animals “was already extremely highly complex, at least in terms of its genomic organization and regulatory and signal transduction circuits, if not necessarily morphologically.”  The article said this pattern contradicts “the widely held belief that organisms become more complex through evolution.”
    The original paper concluded by attempting to put the genetic surprises into an evolutionary context that would allow for both extreme “tinkering” and extreme stasis.  The tension is palpable:

Some are the result of domain shuffling, bringing together on the animal stem new combinations of domains that are shared with other eukaryotes.  But many animal-specific genes contain sequences with no readily recognizable counterparts outside of animals; these may have arisen by sequence divergence from ancient eukaryotic genes, but the trail is obscured by deep time.  Although we can crudely assign the origins of these genes to the eumetazoan stem, this remains somewhat unsatisfying.  The forthcoming genomes of sponges, placozoans, and choanoflagellates will allow more precise dating of the origins and diversification of modern eumetazoan gene families, but this will not directly reveal the mechanisms for new gene creation.  Presumably, many of these novelties will ultimately be traced back, through deep sequence or structural comparisons, to ancient genes that underwent extreme "tinkering”.
They ended by reminding everyone that genes have to do something.  Finding that part out, and tracing it back through misty trails of evolutionary ancestry, is easier said than done:
The eumetazoan progenitor was more than just a collection of genes.  How did these genes function together within the ancestor?  Unfortunately, we cannot read from the genome the nature of its gene- and protein-regulatory interactions and networks.  This is particularly vexing as it is becoming clear—especially given the apparent universality of the eumetazoan toolkit—that gene regulatory changes can also play a central role in generating novelties, allowing co-option of ancestral genes and network stonew [sic] functions.  Of particular interest are the processes that give rise to body axes, germ layers, and differentiated cell types such as nerve and muscle, as well as the mechanisms that maintain these cells and their interactions through the growth and repair of the organism.  Nematostella and its genome provide a platform for testing hypotheses about the nature of ancestral eumetazoan pathways and interactions, with the use of the basic principle of evolutionary developmental biology: Processes that are conserved between living species were likely functional in their common ancestor.

1Putnam et al, “Sea Anemone Genome Reveals Ancestral Eumetazoan Gene Repertoire and Genomic Organization,” Science, 6 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5834, pp. 86-94, DOI: 10.1126/science.1139158.
2Elisabeth Pennisi, “Genomics: Sea Anemone Provides a New View of Animal Evolution,” Science, 6 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5834, p. 27, DOI: 10.1126/science.317.5834.27.
“Extreme tinkering” – you saw it again right there: the evolutionists bowing to Tinker Bell, their goddess of novelty.  Now, however, they can’t figure out how she could also be the goddess of conservation.
    Creation is full of booby traps for those who deny it was purposefully and intelligently designed.  Picture a group of blind men walking barefoot through a minefield of mousetraps in the wrong direction.  It is a measure of fallen man’s stubbornness when every surprise, no matter how painful, assures them that they are making progress.  Each ouch, they confidently claim, is shedding light on their way (whatever “light” means to a blind man).  The way is hard for those who walk by pain, not by sight (Proverbs 4:19), especially when light is readily available to all who choose to see (Psalm 119:130, John 1:1-14).
Next headline on:  GeneticsMarine BiologyEvolution
Nature Celebrates Bizarre “Many-Worlds” Cosmology   07/07/2007    
The cover of Nature this week (July 7) looks like a comic book.  And well it might: it celebrates the 50th anniversary of one of the weirdest beliefs ever submitted by a physicist: Hugh Everett’s “many-worlds” interpretation of quantum mechanics.  The bottom line is that every time you observe a coin toss or any other event that could go one way or another, the universe splits into two copies: one where the coin comes up heads, and the other where it comes up tails.  From that point, the two universes progress along their own separate paths, incommunicado.
    Everett himself was concerned only with the mathematical solutions to problems in quantum mechanics (QM) when he published his ideas in 1957, but others quickly explored the bizarre consequences.   The parallel universes in the Back to the Future movies were nothing compared to this.  The many-worlds interpretation postulates an almost infinite number of universes.  New ones spring into existence every time a quantum event is observed.  There is an invisible multiverse out there beyond our wildest imaginations, where every possibility is realized.  Though you could never meet them like Marty McFly did, you have uncountable copies of yourself who went left when you went right, who got the accident when you survived, who passed when you failed, branching off ad infinitum.
    If you think nobody could possibly believe such things, Mark Buchanan wrote in his introductory article that the majority of physicists have been slowly coming around to this view.1  Max Tegmark in his essay agreed; “after being widely dismissed as too crazy during the 1970s and 1980s, it has gradually gained more acceptance,” he said, adding that by 1999 it was outstripping other interpretations: “I believe the upward trend is clear.”2  The lead editorial also celebrated this idea that “neatly highlights the intersection between science and science fiction.”3
    Speaking of science fiction, Nature also gave four science fiction writers a forum to expound their views on parallel universes, weird life, aliens, evolution and religion.4  Some of them wrote favorably of science fiction stories that mocked Christianity, but all of them treated evolution as a fact.  Agreeing with another author who thought Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Galapagos was a good example of how science fiction could teach science, Peter Watts wrote,
Peter: I’ve got to second that.  I think that was Vonnegut’s best: it got evolution right.  The idea that what is left of our civilization a million years hence is that when one of our seal-like descendents farts on the beach, the others just laugh and laugh – that’s a wonderfully ironic and potent summation of human achievement.
Paul McAuley spoke of the legacy of H. G. Wells:
Paul McAuley: Evolution is a keynote that runs through most of H. G. Wells’s science fiction.  The human race was going to slip down into unthinking Morlocks and Eloi or we could continue to rise and become the big-brained, small-limbed creatures that are the kind of epitome of science-fiction cliché of future man.  Wells was taught by Huxley, had a zoology degree and so on, so he had a good grounding in it.  But in Wells’s time, evolution was some blind force.  We’ve now got the opportunity to start directing evolution ourselves.
Merging that idea with Everett’s, this would imply that the spun-off clones of you and me in all the many worlds out there are steering evolution in completely different directions.
    Each of the authors, naturally, considered science fiction visionary, imaginative, and inspiring.  Here’s how Joan Slonczewski viewed her favorite biological moment in science fiction literature:
Joan: For me, if it’s a defining moment, it’s the moment in Vonnegut’s Galapagos in which the narrator of the story has the opportunity to decide whether to stick around for the next million years of evolution or to be taken off to heaven.  And he decides that observing the next million years, no matter what, no matter how bad it is, that the next million years of human evolution are more compelling to him than going off to heaven.  That to me is an inspiring moment.

1Mark Buchanan, “Many worlds: See me here, see me there,” Nature 448, 15-17 (5 July 2007) | doi:10.1038/448015a; Published online 4 July 2007.
2Max Tegmark, “Many lives in many worlds,” Nature 448, 23-24 (5 July 2007) | doi:10.1038/448023a.
3Editorial, “Parallel worlds galore,” Nature 448, 1 (5 July 2007) | doi:10.1038/448001a.
4News feature, “The biologists strike back,” Nature 448, 18-21 (5 July 2007) | doi:10.1038/448018a.
Folks, these are the nutcases who rule the universities and the science journals.  Just thought you should know.  You could not possibly point to any religious view more bizarre than the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.  These people do not just think of these things for entertainment, like all those of us who enjoy a good sci-fi movie for the fun of it.  They actually believe these things in their heart of hearts.  And then, the same issue of Nature printed a letter from a scientist claiming intelligent design was religion.
    Quantum mechanics is good, hard, useful science, as far as it goes in helping engineers build lasers and TV sets and microwave ovens.  But there is another side to quantum mechanics that takes its counterintuitive observations and conundrums and derives a complete cosmology and world view – a religion.  Why not just admit there are limitations to what we can understand, and just utilize the findings for technology?  No way: some feel obligated to extrapolate the behavior of subatomic particles into a theory of everything (TOE).  Well, the many-worlds view stubbed its TOE so hard, most of us are hopping in pain just thinking about it.  A reasonable person would conclude that the solution is worse than the problem.
    Speculating about what Q.M. means is fine.  Some prefer Schroedinger’s collapse of the wave function.  Some believe in hidden variables.  Everett and his disciples played with the idea that both outcomes of quantum events are realized.  OK, but at the end of the day, you don’t need to believe that real copies of you are branching off into parallel universes as fast as you observe things.  If you choose to do so, don’t criticize those who think everything must have a cause, and design demands a Designer.  Call your weird ideas what they are: science fiction.
Next headline on:  CosmologyPhysicsDumb Ideas
Greenland Was Forest Green   07/06/2007    
Greenland once had boreal forests like those in Sweden, reported Science Daily.  Researchers analyzed the mud under 2 km of ice and found DNA from yew, alder, pine, grain, butterflies, moths, flies and beetles.  According to the article, “the research is painting a picture which is overturning all previous assumptions about biological life and the climate in Greenland.”  The diversity of the forest suggests summer temperatures of 50° F.  See also the BBC News and National Geographic reports.
    The work by Eske Willerslev and team is published in Science.1  Their dating estimate of 450,000 years based on molecular clock analysis conflicts with geologists’ date of 125,000 years ago when there was supposedly a warm interglacial period.  Radioactive dating of dust trapped in the ice also supported the earlier date.
    Willerslev was heralded in a Profile article in Science as “ancient DNA’s intrepid explorer.”2  Roaming through the ice fields of Greenland has partially fulfilled his childhood dream of exploring the American west with the mountain men.  Andrew Curry described the hardships of the Danish climatologist’s work: “After fending off bears, surviving frostbite, and trapping furs in Siberia, Eske Willerslev turned to genetics and is now pushing the boundaries of ancient DNA research.”
    National Geographic posted a story about a new ice core dug in the Antarctic said to date back 800,000 years, but no mention was made of DNA or life.  Scientists have inferred from measurements of deuterium content that Earth’s temperature has fluctuated wildly at times, by as much as 27° F.
1Willerslev et al, “Ancient Biomolecules from Deep Ice Cores Reveal a Forested Southern Greenland,” Science, 6 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5834, pp. 111-114, DOI: 10.1126/science.1141758.
2Andrew Curry, “Ancient DNA’s Intrepid Explorer,” Science, 6 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5834, pp. 36-37, DOI: 10.1126/science.317.5834.36.
Ignore the dating methods, since whenever they try to get two ends to meet, it breaks in the middle.  Being off by 300% tells you something about dating methods.  Hasn’t Willerslev heard that the molecular clock is broken? (06/07/2005, 07/15/2005).  You can’t build anything solid on ever-shifting Darwin quicksand.
    Notice how global warming was not caused by humans even with their own evidence and reasoning.  That did not stop Nature and Science from publishing more scare hype about human-caused global warming this week.  The method is similar to Darwinian propaganda: bash the critics and never give them the microphone.
Next headline on:  PlantsFossilsDating Methods
Mother-of-Pearl Inspires Materials Science   07/05/2007    
It’s not only beautiful, it’s strong.  EurekAlert described how scientists are intrigued by mother-of-pearl, also called nacre, because of its strength: you can drive a truck over it and it will not break.  It is 3,000 times more resistant to fracture than the aragonite from which the oyster makes it.  95% of it self-assembles in the shell, while the organism directs the rest with protein.  The result is “ one of the most efficient mechanisms you can think of”  The oyster uses the protein as mortar for the crystals that are guided into place.
    The article summarizes why this is interesting:
“If you understand how it forms, you could think of reproducing it, producing a synthetic material that’s inspired by nature – a so-called ‘biomimetic’ material,” [Pupa] Gilbert [U of Wisconsin-Madison] explains.  “If we learn how to harness the mechanism of formation, then we could, for example, produce cars that absorb all the energy at the impact point but do not fracture.
    “But from my point of view, it’s most interesting because of the fundamental mechanisms of how it forms – these natural self-assembly mechanisms we are only just beginning to understand.”
Depending on the crystal orientation, portions of the nacre can appear white, dark or gray.  “The overall effect resembles a camouflage pattern, each roughly columnar cluster a slightly different shade.”  The same material coats bits of sand or matter in the shell to produce the pearls that humans prize so highly.
    Research into mother-of-pearl formation could lead down additional paths, the article says: “With further experiments, the researchers hope to test and refine their model as well as examine other biominerals, such as human teeth and the nacre of other species such as pearl oysters, mussels, or nautiluses, to improve their understanding of biomineral formation and assembly.”
    For earlier entries on nacre, see 07/08/2005 and 07/26/2004.
When a shepherd guides sheep into formation, is that self-assembly?  When a drum major keeps a band marching in tight columns, is that self-assembly?  How about when a ribosome directs amino acids into a protein?  Self-assembly is a misnomer when there is an informed process directing elements into position.  Let’s give credit where credit is due.
    The article made no mention of how evolution could produce one of the most efficient mechanisms one could think of.  Maybe it didn’t.  That’s a starting point for a pearl of wisdom.
Next headline on:  Marine BiologyBiomimeticsIntelligent DesignAmazing Facts
Chinese Eat Dragon Bone for Health   07/04/2007    
Chinese villagers dig up dinosaur bones for health food.  Yahoo News reported, “Villagers in central China dug up a ton of dinosaur bones and boiled them in soup or ground them into powder for traditional medicine, believing they were from flying dragons and had healing powers.”  The article says the bones are calcium rich and believed to be a treatment for dizziness and cramps.  A paste made from the material is applied to fractures and injuries.  The people of the village have been doing this for at least two decades.
Update 07/13/2007: National Geographic reported on this on July 13.  It added a mythical twist to the modern-day culture:
Dong’s dig has uncovered a curious mix of findings on dinosaurs and on ancient Chinese beliefs surrounding dragons.
    Dragons appeared in Chinese mythology more than 3,000 years ago and are worshiped as guardians of waterways, mountains, or skies.
    Xu Xing, arguably China's top “dinosaur hunter,” said many villagers—and even some people in Chinese cities—still believe in dragons.  The Chinese characters for dinosaur even combine the words for “terror” and “dragon.”
This was followed up by a paradoxical question: “When asked how 21st-century Chinese could retain a belief in mythological beasts, Xu countered: ‘How can so many Americans still disbelieve in evolution?’”  The article suggests that ancient Chinese myths about dragons may have come from digging up dinosaur bones.
Maybe the villagers know something more than the paleontologists, who don’t seem to see any problem with calcium-rich bones 85 million years old.  Wouldn’t it all have been replaced by rock?  And how did the people connect the bones with their mythical dragons?  Bones do not easily suggest to a layman what a creature looked like; certainly nothing about its behavior could be inferred.  And how did this much bone get fossilized in one small area, when most large animals today do not fossilize?  Interesting questions, but not enough information was provided.
Next headline on:  DinosaursFossilsHealth
Evolutionist Trains Toddler to Adore Darwin   07/03/2007    
Marc Hauser is an evolutionary psychologist at Harvard who believes human morals and language evolved from ape-like ancestors.1  He was interviewed in Current Biology,2 and asked the usual question – and gave the usual answer with a surprising personal twist:
Do you have a scientific hero?
When my youngest daughter was about three years old, I pulled a cheap trick on her, teaching her that whenever I asked “Who’s the man?”, she should reply “Darwin!”  She does this quite well now.  It is hard to imagine any living biologist not thinking that Darwin IS the man, and I am certainly no different.  But I have a different hero, and for a slightly different set of reasons.  The man is Noam Chomsky.  Like Darwin, Chomsky raised a set of questions that literally turned around a discipline, and opened the door to several new disciplines....
Noam Chomsky is the influential professor emeritus of linguistics at MIT, an avowed anarchist with openly anti-American views.  This issue of Current Biology appeared, coincidentally, the day before America’s Independence Day holiday, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  That document established a new political philosophy on the doctrine of creation.  Jefferson, writing for the 52 American colonial leaders who signed, held it as self-evident that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.  The belief that rights and liberties originated in God meant they were not fluid or societal, as evolutionary theory would teach, but eternal and inviolable.

1See these previous entries about Marc Hauser: 01/20/2004 on monkey grammar, 09/01/2005 (bullet 3) on chimpanzee psychology, 10/27/2006 (bullet 7) on his book Moral Minds, 05/09/2006 (commentary bullet 16) on his section of an anti-ID anthology, and 11/05/2006 again on his book Moral Minds.
2Marc Hauser, Q&A, Current Biology, Volume 17, Issue 13, 3 July 2007, Pages R491-R493,doi:10.1016/j.cub.2007.04.012.
3The last question in the interview was whether scientists have any obligation to the public at large.  Surprisingly, Hauser expressed angst about the vanity of it all: “I worry that my work is about as important as Greek translation is to our well being as a species... I often feel like the post-dinner entertainment, perhaps marginally better than MTV.”  But then he said he does feel a sense of obligation, “not only because they are footing the bill through taxes, but because no human being should be allowed to live in today’s world without an education in the sciences.”  The discussion moved from the futility of relativism to moral fervor.  He ended with a sermon: “As scientists, we must educate.  We must step out of the university and into the public arena, taking every spare moment we have to ‘preach’ our passion.”  But is it just animal passion, or is it a concern for some unvarying truth?  And how would an evolved animal know the difference?  Those follow-up questions were not asked.
Of all the insipid, egregious, gratuitous, disgusting cases of Charlie worship we’ve seen over the years (and we’ve seen a lot), this one takes the cake.  Some rabid evolutionists think it is child abuse to teach children to pray and love God.  Well, get a load of this!  Darwinites, are you proud of what your comrade-in-arms has done?
    He takes his precious, helpless little daughter, who doesn’t know her right hand from her left, and indoctrinates her in the worship of Charlie Buddha.  Before she has even heard of kindergarten, he trains her like the monkeys he works with to perform a conditioned response on cue.  Imagine a father doing that about any other scientist – Newton, Maxwell, or Einstein – and it would seem really quirky.  But Darwin?  The guy who did nothing more than liberate the world from scientific rigor and responsibility (12/22/2003 commentary)?  If you think we exaggerate when we say the Darwinites literally worship their Big Daddy (07/18/2006, 02/13/2004 commentary), well, you’ve just seen it with your own eyes.
    Pray for this poor little victim.  Undoubtedly Marc will teach her growing up what he teaches his students, that all morals are relative, and that ideas about right and wrong are mere evolved antics we passed along from our ape-like ancestors.  We hope little miss Hauser grows up wisely to find the truth.  But if some day as a young adult she flips out and indulges her sexual fantasies in perverse ways, bringing shame on the Hauser home, neither Daddy nor The Man will have any authority to say she shouldn’t have (see footnote 3, above).  After all, it’s just a conditioned response.
Next headline on:  DarwinDumb Ideas
Lord Kelvin’s Core Values Defended   07/02/2007    
Myth: Lord Kelvin held back the progress of geology for 100 years by insisting the Earth was younger than geologists and evolutionists believed, but his model was refuted when radioactivity was discovered.  Fact: Radioactivity made no difference to Kelvin’s claims, and he was an exemplary scientist who rectified bad practices among geologists.  That’s the upshot of a claim that was made, criticized, then defended in the GSA Today, a publication of the Geological Society of America.1,2,3
    Last January,1 Philip England (Oxford), Peter Molnar (U of Colorado) and Frank Richter (Dept. of Geophysical Sciences, Chicago) wrote an iconoclastic piece defending Lord Kelvin.  William Thomson, later referred to as Lord Kelvin, has had a patchy reputation among modern scientists.  In his day, the physicist of Glasgow was the most eminent scientist in the British Isles (see online book).  Even Mark Twain confessed, “As Lord Kelvin is the highest authority in science now living, I think we must yield to him and accept his view.”  But between his many accomplishments and honors, he also made enemies – especially among geologists.
    One of his most controversial views was that the Earth’s heat output (and that of the sun) proved it could not be older than 100 million years.4  In the 20th century, Kelvin’s reputation suffered.  According to England et al, a myth arose that his claims about a young earth were overturned by the discovery of radioactivity:
We are left with the question as to why the myth persists that the discovery of radioactivity simultaneously proved Kelvin wrong and provided the explanation for his error.  Part of the answer, perhaps, is that it makes a good storyRutherford’s biographer (Eve, 1939) reports that he repeated his tale of thinking on his feet in front of the “old bird” Kelvin on many occasions; it is entirely possible that the pleasing form of the anecdote, and the eminence of its author, led to the uncritical acceptance of the myth.  As Stephen Gould (who himself propagated this myth) wrote: “The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best—and therefore never scrutinize or question” (1996).  It is hard to dissuade aging scientists, as they slip into their anecdotage, from repeating stories that they find amusing, but their younger colleagues must not mistake such stories for the history of science.
(Let our elderly readers take relief in that they said anecdotage, not dotage.)  Kelvin has also been pictured as somewhat of a bombastic figure inserting his physicist views into geology where they didn’t belong:
The story of Kelvin and the age of the Earth is often told as a David-and-Goliath struggle, with the geologists in the role of the underdog armed only with the slender sword of geological reasoning, while Lord Kelvin bludgeoned them with the full force and prestige of mathematical physics.  Kelvin’s come-uppance is often taken as evidence that simple physics ought not to be applied to geological problems, but there have been numerous occasions when simple physical models have had great explanatory power in geology.
The authors wrote to set the historical record straight.  It is not that they agree with his age estimate – not at all.  They affirm modern estimates to the tune of billions of years.  Kelvin was wrong, they wrote, not because of radioactivity, and not because his equations and calculations were erroneous, or because he was out of his field, but because his assumptions about the thermal structure of the Earth were questionable.  They described how one of Kelvin’s former assistants, John Perry, showed that the earth could sustain its heat for two billion years by convection if one assumed a firm crust and a liquid interior.  This had nothing to do with the discovery of radioactivity, which they said made no difference to Kelvin’s model.  The heat contribution from radioactivity was negligible; “consequently—even if Kelvin had included radioactive heat in his calculation—his estimate of the age of the Earth would have been unaffected.”
    While exonerating Kelvin of errors in his physics, mathematics and modeling, the authors also defended his reputation as a great scientist.  Some historians have tended to focus on some blunders Lord Kelvin made and predictions that did not come true.  England et al gave good press to the Scottish physicist.  They defended his use of physical models and equations.  They defended his explicit mention of his assumptions behind his models.  They defended his corroborating one conclusion (the age of the Earth) with another (the age of the sun).  They praised his use of thermodynamics, and they defended his scientific restraint in a milieu of hot air and passionate rhetoric.  Kelvin himself in 1899 “cites many examples of rhetoric from his opponents and, while Kelvin himself was generally quite measured in his replies,” they said.  His view on the age of the Earth fell into disfavor not due to any failings as a scientist, but because “all simple models are bound to fail, and we may learn as much by their failure as by their successes.”
    The ones who don’t come out smelling like a rose in this paper are the geologists of Kelvin’s day.  England, Molnarb and Richter described how they were under the spell of Lyell and Hutton:
The early nineteenth-century formulation of Uniformitarianism was commonly expressed through Hutton’s aphorism, “No vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end.”  The doctrine that the Earth was of unlimited age allowed geologists to explain any phenomenon not by the laws of physics, but by “reckless drafts on the bank of time” (Chamberlin, 1899).  For Kelvin, this game without rules was simply not scientific; indeed, it was forbidden by the laws of thermodynamics, which he had played such a large part in developing.
Kelvin was good for geology, they explained, because he forced them to deal with the realities of physics.  Thermodynamics proved the Earth had a finite age.  Lazy geologists, accustomed to infinite resources in the bank of time, needed to get real.  Kelvin forced them to realize that “quantitative reasoning was a crucial part of geological endeavor.”4  But have the lessons been learned?  They quipped that today’s geologists, by recklessly assuming inexhaustible heat from radioactivity, have merely changed banks: “In other words, Chamberlin’s ‘reckless drafts’ were now on the bank of heat, rather than on the bank of time.”
    Criticizing geologists in a geological journal may not have been the better part of discretion.  This month, two geologists seemed to take umbrage at this rehabilitation of Kelvin.2  Hofmeister and Criss from Washington University of Missouri said, “In touting John Perry, England et al. (2007) misrepresent modern and historical efforts to understand Earth’s cooling.”  They took issue with numbers England et al gave for thermal conductivity and convection, and also pointed to “Kelvin’s fundamental error of using equations inappropriate” for cooling of the Earth.  They disagreed with the insufficiency of radioactivity as a heat source.  Then, they ended with this stinger: “Kelvin’s famous calculations, coupled with denial of observational data, impeded geoscience for ~100 yr.  It is a shame to see data ignored and Perry lionized given his statement ‘I dislike very much to consider any quantitative problem set by a geologist.’”
    England et al struck right back.3  “In touting their views, Hofmeister and Criss (2007) misrepresent what we wrote, what Perry wrote, and some simple aspects of heat transfer.”  After defending the technical points, they got to the personal matters of character and reputation:
Their final paragraph is purely rhetorical.  Kelvin did not ignore observations; indeed, his attempts to use observations to constrain the age of the Earth forced geologists to abandon their reckless drafts on the bank of time.  Hofmeister and Criss’s dismissal of this history as Kelvin’s “impeding geoscience for ~100 years” is not supported by serious work on the matter.  Furthermore, their attack on Perry shows a complete misunderstanding of a modest and conciliatory person.  Perry’s reluctance “to consider any quantitative problem set by a geologist” should be taken as an expression of qualms about his ability to combine geology and physics, not as hubris.

1Philip England, Peter Molnar, Frank Richter, “John Perry's neglected critique of Kelvin’s age for the Earth: A missed opportunity in geodynamics,” GSA Today, Volume 17, Issue 1 (January 2007), pp. 4-9, DOI: 10.1130/GSAT01701A.1.
2Anne M. Hofmeister, Robert E. Criss, Comment on England et al, GSA Today, Volume 17, Issue 7 (July 2007), p. 10, DOI: 10.1130/GSAT01707C.1.
3Philip England, Peter Molnar, Frank Richter, REPLY to Hofmeister and Criss, GSA Today, Volume 17, Issue 7 (July 2007), p. 11, DOI: 10.1130/GSAT01707R.1.
4They recounted a conversation Kelvin had with an old-earth geologist, who said, “I am as incapable of estimating and understanding the reasons which you physicists have for limiting geological time as you are incapable of understanding the geological reasons for our unlimited estimates.”  Kelvin gave him the memorable retort, “You can understand the physicists’ reasoning perfectly if you give your mind to it.”
5Working through Kelvin’s equations, they said, “...this gradient yields an age of 96 Ma; Kelvin (1863a) gave bounds of 24 Ma and 400 Ma on the age to take account of uncertainties in thermal gradient and thermal conductivity.”  Kelvin used his calculations as an upper limit for the age of the Earth.  This should not imply that he believed it was actually that old.  This upper limit wreaked havoc among the Darwinians who needed much more time to evolve their tree of life, because at best, it is less than 1/10 the geologists’ assumed age of the Earth; at worst, 1/200.  This “odious spectre” caused Charles Darwin and his disciples extreme stress (02/02/2004 commentary).  In desperation, they tried to find workarounds to the clear scientific constraint Kelvin had imposed.  It forced Darwin to try to speed up the evolutionary process with Lamarckian mechanisms.  Darwin died before radioactivity was discovered, but the evolutionists jumped on it as the answer to Kelvin.  That was undoubtedly part of the reason it became a myth that few questioned with the kind of mathematical and physical rigor that marked Kelvin’s reputation (for a recent example, see Adam Kirsch in the New York Sun assuming radioactivity answered Kelvin, and the Bible).  It is notable, therefore, that England et al here dismiss radioactivity as a cure-all for the heat problem.
What a colorful phrase—“reckless drafts on the bank of time.”  Doesn’t that describe the banking habits of evolutionary biologists and geologists still today?  They think long ages provide a blank check for any miracles they need.  It was good for these three men to set the record straight.  Kelvin was not perfect, but he was a heck of a lot better scientist than many geologists of his day and thereafter who speculate with utter disregard for the realities of thermodynamics.  Unless someone holds them accountable, these reckless check writers will continue to commit fraud via time laundering and heat laundering.
    Pay attention to footnote 4 above: “You can understand the physicists’ reasoning perfectly if you give your mind to it.”  Kelvin was a Christian with a high regard for the Bible (see footnote 5 above), but notice how he appealed to his colleagues’ scientific integrity, not to religious arguments, to challenge the Darwinian revolution that was in full gear at the time.  That’s still an effective strategy in today’s debates against materialistic pseudoscience.  We need more Lord Kelvins.
Next headline on:  GeologyDating MethodsPhysics
A Brain Emerged for Such a Worm as I   07/02/2007    
With no room for discussion or Q&A, a press release from European Molecular Biology Laboratory asserted, “Modern brains have an ancient core.”  How ancient?  At least as far back as the marine ragworm.  Continuing the confident assertions, it went on to say, “Multifunctional neurons that sense the environment and release hormones are the evolutionary basis of our brains.”
    The article says that neurons in this centipede-resembling annelid worm secrete hormones.  This was the basis of a surprising discovery for evolution:
Hormones control growth, metabolism, reproduction and many other important biological processes.  In humans, and all other vertebrates, the chemical signals are produced by specialised brain centres such as the hypothalamus and secreted into the blood stream that distributes them around the body.  Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory [EMBL] now reveal that the hypothalamus and its hormones are not purely vertebrate inventions, but have their evolutionary roots in marine, worm-like ancestors.  In this week’s issue of the journal Cell they report that hormone-secreting brain centres are much older than expected and likely evolved from multifunctional cells of the last common ancestor of vertebrates, flies and worms.
So rather than being a problem for evolutionary theory, these hormones showed that evolution was an innovator earlier than expected:
“This suggested that hormone-secreting brain centres have arisen after the evolution of vertebrates and invertebrates had split,” says Detlev Arendt, whose group studies development and evolution of the brain at EMBL.  “But then vertebrate-type hormones were found in annelid worms and molluscs, indicating that these centres might be much older than expected.
Of all things.  They found that a fish, a vertebrate, and an annelid worm all had hormone-secreting neurons with “stunning similarities.”  The similarities between two fish and worm hormones “are so big that they are difficult to explain by coincidence,” the article claimed, seeing evolution as the only alternative.  “Instead they indicate a common evolutionary origin of the cells.”
    But why would a worm need advanced brain cells?  The original paper in Cell,1 speaking of the neurosecretary control centers in higher animals, admitted that “The evolutionary origin of these centers is largely unknown.”  A story was forthcoming:
The EMBL scientists now assume that such multifunctional sensory neurons are among the most ancient neuron types.  Their role was likely to directly convey sensory cues from the ancient marine environment to changes in the animal’s body.  Over time these autonomous cells might have clustered together and specialised forming complex brain centres like the vertebrate hypothalamus.
And how did cells accomplish that, without being able to think or plan ahead?  That question was not addressed.  Instead, anything “conserved” is obviously “thus phylogenetically ancient,” they said.  “At the end of this process, complex brain centers emerged, such as the vertebrate hypothalamus, that integrate multiple sensory input,” obviously.
    The team relished in how their findings “revolutionise the way we see the brain.”  It’s no longer just a computer with I/O.  “Now we know that the brain is itself a sensory organ and has been so since very ancient times.
1Tessmar-Raible, Arndt et al, “Conserved Sensory-Neurosecretory Cell Types in Annelid and Fish Forebrain: Insights into Hypothalamus Evolution,” Cell, Volume 129, Issue 7, 29 June 2007, Pages 1389-1400.
Whenever you hear evolutionists saying, “Now we know,” you know two things: (1) they didn’t know anything before, and (2) they’re lying.  Now we know is code that a new just-so dime novel has hit the bookshelves, to replace the last one that got exposed as a fraud (e.g., 06/29/2007).
    It gets so tiring to watch the Darwinians trying to pull these stunts on us.  They are hardened criminals at calling black white and white black.  They call creationists the evil ones for engaging in religion instead of empiricism, but then they turn around and grab the bullets nature aims at them, melt them down, and mold graven images to lay at Charlie Buddha’s feet.
    Here they found a complex system in a worm and drew an absurd extrapolation, connecting it all the way to the human brain.  It should have been a problem that this feature existed long before vertebrates in their timeline, but no!  They leapt off the logical cliff and dived into the ocean of evolutionary speculation, where needs cause innovative solutions to “arise.”  Without a thinker to think, cells “clustered together and specialized,” all by themselves.  Presto: the vertebrate hypothalamus, controlling growth, metabolism and reproduction.  Wouldn’t Lamarck and the orthogenesis sect be proud.
    It’s becoming a pattern for the evolutionists to find the roots of complex structures further and further back in their timeline.  At this rate, it won’t be long before they’ll be claiming that bedrock was the Last Universal Common Ancestor, and that the DNA code emerged in the primordial solar nebula.
    Evolutionists can’t continue this line of explanation indefinitely.  It puts pressure for all the innovation to occur up front, and leaves less need for change afterward.  Why not go all the way, then?  Why not agree with the creationists that all the innovation appeared abruptly in the beginning?  What’s the problem?  We all believe in miracles anyway.  Whenever Darwinists need a miracle, they just wave their hands and say such and such a complex system simply “emerged.”  Why stretch out the inevitable?  Just cram all the miracles together at the beginning, say all the animals and plants appeared fully formed, and be done with it.  We’ll even give them six days.
Next headline on:  DarwinismDumb Ideas
Health News that Brings Hope   07/01/2007    
Why do we never see articles claiming that exercise is bad?  Here are some more reasons to get moving.
  • Work your brain:  Who wouldn’t mind a few more brain cells?  EurekAlert reported research from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden that exercise can stimulate the formation of new brain cells.  They think this helps explain why exercise also is good therapy for depression.
  • Save your heart:  It’s not too late to get the cardiac benefits of aerobic exercise.  EurekAlert reported that changes in lifestyle habits, even if done later in life, can improve your risk of preventing heart disease.
    There were three key findings from the study – first, the benefit of switching to a healthy lifestyle past age 45 became evident even in the 4-year, short-term follow up; second, the beneficial impact of the changes occurred despite the relatively modest changes in health habits; and third, the healthy lifestyle was beneficial when compared to all persons with three or fewer healthy habits, not just in comparison to people with none or one habit.
    The four lifestyle changes that produced these benefits are: (1) Eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day, (2) Exercise 2.5 hours per week, (3) Don’t smoke, and (4) Keep your body mass index between 18 and 35 (see calculator).
Other news on health deserves thinking about while you exercise:
  • Amazing recovery:  A man in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) like that of Terry Schiavo came back from the living dead, reported LifeSite.  Doctors had written off accident victim Jesse Ramirez as a “hopeless vegetable,” but he awoke after a month-long coma and was able to sit up, answer questions, and hug.  He is now on the road to recovery.
  • Another adult stem cell success:  Mesenchymal stem cells enhance hearing recovery, reported EurekAlert.  Fibroblast cells in the inner ear were shown to grow and survive in lab studies with stem cells from bone marrow.
These stories all seem to have one truism in common: never give up hope.
It wasn’t that long ago that scientists told us that brain cells never grow back, that inner ear damage was permanent and unfixable, that people in a coma should be put out to pasture, and that exercise was too late for old people.  These stories should be cause for hope and celebration.  Now get outdoors and get some healthy sweat.
Next headline on:  HealthHuman BodyAmazing Facts
  Crush a fruit fly between your fingers.  You have just destroyed one of the most sophisticated coding devices ever studied at Caltech: from 06/27/2005.


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“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....
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    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.”
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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!”
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“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 we’ve 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 clear thinking!
(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 that’s been going on. Now, I’m 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 they’ve been missing a huge volume of information when it comes to the creation-evolution issue.
    Another thing I really like about this site is the links to articles in science journals and news references.  That helps me get a better picture of what you’re talking about.... Keep it up and I promise to send as many people as will listen to this website and others.”
(an Air Force Academy graduate stationed in New Mexico)

“I’m a small town newspaper editor in southwest Wyoming.  We’re pretty isolated, and finding your site was a great as finding a gold mine.  I read it daily, and if there’s nothing new, I re-read everything.  I follow links.  I read the Scientist of the Month.  It’s the best site I’ve run across.  Our local school board is all Darwinist and determined to remain that way.”
(a newspaper editor in Wyoming)

“ 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 life’s education has been a lie!!!’  I’ve 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...I’ve 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, I’ve found it.  2. You have balanced fun with this topic.  This is hugely valuable!  Smug Christianity is ugly, and I don’t 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.  That’s 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 science.’”
(a project manager in New Jersey)

“I’ve 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 you’re 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.  It’s incredible – I don’t know how you do it.  I can’t 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 Darwin’s 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 07/10/2005 commentary)

“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 can’t stop reading it....  I also enjoy your insightful and humorous commentary at the end of each story.  If the evolutionists’ blindness wasn’t 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, I’m absolutely amazed....  Thanks for bringing these amazing stories daily.  Keep up the good work.
(an engineer in Virginia)

“I stumbled across your site several months ago and have been reading it practically daily.  I enjoy the inter-links to previous material as well as the links to the quoted research.  I’ve been in head-to-head debate with a materialist for over a year now.  Evolution is just one of those debates.  Your site is among others that have been a real help in expanding my understanding.”
(a software engineer in Pennsylvania)

“I was in the April 28, 2005 issue of Nature [see 04/27/2005 story] regarding the rise of intelligent design in the universities.  It was through your website that I began my journey out of the crisis of faith which was mentioned in that article.  It was an honor to see you all highlighting the article in Nature.  Thank you for all you have done!
(Salvador Cordova, George Mason University)

“I shudder to think of the many ways in which you mislead readers, encouraging them to build a faith based on misunderstanding and ignorance.  Why don’t 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 that’s 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 Awareness Center)

“Hey Friends, 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 daily—archives 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, I’ve 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?  Isn’t 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)

“I’ve had your Creation/Evolution Headlines site on my favourites list for 18 months now, and I can truthfully say that it’s 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.  I’m 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 humor).”
(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 I’m not being presumptuous in suspecting the existence of contributions from a ‘Truth Underground’ comprised of dissident college faculty, teachers, scientists, and engineers.  If that’s 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)

“I’m from Quebec, Canada.  I have studied in ‘pure sciences’ and after in actuarial mathematics.  I’m visiting this site 3-4 times in a week.  I’m 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.  OUTSTANDING JOB!!!!”
(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.  It’s great to see real science directly on the front lines, toe to toe with the pseudoscience that's mindlessly spewed from the ‘prestigious’ science journals.”
(a biology student in Illinois)

“I’ve been checking in for a long time but thought I’d 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.”
(anonymous)
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.  I’m 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 light.”
(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 reader’s interest.”
(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.  I’m a Christian that is interested in science (I’m 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 I’ve 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)

“I’ve 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 don’t 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 insight.”
(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)

“It’s like ‘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 it’s 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 conclusion.”
(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 informative.”
(a reader from Scottsdale, AZ)

“I still 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 see–very much.  I really appreciate a decent, calm and scholarly approach to the whole issue... Thanks ... for this fabulous endeavor–it’s superb!”

“It is refreshing to read your comments.  You have a knack to get to the heart of the matter.”
(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 Baloney Detector.”
(a scientist).

“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? ... I’m utterly impressed by your page which represents untold amounts of time and energy as well as your faith.”
(a mountain man in Alaska).

“Just 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.  I’ll 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 July

Matthew Fontaine Maury
1806 - 1873

Matthew Maury, the “Pathfinder of the Seas,” was an influential 19th century oceanographer and geographer who made many important contributions that helped navigators chart wind and ocean currents.  It is said that he was inspired to discover ocean currents from Psalm 8:8, which mentions the “paths of the seas.”
    This month we’re going to leverage the efforts of other biographers.  There are some easily accessible treatments of Maury’s life story you can find at Apologetics Press, Answers in Genesis and ICR.  Take a moment to learn how Scripture inspired science in a period when others were turning toward the fad of evolution.
    For those who doubt the Biblical tie-in, check the website of Steve Rudd who did some detailed background investigation.


If you are enjoying this series, you can learn more about great Christians in science by reading our online book-in-progress:
The World’s Greatest Creation Scientists from Y1K to Y2K.

A Concise Guide
to Understanding
Evolutionary Theory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Souder’s Law
Repetition does not establish validity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advice from Paul

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

I Timothy 6:20-21

Song of the True Scientist

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

from Psalm 104

Maxwell’s Motivation

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

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

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

Disclaimer: Creation-Evolution Headlines includes links to many external sites, but takes no responsibility for the accuracy or legitimacy of their content.  Inclusion of an external link is strictly for the reader’s convenience, and does not necessarily constitute endorsement of the material or its authors, owners, or sponsors.