Creation-Evolution Headlines
August 2007
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“The problem with science is not that the naturalistic approach might occasionally be inadequate.  The problem is that science would never know any better.  This is science’s blind spot.  When problems are encountered, theological naturalism assumes that the correct naturalistic solution has not been found.  Non-natural phenomena will be interpreted as natural, regardless of how implausible the story becomes.”
—Cornelius Hunter, Science’s Blind Spot: The Unseen Religion of Scientific Naturalism (Brazos Press, 2007; see review by Guillermo Dekat).
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Solar System Solved?   08/30/2007    
Those who deal in models of the origin of the solar system sometimes have to entertain themselves to overcome grief.  See if you can detect this attitude in the following Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week from Space.com:

“This has been a stumbling block for 30 years,” said Mordecai-Marc Mac Low, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, of planet formation theories.  “The reason is that boulders tend to fall into the star in a celestial blink of an eye.  Some mechanism had to be found to prevent them from being dragged into a star.”
    The solution: Together, many boulders can join to fight a cosmic headwind that otherwise would doom them.
Surely writer Dave Mosher did not mean to imply literally that boulders were conspiring to defend themselves from doom.  But the problem is evident: without some sort of ad hoc speculation to insert into the models, astronomers know that small pieces of dust and rock don’t naturally form planets.  They fall into the star in a very short time.  Alan Boss, another modeler, agreed with this characterization: “Overall, the calculations present an encouraging approach to understanding how something happened that we know must have happened, at least for the terrestrial planets.”  (The article continued by saying that the gas giants need another mechanism to form.)
    For small dust grains and rocks in orbit, the game is over in just a few hundred times around the merry-go-round with the vacuum cleaner in the center making a large sucking sound.  Mac Low said his explanation was like a group of semi trucks on a highway creating “a friendly pocket of air behind it that other semis can travel in without using up as much fuel.”  Still, he has to have the small rocks combine into planetesimals large enough to attract more material by gravity.  The new model is far from a complete theory.  At this point, it is a little more than a chuckle during the usual grief session.
This is a real-life demonstration of the Harris cartoon that shows a scientist doing a derivation with complex equations on the blackboard, with one intriguing step inserted, “Then a miracle occurs.”  Titling this story “Planet Formation Mystery Solved” yields an even bigger chuckle.
Next headline on:  Solar SystemDumb Ideas
Is the Universe Hole-y?   08/29/2007    
Cosmologists are trying to avoid a void.  Since astronomers at U of Minnesota announced a gaping hole in a distant part of the universe, representing a region of space devoid of matter a billion light-years across, others are scrambling to discern what it means.  The issue was discussed on EurekAlert, BBC News, Science Now, and Space.com.  It even made the nightly TV news.
    The Minnesota team compared observations from the Very Large Array of radio telescopes with WMAP data, and looked closer at a region showing a remarkable drop in the number of galaxies in a region toward the constellation Eridanus.  Other voids have been detected in the past, but never one this large.  “Astronomers don’t know why the hole is there,” said science writer Robert Roy Britt.  Others don’t know that it’s there.
Cosmological observations are so deeply intertwined with theory, it is often hard to tell the one from the other.  The hole could be real, or it could be an artifact of the theory and techniques used.  Some cosmologists (see the BBC article) are claiming this a confirmation of dark energy.  ScienceNow said it contradicts the inflation theory.  And it quoted one astronomer who thought the conclusion was premature.  The Minnesota team said their announcement will need independent confirmation, so it is unwise to lean too heavily on the reports.  Still, it’s fun to see scientists get surprised once in awhile.
Next headline on:  Cosmology
  Your hairy ears provide optimum sensitivity, from 08/09/2004.

Solar System News   08/28/2007    
A flurry of discoveries about the Sun’s family has some scientists smiling and others furrowing their brows.  Astrobiologists, as usual, are wielding their divining rods, looking for water.  Some of these reports surfaced at the European Planetary Science Congress last week at Potsdam, Germany; see agenda and press releases at Europlanet.

  1. Basalt assault:  How did small objects in the solar system get hot enough to melt?  The European Space Agency is baffled to find evidence of basalt on asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, reported Science Daily.  Dr. Rene Duffard said, “We do not know whether we have discovered two basaltic asteroids with a very particular and previously unseen mineralogical composition or two objects of non basaltic nature that have to be included in a totally new taxonomic class.”  See also the Space.com report.
        The Dawn Spacecraft, scheduled to launch Sept. 26, may be able to find out more about the asteroid belt when it orbits Vesta in 2011 and Ceres in 2015.  Basalt has been observed on Vesta, an asteroid considered large enough to sustain internal heating.  Before now, basalt-containing asteroids were thought to be fragments from Vesta.
  2. Comet panspermia:  Chandra Wickramasinghe (Cardiff U) is still pushing panspermia, claiming comets are cosmic storks that seeded the Earth with life.  PhysOrg discussed his investigation of comet interiors based on the Deep Impact and Stardust missions, and quoted his conclusion: “The findings of the comet missions, which surprised many, strengthen the argument for panspermia.  We now have a mechanism for how it could have happened.  All the necessary elements – clay, organic molecules and water – are there.  The longer time scale and the greater mass of comets make it overwhelmingly more likely that life began in space than on earth.”
  3. Jupiter: Earth’s protector?  A report on News@Nature questions whether Jupiter is Earth’s bouncer, shielding our planet from impacting comets.  This was a claim in Ward and Brownlee’s book Rare Earth and was also listed in Richards and Gonzalez’ book The Privileged Planet as an indicator of Earth’s good fortune.  Now, the case does not seem as clear cut.  National Geographic also reported on the study presented at the European Planetary Science Congress last week.  Astronomers Jonathan Horner and Barrie Jones concluded that Earth is no better or worse off with Jupiter present.  Their model found, strangely, that the highest risk to Earth would have come if Jupiter were about the mass of Saturn.  Many factors affect the risk analysis, so some disagreement remains.  Science Now mentioned that asteroids and different classes of comets respond differently to the gravitational pull of Jupiter.
  4. Comet bomb:  Speaking of comets affecting Earth, PhysOrg presented a story from scientists at UC Santa Barbara that “a large comet may have exploded over North America 12,900 years ago, explaining riddles that scientists have wrestled with for decades, including an abrupt cooling of much of the planet and the extinction of large mammals.”  They based this on iridium levels and microspherules with traces of gas said to be of extraterrestrial origin.  The cometary explosion would have affected ocean currents, ice sheets, and global climate, they claimed.
  5. Enceladus no aquarium:  Don’t count on finding life at Enceladus, the erupting moon of Saturn, reported a press release from the University of Illinois.  A new model by Susan Kieffer invokes non-watery processes that don’t require a hot interior.  Her model is being added to the mix of possible explanations for this small moon’s activity.
  6. Sharp moon:  The European Space Agency is using images from the SMART-1 spacecraft to try to piece together a story of our moon’s volcanic history.  They claim that “Different ‘pulses’ of volcanic activity in lunar history created units of lava on the surface,” yet did not mention a mechanism that would re-awaken the moon periodically between long periods of silence.
        The BBC News reported that Arizona State University is scanning Apollo moon photos at high resolution and releasing them on a new Apollo moon archive website.  These ultra-sharp orbital photos, taken from Apollo 15, 16, and 17, have been “locked away in freezers by Nasa [sic] to preserve them.”  Digital scanning at high resolution and contrast depth will allow these rarely-seen images to be widely viewed for the first time since the 1970s.
  7. Uranus ring circus:  Now that the rings of Uranus can be seen edge-on for the first time in 42 years, scientists are taking advantage of the rare alignment to study them, reported EurekAlert, the European Southern Observatory and the BBC News.  A group at UC Berkeley was surprised that “their images show that the rings are changing much more quickly than researchers had previously believed.”  In particular, the inner rings are more prominent now than they were when Voyager 2 flew by in 1987.  A press release from UC Berkeley mentions that similar, dramatic changes have been detected in the rings of Neptune and Saturn, because a lot of forces act on the small dust grains in the rings.  “These forces include pressure from sunlight, drag produced as the dust plows through ionized plasma around Uranus, and even drag from the planet’s magnetic field.”  Impacts from larger bodies can also affect the rings.
  8. Martian life redox:  A German astrobiologist is claiming that life could still exist on Mars, provided it uses hydrogen peroxide and water.  Science Now reported how Dr Joop Houtkooper of the University of Giessen, Germany, looked at the Viking soil test results and speculated that “hydrogen peroxide may have been more suitable for organisms adapting to the cold, dry environment of Mars.”  A 1979 Viking image adorned Astronomy Picture of the Day along with Houtkooper’s “speculative question.”  While admitting “such speculation is not definitive,” it justified the story thus: “debating possibilities for life on Mars has again proven to be fun and a magnet for media attention.”  But Ker Than reported for Space.com that other scientists consider Houtkooper’s claim “bogus.”  Norman Pace (U of Colorado) said, “I don’t consider the chemical results to be particularly credible in light of the harsh conditions that Mars offers.”  He also noted that hydrogen peroxide is deadly to terrestrial cells except when cells produce it locally to combat bacteria.
  9. Titan your seat belts:  When the Huygens probe descended through Titan’s atmosphere in January 2005, it had a bumpy ride.  EurekAlert reported that Cassini scientists working with weather balloon specialists are getting a handle on understanding how turbulence affected the probe’s descent.  The feedback from Titan may actually help improve weather balloon sensor design.  “We went to Titan to learn about that mysterious body and its atmosphere,” said Ralph Lorenz (Johns Hopkins U); “it’s neat that there are lessons from Titan that can be usefully applied here on Earth.”  The Cassini site also echoed the story that originated from the European Space Agency.
        Another story on Titan from the European Planetary Science Congress concerned the erosion of Titan’s methane (see Europlanet press release).  Vasili Dimitrov said “The conditions of Titan’s accretion and evolution are poorly understood,” admitting that the long-term storage of methane on the giant moon is a problem.  “Methane drives the chemical reactions in Titan’s atmosphere but, because it’s so highly reactive and therefore short-lived, it must be replenished,” he said.  He suggested that it might be stored in water-ice clathrates, like crystal cages, but the best packing ratio would require temperatures close to absolute zero.  How and where Titan’s methane reservoir was stored is an unsolved problem.
  10. All you wanted to know about Hyperion:  The Cassini mission released a PDF presentation about Hyperion by James Bauer (JPL) and Peter Thomas (Cornell), describing all that is known from Voyager and Cassini about the “sponge moon” and its anomalous carbon dioxide deposits on surface.  Notable facts include the low density (40%), the dark deposits on crater floors, and the apparent match between the dark material on Hyperion and on Iapetus.  Speaking of Iapetus, Cassini is aimed at a super-close flyby of the black-and-white moon on September 10.  On the way it will make fairly close passes by Rhea and Titan on August 30 and 31.  Cassini’s last good look at Iapetus was from more than 76,000 miles away in 2005.  In less than two weeks, the spacecraft flies within 1,000 miles of one of the most intriguing moons of the solar system.
  11. Saturn mysteries:  Charles Q. Choi wrote for Space.com that the mysteries at Saturn are mounting.  He catalogued some of the mysteries that Cassini has revealed and so far been unable to answer, including the north polar hexagon, the purity of Saturn’s ring material, the well-defined structures within the rings, the spin rate of the planet and the tugging effect by the little moon Enceladus, and the “energy crisis” of unexplained heat in Saturn’s atmosphere.  Dave Mosher wrote last week in Space.com about another Saturnian mystery that scientists cannot explain: the electrically-charged torus around Saturn is “a lopsided mess.”  For those wanting to just enjoy the pictures, Space.com posted a “Best Cassini Image” gallery for visitors to vote on.
  12. Something nu under the sun:  “After 4.5 billion years, sunshine finally figured out,” said Andrea Thompson in her headline for Space.com.  That’s odd, since recorded human history only extends back about one millionth of that time.  Anyway, Princeton researchers using an Italian neutrino detector have detected the low-energy neutrinos expected from current models of solar fusion reactions.  Neutrinos are notated by the Greek letter nu.
        Solar energy was blamed for stripping Mars of its water, according to Space.com.  Scientists reporting at the European Planetary Science Congress said that “The water might have been blown into space long ago by strong gusts of solar winds, new satellite observations suggest.”  Effects of solar flares were studied by four spacecraft simultaneously: NASA’s Mars Express, Venus Express and Earth-orbiting GEOS satellite, and the European Space Agency’s SOHO solar orbiter.  High-energy particles were detected at Venus, Earth and Mars simultaneously.  The Earth’s atmosphere is protected by its global magnetic field; Mars is not so blessed.
Want to see the stars from Earth any time?  Go to the new Google Sky addition to the popular Google Earth, reported Space.com.  It shows Hubble Telescope images against starry backgrounds and gives you a virtual tour of outer space.
These are great days for discovery about our solar neighborhood.  So much is happening in planetary science, it’s hard to take it all in.  Be sure to separate the observations from the speculations.  Sometimes that’s like trying to unbutter toast.
Next headline on:  Solar SystemOrigin of LifeGeologyPhysics
Tales of Two Footprints   08/27/2007    
Footprints in the sands of time have been found at two different locations.  What tales do they tell?
    One is a footprint of a Roman soldier.  EurekAlert described how the sandal print was uncovered at Hippos, or Susita, on a hill east of the Sea of Galilee.  It hints that soldiers participated in building the walls of the city.  The Israel newspaper Haaretz contained some more details about the find, and Todd Bolen commented on its limited tie-in to Biblical history on his Bible Places Blog.
    Another print is claimed to be far older.  The BBC News reported what may be the “oldest human footprint ever found.”  The article did not describe the print, but called it “human” instead of ape-like.  The problem is that it is claimed to be two million years old, or more – as much as 3 million, maybe even older than Lucy.  The secretary general of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, is calling it possibly “the most important discovery in Egypt.”  Others are not so sure what to think of it.
You, too, could leave tracks that will allow future scientists to speculate.  For fun, leave a note with your next footprint saying, “Today’s date is August 28, 1,598,251 BC.”
Next headline on:  Early ManFossils
Evolution Takes Credit   08/24/2007    
It may be more blessed to give than to receive, but evolution often just takes.  The following news stories show evolution taking credit for a variety of phenomena when it is not quite clear how it earned it.
  1. Big insects:  Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory surmised that insects were larger in the past because there was more oxygen in the air.  “In the late Paleozoic Era, with atmospheric oxygen levels reaching record highs, some insects evolved into giants,” the press release claimed.  “When oxygen levels returned to lower levels, the insect giants went extinct.”  The article did not explain how oxygen could cause mutations that would make insects bigger.  It also did not explain how other systems in the insects would evolve to compensate for the gigantism.  It just said that they did: “This would allow larger-sized insects—even giants—to evolve.”  These questions are in addition to the conundrum of why it would be considered evolution for insects to be larger and more numerous in the past than they are today.  Speculating about how 35% oxygen levels might have exacerbated forest fires is left as an exercise.  See also Science Daily.
  2. Radio bats:  The horseshoe bats of Sardinia tune into their own frequency, reported EurekAlert.  This allows each species to communicate on its own “private bandwidth” in order to “avoid all confusion” between mainland bats and island residents.  Although gene flow between related populations is well documented, the article did not explain how the sophisticated sonar of these bats arose by evolution nor how it diversified.  Nevertheless, evolution took the credit: “Once again, islands turned out to be excellent natural laboratories to explore evolutionary patterns and processes.
  3. Evolution helps you stay unevolved:  Evolution seems synonymous with change, but some species manage to stay the same even in changing environments.  One would think this property, called canalization, to be the antithesis of evolution, but an article on EurekAlert about plants found evolution in the lack of change.  “‘Don’t ever change’ isn’t just a romantic platitude.  It’s a solid evolutionary strategy,” the article quizzically began.  Even though canalization “keeps you in the zone” away from evolutionary change, “in many cases it’s better to just shake off the minor fluctuations in the environment because in evolution, there are optimal traits to have, a place you want to be.”  Evolution, therefore, explains non-evolution.
  4. Symbiosis kumbaya:  A moth and a cactus live in such tight company, neither can survive without the other.  An article about this phenomenon, called mutualistic symbiosis, appeared in EurekAlert.  The work of Nat Holland (Rice University) was highlighted.  Though the short article did not mention evolution specifically, it can be safely assumed that Holland, an “assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology,” was not out to discover any non-evolutionary explanations for this remarkable relationship.
  5. Panda thumbs an evolutionary ride:  Those lovable giant pandas are not an “evolutionary dead end,” declared an article on EurekAlert.  A Chinese team “has found that the decline of the species can be linked directly to human activities rather than a genetic inability to adapt and evolve.”  No mention was made of how giant pandas evolved in the first place, nor how they turned out to be successful in their natural niches, but that was not a liability for Darwin.  It only meant that “Our research suggests we have to revise our thinking about the evolutionary prospects for the giant panda.”
  6. Snakes as evolutionarily success stories:  “Snakes are very evolutionarily successful,” said a researcher reported by PhysOrg who found a novel strategy snakes employ to avoid starvation: lowering their basal metabolic rates.  How snakes achieved this remarkable survival skill was left unstated, but evolution took credit once again: “Understanding the physiology that allows them to succeed in low-energy environments will help scientists further their understanding of the snakes’ evolution and their adaptation to their current ecosystems.”
This last quote illustrates how science reporters often confuse adaptation with evolution.  Everyone, creationist or evolutionist, observes the remarkable fit of animals and plants to their environment—adaptation.  Assuming that blind, purposeless processes of evolution produced these adaptations seems to be, for these reporters, intuitively obvious.
We need to understand how the Darwin Party achieves its consensus that evolution is a fact.  They do it by assuming it.  Like the campers in the woods trying to figure out how to open their tuna can, they simply state, “assume a can opener.”  Assumption performs the miracles without all the hard work.  Say this often enough, and every camper can get on handsomely by assuming can openers and whatever other tools real campers used to have to pack.
    “Evolution takes credit,” this entry began.  That’s true in another sense, too.  Evolutionists charge their explanations on Darwin Party credit cards.  These attractive cards have the advantage of never requiring payback.  Why?  Look what happens when whistleblowers try holding the carriers accountable (03/25/2007).  As with citizens in a town controlled by the mob, it’s much safer to just let them run up a bill and pay it out of the public trust.
Next headline on:  EvolutionMammalsZoology
Fossil Gorilla Forces Hominid Ancestor Earlier   08/23/2007    
A set of gorilla teeth found in Ethiopia pushes the evolutionary story of a split between apes and humans back almost twice as far as previously thought.  Nature reported the fossil announcement that estimated the date of the teeth as 10.5-11 million years old.1  The prior estimate for a human-ape divergence was about 6 million.
    The authors named the fossil a new species, but Rex Dalton in the same issue of Nature2 reported the team lead saying that the teeth “are collectively indistinguishable from modern gorilla subspecies” in form, size, internal structure and proportion.
    Both papers alluded to an extreme paucity of fossils from the period of 7 to 12 million years on the evolutionary time scale.  Dalton claimed this fossil “helps to fill in a huge gap in the fossil record.”  Yet the original paper admitted that “Phylogenetically, these fossils represent the first Miocene ape species to be recognized as a strong candidate for membership in the modern gorilla clade,” because the teeth are indistinguishable from those of modern gorillas except that they show a large size variation.
    National Geographic put a good-news-bad-news spin on the story.  The good news, to them, was that the discovery “fills an important gap in the fossil record” but at the same time, unfortunately for paleoanthropologists, it “could also demolish a working theory of human evolution.”  Why?  It means that “everything has to be put back” farther in time than expected.  This gorilla was essentially modern at least 2 million years earlier than the alleged common ancestor was thought to exist.  The common ancestor, therefore (for which there is no fossil evidence), had to live even earlier by millions of years.
1Suwa et al, “A new species of great ape from the late Miocene epoch in Ethiopia,” Nature 448, 921-924 (23 August 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06113.
2Rex Dalton, “Oldest gorilla ages our joint ancestor,” Nature 448, 844-845 (23 August 2007) | doi:10.1038/448844a.
If you take out the evolutionary dates and assumptions, the facts show this: modern-looking gorilla teeth of unknown age were found fossilized in water-laid sediments in Ethiopia.  Where is the evolution?  There is none.  The ancestry/phylogeny talk is all inference based on the usual dogmatic evolutionary rules that require every fossil bone to decorate Charlie’s tree somehow, even if the fit is poor.
    They now have to believe that gorilla evolution was even more rapid from the time of some mythical common ancestor that must also have evolved rapidly from earlier primates.  They even tried to wave the magic wand of “convergent evolution” to explain some of the modern features.  Their whole story just got even more convoluted and implausible than it already was.  The story was already more gap than bone.  Some nice transitional form would have been welcome – but not modern-looking gorilla teeth farther back than they were supposed to exist.
    Nothing in the observable evidence suggests millions of years, nor any evolution or any ancestry between chimps, gorillas and humans.  Don’t fall for the evolutionists’ talking points.  Instead, follow their eyes.  The surprised looks are more revealing than their claims.
Next headline on:  Early ManFossilsMammals
Hollywood Film to Expose Darwin Dogma   08/22/2007    
Darwin is going to get a surprise on his birthday next year.  Ben Stein is releasing a film on Feb. 12, 2008, entitled “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.”  The gift may not be what Darwin wants.  The press release subtitle asks, “Whatever happened to free speech?”  Apparently Premise Media decided to document the trend among Darwinists to crush any dissent:
What freedom-loving student wouldn’t be outraged to discover that his high school science teacher is teaching a theory as indisputable fact, and that university professors unmercifully crush any fellow scientists who dare question the prevailing system of belief?  This isn’t the latest Hollywood comedy; it’s a disturbing new documentary that will shock anyone who thinks all scientists are free to follow the evidence wherever it may lead....
    Ben Stein, the lovable, monotone teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Wonder Years is on a journey to answer one of the biggest questions ever asked: Were we designed or are we simply the end result of an ancient mud puddle struck by lightning?  Stein, who is also a lawyer, an economist, a former presidential speechwriter, author and social commentator, is stunned by what he finds on his journey.  He discovers an elitist scientific establishment that has traded in its skepticism for dogma.  But even worse, along the way, Stein uncovers a long line of biologists, astronomers, chemists and philosophers who have had their reputations destroyed and their careers ruined by a scientific establishment that allows absolutely no dissent from Charles Darwin’s theory of random mutation and natural selection.
The Discovery Institute, one of the frequent targets of the Big Science “Darwinian machine,” is looking forward to this documentary with cautious optimism.  The movie trailer can be found at ExpelledTheMovie.com.  It shows Ben in shorts and a tie blowing the bullhorn on suppression.  The site contains a blog, newsroom and other resources for involvement.
Well, this is an interesting development.  Will the Darwin attack machine try to take on Ben Stein, or just ignore him?  Do we finally have a courageous reporter unafraid to ask the hard questions and stand up to institutionalized suppression?  What will the NCSE do to forestall a media crisis, right when they are trying to make Darwin Day an international event?  They certainly have ample warning, so this will be a battle royale worth watching.  We just hope that the comedy-documentary format will not detract from the scientific and philosophical flaws of Darwinism.  These need airing in serious circles among trained minds.  Still, sometimes a media focus can help shake a stalled discussion loose.  Stein’s appeal to the rebel instinct may attract some youthful bystanders to ask questions.
    Most likely the Darwin Party will try to portray Ben Stein as a clown who doesn’t know what he is talking about, and treat the film like a small roadside protest that can be safely ignored as Big Science marches on in the Darwin parade.  We know their tactics: whitewash the cases of suppression in the film as small-time aberrations, lie about all the overwhelming evidence for evolution, pick on small flaws in the film but ignore the main points, and marginalize Stein and film fans as religious nuts.  It appears that Stein and the producers will not take being pigeonholed so easily.  They intend this to start a nationwide debate.  We’ll see.  The Darwin Party has amassed a huge arsenal to protect its idol.  The thing about idols, though, is: the bigger they are, the harder they fall.  Pieces of the Darwin idol may one day become trophies as coveted as pieces of the Berlin Wall.
Next headline on:  DarwinIntelligent DesignEducationMedia
Editorial 08/21/2007:  A stinging indictment of Darwinist tyranny by David Warren appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on Aug 19.

Crows Use Tools on Tools   08/21/2007    
Crows can use one tool on another to get food.  A report in Science Daily says they appear to use analogical reasoning, not just trial and error, to figure out how to manipulate objects.  They used a short stick to get a longer stick out of a toolbox in order to reach a snack too far for the short tool.  In this, “The birds’ tool-use skills rival those seen among great apes, according to the researchers” at University of Auckland.
    Analogical reasoning was thought to be at the core of human innovation.  One said, “It was surprising to find that these ‘bird-brained’ creatures performed at the same levels as the best performances by great apes on such a difficult problem.”

Let’s be good empirical Darwinists and take the evidence where it leads.  Chimps evolved into birds, which evolved into humans.  Mustn’t let species bias cloud our reasoning, now.  Darwinists have made a big deal over intelligence as evidence of our evolutionary kinship to apes.  Now, having to eat crow at this finding, they must be feeling in the mood for some Old Crow at the Crow Bar.
Next headline on:  BirdsAmazing Facts
Two Ways to Look at a Fin   08/21/2007    
Two science articles this month showed very different ways to look at a fish fin.  One looked for evolution; the other looked for design.  One tried to trace an evolutionary story with no practical application; the other tried to find ways to improve our lives.
    The evolutionary story involved a fossil coelacanth.  Science Daily reported that a fossil coelacanth fin found by researchers from University of Chicago “fills a shrinking evolutionary gap between fins and limbs.”  Yet it was unclear how it did so, since the article went on to say that both the fins of coelacanths and lungfish, once thought to be ancestral to tetrapods, are in fact actually specialized.  Matt Friedman, the team leader, denied even that coelacanth was a living fossil.  It was also unclear how this fossil helped the evolutionary story.  “With things like this [fossil],” he said, “we’re beginning to hone in on the primitive conditions of fins that gave rise to limbs later on.”  This indicates that they do not have evidence of primitive fins – only of advanced fins that could not have been part of an assumed evolutionary sequence leading to limbs.
    The other story, a press release from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, described how a team is trying to imitate the swimming action of fish fins.  “Inspired by the efficient swimming motion of the bluegill sunfish, MIT researchers are building a mechanical fin that could one day propel robotic submarines.”  The sunfish can hover, turn, and store energy.  This particular species is able to propel itself forward with no backward drag.  As part of their research, the team “broke down the fin movement of the sunfish into 19 components and analyzed which ones are critical to achieving the fish’s powerful forward thrust.”  Then they built an artificial fin using advanced polymers to mimic the motion.  Some day, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) may use these principles to achieve greater maneuverability at less energy cost.  This effort “gives us the potential to build machines or robots in a manner closer to how nature creates things,” said one, and “will help engineers figure out how to best adapt nature’s principles to designing robotic vehicles.”
Compare the benefit of biomimetic research with the utter uselessness of Darwinian speculation.  The nonsense going on at U of Chicago, the Center of Tetrapod Evolution Fability (01/16/2007 commentary), is wasting our time.  They cannot connect the fossil dots in any believable sequence between fish and amphibians, but have the gall to lie to us: first, about the “shrinking evolutionary gap between fins and limbs,” and secondly by denying coelacanth is a living fossil.  Do they even know what a living fossil is?  Here was a creature known only from the fossil record, thought to be extinct from the age of dinosaurs, that was found alive and well in 1938.  It doesn’t matter whether it is considered a transitional form now, because it was thought to be so by all evolutionists then.  When they found that it does not use its fins for supporting its body on land, they had to quickly change their fable in light of the facts in front of them.  They’ve learned nothing in the intervening 70 years and have done no one any good.  Evolution is useless, vapid, evanescent speculation about things they cannot know and cannot prove, holding us hostage to promissory notes about insight that turns out to be positively anti-knowledge (see Luther Sunderland comments).
    The other story, by contrast, has real value.  The researchers saw an efficient design in nature.  They were inspired to create a similar mechanism that could improve our lives.  Which kind of science do you prefer gets the government funding?  If the rascally Darwinist usurpers ever get ejected from the lab for the crime of impersonating a scientist, civilization won’t miss them.  Real scientists will suddenly see a surge in funding and resources that had been wasted on fruitless storytelling.  Help mankind: fire a Darwinist.
Next headline on:  FossilsDarwinian EvolutionMarine BiologyBiomimeticsPhysics
Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:  Let Darwin Take Over   08/20/2007    
Jack Szostak (Harvard Medical Center) wins this week’s prize for a comment in an Associated Press article (see PhysOrg) claiming that scientists will create life in a test tube within 10 years.  Szostak was explaining the process of creating a cell membrane to the reporter:
His idea is that once the container is made, if scientists add nucleotides in the right proportions, then Darwinian evolution could simply take over.
    “We aren’t smart enough to design things, we just let evolution do the hard work and then we figure out what happened,” Szostak said.
Several international organizations, such as ProtoLife in Venice, are in the competition to “create life from scratch,” the article claims.  Creating synthetic life will need to overcome three hurdles: the membrane, the genetic code, and the metabolism.  It’s the membrane that Szostak had said was “not a big problem.”
    Mark Bedau of ProtoLife tried to assure the reporter that artificial life will not get out and run amok.  He claims artificial cells will be too weak to pose a risk: “But them getting out and taking over, never in our imagination could this happen.”
One of our readers thought that Szostak’s entry deserved to be called “Stupid Evolution Quote of the Century.”  But then, there are already too many entries in that category.  Tryouts are opening for the millennium class.
    Reality check: they are not creating life from scratch; they are copying existing technology.  To really make life from scratch, they would have to start by inventing the universe.  Copying the packaging, coding, and metabolism of existing life is a huge, huge head start.  These guys think they are dumber than Darwinism, and they are right.  Are they the ones you would trust to tell us that synthetic biology will be safe?
Next headline on:  DarwinismCell BiologyOrigin of LifeDumb Ideas
  Can atheism survive an anthropic universe?  from 08/16/2005.

Mystery of the Ultraconserved Elements, Cont.   08/18/2007    
In 2004, Gill Bejerano et al reported ultraconserved elements in the human genome (05/27/2004).  These were non-coding regions that, for some unknown reason, showed no evolution between mouse and human – a time span over tens of millions of years.  Since many of these ultraconserved regions are also found in bird genomes, they added that some genetic regions have maintained 100% sequence similarity for 300 million years.
    Now, Bejerano and others have reported in Science that these ultraconserved elements are also ultraselected.1  It appears that strong purifying selection acts three times stronger on these regions than on genes.  The reason for the ultraconserved regions “remains a mystery,” they said.  They could offer no explanation for why natural selection would prevent changes to these sections that are 200 base pairs long and longer.  Whatever they are there for, “These data argue that ultraconserved elements are currently, as well as historically, strongly constrained functional elements.”
Update 09/06/2007: A press release from Berkeley Lab talked about this, calling it a “major challenge to our understanding of how highly conserved elements of the genome persist.”  Mice with one of the ultraconserved elements knocked out appeared to do just fine.  Their paper appeared in the September 2007 issue of PLoS Biology.2


1Katzman, Kern, Bejerano et al, “Human Genome Ultraconserved Elements Are Ultraselected,” Science, 17 August 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5840, p. 915, DOI: 10.1126/science.1142430.
2Ahituv et al, “Deletion of Ultraconserved Elements Yields Viable Mice,” Public Library of Science: Biology 5(9): e234 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050234.
Evolutionists had predicted that once genes could be deciphered, there would be a clear branching pattern of evolution retracing the assumed millions of years of steady evolutionary change.  The more “diverged” the groups, the more the genetic differences would be found.  Well, that picture has not materialized.  So now, Darwinites, since you have displayed ineptitude in finding the way to the future of biology, will you get out of the driver’s seat?
Next headline on:  GeneticsDarwinism
SETI Camp Promotes Make Believe   08/17/2007    
“Every kid loves to play make believe,” wrote Lisa Grossman for Space.com’s “SETI Thursday” feature.  How did Lisa spend her summer?  Playing make believe with 16 undergraduates at a NSF- and NASA-funded SETI camp.  “For many of us, the experience was nothing short of fantasy fulfillment,” she cheerfully said in her report entitled, “How I Spent My Summer at SETI.”  The SETI Institute organized the event.
    Her report, in fact, seemed long on make-believe and short on evidence.  For Grossman, fantasizing began in third grade and carried through non-stop to SETI Camp (or, more formally, the Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates).
I imagined a universe full of tiny, hardy life.  Why not?  Microbes can live comfortably in the most absurdly unfriendly reaches of the planet.  If these little creatures can survive in volcanoes, at the bottom of the ocean, embedded in glacial ice, and even in countless human guts, then they must be able to exist on other planets!  Life must be absolutely everywhere!
    I didn’t know then that there was an entire community of scientists who felt exactly the same way.  I certainly didn’t expect that before I’d even graduated from college, I’d be working with them.
(Cf. 03/29/2007 entry.)  She mentions what some fellow campers worked on: searching for extrasolar planets, studying the geology of Europa, working on a Mars lander instrument, watching meteors, and other projects.  Nothing Grossman mentioned, though, provided any direct evidence for life beyond Earth.  What the projects did do was to harness youthful euphoria for otherwise mundane research:
Another student spent her days studying the geology of Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons.  Scientists believe that it has a vast liquid water ocean beneath a layer of ice at the surface.  She analyzed images of Europa from the Galileo mission, looking for areas of the surface whose appearance changed over time and trying to determine if those changes are what you would expect if there were a liquid ocean.  She thinks the possibilities for life on Europa are especially exciting.  ’As soon as I heard about Europa, I thought, ‘Oh, awesome.  Let’s look for lobsters!‘’ she said.  So far, she hasn’t discovered any Europan crustaceans, but she’s enjoyed learning more about geology and approaching biology and chemistry from an astronomy perspective.
Grossman discussed all the fun the others were having with their experiments – not one of which found any evidence for life out there.  Just the possibility that might play some role in the hunt was enough to make their scientific work a thrill of lifetime.  Why, it’s just like in the movies:
All of us got to take a week-long field trip to the Hat Creek Radio Observatory, home of the Allen Telescope Array, where Jill Tarter, SETI’s director of research and the inspiration for Carl Sagan’s novel Contact, explained how the telescopes work and what research they’ll be used for.  Several of us even camped overnight in tents under the array.  It wasn’t very scientifically useful, but it was definitely something to write home about.
So the hunting came up entirely empty; “Nevertheless, whether we continue on in astrobiology or not, this summer of playing alien hunters will stay with us.”  Thanks for the memories; sorry about the data.    She ended on a missionary appeal, encouraging readers to spread the word about next year’s SETI Camp.
Here’s a suggestion for them.  The name “Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates” is way dullsville and has no catchy acronym.  Nor does it convey what the SETI Camp is all about.  It fails to encapsulate the experience of being there.  They need something that connotes vivid imagery and action, where anything can become vibrant and moving and animated, where even stars, bubbles and volcanos can spring to life.  Maybe they should call it Fantasia.
    Should you awaken someone who is enjoying a fun dream?  What’s the harm of a blissful fantasy?  Even if life is never found, and if the evidence continues to go against them (read Michael Egnor’s comments and see the 07/27/2007 and 02/15/2007 entries), why spoil someone’s party? (read Larry Caldwell’s comments).  After all, lots of internet gamers and denizens of Second Life take their fantasies very seriously.  Maybe SETI Camp keeps them away from a life of idleness and crime.  Maybe something good will come from it, like chemistry did from alchemy, even if the hoped-for dream never materializes.  Their youthful zeal will advance our knowledge of extrasolar planets, the geology of planetary moons, the adaptations of extremophiles, and mineral content of meteors, with or without mythical lobsters under Europa’s ice.  And the Intelligent Design community can continue to harvest the irony of Contact (12/03/2005) whether or not the dreamers catch on.  What’s the matter, isn’t this all worth a little taxpayer money?  Still, it’s kind of sad....
Next headline on:  Origin of LifeSETIDumb Ideas
Artificial Selection Is Not Natural Selection   08/16/2007    
From Nature1 comes this point to ponder:
Evolution has crafted thousands of enzymes that are efficient catalysts for a plethora of reactions.  Human attempts at enzyme design trail far behind, but may benefit from exploiting evolutionary tactics.
The subheading summarized a commentary by Michael P. Robertson and William G. Scott (UC Santa Cruz) on “directed evolution” experiments by Burkhard Seelig and Jack Szostak, reported in the same issue of Nature.2  The commentary began:
Chemical reactions in living organisms are catalysed by enzymes, the vast majority of which are proteins.  These finely tuned catalysts are the result of billions of years of evolution, and far surpass anything yet created by humans.  Indeed, our ability to design enzymes, on the basis of our knowledge of protein structure and reaction mechanisms, can most charitably be described as primitive.
Burkhard Seelig and Jack Szostak used an iterative selection process to yield useful enzymes, but did not claim this is how nature did it.  They had a goal: “product formation as the sole selection criterion,” they said, meaning they were watching for a match to an intelligently chosen standard.  Though they called this “directed evolution” and “selection,” it was clear that the scientists were doing the directing and selecting.  Yet the commentary by Robertson and Scott said this was just like nature did it:
Although proteins have won the fitness contest of natural selection to become the pre-eminent enzymes, billions of years ago life may have started with RNA enzymes – ribozymes – in a putative RNA world that pre-dated proteins and DNA.4  The RNA bond-forming (ligation) reaction is a favourite of those studying evolution from an RNA world, because it is presumed to be the crucial chemical step of RNA self-replication.  Szostak and fellow molecular biologist David Bartel were the first to isolate a ribozyme ligase, using artificial selection.  Their technique is the prototypical method for the in vitro evolution of ribozymes, and has been adapted for protein enzymes by Seelig and Szostak in the current study.
Artificial selection toward a goal, however, is very different from natural selection as conceived by Darwin.  Natural selection has no goal, no direction, no retained knowledge, and no reward.3  Even Darwin worried about his term natural selection, because it seemed to imply an intelligent selector.  He later acquiesced to Herbert Spencer’s term, survival of the fittest, as a better encapsulation of his idea.
    The confusion between artificial selection and natural selection continued to the end of the article, where Robertson and Scott said, “Designing a selection process that includes ground-state interactions (as Seelig and Szostak’s study does) and transition-state interactions (as the previous catalytic-antibody approaches did) might yield even better-designed enzymes.”
1Michael P. Robertson and William G. Scott, “News and Views: Biochemistry: Designer Enzymes,” Nature 448, 757-758 (16 August 2007) | doi:10.1038/448757a.
2Burkhard Seelig and Jack W. Szostak, “Selection and evolution of enzymes from a partially randomized non-catalytic scaffold,” Nature 448, 828-831 (16 August 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06032.
3Survival cannot be considered a reward in Darwinism.  Reward implies a rewarder and a goal that a contestant strives for.  In the value-neutral, materialistic world of blind natural selection, nobody could care if an organism survives or not.  For these reasons, the commentators’ characterization of a “fitness contest” won by “evolutionary tactics” is misleading.
4For problems with the RNA World scenario for the origin of life, see the 07/11/2002 and 02/15/2007 entries.
Even a middle school biology teacher or an NCSE staff member would know this is not natural selection.  How can the premiere science journal in the world allow this egregious an example of the fallacy of equivocation to make it into print?  Happens all the time, folks.  If the logical inconsistency was obvious to you, you’re wiser than eggheads at UC Santa Cruz and the editors of Nature.
Next headline on:  DarwinismDumb Ideas
Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week: Shark Chefs and Finger Food   08/15/2007    
A press release from University of Florida wins this week’s prize for trying to make dogmatism funny (or at least appealing to snackers):
When the first four-legged animals sprouted fingers and toes, they took an ancient genetic recipe and simply extended the cooking time, say University of Florida scientists writing in Wednesday’s issue of the journal PLoS ONE.
    Even sharks – which have existed for more than half a billion years – have the recipe for fingers in their genetic cookbook – not to eat them, but to grow them.
But sharks don’t have fingers, you say?  Right; they just had the recipe but never used it: “the genetic processes necessary to muster fingers and toes existed more than 500 million years ago in the common ancestor of fish with cartilaginous skeletons and bony fish – more than 135 million years before digits debuted in the earliest limbed animals,” the article says.
    And what were these finger genes doing 135 million years before they were used?  Just making fins, apparently.  “...sharks and many other types of fish do not form more dramatic appendages during this late phase of Hox gene expression because it occurs briefly and only in a narrow band of cells, compared with the more extended time frame and larger anatomical area needed to prefigure the hand and foot in limbed animals.”
    So for 135 million years, no animal ever tried the latent innovation.  But when it was time for fingers and toes to debut, their appearance was “an extremely dramatic, important point in evolution that has captured the interest of many.”  Otherwise we would be playing finball instead of handball.
    “The finding shows what was thought to be a relatively recent evolutionary innovation existed eons earlier than previously believed,” the article says.  The following paragraph makes it all so plausible:
“We’ve uncovered a surprising degree of genetic complexity in place at an early point in the evolution of appendages,” said developmental biologist Martin Cohn, an associate professor with the UF departments of zoology and anatomy and cell biology and a member of the UF Genetics Institute.  “Genetic processes were not simple in early aquatic vertebrates only to become more complex as the animals adapted to terrestrial living.  They were complex from the outset.  Some major evolutionary innovations, like digits at the end of limbs, may have been achieved by prolonging the activity of a genetic program that existed in a common ancestor of sharks and bony fishes.”
Question: What was the observation that gave rise to all this kitchen prose?  Scientists at UFL watched the pattern of expression in Hox genes in living sharks, and “discovered a phase of gene expression in sharks that was thought until recently to occur only when digits began to form in limbed animals.”  Well, then, (snap fingers): evolution is the only possible explanation.
It’s the only possible answer because it is the only answer the Darwin Party will allow in the arena, which has become a circus.  Let’s all do Steve Martin’s rendition of “When the shark bites...” while re-reading the quote at top right of this page.
Update: National Geographic was quick to join the feeding frenzy.  “The discovery pushes back the date of the evolutionary ‘fin to limb’ advance by some 135 million years,” the article said.  Which quote do you think should win?  The one above or this one by Marcus C. Davis?
Dramatically different ways of being—new forms, new functionsmay evolve through relatively minor adjustments to existing genes and gene functions,” Davis said.
    “It only requires modifications—‘tweaks’—if you will, to previously existing genetic systems,” he said.
    “A symphony can play dramatically different compositions by changing the role each musician plays, [but] only on occasion are instruments added or lost.”
And here you thought all along that symphonies were played by intelligent design.  Not this one.  It’s Darwin’s overture to his comic opera Farcical, dopus 135M, starring the fat lady who always sings last, Tinker Bell.
Next headline on:  DarwinismMarine BiologyGeneticsDumb Ideas
Largest Dinosaur Mass Grave in Switzerland Found   08/15/2007    
As many as 100 plateosaurs may be buried in a mass grave in Switzerland, reported the Reuters news service.  “The finds show that an area known for Plateosaurus finds for decades may be much larger than originally thought” – as much as a mile in width in the town of Frick, near the German border.  An amateur found bones while investigating a construction site.
    The article mentions that Germany has two other large plateosaur burial sites.  It described the animals as peaceful herbivores that lived along a river delta.  Plateosaur fossils are common in Europe.  The four-legged herbivores, classified as Triassic, grew over 30 feet in length and could weigh as much as 1500 pounds.
Must have been a bad day in dinotopia.  Anyone know of a modern example of hundreds of large animals like elephants or giraffes all being buried at the same time over many miles while grazing peacefully along a river bank?  We were once taught the present is the key to the past.  Remember the specimen found under the North Sea? (04/25/2006).
Next headline on:  DinosaursFossils
  Gophers: nature’s rototillers, from 08/02/2004.

Gratitude Protects Against Health Loss   08/15/2007    
A study in the “new science of gratitude” showed that thankfulness is good therapy.  Researchers at UC Davis and Mississippi University for Women tracked 12 female patients who kept journals of their hospital stays while receiving organ transplants.  A control group just reported “medication side-effects, how they felt about life overall, how connected they were to others and how they felt about the upcoming day.”  Another group answered the same questions but was asked to add five things they were thankful for, and why.  Guess which group fared better.
    “After 21 days, mental health and general wellbeing scores had risen for patients in the gratitude group but declined for those in the control group,” the article continued.  “Patients in the control group also reported a loss of vitality, while the grateful patients experienced no change.”

Gratitude is a healthful attitude.  It’s a Biblical attitude.  The Bible is filled with admonitions to be thankful (e.g., I Thessalonians 5, Philippians 4, Colossians 3).  Even in a hospital, there are many things to be thankful for.  The patients in this study should have been grateful that donors made their organs available for transplanting, and that medicine has advanced far enough to make transplanting a life-saving option, and that the body is filled with wondrous repair mechanisms (see next entry).  It should be easy to list dozens of blessings.  How many things can you count right now?  Don’t do it just for preventive medicine; really be thankful.  If you do it just for the health benefits, you’re not being grateful; you’re being selfish.
    Even with our modern affluence, gratitude is in short supply these days.  How many of your coworkers ever express true appreciation for the blessings they enjoy?  More often you are likely to hear the latest gripe about corporate politics, working conditions, the traffic on the commute, low wages, how hard I worked without being noticed, the slop the cafeteria is serving, or whatever.  A day living in North Korea might cure a lot of that.  Even the cheerful gossip often suggests cynicism – something stupid the boss did, an egregious mistake someone made, or the like – it’s the laughter of fools (Ecclesiastes 7:6), not the positive, uplifting joy of thankfulness.  People would look at you funny if you said, “Wow, what a beautiful day!  Is this a great country, or what?  I’m so glad to feel terrific and have this awesome job.  I can hardly wait to get to work!”  But then, guess who is likely to be in better health.
    Lack of gratitude rides on a current of pride and selfishness.  It conveys the attitude “I deserve better than this” or “the world owes me something.”  No you don’t, and no, the world doesn’t.  We’re all sinners and deserve judgment, remember?  We should be thankful for each moment of mercy.  The beginning of your list might be, “I’m very thankful for another day in which I did not get what I deserve.”
    Thanklessness and its root of pride and selfishness also underlies much of the fixation on biological evolution.    It makes God angry.  Paul wrote in Romans 1 that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because the truth about God is self-evident within them and has been revealed to them through what has been made (created).  In spite of the evidence, they exchanged the truth of God for a lie.  And here’s the tie-in: what is producing the stream of atheistic rage against creationism (08/08/2007) spewed by the sourpuss spokespeople of the Darwin Party?  “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful
    Some people need a heart transplant.  Recommended surgeon: the Great Physician.  Offices conveniently located throughout time and space.  Hours: 24 x 7.
Next headline on:  HealthBible
DNA Repair Is Highly Coordinated   08/14/2007    
The remarkable ability of cells to repair DNA damage has been the subject of several recent articles.  As a long, physical molecule subject to perturbing forces, DNA is subject to breakage on occasion.  If repair mechanisms were not in place, the genetic information would quickly become hopelessly scrambled and life would break down.  Studies are revealing that multiple levels of control are involved in maintaining genomic integrity.
  1. Repair shop:  A study reported by Lawrence Berkeley Lab indicated that double-stranded break repairs tend to take place in specialized locations like “repair shops” in the nucleus.  They have “found evidence that indeed there are specific regions where broken DNA is concentrated for repair.”
  2. Damage suppressor:  Some sites in chromosomes are more subject to breakage than others.  A report from Tufts University reported by EurekAlert said that tumors can result from stalled replication at these sites.  Fortunately, there is a “tumor suppressor gene” whose presence is important for preventing tumor formation.  Most of the time, the article says, broken strands are repaired correctly.  Cancer can begin when the repair process goes awry, deleting or rearranging segments of DNA.
  3. Speed translator:  Researchers at Einstein School of Medicine found that RNA polymerase can translate up to 70 base pairs per second – much faster than has been previously reported.  The molecular machine stalls and pauses for unknown reasons along the strand, however, making the actual throughput less.  The researchers believe that the pauses are somehow involved in gene regulation.
  4. First response firefighters:  A study from Texas A&M University reported by EurekAlert found that two independent pathways converge on repair: chromatin remodeling and DNA checkpoint and repair.  “When molecular disaster strikes, causing structural damage to DNA, players in two important pathways talk to each other to help contain the wreckage,” the article began.  “....If DNA damage is like a fire that spreads when impaired cells divide and multiply, then the DNA checkpoint and repair system can be considered a first-response firebreak,” the article stated.  This stops cell division and allows the cell time to assess the damage.  Depending on the damage report, “The ‘fire’ is either doused by DNA repair or by programmed destruction of the cell.”
        The chromatin remodeling pathway, which shuffles DNA around nucleosomes to regulate access to DNA, is also involved, the report continued.  Modification of histones by the large “ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes” serves to regulate the DNA checkpoint pathway.  The article mentioned that this pathway is conserved (i.e., unevolved) in all eukaryotes, from yeast to humans.
  5. Come again?  A sample of the complexity of DNA damage response can be found in the jargon of this paper from PNAS by Laura A. Lindsey-Boltz and Aziz Sancar at University of North Carolina School of Medicine, titled “Reconstitution of a human ATR-mediated checkpoint response to damaged DNA.”  If you have trouble following this, good thing your cells understand it: “We show that the damage sensor ATR in the presence of topoisomerase II binding protein 1 (TopBP1) mediator/adaptor protein phosphorylates the Chk1 signal-transducing kinase in a reaction that is strongly dependent on the presence of DNA containing bulky base lesions.  The dependence on damaged DNA requires DNA binding by TopBP1, and, indeed, TopBP1 shows preferential binding to damaged DNA.”  And that’s just the introduction.
  6. Stall at the typo:  Lindsey-Boltz and Sancar also suggested in a Commentary in PNAS that RNA Polymerase II, the DNA translator, could be “The most specific damage recognition protein in cellular responses to DNA damage.”  It acts like the “the universal high-specificity damage sensor for three major cellular responses to bulky DNA lesions,” they said.  When UV light has introduced an error, RNAP II stops and calls for help.  “The resulting structure recruits proteins that initiate repair, cell cycle checkpoints, or apoptosis [programmed cell death].”  Maybe this is what is going on when the translation process stalls: the word processing machine won’t proceed till the typo is fixed.
  7. Repair champ:  Raquel Sussman reported in PNAS on a model animal that is “endowed with special qualities for detecting external as well as internal abnormalities” and can “repair chromosomal lesions to a much greater extent than the human population.”  The animal is the zebrafish.  As an easy-to-study organism in the lab, it promises to help scientists gain insight into the causes of cancer and DNA damage, which can include ultraviolet rays and chemicals in the water.
The insights into DNA damage repair are part of a growing respect for the complexity of the cell.  A press release from U of Toronto reported by EurekAlert underscored this trend with its title, “Unravelling new complexity in the genome.”  It’s not just the number of protein-coding genes that are significant any more.  How the genes are switched on and off and regulated is becoming the focus of research.  Scientists used to view DNA as the master source of genetic information, but something is controlling DNA at higher levels.  “One outcome of these new studies is that the alternative splicing process appears to provide a largely separate layer of gene regulation that works in parallel with other important steps in gene regulation,” the article said.  The “regulatory code” now appears to be another level of genetic information above the genetic code.  It might be even more important than the information in the genes themselves.  Benjamin Blencowe (U of Toronto) remarked, “The number of genes and coordinated regulatory events involved in specifying cell and tissue type characteristics appear to be considerably more extensive than appreciated in previous studies.”
Isn’t the cell wonderful?  We each have trillions of them, but each one deserves our love and respect.  None of these articles, as usual, tried to explain how blind evolution could have produced all this coded information with its self-healing mechanisms.  Instead of Darwinizing it, maybe we should Pasteurize it: use the research to cure disease and improve the human condition, and to stand in awe of God.  Like Louis Pasteur said, “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator.”
Next headline on:  GeneticsCell BiologyAmazing Facts
Science Confronts Philosophy, or Vice Versa   08/13/2007    
Practicing scientists often disdain philosophy.  To them, it seems like mumbo-jumbo with convoluted arguments telling them why they don’t exist or why two-ness cannot be represented on a chalkboard.  To a scientist dealing with real lab rats or chemicals off the shelf, such ramblings seem detached and worthless.  Who would know more what science is than a scientist?  Philosophizing about science seems far less productive than just doing science.  One described philosophy as “incomprehensible answers to insoluble problems.”
    Philosophy’s domain is all-encompassing.  It attempts to address, in a systematic and rigorous manner, questions about what exists (ontology), how we know things (epistemology), and how we should live our lives (moral and political philosophy).  Philosophers ask the pointed questions that give precision to our thoughts.  A fairly new branch of philosophy is the philosophy of science.  The question “what is science?” is not and cannot be a scientific question.  It is a statement of philosophy about science, describing the limits of its epistemology and the nature of its ontology.
    On the rare occasions when the scientific journals discuss philosophy of science, they usually delve into it only long enough to come back to a reassuring verdict that objectivism is still the only philosophy worth believing (i.e., that our sensations of the world correspond to what is objectively real).  Here were some examples in the form of book reviews in Science magazine.
  1. Perspectives on perspectivism:  Perspectivism (a form of constructivism, i.e., that our view of reality is a construct of our sensations) claims that the human mind cannot extricate itself from an observation in a bias-free manner: what we call a quark, for instance, or what we perceive as red, is a function of how we, as humans, classify and perceive things.  Peter Lipton reviewed a recent book by Ronald Giere on this view, Scientific Perspectivism, in Science May 11.1  Lipton reviewed the theories of Immanuel Kant and Thomas Kuhn (“Kant on wheels”), and discussed Giere’s own position.  Giere extended his discussion of color perception to all of science, concluding that “science is perspectival through and through.”
    Constructivists deny the “view from nowhere.”  Science can only describe the world from a human perspective.  Objectivists claim that, on the contrary, there is such a view.  You can’t think without thinking, but it does not follow that what you are thinking about--baryons, say--must somehow include the thinker.  Objectivists hold on to the idea that the world has its own structure, which science reveals.
    Lipton ended up disagreeing with Giere, but provided only fuzzy responses: he said the constructivist position “remains obscure” and “difficult to grasp.”  He said objectivists will “not be moved” by the book, because it has an “uncertain force.”  Here was his summary case for objectivism:
    Scientific descriptions surely are incomplete and affected by interest, but these are features the objectivist can take on board.  Completeness and objectivity are orthogonal.  Maybe in the end constructivism is true, or as true as a constructivist can consistently allow.  Nevertheless, the thought that the world has determinate objective structures is almost irresistible, and Giere has not ruled out the optimistic view that science is telling us something about them.
    It is not clear, however, that Giere or other constructivists would be put off by these arguments.  There is no necessary connection between an argument being pleasing and it being true.  Are not descriptions like “irresistible” and “optimistic” some of the very human perspectives Giere was talking about?

  2. Who watches the watcher?  Chris Adami, usually known for his evolutionary computing work, reviewed an unusual book by Douglas Hofstadter, I Am a Strange Loop, in Science May 25.2  Hofstadter tried to give a completely materialist explanation of mind:
    Hofstadter’s explanation of human consciousness is disarmingly simple.  Even though he spends most of the book giving examples and analogies from realms as disparate as particle physics and boxes of envelopes, the main idea is simply that our feeling of a conscious “I” is but an illusion created by our neuronal circuitry: an illusion that is only apparent at the level of symbols and thoughts, in much the same way as the concepts of pressure and temperature are only apparent at the level of 1023 molecules but not the level of single molecules.  In other words, Hofstadter denies consciousness an element of ontological reality, without denying that our thoughts and feelings, pains and longings have an “inner reality” when we have them.  But to show that consciousness is a collective phenomenon of sorts, he needs to delve deep into the theory of computation and, in particular, Austrian mathematician Kurt Gödel’s proof of his incompleteness theorem, as these concepts are key to the idea the author wants to convey.  And he does this admirably in a mostly playful manner, choosing carefully constructed analogies more often than mathematical descriptions.
    Again, however, it is not at all certain a philosopher of another persuasion would be tongue-tied over these arguments.  Playful arguments have no necessary connection with truth.  As skilled and admirable as Hofstadter’s writing might be, he has a fundamental problem explaining consciousness from particulars of neurons.  To do it, he tried to extend Gödel’s incompleteness realms upward into unknown territory where each higher realm provides the completion of each lower realm, then wraps in on itself: “Hofstadter suggests, our ability to construct symbols and statements that are about these symbols and statements creates the ‘strange’ reflexive loop of the book’s title out of which our sensation of ‘I’ emerges.
        At this point, Adami (though admiring the book) comes close to bringing the case down with a pointed question:
    This ambitious program aimed at a deconstruction of our consciousness is not without peril.  For example, if we posit that our consciousness is an illusion created by our thoughts “watching ourselves think” [as the philosopher of mind Daniel Dennett had previously suggested], we might ask “Who watches the watcher?”  Or, if I am hallucinating an “I,” who is hallucinating it?  However, an infinite regress is avoided because on the level of the neuronal circuitry, the impression of having a mind is just another pattern of firings--something consciousness researcher and neuroscientist Christof Koch of the California Institute of Technology calls “the neuronal correlate” of consciousness.
    Yet is this answer not begging the question?  The issue is whether a mind can be reduced to neurons, yet Adami just stated as a matter of fact that “the impression of having a mind is just another pattern of firings” without arguing for how or why this could be so.
        Adami clearly enjoyed the book as a companion to Koch’s The Quest for Consciousness.  He accepted the premise that mind can be expressed as an artifact of neuron firing patterns.  One consequence is that humans should be able to build conscious robots some day.  A second consequence is almost purely metaphysical:
    Second, the Gödelian construction suggests a tantalizing hypothesis, namely that a level of consciousness could exist far beyond human consciousness, on a level once removed from our level of symbols and ideas (which themselves are once removed from the level of neuronal firing patterns).  Indeed, Gödel’s construction guarantees that, while statements on the higher level can be patently true but not provable on the lower level, an extension exists that makes the system complete on that higher level.  However, new unprovable statements emerge on the next higher level--that is, on a level that maps an improbable jumble of our thoughts and ideas to, well, something utterly incomprehensible to us, who are stuck at our pedestrian echelon.  How incomprehensible?  At least as inscrutable as the love for Bartok’s second violin concerto is to a single neuron firing away.
    Thus Adami ends on an irrational leap.  Appeals to higher levels of consciousness that are unknowable from our level, even in principle, beleaguer any attempts to encapsulate mind within a materialist world view.  (And, as a materialist himself, Adami clearly did not intend to suggest that the highest level includes God.)  Claiming such ideas are incomprehensible or inscrutable is no escape if Adami wants to play the philosophy game.  An interlocutor would call it another case of Adami begging his own question: who watches the watcher?

1Peter Lipton, “Philosophy of Science: The World of Science,” Science, 11 May 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5826, p. 834, DOI: 10.1126/science.1141366.
2Christoph Adami, “Philosophy of Mind: Who Watches the Watcher?”, Science, 25 May 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5828, pp. 1125-1126, DOI: 10.1126/science.1141809.
These book reviews have been in the queue for three months but finally needed airing, because they are important.  Scientists cannot escape philosophy.  They are embedded within it, whether they like it or not.  To pretend philosophy has no bearing on their work is itself a philosophy.  The question is not whether a scientist practices philosophy, but how well he or she does it.  These two did not do it very well.  Both appealed to emotion and flights of fancy to defend objectivism and materialism.
    Christians are objectivists, but are the only ones who have a warrant for it.  Christian objectivism is founded in the eternal, unchangeable Creator.  That “anchor on the infinite” is what gives us confidence in objective reality.  A materialist cannot anchor his thoughts on anything universal, necessary, or certain; he is trapped in his cage of limited perceptions.  He cannot prove that his sensations and perceptions pertain to anything that is “out there” in the world (the correspondence theory of truth).  The Christian has an infinite-personal God that gives us the completeness to our human incompleteness.
    The case is stronger than this.  Philosopher of science Greg Bahnsen forcefully argued that only the Christian world view provides the “preconditions of intelligibility” for any rational response to existence, epistemology and morality (see American Vision for lecture series).  A skeptic might accuse Christians of having a world view based on faith (fideism).  Bahnsen’s comeback is that without the Christian world view, you cannot prove anything.  The world makes sense from a Christian view; it makes no sense from any other view.  Christians accept that they start with a world view and its presuppositions, just like everyone begins with presuppositions.  But if you want to argue anything rationally, you must start with Christian presuppositions, or your answers become arbitrary or inconsistent, or both – and once you permit arbitrariness or inconsistency, you cannot prove anything.  This, Bahnsen explains, is the transcendental proof of God’s existence.  It’s not a slippery proof based on reason (like Descartes), or on empiricism (like Paley), or on pragmatism (like one’s personal testimony), or on any of the other approaches that usually result in a stand-off.  It is a proof based on the preconditions of intelligibility: without the Christian world view, you cannot prove anything.  All rational discussion ends before it begins unless you accept as a precondition that the infinite-personal God of the Bible exists.  Then, and only then, observations and arguments make sense   A corollary is that the only way that secularists like Lipton and Adami can make their arguments is by pilfering the presuppositions of Christians.  In a vivid metaphor, Bahnsen says that the only way the bad boy can slap his father’s face is by sitting in his lap.
    The Christian world view is also the precondition for intelligibility in science.  Both Greg Bahnsen and J. P. Moreland (see his book Christianity and the Nature of Science) have argued this case cogently that one must accept Christian presuppositions before one can even do science.  To do science, you must defend the correspondence theory of truth, be able to account for a world of natural law, defend the validity of inductive inference and deductive proof, accept the reality of the mind, believe in the universal applicability of the laws of logic, and uphold universal standards of morality.  All these functions come included in the Christian world view package.  They are indefensible in any other world view.
    Christianity, then, is a precondition for the intelligibility of science and for reason itself.  This does not mean that non-Christians cannot do science or use reason, because clearly they do; it means that they cannot account for the validity of science from within their own world view.  Whether they are aware of it or not, they plagiarize Christian assumptions whenever they reason inductively or deductively about the world.  (This, Christians know, is because they retain the image of God impressed on their souls.)
    The argument that a materialist, as a collection of particles and forces, can do science without God has no more power than plugging an extension cord into itself.  (That, indeed, would be a strange loop.)  For the power to flow, science has to be plugged into a socket named Christian Presuppositions.  We have minds that can reason about objective reality because we have an all-knowing, rational, all-wise God who imbued some of that rationality into us.  He is the completion to our incompleteness.  He is the one who watches the watcher.
Next headline on:  Theology and Philosophy
  Oil made from marble, from 08/13/2002.

Immune System Appeared Early   08/12/2007    
“Social amebas” or slime molds have gotten praise recently as inventors of the immune system.  These amebas can band together in a “slug” that can move as a unit and generate stalks and spores.  Science Daily reported on research at Baylor College of Medicine that found “sentinel cells” in a colony of amebas that patrol the slug and engulf invading bacteria or toxins.  “Finding an immune system in the social amoeba (Dictyostelium discoideum) is not only surprising but it also may prove a clue as to what is necessary for an organism to become multicellular,” the lead researcher, Dr. Adam Kuspa, said.
    A Darwinian explanation was not long in coming.  The article continued,

One way to estimate the characteristics of the organism that went before those that were multicellular is to look for characteristics that are present in two, three or all four of these main groups, he said.
    “Those were likely present in the progenitor organism,” said Kuspa.  Because three of the four major groups of organisms have this pathway, “I argue that means that the progenitor of all multicellular organisms had this pathway.  Since that organism was not likely multicellular, it must have used it as some kind of signaling to respond to bacteria in the environment.”
    Looking at it from another point of view, “it’s possible that one of the properties of those (crown) organisms that allowed them to become multicellular was the ability to distinguish self from non-self -- the hallmark of an immune system,” said Kuspa.  “The speculation is that a requirement of multicellularity is that you develop systems to recognize pathogens and other non-self cells from yourself.”
Kuspa did not describe how this might have come about by a blind process of random mutation and natural selection.  Astrobiology Magazine picked up on this story, adding this comment to its article, “We Are one” –
The evolution of multicellular organisms on Earth was an important step in the diversification of life on our planet.  Understanding these important moments in the history of life can help elucidate the mechanisms through which life develops and evolves, which in turn can help astrobiologists determine the potential for life’s development on distant worlds.
The original work was published in Science.1,2  Kuspa and his team only speculated about the evolutionary significance of their description of sentinel cells.  They said that this “first glimpse” of an immune-related signaling system might represent an “ancient function” in the common ancestor of plants and animals, but they did not explain how it arose; in fact, their discovery represents “another layer of complexity to the cellular cooperation observed in the social amoeba.”  They ended with more speculation about this as a function present in the hypothetical common ancestor: “If true, it would suggest that this system of pathogen recognition was advantageous to organisms before the evolution of multicellularity.”  Mitch Leslie said amen in his commentary: “the results suggest an early beginning for the specialized immune system now seen in multicellular organisms.”
    By contrast, another paper on the immune system in Science the prior week said nothing about evolution.3  Ira Mellman wrote that “immune cells often exhibit remarkable degrees of specialization and adaptation.”  The system “comprises a variety of cell types whose activities must be carefully regulated to act as a coherent unit for the purpose of host defense.”  Because of the “emerging complexity” of the field, he encouraged cell biologists and immunologists to get their heads together to try to understand how immunity works.
1Chen, Zhuchenko and Kuspa, “Immune-like Phagocyte Activity in the Social Amoeba,” Science, 3 August 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5838, pp. 678-681, DOI: 10.1126/science.1143991.
2Mitch Leslie, “A Slimy Start for Immunity?”, Science, 3 August 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5838, p. 584, DOI: 10.1126/science.317.5838.584.
3Ira Mellman, “Private Lives: Reflections and Challenges in Understanding the Cell Biology of the Immune System,” Science, 3 August 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5838, pp. 625-627, DOI: 10.1126/science.1142955.
As usual in evolutionary fables, the observation-to-assumption ratio is so low, the paper is indistinguishable from fiction.  They assume the millions of years, they assume a hypothetical progenitor, they assume neo-Darwinian mechanisms can invent an immune system, and they assume it can evolve into the highly-functional immune systems of higher animals and plants.  What’s the only observation?  that an organism observed today (not millions of years ago) has a clever way for ridding itself of harmful bacteria and toxins.  Those not infected by Darwin narcosis might think this to be evidence of design.
    “Don’t assume” is a security principle in almost every facet of life except evolutionary biology.  Don’t assume the power switch is off.  Don’t assume the gun is empty.  Don’t assume the items on the flight checklist have been checked.  Don’t assume Dad knows he’s supposed to pick up the kids.  Don’t assume the rock on the cliff will support your weight.
    Numerous Darwin Awards have been won by victims who assumed things.  The Darwinists who write in science journals, though, get away with their rampant assumptions because they never have to face the consequences.  We think it’s time for them to learn a little responsibility, or else kindly help humanity by removing themselves from the gene pool.
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyDarwinian Evolution
“We have no idea why these galaxies grew so large so soon”   08/11/2007    
Five full-sized galaxies have been detected at the edge of the visible universe, reported Science Now.  This continues a trend over the last few years where astronomers have been detecting old objects at young ages (e.g., 07/25/2007, 09/24/2006, 08/18/2006, 03/31/2006).   “The galaxies, which are forming stars very rapidly, are big for their age, meaning that astronomers might have to rethink current ideas about galaxy formation.”
    Rethinking looms big as a theme in the article.  The first stars were supposed to coalesce slowly into the first galaxies, but “this process was supposed to take billions of years.”  A team using data from Hubble, Spitzer and Keck telescopes confirmed these are Milky Way sized galaxies, not small members of a cluster.  “We have no idea why these galaxies grew so large so soon,” remarked Giovanni Fazio of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.  “I think we still have a lot new to learn about what’s happening in the early universe,”
This is not a surprise to creationists.  It is a surprise to big-bang secular cosmologists.  We hope the astronomers will rethink current ideas, but for significant progress, they will have to think outside the bang.
Next headline on:  AstronomyCosmologyDating Methods
Weird-Science Origin-of-Life Theories   08/10/2007    
Two news articles on the origin of life seem bizarre at best.  One even used the word “bizarrely” in its own self-evaluation.
  1. Living dust:  Zap the dust in your living room and it may come alive.  Is that the gist of this story in PhysOrg?  A team of international scientists thinks that cosmic dust in plasma takes on properties similar to that of carbon-based life, like DNA.  Here’s the word bizarrely—
    Quite bizarrely, not only do these helical strands interact in a counterintuitive way in which like can attract like, but they also undergo changes that are normally associated with biological molecules, such as DNA and proteins, say the researchers.  They can, for instance, divide, or bifurcate, to form two copies of the original structure.  These new structures can also interact to induce changes in their neighbours and they can even evolve into yet more structures as less stable ones break down, leaving behind only the fittest structures in the plasma.
        So, could helical clusters formed from interstellar dust be somehow alive?  “These complex, self-organized plasma structures exhibit all the necessary properties to qualify them as candidates for inorganic living matter,” says Tsytovich, “they are autonomous, they reproduce and they evolve”.
    It should be noted that these behaviors were noted in computer models, not in real plasmas.

  2. We could be Martians:  The same scientists who revived bacteria from alleged 8 million year old ice (see 08/04/2007) say their study helps refute panspermia.  Life could not have come on comets, says a reporter on NorthJersey.com, because radiation would have killed it.  But since it might survive inside meteorites, it was OK for him to trade one weird-science theory for his own.  Because life was so hardy on Earth, and since Mars is just one step away, isn’t it logical?  Staff writer Bob Groves ended on that note: “Microbes might survive a trip from Mars if encased in a meteorite, [Paul] Falkowski of Rutgers said.  ‘So we could all be Martians,’ he said.”
Neither of the reporters dealt with the difficulties of their ideas.  The first story, for instance, failed to mention how genetic information might be stored in plasma dust, or how it could produce useful function, and be reproduced accurately.  It mentioned that life might have started as plasma dust before it became carbon-based, but presented no plausible idea how or why a “genetic takeover” might have occurred.
    The second article failed to deal with the difficulties of assembling ribose and amino acids of the right handedness on the surface of a dead planet, explaining the origin of genetic information, getting it packaged into a meteorite, and delivering it unharmed to Earth in sufficient quantity and safety where it would not be destroyed the moment it splashed down.  The article dismissed the idea that “building blocks of life” were delivered by comets, but then presented a similar idea (that they were delivered from Mars in a meteorite by a chance process) as plausible.
    The 15th Intl. Conference on the Origin of Life will be held a year from this month in Florence, Italy.
The gutless science reporters, who should be gatekeepers of rationality, let anything and everything pass as long as it is materialistic and Darwinian.  This, folks, is the sorry state of science reporting in our world today.  These same reporters will attack creationists in the worst vituperative rhetoric, and portray them as the enemies of science wanting to bring on the dark ages, but in the same breath will let weird Frankenstein tales pass right on through unopposed as long as they assume evolution.  The only controversies they occasionally report is when two Darwinists disagree about whose Darwinian tale is better.  We have a lot of work to do.
Next headline on:  Origin of LifeDumb Ideas
Homo habilis Contemporary with Homo erectus   08/09/2007    
Homo habilis couldn’t have been the ancestor of Homo erectus, because they lived side by side.  This has been all over the news since it was announced in Nature yesterday: see the Times UK, PhysOrg, the BBC News, Reuters Africa, National Geographic, and MSNBC News, which says the new discovery paints a “messy” view of human origins: “Surprising fossils dug up in Africa are creating messy kinks in the iconic straight line of human evolution with its knuckle-dragging ape and briefcase-carrying man.”
    OK, what happened?  Meave Leakey found a small female Homo erectus skull in Kenya that dates from the same period as Homo habilis, or “handy man,” long thought to have been a predecessor:
In 2000 Leakey found an old H. erectus complete skull within walking distance of an upper jaw of the H. habilis, and both dated from the same general time period.  That makes it unlikely that H. erectus evolved from H. habilis, researchers said.
    It’s the equivalent of finding that your grandmother and great-grandmother were sisters rather than mother-daughter, said study co-author Fred Spoor, a professor of evolutionary anatomy at the University College in London....
Overall what it paints for human evolution is a “chaotic kind of looking evolutionary tree rather than this heroic march that you see with the cartoons of an early ancestor evolving into some intermediate and eventually unto us,” Spoor said in a phone interview from a field office of the Koobi Fora Research Project in northern Kenya.
    But this should not cast evolutionary science into doubt, the article A.P. article was quick to point out: “All the changes to human evolutionary thought should not be considered a weakness in the theory of evolution, [Bill] Kimbel [Arizona State] said.  Rather, those are the predictable results of getting more evidence, asking smarter questions and forming better theories, he said.”
    Yet it is hard to see how this helps the evolutionary story of progress between apes and humans.  This upset is similar, Kimbel said, to the revised story of Neanderthals, which also used to be considered human ancestors.  This effectively removes Homo habilis from consideration as an ancestor, leaving a gap where paleoanthropologists thought they had a link.  National Geographic speculated that the two hominid forms might have originated “two and three million years ago, which is a well-known gap in the fossil record.  The evidence for human evolution, therefore, has been reduced, not just messed up.
    Although the skull was found in 2000, it often takes years for a research team to clean, date, and document the find.  Another claim from the announcement is that apparently males were larger than females (sexual dimorphism), but see commentary and picture from the 08/02/2007 entry about the flaw of drawing conclusions from limited samples.  Leakey and team believe the two forms lived contemporaneously and in proximity, as do chimpanzees and gorillas, for half a million years.
    Ann Gibbons wrote in Science2 the next day about this find.  She noted that the blurring of distinctions between H. habilis and H. erectus makes ripples with another famous fossil, too: Homo ergaster:
The skull also shows features that had previously been seen only in Asian fossils of H. erectus, such as a keeling (or ridge) on its frontal and parietal bones.  These traits had persuaded a growing number of researchers in recent years to split the fossils of H. erectus into two species, with H. erectus from Asia and H. ergaster from Africa.  But the skull's mix of traits shows H. erectus cannot be “easily divided between two species from Africa and Asia,” says Spoor.  Kimbel and Arizona State graduate student Claire Terhune reached a similar conclusion after studying the temporal bones of 15 H. erectus skulls, in a paper published in the July issue of the Journal of Human Evolution.
    Others who have championed H. ergaster are taking note.  “The new cranium blurs the distinction between H. erectus and H. ergaster,” says Wood.  “I am not willing to sell my shares in H. ergaster just yet, but I am not relying on them for my retirement!”

1Leakey et al, “Implications of new early Homo fossils from Ileret, east of Lake Turkana, Kenya,” Nature 448, 688-691 (9 August 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05986.
2Ann Gibbons, “New Fossils Challenge Line of Descent in Human Family Tree,” Science, 10 August 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5839, p. 733, DOI: 10.1126/science.317.5839.733.
These people do not know who begat whom, and they can’t tell dates with any credibility; they keep losing links into gaps and moving things around, yet they expect us to believe they are the Masters of Enlightenment when telling us where we came from.
    It’s important to remember that the bones aren’t talking.  Data don’t just jump up into a scientist’s hands and explain themselves.  Instead, picture a group of scientists at a large, blank game board, with a few fossils as game pieces, but no instructions.  They approach the game with a mental picture of how the game should be played and where the pieces go, but they are free to move them around.  Depending on how committed they are to their mental picture, they can compromise here or there and keep the picture intact.  The compromises make the game confusing and even chaotic at times.  Still, the commitment to the mental picture is paramount: it was carefully selected to conform to the Official Myth of the Culture.
    We spectators might look with bewilderment at how they can keep playing such a confusing game, but, as outsiders, we are not permitted by the ruling elite to have an opinion, or to holler in suggestions to them.  They are all sworn to keep a straight face and maintain the appearance that everything is under control and that progress is being made.
    Appearances are not realities, however.  If the mental picture is incorrect, the chaos is real.  Don’t be distracted by the elaborate canopy the game players have erected over their board, and all the concession stands, reporters and public announcements that “they’re getting warmer” and the latest find “sheds new light on evolution.”  It’s all just a sport with no necessary connection to reality.
    The picture on the game board could be totally different, with a much better fit of the pieces.  No matter; if such a picture has been disqualified by an arbitrary consensus of the players, it will never be found, but the players will get to keep their jobs.  After all, a complex game with lots of twists and turns is more fun than a linear one.  And horrors, being told what the picture was supposed to be would spoil the party.
Next headline on:  Early ManDating Methods
Science Journals Make Dogmatic Atheist Statements   08/08/2007    
Science is supposed to be restricted to the physical and observable world, but the major journals do not hesitate to state ardent, dogmatic opinions about the non-existence of God.  Often they assert without debate that belief in God is an artifact of human evolution.  Here are some recent examples:
  1. Tinker Bell, not Jehovah:  Georg Striedter began a book review in Nature1 with this line: “The human brain, and hence the human mind, is not an optimal, designed-from-scratch apparatus.  Rather, it is an imperfect amalgam of shoddy components.”  He was summarizing the view of David Linden’s new book, The Accidental Mind: How Brain Evolution Has Given Us Love, Memory, Dreams, and God (Harvard, 2007).  Striedter took issue with Linden’s proof in the book, but not with the contention that our brains are products of evolution.  “What we do know, and what The Accidental Mind helps us to realize, is that the human brain is not designed as many have imagined.”  There was no discussion with any theologian or philosopher about these contentions.
  2. Put it Aside:  An editorial in Nature2 began, in bold print, “With all deference to the sensibilities of religious people, the idea that man was created in the image of God can surely be put aside.”  The editorial acknowledged that many scientists are “religious” but didn’t mind as long as they keep their faith and their belief in evolution in separate compartments.
        The occasion for the stern editorial was an article by Senator Sam Brownback in the New York Times in which the presidential candidate affirmed a position believed by the majority of Americans: “Man was not an accident and reflects an image and likeness unique in the created order,” Brownback said.  Continuing an a conciliatory tone, he said, “Those aspects of evolutionary theory compatible with this truth are a welcome addition to human knowledge.  Aspects of these theories that undermine this truth, however, should be firmly rejected as atheistic theology posing as science.“
        That was enough to make the editors of Nature call hogwash.  “Humans evolved, body and mind, from earlier primates,” the editorial responded.  No sense trying to leave any room for the hand of God; it is Darwin all the way down: “The ways in which humans think reflect this heritage as surely as the ways in which their limbs are articulated, their immune systems attack viruses and the cones in their eyes process coloured light.  This applies not just to the way in which our neurons fire, but also to various aspects of our moral thought,” it said.
        From here, the editorial backed off a bit, admitting that the theological and philosophical issues involved with the human mind are “deep waters.”  Formulating an evolutionary theory of neuroscience is still a challenge.  But regardless of how uncomfortable it may be to accept the evolution of the brain, evolution is the only serious scientific option, they asserted: “Scientific theories of human nature may be discomforting or unsatisfying, but they are not illegitimate.  And serious attempts to frame them will reflect the origins of the human mind in biological and cultural evolution, without reference to a divine creation.”  Anyone disagreeing cannot be serious, in other words.
  3. Getting our own dirt:  Synthetic biology is becoming a “welcome antidote for chronic vitalism,” stated another editorial in Nature.3  They said that new attempts to synthesize organisms from scratch amounts to agreement with this quote: ”for the first time, God has competition” (see joke).  To the Editors, synthetic biology will have particular value in ridding society of outmoded, pre-Darwinian beliefs that life is somehow special.  This even weighs in on the debate about abortion, they claimed:
    Synthetic biology’s view of life as a molecular process lacking moral thresholds at the level of the cell is a powerful one. And it can and perhaps should be invoked to challenge characterizations of life that are sometimes used to defend religious dogma about the embryo.  If this view undermines the notion that a ‘divine spark’ abruptly gives value to a fertilized egg – recognizing as it does that the formation of a new being is gradual, contingent and precarious – then the role of the term ‘life’ in that debate might acquire the ambiguity that it has always warranted.
    So if science trumps “religious dogma” in the process, so be it.  A callout quote states, “It would be a service to more than synthetic biology if we might now be permitted to dismiss the idea that life is a precise scientific concept.”
  4. Dover over easy:  Kevin Padian, a partisan for NCSE in the Dover trail, got free rein in Nature to give his version of the Dover trial.4  It was full of references to “religious intolerance” and “right-wing Christians” in its portrayal of Judge Jones’ decision as a victory for science.  No space was provided to the other side.  No mention was made of articles and books critical of the decision.  Nothing was said about Jones’ heavy lifting of the ACLU source material (12/12/2006).  Padian ended with a portrayal of Dover as a “perfect storm of religious intolerance, First Amendment violation and the never-ending assault on American science education.”
        Those needing to hear the other side will have to buy a book: Traipsing Into Evolution by DeWolf, Luskin, West and Witt, who were close to the case as advisors and observers for the defense, though not litigants.  It’s ironic that Padian referred to the Scopes Trial, since the Dover case was nearly a polar opposite.
  5. Get your hot dogma here:  In Science,5 anti-creationist Sean B. Carroll got free rein to trash Michael Behe’s new book, The Edge of Evolution.  Behe does not even argue for God as such in the book, but Carroll was sure this was an easily-defused sneak attack to insert God into science.  He likened himself to Thomas Huxley, gloating, “The Lord hath delivered him into mine hands.”  He ridiculed the book, titling his review, “God as genetic engineer.”  His review made unsubstantiated charges to key players in the Intelligent Design movement without rebuttals that the players have made in print numerous times.  With references to Monty Python to ridicule the creationists, Carroll ended, “the argument for design has no scientific leg to stand on.”
  6. The critic of my enemy could still be my enemy:  Scott Atran in Science6 reviewed another book whose title is unambiguous: Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: The Evolutionary Origins of Belief by Lewis Wolpert.  Here, Atran was a little more courteous to those who “believe” in God.  He did not think Wolpert was merciful enough to those who view religion as having some positive social effects: viz, “what ought to be, including moral framing that convinces people to commit to others beyond the logic and evidence for advancing self-interest.”  But does this justify believing in a real God, who really created the world?  Certainly not: “Religion involves the same causal categories that evolution endowed us with for everyday thinking,” he said without hesitation.
  7. The enemy of my enemy is my enemy:  There was a stinging exchange in Science last week7 between Jonathan Haidt (U of Virginia) about moral evolution (see 05/17/2007), and David Barash, a psychologist from U of Washington.  The debate was over the role of group selection, but the common whipping-boy in both letters was the “religious right.”  Barash was incensed that Haidt explained “patriotism, respect for tradition, and a sense of sacredness” as artifacts of group selection instead of individual selection.  Haidt was quick to point out that “As for Barash’s final point about conservative morality, I do not believe that descriptive biology confers normative legitimacy.”  Patriotism and a sense of sacredness may evolve, for that matter, but that such notions are “disliked by political liberals and dismissed by moral psychologists.”  The subtext was clear: morals and beliefs about God did evolve, whether or not group selection did it.
While evolutionists do not hesitate to propound their own opinions about God in the science journals, the journals routinely screen out any opinions by theists about the scientific validity of evolution.
1Georg Striedter, “Brain botch,” Nature 447, 640 (7 June 2007) | doi:10.1038/447640a.
2Editorial, “Evolution and the brain,” Nature 447, 753 (14 June 2007) | doi:10.1038/447753a.
3Editorial, “Meanings of ‘life,’” Nature 447, 1031-1032 (28 June 2007) | doi:10.1038/4471031b.
4Kevin Padian, “The case of creation,” Nature 448, 253-254 (19 July 2007) | doi:10.1038/448253a.
5Sean B. Carroll, “God as Genetic Engineer,” Science, 8 June 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5830, pp. 1427-1428, DOI: 10.1126/science.1145104.
6Scott Atran, “The Nature of Belief,” Science, 27 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5837, p. 456, DOI: 10.1126/science.1142653.
7Letters, “Evolution and Group Selection,” Science, 3 August 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5838, pp. 596-597, DOI: 10.1126/science.317.5838.596d.
The debating tactic of the Darwin Party in the public marketplace of ideas is unchanged since Huxley: ridicule, attack, threaten, marginalize, and hoard power.  None of the ideologues above have a scientific leg to stand on to claim that their brains evolved, because if that were true, they could never know it or claim it was true.  By asserting that their claims are true, and that religion and creation is false, they have affirmed that there is a world of knowledge outside the realm of particles that is eternal and does not evolve.  This cannot be possible within their own world view.  They have therefore shot themselves in the brain; their position is self-refuting, and necessarily false.
    So what do you do with such people?  You treat them like any other special-interest deadheads.  You answer them according to their folly when other people are listening in, and you answer them not according to their folly lest you be like them.  Next, you disarm them by taking back the power they stole.  Prepare for a long conflict.  Zombies are like automatons and don’t surrender easily.  Appeals to reason, for instance, are likely to fall on deaf ears.
    You scientists who are humbly and honestly going about your work figuring out how DNA repair works, what the sun is doing, and how soil organisms produce compounds that may fight cancer, blessings upon you.  Stay away from the D.P. ideologues.  They have nothing to offer.  Deal with them when you must, to get your papers published, but understand that the kind of dogmatic statements they make (like those above) are light-years apart from plain old observational, daily scientific work.  We need the products of your science; we do not need self-appointed shallow philosophers in places of power over you.  Join the growing Dissent from Darwin list to eat away at their totalitarian dictatorship, so that we can once again enjoy an open marketplace of ideas.  You might also ponder the origin of intangible, unchanging things like morals, truth and knowledge, which your work assumes are real.
Next headline on:  EvolutionIntelligent DesignTheologyPolitics and Ethics
The World Is a Free Lunch   08/07/2007    
One of the strangest Darwinian models to be put forth recently has to be a paper by James V. Stone (a psychologist at Sheffield U, UK), published in PLoS Computational Biology.1  He basically says that evolution is a free lunch.  Brains and whole body types can emerge if an organism can learn parts of adaptive tasks, provided the rest of the task has enough built-in substeps that will fall into line.  Despite his whiz-bang mathematics, does he prove the point that you can get something from nothing?  He says so.
    Some lines from his paper qualify for Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week.  Here’s a “Well, duh” line in the Author’s Summary:
Some behaviours are purely innate (e.g., blinking), whereas other, “apparently innate,” behaviours require a degree of learning to refine them into a useful skill (e.g., nest building).  In terms of biological fitness, it matters how quickly such learning occurs, because time spent learning is time spent not eating, or time spent being eaten, both of which reduce fitness....

He continues with a synopsis of his thesis:
Using artificial neural networks as model organisms, it is proven that it is possible for an organism to be born with a set of “primed” connections which guarantee that learning part of a skill induces automatic learning of other skill components, an effect known as free-lunch learning (FLL).  Critically, this effect depends on the assumption that associations are stored as distributed representations.  Using a genetic algorithm, it is shown that primed organisms can evolve within 30 generations.  This has three important consequences.  First, primed organisms learn quickly, which increases their fitness.  Second, the presence of FLL effectively accelerates the rate of evolution, for both learned and innate skill components.  Third, FLL can accelerate the rate at which learned behaviours become innate.  These findings suggest that species may depend on the presence of distributed representations to ensure rapid evolution of adaptive behaviours.
Stone attempts to prove his thesis with various computer runs that measure “fitness” and penalize errors.  According to William Dembski’s book No Free Lunch,2 however, introducing a fitness function sneaks information into the back door that cannot be assumed in any realistic Darwinian scheme, because the essence of Darwinism is that evolution be undirected and purposeless.  With that restraint, there is no free lunch: any evolutionary algorithm is indistinguishable from blind search.
    This difficulty seems to have been lost on Dr. Stone, however.  In his final paragraph he waved his FLL (free-lunch-learning) as a possible solution to one of Darwinism’s biggest problems, the Cambrian explosion:
It has been demonstrated that FLL accelerates the evolution of behaviours in neural network models.  Given that FLL appears to be a fundamental property of distributed representations, and given the reliance of neuronal systems on distributed representations, FLL-induced behaviours may constitute a significant component of apparently innate behaviours (e.g., nest-building).  Results presented here suggest that any organism that did not take advantage of such a fundamental and ubiquitous effect would be at a selective disadvantage.  Finally, if FLL accelerates evolution in the natural world, then it may have been involved in the Cambrian explosion, an explosion that began when brains (and therefore learning) first appeared.
An astonishing claim by any standard: you can get a brain as a free lunch.
1James V. Stone, “Distributed Representations Accelerate Evolution of Adaptive Behaviours,” Public Library of Science: Computational Biology, Aug 3, 2007, doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.0030147.
2See ARN for info on this book.
Don’t be fooled by the math.  This is absolutely insane.  To think that inventing a term like FLL will generate brains and whole new body plans in nature is wonderfully weird.  Apparently Dr. Stone needs to learn some physics, particularly thermodynamics and information theory.  Even Julie Andrews could help: “Nothing comes from nothing; nothing ever could.”
    No amount of math can make up for bad assumptions.  Anybody can rig a model or a computer program to produce any kind of output he wants.  Set the starting conditions, then force the virtual organisms to evolve the way you want them to by rewarding the efforts you (as an intelligent human) desire, and they will obey your every bidding.  GIGO.  Don’t try this out on trilobites.
    Good grief, people, how did it come to this?  This is as silly as pouring sea monkeys into a test tube, adding water, and saying you have created life.  Psychologist, heal thyself.  Go get a real job, Stone, before you embarrass your colleagues.  The ID people are already laughing out loud.  If, on the other hand, this was an ornate prank to show the gullibility of journal editors, we forgive and encourage you.
Next headline on:  DarwinismDumb Ideas
Can Life Survive for Millions of Years?   08/06/2007    
How long can cells and tissues last?  Two different yet related stories should raise questions about the dates claimed, because the observations are astonishing.
  1. Trees of the living dead:  Cypress trees in Hungary supposedly buried for eight million years look pristine.  The wood is unfossilized and uncoalified, said the report on Breitbart.com.  All that remained were the trunks, the bottom six meters of trees estimated to have been 30-40 meters tall.  The trees “were preserved in their original form and material.”  Cellulose, the glue that holds the wood together, had decomposed.  That made the trunks disintegrate quickly on exposure to the air and sunlight.  The museum director overseeing the excavation said, “The discovery is exceptional as the trees kept their wooden structure, they neither turned into coal nor were petrified.”
  2. Bacterial rip van winkles:  Bacteria buried under Antarctic ice have been revived, said BBC News, Associated Press and and National Geographic.  For how long have they been entombed in suspended animation?  They “range in age from 100,000 years to eight million years.”  “Imagine sticking some bacteria in the freezer and taking them out millions of years later to find that they are still alive,” National Geographic said.  “That would be similar to what happened recently, when scientists brought eight-million-year-old microbes back to life—simply by thawing them.”
None of the articles questioned the age estimates provided by the scientists.
Either give up the long ages, evolutionists, or give up your credibility.  Some of us have long ago given up our credulity.
Next headline on:  Dating MethodsPlantsCell Biology
Monkeys Prefer the Sound of Silence   08/05/2007    
Given a choice, chimpanzees choose silence over music.  The Random Samples page in Science1 mentioned experiments by scientists from MIT and Harvard where monkeys were given a choice of booths playing a flute lullaby, a Mozart concerto, techno-rock, and silence.  Between the musical booths, “The monkeys spent an average of about two-thirds of their time on the lullaby side, showing that they prefer slower tempos,” the article says.  “But when given the choice of silence, lullabies, or a Mozart concerto, they spent most of their time avoiding music altogether.”  Eight human subjects, by contrast, all preferred the lullaby over silence.
    Isabelle Peretz (U of Montreal) remarked that this shows humans have “a natural, or innate, inclination to engage with music.”  The scientists who performed the experiments had earlier found that monkeys show no preference between harmony and dissonance (cf. 12/13/2004).  To the scientists, the new experiments “suggest that humans’ music responses may reflect a ‘unique evolutionary history of selection’ for cognitive processes linked to emotion and motivation.
    The snippet is accompanied by a picture of a chimpanzee with his hands over his ears.  The article, titled “Monkeys have tin ears,” began, “A new study finds that monkeys prefer silence to music, suggesting that some of the acoustic preferences that underlie music are unique to humans.
1Random Samples, Science, Volume 317, Number 5838, Issue of 03 August 2007.
The evolutionary explanation is dissonant cacophony.  Are they claiming chimpanzees have no emotion or motivation?  Monkeys show a lot of emotion when they screech, and a lot of motivation when they want a banana.  Besides, no amount of emotion or motivation is going to affect neo-Darwinism’s capacity to produce the random mutations needed for a brain containing a music appreciation module.
    There is no selective advantage for a reproductively useless thing like music – nor for literature, art, geometry, philosophy, altruism, wisdom, knowledge, theology, or prayer.  Evolutionists produce nothing but fables when trying to explain how these unique human traits “arose” by an unguided process (e.g., 03/07/2002), and they just make fools of themselves (11/12/2004) trying to bridge the chasm between monkey antics and Mozart.  What drives a man like Beethoven to write a complete symphony celebrating joy when he was deaf?  How could he hear it perfectly within his mind?  Is this the work of neurons firing in response to genetic accidents?  Flutter-tongue a tuba if you believe that.
    For fun, let’s all sing the Bonzo version of The Sound of Music:
The jungle’s alive, with the sound of screeches / With hollers we’ve yelled for a zillion years / The bush fills my bowels with a glut of berries / My voice tries to outshout each sound it hears.
My mouth wants to binge like the beak of a vulture that flies to the kill o’er the breeze / My chest wants to thump like a chimp that vaults from each limb in the trees / To laugh at the tourist who trips and falls o’er my dung in his way / To screech through the night, like an owl that is searching for prey.
I feel all the chills when my stomach’s empty / That grumbling sound I have heard before / My gut will be filled with a brown banana / And I’ll sleep once more.

Next headline on:  MammalsHuman Body
Four Evidences of Cosmic Youth   08/04/2007    
Astronomers and planetary scientists routinely talk in millions and billions of years.  Three recent science news reports raise questions about how to fit apparently young objects into a vast timeline. 
  1. Lunar burps:  The moon is passing gas, reported Science News).  This explains the long history of observations of lunar transients, or bright flashes observed from Earth on certain parts of the moon.  Arlin Crotts (Columbia U) believes the flashes come from the decay of uranium that escapes through cracks, but mentions the possibility that volcanism is still active.

  2. Flinging rings:  Saturn’s G-ring has been explained in an announcement from Jet Propulsion Lab (see also Science Daily).  A persistent ring arc in the outer bright rings, confined by the moon Mimas, gets swept by the magnetic field, flinging particles into the tenuous G-ring.  (The G-ring lies between the thin F-ring and the broad E-ring fed by the Enceladus geysers; see 07/11/2006).  The original paper in Science1 says, “The dust-sized particles that dominate this ring’s optical properties should erode quickly in Saturn’s magnetosphere, yet there was no direct evidence for larger source bodies that could replenish the dust and no clear explanation for the concentration of such bodies in this one region.”  The article and original paper do not mention how long this has been going on, but presumably the material would have long been depleted well before millions of years, because particles in the arc are steadily being ground to dust by collisions.

  3. Bursting moons:  Speaking of Enceladus, a recent paper in Icarus2 said that tidal flexing cannot explain the heat coming out of this small moon, either now or in the past:
    The heating in Enceladus in an equilibrium resonant configuration with other saturnian satellites can be estimated independently of the physical properties of Enceladus.  We find that equilibrium tidal heating cannot account for the heat that is observed to be coming from Enceladus.  Equilibrium heating in possible past resonances likewise cannot explain prior resurfacing events.
    Meyer and Wisdom said that the neighboring moon Mimas, about the same size but closer to Saturn, experiences 11 times as much tidal heating but shows no sign of activity.  In their conclusion, they wondered that both Io (at Jupiter) and Enceladus (at Saturn) are both so active:
    But it is curious that one has to appeal to nonequilibrium tidal oscillations or episodic activity to heat both Io and Enceladus (Ojakangas and Stevenson, 1986).  If the fraction of time spent in an active state is, say, of order 20%, for each satellite, then the probability that both are found in an active state today is only 4%.
    Cassini will fly by Enceladus at very close range on March 10 and even sample particles in the plume; see announcement in Space.com.

  4. Veil unveilings:  Portions of the wispy Veil Nebula in Cygnus have been photographed in detail by the Hubble Space Telescope.  This highly-distended nebula is the remnant of a supernova explosion long thought to be tens of thousands of years old (see 02/16/2001).  Now, a press release posted by Science Daily claims the explosion “could have been witnessed and recorded by ancient civilizations” as recently as 5,000 years ago.

1Matthew M. Hedman, Joseph A. Burns, Matthew S. Tiscareno, Carolyn C. Porco, Geraint H. Jones, Elias Roussos, Norbert Krupp, Chris Paranicas, and Sascha Kempf, “The Source of Saturn’s G Ring,” Science, 3 August 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5838, pp. 653-656, DOI: 10.1126/science.1143964.
2Jennifer Meyer and Jack Wisdom, “Tidal Heating in Enceladus,” Icarus, Volume 188, Issue 2, June 2007, Pages 535-539.
Every once in awhile, it bears repeating: it is more empirically justifiable to infer young ages than old ages, because the observation-to-assumption ratio is much higher.  You can take an observed phenomenon and extrapolate it backward from the present a bit – that is reasonable.  But to start with an assumption of billions of years and then try to fit a short-lived phenomenon into it lowers the observation-to-assumption ratio by many orders of magnitude.  Would it be reasonable to observe a sparkler for 5 seconds, and then claim it has been burning for 100 years?  We think science should tether itself to the observations rather than run amok like a stray dog.
Next headline on:  AstronomySolar SystemDating Methods
  Body scan: high-tech engineering inside of you, from 08/05/2005.

Darwinism Seen in Action!   08/03/2007    
An example of Darwinian evolution in action was reported by EurekAlert.  This dramatic announcement called it a “rare example” of a “controversial theory of genetic conflict” in the reproduction of certain fish:

The conflict has been likened to a “battle of the sexes” or an “arms race” at the molecular level between mothers and fathers.  At stake: the fetus’s growth rate and how much that costs the nutrient-supplying mother.
    The new research supports the idea of a genetic “arms race” going on between a live-bearing mother and her offspring, assisted by the growth-promoting genes of the father.
The gist of the story is that some placental minnows had higher levels of a gene called insulin-like growth factor two (IGF2).  “The researchers found that the biggest genetic changes were in those species of the minnows that had developed placentas, supporting the Darwinian theory of natural selection,” the article claimed.
    The researchers from UC Riverside believe that the male and female compete for control of the offspring.  The male wants “fast fetal growth, so that his offspring will be the hardiest, best survivors and the ones who demand the most of the mother’s placental nutrients,” while the female gives all her offspring equal maternal care (i.e., equal levels of the growth hormone), “so that her nutrients will be available to support her and the offspring from all her matings.”
You have to laugh at the lengths the Darwinists will go to in trying to prop up Charlie’s idol.  They did not see these fish evolve.  They admitted that “The placenta is a complex organ of maternal and fetal tissues that nourishes the developing fetus in the uterus,” but did not explain how this complexity arose; they only found differing levels of one growth hormone.  They admitted that their theory of genetic conflict is controversial.  And they committed the usual grievous sin of the Darwinists, personifying poor little fish that don’t know their right fin from their left with goal-oriented actions and human patterns of conflict.  This was not evolution in action.  The only thing in action was the Darwin fogma machine (05/14/2007).
Next headline on:  Darwinian EvolutionGeneticsMarine BiologyDumb Ideas
Romanian Neanderthal May Have Interbred With Modern Humans   08/02/2007    
A report in National Geographic says that a skull found in a Romanian cave is shaking up ideas about Neanderthal Man and its relationship to modern humans.  The mostly modern skull shows a feature that was characteristic of Neanderthals: “The otherwise human skull has a groove at the base of the back of the skull, just above the neck muscle, that is ubiquitous in Neandertal specimens but has never been seen in the remains of a modern human,” the article states.  Discoverer Erik Trinkaus (Washington U in St. Louis) was surprised: “My first reaction was, that shouldn’t be there,” he said.
If they interbred with us, they were us.  Are there any doubters left?  Thus ends a century-and-a-half myth that Neanderthal Man was less than human.  The range of variations in fully human specimens probably encompasses other skeletons that paleoanthropologists mistakenly classify as outgroups.  Look at this picture from the Daily Mail: would you have classified these guys as separate species only from their skeletons?  Works for other species, too (see another Daily Mail picture).
Next headline on:  Early Man
Deep Sea Vents Tantalize Evolutionists   08/01/2007   
A team of Chinese and American scientists pulled up fragments of deep-sea vents and analyzed their contents, reported Science Daily.  They said the creatures inhabiting these vents are the “most primitive life forms on Earth,” and so thought that the fragments might provide clues to the origin of life.  Timothy Kusky of Saint Louis University said, “This discovery provides tantalizing suggestions that early life may have developed and remained sheltered in deep-sea hydrothermal vents until surface conditions became favorable for organisms to inhabit the land.”
And so another just-so story is born.  The sagacious primitives of the deep knew that all good things must wait, so they hid out in the depths till the surface was ready.  Perhaps they sent pioneers upwards every few million years to see if any returned with good news.
    The article asserts unknowable things with feigned certainty.  They said these vents are 1.43 billion years old, as if they read the time off a stopwatch to 3 significant figures (cf. 10/28/2003).  They called these organisms primitive, even though there are complex bacteria, worms, fish, crustaceans and arthropods often inhabiting the vents.  They provided no mechanism by which complex life could “emerge” in the dark, scalding heat and turbulence of one of the most vicious habitats on the planet (06/14/2002).  They ignored the problem of composing ribose, proteins and many other essential molecules of life.  They forgot how damaging sea salt is to incipient life (04/15/2002).
    “This discovery offers scientists valuable on-land samples for geological and geobiological research with implications for the origin and evolution of early life on Earth,” Kusky crowed.  Yet Harvard medical illustrator David Bolinsky said that life would not be possible without complex molecular machines (get link to animation at Uncommon Descent blog).  How did these machines just happen to come together, Tim?
    The raw data in this article provide no information on the origin and evolution of early life on Earth.  What they do reveal is the marketing hype used by certain scientists needing research funds for geological and geobiological research.  The article also reveals how easily certain people are tantalized by the power of suggestion.
Next headline on:  Marine BiologyOrigin of Life


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(an investment advisor in Missouri)

“I really like your articles.  You do a fabulous job of cutting through the double-talk and exposing the real issues.  Thank you for your hard work and diligence.”
(an engineer in Texas)

“I love your site.  Found it about maybe two years ago and I read it every day.  I love the closing comments in green.  You have a real knack for exposing the toothless claims of the evolutionists.  Your comments are very helpful for many us who don’t know enough to respond to their claims.  Thanks for your good work and keep it up.”
(a missionary in Japan)

“Congratulations on the 6th anniversary!  I just thought I’d write and tell you how much I appreciate your headline list and commentary.  It’s inspired a lot of thought and consideration.  I check your listings every day!”
(a computer programmer in Tulsa)

“Just wanted to thank you for your creation/evolution news ... an outstanding educational resource ... plus congratulations on your 6th anniversary, I wish you many more years of successful ’Net publishing.“
(director of a consulting company in Australia)

“Your insights ... been some of the most helpful – not surprising considering the caliber of your most-excellent website!  I’m serious, ..., your website has to be the best creation website out there....”
(a biologist and science writer in southern California)

“I first learned of your web site on March 29.... Your site has far exceeded my expectations and is consulted daily for the latest.  I join with other readers in praising your time and energy spent to educate, illuminate, expose errors.... The links are a great help in understanding the news items.  The archival structure is marvelous....  Your site brings back dignity to Science conducted as it should be.  Best regards for your continuing work and influence.  Lives are being changed and sustained every day.”
(a manufacturing quality engineer in Mississippi)

“I wrote you over three years ago letting you know how much I enjoyed your Creation-Evolution headlines, as well as your Creation Safaris site.  I stated then that I read your headlines and commentary every day, and that is still true!  My interest in many sites has come and gone over the years, but your site is still at the top of my list!  I am so thankful that you take the time to read and analyze some of the scientific journals out there; which I don’t have the time to read myself.  Your commentary is very, very much appreciated.”
(a hike leader and nature-lover in Ontario, Canada)

“...just wanted to say how much I admire your site and your writing.  You’re very insightful and have quite a broad range of knowledge.  Anyway, just wanted to say that I am a big fan!”
(a PhD biochemist at a major university)

“I love your site and syndicate your content on my church website.... The stories you highlight show the irrelevancy of evolutionary theory and that evolutionists have perpetual ‘foot and mouth’ disease; doing a great job of discrediting themselves.  Keep up the good work.”
(a database administrator and CEH “junkie” in California)

“I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your article reviews on your website—it’s a HUGE asset!”
(a lawyer in Washington)

“Really, really, really a fantastic site.  Your wit makes a razor appear dull!... A million thanks for your site.”
(a small business owner in Oregon “and father of children who love your site too.”)

“Thank God for ... Creation Evolution Headlines.  This site is right at the cutting edge in the debate over bio-origins and is crucial in working to undermine the deceived mindset of naturalism.  The arguments presented are unassailable (all articles having first been thoroughly ‘baloney detected’) and the narrative always lands just on the right side of the layman’s comprehension limits... Very highly recommended to all, especially, of course, to those who have never thought to question the ‘fact’ of evolution.”
(a business owner in Somerset, UK)

“I continue to note the difference between the dismal derogations of the darwinite devotees, opposed to the openness and humor of rigorous, follow-the-evidence scientists on the Truth side.  Keep up the great work.”
(a math/science teacher with M.A. in anthropology)

“Your material is clearly among the best I have ever read on evolution problems!  I hope a book is in the works!”
(a biology prof in Ohio)

“I have enjoyed reading the sardonic apologetics on the Creation/Evolution Headlines section of your web site.  Keep up the good work!”
(an IT business owner in California)

“Your commentaries ... are always delightful.”
(president of a Canadian creation group)

“I’m pleased to see... your amazing work on the ‘Headlines’.”
(secretary of a creation society in the UK)

“We appreciate all you do at crev.info.”
(a publisher of creation and ID materials)

“I was grateful for creationsafaris.com for help with baloney detecting.  I had read about the fish-o-pod and wanted to see what you thought.  Your comments were helpful and encouraged me that my own ‘baloney detecting’ skill are improving.  I also enjoyed reading your reaction to the article on evolution teachers doing battle with students.... I will ask my girls to read your comments on the proper way to question their teachers.”
(a home-schooling mom)

“I just want to express how dissapointed [sic] I am in your website.  Instead of being objective, the website is entirely one sided, favoring creationism over evolution, as if the two are contradictory.... Did man and simien [sic] evovlve [sic] at random from a common ancestor?  Or did God guide this evolution?  I don’t know.  But all things, including the laws of nature, originate from God.... To deny evolution is to deny God’s creation.  To embrace evolution is to not only embrace his creation, but to better appreciate it.”
(a student in Saginaw, Michigan)

“I immensely enjoy reading the Creation-Evolution Headlines.  The way you use words exposes the bankruptcy of the evolutionary worldview.”
(a student at Northern Michigan U)

“...standing O for crev.info.”
(a database programmer in California)

“Just wanted to say that I am thrilled to have found your website!  Although I regularly visit numerous creation/evolution sites, I’ve found that many of them do not stay current with relative information.  I love the almost daily updates to your ‘headlines’ section.  I’ve since made it my browser home page, and have recommended it to several of my friends.  Absolutely great site!”
(a network engineer in Florida)

“After I heard about Creation-Evolution Headlines, it soon became my favorite Evolution resource site on the web.  I visit several times a day cause I can’t wait for the next update.  That’s pathetic, I know ... but not nearly as pathetic as Evolution, something you make completely obvious with your snappy, intelligent commentary on scientific current events.  It should be a textbook for science classrooms around the country.  You rock!”
(an editor in Tennessee)

“One of the highlights of my day is checking your latest CreationSafaris creation-evolution news listing!  Thanks so much for your great work -- and your wonderful humor.”
(a pastor in Virginia)

“Thanks!!!  Your material is absolutely awesome.  I’ll be using it in our Adult Sunday School class.”
(a pastor in Wisconsin)

“Love your site & read it daily.”
(a family physician in Texas)

“I set it [crev.info] up as my homepage.  That way I am less likely to miss some really interesting events.... I really appreciate what you are doing with Creation-Evolution Headlines.  I tell everybody I think might be interested, to check it out.”
(a systems analyst in Tennessee)

“I would like to thank you for your service from which I stand to benefit a lot.”
(a Swiss astrophysicist)

“I enjoy very much reading your materials.”
(a law professor in Portugal)

“Thanks for your time and thanks for all the work on the site.  It has been a valuable resource for me.”
(a medical student in Kansas)

“Creation-Evolution Headlines is a terrific resource.  The articles are always current and the commentary is right on the mark.”
(a molecular biologist in Illinois)

Creation-Evolution Headlines is my favorite ‘anti-evolution’ website.  With almost giddy anticipation, I check it several times a week for the latest postings.  May God bless you and empower you to keep up this FANTASTIC work!”
(a financial analyst in New York)

“I read your pages on a daily basis and I would like to let you know that your hard work has been a great help in increasing my knowledge and growing in my faith.  Besides the huge variety of scientific disciplines covered, I also enormously enjoy your great sense of humor and your creativity in wording your thoughts, which make reading your website even more enjoyable.”
(a software developer in Illinois)

“THANK YOU for all the work you do to make this wonderful resource!  After being regular readers for a long time, this year 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).

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Featured Creation Scientist for August


Joseph Henry
1797 - 1878

Question: Which of the following institutions is led by a born-again, Bible-believing Christian who prays for guidance and accepts the Biblical creation account as true?

  1. Smithsonian Institution
  2. American Association for the Advancement of Science
  3. Princeton University science department
  4. National Academy of Sciences
If it’s the 19th century, it is “all of the above.”  These distinguished positions were held by one man: Joseph Henry.  Remarkably, these honors are less important than the scientific contributions made by one of America’s foremost early scientists.

1. Smithsonian.  Joseph Henry was the first Secretary and Director of the Smithsonian in 1846.  (James Smithson, a British scientist, had established in his will that his estate should go “to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.”  By the time of the appointment, in his fifties, Henry was considered one of America’s leading scientists, and well deserving of the honor.  His work helped build the reputation of the Smithsonian as a world class institution of science, history and art (for background, see the Smithsonian website, particularly the part about Joseph Henry).
    During his tenure at the Smithsonian, Joseph Henry was an advisor to President Abraham Lincoln on the use of ironclad ships, served on numerous governmental advisory boards, began projects that led to the establishment of the U.S. Weather Bureau, and encouraged the building of Lick Observatory in California.  He built a telegraphic network for monitoring weather around the country.  He projected the sun’s disk onto a white screen and discovered that sunspots are cooler than their surroundings.  He did much to put the Smithsonian on a strong footing and to promote the rapid dissemination of scientific knowledge.  Today, the Smithsonian is the largest complex of museums in the world.

2. AAAS.  In 1848, Joseph Henry was a founding member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  Though known today for its pro-Darwin advocacy and anti-creationism, several of the founding fathers, including Henry, Louis Agassiz, Benjamin Silliman and James Dwight Dana were Bible-believing Christians.

3. Princeton.  Joseph Henry was a distinguished professor at Princeton University from 1832 to 1846.

4. NAS.  Henry was an original member of the National Academy of Sciences and served as its second President from 1868 till his death in 1878.

Now that his credentials are beyond question, who was Joseph Henry, and what did he believe?  Henry has been called the “American Faraday,” because like Michael, he was raised in poverty yet became a great scientist.  Similarly scatterbrained as a boy, without a clue to the direction his life would take, Henry discovered the world of science by reading books.  Like Faraday, he had a mind that could tackle a problem methodically and reduce ideas to their basic simplicity.  Henry’s Smithsonian rivaled the prestige of Faraday’s Royal Institution.  Even more coincidental, his discoveries overlapped those of his British counterpart.  In fact, when Henry met Faraday in 1837, he taught him a thing or two about electricity.  He did a demonstration of self-induction to Faraday and Wheatstone that led Faraday to clap his hands in delight and exclaim, “Hurrah for the Yankee experiment!” (Wilson, p. 63).

Joseph Henry had a penchant for making important scientific discoveries for which others got the credit.  He actually discovered electromagnetic induction before Faraday, but because Faraday published it first, history rewards him for discovering this most important principle that, according to the IEEE, “practically created electrical engineering.”  Priority in discovery was a big thing to a scientist then, as it is now; finding out a European had beat him to the press was a deep disappointment to Henry, something he regretted the rest of his life.  But he was such a perfectionist, and had been so busy with his teaching responsibilities at Princeton he had not had time to publish the discovery till the following summer vacation—too late.  He almost gave up publishing his electromagnetic experiments at all.  If it hadn’t been for Benjamin Silliman’s encouragement, history might have lost the record of the American scientist’s discoveries.

Added to that, he anticipated Samuel F. B. Morse by at least five years by creating the electromagnetic relay and constructing a telegraph with it.  He even shared it with Morse and Wheatstone (inventor of the British telegraph), and they both used it, and got the credit for inventing the telegraph.  As if that were not enough, he essentially discovered the transmission of radio waves half a century before Hertz did, and had made a statement before Maxwell that the propagation of electricity through space was identical to that of light.  Because these discoveries were published late in obscure journals, he seemed doomed to be the overlooked winner watching others get the blue ribbons.  If for nothing else, he is credited with the discovery of self-induction (the magnetic effect of a current on itself), and the unit of induction – the henry (plural, henries) – was named after him.

In spite of his prestigious appointments later in life, recognition for Henry’s fundamental contributions to electromagnetism was a long time in coming.  Even today he is lesser known than his peers.  Mitchell Wilson wrote that much of the knowledge that bridged Benjamin Franklin’s experiments and James Clerk Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory was gathered by one man—Joseph Henry, in the 15 years between 1829 to 1844.  Why was he not recognized?  To the Europeans, he was ignored because he was an American; to his fellow Americans, “his friends mistook his scientific idealism for lack of the American spirit.”  Wilson continues, “Not until after he was dead and the contemporaries of his youth were gone did younger men realize that he had been a giant and that the considerable fame he had achieved during the latter half of his life had been for the least of his works.”  The Smithsonian is trying to correct these oversights through its Joseph Henry Papers Project, where some of his writings are being published; they even cataloged items named after him, such as the Henry Mountains in Utah, the SS Henry Liberty ship and Cape Henry at the North Pole.

Joseph Henry was born into a Scots Presbyterian family of little means, and held strong religious beliefs, according to a book review printed in Nature 30 April 1998.  As to his beliefs and character, some quotes found on the Smithsonian’s Joseph Henry Papers Project provide glimpses:

— If we act conscientiously and faithfully, endeavouring before God to do our duty, the result in the long run cannot be otherwise than good.

— ...he has not lived in vain who leaves behind him as his successor a child better educated morally, intellectually, and physically than himself.

— I am a sensitive man, perhaps nervously so, and though I have not been insensible to the value of true fame, and have striven to connect my name with the history of the science of this country, I have shrunk from notoriety and have neither coveted nor sought popular applause.

— God has created man in his own intellectual image, and graciously permitted him to study His modes of operation, and rewards his industry in this line by giving him powers and instruments which affect in the highest degree his material welfare.

— How short the space between the two cardinal points of an earthly career, the point of birth and that of death; and yet what a universe of wonders are presented to us in our rapid flight through this space.

— Let the fact be constantly before our minds not to lessen our interest in the affairs of this life but to render us less anxious as to the events of this world whether they turn out for our advantage or not or how long we may be permitted to remain on Earth.  Let us put our trust more fully than ever in Him who will order all things for the best who put full reliance on Him.

— Let us labor like servants who are certainly and shortly to give an account of their stewardship diligently seeking to know our duty and faithfully and fearlessly strive to do it; constantly mindful of the fact that nothing but purity of heart is acceptable to God and that we are constantly in his presence and known to him are all our thoughts and intentions however they may be hid from our fellow men.

— The great object of the Bible is the revelation of moral, not physical truth, and that of Physical Science the discovery of physical law, not moral precepts.

— Again when we pass from the phenomena of life to those of mental and moral emotions, we enter a region of still more absolute mystery, in which our light becomes darkness and we are obliged to bow in profound humiliation, acknowledging that the highest flights of science can only reach the threshold of the temple of faith.

— Knowledge to be converted into wisdom must be made our own.

More than a thousand words could, this anecdote found by Henry Morris (Men of Science, Men of God, p. 49) speaks volumes about Joseph Henry, the man:
“He was also a devout Christian, making it a regular practice to stop, to worship God, and then to pray for divine guidance at every important juncture of the experiment.”


Mitchell Wilson, “Joseph Henry,” Scientific Genius and Creativity, Readings from Scientific American (W. H. Freeman and Co., New York, 1952, 1987), ch. 8.

Henry Morris, Jr., Men of Science, Men of God (Master Books, 1988), p. 49.
==================
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).

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