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Explorer 1 Chief Discovers Design 01/31/2008
On this day 50 years ago, America entered the space race.
On January 31, 1958, America gave its
answer to Sputnik: a civilian satellite named Explorer 1.
Within a few hours of the time of day these words are being written, von Brauns Jupiter-C rocket
at Cape Canaveral, Florida, successfully launched a JPL satellite into the night sky. An eager team of JPL ham
radio operators picked up the signal in Pasadena, California, confirming that
the satellite had reached orbit.
Many are familiar with the iconic photograph of William Pickering, James Van Allen and
Wernher von Braun hoisting a replica of the satellite in a victory press conference
in Washington DC in the middle of the night as soon as the signal was verified (see image at
Explorer 1 is a great American success story. It produced the first scientific
discovery in space (the Van Allen radiation belts), prompted the
formation of NASA, and marked the beginning of JPLs epic exploration of
the solar system. Details on Explorer 1 can be found at a special feature
at JPL. A documentary film
produced by the lab is being premiered today on HD Discovery Theater and
PBS: for show times, see:
On the eve of the anniversary, Dr. Henry L. Richter, Jr. (PhD, Caltech), a design
manager for Explorer 1, spoke to employees in the JPL Library about the
mission. Richter, the Group Supervisor of Explorer Design and Development,
was responsible for the team that designed the satellite, its
instruments and communications. He also was among those who verified with
ham radios that it had reached orbit. Now 80 years old, his mind still sharp as a tack, he recounted
details from the 1950s like it all happened yesterday. With scientific
acumen and engaging personal insights, he told the story of a fascinating time:
how JPL had prepared a
satellite before getting approval from President Eisenhower just in case, how he
selected the instruments, how his team invented things that didnt yet
exist, how they tested delicate parts with shake tables and sun lamps for a space
environment no one had yet experienced, how they tested the radio microlink relays
in the desert, how they eavesdropped on the transmissions from Sputnik and
Explorer with ham radio equipment, how he learned Russian in three weeks so
that he could deliver a lecture in Russian about the mission to the
International Geophysical Year convention in Moscow, and much more that
made for a great story.
As his talk was winding down, Dr. Richter turned to a bigger
subject. So in conclusion, he continued without breaking
stride, Id just like to make one comment,
that having been involved in all this, and somewhat of a scientific background,
Ive come to the conclusion that the earth and the universe are no accident
of nature. The way theyre put together is very specific to allow
human life to exist on this earth whether its the distance of the
sun to the earth, its all the way it is to allow human life to exist.
And its according to a design, as far as Im concerned. And a
design demands a Design-er. And so someplace theres a cosmic
Designer that put it all together and made it workcall it God if you want.
And I decided I needed a relationship with that Designer. I developed one
late in life and my life has been drastically changed since then, and its
The Van Allen radiation belts discovered by Explorer 1 were found
to be essential for life on earth. They capture deadly radiation from space
and provide shielding for the inhabitants below. Subsequent missions revealed
that Mars lacks this protection (see 09/23/2006).
Today at JPL, the 50th anniversary was celebrated outdoors, with the
entire lab mingling over lunch with septegenarian and octogenarian veterans of the
Explorer 1 days. Dr. Richter was present sharing the limelight with a
remarkable group of American heroes who laid the foundation for the peaceful
exploration of space.
1. Note: Dr. Richter appears in the film. He spent many hours
researching the timeline and details of the mission from almost-forgotten records
and his own source material. JPLs media department,
however, is responsible for the content in the film.
The documentary, while interesting and well done, gives a bad impression
of Wernher von Braun. Viewers should follow up the movie with a re-reading
of our biography of the great rocket pioneer.
Word has it that a number of listeners congratulated Dr. Richter on the ending of
his speech and no one criticized it. This suggests the presence of a
silent majority eager to hear credible leaders speak out for creation.
The Darwinists might slink into the shadows if more distinguished scientists stood
up and proclaimed the obvious: that our universe is not a cosmic accident, but was
designed for life.
Cool Tool: Today, the Cassini Mission at JPL launched the
Cassini at Saturn Interactive
Explorer. Download the application and drive a spacecraft around Saturn!
This interactive visual is worth a thousand words. Based on real spacecraft
telemetry from the Cassini orbiter, its a fun way to celebrate how far
America has advanced in space in 50 years. Science teachers will appreciate
how it makes space, math and physics comprehensible. Kids will love it; adults risk becoming
addicted. Rumor has it that a Christian was the principle designer of this software treat.
Play the Mission Overview; zoom and drag with the mouse, and have some fun. Zoom in for a
ringside seat. Look down over the poles. Look back at Earth from behind Saturn.
The spacecraft view is stunning. This is not fiction; it really happens.
On the timeline you can watch what the spacecraft is doing right now.
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
A Step Closer to Gecko Adhesive 01/30/2008
Scientists are getting closer to imitating the amazing wall-climbing ability of
Daily reports that a team from UC Berkeley manufactured tape with hard polymer fibers
just 600 nanometers across that mimic the spatulae on gecko feet.
This latest attempt at imitating the gecko works only on smooth, clean
surfaces, but requires no pressure and resists sliding. It lifts off easily
and leaves no residue. Both gecko feet and the new tape work by employing
intermolecular forces called van der Waals forces that only become significant at
close range. The tiny fibers create a large surface area for these forces to
Next, the team wants to
improve it so that it can work on rough or dirty surfaces and clean itself.
Geckos are still way out in front in this technology (01/04/2005).
Their spatulae, being much smaller (200 nanometers in diameter), resist contamination
because large dirt particles are more likely to stick to the surface than to the foot.
It was only after 2000 that scientists began to
understand the physics of gecko feet (08/27/2002).
Immediately, they set out to imitate them. Products inspired by this technology will soon find wide application.
Science inspired by natures designs biomimetics is on the
forefront of research that, unlike evolutionary theory, is poised to improve
our daily lives.
Evolutionists caught rationalizing adultery, from
Next headline on:
Hidden Messages Found in DNA 01/29/2008
DNA contains the language of life, but what would happen if someone found hidden
messages in the genetic code? Such a thing actually happened, reported the
York Times. When Craig Venters lab produced an artificial organism,
they inserted hidden watermarks into the genome: his name, the names of co-workers, and the
name of the Venter Institute.
Science took up the puzzle and found the hidden messages. The sequences
of DNA translated into the letters for amino acids, which in turn spelled out
This was not the first genetic puzzle to be coded and deciphered.
The New York Times article said that in 2003, a German biotech company inserted
a line from Virgil into the DNA for a laboratory plant.
No doubt Venter would be quite upset if children
were taught in school that these messages evolved by random mutation and natural
selection over millions of years.
A Pitcher of Health, and Reasons to Love Slime 01/28/2008
Next headline on:
Pitcher plants contain chemicals that just might help medicine and agriculture,
A Japanese team found a myriad of interesting proteins in this evolutionary
marvel, a plant that eats insect meat.
Now for some slimy good news.
You know algae. Its the gunk that collects on the sides of a
fish tank when you forget to clean it. Its the slime that makes you
slip on rocks while crossing a stream. You probably think of algae as
a nuisance, if you even bother to think of it at all. How should you
love slime? Let me count the ways. Milt Sommerfeld and Qiang Hu
[The Laboratory for Algae Research & Biotechnology, University of Arizona]
think of algae as one of the most useful substances in existence.
Here are some of the slimy good things in your future:
environmentally friendly fuel, pollution control, food, fertilizer, wastewater
treatment and animal feed, among other things. Algae can take wastewater or
manure and convert it into environmentally-friendly biodiesel fuel.
With their flasks and beakers full of green fluid, Sommerfield and
Hu are excited about the prospects of harnessing these highly efficient,
photosynthetic factories to produce environmentally green solutions to human
Another team is investigating a gene that relieves stress in
plants, reported Science
Daily. Why? It may lead to a cure for cancer. Agricultural
crops more resistant to environmental stress may also be in the offing.
Scientists are still trying to harness the water-splitting power of
bacteria to produce clean-burning hydrogen fuel. Theyre getting warmer,
said a report in PhysOrg.
Five years ago (03/14/2003) and six years ago
(10/08/2001), we reported how auto makers were
envious of an enzyme called hydrogenase that splits water efficiently without
the large expenditure of energy required in artificial processes. Now,
Thomas Wood of the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering is corraling
barrels of genetically engineered E. coli to work their magic for mankind.
If his reactor can continue to increase its efficiency, you may someday drive a
hydrogen car that produces water as waste and runs on sugar.
Good science seeks understanding of things with
at least one tentacle on how it can help improve our lives. Why reinvent
solutions from scratch when many of them are literally right under our feet?
Think of something yucky around you mold, maggots, cobwebs, slime
and there is probably a miracle product waiting to be discovered. Forward-looking,
productive science owes nothing to evolutionary theory. The only
evolutionary marvels are the professors who cling to a dead,
Horseshoe Crabs Unchanged Since Ordovician 01/28/2008
Next headline on:
A fossil horseshoe crab has been discovered in Canada that pushes back their origins
at least 100 million years in the evolutionary timetable. The previous record
placed these marine arthropods in the Carboniferous (350 million years BP in the
geologic column); others were known from the Jurassic. Both the
Carboniferous and the Jurassic fossil discoveries indicate the ancient horseshoe
crabs greatly resembled their modern-day counterparts, said
The article contains photos of the two nearly-complete specimens,
which look like tiny versions of modern horseshoe crabs. From head to tip of
the tail, these are 1.5" long. Modern ones can grow to 20".
The discoverers put it into a new genus, Lunataspis aurora, but were not sure
if the small specimens were juveniles or adults.
How do evolutionists deal with this example of extreme stasis, or lack of
evolution, for hundreds of millions of years? Comments in the article revealed
the reaction: surprise, yet no loss of confidence in evolution or the timeline.
We wouldnt necessarily have expected horseshoe crabs to
look very much like the modern ones, but thats exactly what they
look like, [David] Rudkin [Royal Ontario Museum] said.
This body plan that theyve invented, theyve
stayed with it for almost a half a billion years. Its a good
plan, Rudkin told LiveScience. Theyve survived
almost unchanged up until the present day, whereas lots of other animals
And whereas major extinction events have wiped even the mightiest,
non-avian [sic] dinosaurs from our planet, this primitive-looking organism
has come out unscathed.
The horseshoe crab, the lowly little animal that crawls out of the
sea every once in a while to mate, its survived for at least 445 million
years in more or less the same form, Rudkin said.
The specimens were so finely preserved, even the compound eyes and flexible chitin coating were
visible. Chitin degrades over time, the article states.
For that reason, ancient specimens of horseshoe crabs have been sparse.
Update 02/01/2008: Science magazine, in its
Random Samples feature,2 admitted these fossils are virtually identical
to modern horseshoe crabs. David Rudkin said these are the quintessential
living fossils of biology textbooks. Another paleontologist
said the common ancestor should exist somewhere in Cambrian.
1. An article from
Geographic News in 2002 (reported here
06/21/2002) claims that horseshoe crabs go back
500 million years, but did not cite any specific fossils. If true, it pushes
the horseshoe crab into the Cambrian. Horseshoe crabs possess many similarities to
those icons of the Cambrian explosion, the trilobites.
2. Random Samples, Science,
Volume 319, Number 5863, Issue of 01 February 2008.
Friends, you have just witnessed ideology driving
belief to the point of absurdity. This is why evolution gets falsified over
and over and over again, and its adherents still refuse to admit defeat.
And this is not the worst example. Remember the fossil ctenophores that look
identical to modern ones, but were found fossilized in Cambrian strata 540 million
years old? (04/03/2007). The whole
fossil record is replete with similar stories of extreme stasis
11/15/2007 bullet 6,
Geologists admit they were wrong about isochron dating methods, from
Notice that these specimens were already fully-equipped horseshoe
crabs. They were not primitive, transitional forms. An evolutionist
would have to infer that their ancestors existed far earlier, probably back in the
Cambrian or before. Its probably only a matter of time that a Cambrian
horseshoe crab will be discovered. Trilobites, similar complex arthropods with
jointed appendages and compound eyes, are well known Cambrian animals. In any
case, these fully-formed horseshoe crabs appear abruptly in the Ordovician strata
without ancestors, with soft parts fossilized and undisturbed. If they are
juveniles, they could well be identical to modern species.
explanation is that the millions of years in the evolutionary timetable are
complete fiction. These specimens are not hundreds of millions of years
old. That would be obvious to any impartial jury hearing all the evidence.
To admit that, though, would be tantamount to reclassifying Darwins little
book from the science section to the storybook section a fate too horrible
for the Darwinists to imagine, so the faith goes on.
But faith it is. What shameless credulity allows these people to believe that
delicate fossils like these sat in rocks half a billion years only to show up
now, unchanged from living counterparts? Think about how many
generations that is (in their timeline). There was ample opportunity for
the inexorable forces of evolutionary change we are forced to learn about in
school to have modified these spider-like animals
to have given them harder armor, lungs, snorkels, water wings or something to show for
all that time.
The claim that they invented a good body plan and stayed with it
half a billion years is so ludicrous, all sensible people should rise up and
laugh the Darwinists to shame. If this were the only case it would be sufficient,
but critics have been pointing out these anomalies since Darwins day, and
nothing ever changes.
So strong is the grip of the Darwin Party on institutional
science, theirs is the only belief system too sacred to criticize.
By force of decree it has been labeled the scientific view of the world.
It and it alone is permitted to be taught as science.
All other explanations must be relegated to the religion class, where the pseudoscientists
and clowns hang out. Something is really rotten in this regime.
Next headline on:
Molecular Phylogeny Is a Mess of Uncertainty 01/26/2008
Genomes galore a great opportunity to study evolution, right?
Think again. A paper in Science by Wong et al1 revealed systematic uncertainty in
the way genomes are compared, leading to bias that makes genetic comparisons essentially
useless. Antonis Rokas, in the same issue,2 began his
commentary on this problem thus:
Darwin relied on fossils, morphology, and geographical distribution to glean important clues about the history of life. Today, natural historians can study organisms history of change and adaptation by probing the DNA record. Whether to elucidate evolutionary relationships of genes and species or spot the amino acid changes driven by selection, we need to be able to generate accurate alignments of DNA sequences. On page 473 of this issue, Wong et al.1 provide some important caveats on how this can go awry and how to avoid alignment bias.
Rokas continued with a folksy explanation of the basic problem:
For years, the standard protocol has been to pick a favorite algorithm to optimize the alignment it generates. This approach is fast and easy, but it is like being forced to always settle on vanilla ice cream for dessert; doing so can taint ones opinion about ice cream. Similarly, sticking to the use of a single alignment from a single algorithm can bias the estimation of phylogenies or of other evolutionary parameters pivotal to our understanding of the DNA record. Until now, the extent and potential significance of this bias introduced by alignment was unknown. Wong and colleagues quantify the contribution of alignment uncertainty to genome-wide evolutionary analyses and report that we sweep this uncertainty under the proverbial rug at our peril.
Wong and team used seven popular programs to compare seven genomes. The term popular
is not used lightly here, Rokas notes; these programs have been employed,
judging by citation counts, in at least 25,000 analyses. The potential
for revision, therefore is enormous. What did the researchers find?
They report that a staggering 46.2% of the genes examined exhibit variation in the phylogeny produced dependent on the choice of alignment method, whereas the prediction of the amino acid changes driven by selection was likewise method dependent for another 28.4% of the genes.
The significance of this whoops admission cannot be overstated.
For years, evolutionary biologists have depended on the popular algorithms
to generate phylogenetic trees, expecting their results to be reliable. Rokas
explains that high bootstrap values for some trees (a popular index that
is supposed to measure robustness in inference) can be misleading, because
bootstrap values do not always equate with phylogenetic accuracy.
But if the bootstrap value is strong, what is in error the signal or the
phylogenetic inference? Rokas did not explore the latter possibility.
Wong et al explain how researchers can fall into the trap
by trusting algorithms that cannot bear the weight of inference placed on them:
A common theme in comparative genomics studies is a flow diagram, or chart, tracing the various steps and algorithms used during the analysis of a large number of genes. Flow charts can be quite sophisticated, with steps such as identifying orthologous gene sets, aligning the genes, and performing different statistical analyses on the resulting alignments. The key point, and a great practical difficulty in comparative genomics studies, is that the analyses must be repeated many times. The procedure, then, is largely automated, with scripting languages such as Perl or Python cobbling together individual programs that perform each step. In addition, many of the individual steps involve procedures originally developed in the evolutionary biology literature, to perform phylogeny estimation or to identify individual amino acid residues under the influence of positive selection. Statistical methods that until recently would have been applied to a single alignment, carefully constructed, are now applied to a large number of alignments, many of which may be of uncertain quality and cause the underlying assumptions of the methods to fail.
This seems to indicate another problem: the very algorithms trusted were written on the
assumption of evolution. Is there a circularity here? Will the algorithm
select the data that will produce the expected evolutionary result? They did not
state that the uncertainty is not just a matter of sloppy analysis. A biologist may run
the program with great care and precision. Its trusting the algorithms themselves,
and being unaware of the uncertainties, that leads to huge errors and false conclusions.
They explain how this can happen:
Many comparative genomics studies are carefully performed and reasonable in design. However, even carefully designed and carried out analyses can suffer from these types of problems because the methods used in the analysis of the genomic data do not properly accommodate alignment uncertainty in the first place. Moreover, the genes that are of greatest interest to the evolutionary biologist probably suffer disproportionately. For example, in several studies, the genes of greatest interest were the ones that had diverged most in their nonsynonymous rate of substitution. But, these are the very genes that should be the most difficult to align in the first place. We also do not believe that the alignment uncertainty problem is one that can be resolved by simply throwing away genes, or portions of genes, for which alignment differs.
In fact, throwing out portions that have ambiguous alignments can lead to other problems,
such as removing a large portion of the primary data. It also does not guarantee the
remainder will line up well.
Rokas has a good-news-bad-news story. On the hopeful side, several novel statistical
methods that simultaneously estimate alignment and evolutionary parameters of interest
such as phylogeny have shown exceptional promise, he said. The bad news
is theres a catch: The computational demands of these programs are prohibitive.
Wong et al suggested some ways to mitigate alignment bias.
No matter the quality control used, though, carefulness is not going to solve all the
problems. The goal is to analyze all of the genes in the genome,
they said. As we have shown here, many of these genes will be difficult
to align and result in highly variable evolutionary parameter estimates.
They did not seem to explore the possibility of circular reasoning in the algorithms.
Wow. This is going to be a shattering revelation to many a biologist.
Rokas put the best possible spin on a bad situation:
As in any scientific field, molecular evolution has a long tradition of dramatic transformation. The development of a powerful computational and statistical arsenal to account for the uncertainty stemming from sequence alignments is heralding the first paradigm shift in the era of genome-scale analysis.
Now, the question is what to do about the 25,000 erroneous papers, and how long it
will take to overcome the inertia of thousands of scientists continuing to use the
popular algorithms oblivious to their inherent uncertainties.
1. Wong, Suchard and Huelsenbeck, Alignment Uncertainty and Genomic Analysis,
25 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5862, pp. 473-476, DOI: 10.1126/science.1151532.
2. Antonis Rokas, Lining Up to Avoid Bias,
25 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5862, pp. 416-417, DOI: 10.1126/science.1153156..
This shouldnt be news. A team of scientists
reported six years ago that building phylogenetic trees with any realistic measure of
reliability was mathematically impossible (07/25/2002).
Evolutionary biologists have to make assumptions and take shortcuts to get results.
Because the algorithms are built on evolutionary assumptions (e.g., what constitutes
positive selection, or what constitutes maximum likelihood or a parsimonious solution),
the whole exercise is circular. Dont think for a minute that a computer
program built by evolutionists for evolutionists is going to generate bias-free,
objective, neutral facts of science. They is a-huntin' for Darwins trees, and
Darwins trees is what they gonna get.
Leslie Orgels Last Testament:
This paper is not likely to make much of a dent.
Life will go on, because tree-thinking is inscribed with an iron stylus on the evolutionary
biologists brain (11/14/2005). It
influences everything he thinks and does. Besides, the importance of bashing down
the creationists with mountains and mountains of scientific evidence for evolution
is too important for a little bit of error, say 75% or more, to hinder the mission. With
coming, the show must go on!
Next headline on:
Pigs Dont Fly, and Life Doesnt Just Happen 01/26/2008
A veteran origin-of-life researcher died last October: Leslie E. Orgel of the
Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Orgel had co-authored Origins of Life
on the Earth (1973) with Stanley Miller, the man whose spark-discharge experiment
launched the modern origin-of-life craze in the 1950s (05/02/2003).
Orgel worked in the field for decades and was familiar with all the different approaches.
Apparently Orgel was working on an essay when he died. Gerald Joyce
[Scripps Institute], who wrote a eulogy to Orgel in Nature last November
submitted Orgels manuscript to PLoS Biology. It was published
posthumously this week on January 22. Origin-of-life [OOL] researchers will not find much encouragement
in Orgels last scientific will and testament. It bears careful reading, however, coming
from someone who spent a lifetime working on and thinking about chemical evolution.
The essay is entitled, The Implausibility of Metabolic
Cycles on the Prebiotic Earth.
The caption states, In this essay, the final contribution of his scientific career,
Leslie Orgel explores the severe difficulties that arise when these proposals are
scrutinized from the standpoint of chemical plausibility.
To understand his critique, the reader should be aware that OOL research
bifurcated into two disparate approaches in the 1990s. The genetic party,
endorsed by Stanley Miller, Leslie Orgel, Jeffrey Bada
(06/14/2002), Steven Benner
(11/05/2004) and others,
looks for prebiotic macromolecules able to carry genetic information:
DNA, RNA, PNA (12/17/2005), TNA and other
candidates. The newer metabolic party
is less ambitious than to expect such complex polymers to arise naturally. They
propose that self-sustaining cycles of simpler compounds might arise, to be co-opted
later by information-storing RNA and DNA. Champions of this approach have included
Gunter Wachterschauser, Michael Russell (12/03/2004), Harold Morowitz
(03/23/2005), Stuart Kauffman
(05/09/2006), and Robert Shapiro
(02/15/2007). Robert Hazen gave it good press in
the Teaching Company lecture series Origins
of Life while comparing and contrasting both schools of thought and describing
them as somewhat spirited and adamant rivals.
While Orgel might be expected to be partial to the genetic
school, his final criticisms of the field are broad enough to raise serious concerns
about the ability of natural processes to produce life at all by any method.
Combining this essay with Shapiros devastating critique of genetic approaches last year
(q.v., 02/15/2007), it seems that both approaches,
like warriors in close combat, have both given and received mortal wounds, falling down together.
Orgel was not entirely dismissive of the metabolic approach on theoretical
grounds. Indeed, he said, If complex cycles analogous to metabolic cycles
could have operated on the primitive Earth, before the appearance of enzymes or
other informational polymers, many of the obstacles to the construction of a
plausible scenario for the origin of life would disappear.
No obstinacy here; he would welcome such a discovery.
Its the implausibility of metabolic scenarios that, to him, render them
useless in the real world. Scenarios cannot be merely clever and imaginative.
They have to obey the laws of chemistry. They need to be experimentally demonstrable.
Orgels essay is open for public reading. He stated,
The main purpose of this Essay is to examine the plausibility of these and some
related hypothetical nonenzymatic cycles. Could prebiotic molecules and catalysts
plausibly have the attributes that must be assigned to them in order to make the
self-organization of the cycles possible? Those without an
organic chemistry background can wade through the jargon and decipher his main criticisms:
Orgel spent several paragraphs dismantling Kauffmans mathematical proposal for a peptide cycle,
which is interesting to read for those with an appetite for details.2 Even more
interesting are some off-the-cuff remarks he made that, like an overheard microphone in wartime, reveal
weaknesses to the enemy:
- Could is not good enough: It must be recognized that assessment
of the feasibility of any particular proposed prebiotic cycle must depend on arguments
about chemical plausibility, rather than on a decision about logical possibility.
To claim a chemical reaction is possible does not mean it will ever happen. What are
the specific reactants? How efficient are they? Researchers must present ideas
that are chemically plausible, not just possible.
- Paper is not good enough: It is a catalytic cycle in which a
complicated sequence of enzymatic reactions is used to bring about indirectly a reaction
that looks simple on paper, but is not easily achieved in practice.
A researcher needs to think about chemical cofactors required, and the possibility of
damaging cross-reactions, for instance, or whether reactions in a cycle are likely to
proceed in a realistic time frame.
- Time is not enough: A metabolic cycle on the primitive earth may have had
eons longer to work than a chemist in a lab. However, the identification of a
cycle of plausible prebiotic reactions is a necessary but not a sufficient step toward
the formulation of a plausible self-organizing prebiotic cycle.
- Where are the exits? Every step in a metabolic cycle needs to be efficient
enough to keep the whole cycle going. The cycle could not survive if side
reactions funneled off more than half of the cycle components irreversibly, because
then the concentration of the cycle components would decline exponentially to zero.
- Weakest link breaks the chain: A researcher might be able to propose that
each step in a metabolic cycle, say the 11 steps in the reverse citric acid cycle, is
plausible in a prebiotic environment. However, the reactions are not independent because each
reaction is pulled toward completion by the use of its product as the input for the subsequent
reaction of the cycle.
- Dont forget thermodynamics: Because reactions are reversible, it is
likely the input of a step will be depleted. Whatever the original input,
one would finish with an equilibrium mixture, the composition of which is determined
by thermodynamics. Equilibrium means you are at a standstill and nothing
more will happen.
- Not all reactions are created equal: Orgel lists seven reactions in the
reverse citric acid cycle (one popular scenario for a self-organizing metabolic scenario)
that are completely different. The reverse citric acid cycle involves a number
of fundamentally different kinds of chemical transformations, he said;
At the very least, six different catalytic activities would have been needed to
complete the reverse citric acid cycle. What would this require: six different
environments on the early earth? This could be argued, but with questionable plausibility,
- Beware of thieves: Damaging side reactions are often more likely to occur
than the desired ones. Orgel gives examples, such as difficult carboxylation
reactions. This reaction would move material irreversibly out of the cycle,
so one must postulate a specific catalyst that discriminates between
succinic and malic acid.
- Inspectors required: Biological enzymes in living cells are experts at discriminating
between similar substrates. The same cannot be assumed in a prebiotic environment:
One needs, therefore, to postulate highly specific catalysts for these reactions.
It is likely that such catalysts could be constructed by a skilled synthetic chemist, but
questionable that they could be found among naturally occurring minerals or
prebiotic organic molecules.
- Minerals are not enough: Clay surfaces and other substrates have been
popular ingredients in metabolic cycle scenarios. The necessary reactions might occur
on these natural lab tables, they say. Orgel discusses two leading scenarios.
While the details of the two proposals are different, the difficulty of
achieving all of the required reactions while avoiding all of the likely side
reactions seems at least as formidable in both of them.
- Hand-waving is not enough: Orgel criticizes a recent proposal by
Wachtershauser that describes self-organization by metabolic reproduction, evolution,
and inheritance by ligand feedback. Suggestive words. Unfortunately he
never explains, even in outline, how this mechanism could lead to the
synthesis of the aminoacyl-nucleotide conjugates that seem to be an essential
feature of the proposal.
- One example is not enough: The only autocatalytic cycle
that has been demonstrated experimentally is that involved in the formose reactionthe
polymerization of formaldehyde to give a notoriously complex mixture of products,
including ribose, the organic component of the backbone of RNA.
Well, this must be the path to explore! Indeed, researchers have explored this path
since it was discovered in the 19th century. Is it the holy grail? Not
exactly; the mix must be seeded with
certain impurities to get started, and Despite some successes, it is still not
possible to channel the formose reaction in such a way as to produce ribose
in substantial yield.
Ribose, of course, is one of the most difficult essential parts of RNA to
imagine forming on the prebiotic earth especially in the presence of water
(see Benner, 11/05/2004). The proposed
hopeful cycles, unfortunately, produce a host of other unhelpful reaction products.
- Simple is not enough: Orgel begins a section on Cycles and the Evolution
of Complexity. Assume a cycle begins. That does not mean that complexity
will evolve. A cycle ... does
not seem capable of evolving in any interesting way without becoming more complex.
The scenarios that suggest a substantial amount of information content will emerge
from a simple cycle, with genetic macromolecules coming in late to add stability, are little more
than intuitions not schemes that can be examined critically.
- Variation is not enough: Suggesting that a change in temperature or concentration
is a form of evolution is a play on words. For instance, one could not usefully claim that the
dependence of the rate of a reaction such as ester hydrolysis on reaction conditions
is a form of evolution. At some point you have to add complexity to the picture.
The evolution of any substantial additional complexity of a cycle, therefore,
must depend on the appending of further reaction sequences to those present in the core cycle.
- The law of diminishing returns: Given the difficulty of finding an
ensemble of catalysts that are sufficiently specific to enable the original cycle,
it is hard to see how one could hope to find an ensemble capable of enabling
two or more. The further the scenario gets from the original simple cycle, the more the
problems arise. Orgel has heard many proposals in his career. None of them
explains how a complex interconnected family of cycles capable of evolution could arise
or why it should be stable.
In the conclusion of the essay, Orgel laid down the rules that all origin-of-life researchers must
obey: in a phrase, get real. In view of the importance of the topic, it is essential to
subject metabolist proposals to the same kind of detailed examination and criticism
that has rightly been applied to genetic theories. (Here he referred
to critiques by Shapiro; cf. 02/15/2007).
At least the genetic theorists, like himself, have a substantial body of experimental work
in their resumes. Orgel let the storytellers have it between the eyes:
- By faith: The discovery of a feasible, evolvable cycle would be a real breakthrough, but...
What is essential, therefore, is a reasonably detailed description, hopefully supported by experimental evidence, of how an evolvable family of cycles might operate. The scheme should not make unreasonable demands on the efficiency and specificity of the various external and internally generated catalysts that are supposed to be involved. Without such a description, acceptance of the possibility of complex nonenzymatic cyclic organizations that are capable of evolution can only be based on faith, a notoriously dangerous route to scientific progress.
- By intelligent design: You can get fantastic experimental results if you add design to the equation:
Ghadiri and his coworkers have demonstrated experimentally that peptide cycles of the type envisaged in Kauffmans theory are possible. They first showed that peptides of length 32 that have been carefully designed to self-associate to form stable coiled-coils will facilitate the ligation of their N-terminal and C-terminal subsequences. This shows that the self-replication of peptides is possible. In later work they demonstrated the self-organization of networks of ligation reactions when more than two carefully designed input peptides are used. These findings, however, cannot support Kauffmans theory unless the prebiotic synthesis of the specific 15mer and 17mer input peptides from monomeric amino acids can be explained. Otherwise, Ghadiris experiments illustrate intelligent design of input peptides, not spontaneous self-organization of polymerizing amino acids.
Those words must surely sting in the ears of researchers trying to avoid the D word design.
He presses the point: can these long chains necessary for autocatalytic cycles form spontaneously?
In several paragraphs, he explains why not. The short answer invokes words that
sound like Dembskis criterion of specified complexity for design: Clearly, self-organization
requires catalysis that is not only sufficiently efficient but also sufficiently
- Let us bow our heads; No worship leader, Orgel pauses to marvel at how life does what it does:
The catalytic properties of enzymes are remarkable. They not only accelerate reaction
rates by many orders of magnitude, but they also discriminate between potential substrates that
differ very slightly in structure. Would one expect similar discrimination in the
catalytic potential of peptides of length ten or less? The answer is
clearly no, and it is this conclusion that ultimately undermines the peptide cycle theory.
For a few more paragraphs, Orgel entertained various attempts to rescue Kauffmans theory. Alas;
Even if such systems exist, their relevance to the origin of life is unclear, he
said mercifully. It is unlikely, therefore, that Kauffmans theory describes
any system relevant to the origin of life.
Almost all proposals of hypothetical metabolic cycles have recognized that
each of the steps involved must occur rapidly enough for the cycle to be useful
in the time available for its operation. It is always assumed that this
condition is met, but in no case have persuasive supporting arguments been presented.
Why should one believe that an ensemble of minerals that are capable of catalyzing each
of the many steps of the reverse citric acid cycle was present anywhere on the primitive Earth,
or that the cycle mysteriously organized itself topographically on a metal sulfide surface?
The lack of a supporting background in chemistry is even more evident in proposals
that metabolic cycles can evolve to life-like complexity. The
most serious challenge to proponents of metabolic cycle theoriesthe problems
presented by the lack of specificity of most nonenzymatic catalystshas, in general,
not been appreciated. If it has, it has been ignored. Theories of
the origin of life based on metabolic cycles cannot be justified by the inadequacy
of competing theories: they must stand on their own.
Orgel tried to soften this blow with suggestions that plausible cycles might some day be
discovered, for instance around hydrothermal events, and these deserve further investigation.
It is important to realize, however, that recognition of the
possible importance of prebiotic syntheses that could occur hydrothermally
does not necessitate a belief in their ability to self-organize.
In the final paragraph, the final words of his final essay,
he generalized to all kinds of origin-of-life theories.
You need pure building blocks to get polymers that might replicate themselves. You need
to sift the good from the bad in the complex mixtures that result from experiments.
No solution of the origin-of-life problem will be possible until the gap between
the two kinds of chemistry is closed. Then, he uttered his last scientific writing with the most stinging
words of all, aimed at the whole OOL community:
Simplification of product mixtures through the self-organization of organic reaction
sequences, whether cyclic or not, would help enormously, as would the discovery
of very simple replicating polymers. However, solutions offered by supporters
of geneticist or metabolist scenarios that are dependent on if pigs could fly
hypothetical chemistry are unlikely to help.
Rest in peace, Dr. Orgel.
1. Leslie E. Orgel, The Implausibility of Metabolic Cycles on the Prebiotic Earth,
Library of Science: Biology, 6(1): e18, Jan 22, 2008, doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060018.
2. Kauffmans model depends on peptides growing to a certain length that can
autocatalyze one another. Orgel shows additional factors that would be required,
reducing the plausibility of his hypothesis, which is more mathematical than experimental
to begin with. Kauffman misunderstands the thermodynamics of peptide bond formation.
He thinks amino acids will be plentiful and will spontaneously form long polypeptides,
Orgel complains, In practice, this would not happen. In fact, the
need for coupling agents becomes a problem for all origin-of-life theories that depend
on the formation of polypeptides or polynucleotides. The problem
could only be avoided by proposing a series of monomers, such as aminoaldehydes,
that polymerize spontaneously, but the difficulty of finding a prebiotic synthesis of
suitable monomers then becomes severe.
Ouch! Or should we shout, Amen! What a
way to go. No more spark-discharging simple gases for him. Orgel has just tased
everyone in the OOL community with shocks of realism. Does it get any
better than this?
The Geologists Were Wrong 01/25/2008
We spent a lot of time on this entry because of its significance.
Evolutions theory of the origin of life is the fulcrum on which the entire
evolutionary worldview rests, like an inverted pyramid at the tipping point.
The news media, and childrens textbooks, make it all look so easy. NASA
repeatedly insinuates that the mere presence of water on some planet or moon means that life cant be
far behind. For over 50 years now, textbooks have been decorated with Millers
spark-discharge experiment, that useful lie, that icon of the Darwin Party propaganda machine
(05/02/2003). The propaganda has deceived
the public into thinking scientists have essentially solved the puzzle of the origin of life,
and God is out of business.
Orgel has been in the thick of actual OOL research and, thank God, did
not lose his scientific realism completely like so many of the others have.
Practically on his deathbed he has preached a final hellfire sermon against researchers
who substitute imagination for reality, faith for experimentation. He reprimated
those who unscrupulously
insert that foreign, despised, prohibited ingredient into their equations:
intelligent design! You may go speculate about flying pigs, Orgel says, but dont
claim that by doing so you are doing science, or helping the evolution movement.
Read this article, then read Shapiros critique of the genetics-first
approach (02/15/2007). Here
you have two champions both collapsing in the ring with fatal
wounds. Creationists and Intelligent Design debaters need do nothing but show
the tape. The evolution advocates have falsified each other, the flying pig
circus tent has collapsed, and the pyramid has tipped toward intelligent design,
never to point toward evolution again.
Thanks for hanging in there with this long entry. We just thought our readers would like to know what the
silly TV shows and kiddie books arent telling you. As Porky (the
flying) Pig always ended his Looney Tunes, Th-Th-Th-Thats all, folks!
Cartoons are over. Get off the couch, go outside, and have a
great day in the real world the world of Creation.
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
More examples of collapsing theories have appeared in the literature this
week (compare last week, 01/21/2008):
In addition, Science contained an entertaining article by Richard Kerr about
the geologic time scale.5 Ever hear of the Quaternary
period? The name is in the midst of a tug-of-war between geologists who want to
keep the name on the charts, and those who want to scrap it in favor of Lyells
term Pleistocene. Some are surreptitiously sneaking the name out in their books
and charts, but others who like the old name arent about to let them get away
- Dirty Comet: The Stardust spacecraft that collected comet
samples in 2006 was so named because it was believed comets contained pristine material
from the birth of the sun. That has all changed.
Geographic News summarized a paper in Science1 that expressed a real surprise:
Comet Wild 2 was as dirty as an asteroid, and had earth-like composition.
The first surprise was that we found inner solar system materials, and the
second surprise was that we didnt find outer solar system materials,
remarked one researcher. Richard Kerr, writing in Science,2 said
they didnt even find one speck of unaltered, presolar material.
But then, how could this comet retain volatile gases at all if it
spent much time close to the sun? Its coming apart like crazy at
its present distance, said principle investigator Donald Brownlee.
And where are the pristine remnants of the early solar nebula if they exist
at all? The entire field of comet studies is up in the air.
For those of us who study presolar materials, its turned out to be a bit of a bust,
said a team member. Its changing the way we think about comets.
See also PhysOrg, which quoted
a researcher saying, I think this is science in action.
Its really exciting because its just not what we expected.
If science is constantly being surprised by the unexpected, to what degree can
scientists claim they are making progress?
- Farewell to Mantle Plumes: The textbook case of a mantle plume is
the Hawaiian Island chain. According to theory, it floats over a hot spot in the crust where
deep mantle material is rising. The evidence on which this has been based,
isotopic signatures of osmium and other elements, is now found to be flawed.
According to a paper in Science,3 the signatures are too heterogeneous
to constrain the theory. All the isotopic signatures could be accounted for
by processes occurring in the upper mantle, not deep mantle plumes.
Anders Meiborn, in the same issue of Science,4
called it the rise and fall of a great idea. He listed four major
observational inconsistencies with the long-held belief.
The finding also affects theories about undersea lava. The
concept of isotopic anomalies in oceanic basalts thus has to be applied
with extreme care,he warned. Indeed, with an upper mantle as
heterogeneous as the data by Luguet et al. suggest, it is difficult to
imagine that isotopic signatures in oceanic basalts can be uniquely tied to the outer core.
Changing the time scale means adjusting other names, cutting and
pasting, and moving periods around. Old books and charts risk going
obsolete. This is too upsetting for some geologists.
Some want a battle, some want compromise. The article reads
like a day at the academic wrestling ring. Sample:
Some geologists are incensed. All of a sudden they want to move [the Pleistocene]
down 800,000 years, says marine geologist Lucy E. Edwards of the U.S. Geological Survey in
Reston, Virginia. Why? Because we want it.
It upsets the stability of the nomenclature without a good scientific reason.
Many more marine geologists working in the Pleistocene would be completely
If the name Quaternary disappears from the books, did it ever exist in the rocks?
Thats a debate for humans. They are the ones who have a penchant for
1. Ishii et al, Comparison of Comet 81P/Wild 2 Dust with Interplanetary Dust from Comets,
25 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5862, pp. 447-450, DOI: 10.1126/science.1150683.
2. Richard A. Kerr, Where Has all the Stardust Gone?,
25 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5862, p. 401, DOI: 10.1126/science.319.5862.401a.
3. Luguet et al, Enriched Pt-Re-Os Isotope Systematics in Plume Lavas Explained by Metasomatic Sulfides,
25 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5862, pp. 453-456, DOI: 10.1126/science.1149868.
4. Anders Meiborn, The Rise and Fall of a Great Idea,
25 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5862, pp. 418-419, DOI: 10.1126/science.1153710.
5. Richard A. Kerr, A Time War Over the Period We Live In,
25 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5862, pp. 402-403, DOI: 10.1126/science.319.5862.402.
We must constantly be reminded of the difference
between brute facts and the fallible names and explanations humans impose
on them. What if the whole schemes about the earths core, the evolution of
the solar system, and the geologic time scale were wrong? Would it be determined
by the brute facts? How would fallible humans know? The earth is the
same, and the comet is the same, but human concepts have undergone multiple
revolutions in the last few centuries.
Intelligent design paper published by the National Academy of Sciences! Really? You be the judge:
Sometimes the very names we impose on things drive our conceptions of
what they are. Truths of reality are not obligated by human nomenclature,
group consensus or majority vote. Paradigm shifts may be more indications of
erratic movement, not progress toward The Truth.
Next headline on:
Do Chicks Tell Dinosaur Tales? 01/25/2008
For years, evolutionary biologists have battled over the origin of flight.
Did dinosaurs run along the ground and take off, or did they jump from trees?
The first idea is called the cursorial hypothesis; the latter, the arboreal hypothesis.
In 2003, Ken Dial [U Montana] had an idea: maybe watching partridge chicks could inform the debate.
This month his approach made the journal Nature.1
Dials team videotaped chukar partridges from hatching to adulthood,
and noticed their flapping behavior. As chicks, they hold out their undeveloped
forelimbs and appear to use them as stabilizers when running up slopes and over obstacles.
By the time they have grown up, this behavior has evolved into full flapping
flight. The evolutionary history of flight unfolded before his eyes:
Based on our results, we put forth an ontogenetic-transitional wing (OTW) hypothesis
for the origin of flight. The hypothesis posits that the transitional
stages leading to the evolution of avian flight correspond both behaviourally and
morphologically to the transitional stages observed in ontogenetic forms. Specifically,
from flightless hatchlings to flight-capable juveniles, many ground birds express a
transitional wing during development that is representative of evolutionary
transitional forms. Our experimental observations reveal that birds move their
proto-wings, and their fully developed wings, through a stereotypic or
fundamental kinematic pathway so that they may flap-run over obstacles, control
descending flight and ultimately perform level flapping flight (Fig. 1). The OTW
hypothesis provides a simple adaptive argument for the evolution of flight and can
be tested and observed in extant fledglings. This hypothesis differs
from other published accounts in that it is flap-based (in contrast to requiring a
gliding precursor), involves an aerodynamically functional proto-wing, incorporates
both the simultaneous and independent use of legs and wings and assumes that
a fundamental wing-stroke (described herein) was established for aerodynamic function
early in the bipedal ancestry leading to birds.
This explanation, the team thinks, overcomes limitations in both previous hypotheses.
The cursorial hypothesis fails to explain why no extant species uses its wings to run faster,
to secure prey or run–glide. The arboreal hypothesis has to assume a
gliding form was prerequisite to flapping flight because half a wing would have no
function, and that the flap-stroke appears too complex and thus relegated
to the derived [i.e., flying] condition. The new OTW hypothesis overcomes these pitfalls,
he claims, by finding functions
all the way up from running with outstretched forelimbs to full fledged flight. If this
recaptures the evolution of flight, it answers the question, what use is half a wing?
Science news reporters took up this hypothesis with triumphant fanfares:
Secrets of bird flight revealed
All in a flap: New evidence of how birds took to flight
Is there any fossil support for the transition from running with
outstretched forelimbs to flight? The paper did not refer to any fossils directly:
only to extinct taxa, such as the recently discovered fossil forms possessing
what is assumed to be half a wing and long cursorial legs but a check of
the references showed only the 2004 paper about tyrannosaurids with
unidentified skin filaments (10/06/2004) which
may in fact have been flayed collagen fibers, not feathers
(01/09/2008), and a paper co-authored by Dial
about Microraptor gui which appears to have been an odd bird capable of flight (see
03/27/2007). The long cursorial
legs referred to a year-2000 paper about Caudipteryx, now thought by
many to be a flightless bird within the class Aves, not a dinosaur.
None of these fossils appears pertinent to their hypothesis. One was a dinosaur
in the T. rex family. Obviously, T. rex did not use its diminutive
forearms for stabilization or flight! The other two were probably feathered birds
already capable of powered flight. In short, the paper provided no fossil support
and was based entirely on the behavior of modern true birds during their development.
The so-called ontogenetic transitional wing hypothesis rests entirely,
therefore, on a hunch that this behavior supplies indirect indications of a presumed
1. Kenneth P. Dial, Brandon E. Jackson and Paolo Segre,
A fundamental avian wing-stroke provides a new perspective on the evolution of flight,
advance online publication 23 January 2008, doi:10.1038/nature06517; Received 20 August 2007;
Accepted 27 November 2007; Published online 23 January 2008.
Ken Dial has been pushing this fictional plot for five
years now. Our comments about his highly-speculative and unsupportable hypothesis,
which rated the dumb award, bear re-reading (01/16/2003,
He claims it is testable but only on living birds that already have the
genetics for flying. This is absurd. It amounts to nothing more than job
security for storytellers (12/22/2003 commentary).
Instead of repenting in shame, now he has added the Haeckel fallacy to it (to be explained shortly).
Getting a Hand on Facts and Meanings 01/24/2008
Dr. Dial is apparently fond of chukars. Thats fine.
If he wants to go hunting for them, or even videotape them to understand their wing
function, great. No problem. But when he tries to weave an evolutionary
tale about the ancestry of flight, he is way, way off scientific course. He is flapping
Icarus wings in Fantasyland. Nothing like a little sunlight of scrutiny to melt them,
sending his ideas crashing down.
Over a century ago, Darwin-worshiper Ernst Haeckel promoted a similar
idea. He thought the evolutionary history of animals was preserved in
their embryonic development: a human embryo replayed its evolutionary history
by going through a worm stage, a fish stage, and finally a mammal stage. This
was dubbed the Recapitulation Theory and later was exalted into a law
of nature, the so-called Biogenetic Law, by Haeckel. Darwin himself considered it the
most powerful evidence of his theory. So strong was Haeckels belief and
commitment to Pope Charlie, he notoriously doctored embryo drawings to support his
Haeckel may have seemed the mild-mannered Jekyll, but his ideas
led to a Hyde of terror. The Recapitulation Theory led to all kinds of social mischief,
as described in articles by ICR and
AIG. Scientific racism,
Freudian psychology, and abortion trace their ancestry to Haeckels myth.
Today, it is almost completely discredited by scientists, even evolutionary biologists.
Why should an animal retain any genetic memory of presumed
ancestors and play them out on an embryonic stage? Stephen Jay Gould was
appalled by the idea. He dismantled the biogenetic law mercilessly
in his books, announcing that it is, and should be defunct. Dr. Keith Thompson (Yale)
said it went extinct in the 1920s and, as a scientific theory, is dead as a doornail.
Someone needs to inform Dr. Dial that his revival of recapitulation
theory is embarrassing. How can a living bird weave tales about dinosaurs
evolving flight? The whole notion is crazy. Does Dr. Dial not realize
that chukar partridge chicks have DNA for flight in every cell of their bodies?
Regardless of how they get about before they grow strong enough to fly, how on
earth can he presume to think that their behavior as chicks tells anything about
some mythical evolutionary past? Where are the fossils? Where are the
modern reptiles holding out their forelimbs in a series of transitions leading to
This is not science; its divination. When he looks into the
crystal ball (the video screen) of chicks running up a ramp with forelimbs outstretched,
the trance comes. Visions appear in his mind. He is transported mentally
into a swamp 150 million years in the mythical past. Behold! A theropod stretches
out its forelimbs and escapes the predator bearing down on him.
OK; cut, time out. Turn off the video playback and turn the lights back on. Unless a random
genetic mutation in the dinos gonads helped its offspring
run faster with outstretched forelimbs, significantly faster enough to make the
slower guys die off, he has concocted a Lamarckian tale.
This phony idea, which Dial has been preaching for five years at least, is Lamarckian,
progressivist, and Haeckelian. Its against the neo-Darwinist official party line.
Why, then, is Nature giving this crackpot idea the time of
day? Heres why: alls fair in love and war, and policy notwithstanding, any weapons that
can be used against creationists, even old duds and lies, are fair game.
This dud is dressed up in new jargon and fancy acronyms, but it wont
fly. If you want a shekel for your Haeckel, Dr. Dial, no sale. To
sound convincing, rather than experiment with living birds that already have flight
software, chase down some lizards until they take off into the air.
Go experiment on the Geico gecko and see if holding out his forelimbs will help
him fly some car insurance policies. Better yet, give up on evolutionary biology altogether.
Do something useful with your life, like hunting some chukar meat for dinner,
or marketing your videotapes to showcase the beautiful design of wings in these
Then we will stop laughing.
Next headline on:
What could be more simple than pressing a button with your finger? That
seemingly trivial action is the result of a complex neuro-motor-mechanical
process orchestrated with precision timing by the brain, nervous system and
muscles of the hand. So says a press release from University of
Southern California posted on
Simple, everyday acts we perform without thinking: cracking an egg,
typing on a keyboard, fastening a button, fumbling with a cell phone to answer a
call all require a sophisticated coordination and messaging system between
the brain, the nervous system and 30 muscles of the hand. Francisco Valero-Cuevas
of USCs Viterbi School of Engineering commented, we dont understand
well what a hand is bio-mechanically, how it is controlled neurologically,
how disease impairs it, and how treatment can best restore its function.
In an effort to begin to understand, Valero-Cuevas and Madhusudhan Venkadesan,
a mathematician from Cornell, measured electrical activity of the muscles of the hand
when students simply pressed a surface with a forefinger. Seven muscles of the
forefinger clearly switched from a motion mode to a force mode
65 milliseconds before impacting the surface. Venkadesans mathematical
modeling and analysis revealed that the underlying neural control also switched
between mutually incompatible strategies in a time-critical manner.
This is a neurally-demanding transition even for such a trivial act.
The brain must be planning the transition ahead of time, because there is a finite
amount of time required to activate the muscles. Neurophysiological limitations
prevent an instantaneous or perfect switch, Valero-Cuevas said, so we
speculate that there must be specialized circuits and strategies that allow people
to do so effectively. Imagine, he said, going through life with winter
gloves on. Thats how life would be without these systems.
Our ability to perform fine manipulation of objects with our fingers is a result
of many parts working together in precise ways.
What does all this mean? For one thing, it explains why it takes
years of training for children to master precision skills with their fingers like pinching
and manipulating objects, and why
these skills can be lost with neurological diseases and aging. But perhaps
even more importantly, he said, the findings suggest a functional
explanation for an important evolutionary feature of the human brain:
its disproportionately large sensory and motor centers associated with hand function.
Valero-Cuevas marched seamlessly from observations in the present to
speculations about prehistory.
If, indeed, the nervous system faced evolutionary pressures to be
able to anticipate and precisely control routine tasks like rapid precision pinch,
the cortical structures for sensorimotor integration for finger function
would probably need to be pretty well developed in the brain,
The article changed subjects at this point and talked about possible medical applications
of their biomechanical research. For some reason this story was unreachable on
the USC website.
The title was present, but the link was broken.
That would give us the neural circuits needed for
careful timing of motor actions and fine control of finger muscles,
he said. Thus, our work begins to propose some functional justifications
for the evolution of specialized brain areas controlling dexterous
manipulation of the fingertips in humans.
The article was also posted by
on Jan. 28.
For three sins of USC, and for four, the reprimand due these
scientists will not be turned back. (1) Disjunction: There is no connection between the observed facts
and their evolutionary story. They made it up out of thin air with hand-waving and magic.
(2) Misrepresentation: It misrepresents evolutionary theory. Needs to do not produce
complex structures. Evolutionary pressures do not give the
neural circuits needed to provide precision switching and control of 30 muscles to
perform fine manipulations of objects. The only evolutionary pressure is the one
to go extinct. Unless random mutations appear, the pressure is toward death, not
emergence of complex, interacting systems. (Good luck waiting ten to the quintillion
years for that to happen.)
(3) Deception: By presenting an evolutionary explanation as incontrovertible fact, they are lying to
the public and their students. What they saw was engineering design, not evolution.
OK, strike three; but since creationists are longsuffering and merciful, one more chance. Whoops:
(4) Ingratitude: Can any sin be more egregious than to be handed a gift, like two hands and
ten fingers, and then to use them against the Giver?
Nuke Sand, Get Life 01/23/2008
The observational facts of science do not support evolutionary storytelling.
You saw it just now. These researchers looked at raw, empirical evidence for
fine-tuned complexity, and even admitted they dont understand it, but then immediately
leaped into Fantasyland to claim with brashness and confidence that it evolved.
They get away with it because that is all they have ever been trained to believe, and critics
are systematically expelled from the discussion. Philosophers who should be blowing
the whistle on these unwarranted assertions are too often cowed into timidity by the
temerity of the Darwin Party.
Until scientists realize that such philosophical inferences are unfounded
that they are contrary to the purpose and reasoning
of science the debate over creation and evolution will be muddled in noise.
It is not the job of the scientist to invent a tale about a mythical past he cannot
observe even in principle. Stick to the facts. Get a grip.
Press here. Then, and only then, can people with sense
discuss what the facts mean.
Encore: To reinforce the conviction that brain/hand coordination could
never have evolved, listen to a recording of Vladimir Horowitz playing Rachmaninoffs Piano
Concerto No. 3. Horowitz performed nearly 30 minutes entirely from memory,
over a huge dynamic range with such rapid-fire precision it is incredible to conceive
of the brain signaling involved. Can you imagine a chimpanzee doing this?
Or composing such a thing? For a sample, here is part of the second movement on
You absolutely must hear the third and final movement. Here is a taste on
which, unfortunately, stops before the grand finale. A poorer-quality video
that includes the ending can be found at
If you liked these, heres another
fast finger frolic.
How about one more?
Go ahead, Charlie; tell me about evolution.
Next headline on:
Glowing sand was your cradle, claimed
The Telegraph. The sifting and collection of radioactive material by
powerful tides could have generated the complex molecules that led to the evolution of
carbon-based life forms including plants, animals and humans.
The article acknowledged that radiation may seem an unlikely
candidate to kick-start life because it breaks chemical bonds and splits large molecules,
but thought some of the energy could be used productively. Radioactive grains in
the sand could provide the chemical energy to build sugars, amino acids and soluble
phosphates needed for life as we know it.
This scenario is the brainchild of Zachary Adam, an astrobiologist at the
University of Washington. His idea can be added to the existing long and
varied list of hypotheses. Reporter Nick Fleming listed the usual suspects:
Oparin, Miller, the clay hypothesis, panspermia, and the intervention of a
divine, intelligent designer.
The article is accompanied by a picture of humans at the beach.
No claim was made whether the energy from sunlight was helping them evolve.
Somebody else needs a kick-start.
At least intelligent design wasnt excluded from the list of possibilities
this time. Its the only contender that isnt deaf, dumb,
blind and lazy from the starting gate. (Clarification:
speaking of the hypotheses, not their proponents).
La Brea tar pits trap evolutionists, from 01/24/2004.
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
Life Influences Dating Method 01/22/2008
The rate of calcium carbonate precipitation can double if microbes are present,
says an article in
studying hot spring deposits in Yellowstone made this surprising discovery
about the geological record of life and the environment. The article
adds, Their discovery could affect how certain sequences of sedimentary rock
are dated, and how scientists might search for evidence of life on other planets.
The travertine terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone can grow
millimeters per day. The precipitation can actually more than double when microbes
are present, the article said. Calcium carbonate is the most abundant mineral
in the rock record.
The scientists believe that inferences about the presence of life
can be drawn from studying the rate of deposition. Separating biologically
precipitated calcium carbonate from non-biologically precipitated calcium carbonate
is difficult, however. Inferences about life would also require independent
knowledge about the rate of deposition. They believe they can tease this information
out from the chemistry, based on the environmental and ecological context of the rock
The important observation here is that previous trusted
assumptions about most common sedimentary rock were off by more than a factor of two.
What other assumptions are still unquestioned that will be overturned in the future?
Other questions: What will this do to cave formation dating methods?
Will they change the textbooks within the next decade? How can they rightfully
infer the presence of life from a precipitation rate on a planet where no life has been
found, when other unknown factors could influence the rate? How come
geologists never apologize for the misinformation they spread?
Butterfly Wings Flash Shiny Optical Tricks 01/22/2008
Next headline on:
You can get brilliant colors without pigment if you build patterns near the wavelengths
of light. Butterflies have the trick down to a science. Their wings shimmer
and shine with brilliant colors produced by nanostructures that scientists want to
Daily told how butterflies and moths, even the white-winged varieties, use nanostructures
to produce brilliant colors and brighter whites. Marco Giraldo, a new PhD at the
University of Groningen, has made understanding the optical principles his project.
Scientists still do not understand exactly how the nanostructures work; for instance,
they do not know how precise wavelengths are absorbed, and others reflected.
Giraldo is the first to clarify how the colour of these butterflies is influenced
by the nanostructural characteristics. His research has already turned up
some design marvels:
Giraldo also discovered that the wings of [Cabbage] Whites are
constructed in a surprisingly effective way. Both sides of the
wings have two layers of overlapping scales that reflect light. The more scales
there are, the more light is reflected. This light reflection is very important
as butterflies want to be seen. Giraldo discovered that these two layers form an
optimal construction: with more than two layers the reflection may be improved, but
the wing would become disproportionately heavy.
Surprisingly, the males and females absorb UV light differently, allowing the sexes
to recognize one another.
Young fashion-conscious teens may be the beneficiaries of this
research. It may be possible to apply the nanostructures observed in
butterflies to create impressive optic effects in paint, varnish, cosmetics,
packaging materials and clothes, the article ended.
Industry is thus following butterfly wing research with great interest.
Much great scientific work is being done without any reference to Darwin and his
Tinker Bell tale. The Darwiniacs are wrong to think the US will fall behind in
science unless his bacteria-to-man story is taught as fact. On the contrary;
unlatching the old ball and chain will be liberating to the real scientists.
Backtracking on Darwinian Claims 01/21/2008
Next headline on:
Evolutionary theory evolves. Since Darwinists no longer consider evolution
progressive, it follows that evolutionary theory is also not necessarily progressing.
The following stories show evolutionary biologists backtracking on earlier claims.
- The pig is falling. Darwinian evolutionary theory
proposes that the phenotype of a creature is an adaptation to the particular demands
of the ecological situation in which it evolved, wrote Geraint Rees [University
College, London] in Current Biology.1 Thats
what he intended to show in a report on a study suggesting humans are attracted more
to animal motion than inanimate motion.2 He had to acknowledge,
however, that a completely different, non-Darwinian interpretation is possible.
This led to him joking about why pigs dont have wings:
This suggests that the ability to detect change in animate objects
represents a heritable trait that reflects implicit information about the external
structure of the environment in which humans evolved, an intriguing possibility.
But while intuitively appealing, caution is required before accepting
such an argument. Jerry Fodor has recently argued that phenotypes do
not always represent implicit information about the environment in which they evolved.
Instead, sometimes phenotypes simply reflect internal constraints on the functional
organisation of that animal. For example, Fodor suggests that the reason
pigs do not have wings is less to do with the intrinsic structure of the environment
that pigs inhabit, and more to do with the fundamentals of how the pig is constructed.
The lack of wings does not by itself carry any intrinsic information
about the pigs natural environment, and has not been selected against in the
course of porcine history!
In that case, there is no information about pig or human evolution to be gained from
the study at all. The findings about human propensity to pay attention to animal
motion, instead, provide important insights into the organisation of the
human visual system, he said, though he still held out hope that adding natural
selection to the equation might inform the discovery of the psychological architecture
of human cognition.
- Platypus granddaddy: News@Nature
examined the case of the ancient platypus (see 11/27/2007).
The bones of an apparent platypus 20 to 80 million years older than thought is causing
confusion among evolutionary paleontologists. Timothy Rowe, the discoverer,
concluded It looks like the monotremes may have had a really slow evolutionary history.
Why the vast array of mammals underwent dramatic transformations in far less time, according
to the Darwinian timeline, leaves a mystery why the platypus remained virtually unchanged.
Rowe thinks the creatures probably didnt need to evolve because their
hunting abilities were so fine-tuned, the report said. This begs the
question of why other predators with similarly fine-tuned hunting skills lack the evolutionary
stasis, or why the platypuss prey did not evolve so as not to be hunted so effectively.
explanation, that this was not a platypus fossil at all, but rather a remnant of a common ancestor of
platypus and echidna, requires invoking convergent evolution. A platypus-specific canal
found in the skull would have had to evolve twice, once before the split, and
once again after the split. The illustration caption simply reads, Older than we thought.
The paper by Timothy Rowe et al in PNAS3 states
the conundrum in scientific jargon:
Morphology suggests that Teinolophos is a platypus in both phylogenetic and ecological aspects, and tends to contradict the popular view of rapid Cenozoic monotreme diversification. Whereas the monotreme fossil record is still sparse and open to interpretation, the new data are consistent with much slower ecological, morphological, and taxonomic diversification rates for monotremes than in their sister taxon, the therian mammals. This alternative view of a deep geological history for monotremes suggests that rate heterogeneities may have affected mammalian evolution in such a way as to defeat strict molecular clock models and to challenge even relaxed molecular clock models when applied to mammalian history at a deep temporal scale.
- Predators and unintended consequences: The simple view is that predators
kill prey, leading to prey that try to reproduce faster in greater numbers
a direct effect of evolutionary ecology. A study with small fish called
killifish that inhabit streams in Trinidad showed scientists a more complex view. In addition to
direct effects of predation, there are indirect effects that may be just as important: for instance,
the availability of food after prey are reduced by the predators. The whole community
is restructured by reintroduction of predators. Since predator-induced
indirect increases in resource availability are common in both terrestrial and aquatic
ecosystems, the evolutionary consequences of these interactions are potentially a very
important component of evolutionary change in nature,
said David Reznick, coauthor of the study. Moreover, biologists have
observed evolutionary change occurring on short ecological timescales
in nature, on the order of a few years to decades, suggesting
that such interactions are contributing to overall ecosystem functioning and health.
The changes he described, however, are microevolutionary changes to existing structures,
not innovations. If microevolutionary restructuring of ecological communities can be
witnessed in mere decades, it adds to the conundrum of why the platypus remained
unevolved for 100 million years.
- Black sheep in Darwins family: Fitness is supposed to help you
gain the upper hand in the race to survive, but the fitter black sheep of Scotland are
dying out. Why? A study in Science4 found
that fitness can work against you. Dark coat color is correlated to larger body
size, which is heritable and positively correlated with fitness, the research
team said. This unexpected microevolutionary trend is explained
by genetic linkage between the causal mutation underlying the color
polymorphism and quantitative trait loci with antagonistic effects on size
and fitness. The finding makes evolutionary inference more difficult.
This result demonstrates the importance of understanding the
genetic basis of fitness variation when making predictions about the
microevolutionary consequences of selection. The article began,
The evolutionary changes that occur over a small number of generations in
natural populations often run counter to what is expected on the basis of
the heritability of traits and the selective forces acting upon them.
When a scientist cant expect what evolution will do, can Darwin really claim
to have discovered a law of nature?
- Papa Neanderthal: It seems the story of our relationship to Neanderthal
Man is back and forth. An article in the
News explains the problem: For more than 150 years, a debate has raged
over the origins of modern humans. The main body of scientific thought says
modern humans migrated from Africa and then overwhelmed their more primitive European
counterparts, the heavy-browed Neanderthals, or inter-bred with them. But
growing credence is being given to the theory that homo sapiens [sic]
evolved from the Neanderthals, who mysteriously died out some 28,000
years ago. So no one seems to know what the relationship was. That
did not stop the author from titling the report, Bad weather helped evolution.
- Tree trimming: Darwins tree of life just lost a branch.
The Tree of Life must be re-drawn, textbooks need to be changed, and the discovery
may also have significant impact on the development of medicines, began an article in
New research by European biologists who compared 5000 genes in the largest ever
genetic comparison of higher life forms on the planet now lumps brown algae and silica algae together.
Previously, these species were thought to be completely unrelated,
the article states. The article ended on a triumphal note that researchers are making
progress toward understanding evolution. Puzzles remain, however:
To make the picture a little less clear, one branch of chromalveolates is
still in no mans land, claimed one researcher.
- Mammal disconnect: The molecular and fossil stories about mammals dont
agree; see Geotimes
for discussion. Watch this space. (Thats all there is to watch for now.)
- More than a chimp: Be thankful for your DNA repair genes; they are
unique. An article in EurekAlert
said, researchers were surprised to find the acquisition of functional response
for certain genes involved in DNA metabolism or repair to be mostly unique in humans.
Some of the genes were shared with chimpanzees and rhesus monkeys; none were shared with mice.
The researchers wove their findings into an evolutionary story, but admitted,
the full implications of these evolutionary points remain far from clear....
- The new buzz: Remember the old story? The one about the meteorites that killed
the dinosaurs? Scratch that. It was bugs. The new story can be found
at The Guardian, which
says, Forget the meteorites it was insects that did in the dinosaurs.
This can be considered true till the next revision. Hold the presses! Maybe it was acid rain,
But then again, that old Chicxulub meteor did make a mighty big splash, say the
1. Geraint Rees, Vision: The Evolution of Change Detection,
Volume 18, Issue 1, 8 January 2008, Pages R40-R42.
2. For a similar claim by others, see the 01/07/2008
3. Rowe et al, The oldest platypus and its bearing on divergence
timing of the platypus and echidna clades,
Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences
USA, published online before print January 23, 2008, 10.1073/pnas.0706385105.
4. Gratten et al, A Localized Negative Genetic Correlation Constrains
Microevolution of Coat Color in Wild Sheep,
18 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5861, pp. 318-320, DOI: 10.1126/science.1151182.
Translating Timothy Rowes jargon into colloquial English (blue quote in bullet #2 above), he said,
Well, Ill be. Shore looks like a platypus. How come all
its brethren evolved all over the place while he just sat there? Musta been stuck
in a Darwinian rut somehow. Better tell my geneticist buddies their clocks are runnin
super-fast and super-slow all at once. The clocks musta een forced this little guy
to evolve in slo-mo! Whatever. We KNOW dem bones is 120 million years old
thats a fact, even if the clock is outta whack.
Does microevolution add up to Darwins grand tree of life? Only if you
change the rules of science, from 01/15/2004.
Darwinism is the perfect playground for science fiction writers (that is,
evolutionary biologists). You never have to be right; you just have to
look busy. You can tell creative stories, then celebrate when they are overturned
later. The more complex the plot, the better. You have no threat of criticism
because your critics have been expelled and put behind a sound-proof barrier.
You get free checking for making reckless drafts on the bank of time
(07/02/2007). The peasants
dont revolt, because they have been hypnotized into thinking what you are working
on is science. Ah, the life of a Chaldean soothsayer. It was bliss before
Daniel showed up.
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory
The Evolution of Morality 01/20/2008
Can morality evolve in Darwins universe? Steven Pinker, evolutionary
psychologist at Harvard, is just the man to ask. He wrote an 8-page article for the
York Times about it, facing the issues with frankness and forthrightness.
To Pinker, as with other evolutionary psychologists, the moral behind morality
is an evolutionary artifact of psychological choices and behaviors that have evolved over
millions of years. Populations choose what is right or wrong based on shared
and habitual patterns that aid survival. Pinker justified his scientific
amorality on the grounds that scientists are just trying to be objective observers:
Science amoralizes the world by seeking to understand phenomena rather
than pass judgment on them. Secular philosophy is in the business of
scrutinizing all beliefs, including those entrenched by authority and tradition.
Its not surprising that these institutions are often seen to be morally corrosive.
So Pinker is certainly aware of the criticisms of the new science of the moral
sense, but blames them on misunderstanding of the logic of evolutionary
explanations. Evolutionists dont believe that selfish genes
are really selfish, he says; the phrase is merely an anthropomorphism to describe
appearances in behavior shaped by the process of natural selection.
And morally corrosive is exactly the term that some critics
would apply to the new science of the moral sense. The attempt to dissect our
moral intuitions can look like an attempt to debunk them. Evolutionary
psychologists seem to want to unmask our noblest motives as ultimately self-interested
to show that our love for children, compassion for the unfortunate and
sense of justice are just tactics in a Darwinian struggle to perpetuate our genes.
The explanation of how different cultures appeal to different spheres could lead
to a spineless relativism, in which we would never have grounds to criticize
the practice of another culture, no matter how barbaric, because we have our
kind of morality and they have theirs. And the whole enterprise seems
to be dragging us to an amoral nihilism, in which morality itself would be demoted
from a transcendent principle to a figment of our neural circuitry.
The first half of Pinkers article concerned itself with
moral dilemmas and taboos, and results of neuropsychological tests on twins and on
people forced into difficult choices. On page 6 and following, he got into
the meaning of evolutionary explanations when talking about morality itself.
Does natural selection necessarily lead to moral relativism?
Here is the worry. The scientific outlook has taught us that some parts of our subjective experience are products of our biological makeup and have no objective counterpart in the world. The qualitative difference between red and green, the tastiness of fruit and foulness of carrion, the scariness of heights and prettiness of flowers are design features of our common nervous system, and if our species had evolved in a different ecosystem or if we were missing a few genes, our reactions could go the other way. Now, if the distinction between right and wrong is also a product of brain wiring, why should we believe it is any more real than the distinction between red and green? And if it is just a collective hallucination, how could we argue that evils like genocide and slavery are wrong for everyone, rather than just distasteful to us?
Well-stated questions. What is the Darwinian answer? Religions and
Platonic philosophers can point to God or the Logos for a universal morality, he knows,
but can evolutionists find a moral pole star in an unguided, essentially amoral process?
The crux of his argument is on
where he argues that nonzero-sum games push
any rational, self-preserving social agent in a moral direction, and that this
direction becomes a natural standard, like a mathematical eigenvalue, by which moral actions
can be judged. Two features of reality, he says, might not give us
10 Thou-Shalt-Nots, but provide useful If-Thens:
One is the prevalence of nonzero-sum games. In many arenas of life, two parties are objectively better off if they both act in a nonselfish way than if each of them acts selfishly. You and I are both better off if we share our surpluses, rescue each others children in danger and refrain from shooting at each other, compared with hoarding our surpluses while they rot, letting the others child drown while we file our nails or feuding like the Hatfields and McCoys. Granted, I might be a bit better off if I acted selfishly at your expense and you played the sucker, but the same is true for you with me, so if each of us tried for these advantages, wed both end up worse off. Any neutral observer, and you and I if we could talk it over rationally, would have to conclude that the state we should aim for is the one in which we both are unselfish. These spreadsheet projections are not quirks of brain wiring, nor are they dictated by a supernatural power; they are in the nature of things.
In this way, Pinker has described morality as a natural outcome of rational
parties having to survive. As support for his thesis, he points to the fact that
great minds throughout history Spinoza, Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke, Kant and
Rawls (all noteworthily non-religious in their approach)
have ended up aligning with the same eigenvector we call the Golden Rule.
There must be something natural about this outcome. It also underlies
Peter Singers theory of the Expanding Circle the optimistic
proposal that our moral sense, though shaped by evolution to overvalue self, kin
and clan, can propel us on a path of moral progress, as our reasoning forces
us to generalize it to larger and larger circles of sentient beings.
The other external support for morality is a feature of rationality itself: that it cannot depend on the egocentric vantage point of the reasoner. If I appeal to you to do anything that affects me to get off my foot, or tell me the time or not run me over with your car then I cant do it in a way that privileges my interests over yours (say, retaining my right to run you over with my car) if I want you to take me seriously. Unless I am Galactic Overlord, I have to state my case in a way that would force me to treat you in kind. I cant act as if my interests are special just because Im me and youre not, any more than I can persuade you that the spot I am standing on is a special place in the universe just because I happen to be standing on it.
Pinker ended by pointing to cases of opposing groups moralizing against
each other. Our habit of moralizing problems, merging them with
intuitions of purity and contamination, and resting content when we feel
the right feelings, can get in the way of doing the right thing,
he says. The surprising conclusion? Evolutionary theory does not lead
to moral relativism! Far from debunking morality, then, the science of
the moral sense can advance it, by allowing us to see through the
illusions that evolution and culture have saddled us with and
to focus on goals we can share and defend.
Did you catch the flaw in Pinkers reasoning that makes his whole case collapse?
For some of you who are getting good at baloney detecting, it was a no-brainer.
The core of his argument was that competing (selfish) parties are better off if they cooperate
rather than compete, and that this can become a standard for morality.
Lets ask the eminent Hahvahd professor a simple, two-word question: Define better.
Million-Degree Plasma Found in Orion 01/19/2008
As we explained in our
12/19/2007 commentary, evolutionary progress
is like erratic motion on a frictionless surface infinite in all directions.
There are no guidelines to what constitutes better or worse in
Darwinland. Why? Because the core belief that underlies all Darwinian
thinking is that evolution must be unguided. Purpose and aim, therefore, are out,
along with any ideas of universal truths. There are neither gridlines nor compass
points on the Darwinland surface.
They try to hide this fact sometimes using their two-platoon strategy
but Phillip Johnson in his books has exposed this essential feature of Darwinian
evolution, and you see it in the evolutionary literature all the time. What
you dont find in the evolutionary literature is an acknowledgement of the
fact that this leads to a self-refuting
Learn the following principles well, because the Darwinists are
ratcheting up the propaganda campaign to sell their pseudo-scientific
evolution of the moral sense plot in a devious attempt to undermine the claims
of Christianity and make Darwinism appear self-sufficient, able to explain the most intractable
aspects of human behavior
06/14/2007). Their explanations
do little more than add to the just-so story database
and cannot be defended rationally, but they are luring students into the
Darwin Party with their seductive tales (12/21/2005).
Pinker has no grounds on which to describe his pseudo-morality as
better than a Hobbes-style war of all against all.
Remember? Darwinists claim that meteorites have bombarded
most of life extinct several times. Can a Darwinist shed a tear about those
episodes in his myth? No. He must be consistent and simply take notes
when the world kills itself, gets killed by natural causes, or never generates life
in the first place. Evolution is what evolution does. There is no goal,
no purpose, no destiny. The myth of evolutionary progress went out with Lamarck.
This means that Sewall Wrights model of the fitness
landscape is a also myth. Since fitness is a vacuous term (fitness,
remember, is not better than the lack of it; see Fitness for
Dummies from 10/29/2002), the model collapses
into the flat, frictionless surface where there are no measures of good, bad, right,
or wrong. Any attempt to extrude the Darwinland flat surface into a
third dimension, such as describing a fitness landscape with peaks and valleys,
is cheating. Similarly, you cannot add coordinates, pole stars or GPS systems. Where
would they come from? What rational being would impose them on the flatland?
As surprising as this sounds, one consequence is that fitness is a concept alien
to the Darwinian world view. Why?
Because it implies fitness is better than non-fitness. Says who?
I dont see any impartial judges or scorekeepers around; do you? Where
did they come from? Did they evolve? If so, what gives them any right
to sit in judgment?
Pinker might respond that as a scientific observer, he is not making
value judgments at all, but simply attempting to describe objectively what populations
tend to do: cooperation among sentient beings, a.k.a. morality, happens. But here he has snuck in
another alien concept (that is, alien to his world view): sentience. Pinker
simply helped himself to the concept of sentience (consciousness), like a magician
pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
Sentience is not composed of particles. You can look inside a brain all you
want and you will never discover sentience. You will see neurotransmitters
moving from point to point, and electrical impulses traveling. You might even
see more activity when a sentient being is having a sensation. You will not, however,
see sentience, any more than watching the pixels in an LCD with an oscilloscope will reveal
the conceptual content of the TV program. Neither will you ever be capable of observing
sentience emerging from a Darwinian process. A creationist will come along
and say that God endowed animals and humans with sentience on what
scientific basis can Pinker show this is not the case? It certainly fits the
observations. It fits the logic of causality, because out of nothing, nothing
comes. Gods sentience is the foundation for our sentience. Q.E.D.
OK, Mr. Darwinist, explain that.
Pinker, like so many other Darwinists, has the Yoda Complex
commentary and links). He has conveniently removed himself from
Darwinland and is portraying himself as a detached, neutral, unbiased observer.
This is cheating. He cannot simply step outside his evolved skin and pretend
that there are laws of logic and universal truths that are eternal, necessary and certain,
nor can he take with him the Judeo-Christian concept of rationality, or spiritual concepts
and values found in the Bible: truth, logic, honesty, right and wrong.
The devil didnt write Scripture, but he quotes it when it suits his purposes.
Pinker was aware of the problem of universal truths and thought he
could get away with a slick appeal to philosophical dualism (that there is a world
of matter and a world of ideas).
He dismissed Platonic forms but then turned right around and reintroduced them in a modern Darwinian sense,
filching concepts that Darwinism cannot generate on its own. Watch him:
This throws us back to wondering where those reasons could come from, if they are more than just figments of our brains. They certainly arent in the physical world like wavelength or mass. The only other option is that moral truths exist in some abstract Platonic realm, there for us to discover, perhaps in the same way that mathematical truths (according to most mathematicians) are there for us to discover. On this analogy, we are born with a rudimentary concept of number, but as soon as we build on it with formal mathematical reasoning, the nature of mathematical reality forces us to discover some truths and not others. (No one who understands the concept of two, the concept of four and the concept of addition can come to any conclusion but that 2 + 2 = 4.)
Perhaps we are born with a rudimentary moral sense, and as soon as we build on it with moral reasoning, the nature of moral reality forces us to some conclusions but not others.
Did you catch it? Dont be fooled by the magician;
watch his hands and learn how the trick is done.
He just helped himself to ideas. He helped himself to
rationality (i.e., his proposed idea is not crazy). He helped himself
to If-Then statements, which presuppose laws of logic. He helped himself to
Universals, a moral sense (no matter how rudimentary), moral reasoning, benchmarks and all kinds
of non-Darwinian things. Foul! Dont let him get away with it.
Appealing to mathematical reality with an argument from analogy
only adds fallacy to trickery. If mathematical truths are abstract concepts, then
abstract concepts are true, universal, necessary and certain: they too could not evolve from
particles in motion.
Moral realism, as this idea is called, is too rich for many philosophers blood. Yet a diluted version of the idea if not a list of cosmically inscribed Thou-Shalts, then at least a few If-Thens is not crazy. Two features of reality point any rational, self-preserving social agent in a moral direction. And they could provide a benchmark for determining when the judgments of our moral sense are aligned with morality itself.
Plato was a secular idealist: he believed in the existence of a world of ideas,
including idealized universal forms of which actual instances are particulars,
and of universal values like truth, love and morality.
But it is not going to help Pinker to appeal to an updated, Darwinized version of Platonism, because
Platonism collapses under its own arbitrary assumptions. Plato had no explanation for how the forms
get impressed on the world of reality. He speculated that maybe its like
an actor playing a role; different particulars are like different actors acting out
the universal character. This is another argument from analogy,
and it fails to explain how the forms get impressed on the particulars. To account
for the connection, he had to resort to a myth about some demiurge he could not justify
other than that he believed it. You can prove anything with an arbitrary assumption.
Pinker can only write an 8-page treatise on morality when he plagiarizes
Judeo-Christian concepts. If he were forced to use his own evolutionary presuppositions,
he would babble Que sera, sera incoherently and go have more sex any way he can.
Morality? What is that? Logic? Rationality? No comprendo.
Christians have evidence of God, the eternal and universal standard
of rationality, virtue and truth, imposing these universals onto the world of particulars at Creation,
in the 10 Commandments, and in Christ, among many documented cases of His revelation (including
the whole Bible). Christians, therefore, have a justified
true belief that legitimizes universal truths and explains how they were impressed
on the particulars. Evolutionists have no such resources.
Interestingly, both Augustine and Justin Martyr believed Plato got his ideas from Moses.
This is possible in light of archaeological evidence that there was trade, including
trafficking in slaves, from the
Middle East into Greece centuries before Greek philosophy reached its zenith.
Jewish victims could easily have taught their masters the principles of the Torah
(illustration from another context: the servant girl of Naaman the Syrian,
II Kings 5).
Additionally, Israel was located at the crossroads of empires; undoubtedly there was
ample opportunity for trade in ideas as well as goods and services.
In this view, Platonism is parasitic on concepts that did not emerge out of the presuppositions
of Greek thought. Another view is that Plato, and Pinker, reason about these things
based on the innate sense of morality and rationality that is part of the image of God
embossed in every human soul. Either way, the world of ideas requires a real soul;
it cannot emerge naturally from particles in motion.
This pernicious habit of the Darwinists will only be eradicated when enough
sentient, rational, moral souls on this planet rise up and demand consistency from
the thieving Darwinists. For without consistency, you can prove anything therefore,
nothing. Without universal truths, rationality and morality are vacuous concepts.
Arrest the thieves. Make them get their own dirt.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
The Orion nebula, an object of beauty to stargazers
is pervaded by plasma heated to two million degrees Kelvin, reported astronomers
in Science.1 Two funnel-shaped regions of x-ray
emitting plasma in the extended nebula were observed by astronomers
using the X-Ray Multi-Mirror (XMM)-Newton satellite.
The energy requirement to heat the
large-scale x-ray emitting plasma is severe, they said. What could heat up gas
to emit 55 billion trillion trillion ergs per second? Not the molecular flows of
gas in the nebula. Not the microjets from numerous young stars. Their suggestion:
The only efficient energy source is provided by the fast winds from the hot Trapezium stars
The high-velocity wind, flowing tens of kilometers per second,
is four orders of magnitude more energetic than the observed plasma,
they said, and can easily heat the observed plasma.
Those stars are short-lived, however. The massive Trapezium stars
in the brightest part of the nebula
can only last a few millions of years or less far
less than the assumed age of the Milky Way. The plasma bubble would disperse in
hundreds of thousands of years without replenishment. Do they see a pattern?
Our Galaxy (and other star-forming galaxies) could thus maintain a network of x-ray
bubbles and plasma flows, cooling over a few million years but continuously being
replenished by shocked winds from a multitude of modest Orion-like star-forming regions,
gently leaking out from the parent molecular clouds, in addition to being fed by
discrete, but rare, supernova explosions.
ODell and Townsley, commenting on this paper in the same issue of Science,2
said Orion continues to surprise. Though they found the hot-wind mechanism
plausible, many questions remain in Orion, they said.
Why is the x-ray emission confined to these two areas? Is there a channeling
effect of the stellar wind, a rapid cooling of any other shocked gas closer to the star,
or does extinction in the veil simply preclude observation of hot gas in the
optically brightest part of the nebula?
The last question suggests that the entire nebula may be glowing hot.
Further observations may help answer these questions. Once these observational
questions have been resolved, the ball will be in the theoreticians court;
it is they who must then confront the problems of why the Orion gas is at 2 million
K and why it is located where it is.
1. Gudel, Briggs et al, Million-Degree Plasma Pervading the Extended Orion Nebula,
18 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5861, pp. 309-312, DOI: 10.1126/science.1149926.
2. ODell and Townsley, Orion Continues to Surprise,
18 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5861, pp. 289-290, DOI: 10.1126/science.1153476.
This story is provided as an example of a
surprise discovery in science, and how scientists typically deal with
them. Its analogous to finding erupting volcanoes on Io or geysers on
Enceladus when theories had predicted they would be cold and dead. Scientists
delight in puzzles but typically try to solve them in accordance with the presuppositions
of the paradigm they learned and the beliefs of their peers. Its rare
for a maverick scientist to think outside the box.
Mouse Grows Long Finger, Takes Off Like a Bat 01/18/2008
It may be that the mechanism suggested can account for the phenomenon.
How they will deal with the age problem is left as an exercise. New high-energy massive
stars will be needed continually to account for the ongoing emissions and plasma flows.
The stars in the Trapezium are thought to be much more short-lived than most stars.
When they have burned out, like bright sparklers, new ones will be needed to take
their place. Otherwise, the hot plasma would long ago have cooled down.
One subject these astronomers did not delve into was plasma physics. Because
plasma is electrically charged, it can move and form structures much more rapidly than
material under gravitational forces alone. One creationist who has given a good
deal of thought to this is Barry Setterfield. His explanations about
how plasma might cause dramatic changes in galaxies and stars rapidly can be found
at setterfield.org. This link is
provided without comment, not necessarily as an endorsement, for those interested
in pursuing the pros or cons of his maverick model, which is controversial
even among creationists. It should be noted, however, that some secular astronomers
have also argued that plasma physics is much more important (and neglected) in
formulating cosmological models.
Next headline on:
When does humor in a scientific journal cross the line of scientific objectivity? You be the judge.
magazine, in its Random Samples news featurette, said this in the
Jan. 18 issue:
Over the past 100 million years or so, bats have evolved many features
that distinguish them from their mammalian cousins. One is long, bony digits
to support their wings. Now, by manipulating one small DNA sequence,
Richard Behringer of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston
and colleagues have nudged mice a tiny step along the evolutionary path
Bats, of course, have sophisticated flying skills, membranes for lift, specialized
ears and mouth parts for sonar (with a brain to use them), special feet for clinging
to cave roofs, dietary adaptations, and many features
that distinguish them from their mammalian cousins. The earliest known
fossil bats already had these adaptations (05/18/2007),
and their evolutionary history is largely unknown and their fossil record
It would seem much more than adding a millimeter or so to the forelimbs would be
necessary before the mouse could fly out of the cage.
The researchers looked at the expression of a homeobox gene, prx1,
a key to the development of limbs in all mammals, and found that bats
expressed the gene differently from mice in embryonic limbs. So, in mice they
removed a chunk of DNA known to control prx1 expression and replaced it with
the same piece from bats. The forelimbs of the resulting mice were 6% longer
than those of normal baby mice. Although small, that increase is
important, says developmental biologist Clifford Tabin of Harvard
Medical School in Boston.
Similar studies have been done with flies and worms, but this is the
first to show how a specific change in control of gene expression--and not
an actual gene--can produce a gross morphological change in a mammal,
says Behringer, whose study was published this week in Genes & Development.
If you play this through with lots and lots of genes, maybe ultimately we
could make that mouse fly out of the cage.
OK, so the cute extrapolation was meant to be a little
extreme for humor. We try to have fun in our reporting, too.
Whats not funny is that in reality, they are dead serious.
They really believe a 6% change in a finger length is actually a step along
the evolutionary path to bat-hood. Give it 100 million years and these
small changes can add up to major transformations. And you thought orthogenesis
went out in the 1920s.
500 vertebrate fish found in early Cambrian, from 01/30/2003;
creation kids find dinosaur, from 01/29/2003;
feathered whats-it found in China, from 01/27/2003.
Too bad we already awarded SEQOTW this week. This would have
been a good one: evolutionists take giant leap on the path to batty-hood.
Next headline on:
Bible Name Found on Jerusalem Artifact 01/17/2008
A man named Temech has risen from the pages of the Bible.
Post reported that his clay seal was found in a dig south of the Temple Mount
in Jerusalem by archaeologist Eilat Mazar, who earlier found a portion of a wall
from the same Nehemiah period (11/30/2007).
The article shows a picture of the
seal. This adds to the growing list of Bible characters found in archaeological
digs (e.g., 07/11/2007).
Temech (or Temah) is mentioned
2 and Nehemiah 7
as one of the returnees from Babylonian exile. His seal may have been purchased in
Babylon and brought to Jerusalem. The date of the seal is 538 to 445 BC and is
significant for identifying a temple servant from the First Temple period. The blog at
also mentions the discovery.
Places Blog mentions that Temah is probably an incorrect translation. Instead, the
name may be that of another Bible character of the same period: Sophit, daughter of Zerubbabel
(1 Chronicles 3:19).
The seal seems to indicate a degree of syncretism with
Babylonian religious imagery. This should not be surprising.
The fact that this cultic scene relates to the Babylonian chief god seemed
not to have disturbed the Jews who used it on their own seal, the article
states as Mazars opinion. We know from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah
that the people needed repeated reprimands to purge their lifestyles of pagan
influences. Some returnees were more committed than others.
Messenger Sends Postcards from Mercury 01/17/2008
Popular idols are hard to exorcise. Undoubtedly
a future historian would wonder about the mixed messages in artifacts found among the
remains of a typical 2008 church. What icons of idolatry might be found among your own
artifacts? Would pins or rings with emblems of pop stars, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and other
non-Christian iconic images make a future archaeologist wonder how to interpret the
find? Would an icon of Darwin be the modern equivalent of the Babylonian god Sin?
Next headline on:
Images downloaded from MESSENGERs first flyby of Mercury on January 14 are
starting to be published. The
Science Images page
of the MESSENGER website
(MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) posted the first
image January 16, with more being added from time to time. Launched in 2004
(07/27/2004, bullet 3), the spacecraft has unveiled
surface features like flattened craters,
crater chains, bright rayed craters, concentric craters, fault scarps, mountains,
depressions, wrinkle ridges, ejecta blankets and possible flow features.
This was the spacecrafts first encounter with Mercury of three
flybys before orbit insertion in 2011. The photos end a 30 year data gap
since Mariner 10 imaged one side of the planet in the 1970s. MESSENGERs
new images reveal the unseen side of the innermost planet for the first time.
Some images overlap with the earlier set, now made with sharper optics than the
vidicon camera aboard Mariner 10.
Interested readers might want to follow the dialogue among serious
planet enthusiasts about the MESSENGER pictures going on at
They usually get pretty excited at historic events like this. The
Planetary Society blog
has some initial impressions. Emily was particularly struck by the flatness of
most crater floors an observation that could imply geological activity,
though slumping, rebound and impact-related effects would have to be ruled out
in light of Mercurys bulk composition and gravity.
Pictures released a few days after the flyby reveal additional geological complexity on Mercury.
The Jan. 20
image shows ghost craters, explained in the caption: Ghostly remnants of a few
craters are seen on the right side of this image, possibly indicating that once-pristine,
bowl-shaped craters (like those on the large craters floor) have been subsequently
flooded by volcanism or some other plains-forming process.
The conundrum of secondary craters was described in the
image: With their large size and production of abundant secondary craters,
these flat-floored craters both illuminate and confound the study of the geological
history of Mercury. The process of inferring the timing and sequence
of geological events was discussed in the caption of the
image. The first-ever color
image of Mercury was also released.
The captions show that some inferences can be made about
the sequence of events: a crater, then an ejecta blanket, then a scarp and perhaps an
uplift, then another crater. The timing between them is far more speculative. Mercury has
a number of characteristics that challenge standard theories about planetary
origins: its global magnetic field (02/12/2004,
05/04/2007), its iron abundance, and its
surface features that might indicate geological processes continuing long after the
crust and mantle should have solidified. Most of the processing is undoubtedly
impact-related; if, however, tectonic or volcanic processes are the best explanation,
then it would raise questions about the age of the planet.
Walking Fish Gets Good Mileage 01/16/2008
It is also interesting to note that many exoplanets (planets around other stars)
are Jupiter-sized yet with orbits closer to their host star than Mercury is to
the sun (07/15/2005,
cf. 07/21/2007). This puzzle challenges traditional
theories of planet formation. The new MESSENGER images should be studied by unbiased
observers not constrained to preserve traditional theories with their obligate billions of years.
Mercury belongs to all observers. Join the discovery team.
Next headline on:
In 2006 (04/06/2006),
Neil Shubin of the University of Chicago announced his missing link: Tiktaalik,
a fish with wrist bones that he claimed were transitional between fish and four-footed
creatures, or tetrapods. Since then he has taken his fish on the road and is
getting good mileage for evolution.
Tiktaalik shows up right off the bat as evidence for evolution
in Chapter One of the newly-revised National Academy of Sciences booklet,
and Creationism. It was given a prominent place in the PBS film Judgment
Day (11/14/2007) last November. Now,
Shubin is promoting his new book that takes Tiktaalik all the way on the road
to humans. This is clear from the title, Your Inner Fish: A Journey Through
the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body. Despite the amount of
arbitrary inference that must be asserted to connect a fish fossil with a lineage
outside its class (see 10/20/2006) commentary, Shubin has
made his pet fish the centerpiece of a vast ancestors tale covering billions
Donald Johanson, discoverer of the austrolopithecine fossil he named
Lucy, was delighted. I was hooked from the first chapter, he said,
according to press
release from Shubins campus. Creationists will want this
book banned because it presents irrefutable evidence for a transitional
creature that set the stage for the journey from sea to land. This
engaging book combines the excitement of discovery with the rigors of
great scholarship to provide a convincing case of evolution from fish
The theme of the book is mentioned in the press release.
Shubin writes, The best road maps to human bodies lie in the
bodies of other animals. The reason is that the bodies of
these creatures are often simpler versions of ours. The book
mentions similarities in limbs, teeth, head, ears and eyes between humans and
similarities have never been controversial, even to creationists. Asserting
that they came about through an evolutionary process of descent with modification
by an unguided natural process assumes what needs to be proved. Though the
book recounts the epic expedition to arctic wastelands where Shubins
team found the fossil, only scientific evidence that can be adduced to establish
the claim of common ancestry is germane to the argument that these similarities
evolved, rather than were created.
In 2006, the public was overwhelmed with news on the discovery of
Tiktaalik roseae, a fossil fishapod that represents
the transition between fish and four-legged animals, known as tetrapods,
the press release continues. Shubin seemed to take his fishapod on a very long
walk of faith when he mixed the uncontroversial observation of similarity with the
Darwinist assumption of unguided common descent over billions of years:
Ancient fish bones can be a path to knowledge about who we are and how we
got that way. We are not separate from the rest of the living world; we are
part of it down to our bones and even our genes....
Again, even creationists acknowledge the similarities Shubin mentions. Our common traits,
including a universal DNA code, bilateral symmetry, similar genes that code for
similar traits, even susceptibility to diseases, could have different explanations
than Darwinian common ancestry. Creationists would say they point to a single
Creator who designed all life according to a plan for living on a shared biosphere.
Creationists also celebrate mans connectedness to the world and all of life.
Your Inner Fish begs the question that Darwin had the only explanation for
the data. Since there are other species of fish that exhibit walking behavior,
(e.g., mudskippers, walking sharks), and the previous missing link Coelacanth
had bony fins but did not use them for walking, the insertion of Tiktaalik
as a definitive missing link in an evolutionary timeline seems arbitrary.
I can imagine few things more beautiful or intellectually profound
than finding the basis for our humanity, and remedies for many of the ills we suffer,
nestled inside some of the most humble creatures that have ever lived on our planet.
Shubin found an inner human in his fish.
Carl Zimmer, in a book review in Nature,1
said that Shubin went so far as to propose stories about the evolution of hiccups and hangovers:
The simple, passionate writing may turn more than a few high-school students
into aspiring biologists. And it covers a lot of ground. Shubin
inspects our eyeballs, noses and hands to demonstrate how much we have in
common with other animals. He notes how networks of genes for
simple traits can expand and diversify until they build new complex
structures such as heads. Also, that hangovers explain how
our ears evolved from sensory cells on the surface of fish.
He investigates the hiccup, the result of a tortuous nervous system.
The book hit bookstores January 15. In addition, Shubin gave
special lectures to the public at Chicagos Field Museum, where he works as
1. Carl Zimmer, Twenty-first-century anatomy lesson,
451, 245 (17 January 2008) | doi:10.1038/451245a.
Shubins broad-brush conclusions,
extrapolated from a few bits and pieces of
bone, go wildly beyond any justified scientific inference. It is one thing to examine similarities
between species in a lab in the present. It is quite another to tie them together
into a speculative historical sequence that is unobservable and non-repeatable.
Moreover, the conclusions rest on dating methods that assume the very evolutionary
story Shubin describes so passionately. In science, empiricism is king.
Simple, passionate writing, while admirable in rhetoric or theater, is not a substitute
for observability, testability and repeatability in scientific work.
Muslims misuse science, from
Darwinist educators give Muslims better press than Christians, from
Creationists are not book banners; good grief.
Does Johanson forget what the Darwin Party did to Of Pandas and People?
The radical Darwiniacs didnt even want students in Pennsylvania to even know
the book existed in the library. Talk about banning books.
Creationists want the public to do more reading, not less, and learn more
about evolutionary theory than he, Shubin and the NAS are revealing. Go ahead;
read up about your inner fishie. Munch on some goldfish crackers while youre
at it, so you can experience your inner fish as you read. Then wake up, grow up
and read books with more philosophical substance.
A little bit of data morphed into a grand, sweeping
tale this is propaganda, not
science. It would be like a Stalinist pointing to a pitchfork as evidence
for the class struggle in history that requires the state to take over the property of
the bourgeousie and move the peasants to the collective farms. Support the Five-Year
Plan! Is that the only interpretation of the pitchfork? Send the capitalists
to Siberia! Come now.
Neither Shubin, the NAS nor Johanson have any justification for drawing such broad
conclusions from the bits and pieces of data they exhibit, by any standard of
logical inference that can withstand critical scrutiny. It was instructive that
the press release said that the public was overwhelmed with news on the discovery
of Tiktaalik. Does this sound like overwhelming evidence, or an
overwhelming marketing campaign? The news media were all primed for the unveiling,
and pushed out the most shameless hyperboles imaginable (review them at
You can evolve the word diorama from data by mutating the
t (truth) into m (misinterpretation), adding r (recklessness), and rigging the io
(input-output, as in GIGO). But because the diorama is the goal, it would be a
rigged form of evolution using a twisted form of intelligent design. Dont be dazzled
by the diorama in the Shubin commercial. Look at the data and ask if other
dioramas fit the very same observations just as well or better. The only way Tiktaalik
got such good mileage was with a lot of pedaling (and peddling) by its salespeople.
Next headline on:
NY Times: Cosmologists Have Lost Their Brains 01/15/2008
Naked brains floating in space, disconnected from reality this describes
the minds of some modern cosmologists, accused Dennis Overbye in a shocking article in the
York Times January 15. While attempting to be sympathetic to the smart guys
who can cover a blackboard with equations about higher dimensions, it was clear he
was about to call these guys nuts. His title: Big brain theory: have cosmologists
Some of the ideas being seriously proposed by cosmologists include:
disconnected observers in space (of which you might be one, imagining you really are here
on Earth); universes bubbling off in all directions all the time; universes that make
observers in a snap; reincarnation; and the possibility of a quantum
fluctuation leading to a bang that would destroy us and the universe in a flash.
If Bob Berman already thought cosmologists were clueless (see
10/06/2004), this article would surely push him
over the edge. Overbye himself said, If you are inclined to skepticism this
debate might seem like further evidence that cosmologists, who gave us dark matter,
dark energy and speak with apparent aplomb about gazillions of parallel universes,
have finally lost their minds.
Yet the article describes the opinions of leaders in the field:
Alan Guth, Andrei Linde, Leonard Susskind, Lisa Dyson, and others, who debate their
paradoxes and imaginative scenarios in all seriousness, run impressive calculations,
and deduce alternate realities that could not be scientifically tested even in
principle. If skepticism was the key to the Age of Reason, has the time come
to turn skepticism against the skeptics?
Those curious about what possible rationale any scientist could
defend for such notions as brains floating in space in bubbling universes where
time runs backward can dig into the article for its discussion of the Boltzmann
paradox, quantum radiation, dark energy and other quasi-rational or quasi-realistic
elements of their tales. One will look hard for any baby of observable science,
however, in the metaphysical bathwater (cf.
After centuries of the Age of Reason, attempting to describe nature
in rational terms, it would seem natural philosophers (now called scientists) have
created a new metaphysics more speculative than ever.
Have the boundaries of science and reason been left far behind? Has any
accountability to evidence been jettisoned? Linde, after discussing the possibility
of reincarnation in modern cosmological speculations, says,
People are not prepared for this discussion. One wonders who can
claim to be on the right side of the looking glass.
Linde, who just happens to be a Hindu, just happened
to find a way to make reincarnation a part of science not that
ones religion should in any way be used to critique ones adherence to
the rules of science now, Ms Scott. Those rules, of course, no longer require
empirical evidence. Anything goes even Eastern mysticism so long
as one is not a creationist.
Humans Excel at... Please Wait... Patience 01/14/2008
Evolutionists used to ridicule creationists with a silly what-if question:
If there is a God, how do you know he didnt create the world just five
minutes ago, complete with our memories of past lives? They also
ridiculed the Biblical statement that God will roll up the universe like a scroll in
the last days. Read the NY Times article; we rest our case. You will
never find anything in the Bible nuttier than this.
Ten years ago it seemed that creationists were on the defensive.
Bible-believing Christians seemed to have a lot of explaining to do: the light-distance
problem, apparent age, etc. Now it seems that the only ones with their brains
still inside their skulls are those who believe Genesis 1:1.
This article is another reason we suggested some of these cosmologists
take up truck driving (02/21/2005,
11/07/2007). It was a very charitable
suggestion, for them and their students and for reporters like Overbye who
are apparently disturbed about what has become of science.
Apparently they have lost it. Cosmology has imploded.
The Enlightenment is dead. The only hope is an escape
to reality. A little fresh air, some country scenery, some exercise, wouldnt
that be a good rehab after too much academia? At the motel, you might pull out
that book in the dresser.
Ask yourself if this 300-year quest to explain the world by human reason
instead of revelation has worked. It is indeed possible that all the technology
and convenience of modern civilization would have developed anyway, because most of
the productive (not merely speculative) nature philosophers and scientists were
Christians (see online book). Other great civilizations
took technology to impressive lengths without Enlightenment assumptions (i.e., that
man is emerging from the Dark Ages of belief into the Age of Reason). You now see the
comic conclusion of rational mans theater of the absurd
(11/29/2004). Here is where
reasoning out of the human imagination alone has led
Does anyone envy these people? (Apart from the salaries they make
at ivy-league institutions without having to work, that is.)
Have they developed anything to help you live, to improve your marriage, your relationships,
your goals and aspirations, and your mental health? Are you more physically
fit and morally upright after dreaming about bubbling universes, dark matter, dark
energy, dark everything, chaotic fluctuations that go bang in the night, and floating brains?
Maybe God lets man go as far as he can on his own to make His point.
A godly grandmother praying for a prodigal child seems to have more of a grip on the Age of Reason
than these poor, pathetic souls who wander in the dark and think they are the
wise ones. Without apologies for repeating a trite Christmas card slogan,
wise men still seek Him.
Next headline on:
Heres another thing that distinguishes humans from animals: patience.
Current Biology usually has a Quick Guide feature on some aspect of biology.
In the latest issue, patience was the patient. First of all, what is it?
Humans and other animals often make decisions that trade off present
and future benefits. Should a monkey eat an unripe fruit or wait for it
to ripen? Should I purchase the iPhone at its debut or wait for the price to
drop in a few months? In these dilemmas, large gains often
require long waits, so decision makers must choose between a
smaller, sooner reward and a larger, later reward.
Animals experience these tradeoffs all the time, particularly when foraging for
food. A Clarks nutcracker (a Western bird) can, for instance, store
33,000 seeds for later consumption, that is 33,000 decisions to delay
gratification. But being impulsive can have its payoffs, too. He
who hesitates is lost, a proverb says. If you dont snatch at the
seed in front of you, it could fall into the river.
Following several questions and answers about patience (how it is
measured, how animals measure up, etc.) came the question of interest to the human
animal: Are humans uniquely patient?
The most extreme examples of nonhuman animal patience pale in comparison to
the levels of patience seen in humans. Rather than waiting for only seconds
or minutes, humans will wait days, weeks, months or even years for gains.
Is this a true cognitive divide? The answer is yes and no.
In one sense, comparing the human and nonhuman experimental work is like comparing
apples and oranges because the methodologies differ so greatly. Repeated
choices with all real rewards and time delays may yield different results from one-shot
choices with hypothetical rewards and delays. When tested in a manner similar
to other animals, human subjects look similar to (or sometimes even more
impulsive than!) chimpanzees.
In short, put your money into an IRA instead of investing in a Monkey Bank.
Thus, in certain situations humans show similar levels of patience
as other primates. Yet, clearly situations exist in which humans are much
more patient than other animals. It is difficult to imagine even
chimpanzees investing in the future in a way comparable to depositing money into a
retirement account 30-40 years before receiving a return. Nonetheless,
we know that, for instance, many species show impressive abilities for future planning.
Western scrub jays can plan for their breakfast in the morning.
Monkeys and apes, especially chimpanzees, strategically invest in relationships
with group members to climb the political ladder of their dominance hierarchies.
Though these species lack the complex language and symbolic systems (such as money
and legal contracts) that allow humans to work over vast temporal horizons, they
do demonstrate a flexible means of dealing with the future. Perhaps the
recent surge in interest in animal patience will tell us whether long-term patience
is a uniquely human virtue.
1. Jeffrey R. Stevens and David W. Stephens, Quick Guide: Patience,
Volume 18, Issue 1, 8 January 2008, Pages R11-R12.
They missed the whole point. Human patience is a
virtue, not a trait. The fact that animals (and humans) may have instincts that
work in a raw-biological context tells us nothing about the rationality and virtue
behind human patience. If it were merely instinctive, it would not require
training and education and conscious choice. If it were a biological trait,
we would not see so many exceptions.
Bacteria to the Future 01/14/2008
Humans have the capacity for long-term gratification because we were
made in the image of God. That is the only explanation that makes sense for the ability
to wait for payoff for decades, or a lifetime. That is what
explains parents denying their gratification for the sake of their children, so that
they will be able to have opportunities they never had. And that is what enables
a soul to deny itself till death for a joy in a future life, following the example
of Christ, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising
the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God
We are animals, but we are not mere animals. All theists recognize we are rational
animals; its not like they believe humans float above the ground. We have
stomachs and sex organs and biological urges like the rest of biology. That
curious blend of body and soul is what makes our lives so interesting and challenging.
We were made for an unseen reality that can override our natural urges.
That is why we have need of patience. That is why we are admonished to
consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself,
lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls (v.3).
Having a biological propensity like the animals to weigh the costs
and benefits of immediate vs delayed gratification does in no way diminish the
unique capacity of humans for patience, nor does a listing of the misdeeds of impulsive or diseased
individuals who act only according to their animal natures. Indeed, try to imagine a chimpanzee
investing in an IRA for 40 years. Without a soul, with its rational capacity
for language, choice and wisdom, such capabilities would be unexplainable.
Current biology demonstrates it.
Next headline on:
Bacteria used to be considered so boring,
they were passed over by scientists eager to look where the action was: eukaryotic cells.
That was then. Now, Nature reported,1 the little
rods and spheres and spirals have lots of tricks up their sleeves worth investigating.
as featureless, disorganized sacks, bacteria are now revealing a multitude of elegant
internal structures. These include spiral skeletons (sophisticated
internal structures that give them shape, and help them grow and divide) and
actin-like motors that control magnetosomes (iron-containing structures) that give
bacteria a sense of direction.
Until recently, bacteria appeared to have featureless interiors, even when
viewed through electron microscopes. New techniques, particularly cryo-electron
tomography, are disclosing wonders that
were previously invisible. The discovery by Jeff Errington in 2001 that bacteria do indeed
have a cytoskeleton was one of those few times in a scientific career when you
do an experiment that completely changes your way of thinking. Errington
imaged filaments of tubulin wrapped around the inner wall of the cell like the stripes
on a barber pole. One theory is that the scaffolding tells the cell walls
enzyme contractors outside the cytoplasm where to lay new bricks (see
filaments and associated proteins are also involved in quality control during cell
division, and help organize the magnetosomes into sensory organs.
Eukaryotic cells themselves were assumed by 19th century biologists to be featureless blobs
of protoplasm. That view, of course, changed dramatically throughout the second half of the
20th century. History seems to be repeating itself with respect to the tinier cells that comprise
the most numerous life forms on earth:
For more than a century, cell biology had been practised on proper cells
those of the eukaryotes (a category that includes animals, plants, protists and fungi),
Ewen Callaway wrote. ....Hundreds to thousands of times smaller than their
eukaryotic cousins, and seemingly featureless, bacteria were rarely invited to the cell
biology party. These discoveries about simple bacteria are
helping to change that. We know very little, said Dyche Mullins [UC San
Francisco]. The discovery of the cytoskeleton proved that
There was a lot of organization in bacterial cells we were just missing.
The field is just now opening up after decades of neglect.
Theres a lot of unexplored biology, he said
and this article didnt even touch on the subject of
the bacterial flagellum.
1. Ewen Callaway, Cell biology: Bacterias new bones,
9 January 2008 | Nature 451, 124-126 (2008) | doi:10.1038/451124a.
Also published on News@Nature.
Some cognitive dissonance in this article was worth
noting. Throughout the text, scientists were admitting how little they know about bacteria
and this is with millions of the little cells right under their noses, in real time, in the present.
But then, right in the middle of the article, a just-so story was inserted about a mythical past that
would be unobservable even in principle:
Tooth or consequences (01/04/2001): things Darwinists were claiming
seven years ago: birds are evolving just like Darwin said (01/18/2001),
sexual selection makes girls attracted to deep-voiced men (01/16/2001),
and music is glorified bird chirping (01/05/2001).
Is just-so storytelling skill evolving?
As cytoskeletons evolved, they took on new chores and snowballed in complexity.
At some stage after eukaryotes branched off from bacteria, the eukaryote cytoskeleton
seems to have frozen in time. From yeast through to people, its proteins do
many of the same jobs, such as towing sister chromosomes to opposite ends of a
dividing cell or making sure the endoplasmic reticulum nestles up against the
nucleus. More complex eukaryotes might use actin to flex muscles and keratin to
make hair, but those tasks are variations on a theme.
This is how the Darwinians get away with calling evolution a fact (see
next entry). They simply declare it a fact and treat it as if it were a fact.
Those only makes sense if f.a.c.t. stands for Fictional Account Creatively Told.
It doesnt have to actually be a fact in the old-fashioned sense.
As long as everyone is trained to think it is a fact, the Darwin Party can remain in power,
the trains run on time and there is peace in the streets.
Not so with bacteria, says Mullins. Actins that determine cell
shape work differently across the bacterial world, and some rod-shaped bacteria,
such as tuberculosis, dont even have them. Due to their vast
numbers and unicellular lifestyle, bacteria can play around with fundamental
mechanisms for doing things in a way that eukaryotes cant, he says.
The downside is that peoples minds are enslaved to a myth
and science suffers. Did Darwinian assumptions
hold back progress in bacterial biology? Arguably so. According to the
Darwinian mindset, bacteria were just primitive,
featureless blobs, till new techniques revealed
what is really going on.
A design-theoretic biology might have motivated a different
approach. For an organism to be this small yet maintain all the functions
necessary for life, there must be incredible nano-engineering and miniaturization
going on inside those cells. Lets find out. Maybe we can even learn some principles
that can help us with our micro-engineering questions. The evolutionary
paradigm is revolting. Time for a design revolution.
Next headline on:
Zatta Fact? Scientific Facts Evolve 01/14/2008
Every once in awhile it is good to be reminded that scientific facts are
in a constant state of revision. Here are some recent examples of scientists
with surprised looks on their faces:
These upsets and reconsiderations are spread across a wide variety of disciplines and may
be considered typical of science news in an average month.
There is one subject, however, about which some scientists are so absolutely convinced,
they call it a scientific fact that deserves to be taught with missionary fervor:
evolution. The lead editorial in Nature last week began,3
Spread the word. Evolution is a scientific fact, and every organization
whose research depends on it should explain why. The conclusion said,
- Cholesterol for health: Surprise, says
cholesterol may actually pose health benefits. ... dont push aside bacon and eggs just yet,
it begins: researchers at Texas A&M did not expect to find improvements in muscle gain
among elderly patients: At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found
that there was a significant association of dietary cholesterol and change in strength,
they found, with the highest gain among those with the highest cholesterol intake.
Needless to say, these findings caught us totally off guard.
- The Hobbit: The diminutive skeletons on the island of Flores in
Indonesia were first declared to be a new species of primitive hominid, but now,
according to the UK
Telegraph, Mike Morwood (U of New England, Australia) is making a case that they
were modern humans with a growth disorder (10/25/2005,
- Count me out: Anthropologists thought they could determine primitive
counting words in native languages from more advanced, abstract ones, but an article on
says the reverse could be true. The more primitive counting words could be
derived from more complex systems.
- Backwards galaxy: Spiral arms are supposed to lead, not follow.
How can the trailing tips of a spiral arm be leading the rest? Thats what
is apparently happening in NGC 4622, reported
PhysOrg. This is an
inconvenient truth for astronomers who could not rule out the backward
They even found evidence of backward and forward motion in different
parts of the spiral arms.
- Dino desert: This dinosaur lived in a desert. No, actually,
it lived in the tropics. The BBC
News described a rethinking about the Bristol dinosaur Thecodontosaurus,
discovered in 1834. The big surprise was discovering that these reptiles
did not live on arid uplands but rather on small well-vegetated tropical islands
around Bristol, a researcher said.
- Rethinking dust: The discovery of a large disc of dust
around a binary star system could force astronomers to rethink their computer models
of the Universe, began an article on the
WZ Sagittae was not supposed to have any dust. Now that the Spitzer Space
Telescope has inferred the presence of a dust disk, The discovery may have
implications for the study of everything from supermassive black holes to the
formation of planets.
- The eyes fool you: Identical-looking animals may come from different
species, according to a phylogenetic study discussed by
Does this mean there are many more cryptic species hiding in the genes that we thought?
Could be; studies of frog DNA in the Amazon and giraffe DNA in Africa indicate that
multiple separate lineages can exist side by side with little interbreeding between them.
Taxonomists may have hugely underestimated the number of species with which we share our planet.
- Soiled assumptions: A paper in Geology this month said there is
a big discrepancy between mineral residency time and soil age.1
Scientists at University of Delaware said, we demonstrate that traditional
estimates of mineral-specific chemical weathering rates from soil chronosequences
may diverge by several orders of magnitude from the actual weathering rates.
- Y worry: Men, take heart: your Y chromosomes are not functionally
degenerate leftovers of once-prominent genetic structures. Thats the evolving
picture of the Y, reported Science magazine January 4.2
Scientists used to say, Genetic and theoretical studies of Y chromosomes have
led to the conclusion that they evolve to become functionally degenerate.
The new picture is: The Y chromosome has evolved to become a major regulator of
gene expression in males. It may not have as many genes, but if its
in the drivers seat, its got balls of chromatin in its genes that are not losers.
As the National Academy of Sciences and Padian have shown, it is possible to summarize
the reasons why evolution is in effect as much a scientific fact as the existence
of atoms or the orbiting of Earth round the Sun, even though there are plenty
of refinements to be explored. Yet some actual and potential heads of state
refuse to recognize this fact as such. And creationists have a
tendency to play on the uncertainties displayed by some citizens. Evolution
is of profound importance to modern biology and medicine. Accordingly,
anyone who has the ability to explain the evidence behind this fact to their
students, their friends and relatives should be given the ammunition to do so.
Between now and the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwins birth on 12
February 2009, every science academy and society with a stake in the credibility
of evolution should summarize evidence for it on their website and take every
opportunity to promote it.
1. Kyungsoo Yoo and Simon Marius Mudd, Discrepancy between mineral
residence time and soil age: Implications for the interpretation of chemical weathering rates,
Volume 36, Issue 1 (January 2008), pp. 35-38.
2. William R. Rice and Urban Friberg, Functionally Degenerate--Y Not So?,
4 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5859, pp. 42-43, DOI: 10.1126/science.1153482.
3. Editorial: Spread the word,
451, 108 (10 January 2008) | doi:10.1038/451108b.
The evidence for Darwinian evolution (universal
common ancestry of all life by an unguided process of chance mutation and natural
selection) is flimsier than any and all of the categories listed above, but it
is a FACT that must be forced on students and the public. Otherwise, who is going to show
up at the big Darwin Day party that is being planned for 09? If you dont want
all that money to go to waste, do your duty: help preach the propaganda
everywhere, at every opportunity. Just dont ask what a fact is.
(For help, see
Laws of Physics).
Laetoli Prints Eroding Fast 01/13/2008
Next headline on:
Genetics and DNA
Can footprints said to be 3.7 million years old be so fragile as to disappear in
reported that the famed Laetoli footprints, said to be those of Lucys vintage,
are in danger of being destroyed by weathering, erosion, vegetation, cattle and humans.
several hours drive in Ngorongoro National Park in Tanzania, and covered with a
protective layer that was placed in 1995, they could soon be gone. A local
conservationist is trying to raise interest in a museum for the site. This
would not only protect the prints but also attract interest about human evolution
See the links in the
for background information on the Laetoli prints.
Preserved for millions of years, but now at risk
in 30 years, and its all our fault. Local wants to make it a
Darwin shrine. Typical.
A Tale of Two Cosmic Cities 01/13/2008
Next headline on:
Two organizations have prepared curricula presenting grand panoramas of cosmic history.
Each is divided into seven modules but that is where any similarity ends.
One is a completely
materialistic and evolutionary view composed by scientists and educators from NASA and the
federal government and major academic institutions and corporations. The
other is a completely Biblical, theistic view put forward by Answers in Genesis,
a creationist group. Here they are in summary outline form:
Augustine of Hippo was an influential Christian theologian and philosopher of the 5th century.
He was well acquainted with the pagan and secular worldviews of his age as well as the Biblical
In his classic The City of God, he contrasted the pagan and Christian
views of reality by portraying them as two cities: the city of the pagans, and the city of God.
- Cosmic Voyage: A curriculum named Voyages Through Time
was developed by the SETI Institute partnership with NASA Ames Research Center,
the California Academy of Sciences, and San Francisco State University with major
funding from the National Science Foundation (Grant IMD #9730693), NASA, Hewlett Packard Company,
Foundation for Microbiology, SETI Institute, and Educate America, according to
an article Astrobiology 101 on
The website of Voyages Through Time
shows seven headings:
- The Curriculum: The overview module stresses the important of key
overarching goals to be taught students in the year-long curriculum:
evolution as cumulative changes over time, the various processes underlying these changes,
the differing time scales and rates of change, the connections and relationships across these realms of change,
and science as a process for advancing our understanding of the natural world.
- Cosmic Evolution: This module teaches that The universe, the
totality of all things that exist, is thought to have begun with an
explosion of space and time and the expansion of a hot, dense mass of elementary
particles and photons, that has evolved over billions of years into the stars
and galaxies we observe today.
- Planetary Evolution: As the title implies, this module teaches that
all planets formed from the same spinning disk of dust and gas, implying
Earth is a cosmic accident that happened to provide an environment suitable for life.
- Origin of Life: This module recognizes a lack of scientific understanding,
but promises light in the future: Current evidence from the rock and fossil
record indicates that life on Earth began about 3.8 billion years ago.
Yet how life first formed, or even how the biochemical precursors of life developed,
and under what conditions these events happened, are not yet understood.
The origin of life is an area of active research, with considerable debate among
scientists from various disciplines.
- Evolution of Life: This fully Darwinian module exhibits peppered moths,
uniformitarian dating methods, phylogenetic trees and other evolutionary icons to present
standard Darwinism: the entire diversity of life on the planet emerged from a
universal common ancestor through an unguided process of mutation and natural selection.
- Hominid Evolution: The sixth module teaches that humans are products
of the same unguided, natural process that produced the first life and all other creatures.
- Evolution of Technology: The final module continues its portrayal
of evolutionary history up to our present
human civilization. Students are shown the timeline of major events throughout
the history of technology in the context of the evolution of everything, beginning
with the Big Bang about 15 billion years ago. They are assigned a poster
project to show how technologies of the future may evolve.
Nothing is mentioned
in the final module, apparently, about the ultimate fate of mankind or the heat
death of the universe in which all life, and rationality, presumably will have
long ceased to exist.
- The Seven Cs of History: A curriculum from
Answers in Genesis, a private creationist
organization funded primarily by private donations and no government grants, takes a very different
approach to cosmic history. The Seven Cs outline, first proposed
by AIG president Ken Ham in one of his books (see
also forms the walk through history structure of AIGs
Creation Museum that opened last year
- Creation: The universe began as a purposeful act of an omnipotent,
personal God. The stars, the Earth, all life, the angels and mankind were created in the
six days of creation outlined in Genesis 1. Man and woman were created in the image
of God. They were rational and spiritual beings from the start. The creation
was good and innocent.
- Corruption: The first human pair, Adam and Eve, believing a lie
of Satan (who had previously led an angelic rebellion), disobeyed God and
fell into sin, as described in Genesis 3.
This separated mankind from God and brought a curse upon the world.
Death came because of sin. The first child committed the first murder.
- Catastrophe: The world became filled with violence. Only
Noah believed God; he and his family were spared on the Ark (Genesis 6-9) while
God judged the Earth with a world-wide Flood. This had major consequences
in geology and the subsequent environment for life after the survivors spread
out over the earth.
- Confusion: After the Flood, people again strayed from the Lord and
sought to build their own pagan empire. God confused their languages at the
Tower of Babel (Genesis 11). This began the origin of separate nations, languages
and cultures, as people separated from one another to the far reaches of the earth.
False religions sprung up many with distant but corrupted memories of the Flood,
and of the one true eternal Creator God.
- Christ: Since the Fall (Genesis 3:15), God had promised a Redeemer,
the seed of the woman who would crush the serpent Satans head.
In the fullness of time (Galatians
4:4), the promise of Gods prophets was fulfilled in Jesus
- Cross: Gods righteousness demands that sin be punished.
Christ took the punishment for mans sin on himself at Calvary. His
sacrifice offered a full pardon for sin, and his resurrection demonstrated the
power of God to raise from the dead all who have put their trust in him.
- Consummation: The curse will be lifted at the end time when Christ
returns in glory. God will create a new heavens and a new earth, where the
redeemed of all ages will rejoice with God forever.
The city of the pagans consists of people who live by their sense impressions alone.
Their philosophers build systems of the world from the imagination of their own hearts.
The common people fear natural and political disasters, such as the fall of Rome that
had recently occurred in Augustines time, and face death without hope or with false hope.
The city of God, Augustine said,
consists of those who trust Gods revelation. They live their earthly lives in hope of
heaven, like Abraham, who waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder
and maker is God (Hebrews
11:8-10). They walk by faith convinced in the trustworthiness of
The two cities are thriving in 2008 with zeal like that of a presidential
campaign. Both have a message,
a mission, and the means to propagate their contrasting views of reality.
Among the dozens of arguments that could be debated
back and forth between these two opposite world views, let us consider just two:
one piece of evidence, and one logical argument. The logical argument is this: to
argue anything, you need confidence in unseen realities that are true, universal,
necessary and certain, such as the laws of logic, the validity of inductive and
deductive reasoning, the correspondence theory of truth (that our sense impressions
relate to an external reality), the correspondence of human rationality with
truth, and the moral superiority of telling the truth instead of lying. None of
these things can evolve from an explosion of matter and energy in time. Remember, they
told us that this constitutes the totality of all things that exist.
So unless the evolutionists wish to violate their own principles by claiming that these
intangibles are real, true, universal, necessary and certain (i.e., by plagiarizing from the
theists), their world view has been falsified at the starting gate.
Botanical wonders from 2005: a plant that moves faster than a fly (01/27/2005);
recipe for instant petrified wood (01/24/2005);
one of natures supreme examples of nanoscale engineering (spinach: 01/24/2005);
and a mind-boggling look at how plant cells operate a shipping and receiving system
Before getting into the piece of evidence, allow one aside on a practical
note. You see that the evolutionary
world view is being promulgated by the government, corporations, and leading scientific
and academic institutions. If the previous argument makes sense to you, you may wonder how it
is possible that so many smart people could believe a self-refuting
proposition. If that is a problem, read this article at
Consider also that the pagan, evolutionary worldview is ancient. Most leading Greek and Roman philosophers
were evolutionists even those who believed in pagan gods, because to them, the gods
evolved, too, from a primordial chaos. Having a majority of leading intellectuals promoting
the secularist world view, therefore, is as old as Rome or Babel or the antediluvian
world, for that matter. Dont be surprised. Truth is not a function of
majority vote, popularity, or political power.
In our civilization, the Darwinists
usurped the scientific institutions in the 19th century
and have systematically marginalized
the members of the city of God who had dominated scientific inquiry since Augustine. So the
evolutionists who control Big Science today should be considered no different from
a situation where Druids, Gnostics or Epicureans were to wrest the institutions of power
and portray themselves as the scientists or soothsayers of their day,
and use public funds to promote their religion as the cultural truth.
Now, on to just one piece of evidence among many that could be raised
in support of the city of God. Without controversy, scholars know that the book
of Isaiah was written long before Christ. Regardless of what one thinks of the Old Testament,
one cannot deny the book of Isaiah precedes the arrival of Jesus of Nazareth by at least a century and
a half (liberal view) or seven centuries (conservative view), because a complete manuscript was found in
its entirety in Cave 1 at Qumran when the pre-Christian Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947;
portions of 21 other copies of Isaiah were subsequently found.
If you agree with this so far, now read the following excerpt from Isaiah carefully, and ask
yourself, about whom is the prophet writing?
52:6-53:12). Read the section now and come back.
Realize that there is no possible way under heaven for mortals to know any of the cosmic
evolutionary stories that were presented above in the secular diorama. It amounts
to a grand, sweeping creation myth for todays secular culture. The reigning shamans strive to
maintain their power over the propaganda outlets. That is why, as a minority of
the population, they work so diligently with
lawyers and special-interest groups to guarantee that the
accepted cultural myth be inculcated, without contradiction, at the
secular monasteries (public schools), where students are unwitting novitiates into the cult,
and in the courts, academies, media and government institutions. Otherwise the
common-sense observation that design demands a Designer would be too obvious.
Some of their methods for achieving and maintaining dominance are:
shaming the opposition (see ridicule
and intimidation), linking their doctrines with science
and bandwagon), refusing to seriously consider opposing arguments
(see card stacking and
sidestepping), and clouding the problems of their story in generalities
(see glittering generalities and
equivocation). For other techniques see
the Baloney Detector.
This is just one of dozens of Old Testament passages, beginning
as far back as Genesis 3, that were fulfilled literally in Jesus Christ. Jesus
himself announced his presence as a fulfillment of Isaiahs prophecy
(cf. Isaiah 61 and
Luke 4). More
of these Old Testament prophecies are discussed in the recent DVD
The Case for Christ. They were powerful
enough pieces of evidence, in combination with many other arguments and evidences from
creation and history, to convince hardened skeptic Lee Strobel that the Bibles world view was
true. In the film, he challenged viewers to make it a project to look at the
evidence fairly, and come to a point of decision.
You may not be ready to hang out with Ken Ham or other creationists,
whom the media love to portray as Bible-thumping buffoons (as if media portrayals
are any guide to how to think about things). You may have many more questions
about science and the Bible. At least start considering what
city you will call home. Does anything else matter?
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
Solar System Super Snapshots 01/12/2008
Here are some of the most fascinating new images coming from spacecraft out there on duty
but they didnt just come in on their own.
They are brought to you by highly intelligent and dedicated human beings: the navigators,
instrument teams, deep space network engineers, flight controllers and scientists who
gather and distribute the bountiful data manna from the heavens for the whole world to enjoy.
We are just 2 days away from Messengers
first pass of Mercury (see Johns
Hopkins Applied Physics Lab press release).
This should provide the first images of the innermost planet in over 30 years, since
gave mankind the first close-ups during three passes in 1974-1975. Messenger will
make three passes over Mercury in 2008-2009, finally settling into orbit in March, 2011.
Watch the Science Images
page for the latest.
- Mars Rovers: Spirit and Opportunity are celebrating their 4th anniversary
this month (see mission page).
Latest images can be found on the press
images page. Spirit ended the old year with a dazzling
from its winter nesting ground (see caption).
Not to be outdone, the sibling rover
showed off its track record inside Victoria Crater (see
Incidentally, if you heard that a large meteor is headed for Mars,
JPLs near-earth-object watchers have now ruled out an impact. See the press release from
- Saturn: The poles of Saturn are hot. This is the reverse of
the pattern on Earth, and appears unrelated to the amount of sunlight hitting the
pole, said a press release from
Propulsion Lab. Also unexplained is the hexagon-shaped feature over the
north pole; see larger image at
and the movie.
- Titan: The Cassini spacecraft went lake-hunting over the south pole
of Titan last month, wondering if it would find a similar lake-spotted landscape found
at northern latitudes. Here is
result: only a couple of candidate lakes. Scientists are now wondering if
the lakes migrate from one pole to the other for the Titanian winter.
Note: the colors are interpretations of data from the Cassini
radar. Smooth areas are interpreted to be lakes, and are artificially colored blue in the
image. Radar, of course, has no color.
image shows evidence of flowing liquid, probably runoff from methane storms.
The image looks similar to the descent photos taken by Cassinis ride-along
Probe, which landed three years ago this month. Have you taken the
wild ride with
Huygens down to the surface?
- Epimetheus: A little moon of Saturn, just outside the main rings,
has taken quite a beating, as revealed in a
One whole face seems bashed in by a giant impact that left a central peak on rebound.
The moonlet, about 72 miles in diameter, shows a variety of compositional materials
and some geological processing, such as slumping of dark material.
- Ring moons: Saturns two little ringsweeper moons, Daphnis and
Pan, were revealed in a single
image taken December 1. Pan is the larger one, inside the Encke Gap;
Daphnis, about 1/4 as large as Pan, plows through the center of the Keeler Gap. If you look closely you
can see how the gravitational tug of the moons distorts the surrounding ring material.
from 2005 shows the action; see also the
- Mars Odyssey: The infrared orbiter
Mars Odyssey has such
a huge collection of images, it would be unfair to pick just one, but last Junes
shot of flood-scoured
terrain is certainly a keeper. The thermal imager on Odyssey brings out much
more information from the data, as seen in this sample
One of the more intriguing images from Odyssey last fall was the discovery
of deep cave pits. The press
release says some of them are almost 800 feet across. It was by measuring the
temperature differences between day and night that scientists inferred these are deep holes,
not impact craters. They were found on the flanks of a large volcano.
- The Outer Limits: Remember the never-say-die Voyagers? They are
still on duty at the farthest reaches of our solar system. Their most recent achievement
was to pass the
heliosheath, where the solar wind impacts the interstellar medium.
From the two separate data points, scientists determined that our interstellar bubble
is squashed (see artist conception), perhaps
due to the interstellar wind from nearby stars.
- Solar Poles: Ulysses, the
solar polar mission, is in the middle of its third north-pole pass over our sun.
Its arriving just in time to watch the fireworks of the new solar cycle begin;
keep abreast of solar activity at SpaceWeather.com.
- Venus: The European Space Agencys
has been orbiting our sister world since April 2006,
and now has a collection of science images and artworks on its
- True Blue: Rosetta
has a ways to go on its mission to land on a comet in 2014, but it snapped this beautiful
picture of home last November
when just passing by.
- Mars in HD: For sheer dazzlement, its hard to surpass the
wonderful set of high-resolution images coming from the
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter,
affectionately known as Mr. O. The
HiRise Camera website,
managed by the University of Arizona,
can keep you occupied for hours or days. Bookmark the link to the
latest images for a weekly treat.
This magnificent camera can image things as small as a card table from orbit.
The silver medal for orbital images goes to the European Space Agencys
Its 3D oblique images
are the next best thing to being a Martian. Browse at length and put on a
- Encores: Let your eyes be the spacecraft:
comets that can be seen from Earth: Tuttle and Holmes. And check out the postcard from
Jupiter: a dazzling montage of Jupiter and erupting Io (10/15/2007)
from last years encounter made
Astronomy Picture of the Day
for January 8.
Whats coming? The
Phoenix lander arrives at the Martian north
polar cap on May 25. Mars
Science Laboratory, the next-generation super-rover, is being assembled now for launch
in fall 2009. Dawn is on the way to asteroids
Vesta (2011) and Ceres (2015). New Horizons is
cruising beyond Jupiter for a 2015 encounter with Pluto.
after a daredevil fly-through of the Enceladus geysers on March 12, climbs into high-inclination
orbit to celebrate the end of its prime mission on June 30 with stunning views high over Saturn.
But dont mourn the end of a great ride; next day, July 1, Cassini
begins its first multi-year extended mission with perhaps another to follow, if all
systems keep operating as well as they have since the 2004 arrival at Saturn.
Check out Cassinis video
In short, there is plenty of spirit and opportunity in space flight
to inspire a young generation of explorers to join the veterans.
There will be puzzles galore to solve and exotic places to visit for the first time.
Once in awhile you have to lift up your eyes from
the battles over evolution on earth and just take time to marvel at outer space.
We get to see things almost daily that earlier astronomers could only dream about. Keep
the dream alive with a good hand-hold on reality.
NAS Booklet Gets Its Counterpunch 01/11/2008
As you enjoy the alien worlds, keep in mind how lifeless and stark
they are compared to the Earth. A recent article on
said that our planet is right on the edge of habitability: If Earth had been
slightly smaller and less massive, life might never have gained a foothold.
Were it not for just the right geosphere, atmosphere, and orbital distance,
there would be no biosphere. Human civilization, with all its ups and downs
for over 6,000 years, has had a remarkably safe ride through the battleground of
space (03/07/2007). Of all people
who have ever lived, we should be the ones to thank
God the most for a privileged planet
that permits and promotes both habitability and scientific discovery.
Next headline on:
Recommended Reading: Dr. Cornelius Hunter, Author of Darwins God,
Darwins Proof and Sciences Blind Spot is reviewing the newly-revised
NAS booklet Science, Evolution and Creationism at
Its so well written, we are speechless. Dr. Hunter has
saved us a lot of work, because the NAS booklet was crying out for rebuttal.
This response is timely, thought-provoking and valuable.
Print it out for teachers who received the NAS propaganda.
Monarch Butterflies as a Test of Evolution 01/11/2008
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory
The Discovery Institute
National Academy of Sciences
have recently published books with butterflies prominently displayed on the cover. The
two books give opposite
viewpoints on whether life was designed or a product of evolution. Maybe a look
at a real-world butterfly research project can shed light on the debate.
A paper in PLoS Biology studied the clock mechanism behind the
migrating Monarch butterfly.1 A team from the University
of Massachusetts Medical School, with an entomologist from the Czech Academy of Sciences,
investigated the proteins that compose the butterflys circadian clock.
These proteins, called cryptochromes, are part of a feedback mechanism that takes input
from the sun and acts as a time-compensated sun compass. Remarkably, two of
the proteins seem to come from different families: CRY1 is invertebrate-like, and
CRY2 is vertebrate-like. They summarized their findings as follows:
Collectively, our results provide several lines of evidence suggesting that monarch CRY1
functions in vivo as a circadian photoreceptor, whereas CRY2 functions as a transcriptional
repressor for the butterfly clockwork. This novel clock mechanism
has aspects of both the Drosophila and mouse circadian clocks rolled into one,
as well as unique aspects of its own.
The paper used the word novel quite a few times to describe this mechanism:
i.e., The results define a novel, CRY-centric clock mechanism in
the monarch in which CRY1 likely functions as a blue-light photoreceptor
for entrainment, whereas CRY2 functions within the clockwork as the transcriptional
repressor of a negative transcriptional feedback loop.
Did evolutionary theory provide any of the motivation behind this paper?
Did it offer explanatory power? Only one instance of the word could be found:
Further molecular evolutionary studies have shown that gene duplication and loss
have led to three modes of cry gene expression in insects, giving rise to three
types of circadian clocks: two derived clocks, in which only cry1 (e.g., Drosophila)
or cry2 (e.g., the honey bee Apis mellifera and red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum)
is expressed, and an ancestral clock in which both cry1 and cry2 are expressed
(e.g., the monarch butterfly). The expression of two functionally distinct crys in monarchs suggests
that the butterfly clock may use a novel clockwork mechanism that is not
yet fully described in any organism.
Yet this refers to other papers, not this one. It merely assumes that another
research team got it right when they used circumstantial evidence to associate genes
and transcription patterns with presumed gene-duplication events. The authors
did not find an evolutionary pattern themselves; instead, it is clear that what they
found was a novel mechanism dissimilar to that in any other organism. Functionally
speaking, bees and beetles have different lifestyles. They do not migrate
thousands of miles to a particular spot in Mexico.
In short, the single reference
to evolution seemed tacked-on. It provided neither motivation nor an explanation
of the question: how the monarch butterfly arrived at a novel solution to the problem of managing
a time-compensated sun compass that allows it to migrate successfully over long distances.
Furthermore, an evolutionary conundrum was evident in the data: The role of monarch CRY2 as
a transcriptional repressor is similar to the role of the CRYs in the mouse clockwork.
The authors did not begin to explain why the butterfly protein resembles that of
a vertebrate with which it has no obvious evolutionary connection, except through
some remote, imaginary common ancestor that neither migrated to Mexico nor explored kitchens at night
looking for cheese. Evolution did not explain how clockwork mechanisms arose in the first place,
nor why two species with very different evolutionary trajectories would converge on similar designs.
Did intelligent design provide any input to this research? The
authors did not use that phrase, of course, but engineering language pervaded the
paper. Clock mechanism was one of the most common phrases in the paper a
term that raises the ghost of William Paley. Consider also terms like
autoregulatory transcription feedback loop, circadian photoreceptor,
and transcriptional repressor. These all related to engineering functions
within a complex system. Indeed function was another of the most common
words in the paper.
As to motivation for this research, a desire to reverse-engineer
a complex system seemed to be the driving force not a desire to figure out how
it evolved. The spectacular fall migration of these insects is a
present-day observational fact that drove these scientists to investigate, in detail,
how it is accomplished. The monarch clock may be the prototype of a clock
mechanism shared by other invertebrates that express both CRY proteins, the
Authors Summary states, and its elucidation will help crack the code
of sun compass orientation.
This paper was summarized on
Geographic News. Here, too, evolution was only in the shadows. The focus
was on understanding a remarkable system. The motivation is clear in a quote by
Stephen M. Reppert, one of the team members: A butterflys brain is no
bigger than the head of a pin, and yet it has this incredible capability.
So we really want to understand that.
1. Zhu, Sauman et al, Cryptochromes Define a Novel Circadian Clock
Mechanism in Monarch Butterflies That May Underlie Sun Compass Navigation,
Library of Science: Biology, Vol. 6, No. 1, e4 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060004.
Discoveries like this are usually made by knocking
out genes and watching what happens, or making proteins fluoresce green so they can
be followed. Imagine trying to study a car by knocking out parts to see what
breaks. Take out the oxygen sensor, or the PCV valve, or whatever; is this the
best way to understand a system? What is coming is systems biology in which
each part is studied in relation to the whole. Only by seeing the system in its
functional entirety can you understand the contribution of the parts.
Stem Cells: Its a New Ball Game 01/10/2008
Even so, there is a gap in understanding still. How can a protein molecule
help a butterfly migrate thousands of miles, some of it over trackless ocean, and
arrive at a precise mountain in Mexico it has never seen? Something is missing
even if we were to thoroughly understand how each part works. If you were to step
inside a human brain and see all the neurons firing and chemoreceptors operating, you would
still be ignorant of what the person was thinking. Can the spectacular flight of
Monarch butterflies be reduced to the action of proteins and genes? The question
underscores the mind-body problem, a philosophical puzzle unsolveable by reductionist
In theory, nothing in biology makes sense except in the light
of evolution. In practice, biology is the study of complex systems that give the
appearance of intelligent design. It gives you butterflies just thinking about all the
wonders in nature that showcase design. Evolutionary theory provides nothing but fluff after
the work is done, fluttering about to satisfy the religion of certain people that everything in the world
must have a materialist explanation. Get real: science is an intelligently designed
activity by intelligently designed humans studying intelligently designed phenomena.
Whats evol got to do with it?
Next headline on:
A year ago, the ethical battle over human embryonic stem cells was raging. Now,
both Science and Nature have acknowledged that the new induced pluripotent
stem cell technology (see 11/20/2007) has opened
up a new era that may make embryonic stem cells practically obsolete.
Martin Pera, writing in Nature1,
left open only a slight possibility of a need for embryonic
cells. Most of his praise was for the new technology:
The work of Park and colleagues, together with the related studies, proves beyond doubt that direct reprogramming is an efficient way of generating human pluripotent stem cells from adult cells. The results raise the hope that, one day, iPS cells might fulfil much of the promise of human embryonic stem cells in research and medicine. The generation of iPS cells through direct reprogramming avoids the difficult ethical controversies surrounding the use of embryos for deriving stem cells. The added advantage of direct reprogramming is that it enables patient-specific stem cells to be obtained for studying human disease and for tissue matching in transplantation. What is more, virtually any laboratory capable of carrying out the required cell-culture techniques can now perform direct reprogramming of adult cells. So the year 2008 promises to be very exciting for researchers interested in pluripotent stem-cell biology.
Jose Cibelli, in Science,2 asked if therapeutic cloning
research is dead. The ability to generate pluripotent stem cells directly from
skin fibroblasts may render ethical debates over the use of human oocytes to create stem cells irrelevant,
the article summary stated. The breakthrough research papers by Yu et al and Hanna et al
were published in the same December 21 issue. Cibelli charted the advantages of induced
and embryonic stem cells. Some benefits remain to be determined, and some problems
remain to be solved. He ended with qualified optimism:
Is human therapeutic cloning no longer needed? The short answer is no, but it is likely a matter of time until all the hypothetical advantages of therapeutic cloning will be implemented with induced pluripotent stem cells. More importantly, the controversial issues (ethical and technical) specific to human therapeutic cloning may well be left behind along with the procedure itself, a refreshing change for the field, indeed.
PhysOrg reported that the new
reprogrammed stem cells taken from human skin, indistinguishable from stem cells
taken from human embryos, may provide treatments within 10 years. The
breakthrough has created a race: the new technology is so simple that many
laboratories are competing to make further breakthroughs. Pluripotent stem cells
have the potential of recreating any of the 220 cell types in the human body.
Shinya Yamanaka, leader of one of the teams that achieved the success, said of the
competition, I think its very good for patients who are waiting
for new treatments.
Work on embryonic cells has not ceased, however.
PhysOrg reported on work by
Robert Lanza to extract stem cells without killing the embryo. He is not
convinced the induced adult cells will become the magic bullet. Some ethicists,
however, still see ethical problems with his technique, because it places at risk
the health and life of a human embryo for purposes that do not directly benefit the embryo.
The article quoted the head of the new California Institute of Regenerative Medicine
claiming that the most common stem cell source will be the new, ethically-sound,
induced pluripotent cells from adult skin. A survey last month found widespread
support for non-embryonic stem cells, reported
1. Martin F. Pera, Stem cells: A new year and a new era,
451, 135-136 (10 January 2008) | doi:10.1038/451135a.
2. Jose Cibelli, Is Therapeutic Cloning Dead?,
21 December 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5858, pp. 1879-1880, DOI: 10.1126/science.1153229.
It is certainly gratifying to see scientists using
their intelligent design to achieve a highly desirable goal without the need for
morally reprehensible means. The degree to which ethical concerns of the
culture restrained the unbridled ambitions of scientists seems clear.
Naturalistic vitalism: getting engineering without an engineer, from
is not a free rein to do anything and everything that is possible. The rhetoric
of the past indicated that not only individual researchers, but the leaders of the
scientific institutions, were intent on pushing their agenda past the objections
of the public (e.g., 10/13/2006,
Pro-ES cell scientists routinely tried to characterize the opposition as narrow-minded
religious dogma, as if Pig Science could be trusted to be free of ambition
(05/09/2007, bullet 3). Nothing stopped
them from spending their own money, but they insisted the public had to pay for it.
Two years ago, the Hwang scandal exhibited the ugly ambition behind some of the
research (02/05/2006). Without the
ethical pressure brought to bear early on against killing embryos for research,
another atrocity may have become as routine as abortion is today.
Thank God there is a new pathway through the morass that
may satisfy everyone. This is a technology to watch in 2008. Keep
your eyes open and the pressure on. Knowledge
is power. Righteousness keeps it under control.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Evo-Giants Battle Over Evo-Love 01/10/2008
Richard Dawkins and E. O. Wilson, both atheistic evolutionists, are at odds over
the evolution of unselfish love (altruism). Wilson attributes it to a revised
form of group selection; Dawkins to individual selection (the basis of his
selfish gene theory).
Evolutionists see no difference between the eusociality in
insect colonies, in which individuals sacrifice themselves for the good of the colony,
and human patriotism. Wilson wrote up a survey in the journal Bioscience
that questioned the traditional kin selection theory, according to
Many considered group selection a dead issue. Wilson himself admitted that
If you look at the literature of the theory, there are a lot of impressive-looking
mathematical models but they scarcely ever come up with a real measure of anything
that can be applied to nature. In his article, he
came up with a revised model of kin selection to explain altruism.
This has not pleased Richard Dawkins, according to an article in the
Dawkins thinks Wilsons new approach is misleading and vacuous. To Dawkins,
kin selection is just an artifact of individual selection. Wilson has fallen
into a trap of misunderstanding natural selection at the gene level. The
rhetoric between these two giants among evolutionary theorists got heated when
Dawkins said, Evidently Wilsons weird infatuation with
group selection goes way back; unfortunate in a biologist who is
so justly influential.
Wilson stood his ground in the battle royale: I am used to
taking the heat, and in the past I turned out to be right, he said.
Evolutionary theory has had particular trouble with explaining why humans will
sacrifice for other people they dont even know, or for animals.
Maybe they would learn more about altruism
by practicing it. It might dawn on them that it could not have evolved.
Give up the weird infatuation with evolutionary theory, gentlemen; you both know
that your impressive-looking mathematical models scarcely ever come up with a real
measure of anything that can be applied to nature. Who said that?
Dinosaur Fossil Shows Exquisite Skin Detail 01/09/2008
Next headline on:
More imaginary feathers on a dinosaur have been discovered.
A BBC News
article shows a cartoon of a dinosaur with feathers on its arms. This is
strange, because the paper it refers to makes no claim about feathers
only that certain structures had been interpreted as feathers by some.
The original paper by Theagarten Lingham-Soliar (U of
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) described a Psittocosaur from China that is remarkable in
one respect: it exhibits dinosaur skin in cross section with the finest detail
ever found. Published in the Proceedings B of the Royal
Society,1 the paper says that Also, for the first time
in a dinosaur two fibre layers parallel to the skin surface are preserved deep within
the dermis at the base of the cross section. Collagen at least 25 layers
deep maybe 40 layers deep suggests that the skin of this species
was tough and rigid, providing protection for internal organs. Tooth marks
from a possible predator attack were also found. For these reasons, the author
said this specimen gives a remarkable, unprecedented understanding of the dinosaur skin.
It should, therefore, provide an ideal case for a feather hunt.
The BBC report made overt claims about feathers in addition to its
cartoon: The plant-eating Psittacosaurus had a thick layer of shark-like
skin hidden under scales or feathers. The caption said,
Some scientists believe a number of dinosaurs had feathers.
Another quote hedged a little: Soft tissues such as skin are rarely preserved
in the fossil record, leading to heated debate over what dinosaurs looked
like, and whether they were covered in primitive feathers or scales.
What did the original paper say about feathers? Not much. The only
relevant statement was,
To date, all integumental structures described in dinosaurs, whether
interpreted as protofeathers or structural fibres, occur on the
surface of the animal or on adjacent substrate. A look at the
references for such interpretations showed two for and two against. The most
recent paper in the references was by Feduccia and Wang
denying that so-called feathers are anything more than degraded collagen fibers.
The only other comment about feathers in the paper was about the uniqueness of bird skin:
A generalization of the
primary functional role of the dermis in the protection and/or support for the
enclosed body mass may be extended to most vertebrates with the possible exception
of birds, wherein the dermis plays a unique role with respect to feather
Nothing in the paper, therefore, supported the claim that the well-preserved skin of this
Psittocosaur had feathers, despite the BBCs depiction.
Update 01/10/2008: The author of the paper denies that
these are feathers. Roger Highfield, reporting for the
Telegraph, found out that the point of Theagarten Lingham-Soliars paper was
to refute the notion that the collagen dermis layers contain proto-feathers.
Here is what he told the Daily Telegraph:
Scientists must really now choose belief in the nebulous idea of
protofeathers or the reality of collagen, the dominant protein in vertebrates.
Lingham-Soliar also denies that Sinosauropteryx, a turkey-size dinosaur unearthed
in 1994, had feathers. He thinks, instead, that the impressions were remains of
collagen that supported a dorsal frill running down the head and back.
I am convinced from the nonsense spouted by many of the people who
denounce collagen in favour of protofeathers that they have never actually seen
collagen in its natural or decomposing state.
Highfield ended his article, Although the new
work will not challenge the link between birds and dinosaurs it will lead to a
fundamental rethink of why feathers evolved in the first place.
1. Theagarten Lingham-Soliar, A unique cross section through the skin of
the dinosaur Psittacosaurus from China showing a complex fibre architecture,
of the Royal Society B, ISSN: 0962-8452 (Paper) 1471-2954 (Online), Issue: FirstCite
Early Online Publishing; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2007.1342.
The evolutionary flights of fancy in the news media
are irresponsible and detrimental to scientific objectivity. Here was another
media flap by the BBC, trying to pull imaginary feathers out of leathery skin, because they so
wish for dinosaurs to be the ancestors of birds (compare
06/13/2007). The Telegraph article was
more fair, but still clung to the link between dinosaurs and birds as if that
belief is too sacrosanct for evidence.
Blind Cave Fish Can See Again 01/08/2008
The reporters and scientists should have
been questioning the 70 million years during which this specimen supposedly lay
there, its skin exquisitely preserved down to the collagen fibers for all that time.
The carcass of a cow, deer or bird will decay to the bone in months. The
conditions under which such extraordinary preservation occurred, and
a reappraisal of the dating, should be the first item of business.
Next headline on:
Can blind cave fish get their lost eyes back? Yes, if they hybridize with
other cave fish that lost them due to different mutations. An article on
described experiments at New York University that showed that the progeny of two
independent cave populations could have fully functioning eyes. Why?
Because the genetic deficiencies in one lineage are compensated for by
strengths in the other, and vice-versa.
Nearly 40 percent of the
progeny from their crossing experiments could see again, even though the scientists believe
the fish populations had independently lost their vision a million years ago. Getting
back functioning eyesight means that not only
the eyeballs came back, but all the connections to the brain for proper processing
of information not used for that enormous length of time are restored.
Professor Richard Borowsky at NYU, who published his research in Current
Biology,1 attributed this to evolution.
Evolution has many ways to accomplish the same end result, which in the case
of cave fish is blindness. Yet loss of function is not the same as gaining
functional eyes in the first place. The loss of sight was apparently due to
non-overlapping mutations in the two populations. The same was true for loss of pigment.
Geographics report on the regeneration of sight in blind cave fish began,
Its a miracle! Borowsky calmly stated,
Evolutions palette is varied.
1. Richard Borowsky, Restoring sight in blind cavefish,
Volume 18, Issue 1, 8 January 2008, Pages R23-R24.
There are a hundred ways to break a car, but only
one way to build it: intelligent design. Attributing blindness to
evolution is like attributing a car crash to Ford. (On second thought, maybe we had
better say BMW.)
The Evolutionary Inference 01/07/2008
Getting a broken car back into working condition by blending parts from two
broken cars also takes intelligent design. The Creator put built-in redundancy
into pairs of chromosomes, and scattered the functionality across genes to reduce the
probability of a single point of failure. In the cave environment, the usefulness
of eyes and pigment was lost. This suggests that functioning organs involve a cost
that is burdensome when the benefit is gone (see 02/16/2007).
Natural selection can jettison useless baggage. That premise is not controversial
even among staunch creationists. A television set is a nice benefit unless you are a hiker
trying to carry one through a snowstorm. Getting eyes back without the input of complex
specified information, or getting a new TV to emerge from the snow, is a completely different claim.
Creationists might ask an additional question that did not occur to these researchers.
How plausible is it that useless but costly genetic information was retained for a million years,
only to become fully functional again in one generation?
The only way these fish were able to
see again was that the genetic information for eyes and all the brain wiring was available
in the union of data sets from the two populations, and could be reconstructed by
the elaborate quality control mechanisms designed into development. The 40% who
could see were the lucky ones who got all the information in their zygotes.
To call this evolution, lets see them experiment with one blind
population, and find out whether functioning eyesight, complete with all the brain wiring, emerges
from scratch via genetic mutations alone. Darwin is good at breaking things,
not designing them. Random mutation is the way an eye goes blind and a Mercedes bends.
Next headline on:
Fish and Marine Life
Todays Darwinian Just-So Story comes from a paper in PNAS.1
Three Italian scientists did experiments on the perception of two-day old human infants.
They found that the babies tended to pay more attention to biological motion than non-biological
motion, and looked longer at right-side-up displays than upside-down ones.
Their conclusion: These data support the hypothesis that detection of biological
motion is an intrinsic capacity of the visual system, which is presumably part of an
evolutionarily ancient and nonspecies-specific system predisposing animals to
preferentially attend to other animals. Previously, the inborn disposition
to watch biological motion had only been demonstrated in one other animal: the chicken.
1. Simion, Regolin and Bulf, A predisposition for biological motion in the newborn baby,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
USA, published online before print January 3, 2008, 10.1073/pnas.0707021105.
Observation: babies prefer looking at biological
motion. Conclusion: Once upon a time, in an ancient swamp, an animal emerged
that could not survive unless it followed its mother. Over millions and
millions of years, these became chickens and babies. Isnt science
wonderful? If the publishers of science fiction or childrens books reject your manuscript,
the elite intellectuals at the National Academy will welcome you with open arms, and the NCSE
will bless you for adding to the mountains of evidence for evolution with which
to bury the creationists.
Evolutionists Scare Presidential Voters 01/06/2008
Next headline on:
What will doom the United States? A nuclear war? Islamic terrorism?
An economic depression? No: the doomsday agent will be a creationist president, said an AFP
article posted on PhysOrg. It was
published internationally as far as Japan
The scare rhetoric came at the launching of an updated book on
creationism by the National
Academy of Sciences, which seems to have forgotten that their own founding member
and second president, Joseph Henry, was a creationist (see August 2007
Scientist of the Month).
Gilbert Omenn and Francisco Ayala, part of the coalition of scientific
academies that denounced creationism last week (01/02/2008),
repeatedly linked belief in evolution to scientific progress in their remarks:
Omenn added that having religious beliefs is not incompatible with believing in
evolution; its just that religion and science are two different ways of knowing about the world.
He subscribes to the late Stephen Jay Goulds description of the difference as
non-overlapping magisteria in that They might not be incompatible
but they dont overlap each others spheres. Because of this,
he concluded that Science class should not contain religious attitudes.
- The logic that convinces us that evolution is a fact is the same logic we use to say smoking is hazardous to your health or we have serious energy policy issues because of global warming.
I would worry that a president who didnt believe in the evolution arguments wouldnt believe in those other arguments either. This is a way of leading our country to ruin. [Omenn]
- Scientific inquiry is not about accepting on faith a statement or scriptural passage. Its about exploring nature, so there really is not any place in the science classroom for creationism or intelligent design creationism. [Omenn]
- We dont teach astrology as an alternative to astronomy, or witchcraft as an alternative to medicine. We must understand the difference between what is and is not science. We must not teach creationism as an alternative to evolution. [Ayala]
Governor Mike Huckabees public confession that he did not believe
in evolution provided the lightning rod that occasioned the comments. The article provided
no opportunity for Darwin doubters to respond, but the
in Genesis posted responses on their websites. The AFP press release also made
the following judgment without a trial: The evolution versus creationism debate has
crept into American schools and politics, where it is mainly conservative Republicans
who espouse the non-scientific belief.
Here we go again; more screaming by the bratty kids
(01/02/2008 commentary). When they cannot get their
way with scholarship and reason, they go back to their bad habits of
begging the question.
About the only finding of substance evident in their latest tantrum
is that most Darwinists are political liberals.
Why snow turns pink, and why thats interesting, from
There is hardly any philosopher of science today,
except for card-carrying members of the Darwin Party KGB, who holds to the myth of
the warfare between science and religion. Everyone knows that this was a
contrived and distorted viewpoint that was promulgated by Draper and White in the
19th century for less than impartial reasons. Some, like Lawrence Principe
at Johns Hopkins, consider the warfare thesis laughable even though he is an evolutionist.
He and many others defend the many and substantive contributions made to science by
people of strong religious conviction.
Todays belligerent Darwinists usually rephrase
the warfare thesis, like Omenn did above, in euphemistic terms. Having religious
beliefs is not incompatible with believing in evolution, they will allow, but the
two must never mix. In their interpretation, this reconstitution of the warfare
thesis means something like, We cant stop you from believing in fairy tales if you
must just keep them out of the science lab.
They may even graciously admit that religion is nice (sometimes). They may showcase
People of Fluffy Faith within the Darwin Party. They are very tolerant of
religion so long as Darwin reigns supreme. As with Plessy vs Ferguson,
claims of separate but equal usually are contradicted by reality.
Parallels. In the communist Soviet Union, Kruschev gave the Christians a licensed church, in which the sermons
were censored and membership tightly controlled, so that he could show off to the press and visiting
Western diplomats how tolerant toward religion was the Soviet totalitarian dictatorship.
Of course, he gave the church members not one shred of influence in policy, and apart
from the peering eyes of Western reporters, routinely imprisoned pastors and turned
unlicensed churches into museums of atheism. North Korea does the same thing today
but is even more brutal.
In the modern science vs. religion warfare thesis, religious attitudes
are contrasted with scientific facts. The methods of science, they say, require
explanations based purely on natural causes, even if one believes in God. As Phillip Johnson
has observed, though, holding to such a principle basically rules out a priori
anything for a God to do. If God is relegated to a nebulous sphere of religious
belief as opposed to the world of observation and evidence,
then his hands are tied from intervening in the world in any real way from answering
prayer, designing anything, or changing anything. Its de facto atheism,
notwithstanding their peace pipe offered with the chant that religion can provide a way of knowing about
the world. (Johnson has also described the two-platoon strategy of
Darwinists when discussing religion, a quote worth re-reading at this time in the
01/14/2002 commentary.) The Darwinists show
tolerance to religion only so long as they can keep an iron grip on the keys to knowledge
of the real world. As we illustrated
in the 11/05/2006 entry and commentary, this
amounts to giving away the toys while keeping the guns. The person with the
guns is the one who really owns the toys.
If the NOMA concept (non-overlapping magisteria, that science and
religion are separate, non-overlapping spheres of knowing about the world)
has you snookered and dumbfounded, take time out for a little re-education.
NOMA is not a statement of science. It is a statement of
philosophy about science. No discovery in a lab, using any scientific
method you wish to define, will establish the veracity of NOMA. It is a
presupposition. It is a belief that is chosen in advance before any scientific
work is done.
Moreover, NOMA is self-refuting.
All philosophers admit that no one comes into the lab with a blank slate free of bias.
Despite the NAS booklets claim that science is based on testable evidence instead of faith,
every scientist approaches his or her work with presuppositions that are
philosophical or religious in nature, and that cannot be defended scientifically.
Even concepts as basic as induction (that what has happened up till now will continue
happening in the future), causation (that sequences of experiences constitute cause-and-effect
relationships), the correspondence theory of truth (that our experiences
correspond to an objective reality), the legitimacy of analogy by modeling
(that something I simplify in a model has relevance to the more complex phenomenon
Im investigating) and the progress of knowledge (that scientific methods bring us
progressively closer to the Truth about reality) are all
accepted by and here is the operative word FAITH.
A scientist chooses those presuppositions that allow him or her to operate
according to the social and traditional norms of what are called scientific activity.
In many cases these practices have been extremely productive. In some, they have
not (e.g., cosmology, Darwinism, and repeated overturns of psychology). The track record of
science is of no help here. Even if you claim that practicing the traditional
norms has been useful and productive, you are still espousing philosophy by faith (in this case,
pragmatism). You cannot prove by empirical means that If it works, it is
true. This opens up a huge can of worms philosophically that has not been
resolved since Socrates. There are plenty of examples of practices that have been
useful but probably false. Ptolemaic astronomy and alchemy were quite useful
in their heyday.
Modern civilization just got through an era of science wars in the 1990s
that strongly questioned the objectivity of science. (These battles were completely separate
from the critiques of evolution by the intelligent design movement.) The outcome was more a standoff
than a definitive victory by the scientific societies. What it demonstrated was that the
social constructivists and relativists have just as self-refuting a position as the scientific
realists. Neither side had claims to objectivity. The scientific societies
just had more staying power in the ring, not any knockout punch. Thomas Kuhn and other
critics of scientific objectivity by most accounts made some errors and went too far in some cases.
Their criticisms, however, cannot be completely dismissed. They raised serious and
fundamental questions that actually echo philosophical issues debated by the Greeks and by
great thinkers throughout the ages essentially as far back as civilization itself.
The Darwinists bluff their way
past these issues, hoping the public will simply trust their claim to have
the best way to get at the Truth. They are like modern secular Magi following the star
of their own minds.
In short, the Darwinists define science with presuppositions that
are essentially religious in nature and are accepted on faith. Their characterization
of science and religion as non-overlapping spheres is thus a false dichotomy.
Now, ponder for a minute where their so-called scientific presuppositions come from. What kind
of foundational belief system will justify the validity of inductive and deductive reasoning, the
perceptibility of causes and effects, the correspondence theory of truth, the regularity
of nature, the validity of the laws of logic, and the viability of knowledge gained by human
reason and sense experience? You guessed itJudeo-Christianity! You cannot get there from
paganism, Buddhism, pantheism, animism, or any of the other ancient world religions or philosophies.
You especially cannot get there from the atheism or evolutionary philosophy held to with
such conviction by Omenn and Ayala. Why? Because a material, evolving world
can neither define nor defend immaterial, eternal, universal concepts like truth,
reason or virtue. If such things evolved, there would be no way to know this;
besides, they could un-evolve tomorrow. Only the Judeo-Christian world view provides the
preconditions of intelligibility needed for science.
The surprising conclusion is that the Darwin Party KGB, like an army of
the night with their NAS booklets held high (to invert a metaphor from Isaac Asimov),
are plagiarizing the Bible in spite of themselves. If we insisted
that they get their own dirt (see joke) and build
their own philosophical presuppositions from scratch, their entire superstructure of
belief would collapse.
This is why we said back in the
that the Darwin Partys arguments are like an army of noisy but silly orcs
holding their swords backwards by the blades. The handles are pointed at us and
the tips are pointed at their own hearts. The way to defeat
the seemingly insurmountable horde is to simply push on the handles.
Its an easy job, but it does take personnel. Without enough people
to push on the handles, the few playing defense could be clubbed to death
by the sheer number of blunt handles coming at them simultaneously.
The orcs wont feel the sting of self-refutation unless you help push.
Once their front line sees what is happening to them, they will be forced to lay down
their swords and talk surrender. Orcs are silly, though (due to decades of
brainwashing), so expect the casualties to be high before reality dawns on them.
Next headline on:
Two Fossil Explosions Are Better than One 01/05/2008
If one is good, two is better might work with cookies, but not with
headaches. Evolutionary paleontologists have just gotten a second headache
and seem almost happy about it. How can this be? Read this article in
Daily to learn how some evolutionists seem to be masochists. As if the
Cambrian Explosion were not a big enough problem for Darwinian gradualistic views
here comes the Precambrian Explosion.
Using the evolutionists geologic timescale, it appears that
fossils of mysterious organisms called the Ediacaran biota appeared abruptly without
precursors. Although this problem has been known before (see
08/19/2004), a team of scientists from Virginia Tech
decided to check out the paleontology and diversity of these organisms that appeared,
diversified within limits, and then went extinct some 15 to 40 million years before
the Cambrian radiation (a scientific euphemism for explosion). They
published their dynamite results in Science.1
Because the Avalon group is the earliest of three assemblages of Ediacara, each of
which appears abruptly, they dubbed the phenomenon of their sudden appearance the
Nowhere did they account for this phenomenon in Darwinian terms.
Nor did they even consider pre-empting the charge that might surely come from creationists
who would argue this amounts to a double falsification of evolutionary theory. Instead, they
began to see a pattern: if abrupt appearance is the norm, maybe this is how evolution
works! In the new view, evolution simply explodes life into morphospace (i.e., the space of possible
body plans). The final paragraph of the paper explains:
What might have led to the rapid morphospace expansion in the Avalon assemblage, and what might have constrained the Ediacara morphospace from further expansion or shift in the subsequent White Sea and Nama assemblages? We consider a long, undocumented period of Ediacara history before the Avalon assemblage to be unlikely. The rapid increase of morphospace at the beginning of Ediacara evolution parallels the disparity patterns of the Cambrian explosion: a rapid evolution of body plans followed by taxonomic diversification within the limits of a predefined morphospace. Various environmental, ecological, and developmental factors have been proposed to explain the rapid evolution of animal body plans during the Cambrian explosion, as well as to account for post-Cambrian constraints on modifications of these basic body plans despite taxonomic diversification. In principle, these explanations may also be applied to the Avalon radiation.... Regardless of the veracity of these causative explanations, the marked parallels between the Cambrian and Avalon explosions suggest that the decoupling of taxonomic and morphological evolution is not unique to the Cambrian explosion and that the Avalon explosion represents an independent, failed experiment with an evolutionary pattern similar to that of the Cambrian explosion.
The way one co-author put it, Accelerated rates may characterize the
early evolution of many groups of organisms. Evolution itself was never in any
doubt. Now they know that evolution works at accelerated rates.
Darwin had insisted that evolution was slow, operating by the gradual accumulation of
numerous, successive, slight modifications.
Science Daily indicated that the team was surprised at what they found.
Surprisingly, ... these earliest Ediacara life forms already
occupied a full morphological range of body plans that would ever be realized through
the entire history of Ediacara organisms, the article says. They knew
Charles Darwin had been concerned about the Cambrian explosion way back in the 19th century.
Now, here was another explosion just like it. His branching tree pattern, or expanding cone
of diversity, is wrong:
The explosive evolutionary pattern was a concern to Charles Darwin, because
he expected that evolution happens at a slow and constant pace,
said Shuhai Xiao, associate professor of geobiology at Virginia Tech.
Darwins perception could be represented by an inverted cone with ever expanding
morphological range, but the fossil record of the Cambrian Explosion and
since is better represented by a cylinder with a morphological radiation
at the base and morphological constraint afterwards.
How can a cylinder with all the radiation at the base be reconciled with an evolutionary
view? The scientists did not attempt to answer that question.
Scientists are still unsure
what were the driving forces behind the rapid morphological expansion during the Avalon explosion,
the article ended. Xiao commented, But, one thing seems certain -- the evolution
of earliest macroscopic and complex life also went through an explosive event before to [sic]
the Cambrian Explosion.
1. Shen, Dong, Xiao and Kowalewski, The Avalon Explosion: Evolution of Ediacara Morphospace,
4 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5859, pp. 81-84, DOI: 10.1126/science.1150279.
OK, thats it. Its over. Darwinists, give up!
How many times does the evidence have to falsify your theory before you admit that
this little worldview experiment was a bad trip? We are no longer going to allow
you to believe in free lunches (08/07/2007).
New Planet, or Dusty Brown Dwarf? 01/04/2008
For an experience in complete bewilderment at the propensity for the
human mind to cling to a false belief, read the Science Daily article in its entirety.
This team of scientists has just seen a very non-evolutionary picture
staring them in the face, and all they can see is evolution. Well, what
do you know evolution proceeds explosively instead of gradually!
Its enough to make one despair of the human condition. To despair even
more, ponder the fact that these falsifications of Darwinism keep appearing
at the very time the Darwinists and all the leading scientific societies are on the warpath to
stamp out all opposition to evolutionary teaching (see 01/02/2008 entry and a story on
The inmates are running the asylum.
Cryptanalysts look at noise for evidence of a message.
Archaeologists look at markings to look for evidence of an intelligent culture.
Intelligent design scientists look at patterns in improbable structures for evidence
of purposeful intent. SETI scientists look at stellar noise for evidence of a
signal. Darwinists look at signals for evidence of noise.
Next headline on:
A planet has been found associated with a dusty disk, reported
Geographic News and
This is one of the most exciting discoveries in the study of extrasolar planets,
a Max Planck Institute researcher said, because they have directly proven
that planets form from dust disks. Moreover, they must form rapidly, because the
planet cannot be older than its parent star, which is much younger 8 to 10 million
years than other extrasolar planets found so far, they said.
called for a hundred million of years or more for a planet to form. Earth is thought
to be 4.5 billion years old, with multicellular life appearing only in the last 0.5 billion.
This star, TW Hydrae, is 1/500th the age of the sun according to the scientists.
Dust disks are thought to evaporate within 30 million years, so it was reassuring for
them to find a planet forming within the time limit.
The NG News article mentioned some cautions. For one thing, the
giant planet is very close to the star and revolves around it every 3.5 Earth-days, with
a mysterious disruption in the motion every nine days. Also, the mass of the planet
is in doubt. Jack Lissauer (NASA-Ames) appreciated the discovery.
However, he said, I do think that the
authors have substantially underestimated the uncertainties in the mass of the object.
If it is as big as a brown dwarf, that makes the combination a binary star system
a very common occurrence among stars.
The astronomers have merely associated a dust disk
with an orbiting object that is not observed but only inferred via wobbles in the
parent star (circumstantial evidence).
Unless they explain how dust particles accrete into large bodies (a major problem in
planetary physics; see 12/05/2007), they have not
proved that this object emerged from the disk. Perhaps it did, but the observations
do not create an open-and-shut case.
Do Monkeys Practice the Oldest Occupation? 01/04/2008
Astronomers do not know how stars form; they do
not know how planets form (see 07/15/2005
entry and its embedded links). They have not, therefore directly proven
that planets form from dust disks. Distinctions are important in science.
Reporters often charge into conclusions without proper warrant. The astronomers claims
may be plausible. They might even be true. Hypothesis, though, is not confirmation.
Let him who puts his armor on not boast like the one who takes it off.
Alert readers must constantly beware of
claims that go far beyond the evidence: the star is 8-10 million years
old (no human observers watched it for that long). The planet is about
ten times as massive as Jupiter (it could be far smaller or far bigger).
Its host star is still surrounded by the disk of gas and dust from which it
was only recently born (theories of planet birth are full of problems).
This discovery allows scientists to draw important
conclusions about the timing of planet formation
(the conclusions are based on assumptions about the timing
Finally, perhaps in the future we will be able to answer the question: Are we
alone in the Universe? (How did they get there from a blip on a graph?)
Next headline on:
Stars and Astronomy
If monkeys do it, should it be outlawed? A story on
Fox News claims
that male monkeys pay for sex. The females make them pay up first:
The males use grooming as a form of currency to buy sex from the female,
a study by evolutionary biologists in Singapore concluded.
And the point is?
Animals go through all kinds of courtship rituals, some much more elaborate
than this. Why do you suppose the researchers and the news media
gave us this story, and used terms suggestive of prostitution?
Pure empirical science? Knowledge for knowledges sake?
Replication: a mechanism for the origin of life and evolution (01/31/2003)?
or for robustness? (01/02/2003). Genetic orphans (ORFs) dont fit
the gene-duplication theory they are a growing puzzle for evolutionists (01/02/2003)
A clue might be found in another monkeyshine story on the
monkeys laugh. What is clear now is the building blocks of positive
emotional contagion and empathy that refer to rapid involuntary facial mimicry in
humans evolved prior to humankind, a researcher said. How clear
is that? Maybe the monkeys are practicing for American Idol. Maybe they
are telling the other monkey to shut up.
Darwinists are on a campaign to link everything about humans to monkeys, including our emotions,
attitudes and sexual behaviors. They think this will prove common ancestry.
No it wont; creationists already acknowledge that humans have much in common
with our creature friends. We eat bananas, we scratch, we eliminate, we
reproduce, some of us even climb trees. So what? Birds talk and use
tools. Does that mean we evolved from birds, or they from us?
If monkeys like a good grooming before sex, is that any more
remarkable than the courtship ritual of the sage grouse? If monkeys like to
screech and howl and curl their lips, is that any more remarkable than a dog
wagging its tail? The Darwinists are trying to make a point, and we know
that all too well.
Next headline on:
Missing Links or Linking Misses? The Case of the Fungus Crystal 01/03/2008
Another evolutionary missing-link claim showed up in the news recently. The suggestive
phrase missing link implies a chain with just one piece missing. It also
implies that the chain is visible from one end to the other. Maybe a magic crystal
from a fungus can help us visualize the chain.
A critical missing step has been filled
in by a fungus crystal, claimed a press release from
This crystal has magical powers: The crystal structure of a molecule from a primitive
fungus has served as a time machine to show researchers more about the
evolution of life from the simple to the complex. How did this
fungus achieve such power? By helping evolutionary biologists visualize
how life progressed from an early self-replicating molecule that also
performed chemical reactions to one in which proteins assumed some of the work.
What really happened? Barbara Golden and Alan Lambowitz isolated a
protein-RNA complex from the fungus Neurospora crassa and crystallized it to analyze its properties. They did not really
take a trip in a time machine. Obviously, we cant see the process
of moving from RNA to RNA and proteins and then to DNA, without a time machine, Golden
confessed. But by using this fungus protein, we can see this process occurring
in modern life.
All they really did, though, is observe a modern complex molecule
and its analogue in related species some of which lack certain of the adaptations seen
in Neurospora. The story of how the molecule acquired more complexity through an
evolutionary process, from a hypothetical RNA World of primitive molecules, was all
Its thought that RNA, or a molecule like it, may have been
among the first molecules of life, both carrying genetic code that can be
transmitted from generation to generation and folding into structures so these molecules
could work inside cells, said Purdue structural biologist Barbara Golden.
At some point, RNA evolved and became capable of making proteins.
At that point, proteins started taking over roles that RNA played previously
acting as catalysts and building structures in cells.
The language in this paragraph suggests purposeful behavior in molecules: role-playing, building,
and making things. This is disallowed in Darwins universe.
In other organisms, RNA performs the work without the help of the
protein. The protein in Neurospora makes the reaction more efficient.
The presumption is that the simpler RNA came first and the complex RNA-protein later, but
both organisms exist today and presumably have not changed for hundreds of millions of
years, according to their own time scale. But like Golden said, she
could not see the process without a time machine. An alternative hypothesis might be that the simpler organisms
appeared at the same time but just got the economy version. How would anyone know?
Press releases from university research labs are often echoed verbatim
on science news outlets. Thats what happened with this story on
and Science Daily,
both of which reiterated the missing link theme.
Visions of time machines and magic crystals must have had more popular appeal than the original
paper in Nature,1 entitled Structure of a tyrosyl-tRNA
synthetase splicing factor bound to a group I intron RNA. Does the actual paper
support the evolutionary missing-link story?
The molecule they
studied appears to be pretty sophisticated. This RNA binding surface provides
an extended scaffold for the phosphodiester backbone of the conserved [i.e.,
unevolved] catalytic core of the
intron RNA, allowing the protein to promote the splicing of a wide variety of group I introns,
the paper states. The group I intron-binding surface includes three small
insertions and additional structural adaptations relative to non-splicing bacterial TyrRSs,
indicating a multistep adaptation for splicing function.
They still claimed that this fits the RNA-World scenario, because purportedly
simpler organisms get by without these structural adaptations: The co-crystal
structure provides insight into how CYT-18 promotes group I intron splicing,
how it evolved to have this function, and how proteins could have incrementally replaced RNA
structures during the transition from an RNA world to an RNP [ribozyme with protein
Yet the evolutionary story appeared tacked onto the end of the
actual empirical work. The actual molecule is one of the aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases
which are able to translate the genetic code into the protein code (see
12/28/2006, bullet 3,
These molecules have little tolerance for error (see 10/31/2007,
bullet 3). The particular synthetase examined in this paper actually has another trick
up its sleeve. It can also promote the splicing of mitochondrial group I introns, a
process that expands the informational content of the genetic code.
In their evolutionary story, they visualized how an extended scaffold for
the group I intron catalytic core developed in multiple steps on a previously unused
protein surface in a relatively short period of evolutionary time. They noted
that this ribozyme has a distinctive genome surveillance mechanism within this
group of fungi, that effectively prevents functional gene duplications and thereby
limits evolutionary options. This seems like a quality-control mechanism that
They did not reach back prior to the existence of aminoacyl-tRNA
synthetases. They assumed these complex, vital, functional molecular translators
already existed. Instead, they imagined how, with further research, evolutionary
biologists might be able to imagine how they can progressively
acquire new functions and evolve to bind multiple structurally related RNAs.
A different press release, this time from
Scripps Research Institute,
also spoke of the aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase system. They focused on the precision
editing of the molecules, which have triple-redundant checkpoints for quality control.
Among the talk of instructions and information there was no
mention of evolution, except for one inscrutable reference when discussing the importance of accurate
protein synthesis: It is unlikely such a robustly redundant system would have
evolved, they say, if this were not the case. Grab a cup of
coffee and think that one over.
1. Paukstelis, Lambowitz, Golden et al, Structure of a tyrosyl-tRNA
synthetase splicing factor bound to a group I intron RNA,
451, 94-97 (3 January 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06413.
Here was another example of evolutionists taking a tiny bit of boringly
detailed empirical data, irrelevant to the Darwinian tale, and making a snowball out of it. They
rolled it down the hill of speculation till it grew into a
house-sized story with which to snow the public.
Yet Another Dinosaur Extinction Theory: Bugs 01/03/2008
These people did not get into a time machine. They did not perform
divination with a magic crystal. As devotees of the Cult of the RNA World, despite
all its problems (07/11/2002), they were compelled by the
cult ritual to weave their observations into the myth of the watery
from which their race emerged. Some ritual smoke and chanting
enhanced the hallucination.
In short, their missing link turned out to be one piece of real data inserted
into a chain of imagination and speculation. Would you be impressed if we held up a modern
propane camp stove and called it a missing link from space aliens who brought primitive mankind
the knowledge of fire? Suppose we reinforced our claim by showing cheaper models that
lacked a flint starter. Q.E.D., we say. Phooey, you reply.
Learn to see through the hype and expose the Darwinist flimflam
for what it is. If they aim to shoot down intelligent design, they are making all misses and no hits.
Linking misses together doesnt improve the score.
Next headline on:
A press release from Oregon
State claims that insects may have finished off the dinosaurs. Two main reasons were given
for this hypothesis: (1) the extinction coincides with the rise of flowering plants and their
pollinators, and (2) the impact theory has serious problems.
There are serious problems with the sudden impact theories of
dinosaur extinction, not the least of which is that dinosaurs declined and
disappeared over a period of hundreds of thousands, or even millions of years,
said George Poinar Jr., a courtesy professor of zoology at Oregon State University.
That time frame is just not consistent with the effects of an asteroid
impact. But competition with insects, emerging new diseases and
the spread of flowering plants over very long periods of time is perfectly compatible
with everything we know about dinosaur extinction.
The theory actually proposes a brew of toxic effects, including geological catastrophes
like impacts and volcanoes, mixed in with new diseases from biting insects. George
and Roberta Poinar have found evidence of leishmania, malaria, intestinal parasites,
arboviruses and other pathogens in dinosaur coprolites (fossil dung) and in
the guts of amber-entombed insects. They suggest that waves of epidemics caused
dinosaur extinction over a long period of time.
Rather than a single event, therefore, the Poinars propose that
The confluence of new insect-spread diseases, loss of traditional food sources,
and competition for plants by insect pests could all have provided a lingering,
debilitating condition that dinosaurs were ultimately unable to overcome.
Daily posted the hypothesis with a picture of a tick encased in amber.
One would think that the highly-versatile and adaptable dinosaurs would have enjoyed
some nice salad after millions of years of pine cones and ferns.
Maybe they couldnt get used to the taste of broccoli. Now
that 25 years of animations of horrific space bombardments have to go out
the window, its open season for you to propose your own theory about dinosaur
extinction. Add to the historic list: diarrhea, cosmic rays, poached eggs,
tobacco (Gary Larson), asteroids, and not listening to Mom (see
for more ideas).
2008 Begins With Darwinist Call to Arms 01/02/2008
All these hypotheses
fail to explain why so many contemporary creatures avoided the extinction
including some good-size mammals and birds (the reputed dinosaurs of today).
Remember that dinosaurs came in a wide variety of sizes. They roamed the entire
planet including Antarctica (12/12/2007).
Whatever killed them off must have been both global and very selective.
Since we now know that soft tissue, proteins and maybe even blood
has been preserved in some dinosaurs, indicating that they lived much more recently
than assumed by evolutionists, put the pieces together. Maybe humans killed off the
remaining ones after the Flood. Professor Noah from the University of Ark claims
that this hypothesis is perfectly compatible with everything we know about
Next headline on:
Do the pro-evolutionists show any signs of compromise, contrition or consilience
after unceasing pressure from critics for decades? Not in the slightest.
If anything, their rhetoric is becoming increasingly bellicose. An
example can be found in an article on todays
A survey of 1,000 likely voters, conducted by the pro-evolutionist
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (see their
website), found that 61% of the respondents support the vague statement
All living things evolved over time. This filtered down to 11%
who support the common ancestry of all things by a natural process such as natural selection,
and 36% who think God guided evolution. Regarding the question of human evolution, the survey
measured 53% who believe humans had evolved, 32% via natural selection and 25% with guidance. The
report acknowledged, however, that Americans views on evolution differ according
to how the questions are asked.
Respondents who answered scientific
questions correctly about plate tectonics, antibiotics and dinosaurs
(at least according to the survey writers), were included in the counts of those
most likely to support the teaching of evolution in schools, they said.
However, according to the FASEB
report, two of the questions presupposed a belief in millions of years thus eliminating
young-earth creationists at the outset. Not only did this skew the survey against some creationists
who have scientific reasons for disbelieving the geological time scale, it scored those
believing in vast ages of time as scientifically literate. Notice how the questions
thus created a caricature of scientific literacy:
Although 69% of survey participants had some college education (27% were college graduates,
and 14% had attended graduate school), only 23% gave correct responses to all three of the
following statements: the continents or land masses on which we live have been moving for millions of years and will continue to move in the future (79% correctly agreed); antibiotics kill viruses as well as
bacteria (43% correctly disagreed); the earliest humans lived at the same time as the dinosaurs
(53% correctly disagreed). Respondents who answered all three questions correctly
were much more likely to respond that humans and other living things evolved (78%) rather
than that they were created in their present form (11%), and more favored teaching
evolution (78%) than creationism (27%) or intelligent design (24%). In contrast,
respondents who answered fewer than two questions correctly were less likely to accept that
life evolved (36%) rather than to believe it was created in its present form (47%), and
they were about as likely to favor teaching evolution (36%) as creationism (38%) and intelligent design (29%).
The survey, then seems to merely restate the obvious: creationists favor teaching intelligent design,
and evolutionists favor teaching evolution. Presumably, some of the creationists had college
degrees, too, but were labeled scientifically illiterate according to their acceptance of evolutionary
Whatever these results mean, the scientific societies were quick to
capitalize on them. A coalition of 17 scientific societies issued a statement
with no room for non-evolutionary explanations:
The introduction of non-science, such as creationism and intelligent design,
into science education will undermine the fundamentals of science education. Some of
these fundamentals include using the scientific method, understanding how to
reach scientific consensus, and distinguishing between scientific and nonscientific
explanations of natural phenomena.
The FASEB journals editor-in-chief, Dr. Gerald Weissmann, was even more blatant: In an age when
people have benefited so greatly from science and reason, it is ironic that some
still reject the tools that have afforded them the privilege to reject them.
These statements assume, rather than demonstrate, that evolutionary biologists use said tools, and their critics
The article by LiveScience Staff ended by editorializing on the issue of
intelligent design (ID). No proponents of ID were given a platform. The article stated
flatly that intelligent design is not science by appealing to authority and majority,
then gave Weissmann an opportunity to earn Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:
Scientists accept evolution as the best and only theory that accurately explains how
humans and other species came to be so diverse. The theory is supported by many
studies in many different fields of science.
Intelligent design is a thinly
veiled creationist argument designed to make the public doubt the theory of evolution,
according to nearly all scientists and a 2005 ruling by U.S. District Court
Judge John E. Jones III in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.
The coalition that issued the statement includes the National Academy of Sciences,
the American Institute of Physics and the National Science Teachers Association.
As with the pronouncements of any large organization, declarations are decisions of the
leadership, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of all the members.
The Federations press release was posted on
The bottom line is that the world is round, humans evolved from an extinct species and
Elvis is dead, Weissmann said. This survey is a wake-up call for anyone
who supports teaching information based on evidence rather than speculation or hope; people
want to hear the truth, and they want to hear it from scientists.
1. To be considered part of the scientifically literate group, respondents had
to answer that humans did not live at the time of the dinosaurs. This ruled out all
young-earth creationists, many of whom have scientific reasons for believing the old-age
assumptions of the scientific community are falsified by evidence. Thus, only those
predisposed to believe in long ages were included in the subsequent counts of those who
believed evolution should be taught in schools.
This means war. We are not declaring war;
the Darwin Party did, and there needs to be a response. The obstreperous, incorrigible
had plenty of time to repent of their sins. Their only reaction has been to
dig in their heels, stiffen their necks, harden their hearts, grit their teeth, stop
their ears and scream. They are like bratty kids throwing a tantrum, and need
a similar kind of discipline.
Biology of the future: molecular machines (01/09/2002)
and an example: exquisite mechanisms in potassium channels
There are so many blatant logical fallacies and lies in the coalition statement,
only newbies to CEH might fail to see them. If you are a seasoned reader, you
can skip over the list unless you would like a review. (Keep in mind that what
the evolutionists really mean by evolution is that humans have bacteria ancestors
through an unguided natural process.)
In addition, the Live Science Staff accelerated the error catastrophe:
- non-science, such as creationism and intelligent design blatant
name-calling. They should know full well that
there are no demarcation criteria for science. This amounts to no more than
labeling ones opponent a heretic so he can be condemned.
- will undermine the fundamentals of science education only if
the cultures chosen fundamentals require atheism. This is the
fear-mongering tactic. Did they notice that
most of the greatest founders of science were creationists?
- using the scientific method There is no one scientific method.
Give a philosopher of science an alleged scientific method and he will find
examples of pseudoscience that use it and legitimate sciences that do not. ID
and creationist researchers often do just as good a job at deploying whatever scientific
method the Darwinites want to define as they claim to do themselves.
- understanding how to reach scientific consensus this is how politics is done,
not science. Science is trying to get the world right, even if that is considered
possible, a dubious pursuit philosophically even if worthwhile pragmatically.
- distinguishing between scientific and non-scientific explanations of phenomena
good luck. Since there are no demarcation criteria, any attempt to distinguish them
is going to rule out some sciences they want to include, and let in some sciences they
want to exclude. Drawing categories to include Darwinism and exclude intelligent
design is as arbitrary as defining which food is delicious.
Taking up Weissmanns SEQOTW is overkill at this point, but for the sake of completeness,
- Scientists accept evolution a glittering
generality that overlooks that science is about demonstrating and proving things, not
- ...accept evolution an equivocation
because the word evolution can mean almost anything, even something a creationist
- best...theory the best-in-field fallacy.
- only theory a big lie. If by that
they mean the only naturalistic theory, then it begs the question
that the assumption of naturalism is required to do good science.
- accurately explains only if you liken it to the Gribbleflix
theory (see 12/19/2007 commentary).
- explains the subject of scientific explanation is a huge problem
in philosophy of science about which great thinkers disagree. One cannot assume
that the evolutionary explanation is a good one without
begging the question.
- how humans and other species came to be so diverse if observed
diversity is the issue, then variation by descent from original created kinds explains the
observations, because abrupt appearance of phyla is the rule.
- The theory is supported the issue of which kinds of observations
can rightly be adduced in support of a theory is another of those knotty problems in philosophy of science.
The Darwinists refute their own credibility by using any and every observation as
support for their theory, even contradictory observations.
- by many studies only by assuming evolution at the outset, as
shown many, many times in these pages. If they want to pick the studies that
support their belief, and ignore the many and serious problems in other studies, that would
be an example of card stacking.
- in many different fields of science many different fields of
science support intelligent design, too, and prohibit evolution. Want to compare
lists? The Cambrian explosion, the origin of life, the origin of the universe, etc.
- thinly veiled creationist argument the
bogeyman tactic. Ones motives should
not be an issue in science. Labeling something creationist to discredit
it without listening to their arguments is an a priori category error, unworthy of
- designed to make the public doubt the theory of evolution Good,
they believe in intelligent design after all. How did the creationist tactic evolve? If it
evolved, why isnt it a good thing? Are the Darwinists saying they believe
in absolute truth and morals? Then they are no longer Darwinists.
- according to nearly all scientists the
bandwagon argument. Nearly all scientists
denied plate tectonics till they accepted it, nearly all scientists denied
the Missoula flood till they accepted it, and nearly all scientists ridiculed
radio astronomy till they accepted it. Nearly all scientists accepted phony
ideas, too, like phlogiston,
caloric, alchemy and other blind alleys in the history of science, till they
rejected them. Maybe some day nearly
all scientists will reject Darwin and accept ID. Prove this is impossible
scientifically. If that happens, will it define what is right?
Science is supposed to be an open-ended search for the truth where the evidence leads.
- and... Judge John E. Jones It is laughable that the Darwinists
appeal to a non-scientist judge to rule on what counts as science or not.
Undoubtedly they would be screaming if Jones had ruled against them. They would
be declaring with holy indignation that no unelected judge has the right to
define what science is; only the scientific community is allowed that privilege.
It goes without saying that surveys and statistical
inferences are fraught with problems and prone to misinterpretation.
This exercise was elementary. If you have not yet mastered the art of
Baloney Detecting, the new year is a good time
to resolve to start an intellectual fitness program.
- the world is round, humans evolved from an extinct species and
Elvis is dead one of the funniest examples of
negative association in a long time.
Both sides of an argument can play this game. We refuse to dignify Weissmanns
childish fallacy with a counter-example.
- wake-up call fear-mongering again.
- teaching information based on evidence rather than speculation or hope
Great idea! When do you start?
- people want to hear the truth thats right. Please repent and commence.
Apparently the Darwinists now believe in truth. This implies intangible absolutes.
From now on, no Darwinian stories will be accepted that assume materialism and relativism.
- and they want to hear it from scientists Is it OK if we hear the truth
from Bacon, Kepler, Maxwell, Faraday, Carver, von Braun, and other notable
creation scientists? Picking
only Darwin-loyal scientists would be card stacking.
The coalition manifesto is what happens when the bratty kids achieve power. The good
scientists are not the problem. Most scientists are simply carrying on the noble tradition
of applying the best observational and mathematical rigor to problems in our understanding
of nature as best they can within human limitations. It requires character: responsibility, integrity, honesty, fairness,
and humility. Character does not evolve. Character development takes hard work, purpose and intelligent
design. That alone refutes the Darwin Partys own premises.
There have always been adults who never outgrew the habit of holding their
ears and screaming, stomping their feet, refusing to do their homework or eat their vegetables,
and wasting countless hours in trivial pursuits like video games.
If you would evict your grown children for such behavior, and tell them either get a job
or you dont eat, then a similar housecleaning needs to happen at the leadership
of scientific institutions, where adults who should know better are hooked on the XBox of contrived battles with
imaginary bogeymen, and glutted with the junk food of simplistic rhetoric.
Science can only thrive with the nourishment of a balanced philosophical
foundation and the wisdom to apply character to issues of substance in the real world.
Next headline on:
Scientist of the Month
Click on Apollos, the trusty|
|Guide to Evolution
I visit your website regularly and I commend you on your work. I applaud your effort to pull actual science from the mass of propaganda for Evolution you report on (at least on those rare occasions when there actually is any science in the propaganda). I also must say that I'm amazed at your capacity to continually plow through the propaganda day after day and provide cutting and amusing commentary.... I can only hope that youthful surfers will stop by your website for a fair and interesting critique of the dogma they have to imbibe in school.
(a technical writer living in Jerusalem)
I have enjoyed your site for several years now. Thanks for all the hard work you obviously put into this. I appreciate your insights, especially the biological oriented ones in which I'm far behind the nomenclature curve. It would be impossible for me to understand what's going on without some interpretation. Thanks again.
(a manufacturing engineer in Vermont)
Love your site and your enormous amount of intellectualism and candor
regarding the evolution debate. Yours is one site I look forward to on
a daily basis. Thank you for being a voice for the rest of us.
(a graphic designer in Wisconsin)
For sound, thoughtful commentary on creation-evolution hot topics go to
(Access Research Network
Your website is simply the best (and Id dare say one of the most important) web sites on the entire WWW.
(an IT specialist at an Alabama university)
Ive been reading the articles on this website for over a year, and
Im guilty of not showing any appreciation. You provide a great service.
Its one of the most informative and up-to-date resources on creation available
anywhere. Thank you so much. Please keep up the great work.
(a senior research scientist in Georgia)
Just a note to thank you for your site. I am a regular visitor and I use your site
to rebut evolutionary "just so" stories often seen in our local media.
I know what you do is a lot of work but you make a difference and are appreciated.
(a veterinarian in Minnesota)
This is one of the best sites I have ever visited. Thanks.
I have passed it on to several others... I am a retired grandmother.
I have been studying the creation/evolution question for about 50 yrs....
Thanks for the info and enjoyable site.
(a retiree in Florida)
It is refreshing to know that there are valuable resources such as Creation-Evolution
Headlines that can keep us updated on the latest scientific news that affect our view of
the world, and more importantly to help us decipher through the rhetoric so carelessly
disseminated by evolutionary scientists. I find it Intellectually Satisfying
to know that I dont have to park my brain at the door to be a believer
or at the very least, to not believe in Macroevolution.
(a loan specialist in California)
I have greatly benefitted from your efforts. I very much look forward
to your latest posts.
(an attorney in California)
I must say your website provides an invaluable arsenal in this war for souls
that is being fought. Your commentaries move me to laughter or sadness.
I have been viewing your information for about 6 months and find it one of the best
on the web. It is certainly effective against the nonsense published on
Talkorigins.org. It great to see work that glorifies God and His creation.
(a commercial manager in Australia)
Visiting daily your site and really do love it.
(a retiree from Finland who studied math and computer science)
I am agnostic but I can never deny that organic life (except human) is doing a wonderful
job at functioning at optimum capacity. Thank you for this ... site!
(an evolutionary theorist from Australia)
During the year I have looked at your site, I have gone through your archives and
found them to be very helpful and informative. I am so impressed that I forward link
to members of my congregation who I believe are interested in a higher level discussion
of creationist issues than they will find at [a leading origins website].
(a minister in Virginia)
I attended a public school in KS where evolution was taught. I have
rejected evolution but have not always known the answers to some of the
questions.... A friend told me about your site
and I like it, I have it on my favorites, and I check it every day.
(an auto technician in Missouri)
Thanks for a great site! It has brilliant insights into the world of
science and of the evolutionary dogma. One of the best sites I know of on
(a programmer in Iceland)
The site you run creation-evolution headlines is
extremely useful to me. I get so tired of what passes
for science Darwinism in particular and I find your
site a refreshing antidote to the usual junk.... it is clear that your thinking and logic
and willingness to look at the evidence for what the
evidence says is much greater than what I read in what
are now called science journals.
Please keep up the good work. I appreciate what you
are doing more than I can communicate in this e-mail.
(a teacher in California)
Although we are often in disagreement, I have the greatest respect and admiration for your writing.
(an octogenarian agnostic in Palm Springs)
your website is absolutely superb and unique. No other site out
there provides an informed & insightful running critique of the current
goings-on in the scientific establishment. Thanks for keeping us informed.
(a mechanical designer in Indiana)
I have been a fan of your site for some time now. I enjoy reading the No Spin of what
is being discussed.... keep up the good work, the world needs to be shown just how little the scientist
[sic] do know in regards to origins.
(a network engineer in South Carolina)
I am a young man and it is encouraging to find a scientific journal on the side of creationism and intelligent design....
Thank you for your very encouraging website.
(a web designer and author in Maryland)
GREAT site. Your ability to expose the clothesless emperor in clear language is indispensable to
us non-science types who have a hard time seeing through the jargon and the hype. Your tireless efforts
result in encouragement and are a great service to the faith community. Please keep it up!
(a medical writer in Connecticut)
I really love your site and check it everyday. I also recommend it to everyone I can, because there is
no better website for current information about ID.
(a product designer in Utah)
Your site is a fantastic resource. By far, it is the most current, relevant and most frequently
updated site keeping track of science news from a creationist perspective. One by one, articles
challenging currently-held aspects of evolution do not amount to much. But when browsing the archives,
its apparent youve caught bucketfulls of science articles and news items that devastate
evolution. The links and references are wonderful tools for storming the gates of evolutionary paradise
and ripping down their strongholds. The commentary is the icing on the cake. Thanks for all your
hard work, and by all means, keep it up!
(a business student in Kentucky)
Thanks for your awesome work; it stimulates my mind and encourages my faith.
(a family physician in Texas)
I wanted to personally thank you for your outstanding website. I am intensely interested in any
science news having to do with creation, especially regarding astronomy. Thanks again for your GREAT
(an amateur astronomer in San Diego)
What an absolutely brilliant website you have. Its hard to express how uplifting it is for me
to stumble across something of such high quality.
(a pharmacologist in Michigan)
I want to make a brief commendation in passing of the outstanding job you did in rebutting the
thinking on the article: Evolution of Electrical Engineering
... What a rebuttal to end all rebuttals, unanswerable,
inspiring, and so noteworthy that was. Thanks for the effort and research you put into it.
I wish this answer could be posted in every church, synagogue, secondary school, and college/university...,
and needless to say scientific laboratories.
(a reader in Florida)
You provide a great service with your thorough coverage of news stories relating to the creation-evolution controversy.
(an elder of a Christian church in Salt Lake City)
I really enjoy your website and have made it my home page so I can check on your latest articles.
I am amazed at the diversity of topics you address. I tell everyone I can about your site and encourage them to
check it frequently.
(a business owner in Salt Lake City)
Ive been a regular reader of CEH for about nine month now, and I look forward to each new posting.... I enjoy the information CEH gleans from current events in science and hope you keep the service going.
(a mechanical engineer in Utah)
It took six years of constant study of evolution to overcome the indoctrination found in public schools of my youth. I now rely on your site; it helps me to see the work of God where I could not see it before and to find miracles where there was only mystery. Your site is a daily devotional that I go to once a day and recommend to everyone. I am still susceptible to the wiles of fake science and I need the fellowship of your site; such information is rarely found in a church.
Now my eyes see the stars God made and the life He designed and I feel the rumblings of joy as promised. When I feel down or worried my solution is to praise God the Creator Of All That Is, and my concerns drain away while peace and joy fill the void. This is something I could not do when I did not know (know: a clear and accurate perception of truth) God as Creator. I could go on and on about the difference knowing our Creator has made, but I believe you understand.
I tell everyone that gives me an opening about your site. God is working through you. Please dont stop telling us how to see the lies or leading us in celebrating the truth. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
(a renowned artist in Wyoming)
I discovered your site a few months ago and it has become essential reading via RSS to
(a cartographer and GIS analyst in New Zealand)
I love your site, and frequently visit to read both explanations of news reports,
and your humor about Bonny Saint Charlie.
(a nuclear safety engineer in Washington)
Your site is wonderful.
(a senior staff scientist, retired, from Arizona)
Ive told many people about your site. Its a tremendous service to
science news junkies not to mention students of both Christianity and
(a meteorology research scientist in Alabama)
...let me thank you for your Creation-Evolution Headlines. Ive been an avid reader of it since I first discovered your website about five years ago. May I also express my admiration for the speed with which your articles appearoften within 24 hours of a particular news announcement or journal article being published.
(a plant physiologist and prominent creation writer in Australia)
How do you guys do it--reviewing so much relevant material every day and writing incisive,
(a retired high school biology teacher in New Jersey)
Your site is one of the best out there! I really love reading your articles on creation evolution
headlines and visit this section almost daily.
(a webmaster in the Netherlands)
Keep it up! Ive been hitting your site daily (or more...).
I sure hope you get a mountain of encouraging email, you deserve it.
(a small business owner in Oregon)
Great work! May your tribe increase!!!
(a former Marxist, now ID speaker in Brazil)
You are the best. Thank you....
The work you do is very important.
Please dont ever give up. God bless the whole team.
(an engineer and computer consultant in Virginia)
I really appreciate your work in this topic, so you should never stop doing what you do,
cause you have a lot of readers out there, even in small countries in Europe, like Slovenia
is... I use crev.info for all my signatures on Internet forums etc., it really is fantastic site,
the best site! You see, we(your pleased readers) exist all over the world, so you must be
doing great work! Well i hope you have understand my bad english.
(a biology student in Slovenia)
Thanks for your time, effort, expertise, and humor. As a public school biology teacher I
peruse your site constantly for new information that will challenge evolutionary belief and share much
of what I learn with my students. Your site is pounding a huge dent in evolutions supposed
solid exterior. Keep it up.
(a biology teacher in the eastern USA)
Several years ago, I became aware of your Creation-Evolution Headlines web site.
For several years now, it has been one of my favorite internet sites. I many times check your
website first, before going on to check the secular news and other creation web sites.
I continue to be impressed with your writing and research skills, your humor,
and your technical and scientific knowledge and understanding. Your ability to cut through
the inconsequentials and zero in on the principle issues is one of the characteristics that
is a valuable asset....
I commend you for the completeness and thoroughness with which you provide
coverage of the issues. You obviously spend a great deal of time on this work.
It is apparent in ever so many ways.
Also, your background topics of logic and propaganda techniques have been useful
as classroom aides, helping others to learn to use their baloney detectors.
Through the years, I have directed many to your site. For their sake and mine,
I hope you will be able to continue providing this very important, very much needed, educational,
humorous, thought provoking work.
(an engineer in Missouri)
I am so glad I found your site. I love reading short blurbs about recent discoveries, etc,
and your commentary often highlights that the discovery can be interpreted in two differing ways,
and usually with the pro-God/Design viewpoint making more sense. Its such a refreshing difference
from the usual media spin. Often youll have a story up along with comment before the masses
even know about the story yet.
(a system administrator in Texas, who calls CEH the UnSpin Zone)
You are indeed the Rush Limbaugh Truth Detector of science falsely so-called.
Keep up the excellent work.
(a safety director in Michigan)
I know of no better way to stay
informed with current scientific research than to read your site everyday, which in turn has helped me understand
many of the concepts not in my area (particle physics) and which I hear about in school or in the media.
Also, I just love the commentaries and the baloney detecting!!
(a grad student in particle physics)
I thank you for your ministry. May God bless you! You are doing great job effectively
exposing pagan lie of evolution. Among all known to me creation ministries [well-known organizations listed]
Creationsafaris stands unique thanks to qualitative survey and analysis of scientific publications and news.
I became permanent reader ever since discovered your site half a year ago. Moreover your ministry is
effective tool for intensive and deep education for cristians.
(a webmaster in Ukraine, seeking permission to translate CEH articles into Russian to reach
countries across the former Soviet Union)
The scholarship of the editors is unquestionable. The objectivity of the editors is
admirable in face of all the unfounded claims of evolutionists and Darwinists. The amount
of new data available each day on the site is phenomenal (I cant wait to see the next new
article each time I log on). Most importantly, the TRUTH is always and forever the primary
goal of the people who run this website. Thank you so very much for 6 years of consistent
dedication to the TRUTH.
(11 months earlier): I just completed reading each entry from each month. I found your site about
6 months ago and as soon as I understood the format, I just started at the very first entry
and started reading.... Your work has blessed my education and determination to bold in
showing the unscientific nature of evolution in general and Darwinism in particular.
(a medical doctor in Oklahoma)
Thanks for the showing courage in marching against a popular unproven unscientific belief system.
I dont think I missed 1 article in the past couple of years.
(a manufacturing engineer in Australia)
I do not know and cannot imagine how much time you must spend to read, research and
compile your analysis of current findings in almost every area of science. But I do know
I thank you for it.
(a practice administrator in Maryland)
Since finding your insightful comments some 18 or more months ago, Ive
visited your site daily.... You
so very adeptly and adroitly undress the emperor daily; so much so one
wonders if he might not soon catch cold and fall ill off his throne! ....
To you I wish much continued success and many more years of fun and
frolicking undoing the damage taxpayers are forced to fund through
unending story spinning by ideologically biased scientists.
(an investment advisor in Missouri)
I really like your articles. You do a fabulous job of cutting through
the double-talk and exposing the real issues. Thank you for your hard
work and diligence.
(an engineer in Texas)
I love your site. Found it about maybe
two years ago and I read it every day. I love the closing comments in
green. You have a real knack for exposing the toothless claims of the
evolutionists. Your comments are very helpful for many us who dont know
enough to respond to their claims. Thanks for your good work and keep it
(a missionary in Japan)
I just thought Id write and
tell you how much I appreciate your headline list and commentary. Its
inspired a lot of thought and consideration. I check your listings every day!
(a computer programmer in Tulsa)
Just wanted to thank you for your creation/evolution news ... an outstanding educational
(director of a consulting company in Australia)
Your insights ... been some of the most helpful not surprising considering the caliber of
your most-excellent website! Im serious, ..., your website has to be the
best creation website out there....
(a biologist and science writer in southern California)
I first learned of your web site on March 29.... Your site has far exceeded my expectations and is
consulted daily for the latest. I join with other readers in praising your time and energy spent to educate,
illuminate, expose errors.... The links are a great help in understanding the news items.
The archival structure is marvelous.... Your site brings back dignity to Science conducted as it
should be. Best regards for your continuing work and influence. Lives are being changed and
sustained every day.
(a manufacturing quality engineer in Mississippi)
I wrote you over three years ago letting you know how much I enjoyed your Creation-Evolution headlines,
as well as your Creation Safaris site. I stated then that I read your headlines and commentary every day,
and that is still true! My interest in many sites has come and gone over the years, but your site is
still at the top of my list! I am so thankful that you take the time to read and analyze some of the
scientific journals out there; which I dont have the time to read myself. Your commentary is very,
very much appreciated.
(a hike leader and nature-lover in Ontario, Canada)
...just wanted to say how much I admire your site and your writing.
Youre very insightful and have quite a broad range of knowledge.
Anyway, just wanted to say that I am a big fan!
(a PhD biochemist at a major university)
I love your site and syndicate your content on my church website....
The stories you highlight show the irrelevancy
of evolutionary theory and that evolutionists have perpetual foot and
mouth disease; doing a great job of discrediting themselves. Keep up
the good work.
(a database administrator and CEH junkie in California)
I cant tell you how much I enjoy your article reviews on your
websiteits a HUGE asset!
(a lawyer in Washington)
Really, really, really a fantastic site. Your wit makes a razor appear dull!...
A million thanks for your site.
(a small business owner in Oregon and father of children who love your site too.)
Thank God for ... Creation
Evolution Headlines. This site is right at the cutting edge in the debate
over bio-origins and is crucial in working to undermine the
deceived mindset of naturalism. The arguments presented are unassailable
(all articles having first been thoroughly baloney detected) and the
narrative always lands just on the right side of the laymans comprehension
limits... Very highly recommended to all, especially, of course, to those who
have never thought to question the fact of evolution.
(a business owner in Somerset, UK)
I continue to note the difference between the dismal derogations of the
darwinite devotees, opposed to the openness and humor of rigorous, follow-the-evidence
scientists on the Truth side. Keep up the great work.
(a math/science teacher with M.A. in anthropology)
Your material is clearly among the best I have ever read on evolution problems!
I hope a book is in the works!
(a biology prof in Ohio)
I have enjoyed reading the sardonic apologetics on the Creation/Evolution Headlines section
of your web site. Keep up the good work!
(an IT business owner in California)
Your commentaries ... are always delightful.
(president of a Canadian creation group)
Im pleased to see... your amazing work on the Headlines.
(secretary of a creation society in the UK)
We appreciate all you do at crev.info.
(a publisher of creation and ID materials)
I was grateful for creationsafaris.com for help with baloney detecting. I had read about
the fish-o-pod and wanted to see what you thought. Your comments were helpful and encouraged me
that my own baloney detecting skill are improving. I also enjoyed reading your reaction
to the article on evolution teachers doing battle with students.... I will ask my girls to read your
comments on the proper way to question their teachers.
(a home-schooling mom)
I just want to express how dissapointed [sic] I am in your website. Instead of being objective, the
website is entirely one sided, favoring creationism over evolution, as if the two are contradictory....
Did man and simien [sic] evovlve [sic] at random from a common ancestor? Or did God guide this evolution?
I dont know. But all things, including the laws of nature, originate from God....
To deny evolution is to deny Gods creation. To embrace evolution is to not only embrace his creation,
but to better appreciate it.
(a student in Saginaw, Michigan)
I immensely enjoy reading the Creation-Evolution Headlines. The way you use words
exposes the bankruptcy of the evolutionary worldview.
(a student at Northern Michigan U)
...standing O for crev.info.
(a database programmer in California)
Just wanted to say that I am thrilled to have found your website! Although I
regularly visit numerous creation/evolution sites, Ive found that many of them do
not stay current with relative information. I love the almost daily updates to
your headlines section. Ive since made it my browser home page, and have
recommended it to several of my friends. Absolutely great site!
(a network engineer in Florida)
After I heard about Creation-Evolution Headlines,
it soon became my favorite Evolution resource site on the web. I visit several times a
day cause I cant wait for the next update. Thats pathetic, I know ...
but not nearly as pathetic as Evolution, something you make completely obvious with your snappy,
intelligent commentary on scientific current events. It should be a textbook for science
classrooms around the country. You rock!
(an editor in Tennessee)
One of the highlights of my day is checking your latest CreationSafaris creation-evolution news listing!
Thanks so much for your great work -- and your wonderful humor.
(a pastor in Virginia)
Thanks!!! Your material is absolutely awesome. Ill be using it in our Adult Sunday School class.
(a pastor in Wisconsin)
Love your site & read it daily.
(a family physician in Texas)
I set it [crev.info] up as my homepage. That way I am less likely to miss some really interesting events....
I really appreciate what you are doing with Creation-Evolution Headlines. I
tell everybody I think might be interested, to check it out.
(a systems analyst in Tennessee)
I would like to thank you for your service from which I stand to benefit a lot.
(a Swiss astrophysicist)
I enjoy very much reading your materials.
(a law professor in Portugal)
Thanks for your time and thanks for all the work on the site.
It has been a valuable resource for me.
(a medical student in Kansas)
Creation-Evolution Headlines is a terrific resource. The articles are
always current and the commentary is right on the mark.
(a molecular biologist in Illinois)
Creation-Evolution Headlines is my favorite
anti-evolution website. With almost giddy anticipation, I check
it several times a week for the latest postings. May God bless you and
empower you to keep up this FANTASTIC work!
(a financial analyst in New York)
I read your pages on a daily basis and I would like to let you know
that your hard work has been a great help in increasing my knowledge
and growing in my faith. Besides the huge variety of scientific
disciplines covered, I also enormously enjoy your great sense of humor
and your creativity in wording your thoughts, which make reading your
website even more enjoyable.
(a software developer in Illinois)
THANK YOU for all the work you do to make this wonderful resource! After
being regular readers for a long time, this year weve incorporated your
site into our home education for our four teenagers. The Baloney Detector
is part of their Logic and Reasoning Skills course, and the Daily Headlines
and Scientists of the Month features are a big part of our curriculum for an
elective called Science Discovery Past and Present. What a wonderful
goldmine for equipping future leaders and researchers with the tools of
(a home school teacher in California)
What can I say I LOVE YOU!
I READ YOU ALMOST EVERY DAY I copy and send out to various folks.
I love your sense of humor, including your politics and of course your faith.
I appreciate and use your knowledge What can I say THANK YOU
THANK YOU THANK YOU SO MUCH.
(a biology major, former evolutionist, now father of college students)
I came across your site while browsing through creation & science links. I love the work you do!
(an attorney in Florida)
Love your commentary and up to date reporting. Best site for evolution/design info.
(a graphic designer in Oregon)
I am an ardent reader of your site. I applaud your efforts and pass on
your website to all I talk to. I have recently given your web site info
to all my grandchildren to have them present it to their science
teachers.... Your Supporter and fan..God bless you all...
(a health services manager in Florida)
Why your readership keeps doubling: I came across your website at a time when I was just getting to know what creation science is all about. A friend of mine was telling me about what he had been finding out. I was highly skeptical and sought to read as many pro/con articles as I could find and vowed to be open-minded toward his seemingly crazy claims. At first I had no idea of the magnitude of research and information thats been going on. Now, Im simply overwhelmed by the sophistication and availability of scientific research and information on what I now know to be the truth about creation.
Your website was one of dozens that I found in my search. Now, there are only a handful of sites I check every day. Yours is at the top of my list... I find your news page to be the most insightful and well-written of the creation news blogs out there. The quick wit, baloney detector, in-depth scientific knowledge you bring to the table and the superb writing style on your site has kept me interested in the day-to-day happenings of what is clearly a growing movement. Your site ... has given me a place to point them toward to find out more and realize that theyve been missing a huge volume of information when it comes to the creation-evolution issue.
Another thing I really like about this site is the links to articles in science journals and news references. That helps me get a better picture of what youre talking about.... Keep it up and I promise to send as many people as will listen to this website and others.
(an Air Force Academy graduate stationed in New Mexico)
Im a small town newspaper editor in southwest Wyoming. Were pretty
isolated, and finding your site was a great as finding a gold mine. I read
it daily, and if theres nothing new, I re-read everything. I follow links.
I read the Scientist of the Month. Its the best site Ive run across. Our
local school board is all Darwinist and determined to remain that way.
(a newspaper editor in Wyoming)
have been reading your page for about 2 years or so....
I read it every day. I ...am well educated, with a BA in Applied Physics
from Harvard and an MBA in Finance from Wharton.
(a reader in Delaware)
I came across your website by accident about 4 months ago and look at it every day....
About 8 months ago I was reading a letter to the editor of the Seattle Times that was written
by a staunch anti-Creationist and it sparked my interest enough to research the
topic and within a week I was yelling, my whole lifes education has been a lie!!!
Ive put more study into Biblical Creation in the last 8 months than any other topic in my life.
Past that, through resources like your website...Ive been able to convince my father (professional mathematician and amateur geologist), my best friend (mechanical engineer and fellow USAF Academy Grad/Creation Science nutcase), my pastor (he was the hardest to crack), and many others to realize the Truth of Creation.... Resources like your website help the rest of us at the grassroots level drum up interest in the subject. And regardless of what the major media says: Creationism is spreading like wildfire, so please keep your website going to help fan the flames.
(an Air Force Academy graduate and officer)
I love your site! I **really** enjoy reading it for several specific reasons: 1.It uses the latest (as in this month!) research as a launch pad for opinion; for years I have searched for this from a creation science viewpoint, and now, Ive found it. 2. You have balanced fun with this topic. This is hugely valuable! Smug Christianity is ugly, and I dont perceive that attitude in your comments. 3. I enjoy the expansive breadth of scientific news that you cover. 4. I am not a trained scientist but I know evolutionary bologna/(boloney) when I see it; you help me to see it. I really appreciate this.
(a computer technology salesman in Virginia)
I love your site. Thats why I was more than happy to
mention it in the local paper.... I mentioned your site as the place
where..... Every Darwin-cheering news article is
reviewed on that site from an ID perspective. Then
the huge holes of the evolution theory are exposed,
and the bad science is shredded to bits, using real
(a project manager in New Jersey)
Ive been reading your site almost daily for about three years. I have
never been more convinced of the truthfulness of Scripture and the faithfulness of God.
(a system administrator and homeschooling father in Colorado)
I use the internet a lot to catch up on news back
home and also to read up on the creation-evolution controversy, one of my favourite topics.
Your site is always my first port of call for the latest news and views and I really appreciate
the work you put into keeping it up to date and all the helpful links you provide. You are a
beacon of light for anyone who wants to hear frank, honest conclusions instead of the usual diluted
garbage we are spoon-fed by the media.... Keep up the good work and know that youre changing lives.
(a teacher in Spain)
I am grateful to you for your site and look forward to reading new
stories.... I particularly value it for being up to date with what is going on.
(from the Isle of Wight, UK)
[Creation-Evolution Headlines] is the place to go for late-breaking
news [on origins]; it has the most information and the quickest turnaround.
Its incredible I dont know how you do it.
I cant believe all the articles you find. God bless you!
(a radio producer in Riverside, CA)
Just thought I let you know how much I enjoy
reading your Headlines section. I really appreciate
how you are keeping your ear to the ground in so
many different areas. It seems that there is almost
no scientific discipline that has been unaffected
by Darwins Folly.
(a programmer in aerospace from Gardena, CA)
I enjoy reading the comments on news articles on your site very much. It is incredible
how much refuse is being published in several scientific fields regarding evolution.
It is good to notice that the efforts of true scientists have an increasing influence at schools,
but also in the media.... May God bless your efforts and open the eyes of the blinded evolutionists
and the general public that are being deceived by pseudo-scientists.... I enjoy the site very much
and I highly respect the work you and the team are doing to spread the truth.
(an ebusiness manager in the Netherlands)
I discovered your site through a link at certain website...
It has greatly helped me being updated with the latest development in science and with
critical comments from you. I also love your baloney detector
and in fact have translated some part of the baloney detector into our language (Indonesian).
I plan to translate them all for my friends so as to empower them.
(a staff member of a bilateral agency in West Timor, Indonesia)
...absolutely brilliant and inspiring.
(a documentary film producer, remarking on the
I found your site several months ago and within weeks
had gone through your entire archives.... I check in several times a day for further
information and am always excited to read the new
articles. Your insight into the difference between
what is actually known versus what is reported has
given me the confidence to stand up for what I
believe. I always felt there was more to the story,
and your articles have given me the tools to read
through the hype....
You are an invaluable help and I commend your efforts.
Keep up the great work.
(a sound technician in Alberta)
I discovered your site (through a link from a blog) a few weeks ago and I cant stop reading it....
I also enjoy your insightful and humorous commentary at the end of each story. If the evolutionists
blindness wasnt so sad, I would laugh harder.
I have a masters degree in mechanical engineering from a leading University. When I read the descriptions, see the pictures, and watch the movies of the inner workings of the cell, Im absolutely amazed.... Thanks for bringing these amazing stories daily. Keep up the good work.
(an engineer in Virginia)
I stumbled across your site several months ago and have
been reading it practically daily. I enjoy the inter-links
to previous material as well as the links to the quoted
research. Ive been in head-to-head debate with a
materialist for over a year now. Evolution is just one of
those debates. Your site is among others that have been a
real help in expanding my understanding.
(a software engineer in Pennsylvania)
I was in the April 28, 2005 issue of Nature [see 04/27/2005
story] regarding the rise of intelligent design in the universities. It was through your website
that I began my journey out of the crisis of faith which was mentioned in that article. It was an honor to see you all highlighting the article in Nature. Thank you for all you have done!
(Salvador Cordova, George Mason University)
I shudder to think of the many ways in which you mislead readers, encouraging them to build a faith based on misunderstanding and ignorance. Why dont you allow people to have a faith that is grounded in a fuller understanding of the world?...
Your website is a sham.
(a co-author of the paper reviewed in the 12/03/2003
entry who did not appreciate the unflattering commentary. This led to a cordial
interchange, but he could not divorce his reasoning from the science vs. faith dichotomy,
and resulted in an impasse over definitions but, at least, a more mutually respectful dialogue.
He never did explain how his paper supported Darwinian macroevolution. He just claimed
evolution is a fact.)
I absolutely love creation-evolution news. As a Finnish university student very
interested in science, I frequent your site to find out about all the new science
stuff thats been happening you have such a knack for finding all this
information! I have been able to stump evolutionists with knowledge gleaned from
your site many times.
(a student in Finland)
I love your site and read it almost every day. I use it for my science class and
5th grade Sunday School class. I also challenge Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers to
get on the site to check out articles against the baloney they are taught in school.
(a teacher in Los Gatos, CA)
I have spent quite a few hours at Creation Evolution Headlines in the past week
or so going over every article in the archives. I thank you for such an informative
and enjoyable site. I will be visiting often and will share this link with others.
[Later] I am back to May 2004 in the archives. I figured I should be farther
back, but there is a ton of information to digest.
(a computer game designer in Colorado)
The IDEA Center also highly recommends visiting Creation-Evolution Headlines...
the most expansive and clearly written origins news website on the internet!
(endorsement on Intelligent Design and Evolution
Check out this site: www.creationsafaris.com.
This is a fantastic resource for the whole family.... a fantastic reference library with summaries,
commentaries and great links that are added to
dailyarchives go back five years.
(a reader who found us in Georgia)
I just wanted to drop you a note telling you that at www.BornAgainRadio.com,
Ive added a link to your excellent Creation-Evolution news site.
(a radio announcer)
I cannot understand
why anyone would invest so much time and effort to a website of sophistry and casuistry.
Why twist Christian apology into an illogic pretzel to placate your intellect?
Isnt it easier to admit that your faith has no basis -- hence, faith.
It would be extricate [sic] yourself from intellectual dishonesty -- and
from bearing false witness.
Sincerely, Rev. [name withheld] (an ex-Catholic, apostate Christian Natural/Scientific pantheist)
Just wanted to let you folks know that we are consistent readers and truly appreciate
the job you are doing. God bless you all this coming New Year.
(from two prominent creation researchers/writers in Oregon)
Thanks so much for your site! It is brain candy!
(a reader in North Carolina)
I Love your site probably a little too much. I enjoy the commentary
and the links to the original articles.
(a civil engineer in New York)
Ive had your Creation/Evolution Headlines site on my favourites list for
18 months now, and I can truthfully say that its one of the best on the Internet,
and I check in several times a week. The constant stream of new information on
such a variety of science issues should impress anyone, but the rigorous and
humourous way that every thought is taken captive is inspiring. Im pleased
that some Christians, and indeed, some webmasters, are devoting themselves to
producing real content that leaves the reader in a better state than when they found him.
(a community safety manager in England)
I really appreciate the effort that you are making to provide the public with
information about the problems with the General Theory of Evolution. It gives me
ammunition when I discuss evolution in my classroom. I am tired of the evolutionary
dogma. I wish that more people would stand up against such ridiculous beliefs.
(a science teacher in Alabama)
If you choose to hold an opinion that flies in the face of every piece of evidence
collected so far, you cannot be suprised [sic] when people dismiss your views.
(a former Christian software distributor, location not disclosed)
...the Creation Headlines is the best. Visiting your site...
is a standard part of my startup procedures every morning.
(a retired Air Force Chaplain)
I LOVE your site and respect the time and work you put into it. I read
the latest just about EVERY night before bed and send selection[s] out to others and
tell others about it. I thank you very much and keep up the good work (and
(a USF grad in biology)
Answering your invitation for thoughts on your site is not difficult because
of the excellent commentary I find. Because of the breadth and depth of erudition
apparent in the commentaries, I hope Im not being presumptuous in suspecting
the existence of contributions from a Truth Underground comprised of
dissident college faculty, teachers, scientists, and engineers. If thats
not the case, then it is surely a potential only waiting to be realized. Regardless,
I remain in awe of the care taken in decomposing the evolutionary cant that bombards
us from the specialist as well as popular press.
(a mathematician/physicist in Arizona)
Im from Quebec, Canada. I have studied in pure sciences and after in actuarial mathematics.
Im visiting this site 3-4 times in a week. Im learning a lot and this site gives me the opportunity to realize that this is a good time to be a creationist!
(a French Canadian reader)
I LOVE your Creation Safari site, and the Baloney Detector material.
(a reader in the Air Force)
You have a unique position in the Origins community.
Congratulations on the best current affairs news source on the origins net.
You may be able to write fast but your logic is fun to work through.
(a pediatrician in California)
Visit your site almost daily and find it very informative, educational and inspiring.
(a reader in western Canada)
I wish to thank you for the information you extend every day on your site.
It is truly a blessing!
(a reader in North Carolina)
I really appreciate your efforts in posting to this website. I find
it an incredibly useful way to keep up with recent research (I also check science
news daily) and also to research particular topics.
(an IT consultant from Brisbane, Australia)
I would just like to say very good job with the work done here,
very comprehensive. I check your site every day. Its great
to see real science directly on the front lines, toe to toe with the
pseudoscience that's mindlessly spewed from the prestigious
(a biology student in Illinois)
Ive been checking in for a long time but thought Id leave you a
note, this time. Your writing on these complex topics is insightful,
informative with just the right amount of humor. I appreciate the hard
work that goes into monitoring the research from so many sources and then
writing intelligently about them.
(an investment banker in California)
Keep up the great work. You are giving a whole army of Christians
plenty of ammunition to come out of the closet (everyone else has).
Most of us are not scientists, but most of the people we talk to are not
scientists either, just ordinary people who have been fed baloney
for years and years.
(a reader in Arizona)
Keep up the outstanding work!
You guys really ARE making a difference!
(a reader in Texas)
I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say that science is not
hostile towards religion. It is the dogmatically religious that are
unwaveringly hostile towards any kind of science which threatens their
dearly-held precepts. Science (real, open-minded science) is not
interested in theological navel-gazing.
Note: Please supply your name and location when writing in. Anonymous attacks
only make one look foolish and cowardly, and will not normally be printed.
This one was shown to display a bad example.
I appreciate reading your site every day. It is a great way to keep
up on not just the new research being done, but to also keep abreast of the
evolving debate about evolution (Pun intended).... I find it an incredibly useful
way to keep up with recent research (I also check science news daily) and also
to research particular topics.
(an IT consultant in Brisbane, Australia)
I love your website.
(a student at a state university who used CEH when
writing for the campus newsletter)
....when you claim great uncertainty for issues that are fairly
well resolved you damage your already questionable credibility.
Im sure your audience loves your ranting, but if you know as much
about biochemistry, geology, astronomy, and the other fields you
skewer, as you do about ornithology, you are spreading heat, not
(a professor of ornithology at a state university, responding to
the 09/10/2002 headline)
I wanted to let you know I appreciate your headline news style of
exposing the follies of evolutionism.... Your style gives us constant,
up-to-date reminders that over and over again, the Bible creation account
is vindicated and the evolutionary fables are refuted.
(a reader, location unknown)
You have a knack of extracting the gist of a technical paper,
and digesting it into understandable terms.
(a nuclear physicist from Lawrence Livermore Labs who worked
on the Manhattan Project)
After spending MORE time than I really had available going thru
your MANY references I want to let you know how much I appreciate
the effort you have put forth.
The information is properly documented, and coming from
recognized scientific sources is doubly valuable. Your
explanatory comments and sidebar quotations also add GREATLY
to your overall effectiveness as they 1) provide an immediate
interpretive starting point and 2) maintaining the readers
(a reader in Michigan)
I am a huge fan of the site, and check daily for updates.
(reader location and occupation unknown)
I just wanted to take a minute to personally thank-you and let
you know that you guys are providing an invaluable service!
We check your Web site weekly (if not daily) to make sure we have
the latest information in the creation/evolution controversy.
Please know that your diligence and perseverance to teach the
Truth have not gone unnoticed. Keep up the great work!
(a PhD scientist involved in origins research)
You've got a very useful and informative Web site going.
The many readers who visit your site regularly realize that it
requires considerable effort to maintain the quality level and
to keep the reviews current.... I hope you can continue your
excellent Web pages. I have recommended them highly to others.
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)
As an apprentice apologist, I can always find an article
that will spark a spirited debate. Keep em
coming! The Truth will prevail.
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)
Thanks for your web page and work. I try to drop by
at least once a week and read what you have. Im a
Christian that is interested in science (Im a mechanical
engineer) and I find you topics interesting and helpful.
I enjoy your lessons and insights on Baloney Detection.
(a year later):
I read your site 2 to 3 times a week; which Ive probably done for a couple
of years. I enjoy it for the interesting content, the logical arguments, what I can
learn about biology/science, and your pointed commentary.
(a production designer in Kentucky)
I look up CREV headlines every day. It is a wonderful
source of information and encouragement to me.... Your gift of
discerning the fallacies in evolutionists interpretation of
scientific evidence is very helpful and educational for me.
Please keep it up. Your website is the best I know of.
(a Presbyterian minister in New South Wales, Australia)
Ive written to you before, but just wanted to say again
how much I appreciate your site and all the work you put into it.
I check it almost every day and often share the contents
(and web address) with lists on which I participate.
I dont know how you do all that you do, but I am grateful
for your energy and knowledge.
(a prominent creationist author)
I am new to your site, but I love it! Thanks for updating
it with such cool information.
(a home schooler)
I love your site.... Visit every day hoping for another of your
brilliant demolitions of the foolish just-so stories of those
who think themselves wise.
(a reader from Southern California)
I visit your site daily for the latest news from science journals and other media,
and enjoy your commentary immensely. I consider your web site to be the
most valuable, timely and relevant creation-oriented site on the internet.
(a reader from Ontario, Canada)
Keep up the good work! I thoroughly enjoy your site.
(a reader in Texas)
Thanks for keeping this fantastic web site going. It is very
informative and up-to-date with current news including incisive
(a reader in North Carolina)
Great site! For all the Baloney Detector is impressive and a
great tool in debunking wishful thinking theories.
(a reader in the Netherlands)
Just wanted to let you know, your work is having quite an impact.
For example, major postings on your site are being circulated among the
Intelligent Design members....
(a PhD organic chemist)
opening a can of worms ... I love to click all the related links and
read your comments and the links to other websites, but this usually makes me late
for something else. But its ALWAYS well worth it!!
(a leader of a creation group)
I am a regular visitor to your website ... I am impressed
by the range of scientific disciplines your articles address.
I appreciate your insightful dissection of the often unwarranted conclusions
evolutionists infer from the data... Being a medical
doctor, I particularly relish the technical detail you frequently include in
the discussion living systems and processes. Your website continually
reinforces my conviction that if an unbiased observer seeks a reason for the
existence of life then Intelligent Design will be the unavoidable
(a medical doctor)
A church member asked me what I thought was the best creation web site.
I told him CreationSafaris.com.
(a PhD geologist)
I love your site... I check it every day for interesting
information. It was hard at first to believe in Genesis fully, but
now I feel more confident about the mistakes of humankind and that all
their reasoning amounts to nothing in light of a living God.
(a college grad)
Thank you so much for the interesting science links and comments
on your creation evolution headlines page ... it is very
(a reader from Scottsdale, AZ)
visit your site almost every day, and really enjoy it. Great job!!!
(I also recommend it to many, many students.)
(an educational consultant)
I like what I seevery
much. I really appreciate a decent, calm and scholarly approach to the
whole issue... Thanks ... for this fabulous
It is refreshing to read your comments. You have a knack to get to the heart of
(a reader in the Air Force).
Love your website. It has well thought out structure and will help many
through these complex issues. I especially love the
I believe this is one of the best sites on the Internet.
I really like your side-bar of truisms.
Yogi [Berra] is absolutely correct. If I were a man of wealth, I would
support you financially.
(a registered nurse in Alabama, who found
us on TruthCast.com.)
WOW. Unbelievable.... My question is, do you sleep? ... Im utterly
impressed by your page which represents untold amounts of time and energy
as well as your faith.
(a mountain man in Alaska).
wanted to say that I recently ran across your web site featuring science
headlines and your commentary and find it to be A++++, superb, a 10, a homerun
I run out of superlatives to describe it! ... You can be sure I will
visit your site often daily when possible to gain the latest information
to use in my speaking engagements. Ill also do my part to help publicize
your site among college students. Keep up the good work. Your
material is appreciated and used.
(a college campus minister)
Featured Creation Scientist for January
John Stevens Henslow
1796 - 1861
This months biography is a case study in dramatic irony. John Stevens
Henslow is the scientist who made Darwin famous. The eminent Cambridge professor of
botany was like a father to Darwin. It was Henslow who gave him the opportunity
to go on the Beagle as naturalist, defended his right to explore new ideas,
and presided at the famous 1860 debate between Wilberforce and Huxley yet
he rejected Darwins theory of evolution. Henslow was a Christian and
Don DeYoung writes this about Henslow in Pioneer Explorers
of Intelligent Design (BMH books, 2006):
John Stevens Henslow (1796-1861) was professor of botany and geology at the
University of Cambridge in England. His enthusiasm for teaching botany made
it one of the most popular subjects at Cambridge for several decades.
Henslow was a devout Christian and Anglican clergyman. One of his favorite
students was Charles Darwin. On campus, Darwin was known as the man
who walked with Henslow. Darwin learned much about nature from his
mentor but he rejected Henslows faith. When Darwins
Origin of Species was published in 1857 [sic; 1859], Henslow graciously
expressed his opposition to the book with the words, Darwin attempts more
than is granted to man, just as people used to account for the origin of evil
a question past finding out.
Darwin deeply admired Henslow throughout his life. It was in Professor
Henslows botany class at Cambridge that Charles, prior to
this time an aimless and unmotivated student, really got interested in natural
science. Henslow gave Darwin all the observing skills that Darwin would
use for years analyzing barnacles, pigeons and plants. At this time, Charles was a
creationist too, as were most scientists of the day. It wasnt till the
the Beagle voyage and the years that followed that Darwins doubts
and unbelief began to take root. Henslow cannot be blamed for that.
The only criticisms that might be levied against this great man is that
he was too gracious a gentleman, and too permissive of radical speculations.
Janet Browne adds some insights into Henslows character in her book Charles Darwin: The Power of Place
(Princeton, 2002). Apparently Darwin was sheepish about approaching his
mentor with his new book, On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection.
When sending the now-elderly professor a pre-publication copy in
1859, he prefaced it with a letter stating that, I fear you will not approve
of your pupil in this case (p. 84).
One facet of Henslows philosophy is found in a comment he made to
his brother-in-law about Darwins views. Stating that Darwin had a right to his opinion, he
objected, God does not set the creation going like a clock, wound up to go
by itself (p. 153). This statement indicates that Henslow was no
deist or theistic evolutionist. He denied that God had a hands-off policy,
letting a mechanical universe run without his active participation.
Clearly that is what he saw Darwin proposing.
Henslow believed in freedom of speech and intellectual inquiry. In an 1860
meeting at the Cambridge Philosophical
Society, where fellow professor Adam Sedgwick was getting more and more riled about Darwins
book, Henslow vigorously defended Darwins right to investigate the question
of living origins, although he, like the others, balked at jettisoning divine
creation, Browne says (p. 117). In this, Henslow showed the
mettle that his friends still admired. Elderly he might be, but he retained
his inner fire. Yet his affection for Darwin evidently pushed him further
than his heart would otherwise have taken him.
That gentlemanly tolerance even extended to his classroom. In Henslows last botany class at
Cambridge in spring of 1860, he even introduced Darwins principles to the students, not so
much to endorse them, but to help the students learn how to be exposed to differing views.
While telling them of his own unshakeable religious faith, Browne
writes (p. 118), he nevertheless encouraged them to respect intellectual endeavor
wherever it might lead.
At the historic British Association contest between Samuel Wilberforce and Thomas
Huxley at Oxford in June, 1860, Henslow presided as chairman. He was the one who gave
Huxley, then Wilberforce, an opportunity to speak. When the audience reaction
rose to a fever pitch at the debate, Henslow was among those trying to restore
order, and defending the rights of each mans opinions, including Huxleys, to be heard.
Browne says that at the end of the meeting, when everyones blood was boiling,
Henslow also made some spirited remarks and then dismissed the assembly
with an impartial benediction (pp. 122-124).
Henslow would not live to see much of the aftermath, when Darwins supporters
took this meeting as a cause celebre to launch their new naturalistic
worldview. He died the following May. Darwin fell ill and used it as
an excuse not to attend the deathbed or funeral. Ever after, Darwin felt guilty about
not having been there for his dear friend and mentor. Browne writes, Henslow had made him what he was,
not only by giving him the chance of a lifetime with the invitation for the
Beagle voyage, but also by his kindly attentions and support thereafter
(p. 153). Henslow had been like a father to him, and his passing closed an important
chapter in Darwins life.
We can only speculate on what Henslow would have thought of the subsequent decade,
when Darwinism rose from a fringe speculation roundly denounced by most leading scientists
to the vanguard of a new naturalistic world view. As the years
progressed, largely due to the tactics of what Janet Browne calls Darwins Four
Musketeers (Lyell, Hooker, Huxley and Asa Gray), as well as Darwins own scheming,
the creationists were on the run. The Darwinians captured the scientific journals,
the media, and the British Association. Few became willing to stand up against the
growing naturalistic tide. It became harder to criticize the new
Darwinian view, because it seemed to stand for Victorian progress and intellectual freedom.
(As revealed in these pages, that was a highly contrived and manipulated opinion,
not a result of scientific facts.)
Looking back at this story after 148 years of Darwins rise to power, the ironies are palpable:
Henslow gave his aimless and undisciplined pupil the chance of a lifetime to
tour the world, traveling with a devout Christian captain, Robert FitzRoy. Darwin
used the experience to shred the foundations of Henslows and FitzRoys
Henslow graciously received Darwins book and, though disagreeing with it,
was reserved and respectful in his criticisms. Now, Darwins followers
unleash the most outrageous and vehement rhetoric at anyone who dares question
Henslow was willing to let his students think about Mr. Darwins
principles, even when he disagreed with them. Now, one cannot even
criticize Darwins ideas in the classroom let alone present the beliefs
of Henslow, a devout Christian and creationist. The pro-Darwinist organizations
and all the scientific societies will race to confront any teacher with an
expensive lawsuit if he or she tries to return Henslows favor by exposing
students in todays Darwin-only science classrooms to alternative views,
like intelligent design, no matter how non-sectarian and empirical they are.
Henslow was confident enough in his unshakeable religious faith
to allow students to follow intellectual endeavor wherever it might lead.
Now, students and scientists are taught that they cannot make a design inference
even when the evidence for it is compelling. All scientific evidence must
be force-fitted into the Darwinian picture.
Henslow tried to maintain order and civility in public debate, and insisted
both sides have their fair say. Today, the Darwinists do not want to give
any public platform to alternatives, and fight to put prior restraint on debate.
Henslow was loyal to his friends despite their beliefs. Today, professors
and scientific societies will turn on any colleague who breaks ranks with Darwinian
views, and will vote to deny tenure, deny degrees, or otherwise ostracize and
marginalize the heretic. (The upcoming film Expelled will provide
Henslow understood the limits of science. He knew what questions were past
finding out by scientific methods. Today, scientists shamelessly
attempt to explain everything in the entire universe, even in imaginary parallel
universes, in Darwinian terms! Darwinism has taken over the entire university,
including economics, psychology, political science, the humanities, and even
Henslow was a consummate gentleman. Darwins followers, particularly the Social Darwinists,
have committed atrocities against their fellow human beings beyond all historical precedent in
terms of viciousness and magnitude, justifying their actions on the basis of Darwins alleged
law of survival of the fittest. Todays Darwinists continue to
erode the sanctity of human life by supporting abortion on demand, cloning, and human-animal
chimeras experiments; some support euthanasia and infanticide.
In hindsight, we might wish Henslow had been more stringent with his pupil.
We might wish he had used his reputation to denounce the rambling speculations
of a younger upstart who ventured into realms beyond human ken. We might
wish he, and the other scientific critics of Darwinism, including Adam Sedgwick,
Richard Owen, John Phillips and others, would have stood their ground with more
fortitude to resist the foundational change that was being introduced to recast
the definition and purvue of science. But this was mid-19th-century Victorian culture.
People were expected to be civil. Progress was in the air. Satisfaction
with organized religion was diminishing as the prestige of science was growing.
Darwins ideas seemed fresh and controversial, appealing to the rebel and
selfishness in mankind. Some worried, but nobody knew, how things would
eventually turn out.
Henslow must be turning in his grave.
If you are enjoying this series, you can
learn more about great Christians in science by reading
our online book-in-progress:
The Worlds Greatest
Creation Scientists from Y1K to Y2K.
A Concise Guide|
You can observe a lot by just watching.
First Law of Scientific Progress
The advance of science can be measured by the rate at which exceptions to previously held laws accumulate.
1. Exceptions always outnumber rules.
2. There are always exceptions to established exceptions.
3. By the time one masters the exceptions, no one recalls the rules to which they apply.
Nature will tell you a direct lie if she can.
So will Darwinists.
Science is true. Dont be misled by facts.
Finagles 2nd Law
No matter what the anticipated result, there
will always be someone eager to (a) misinterpret it, (b) fake it, or (c)
believe it happened according to his own pet theory.
3. Draw your curves, then plot your data.
4. In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
6. Do not believe in miracles rely on them.
Murphys Law of Research
Enough research will tend to support your theory.
If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
1. The bigger the theory, the better.
2. The experiments may be considered a success if no more than 50%
of the observed measurements must be discarded to obtain a correspondence
with the theory.
The number of different hypotheses erected to explain a given biological phenomenon
is inversely proportional to the available knowledge.
All great discoveries are made by mistake.
The greater the funding, the longer it takes to make the mistake.
The solution to a problem changes the nature of the problem.
Peters Law of Evolution
Competence always contains the seed of incompetence.
An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.
Repetition does not establish validity.
What really matters is the name you succeed in imposing on the facts not the facts themselves.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
Thumbs Second Postulate
An easily-understood, workable falsehood is more useful than a complex, incomprehensible truth.
There is nothing so small that it cant be blown out of proportion
Hawkins Theory of Progress
Progress does not consist in replacing a theory that is
wrong with one that is right. It consists in replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is
more subtly wrong.
The best theory is not ipso facto a good theory.
Error is often more earnest than truth.
Advice from Paul|
Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle
babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge by
professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.
I Timothy 6:20-21
Song of the True Scientist
O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made
them all. The earth is full of Your possessions . . . . May the glory of the Lord endure forever. May the
Lord rejoice in His works . . . . I will sing to the Lord s long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my
being. May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord. May sinners be
consumed from the earth, and the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!
from Psalm 104
Through the creatures Thou hast made
Show the brightness of Thy glory.
Be eternal truth displayed
In their substance transitory.
Till green earth and ocean hoary,
Massy rock and tender blade,
Tell the same unending story:
We are truth in form arrayed.
Teach me thus Thy works to read,
That my faith, new strength accruing
May from world to world proceed,
Wisdoms fruitful search pursuing
Till, thy truth my mind imbuing,
I proclaim the eternal Creed
Oft the glorious theme renewing,
God our Lord is God indeed.
James Clerk Maxwell
One of the greatest physicists
of all time (a creationist).
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