Creation-Evolution Headlines
June 2008
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“We need always to keep in mind that the theories we currently believe to be true are just as falsifiable as the theories we look back on as having been falsified”
—Mary Hesse, philosopher of science, as quoted by Dr Steven Goldman in the Teaching Company series Science Wars, lecture 24; to which he added, “And the theories we currently hold to be true are as likely to be falsified in the next hundred years as the theories we look back on as having been falsified in the last hundred years.”  He pointed out that almost nothing scientists believed in 1900 about the atom, the cell, genetics, space, time, the earth or the universe is considered valid today.
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Cosmology at the Outer Limits   06/30/2008    
June 30, 2008 — Those who think cosmology could not get any weirder than it already is (01/15/2008) may want to take note of recent pronouncements by the gurus of universal physics.  Physics teachers in particular may feel an obligation to state Bob Berman’s disclaimer (10/06/2004) before class: viz, “Warning: The following contains contemporary cosmology.  Reading it can produce disorientation and confusion.  Nobody knows what’s going on and nothing you read here is likely to be true.”

  1. Questioning sacred Q.M.:  The development of Quantum Mechanics in the 1920s and 1930s was one of the iconic scientific revolutions that is hailed as one of the greatest achievements in physics.  It had far-reaching consequences for science, philosophy and even religion.  Numerous books have stated that it undermined determinism once for all.  The uncertainty principle was embedded in the very core of fundamental physics, we were told.  Einstein struggled in vain to find “hidden variables” that would explain the apparent indeterminacy of QM behavior.  QM has an impressive record in technology, providing the basis for lasers, Josephson junctions in computers, quantum cryptography and much, much more.
        How, then, could Nature News dare to state on May 15, “why quantum mechanics might be wrong”?  Sure enough, an alternative hidden-variables theory called Bohmian mechanics is vying for attention.  One of its promoters feels he can test his predictions against those of QM with observations of the cosmic background radiation.  At stake is not the huge body of evidence and mathematics behind QM’s success, but the Copenhagen Interpretation – the leading explanation of quantum mechanics that had almost reached the status of accepted truth.  The contest is just beginning.  Bohmian mechanics is the underdog.  Stay tuned.
  2. Time travel:  In QM, we were taught that observing a quantum event collapses the wave function and gives “classical” reality to alternative outcomes.  The textbook illustration is Schrödinger’s thought experiment of a quantum cat in a box being both dead and alive until an observer peeks in and gives reality to one of the two states.  The Copenhagen Interpretation of QM has led many to teach that observation creates reality.  Now, however, Nature News just reported a “breakthrough experiment” in which researchers pulled back a Schrödinger-Cat type of phenomenon from the brink of classical reality back to a state of quantum indeterminacy.
        What does this mean?  For one thing, it means that “our understanding of how classical reality emerges may be naive.”  One British physicist said, “It tells us that we really can’t assume that measurements create reality, because it is possible to erase the effects of a measurement and start again.”  Reactions to the paper are mixed.  An Australian physicist commented on the experiment, “The quantum world has become more tangible, and the nature of reality even more mysterious.”  Nature whimsically subtitled sections of the article with the concepts of reincarnation and time travel.
  3. Fractals fracture assumptions:  An article in New Scientist Space offered up a weird conjecture: is our universe arranged in a fractal pattern?  The question is not without empirical evidence.  “A new study of nearly a million galaxies suggests it is,” the article began, “though there are no well-accepted theories to explain why that would be so.”  Critics are saying the pattern is an optical illusion.  “A lot is at stake,” the article continued, “and the matter distribution has become a source of impassioned debate between those who say the distribution is smooth and homogeneous and those who say it is hierarchically structured and clumpy, like a fractal.”  Smooth-and-homogeneous has been the assumption underlying essentially all cosmological models for the past few decades.
        Looking for patterns in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey of 800,000 galaxies and 100,000 quasars, two Russian cosmologists claim the data show a fractal pattern out to 100,000 light-years at least.  A fractal model of the universe will be hard to sell to traditional cosmologists.  “Many cosmologists find fault with their analysis, largely because a fractal matter distribution out to such huge scales undermines the standard model of cosmology,” the article said.  “According to the accepted story of cosmic evolution, there simply hasn’t been enough time since the big bang nearly 14 billion years ago for gravity to build up such large structures.”  Moreover, it would “leave cosmologists without a working model, like acrobats without a net.”
        Much of the case for smooth-and-homogeneous is based on patterns in the cosmic microwave background (CMB).  The article revealed some problems with how that was established.  Cosmologists may have missed a fractal pattern, if there is one, by projecting the 3D CMB map onto a 2D surface.  Measurements of distant radio galaxies to probe homogeneity are also too uncertain to rule out alternatives, the article said.
        The implications for dating the universe and for big bang cosmology if the fractal interpretation were to become accepted could hardly be overstated – to say nothing of how this would affect scientists’ confidence in being able to understand the universe and make progress in their scientific explanations.  The traditionalists are wagering a case of wine that the apparent fractal pattern is not real.
  4. Question time:  Time always runs forward, right?  The second law of thermodynamics dictates that Humpty Dumpty will never be put back together by the forces of physics.  Your coffee will never unstir itself, and you will grow older, not younger.  Not so fast, argued Sean M. Carroll in Scientific American last month.  “One of the most basic facts of life is that the future looks different from the past,“ he began.  “But on a grand cosmological scale, they may look the same.”  This could only mean that for those parts of the universe where time moves forward, an equal number could have clocks that run backward.  Why?  Because the laws of physics don’t care which way time runs – they work equally well regardless.  Entropy, furthermore, remains a puzzling concept.  Why should things move toward disorder instead of becoming more orderly over time?
        Carroll repeated his criticism of inflationary cosmology mentioned in our “Paper View” segment from 05/11/2006 (see also 04/18/2008).  He also reiterated the problem that for the universe to be in its current state of low entropy now, the entropy at the beginning would have had to be inconceivably low.  He criticized inflation as an assumption impersonating an explanation: “Inflation does not, by itself, explain why the early universe has a low entropy; it simply assumes it from the start.”  Nor does the once-popular proposal for an eternally oscillating universe get around the entropy problem.
        Along with Jennifer Chen, a colleague from the University of Chicago, Sean Carroll has instead proposed a time-symmetric universe.  The parts of the universe in which time runs forward are balanced by regions where time runs backward.  “Entropy can increase without limit through the creation of new baby universes.”  The jury is still out on this model, however, because “Cosmologists have contemplated the idea of baby universes for many years, but we do not understand the birthing process.”  Goo-gol, this is getting too weird.  Time out.  On second thought, would a time-out act the same in a domain where time flows backward?  Growing younger till you become a romantic thought in your parents’ minds sounds kind of cool.
Readers may recall that in March, Nature printed an article by a cosmologist who seriously questioned a bedrock of cosmological assumptions, the Copernican Principle (03/15/2008).  Is nothing in science sacred?
    For a revealing article on the feeble state of modern cosmology, see what Michael J. Disney wrote last fall for Sigma Xi American Scientist.  He described big bang cosmology as not a single theory but a structure of five layers held together with the “ugly bandages” of inflation, dark matter and dark energy.  “A skeptic is entitled to feel that a negative significance, after so much time, effort and trimming, is nothing more than one would expect of a folktale constantly re-edited to fit inconvenient new observations,” he charged.  The real problem, he ended (quoting historian of science Daniel Boorstin) is not ignorance but the “illusion of knowledge.”
It’s sad that Carroll has retreated into the darkness after asking such good questions back in 05/11/2006.  He could have been heaven-bound by now by logically thinking through the evidence from fine-tuning for a Creator, but is now wallowing in his intellectual vomit.  A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
    If you have been led down the primrose path in your education to believe that science is all about discovering the truth and making steady progress toward understanding reality, get real.  No one can properly reason about reality without the preconditions for intelligibility provided by guidance from an eternal, timeless, omniscient, omnipotent and righteous source.  Fortunately, that has been revealed to us by the only One who knows what is real.  Come to the light.
Next headline on:  CosmologyPhysicsDating Methods
  Are ants invading your kitchen these hot summer months?  Before exercising genocide on them, take a moment to ponder their built-in pedometers.  It’s all part of the sophisticated ant navigation system, described in the 06/29/2006 entry.

Yellow Journalism Invades Science   06/28/2008    
June 28, 2008 — James Kerian, a mechanical engineer, has a colorful term for science reporting these days: “yellow science.”  Writing for the Wall Street Journal June 25, he accused scientists of the same kind of sensationalism that disgraced journalism in the days of William Randolph Hearst.
    The occasion for Kerian’s criticism was reporting about man-made global warming, but the accusations apply in other areas where scientists make pronouncements beyond what is warranted by the evidence.  “Just as it is far easier to publish stories without verifying the sources; so is it much more convenient to practice yellow science than the real thing,” he said.  “It takes far more courage, perseverance, and perspiration to develop formulas, make predictions, and risk being proved wrong than to look at historical data and muse about observed similarities.”  He rebuked those who say “the debate is over” and make appeals to scientific consensus.
    The public needs to be aware of the flaws of yellow science.  He advised, “one does not need an advanced degree in natural science to understand that whatever follows the phrase ‘most experts agree’ or ‘no one can measure the exact effect but’ is not real science.  In fact, if there is no possible way that a statement can realistically be tested, it probably fails to meet the standards for any professional community and is of no real use to the public.”

Kerian has a simplistic view of science; he suggested that there is one scientific method, and that falsification is the criterion for testing.  These standards have been analyzed and criticized by philosophers in the 20th century.  Nevertheless, his label “yellow science” is apropos.  Many have noted the same dogmatism and fear-mongering used by evolutionists as by propagandists of man-made global warming.  The same spirit of absolute trust in “what scientists say” is a common flaw.
Next headline on:  Media
Public Views on Darwin Not Evolving   06/27/2008    
June 27, 2008 — A new Gallup Poll shows that American views on evolution have changed little for 26 years.  Since 1982, the Gallup organization has periodically polled a random sample of adults to see if they believe humans evolved millions of years ago (with or without God’s help) or were created by God in their present form within the last 10,000 years.  The results never seem to change much.  In seven polls now, 43% to 47% have given the recent-creation answer, and 35-40% the theistic evolution answer.  That means 85-90% of American adults include God in the explanation.  Only 9-14% accept the secular evolutionary answer that humans evolved with no divine guidance.
    According to the Gallup organization, “Perhaps surprisingly to some, the results for the broad sample of Americans show very little change over the years.”  Republicans were much more apt to give the recent-creation answer (60%) over independents (40%) and Democrats (38%).  Gallup explained this divergence by saying that Republicans are more likely to attend church.
This flat-line trend is all the more surprising in light of the vigorous dogmatic-Darwinism campaign waged in the media, the schools and the scientific institutions.  Why is evolutionary propaganda so ineffective?  Evolutionists probably attribute much of the poll result to the inability of Bible-thumping fundamentalists to understand science.  Maybe, instead, a lot of adults view the dogmatic Darwinists as a bunch of unattractive ideologues without common sense (04/13/2008).
    This is not an issue of science, but of world views.  The same facts are accessible to both camps.  The Apostle Paul said that God’s divine nature and omnipotence are clearly seen in the creation (Romans 1).  What each individual faces is the science of Christian theism, incorporating the observations within a view of purposeful design, or the science of Darwinian naturalistic religion, incorporating the observations into a picture of chance, purposelessness and meaningless death.  The choice is clear.  Paul is appealing, but Darwin’s appeal is appalling.
Next headline on:  EvolutionBible and Theology
Birds of Different Feathers Evolve Together   06/26/2008    
June 26, 2008 — Are pigeons like parrots?  Are hummingbirds like hawks?  And are falcons unlike eagles?  Scientists are all a-flutter after results of a massive genetic comparison of birds has put some members in unlikely pigeonholes.  “The largest ever study of bird genetics has not only shaken up but completely redrawn the avian evolutionary tree,” said Science Daily.  “The study challenges current classifications, alters our understanding of avian evolution, and provides a valuable resource for phylogenetic and comparative studies in birds.”
    That last clause seems unjustifiably optimistic considering what news reports are saying about this study.  Here is a short list of quotations gleaned from Science Daily, New Scientist, Reuters, and the blog Living the Scientific Life.  They give you a sense of the upheaval among scientists upon finding out that birds’ appearances tell little about their supposed evolutionary history.
  • The findings challenge many assumptions about bird family relationships and suggest many biology textbooks and bird-watchers’ field guides may need to be changed.
  • One of the lessons we’ve learned is appearances seem to be very deceiving.  Things that are quite different-looking sometimes end up being related.
  • [Sushma] Reddy said these quick changes have made bird evolution hard to pin down, and several smaller prior studies have led to conflicting results.  “We didn’t have a good sense of how any of these major bird groups were related to each other,” said Reddy, who worked with researchers at several other labs.
  • Their findings suggest birds can be grouped broadly into land birds, like the sparrow; water birds, like the penguin; and shore birds, like the seagull.  But there are many paradoxes within these groupings.
  • This analysis effectively redraws avian phylogeny, or family tree, thus shaking up our current understanding of the early, or “deep”, evolutionary relationships of birds.
  • So why is avian taxonomy suddenly in such a state of upheaval?
  • These analyses reveal two major findings: First, the classifications and conventional wisdom regarding the evolutionary relationships among many birds is wrong.  Second, birds that have similar appearances or behaviors are not necessarily related to each other.
  • Shorebirds are not a basal evolutionary group, which refutes the widely held view that shorebirds gave rise to all modern birds.
  • This research also affect publishers and birders because biology textbooks and birdwatching field guides will have to be rewritten.
  • This new tree contains several notable surprises.  For example, falcons are more closely related to songbirds than to other hawks and eagles.  The closest kin of the diving birds called grebes turn out to be flamingos.  And tiny, flashy hummingbirds, according to the new tree, are just a specialised form of nighthawks, whose squat, bulky bodies make them an unlikely cousin.
  • In fact, the new tree ended up regrouping about a third of all the orders in earlier phylogenies of birds.
  • For example, the new tree puts an order of flying birds, the tinamous, squarely in the midst of the flightless ostriches, emus and kiwis.  If true, this implies either that flightlessness evolved at least twice in this lineage, or else that the tinamous re-evolved flight from a flightless ancestor.  “A lot of us actually don’t believe their result,” says [Joel] Cracraft, who says that further studies will be needed to resolve the issue.
  • Similarly, distinctive lifestyles (such as nocturnal, raptorial and pelagic, i.e., living on the ocean or open seas) evolved several times.
  • The results of the study are so broad that the scientific names of dozens of birds will have to be changed, and biology textbooks and birdwatchers’ field guides will have to be revised.
So what are scientists to believe – their eyes or their phylogenetic software?  The results defy common-sense arrangements.  They render morphological classification (the way Darwin and his followers did it before genetics became a science) unreliable.  That is why Cracraft and others are finding it hard to believe.  The anonymous writer of the “Living the Scientific Life” blog tried to explain why the data are so confusing:
So why is avian taxonomy suddenly in such a state of upheaval?  The precise evolutionary relationships between major groups of birds have long been contentious because they underwent an explosive radiation event sometime between 65 million and 100 million years ago.  Nearly all of the major avian groups arose within just a few million years -- a very short period of evolutionary time.  As a result, those groups of birds, such as parrots, doves and owls, that are united by distinct morphological characteristics seem to have appeared suddenly because there are few, or no, known evolutionary intermediates that provide clues to their deeper relationships with other avian groups.
She thus tried to “save the appearances” within the evolutionary framework by appealing to a lack of data.  The hidden events that led to the “emergence” of groups of birds left no trace in the record.  What’s more, the new phylogeny requires more appeals to “convergent evolution”  Now, scientists will have to believe that unlikely events occurred multiple times in unrelated groups.
    The five-year “Early Bird” study was part of the “Assembling the Tree of Life” (AToL) research project funded by the National Science Foundation (10/30/2002, 09/08/2006).
This entry falls in the category of “Everything you know is wrong.”  Throw out the field guide and forget everything your teacher told you about how birds evolved.  Now we know “the truth” about bird evolution.  Evolutionists play this game every once in awhile to look busy.  It provides job security.  You need the evolutionist to interpret the world for you lest you be misled by your senses and common sense.
    Evolutionary theory is looking more and more like divination (cf. 06/12/2008).  The mystery religion of understanding the deep relationships in Darwin’s mythical tree requires faith in the professionals.  Ordinary bird-watchers should not try this at home.  It requires the skill of the duly possessed shaman who alone has the power to conjure up the image of Charlie in the crystal ball of the genes. 
Next headline on:  BirdsGeneticsEvolution
  These rocks took millions of years to ... uh, correction, just a decade to form.  See the 06/30/2005 entry.

Not Another Tetrapod Missing Link   06/25/2008    
June 25, 2008 — Fossils don’t contain light bulbs, but almost every time a new one is found, scientists claim it sheds light on evolution.  The BBC News kept that tradition going with this line, “Scientists say a fossil of a four-legged fish sheds new light on the process of evolution.”  What, exactly, was found?  Whatever Ventastega curonica was, it would be hard to claim it helped shed any light on evolution, because according to the article, it was an “evolutionary dead end.”
    A close look at the article reveals other evolutionary conundrums.  Ventastega was placed after Tiktaalik, but was more primitive.  The BBC News article also said, “Scientists once believed that these early amphibious animals descended in a linear fashion, but this discovery instead confirms these creatures diversified into different branches along the way.”  The animal is made up of a curious mosaic of features.  It would have looked something like an alligator, they said, but allegedly had fishy features like a tail fin and gills.  Interesting, also, is the fact that this fish-o-gator from Latvia was found in sand.  Somehow these sediments, said to be 365 million years old, had not solidified into rock.
    Since popular news reports tend to exaggerate, a look at the original paper in Nature1 might shed light on the wattage of this fossil.  The Editor’s Summary in the June 26 issue said it “resembles a simple intermediate between Tiktaalik and Acanthostega, with the skull shape of an early tetrapod, but proportions more closely resembling a fish.”  Sounds promising so far.  The next sentence, however, undermined the missing-link story in a one-two punch: “But the picture is more complicated than that, due to the unexpected morphological diversity of early tetrapods, and the fact that their initial diversification was earlier than had been thought.
    On to the original paper.  Ahlberg et al opened by claiming that the long-mysterious fish-to-tetrapod gap has been beginning to close, and that their fossil narrows it further.  But then they said that the paucity of complete fossils makes it hard to fill in the gap.  Even after the highly-publicized find of Tiktaalik, “Acanthostega and Ichthyostega are still the only Devonian tetrapods known from near-complete skeletons,” they said, adding: “We know less about the fish–tetrapod transition than the taxic diversity suggests.
    The fossils are not new discoveries.  They had been collected between 1970 and 2001.  In addition, the fossil did not declare itself a transitional form.  This deduction was done with software.  The team plugged various traits they deemed significant into tree-building algorithms.  Though they got consistent results with different permutations, the interpretations were not straightforward.  The fossil contained both “primitive” and “derived” (evolved) features.  The paper suggested that the authors were puzzled about where to fit the pieces from Ventastega and other specimens.
    They ended by saying it was “tempting to interpret Ventastega as a straightforward evolutionary intermediate” (i.e., missing link).  “However, this simple picture should be approached with a degree of caution.”  Why?  Because it contains trait combinations that are substantially different from alleged earlier fossils.  “At a minimum this demonstrates the presence of considerable morphological diversification among the earliest tetrapods,” they said, ending on a positive note that this fossil and Tiktaalik fit expectations of what a transitional form “at a particular point in the phylogeny” should look like.
    All the paper’s caution was cast to the wind by the popular press.  Science Daily, with artwork to prove it, trumpeted, “New Fossils Of Extremely Primitive 4-Legged Creatures Close The Gap Between Fish And Land Animals.”  National Geographic News admitted that the diversity of the Devonian tetrapods was surprising, but nevertheless labeled them as “Fishy Ancestors of Humans”.  Only on page 2 was some caution sprinkled in: “So researchers have a rough idea of the major evolutionary changes that took place but still have their work cut out for them when it comes to filling in the gaps.”
    Shaun Doyle critiqued the claims being made about this fossil in an article on Creation Ministries International.


1.  Ahlberg, Clack et al, “Ventastega curonica and the origin of tetrapod morphology,” Nature 453, 1199-1204 (26 June 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06991.
Probably this was just Jennifer Clack’s latest attempt to one-up Neil Shubin’s fish-a-pod after the press gushed on him without shame or restraint (04/06/2006) and made him a celebrity (01/16/2008).  Clack had been the darling of PBS till this rival muscled in.  Remember her sermonette on 04/06/2006 that one skeleton is unlikely to unlock the key to understanding of evolution, and that the concept of missing links, though having a powerful grasp on the imagination, contains unfounded notions of evolutionary progress?
    Does anyone really believe a fish-o-gator (or whatever it was) from Latvia decided to swim over to Canada where the evolving conditions were better?  We could make up a better case for an evolutionary sequence with living fish and amphibians than these ideologues can with fragmentary fossils that their worldview demands be placed into ancient epochs without observers.  When the Darwin story collapses, sociologists will use these phylogenetic rivalries to “shed light” on how scientists can deceive themselves into seeing what they want to see.
Next headline on:  Marine BiologyFossilsEvolution
Bacterial Flagellar Motor Has a Protein Clutch   06/24/2008    
June 24, 2008 — The bacterial flagellum, the whiplike outboard motor that has become an icon of intelligent design, has another artificial-looking part: a clutch.  Science reported this in “machine language” as follows:1
The bacterial flagellum, powered by a motor that generates 1400 pN-nm of torque, can rotate at a frequency of greater than 100 Hz.  EpsE [the clutch protein] disabled this powerful biological motor when associated with a flagellar basal body and, in a manner similar to that of a clutch, disengaged the drive train from the power sourcee (fig.  S5B).  Clutch control of flagellar function has distinct advantages over transcriptional control of flagellar gene expression for regulating motility.  Some bacteria, such as E. coli and B. subtilis, have many flagella per cell.  The flagellum is an elaborate, durable, energetically expensive, molecular machine and simply turning off de novo flagellum synthesis does not necessarily arrest motility.  Once flagellar gene expression is inactivated, multiple rounds of cell division may be required to segregate preexisting flagella to extinction in daughter cells.  In contrast, the clutch requires the synthesis of only a single protein to inhibit motility.  Furthermore, if biofilm formation is prematurely aborted, flagella once disabled by the clutch might be reactivated, allowing cells to bypass fresh investment in flagellar synthesis.  Whereas flagellum expression and assembly are complex and slow, clutch control is simple, rapid, and potentially reversible.
The clutch thus puts the flagellum in neutral and lets the motor idle without having to be shut down.  Among the co-authors of the paper was Howard Berg of Harvard, who has spent many years studying the molecular motor.  The paper did not attempt to explain how a clutch might evolve by natural selection.
    For popular reports on this finding, with illustrations of how the clutch works, visit NSF News, Nano.org, Photonics.com, PhysOrg and Science DailyARN discussed the paper from an intelligent design perspective.
1.  Blair, Turner, Winkelman, Berg and Kearns, “A Molecular Clutch Disables Flagella in the Bacillus subtilis Biofilm,” Science, 20 June 2008: Vol. 320. no. 5883, pp. 1636 - 1638, DOI: 10.1126/science.1157877.
This is another of many instances of one of the best-established laws in nature: evolutionary storytelling is inversely proportional to observational detail.  A good scientific law needs a popular name.  Write in with your suggestion.
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyIntelligent DesignAmazing Facts
Animal Patterning Keeps Scientists Puzzle-Solving   06/23/2008    
June 23, 2008 — Here’s a fascinating area of research for a budding young scientist: the development of animal patterns.  Look at the dazzling wing patterns on butterflies in an illustration on Science Daily or consider a zebra’s stripes.  How do such patterns emerge from a single fertilized egg?  “Although this has been studied for years,” said a researcher at Johns Hopkins University, “there is still a lot we don’t understand.”
    Clues from gene knockout experiments have shown that the patterns can be disrupted if one or another of two genes is not expressed properly.  During development, it appears that pairs of genes do a sort of tug-of-war.  As cells migrate, their protein products “work against and battle each other: when one gains a slight advantage, the other weakens, which in turn causes the first to gain an even bigger advantage,” the article said.  “This continues until one dominates in each cell.”  Sometimes one protein wins, sometimes the other.  Thus a black stripe can appear in one place on a zebra and a white stripe in another.
    This is only a partial answer, however.  It explains how a pattern can emerge from no pattern, but does not explain why the pattern unfolds in the exact places it does.  Something tells the cells where to move and when to stay put.  What regulates and choreographs all this motion?  More research will be required.
We need bright, young, curious kids to go into science with a design mentality.  This is another area ripe for intelligent design research.
    Discovering a physical mechanism for how patterns form in a developing embryo will not explain it away.  Does deciphering Morse Code lead to a conclusion the code evolved?  No; it opens up new avenues to understand purposeful communication.  Design-theoretic research that unlocks the mystery of animal patterning will only reinforce the design principles that make possible a peacock’s tail, a tiger’s stripes, a giraffe’s tile patterns and the spots on your dog Spot.  Evolutionists have nothing to offer but fables.
    The insights that could be gained from this budding branch of genetics and developmental biology could be huge.  Once we understand the design principles behind animal patterning, many spinoffs come to mind.  Doctors may be able to monitor and control the migration of cancer cells, for instance.  Nanotech engineers may be able to mimic the push-and-pull actions of proteins to assemble microscopic machines.  Computer scientists may be able to apply the principles in fuzzy-logic applications.
    Get your kids off the junk food of entertainment and onto substantive matters.  Inspire them to become ID-motivated scientists.  They might be able to improve the lives of millions.
Next headline on:  GeneticsTerrestrial ZoologyMammalsIntelligent DesignBiomimetics
  Four years ago on June 30, the Cassini spacecraft entered orbit around Saturn.  Re-live the anticipatory entry from SOI Day on 06/30/2004, then search for "Cassini" in the search bar for articles about the string of discoveries made by the most advanced outer-planet mission in history.  On July 1, Cassini begins a 2.3-year Extended Mission (see JPL press release).

Love Your Heart: Look at Nature   06/22/2008    
June 22, 2008 — Heart patients can get instant relief from stress by simply looking out at nature through a window, reported Science Daily.  It worked better if the patient looked at the real thing, not just a picture on TV.
    In a study funded by the National Science Foundation, scientists tested the heart rates of patients who looked at nature out a window, natural scenes on a plasma screen, or a blank wall.  A psychologist at the University of Washington who participated in the study said,

We are losing direct experiences with nature.  Instead, more and more we’re experiencing nature represented technologically through television and other media.  Children grow up watching Discovery Channel and Animal Planet.  That’s probably better than nothing.  But as a species we need interaction with actual nature for our physical and psychological well-being.
Young people today are suffering from “environmental generational amnesia,” he said.  They are so used to air pollution and cityscapes that they have lost the memory of an experience with real blue sky, fresh air and trees.  The researchers were surprised to find that looking at such things on a TV screen was no more beneficial than staring at a blank wall.
    For more on the benefits of exposure to nature, see the entries from 12/05/2001, 03/27/2001 and 03/23/2001.
Watching TV programs about animals and nature is worse than nothing if it preaches the usual evolutionary sermon.  Get outside and see what God made: go on a Creation Safari.
Next headline on:  HealthMedia
Evolutionist Learns from “Neo-Creationists”   06/21/2008    
June 21, 2008 — Neo-creationists: the Intelligent Design (ID) people as well as the active old creationists, are still to be despised and expelled, thinks an evolutionist.  That doesn’t mean, though, that they aren’t making some good points.
    The evolutionist is Gordy Slack, a science writer from Oakland, California, who previously wrote a book about the Dover trial.  Writing for The Scientist, he admitted that they’ve gotten some things right.  Here are some lessons he has learned by hanging around them:
  1. Origin of life:  “First, I have to agree with the ID crowd that there are some very big (and frankly exciting) questions that should keep evolutionists humble,” like the origin of life.  He admitted that scientists are “in the dark” about this question.  He rejected, though, the idea that biologists can ignore it and start after life began:
    Still, I think it is disingenuous to argue that the origin of life is irrelevant to evolution.  It is no less relevant than the Big Bang is to physics or cosmology.  Evolution should be able to explain, in theory at least, all the way back to the very first organism that could replicate itself through biological or chemical processes.  And to understand that organism fully, we would simply have to know what came before it.  And right now we are nowhere close.  I believe a material explanation will be found, but that confidence comes from my faith that science is up to the task of explaining, in purely material or naturalistic terms, the whole history of life.  My faith is well founded, but it is still faith.
  2. Complexity of the cell:  Another valid point made by neo-creationists is that life is far more complex than Darwin could have imagined.  Slack again expressed faith that natural explanations will be found, “But scientists still have much to learn about the process of evolution if they are to fully explain the phenomenon.”  He even allowed for major surprises – like finding “compelling evidence for a designer,” though he doubted that would happen. 
  3. Inner knowledge:  Another observation that Slack has trouble computing into his materialism is the fact that so many people find creation obvious.  “Millions of people believe they directly experience the reality of a Creator every day, and to them it seems like nonsense to insist that He does not exist,” he noted.  “Unless they are lying, God’s existence is to them an observable fact.”
        He admitted that he can’t deny his own “psychological empiricism.”  No amount of persuasion by cognitive neuroscientists, for instance, that neurotransmitters give him the illusion of free will could make him doubt that he really loves his children.  Material explanations may look good on paper, but “I have too much respect for my own experience.” He did not elaborate on whether reason itself could be reducible to physics and chemistry.
  4. Blind faith:  The most striking point of agreement he saved for last.  Are evolutionists the unbiased, white-lab-coat objective empiricists seeking knowledge and finding evolution to be the clearest explanation?  No; many are blind followers, just like the ID people claim.  He has empirical evidence for this.
    A few years ago I covered a conference of the American Atheists in Las Vegas.  I met dozens of people there who were dead sure that evolutionary theory was correct though they didn’t know a thing about adaptive radiation, genetic drift, or even plain old natural selection.  They came to their Darwinism via a commitment to naturalism and atheism not through the study of science.  They’re still correct when they say evolution happens.  But I’m afraid they’re wrong to call themselves skeptics unencumbered by ideology.  Many of them are best described as zealots.
    Not that he is against zeal, but Slack says “its coincidence with a theory proves nothing about that theory’s explanatory power.”
  5. Demarcation:  On an unlisted point in his conclusion, Slack conceded that “Looking for evidence of design in the natural world isn’t itself unscientific” – it would even be “big and fascinating news.”  He thinks, however, that a designer would be necessarily “supernatural” (assuming he knows how to define “natural”).1
Liberal-minded modern as he is, Slack upholds the freedom of outsiders to “pursue their very eccentric and outlying theory.”  After an article full of modest agreement, it was surprising to hear Slack describing neo-creationists as people who would dismiss evolution as “hogwash” while holding to an “improbable hypothesis” (see online book).  He praised evolution as the “cornerstone of modern biology.”  Maybe that is why The Scientist allowed him to publish it.
1.  Intellectual historian Charles Alan Kors (U of Pennsylvania) has said, “there are few terms more equivocal, more ambiguous, that have more multiple meanings, than the term ‘nature.’”  For each sphere of phenomena a philosopher would wish to circumscribe with this slippery word, clever interlocutors could find appeals to phenomena outside the sphere.  These, by definition, would also be supernatural – meaning, above, or beyond “nature,” whatever it is.  If nature is defined as that which is open to sense perception, for instance, are black holes and unobservable entities like strings, quarks or dark matter extra-natural?  If nature encompasses only particles and forces, what of reason or the laws of logic?
It was unusual of the dogmatic Darwiniacs to allow one of theirs to say something deferential about their most despised enemies.  We appreciate the gesture, but it’s not enough.  We demand complete and unconditional surrender.  They have no ground to stand on empirically, philosophically or ethically.  False humility and crocodile tears are a ruse (as in Michael Ruse).  The Darwiniacs took scientific institutions through deceit and manipulation, so until and unless they relinquish power, they are still at the top of the Most Wanted Ideologues.
    A key part of the neo-creationist strategy must be a protracted siege.  No longer will we allow them to raid theistic presuppositions under cover of darkness.  Since they cannot grow their own self-consistent presuppositions within their worldview castle, they will eventually starve or demand our help, which we will only grant provided they acquiesce all power and confess their sins.  Don’t expect that anytime soon.  It will be a long siege.  Freedom, scientific integrity, honesty and self-consistent rationality are worth waiting for.
Next headline on:  EducationEvolutionOrigin of LifePolitics and EthicsBible and TheologyIntelligent Design
Sunshine Is for Health   06/20/2008    
June 20, 2008 — The old wisdom: stay out of the sun.  The new wisdom: your life could depend on getting sunshine: about 10-15 minutes of exposure three times a week.
    Science Daily reported that Vitamin D, produced in the skin by exposure to sunlight, provides more health to the body than previously thought.  Health professionals have known for a long time that Vitamin D is necessary to prevent rickets and bone disorders.  Now, evidence is growing that Vitamin D also fights cancer, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune diseases.
    No one is suggesting overexposure.  Clearly, too much sunlight raises risks of skin cancer and ages the skin.  Still, many people are probably getting too little sunshine in their life.  Those at northern latitudes, and those with dark skin, may need to take more steps to get their arms and legs and faces out in the noontime sunshine.  The elderly and office workers may also be vulnerable to Vitamin D deficiency.
Use the Search Bar with keywords "Vitamin D" and sunlight for a half dozen previous articles on this subject.
    One thing not stated in the article is the remarkable correlation between the energy of sunlight reaching the earth and the chemistry of proteins and enzymes that are activated with this energy.  The lower energy of light from red dwarf stars might not be sufficient for biological reactions, while the light from hot blue stars would produce too much ionizing radiation.
    This is one of many “Goldilocks” parameters of physics and astronomy that is just right for our health.  The correspondence of astronomy with biology, that permits sentient beings to make scientific discoveries, is silent witness of intelligent design.  Expose yourself to that light.
Next headline on:  HealthPhysicsStarsIntelligent Design
  Sea shells: to sell them, she would first have to learn how to make them, from 06/26/2003.

Hopes Die for Enceladus Longevity   06/19/2008    
June 19, 2008 — Ever since Enceladus, the little 300-mile-across moon of Saturn was found in 2005 to be erupting out its south pole, scientists have tried to explain how it could be possible.  They have looked high and low for an energy source to power the geysers of the little moon dubbed “Cold Faithful” for billions of years.  There have been no answers yet, and none seem to be forthcoming.
    An article on Space.com says this little moon should be frozen solid.  All they can give as a plausible length of time for geysering activity is 30 million years.  That is less than 1% the assumed age of the solar system (4.6 billion years).  The geysers put out 5.8 gigawatts of heat.  Neither tidal heating nor radioactive decay are sufficient to produce that kind of energy output, given Enceladus’ size and the nature of its orbit.
    James Roberts (UC Santa Cruz) lamented, “There is no possible combination of parameters that allow for a thermally stable ocean” under the icy crust.  Researchers trying to keep this little moon hot for billions of years are resorting to ad hoc scenarios like imagining prior episodes of eccentric orbits.  Such historical, unrepeatable events are not observable.  They also do not explain why neighboring moons, though larger, show no activity – like Mimas, though it is subject to more tidal stress than Enceladus.

The consensus old age of the solar system has been falsified.  They just won’t admit it.  How much longer do you want them to tweak their models to keep Enceladus hot?  Remember, they have to do it with Io and Neptune and Uranus and Pluto also.  Numerous phenomena in our solar system mandate an age limit far shorter than 4.6 billion years.  Long ages are no longer necessary for planet formation or for any other geological feature.  The only one who wants them is Charlie, and he doesn’t count.
    So many requirements of evolution have been falsified, the superstructure of evolutionary theory floats disconnected from the ground of evidence, supported by the hot air of its defenders.  They can’t keep it up forever.
Next headline on:  Solar SystemDating MethodsPhysics
Long Live the Seed   06/18/2008    
June 18, 2008 — A seed buried under the rubble of Herod the Great’s fortress took root and is now growing into a palm tree.  Science Now reported this as verification of claims that ancient seeds can still grow.  See also the National Geographic News report that added this record beats out the previous verifiable claim of ancient seed germination by 700 years.
    The Israeli research team nicknamed the tree “Methuselah” after the Old Testament man who sets the Guinness record for human longevity at 969 years.
    Radiocarbon tests of other seeds from the cache showed dates of 1995-2110 years.  That makes this remarkable tree a “date palm” in more than one sense. 
This seed lay buried in a fortress in the hot Judean desert for two thousand years and was still alive.  It has been growing now for two years into a healthy, green plant.  Can you imagine Herod the Great with all his wise men designing a machine that could be unpacked and made to work after two millennia?  If so, you’re probably thinking of a simple machine like a lever.  Try a miniaturized robot that reads codes, can grow and draw up nutrients from the desert and produce sweet fruit, then duplicate itself.  Amazing.  If all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t pull off a trick like that using intelligent design, don’t expect blind evolution to do it.
Next headline on:  PlantsBibleAmazing Facts
Human Face Book Is Customized   06/17/2008    
June 17, 2008 — Make a face.  How do you make a face?  We are all made with faces that can make unique facial expressions, thanks to unique combinations of subcutaneous muscles.  Nature News said that humans have unique faceprints of 16 common expression-making muscles.
    We all have the same 5 subcutaneous muscles that can make us look angry, happy, surprised, afraid, sad and disgusted.  But we have different combinations of 11 more muscles that allow us each to have our own idiosyncratic facial expressions.  This was announced by researchers who examined 18 Caucasian cadavers.  It means that all humans can express shared emotions important for social communication, but each of us can add our own nuance.
    One of the researchers speculated that this can be explained in evolutionary terms.  Humans have been selected to communicate the same basic emotions, he said, but have differences to allow for creating relationships within social groups.  He did not explain why this strategy never occurred to social bees, ants, schooling fish and flocks of birds.
We’ll just ignore that little evolutionary fable with an expression of disgust and move right along.  Facial expression is one of many unique traits among humans who were created like animals in many ways but with special features to express an inner spirit made in the image of God: intellect, emotions, will, love, personality, and faith.  To communicate our rationality, we needed a voice apparatus appropriate for the sophisticated nuances of human language.  For combined spiritual and physical intimacy, we needed skin instead of hair.  For face-to-face communication and stewardship, we needed upright posture.  For work, we needed hands with opposable thumbs.  None of these is quite the window of the spirit as a person’s unique countenance.
    We have the most versatile bodies and faces in nature appropriate for accountable souls.  Think of the importance of facial expressions in comedy sitcoms, vocal solos, plays and movies; visualize the clown or mime using faces to get a laugh.  Perhaps you have taken a silly family photo with everyone making funny faces.  Even humor is a gift of God.  Chimpanzees and dogs and parrots can seem to comprehend fun, but try to tell them a joke, and no comprendo.  Human laughter and a hearty smile is a joy of life that only spirits operating physical equipment can fully understand and appreciate.
    We have more equipment than needed to just eat and survive because we have a special role in God’s creation: to be His stewards, to love Him, and to love one another.  Facial expression is an intrinsic part of our unique ability to relate to one another visually and verbally.  That we each have unique faces and combinations of facial muscles fits the description of humans being unique individuals with a special role in the world.  Look at one penguin and you’ve seen them all.  Same for prairie dogs, antelope, honeybees, wildebeest, flamingos and any other wild social animal.  Though specialists can tell them apart, other primates have limited diversity and expressivity on their faces.  They can curl their lips into funny ways, and bare their teeth and scream, but have you ever seen a chimpanzee with an expression of altruistic love, faith, thoughtful contemplation, solemnity, gratitude or inner joy?
    The variety of human faces, though, is astonishing: just look at the faces of any crowd on the street or in a public event.  And the number of expressions you can contort your face into in front of a mirror is equally astonishing.  We often remember a face when we cannot remember a name.  We can pick easily out faces we know from hundreds of strangers in a yearbook.  Faces are put on “Wanted” posters.   We normally take pictures of ourselves that emphasize our faces.  Magazines and newspapers (except for certain kinds) concentrate on the faces of people in the news.  We normally take pictures of people to emphasize their faces.  This makes sense if we are individual created souls distinct from the animals.  It makes no sense in evolutionary terms, or else you would see extreme facial diversity and expressivity all over the animal kingdom.  What other animal invented FaceBook?  The face is the interface for rational and emotional communication.  “Face it, we’re all different” said the Nature News article.  Yes indeed, Nature, face up to it.  We can make faces because He made our faces.  Go smile at someone and start a spiritual communication.
Next headline on:  Human BodyAmazing Facts
  Evolutionary trees are positively misleading, claim two evolutionists; tree-building methods are guaranteed to produce erroneous results, from 06/08/2006.

Big Dino Site Found in Utah   06/17/2008    
June 17, 2008 — A big dinosaur fossil quarry has been found in Utah near Hanksville, reported the Associated Press (see copy on PhysOrg).  The Bureau of Land Management says it may be comparable to the Dinosaur National Monument site and other well-known quarries in the region.  Apparently feeling a need to appeal to the MTV generation, a National Geographic article mentioned it contains “big sexy dinosaurs.”
    No new species were identified, but the 50 x 200 yard mass burial contains clams and large petrified tree trunks in addition to sauropods, two carnivores and a stegosaur.  The bones were found in a sandstone channel of an ancient river, the article says, and the preservation is excellent.

These animals were sure dumb to keep wandering into floods that would bury them alive.  The trees were dumb, too.  Scientists, of course, have it all figured out.
Next headline on:  DinosaursFossils
Magic Box in the Cell Baffles the Experts   06/16/2008    
June 16, 2008 — Put a string of amino acids into this magic box, and it comes out all precisely folded into a protein.  How does it do it?  A molecular machine described by Science Daily has scientists baffled.  Ironically, its name is TRiC.
    TRiC is a chaperonin, a member of a class of molecular machines that “chaperone” or guide polypeptides emerging from the ribosome (the translation machine, 02/21/2007) into their final folded shape.  The shape of a protein is essential to its function.  Most polypeptides find their native fold without help, but about 10% need a chaperonin shelter, like a private dressing room (05/05/2003) to get in shape.
    The article shows that TRiC looks like a barrel-shaped box with two lids.  Each lid opens and closes like the iris of a camera.  Scientists can’t see what goes on inside when the box is closed.  The press release explains,
TRiC, like all chaperonins, consists of a double-ringed structure that gives it a barrel shape.  One ring opens to admit the raw protein into the inner recesses of the folding machine, then closes tightly while, inside the chaperonin “black box,” the mysteries of molecular origami unfold—or, more correctly, fold.  Upon completion of the folding, the ring at the other end opens up to push out the finished product.
    “It is really like a nanomachine.  It closes off, the protein is trapped inside and something—we don’t understand what—happens inside this chamber, and the protein comes out folded,” Frydman said.  “It is a very complex mechanism.”
What’s remarkable about this cellular magic trick is that there are many more possible incorrect folds than the right one.  How this machine can fold each protein correctly, like solving a Rubik’s Cube in the dark without hands, is one of those mysteries of life science is trying to unlock.  It’s not just the shape of the box that matters.  The two iris-like lids have to open at the right time, and keep the protein inside the right amount of time, or it doesn’t work and the product comes out misfolded.
    Judith Frydman at Stanford discovered TRiC in 1992 and has been trying to figure it out ever since.  Co-director of the Center for Protein Folding Machinery, Frydman describes TRiC as a “two-stroke motor” wherein the opening of one end is linked to the closing of the other end.  “What has been so intriguing is that everything is connected,“ she said.  “This is a very large machine and every part of the machine is communicating with the other parts.”At first her team thought the machine opened like the flaps on a cardboard box, but then they discovered the iris-shutter mechanism.  She thinks the twisting of the lid transfers rotational motion to the interior and this helps the folding process, but so far the secret is still hidden inside.
    If Frydman and her team figure out the TRiC, new medical advances may be forthcoming.  She said, “If one could understand what the environment in there looks like, what this machine does, what the cell does to fold its proteins, then we could begin to design ways to fold proteins for therapeutic purposes.”  This implies design following design.  In fact, no mention of evolution or natural selection was made in the press release, originally published by the Stanford University news service.  The chaperonin is called a machine eight times in the brief article.
This science project needs evolutionary theory like a fly needs a swatter.  Tell us, Charlie, how the protein machinery that codes, transcribes, translates and folds proteins originated without the machinery to do it.  We want scientific facts, not stories.
    Magic tricks intrigue us, not because we think real magic is happening, but because we want to know how the trick is done.  TRiC is inspiring Frydman and her colleagues to reverse-engineer the implicit design of this complex black box and put their findings to practical use for improving human health and well being.  Isn’t that what science is all about?
    Surely no one from Darwin’s day through the 1950s could have imagined that the secrets of life would depend on complex, precision machinery, with moving parts, made out of molecules, manufactured to spec from coded instructions.  Enough reports like this one, and Darwinism itself will be interred in a black box: coffin-shaped and nailed shut, so the folding of rigor mortis inside won’t gross anyone out.
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyIntelligent DesignAmazing Facts
World’s Fastest Computer Approaches Brain Power   06/13/2008    
June 13, 2008 — IBM has broken the petaflops barrier.  What’s that, you ask?  In computing lingo, it stands for a quadrillion floating-point operations per second.  The new Roadrunner supercomputer at Los Alamos National Laboratory has set a new record for computing speed that may usher in a new era of scientific analysis of complex systems: “Roadrunner gives scientists the ability to quickly render mountainous problems into mere molehills, or model systems that previously were unthinkably complex.”  Such as?....
    Science Daily reported something even more amazing.  Roadrunner is now able to mimic some of the complex neural reactions going on in the human brain.  “To date, computers have been unable to match human performance on such visual tasks as flawlessly detecting an oncoming automobile on the highway or distinguishing a friend from a stranger in a crowd of people,” the article said.  “Roadrunner is now changing the game.”
    One test program called PetaVision tries to model how the brain performs vision.  “PetaVision models the human visual system--mimicking more than 1 billion visual neurons and trillions of synapses.”  Because there are about a quadrillion synapses in the human brain, an artificial brain is finally entering the ballpark of keeping up with the biological computer.
    One researcher put it, “Just a week after formal introduction of the machine to the world, we are already doing computational tasks that existed only in the realm of imagination a year ago.”  Imagination is a human intellectual skill carried on with the aid of the brain.  It’s not clear if the researchers have calculated how many petaflops would be required to perform that feat.  It might require exaflops (quintillions), zettaflops (sextillions) or yottaflops (septillions), if one can imagine such numbers.
Did you catch the point of this story?  Decades of human intelligent planning and engineering and experience have gone into producing a monstrosity of big iron that is just now getting up to the capability of keeping up with one operation of your brain, vision.  The man-made machine occupies a room of metal, wires, and sophisticated circuitry that requires electricity, artificial cooling and a team of system administrators, to say nothing of programmers, to operate.
    Your brain, by contrast, occupies only three pounds of soft tissue.  It is self-contained on a mobile platform.  And it’s doing a lot more than processing vision.  It is keeping tabs on trillions of cells, running your heart, lungs, digestive tract, spleen, pancreas, liver, glands, immune system and dozens of other systems in the background without your conscious control, responding to hearing, smell, taste, touch, balance, temperature and kinesthetic senses, searching through memories, thinking, imagining, feeling and much more.  All this occurs in a compact space of only 1350 cc.  You don’t have to plug it in.  You don’t have to keep it in a refrigerated room.  You can take it skiing or out to the desert, and you can even swim with it.  And it runs on hamburgers and water!
    This article should be standing in awe of the brain, but it’s all about glorifying man for building his own paltry excuse for a computer.  Inside their own skulls is the most astonishing supercomputer in the known universe!  Where is the praise to the Creator that should be due for His gift of such a powerful and multi-functional machine?  On the contrary, the common mythology of our day is that brains evolved by chance over millions of years of undirected, random processes.
    Learn to see the real take-home lesson in science news.  The important lesson is not always the hyped one.
Next headline on:  Human BodyAmazing Facts
  Darwin Partying: Miller Time in the Astrobiology Lab, 06/16/2005; intellectual sex orgies, 06/17/2005; war games, 06/22/2005.

Divining the CMB   06/12/2008    
June 12, 2008 — What do you see in this pattern?  Look very closely.  The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) is a faint glow of electromagnetic radiation that pervades the universe.  What it means is a matter of intense and sometimes bizarre speculation by cosmologists.
    The spectrum of the CMB matches almost perfectly that of an ideal radiator, or blackbody, with a peak temperature of 2.7° Kelvin (graph)  The spectrum is so smooth that it took years of analysis of the COBE satellite data to find any variations – inhomogeneities or anisotropies, as they are called.  In 2001, the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe teased out the variations to the highest resolution ever measured for a blackbody (picture).  In the maps, the colors exaggerate the variations.  They are exceedingly faint – on the order of 18 microkelvins, or parts per 100,000.  They can be compared to tiny ripples on a calm sea.  What does this imply?  Does it shed light on the origin and nature of the universe?
    Cosmologists advertise that the discovery of the CMB by Penzias and Wilson in 1965 (for which they received the Nobel Prize) was a confirmation of the Big Bang theory.  It represents the cosmic afterglow of the primeval fireball, they said.  Though such a glow had been predicted by George Gamow, Ralph Alpher and Robert Herman, the predicted value (28K) was higher than the measured value.  Moreover, finding the spectrum to be so extremely smooth exacerbated the “lumpiness problem” in cosmology: if the universe began from a uniform explosion, where did the lumps come from?  The universe is made up of lumpy aggregates of matter like galaxies and clusters of galaxies with near vacuums of empty space between them.  The discovery of inhomogeneities, therefore, was latched onto quickly as an explanation: these tiny ripples grew into gravitational attractors for material that coalesced into the lumps.  The discovery of the inhomogeneities won George Smoot the Nobel Prize in 2006.
    Today, cosmologists continue to probe the CMB for clues to even grander visions.  Here’s what some recent reports are claiming are visible in maps of the CMB that, to a layman, would look as meaningless as modern art.

  1. Donuts:  The universe might be donut shaped.  That’s what Nature News reported May 28, complete with a drawing.  “Mmm... Universe,” teased the caption.  “Calculations show it really might be shaped like the snack favourite.”  How does one salivate over visions of donuts while looking at a CMB map?  The vision lies in missing long wavelengths, which some cosmologists interpret as indicating the universe might be finite but non-spherical.  Of the possible wrap-around shapes, a 3-torus seems to match the WMAP data best, they think.  Yum.
  2. Treasure:  The BBC News reported in March that the WMAP data constitutes a “treasure trove” of information about the universe – not only its age and early history, but its fate.  A group from Oxford University believes that they see the faint glow of neutrinos in the map.  Dr. Joanna Dunkley said, “We see patterns in light, light that has been travelling for billions of years, affected in the early infancy of the Universe by whatever the Universe was composed of at that point.”
        This is more fun than an amusement park fortune-teller.  Dr. Dunkley now sees “an impression of conditions billions of years ago” by inferring from the amount of helium today a “sea of neutrinos” that must have been given off early on by nuclear reactions, assuming it was built inside stars.  Most neutrinos pass right through the earth without stopping.  Very few are detected in the very few detectors built to look for them.  There they are, right on the WMAP plot, staring us in the face.  Don’t you see?
        Dr. Dunkley also sees fog, but it clears up in her crystal ball.  The dissipating fog reveals secrets about the first stars.  “We basically have the first evidence that how the first stars switched on was a long, drawn-out process that took half a billion years,” she said.  “We weren’t able to see that before.”  Some of us are wondering how she sees it now.
  3. The Land Before Time:  The familiar WMAP plot showed up in a story on the BBC News that suggested other universes are betraying their presence in the data.  The possible observation of a slight asymmetry in the CMB from one direction to the other could clue us in that we inherited a structure from a parent universe, says a Caltech group.  The fluctuations in the CMB are telling us that “new universes could be created spontaneously from apparently empty space.”  If so, “From inside the parent universe, the event would be surprisingly unspectacular.”  It’s just one of those ordinary things – everything from nothing, bubbling off in a flash from a previous universe that cannot be observed.
        Sean Carroll (Caltech), who proposed the second idea, wants to convince his colleagues to think big.  “We’re trained to say there was no time before the Big Bang, when we should say that we don’t know whether there was anything – or if there was, what it was.”  Why say anything, then?
        Carroll admits that we don’t know if universes can bud off from pre-existing ones.  But if ours did, he thinks it would explain why time flows forward instead of backward in our universe.  “Much work remains to be done on the theory:” the BBC said; “the researchers’ first priority will be to calculate the odds of a new universe appearing from a previous one.
An untrained layman looking at the CMB would be astonished that such inferences could be conjured up out of faint color changes on a bland-looking map.
The know-nothings (02/22/2008 commentary) seem to know an awful lot (emphasis on awful).  They have a lot to say about things they admit they can’t say.  Did it occur to any of them that science was meant to be restricted to phenomena that are observable, testable and repeatable?  Yes; tell us about the odds of getting a new universe from a previous one.  Tell us all about it.  Do a demo in the lab.  Tell us about the infinite regress while you’re at it, and why there was something instead of nothing.
    Today, we no longer need a calf liver, pendulum or water witch to play around with divination.  We have trendier things with which the Babble-onions, Chaldeans and sooth-slayers can respectably practice their ancient Craft.  The only thing they seem unable to divine is the Divine Nature (Romans 1).  Odd; most of us lacking the divination tools can see it clearly all over the place.
Next headline on:  CosmologyPhysicsDumb Ideas
Few Typos Get Past Your Spell Checker   06/11/2008    
June 11, 2008 — Inside your cells are thousands of spell checkers that put any human typist to shame.  In a process critical to all living things, RNA Polymerase II transcribes DNA into RNA rapidly with high fidelity.  Even very similar chemical letters are accurately discriminated by this wonder of a molecular machine that is described in Science Daily.
    The article describes its performance as “exquisite precision” and “unerring accuracy.”  RNA Polymerase II (Pol II) has been studied for years (01/10/2003, 01/05/2006), but new secrets continue to pour forth.  Two teams found out more details about how the proofreading works.  Mutations, they found, caused severe losses in fidelity.  “The researchers said their findings not only offer unprecedented details about the fidelity mechanism of Pol II, but likely about fidelity in all cellular genetic copying machines.
    What?  You mean there’s more?  Absolutely (03/21/2002).  From transcription to translation, each stage of protein manufacture from the DNA template is checked for errors by molecular machines (03/22/2002, 05/17/2002, 06/13/2002, 01/19/2005, 03/31/2005).  When those machines break down due to mutations, bad things happen.  The last word: “As DNA polymerase is responsible for gene replication, the result of its malfunction could be a burst of gene mutation causing an ‘error catastrophe’ that could lead to genome instability and cancer formation.
This is the science of intelligent design (ID) at work (05/18/2005).  No mention of the E-word evolution was heard in these labs (cf. 06/17/2002).  The researchers were hot on the heels of major discoveries about how biological machines achieve phenomenal accuracy.  And at what do they achieve phenomenal accuracy?  the translation of coded information (12/17/2007).  Information is a very ID-friendly word.  Evolutionists speak very little about information.  What can they say?  that material particles subject to various non-intelligent forces built the most accurate code-storage and translation mechanisms known in nature?  How long would it take Lenski to evolve that? (see next story).  Let’s take off the Darwin leg irons and propel science full speed into the Information Age.
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyGeneticsIntelligent DesignAmazing Facts
Darwinism Demonstrated in the Lab   06/10/2008    
June 10, 2008 — Lenski’s done it.  The champion of Avida, a computerized evolution demo (see Evolution News) has demonstrated Darwinian evolution with real live organisms.  His achievement announces his inauguration into the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.1
    Lenski and team ran one of the longest-running evolution experiments ever with E. coli bacteria.  After more than 30,000 generations, some of the bacteria traversed several random mutations to achieve a new function: the ability to digest citrate.  This occurred without any guidance and quickly made the new variety more fit in the culture.  New Scientist trumpeted this as a demonstration of a “major evolutionary shift in the lab” that has unfurled right before the researchers’ eyes.
    Darwin critic Dr. Michael Behe, biochemist at Lehigh University, author of Darwin’s Black Box, seems unconvinced.  He thinks, as he discusses on his Amazon blog that Lenski has only demonstrated something far less Darwinian: the Edge of Evolution.  A response was also posted on Access Research Network.
1.  Zachary Blount, Christina Borland and Richard E. Lenski, “Historical contingency and the evolution of a key innovation in an experimental population of Escherichia coli,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, June 4, 2008, 10.1073/pnas.0803151105.
It’s a good thing Dr. Behe quickly dispelled the significance of this experiment.  It saves us a lot of work having to trudge through the overhyped claims in the paper.  Basically, the E. coli already had the machinery to digest citrate, but just lacked a gateway to get the nutrient inside, which was not that improbable a hurdle for a couple of mutations to permit.  This accomplishment is orders of magnitude simpler than the kind of luck required to build the machinery in the first place.  It’s like blindly pushing and finding a weakness in a fence.  This is all the longest-running lab experiment in evolution was able to accomplish in 20 years of trying, with almost 40,000 generations.  Are you impressed?  If you can tell a lawyer is lying when his lips are moving, you can tell an evolutionist is lying when the reporters go wild about how Darwin has been vindicated. 
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyEvolution
  Three great space triumphs of 2004: our only close look at Saturn’s moon Phoebe, four years ago this Saturday, from 06/14/2004; Stardust team deciphers comet dust, from 06/18/2004; and Cassini enters Saturn orbit to begin its spectacularly successful tour, from 06/30/2004.

The Andes: Pop-Up Mountains   06/10/2008    
June 10, 2008 — The majestic Andes of South America did not rise smoothly and gradually, a team of geologists reported in Science.1  Instead, long periods of stasis for tens of millions of years were punctuated by rapid periods of uplift.  It sounds as if punctuated equilibria theory has been stolen from evolutionary biology and applied to geology.  They say the Andes – the second largest mountain chain in the world – could have risen over 2 km in about a million years.
    The authors explain this erratic motion by saying, “Periodic punctuated surface uplift of mountain belts probably reflects the rapid removal of unstable, dense lower lithosphere after long-term thickening of the crust and lithospheric mantle.”  It had “long been thought” that shortening and thickening of continental crust gave rise to mountains, they said.  Now, however, they think that measurements of surface isotopes show that the two processes don’t seem to work together so should be worked out separately.
    The international team measured various factors – amount of erosion, outgassing from volcanoes, isotope ratios in clays and carbonates, and sediment thicknesses.  They took into account “paleo-elevation data” tying each stratum’s position in the geologic column in relation to its elevation.  They plugged the values into models in an attempt to infer the history of the mountain range.  Other assumptions, such as climate history and behavior of the upper mantle, were included.
    Richard A. Kerr summarized the paper in the same issue of Science,2 titling his article, “The Andes popped up by losing their deep-seated rocky load.”  One problem he noted about the pop-up theory is that crustal compression doesn’t happen that fast.  The team explained it by suggesting that a section of “ballast” under the mountains might have fallen away into the mantle, allowing the rapid rise above.  “The timing and style of volcanism in the central Andes suggest that the mantle lithosphere fell away suddenly--as a huge drop dripping off the crust or as a layer peeling away--just when the isotopic data indicate a punctuated uplift,” he said.
    Other geologists are not convinced.  One, for instance, thinks that the rise of the mountains alters the climate and can give false paleo-elevation data.  Some wish to rely more on models; some wish to give more weight to field data.  For a popular write-up of the new theory, see Science Daily, which begins, “Mountains may experience a ‘growth spurt’ that can double their heights in as little as two to four million years--several times faster than the prevailing tectonic theory suggests.


1.  Garzione et al, “Rise of the Andes,” Science, 6 June 2008: Vol. 320. no. 5881, pp. 1304-1307, DOI: 10.1126/science.1148615.
2.  Richard A. Kerr, “The Andes Popped Up by Losing Their Deep-Seated Rocky Load,” Science, no. 5881, p. 1275, DOI: 10.1126/science.320.5881.1275a.
What is the take-home lesson of this article?  That scientists recognized their past sins of omission and have now come clean?  That science is progressing toward a true understanding of the history of the earth?  If so, we have a piece of Jurassic mantle on the auction block.
    Geological models like this are a hopeless hodgepodge of assumption, presumption, paradigm, social pressure, tradition, arbitrary classification and motivation, mixed in with a little bit of data as seasoning.  Step back and look at how geologists do this kind of work.  Is it reasonable to think that some isotope ratios in groundwater, or some measurements of volcanic gases, are going to tell you what happened 40 million years ago hundreds of kilometers below a mountain chain, where no human could ever go, to a time in the past no human has ever seen?  Will a model on a computer, with inputs from field work mixed in with assumptions, provide a reliable account of processes at work in a massive mountain range spanning the length of a continent over millions of years? (see 02/05/2008 about climate models).  How could they ever know?  There is no possible way to rerun the millions of years to find out.  How could they be sure the model does not omit one or more crucial parameters that might dramatically alter the conclusions?
    If you still trust the geologists’ story, consider that these scientists just upset their predecessors’ apple cart.  They said it had “long been thought” that the Andes rose up gradually.  Now we are supposed to “know” that was wrong, and we should accept the pop-up theory.  What assurance does anyone have that someone a decade from now will not overturn this paper?  It happens.  In the years of reporting at this site, for instance, we have seen geologists change their story dramatically about the Grand Canyon.  In 2000, geologists were considering it might be less than a million years old.  That was a drastic change from earlier estimates, carved into National Park signs as The Truth, that the canyon was 70 million years old.  Later, The Truth was down to 5 million years.  Now, in the last few months, they have been revising the date upward again; first to 17 million, now to 55 million or more (03/05/2008, 04/10/2008).  Reality has been buried in these conceptual sediments.  The only clue visible to a casual observer is that, when it comes to the true history of the earth, geologists are clueless.
    Understand the difference between observational geology and historical geology.  If a geologist can help Exxon find oil, or help you decide if your property is stable enough to build a house on, that’s great.  Thank goodness there are people trained in the observational skills and mechanics of rocks and soils and minerals to figure these things out.  There are quite a few geological skills one can learn in the university that are very useful.  We can watch geological processes, like volcanoes and earthquakes and floods, and make reasonable inferences from them about how certain formations came about.  Some processes can be studied with experiments in flumes and shake tables.  Even then, however, nature surprises us.  The eruption of Mt. St. Helens overthrew several major assumptions about the speed and power of geological processes.  A flume experiment recently challenged a long belief about how mudstones form (see 12/14/2007).  We can’t even be sure of things we can see in real time; how much less about processes in past mythical millions of years?
    To the extent geology can help us organize our experience, and give us a measure of explanation, prediction, and control, it is useful.  Notice the operative word is “useful,” not true.  Historical geology, though, is wedded to belief systems about an unseen past.  It is useless except, perhaps, as entertainment.  Its belief systems are not derived from science.  They are imposed on science.  Historian of geology Martin Rudwick said,
Even at the opening of its “heroic age” [ca. 1790-1830], geology was recognized as belonging to an altogether new kind of science, which posed problems of a kind that had never arisen before.  It was the first science to be concerned with the reconstruction of the past development of the natural world, rather than the description and analysis of its present condition.  The tools of the other sciences were therefore inadequate.  The processes that shaped the world in the past were beyond either experiment or simple observation.  Observation revealed only their end-products; experimental results would only be applied to them analogically.  Somehow the past had to be interpreted in terms of the present.  The main conceptual tool in that task was, and is, the principle of uniformity.
—Martin J.S. Rudwick, “The Principle of Uniformity,” History of Science, vol. 1 (1962), p.82; cited by Terry Mortensen, Ph.D., The Great Turning Point (Master Books, 2004), p. 229.
From philosopher and scientist William Whewell in 1840 to David Raup in 1983, observers have pointed out that geology is a different kind of science.  It cannot test and repeat things like you can with pendulums and space flight.  Historical geology is profoundly theory-laden.  Data are interpreted according to popular models and prevailing ideas.  Rare is the maverick willing to think outside the box.
    Mortensen documents in his book that Lyell and other 19th-century geologists effectively commandeered and institutionalized a certain approach to geology, uniformitarianism, that has ever since been beating its head against contrary evidence (05/22/2003, 03/31/2007).  The millions-of-years mentality has become uncritically-accepted dogma.  The standard geological column has been ensconced as a monument to Lyell and Hutton, like the temples of the ancient Greeks (read the telling quotes by Stephen J. Gould and Derek Ager in an article by CSM in England, Lyell’s country).  Long ages and uniform processes are accepted before the data are even examined.  Geologists are not discovering these vast expanses of time.  They are making measurements in the present, and offering them as votive sacrifices to the paradigm.  Historical geologists may make modifications to the temple, add new rooms and change the artwork, but it would take a religious conversion to make them change temples.
Next headline on:  GeologyDating Methods
Evolution’s Tinkerer Creates the Brain that Creates Evolutionary Theory   06/09/2008    
June 9, 2008 — A tinkerer usually implies a human being with a brain.  A man in his garage, for instance, might look around for spare parts to arrange into some new contraption.  What would he think if he were told that his own brain was made that way?  That’s what evolutionists commonly teach: our bodies and our brains were organized not by design or plan, but by nature’s tinkerer: a blind, aimless physical process that somehow cobbled parts together to allow us to think, and tinker, and even design master plans.
    A good example of this tendency in the popular press was published in Science Daily and PhysOrg.  They reported on the “Genes to Cognition Programme” at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, a group attempting to discern connections between genes and brains (see original press release).  The team concluded that brain size alone was not the deciding factor in human cognition.  More complex synapses – the junctions between neurons – had to evolve first.  Surprisingly, some of these complex junctions appear in yeast and other organisms we think don’t think.  Some of these junctions humans use in learning and memory.
    The first arrival was the most impressive: “The number and complexity of proteins in the synapse first exploded when multicellular animals emerged, some billion years ago.”  That’s even before the Cambrian explosion, when all life was single-celled.  Another explosion occurred at the arrival of vertebrates, they said.
    This all suggested to the researchers a vision of the human brain as an example of tinkering.  The view was best expressed by team member Richard Emes, lecturer in Bioinformatics at Keele University.  He said, “It is amazing how a process of Darwinian evolution by tinkering and improvement has generated, from a collection of sensory proteins in yeast, the complex synapse of mammals associated with learning and cognition.”  The project head, Seth Grant, used his tinkered brain to think that this is bringing human cognition closer to understanding its origins.  “This work leads to a new and simple model for understanding the origins and diversity of brains and behaviour in all species,” he said.  “We are one step closer to understanding the logic behind the complexity of human brains.”  He did not specify how many steps have been traversed, how many lie ahead, or what direction to go, assuming he himself is tinkering with ideas that emerged from a product of tinkering.  Can such a product have any assurance its cobbled neurons are capable of understanding anything?
    The tinkering metaphor was echoed in another context by Meredith Small at Live Science.  She was trying to explain why men have breasts and nipples.  Her explanation combined immiscible concepts: that we were produced by an aimless process, yet are somehow capable of thinking rationally about that process:
In fact, men’s breasts are a good lesson in the higgledy-piggledy way that evolution works.  Natural selection chooses for and against body parts, but there is no master plan that aims for the perfect creature.  Men have boobs, women get facial hair, and we all stand in front of the mirror asking, “Why?”
    Each person is, in fact, a Rube Goldberg sort of organism pieced together by biology and made up of good parts, bad parts and parts that are inconsequential.
She also claimed that we all start out as women in the embryo, but males only become male after testosterone kicks in about the sixth week of development.  She called femaleness the default or “fallback” position of the human form.  How she could know any of this was an unasked – and unanswered – question.
    Ironically, philosopher and astronomer John Herschel ridiculed Darwinian theory as the “law of higgledy-piggledy” after reading The Origin of Species.  He was not speaking of how natural selection works.  He was speaking of the concept of natural selection itself.  Proposing a “law of nature” that depends on higgledy-piggledy ways is a higgledy-piggledy scientific idea, he meant; a law that acts haphazardly is no law at all.
Some day these evolutionary explanations are going to sound so stupid, students will shake their heads in disbelief that smart people could have believed such things.  Let’s hasten the day.  Did it occur to Ms. Small that Rube Goldberg designed his comical devices by intelligent design, not by chance?  As kludgy as they looked, they were quite effective.  How much more effective are her eyes, hands and brain?  It seems highly inconsiderate for her to employ them with finesse and then call them hodgepodges of bad parts.
    These scientists have convinced themselves that there is no master plan.  Nothing in reality was designed.  Everything is the result of happenstance.  Parts emerge from the void.  New neurons appear in unthinking cells, without any foreknowledge that some day scientists will employ them to think rationally.  From the growing garage of various parts that emerged from the void, Tinker Bell, the goddess of evolution, sets to work, cobbling brains and breasts and everything else, and presto – here we are.  How on earth can Meredith Small and her friends have any standards of rationality to know this is true?  How can she have any standard of ethics to call parts good or bad?  How can a cognitive “I” emerge from this mess to ask “Why?” or any other question, and believe itself capable of finding an answer, let alone comprehending it?
    If this mythology gives some comfort to the evolutionist, well, it’s a free country.  We would like to just tug on their garment and say, ahem; by thinking, you are refuting your story.  Yes indeed: stand in front of the mirror and ask, “Why?”  Why do Meredith Small and Richard Emes and Seth Grant believe they are in touch with reality?  Why do they claim an ontology that grounds an epistemology?
    Think, and think that your thinking matters, and you are now dealing in concepts.  Concepts are not physical.  Thought is not reducible to neurons, proteins and genes.  Thought can employ material objects; it can even tinker with them and be influenced by them.  But the moment you employ concepts, you cannot look in the mirror and see the image of Tinker Bell.  You see the image of God.  Whether you see or understand His Master Plan is debatable.  But by thinking, you acknowledge that one exists. 
Next headline on:  Human BodyEvolutionDumb Ideas
Will Evolutionary Psychology Be the First Darwinian Theory to Go?   06/06/2008    
June 6, 2008 — Evolutionary psychologists are not getting much respect these days.  Some evolutionists, like Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin, criticized them for years.  Now, a new book came out against them and Science gave it a good review.1  To turn a Darwinian phrase, reviewer Johan J. Bolhuis said that the field of evolutionary psychology is undergoing negative selection pressure.
    The book under review also turned a Darwinian phrase in its title, Evolutionary Psychology as Maladapted Psychology, by Robert C. Richardson, a philosopher of science.  Bolhuis, a member of the Behavioral Biology Group at Utrecht University, tied this maligned field to Charles Darwin right in the first sentence: “As we approach the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, the theory of evolution is still not without controversy in the popular domain.”  It seemed logical to many to extend Darwin’s theory of evolution to cognition, “as Darwin himself did in The Descent of Man when he considered human characteristics such as morality or emotions to have been evolved.
    Both the author and reviewer accept evolution, and assent to the claim that our “psychological capacities are evolved traits.”  Nevertheless, they have problems seeing evolutionary psychology as a scientific enterprise.  Its flaws include:
  1. Blind reasoning:  It is questionable “whether particular human cognitive traits, such as language or human reasoning, can be seen as adaptations.”
  2. Tunnel vision:  Evolutionary psychologists tend to see everything in selectionist terms.  “The main problem with evolutionary psychology is that it usually does not consider alternative explanations but takes the assumption of adaptation through natural selection as given.”
  3. Blind zeal:  Enthusiasm by the proponents of evolutionary psychology outruns their science.  “Evolutionary psychologists often argue for their proposals with a zest and enthusiasm that seems to convey the message that we can only understand the human mind if we consider our evolutionary history.”
  4. Blind speculation:  The inability to find evidence for that history renders evolutionary psychology little more than storytelling.  For example, they say that human language evolved because of a functional demand in social groups.  Richardson, however, claims “we simply lack the historical evidence for a reconstruction of the evolution of human cognition.”
On this last point, Bolhuis wound up for a knockout punch:
Richardson rightly suggests that paleontologists are unlikely to unearth the evidence that can inform us about the social structure of our ancestral communities.  I think one can go a step further.  Even if we would be able to muster the evidence needed for an evolutionary psychological analysis of human cognition, it would not tell us anything about our cognitive mechanisms.  The study of evolution is concerned with a historical reconstruction of traits.  It does not, and cannot, address the mechanisms that are involved in the human brain.  Those fall within the domains of neuroscience and cognitive psychology.  In that sense, evolutionary psychology will never succeed, because it attempts to explain mechanisms by appealing to the history of these mechanisms.  To use the author’s words, “We might as well explain the structure of orchids in terms of their beauty.”
Bolhuis ranked this book as excellent.  Combining this book with David Buller’s 2005 critique Adapting Minds (see 04/28/2005), he said, “the two books are complementary, and together they constitute a formidable critique of evolutionary psychology.”  Richardson in particular, he said in conclusion, “shows very clearly that attempts at reconstruction of our cognitive history amount to little more than ‘speculation disguised as results.’”
    Bolhuis joked that Richardson is piling on the “selection pressure” against evolutionary psychology.  Presumably, he meant that Richardson did it intelligently by design.
1.  Johan J. Bolhuis, “Piling on the Selection Pressure,” Science, 6 June 2008: Vol. 320. no. 5881, p. 1293, DOI: 10.1126/science.1157403.
This is great.  Evolutionists are getting bold enough to criticize evolutionary psychologists in a pro-evolutionary science journal.  Progress is being made.
    Now, all we have to do is point out to these people that the evolutionary biologists commit the same errors: assuming that adaptation implies evolution, refusing to consider alternative explanations, propounding their faith with zest and enthusiasm instead of evidence, telling stories about an inaccessible history, and disguising speculation as results.  What’s the difference?
    If the evolutionists continue to work up the nerve to falsify each other, the whole Darwin castle might implode without an attack from outside.  Future archaeologists can study the ruins and help students learn from history that bad ideas eventually collapse from within.  Maybe the Darwin Bicentennial will turn out to be a moment of silence.
Next headline on:  Darwin and Evolutionary TheoryHuman BodyEarly Man
  How old is the earth?  Our 06/04/2003 entry looked at how the leading evidence for 4.567 billion years was manufactured, and compares it with other evidences throughout the solar system.

Alien Messages via Neutrinos   06/06/2008    
June 6, 2008 — Three scientists are suggesting that SETI researchers comb neutrinos for alien messages.  Nothing natural could produce high-energy neutrinos, they said in Science,1 so aliens may use their cosmic accelerators to send neutrino packets across the intergalactic internet.  They suggested watching for them in the neutrino detector at the South Pole.


1.  Random Samples, Science, Volume 320, Number 5881, Issue of 06 June 2008.
Let’s strive to understand this reasoning.  The three scientists believe we could reasonably infer the existence of intelligent design in subatomic particles, which carry no information, due strictly to their physical characteristics.  But finding a coded language in DNA and calling that intelligent design would undoubtedly be criticized as a religious argument.  They think that high-energy neutrinos could only be produced by non-natural intelligent causes.  They probably believe DNA, however, with its sophisticated language transcription and translation systems, was produced by natural causes.
    This must be valid scientific reasoning, because Science said so.  The practical outcome would be that these scientists would think it worth the money to sift through signatures of ghostly particles at the South Pole to infer design, but not to advance the design inference from DNA into a reasoned investigation whether a Designer capable of creating the most densely-packed and information-rich structures in the universe might have also communicated with humans in more accessible ways.
Next headline on:  SETIIntelligent DesignPhysics
Living Iridescence Dazzles Scientists   06/05/2008    
June 5, 2008 — The flashing colors of butterflies and birds (peacocks being the classic example) do not come from pigments, but from black structures on a microscopic scale.  How and why they do it is of great interest to scientists and engineers.  Susan Milius explored this topic in Science News this week.1
    The basic principle behind iridescence, whether it be on a peacock’s tail, a Morpho butterfly or swallowtail butterfly wing (11/18/2005) or an undersea comb jelly (12/19/2005) is an optical trick.  Tiny repeating structures on the wing or feather reflect light in ways that cancel some wavelengths and accentuate others.  The structures, called photonic crystals (10/13/2003, 01/29/2003) may look under an electron microscope like “rows of Christmas trees, fields of lattice-work honeycombs, [and] bristles that work like fiber-optic cables (but better).”  The optical effects can even work using light humans cannot see: ultraviolet or circularly-polarized light.
    A beetle that knows the latter trick was reported by Science Daily and PhysOrg and mentioned in the Science News article.  It has a name to match its shimmering green glow: Chrysina gloriosa.  The crystal structure resembles that of diamonds.  Milius said the beetle’s decor reflects both left-handed and right-handed circularly polarized light.  (Read about another photonic beetle in the 01/19/2007 entry.)
    Scientists and engineers have been hunting for a “champion” photonic crystal that has the ideal qualities of a glittering diamond.  They may have found it in this beetle, the PhysOrg article said.  The crystals are made not of carbon, but of chitin – similar to fingernail material – but arranged in diamond-like crystals that reflect green light from all directions.  The composite effect of green shimmering light is achieved by the beetle’s “ingenious engineering strategy.”  Though “Nature uses very simple strategies to design structures to manipulate light,” one researcher said, they are “structures that are beyond the reach of our current abilities.
    How scientists would love to imitate this engineering strategy!  Why?  Get ready – we could have ultrafast computers that run on light instead of electricity.  Optical integrated circuits with switches running at the speed of light could outperform electrons by orders of magnitude.  A photonic computer could solve some problems in seconds that would take years on an electronic computer.  Connect these light-speed computers to a fiber-optic network (11/16/2007) using cables with specs like those of the Venus flower basket sea sponge (07/08/2005 – “the most perfect design I have ever seen” – 04/05/2006), and we would have the makings of a new generation of ultrafast computers running on an ultrafast internet.
    Other devices could change color depending on the presence of gases or vapors, without the need for electricity.  And imagine the optical effects gadgets of the future could achieve by imitating nature’s photonic crystals – in toys, theaters and stage productions, electronic devices, medical sensors and who knows what else.  We only have to recall the applications that sprung out of the invention of the laser to imagine what might become possible with these biologically-inspired tricks of light.
    In her article, Susan Milius speculated about possible reasons animals use photonic crystals.  The simplistic answer is to attract mates.  But it seems costly for peacocks and moths to build and maintain these precision structures, and flashing one’s presence poses the risk of attracting predators instead of lovers.  Does the male put on this show to signal his genetic fitness or health?  It’s not clear the brilliant iridescent colors signal any kind of information an animal brain would find useful.  Maybe the lights are just beautiful.  Milius used a subtitle that said, “Iridescence could be pretty meaningful—or maybe just pretty.”
1.  Milius, Susan, “How They Shine,” Science News, 173:28, pp. 26-29, June 7, 2008.
It is wonderfully inspiring to hear about nature’s incredible designs.  Most articles, though, toss a fly in the ointment by speculating about evolution.  The Science News article, for instance, claimed that “birds, beetles, butterflies and plenty of other creatures evolved cutting-edge optical systems long before modern technology did.”  Later, it said, “The animals’ devices come from millions of years of evolutionary trial and error”.  Puke attack.
    Darwinists, stop stealing the light show.  This is intelligent design science from start to finish.  Design detection, reverse engineering and biomimetics all stem from the premise that the universe, earth and life show evidence of intelligent design.  This is not religious.  If you call it religion, we will return the favor and accuse the Darwinists of believing in mythical millions of years, magical mutations and voodoo selection.
Next headline on:  Terrestrial ZoologyBirdsBiomimeticsPhysicsAmazing FactsIntelligent DesignEvolutionDumb Ideas
Asian Bees Speak European   06/04/2008    
June 4, 2008 — Asian honeybees and European honeybees went their separate ways millions of years ago, say evolutionists.  Why, then, were Asian bees able to readily learn the European language?  An international team watched this happen.  They ran some affirmative-action integration experiments on the two species, and reported their results today in PLoS One.1
    “The honeybee waggle dance, through which foragers advertise the existence and location of a food source to their hive mates, is acknowledged as the only known form of symbolic communication in an invertebrate,” they said.  It was known that some families of European honeybees speak slightly different dialects of the dance.  The evolutionary divergence of dialects should have been extreme for honeybees halfway around the world, but learning how to do as the Romans do was no problem.  “When reared in the same colony, these two species are able to communicate with each other,” they found, and readily learned how to locate food according to the waggle-dance clues about direction, distance and quality of the food source.
    The scientists were surprised by the results.  “While the subspecies of Apis mellifera [the European bees] may have diverged around 0.67 million years ago, our study confirms that the ability to use the information encoded in an unfamiliar dance extends even across species separated by six to eight million years of evolution,” they said.  They watched with astonishment as the Asian bees quickly picked up on the language of their new European hosts.
    How does this observation fit with evolution?  “These results highlight the highly conserved [i.e., unevolved] nature of not only the dance itself, but also the mechanisms by which the dance is interpreted by follower bees.”  Those mechanisms include behaviors, learning abilities, and the production of chemical signals.  Amazed, the authors left evolutionary explanations to future researchers:
We now know that honeybees have a variety of impressive cognitive skills and an amazing learning ability.  Owing to the small brain size of the subjects, the study of honeybee learning has a good tradition of deconstructing seemingly complex phenomena, and explaining them in terms of simple processes.  This provides an ideal perspective to study the mechanisms of social learning, too.  The mixed-species colonies of Acc [Asian] and Aml [European] have paved a new way to study communication and learning between individuals of different species, which will be helpful in understanding the neural mechanisms of the striking dance language of honeybees.
Live Science reported the story, but did not attempt to explain the evolutionary conundrum that these bees were supposedly separated for 30-60 million years but could still communicate.
1.  Su, Cai, Si, Zhang, Tautz and Chen, “East Learns from West: Asiatic Honeybees Can Understand Dance Language of European Honeybees,” Public Library of Science One, 3(6): e2365. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002365.
Wouldn’t a simpler and more economical explanation be that these species were not separated by millions of years?  Why is that never considered?  Why this insistence on “conserved” traits over millions of years of a fluid process like evolution?  You’d almost think scientists are deaf sometimes.  They dance, and they waggle, they wiggle and they waffle, but they communicate little.  Their followers thus fly off in all directions except the one that can provide nourishment.
Next headline on:  Terrestrial ZoologyDating MethodsEvolutionAmazing Facts
  A June 2002 exhibit of cell wonders, from switchboards (06/26/2002) to outboard motors (06/24/2002) to scaffolds and machines (06/17/2002) to word processors and translators (06/13/2002, 05/31/2002).

An Evaluation of Evolution as an Explanatory Device   06/03/2008    
June 3, 2008 — It is very common for scientists to claim this or that phenomenon “evolved.”  How well do such statements qualify as scientific explanations?  How much scientific heavy lifting is done by merely stating that things are the way they are because they evolved that way?  The following recent examples can be considered representative of the evolutionary explanations to be found in scientific literature in any given week.

  1. Let’s be fair in our explanations:  An article in Science Daily claims once again that fairness evolved (cf. 04/23/2008).  Because certain brain areas light up while making ethical choices, and because children exhibit an emotional response when sensing unfairness, Steven Quartz (Caltech) stated that, “The fact that the brain has such a robust response to unfairness suggests that sensing unfairness is a basic evolved capacity.”  Quartz did not specify what sort of random mutations in neurons would be able to generate an ethical sense where one did not exist before.
  2. Disappearing evolution:  Another story on Science Daily actually used negative evidence to support evolution.  “Robyn Crook from the City University of New York reports that Nautilus, the ancient living ancestors of modern cephalopods, have both long and short-term memory, despite lacking the brain structures that modern cephalopods evolved for long-term memory.”  The article did not explain what the peculiar phrase “ancient living ancestors” means, but it probably did not refer to living great-great-great-great-grandparents millions of years old.  The title clarified it somewhat: “Living Fossils Have Long- And Short-term Memory Despite Lacking Brain Structures Of Modern Cephalopods.”  Living fossils are evolutionary conundrums (10/14/2004).
        In other words, we have living representatives of a long-lost lineage of sea creatures thought to have lived 450 to 150 million years ago.  Pavlov-like experiments show that these living specimens have both long-term and short-term memories.  According to the evolutionary timeline, Nautilus never received the brain upgrades that squid and octopi developed for this ability.  It was surprising, therefore, to see them performing so well on memory tests.  “Nautilus has both short and long term memory, just like modern cephalopods, despite lacking the same brain structures.”
        Wouldn’t this observation falsify the belief that the brain upgrades evolved?  Neither the article nor the scientists thought so for a minute.  They declared the Nautilus to be ideally suited to discover the “evolutionary pathways that led to the development of the complex coleoid [soft bodied cephalopod] brains.”
  3. Magnetic personalities:  Birds and a number of other vertebrates, including fish, amphibians and mammals, have precision magnetic sense organs for navigation.  James L. Gould, an evolutionary biologist at Princeton, sought to explore this phenomenon in an article in Current Biology.1  His surprising answer is that this improbable sense evolved independently multiple times.  He commented on an earlier paper that suggested “a more specialized light-dependent compass has evolved at least twice to supplement and at least partially replace what would seem to have been a perfectly good magnetite-based strategy.”
        Subsequent statements had the flavor of just-so storytelling: “Quite probably the magnetite (the densest substance synthesized biologically) was originally just a weight to pull the front of the bacterium down; subsequent evolution may then have led to the aligned chain, which is much more effective.”  Again, later, he said, “The same organs are also used by these sharks and rays to detect the electrical activity of hidden prey; presumably it is from this sensory occupation that the direction-finding ability evolved.”
        And finally, evolution was evoked again as the explanation in spite of negative evidence: “Although the newt’s light-dependent compass appears separately evolved, its operation and its interaction with the magnetite-based map system seems very similar to the picture emerging in birds.”  Evolution even provided the paradigm for future research: “Perhaps too it will lead to a more informed understanding of the separate evolution of these two fascinating systems, and the way they conspire to enhance the mystique of animal homing and migration.”  To view evolution as conspiring to do anything would seem to be a violation of Darwin’s principles of natural selection acting on random variations.
  4. Batting average:  In another article in Current Biology,2 Michael Dickson of Caltech, discussing bat flight, used the E-word right off the bat: “Active flight has evolved within just four taxa in the history of life: insects, pterosaurs, birds and bats.”  The fact that a highly improbable, complex system of organs and behaviors exists in unrelated lineages was no problem for the evolutionary angle: “Because of the multiple origins of flight, wings have long served as textbook examples of evolutionary homology and convergence.
        The spectre of just-so storytelling reappeared at the end of his article: “bats and moths are engaged in a deadly evolutionary arms race for command of the night sky,” he said.  “It is intriguing to note that these creatures are nevertheless united by the laws of physics.”  He gave evolutionary explanations without batting an eye.
  5. For the love of beetles:  Bouncing off J. B. S. Haldane’s memorable quip about the creator having an “inordinate fondness for beetles,” (but see 04/26/2002), Florian Maderspacher wrote in Current Biology about beetle evolution.3  “Beetles are an amazing example of an evolutionary radiation” she wrote.  This presumes that diversity is a measure of the strength of evolutionary explanations, as opposed to other possible inferences.  She bluffed that the evolutionary explanation is “known” despite the conundrum of how humans and insects, presumably on vastly different branches of the evolutionary tree, share numerous genes:
    It has been known that insects in general, and especially the lineage leading to Drosophila, have undergone accelerated evolution, and this was confirmed when a molecular phylogeny was constructed using the newly available data from Tribolium.  Overall, Tribolium shares more genes with humans than the Dipterans do.  Tribolium researchers will surely be tempted to use this finding to argue that their organism is ‘more ancestral’, ‘more representative’ or simply ‘less weird’ than Drosophila.
    A full evolutionary explanation remained on back order.  “Of course, expression patterns and regulatory relationships can differ considerably between Tribolium and Drosophila, but to what extent such differences are due to evolutionary drift or reflect an adaptation of the patterning system to the short- versus long-germ mode of development is not clear at present.”  In fact, she ended by casting doubt on the explanatory power of evolutionary theory altogether: “The genome might thus help to focus on the species itself as a product of evolution, whose traces can be read from the genome,” she said, deferring the answer to the future.  “Only much further work – now able to draw on the resource of the Tribolium genome sequence – will reveal whether the genome holds an explanation for why evolution was so fond of beetles.
        This sounds as if Haldane’s lateral swipe at creationists for failing to explain why a creator would be so fond of beetles could be tossed right back to the evolutionary biologists.
Does a scientist ever balk at the use of evolution to explain things?  In a letter to the editor of PNAS June 3, John R. Skoyles (University College, London) took issue with Deborah S. Rogers and Paul Ehrlich for having written a theory of the evolution of canoe design (yes, that is canoes, as in boating).  The paper had even used refined terms like positive selection and negative purifying selection in their theory of how intelligent humans designed their canoes over the centuries.  Skoyles protested: “This is an insufficient foundation for inferring the existence of any particular type of process, let alone one analogous to ‘natural selection.’”  He further accused them of equivocation in their use of the E-word.
    Rogers and Ehrlich stood by their claim in the same issue of PNAS.  They defended their use of evolutionary explanations by pointing to the many scientists who do the same thing.  “This is a commonly accepted signal of negative (purifying) selection for genetic evolution and when interpreting the fossil record,” they said.  “Although it does not prove that natural selection was at work, it certainly supports that inference.
    Their ending paragraph gets to the heart of the issue.  What qualifies as an explanation in science?
As most scientists know, how one defines “scientific” is a complex and heavily debated topic, and one should be cautious in making ex cathedra statements about it.  The degree to which our results can be generalized remains to be seen.

1.  James L. Gould, “Animal Navigation: The Evolution of Magnetic Orientation,” Current Biology, Vol 18, R482-R484, 03 June 2008.
2.  Michael Dickinson, “Animal Locomotion: A New Spin on Bat Flight,” Current Biology, Vol 18, R468-R470, 03 June 2008.
3.  Florian Maderspacher, “Genomics: An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles,” Current Biology, Vol 18, R466-R468, 03 June 2008.
It should be clear that evolution is a modern secularist form of cultural mythology.  Evolution serves the same function as the Greek gods did in explanations about phenomena the ancient Greeks did not understand.  In fact, philosopher Willard van Orman Quine in 1951 stated as much by analyzing how scientists explain recalcitrant data (e.g., 10/29/2004).  In his influential paper Two Dogmas of Empiricism, he asserted that Homer’s gods and modern causal references serve the same explanatory function.  It’s not that Quine believed the Greek gods provided an equally good explanation; “But in point of epistemological footing the physical objects and the gods differ only in degree and not in kind,” he asserted.  “Both sorts of entities enter our conception only as cultural posits.  The myth of physical objects is epistemologically superior to most in that it has proved more efficacious than other myths as a device for working a manageable structure into the flux of experience.”  A workable device, however, is not synonymous with a truthful or established explanation.
    More radically, Bas van Fraasen has argued that a scientific explanation is nothing more than an answer to a “why” question.  Why are old pictures all black and white? cartoon character Calvin asks Dad.  The answer is that the pictures were taken in color, but the world was black and white then.  This is just as good a scientific answer as any other, van Fraasen seems to be saying in his theory of constructive empiricism.  What this implies is that scientific explanations are essentially worthless as true statements about reality.  If the explanation is useful, if it gives the culture good vibes, if it shuts Calvin up for the time being, then it’s a “scientific” explanation.  Science is not in the business of providing true explanations as long as it provides some value in classification, prediction and control.
    If so, why should the evolutionary biologists be the only players in the game?  Lots of people have answers to why-questions.  The animists have their answers.  The Hindus have theirs.  Muslims have theirs.  Jews and Christians have theirs.  Why do evolutionary biologists occupy the guru chair in modern culture?  The postmodern social construction theorists (now fading away) would say that the Big Science community is the dominant social force only because of the sheer exercise of power.  There is nothing epistemically stronger in their approach than that of any other social group.
    These and other anti-realist positions created a backlash among scientists that erupted in the “science wars” of the late 1990s.  Alan Sokal, at the height of the conflict, pulled a creative hoax against the postmodernists that caused them great embarrassment.  Scientists took this as a vindication of scientific realism, but how much it really did so is a matter of debate.  Embarrassing one’s opponent does not necessarily prove one’s case.  We have little sympathy with postmodernism and deconstruction in these commentaries.  Nevertheless, even Sokal knows that one can only defend a modest form of scientific realism in this post-Quine, post-Kuhn, post-Feyerabend era.  He tried to do this in a short paper with Jean Bricmont called Defense of Modest Scientific Realism.  The perceptive reader will see, however, these champions of normal science “help themselves” to concepts like honesty, truth and rationality that have no foundation in physicalist assumptions.
    Therein lies the crux of the problem.  Evolutionists help themselves to unwarranted concepts.  Believing the world to be an undirected maze of particles and forces, they nevertheless help themselves to concepts of truth, explanation, justification, empiricism and honesty.  Such things cannot and could not evolve from particles.  Such things only make sense if they are true, universal, necessary and certain.  They only make sense if one starts with the presupposition that these things flow from an all-wise, righteous, all-powerful Creator who is real.  His “I am” is the starting point for all other claims that “this is.”
    Those with the Judeo-Christian worldview have a foundation for scientific explanations because they believe the Creator endowed us with senses that are in touch with reality – a reality He created, and has made known to us both in general and special revelation.  It is devilishly hard to make the claim otherwise.  How can an evolutionist, consistent with his worldview, have any confidence that his sensations, which pass through multiple layers of processing on the way from input to the brain, bear any trustworthy connection with nature “out there” as it really is?  Sokal says there are only one or a few “non-crazy” explanations, but that is a judgment call.  Whom is he calling crazy?  How can he judge craziness without standards of rationality that require non-naturalistic presuppositions?  How can he do that without implicitly plagiarizing the Ten Commandments?
    If we slapped the hand of the evolutionist every time he helped himself to the table of philosophy of realism without paying the price of adequate presuppositions (in the right denominations), he would either have to starve or become a Christian.  Only then could he have the right to taste the empirical data, digest it as science, grow and be nourished as a scientist and feel satisfied with the experience.
    Switching metaphors, science needs an intelligently-designed form of purifying selection.  No more hybrids should be bred from Christian presuppositions wedded to naturalistic explanations.  Forcing evolutionists to argue consistent with their presuppositions will lead to their extinction.  Then, evolutionary explanations will take their place in the dustbin of history along with Homer’s gods and the DODO.*
Next headline on:  Evolutionary TheoryHuman BodyMarine BiologyBirdsTerrestrial Zoology
*Darwin-only, Darwin-only.
Can Darwin Fit into Designer Genes?   06/02/2008    
June 2, 2008 — Humans are tinkering with DNA in ways that appear to blur the boundaries between design and nature.
  1. PhysOrg reported that geneticists at the University of Nottingham have created capsules that can coax bacteria to transfer their genetic information.  The title is “Life, but not as we know it?”
  2. PNAS reported that scientists at UC Santa Barbara have “rationally engineered” an aminoacyl transfer-RNA synthetase by altering its “information transfer” abilities.  Though they mentioned “copious sequence and structural information” present in the natural enzyme, they believe evolution built the information: “This role for tRNA may persist as a relic of primordial cells in which the evolution of the genetic code was driven by RNA-catalyzed amino acid–RNA pairing.”
  3. Robert Deyes on Access Research Network commented on a paper in Nature Biotechnology where researchers coaxed a bacterium to play tic-tac-toe.
  4. Craig Venter was interviewed on Ted Talks claiming he is just 18 months away from genetically engineering bacteria to make gasoline from carbon dioxide.
In each of these cases, humans have tampered with genetic material for purposeful ends.  The question is, are the products “natural”?
Would an unbiased alien be able to discriminate between a genetically-engineered bacterium and a natural one?
    Intelligent design makes the claim that purposeful design is distinguishable from non-design using the ordinary methods of science.  On what basis can evolutionists claim that the above examples were produced by intelligent design, but the genetic code and genetic information themselves are non-designed products of non-intelligent processes acting on matter subject to natural laws?  Consider two possible responses.
    One common argument evolutionists make is that human intelligent design is something we are familiar with, but the kind of Designer ID proponents infer is necessarily supernatural, and therefore outside of science.  The appeal to intelligent design in the genetic code, therefore, is a religious explanation.  Religion and science cannot mix.  ID, therefore, must be excluded from all scientific explanations.  But, pray tell, what is the difference in method?  If our unbiased alien inferred from the evidence, having never seen a human engineer, that an intelligent agent of some sort had designed a bacterium to play tic-tac-toe, what changes when the alien applies the same reasoning to the DNA code?  Dembski’s explanatory filter (see diagram on Evolution News) does not ask the question, “Who is the designer?”  It only asks whether design can be discriminated from chance and natural law.
    If the evolutionist agrees so far, but then persists in insisting that there is a difference between a human designer and a “supernatural” Designer (e.g., God), then explore the distinction between natural and supernatural.  Ask him if human reason is natural.  The evolutionist must believe the answer is yes.  In fact, he might explain that there is no difference in principle between what a human does altering bacteria for its purposes and what a parasite does altering a host for its purposes.  Some roundworms, for instance, alter the behavior of their insect hosts, making them climb onto the top of the leaves (which they would normally not do), where they can be spotted by birds, which are the next hosts in their life cycle.  That’s all humans are doing, he says; we alter bacteria for our purposes to make gasoline and improve our crops.  Humans are natural parasites on other organisms.
    But there are substantive differences between these cases.  The parasite cannot survive without its hosts.  Humans, on the other hand, did just fine for thousands of years before genetic engineering was invented.  What human being needs a bacterium to play tic-tac-toe?  Getting gasoline from bacteria would be nice, but we got our gas via drilling for a century, and we could get by without gas-powered transportation if need be.
    The comeback argument is actually much stronger.  If the evolutionist compares human engineering to parasite engineering and says there is no difference in principle, because humans and bacteria are products of evolution, the game is over.  He has just destroyed reason.  Human engineering is no longer intelligent design.  The words intelligent and design become meaningless.  All human activity is reduced to the deterministic or contingent activity of natural forces.  This includes reason.
    When the evolutionist uses reason, therefore, to argue against intelligent design, he refutes his own case.  Reason reduced to natural forces ceases to be reason.  Reason depends on concepts that go beyond nature into realms of rationality and the laws of logic.  Concepts are not physical.  They may revolve around physical things as their subjects, like how to design a computer.  Concepts may be communicated by physical things like voices and radios.  But the concepts themselves are independent of the physical mechanisms by which they are communicated.*  Reason reaches beyond nature for truths that are universal, timeless, necessary, and certain.  The evolutionist who appeals to reason, therefore, is a supernaturalist in spite of himself.  Think about it.
Next headline on:  GeneticsEvolutionIntelligent Design
*Look what happens when a blind process tries to generate conceptual information: see funny story in the Seattle Times.
Lamarckism Still Shuffles Around   06/01/2008    
June 1, 2008 — Examine the following quotation and see if it sounds like what Darwin or Lamarck would say:
Somewhere in the murky past, between four and seven million years ago, a hungry common ancestor of today’s primates, including humans, did something novel.  While temporarily standing on its rear feet to reach a piece of fruit, this protohominid spotted another juicy morsel in a nearby shrub and began shuffling toward it instead of dropping on all fours, crawling to the shrub and standing again.
    A number of reasons have been proposed for the development of bipedal behavior, or walking on two feet, and now researchers from the University of Washington and Johns Hopkins University have developed a mathematical model that suggests shuffling emerged as a precursor to walking as a way of saving metabolic energy.
This is how Science Daily began a story about the evolution of human upright posture.  No attempt was made to tie the behavior to random mutations or to explain how natural selection acted on them.  It sounds like Lamarck’s old hypothesis of the inheritance of acquired characteristics through use and disuse – a discredited idea according to most contemporary Darwinists.  Nor was an explanation offered, if the new stance was so effective, why modern apes still stoop around most of the time on all fours.
    Lest Science Daily be accused of misunderstanding evolutionary theory, quotations in the article tie the Lamarckism to the researchers themselves.  Patrick Kramer, an anthropologist at University of Washington, said, “There is nothing that will get you to do something you don’t want to do other than food.  That’s why we bribe animals with food to train them.”  Yet after centuries of bribing animals with food to stand upright, no elephant, horse or ape has acquired upright stance by either Lamarck’s or Darwin’s mechanism.
    The researchers studied metabolic efficiency of standing, knuckle-walking and shuffling, but such measurements are about living animals.  They have no necessary connection to the evolutionary theory that made Darwin famous: natural selection acting on random variations.
If a creationist were to make this kind of blunder, or tell this kind of just-so story, he or she would be condemned as an ignoramus.  Yet evolutionists get away with violating their own theoretical principles time and again and are only rarely called on the carpet for it (05/31/2004).  Why?  Because in support of their worldview (naturalism), facts don’t matter (see Fairfax’s Law in the Baloney Detector).  All’s fair in love for Darwin and war against creationism.  That’s why Darwin himself slipped back toward Lamarckism in his later years when stubborn facts hampered his ability to market natural selection.
    A political cartoon by Mike Shelton illustrates unequal standards.  It applies just as well if relabeled with a Darwinist donkey and a creationist elephant.  Evolutionists will scream and preach about honesty when criticizing a creationist position, but then will lie shamelessly in their own work and call it science.  They will even lie while calling their critics liars, and hypocritically call creationists hypocrites (see Evolution News).
    You can almost hear in advance the charges that would come from the pro-Darwin blogs about our pointing out this little inconsistency in their latest just-so story.  Let a creationist be caught in some inconsistency, and the sparks would fly: You creationists are such hypocrites; you Bible-thumping fundamentalists with your narrow religious agenda show that you just don’t understand science.  Let an evolutionist be caught in an inconsistency, and the response will be either (1) ignoring the criticism, or (2) rationalization, like Well, you know what I meant, and we all know that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. 
Next headline on:  Evolutionary TheoryEarly ManDumb Ideas
  Visit an exhibit of molecular machines in the cell, from last year, 05/30/2007.


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(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 don’t 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 Bloglines.”
(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)

“I’ve told many people about your site.  It’s a tremendous service to science news junkies – not to mention students of both Christianity and Science.  Kudos!”
(a meteorology research scientist in Alabama)

“...let me thank you for your Creation-Evolution Headlines.  I’ve 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 appear—often 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, thoughtful analyses?!”
(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!  I’ve 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 don’t 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 evolution’s 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.  It’s such a refreshing difference from the usual media spin.  Often you’ll 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 can’t 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 don’t 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, I’ve 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 don’t know enough to respond to their claims.  Thanks for your good work and keep it up.”
(a missionary in Japan)

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

“Just wanted to thank you for your creation/evolution news ... an outstanding educational resource.“
(director of a consulting company in Australia)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“THANK YOU for all the work you do to make this wonderful resource!  After being regular readers for a long time, this year we’ve incorporated your site into our home education for our four teenagers.  The Baloney Detector is part of their Logic and Reasoning Skills course, and the Daily Headlines and Scientists of the Month features are a big part of our curriculum for an elective called ‘Science Discovery Past and Present’.  What a wonderful goldmine for equipping future leaders and researchers with the tools of clear thinking!
(a home school teacher in California)

“What can I say – I LOVE YOU! – I READ YOU ALMOST EVERY DAY I copy and send out to various folks.  I love your sense of humor, including your politics and of course your faith.  I appreciate and use your knowledge – What can I say – THANK YOU – THANK YOU – THANK YOU – SO MUCH.”
(a biology major, former evolutionist, now father of college students)

“I came across your site while browsing through creation & science links.  I love the work you do!”
(an attorney in Florida)

“Love your commentary and up to date reporting.  Best site for evolution/design info.”
(a graphic designer in Oregon)

“I am an ardent reader of your site.  I applaud your efforts and pass on your website to all I talk to.  I have recently given your web site info to all my grandchildren to have them present it to their science teachers.... Your Supporter and fan..God bless you all...”
(a health services manager in Florida)

“Why your readership keeps doubling: I came across your website at a time when I was just getting to know what creation science is all about.  A friend of mine was telling me about what he had been finding out. I was highly skeptical and sought to read as many pro/con articles as I could find and vowed to be open-minded toward his seemingly crazy claims. At first I had no idea of the magnitude of research and information that’s been going on. Now, I’m simply overwhelmed by the sophistication and availability of scientific research and information on what I now know to be the truth about creation.
    Your website was one of dozens that I found in my search.  Now, there are only a handful of sites I check every day.  Yours is at the top of my list... I find your news page to be the most insightful and well-written of the creation news blogs out there.  The quick wit, baloney detector, in-depth scientific knowledge you bring to the table and the superb writing style on your site has kept me interested in the day-to-day happenings of what is clearly a growing movement.  Your site ... has given me a place to point them toward to find out more and realize that they’ve been missing a huge volume of information when it comes to the creation-evolution issue.
    Another thing I really like about this site is the links to articles in science journals and news references.  That helps me get a better picture of what you’re talking about.... Keep it up and I promise to send as many people as will listen to this website and others.”
(an Air Force Academy graduate stationed in New Mexico)

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

“ have been reading your page for about 2 years or so.... I read it every day.  I ...am well educated, with a BA in Applied Physics from Harvard and an MBA in Finance from Wharton.”
(a reader in Delaware)

“ I came across your website by accident about 4 months ago and look at it every day.... About 8 months ago I was reading a letter to the editor of the Seattle Times that was written by a staunch ‘anti-Creationist’ and it sparked my interest enough to research the topic and within a week I was yelling, ‘my whole life’s education has been a lie!!!’  I’ve put more study into Biblical Creation in the last 8 months than any other topic in my life.  Past that, through resources like your website...I’ve been able to convince my father (professional mathematician and amateur geologist), my best friend (mechanical engineer and fellow USAF Academy Grad/Creation Science nutcase), my pastor (he was the hardest to crack), and many others to realize the Truth of Creation.... Resources like your website help the rest of us at the ‘grassroots level’ drum up interest in the subject.  And regardless of what the major media says: Creationism is spreading like wildfire, so please keep your website going to help fan the flames.”
(an Air Force Academy graduate and officer)

“I love your site!  I **really** enjoy reading it for several specific reasons: 1.It uses the latest (as in this month!) research as a launch pad for opinion; for years I have searched for this from a creation science viewpoint, and now, I’ve found it.  2. You have balanced fun with this topic.  This is hugely valuable!  Smug Christianity is ugly, and I don’t perceive that attitude in your comments.  3. I enjoy the expansive breadth of scientific news that you cover.  4. I am not a trained scientist but I know evolutionary bologna/(boloney) when I see it; you help me to see it.  I really appreciate this.
(a computer technology salesman in Virginia)

“I love your site.  That’s why I was more than happy to mention it in the local paper.... I mentioned your site as the place where..... ‘Every Darwin-cheering news article is reviewed on that site from an ID perspective.  Then the huge holes of the evolution theory are exposed, and the bad science is shredded to bits, using real science.’”
(a project manager in New Jersey)

“I’ve been reading your site almost daily for about three years.  I have never been more convinced of the truthfulness of Scripture and the faithfulness of God.”
(a system administrator and homeschooling father in Colorado)

“I use the internet a lot to catch up on news back home and also to read up on the creation-evolution controversy, one of my favourite topics.  Your site is always my first port of call for the latest news and views and I really appreciate the work you put into keeping it up to date and all the helpful links you provide.  You are a beacon of light for anyone who wants to hear frank, honest conclusions instead of the usual diluted garbage we are spoon-fed by the media.... Keep up the good work and know that you’re changing lives.
(a teacher in Spain)

“I am grateful to you for your site and look forward to reading new stories.... I particularly value it for being up to date with what is going on.”
(from the Isle of Wight, UK)

“[Creation-Evolution Headlines] is the place to go for late-breaking news [on origins]; it has the most information and the quickest turnaround.  It’s incredible – I don’t know how you do it.  I can’t believe all the articles you find.  God bless you!”
(a radio producer in Riverside, CA)

“Just thought I let you know how much I enjoy reading your ‘Headlines’ section.  I really appreciate how you are keeping your ear to the ground in so many different areas.  It seems that there is almost no scientific discipline that has been unaffected by Darwin’s Folly.”
(a programmer in aerospace from Gardena, CA)

“I enjoy reading the comments on news articles on your site very much.  It is incredible how much refuse is being published in several scientific fields regarding evolution.  It is good to notice that the efforts of true scientists have an increasing influence at schools, but also in the media.... May God bless your efforts and open the eyes of the blinded evolutionists and the general public that are being deceived by pseudo-scientists.... I enjoy the site very much and I highly respect the work you and the team are doing to spread the truth.”
(an ebusiness manager in the Netherlands)

“I discovered your site through a link at certain website... It has greatly helped me being updated with the latest development in science and with critical comments from you.  I also love your baloney detector and in fact have translated some part of the baloney detector into our language (Indonesian).  I plan to translate them all for my friends so as to empower them.”
(a staff member of a bilateral agency in West Timor, Indonesia)

“...absolutely brilliant and inspiring.”
(a documentary film producer, remarking on the 07/10/2005 commentary)

“I found your site several months ago and within weeks had gone through your entire archives....  I check in several times a day for further information and am always excited to read the new articles.  Your insight into the difference between what is actually known versus what is reported has given me the confidence to stand up for what I believe.  I always felt there was more to the story, and your articles have given me the tools to read through the hype....  You are an invaluable help and I commend your efforts.  Keep up the great work.”
(a sound technician in Alberta)

“I discovered your site (through a link from a blog) a few weeks ago and I can’t stop reading it....  I also enjoy your insightful and humorous commentary at the end of each story.  If the evolutionists’ blindness wasn’t so sad, I would laugh harder.
  I have a masters degree in mechanical engineering from a leading University.  When I read the descriptions, see the pictures, and watch the movies of the inner workings of the cell, I’m absolutely amazed....  Thanks for bringing these amazing stories daily.  Keep up the good work.
(an engineer in Virginia)

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

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

“I shudder to think of the many ways in which you mislead readers, encouraging them to build a faith based on misunderstanding and ignorance.  Why don’t you allow people to have a faith that is grounded in a fuller understanding of the world?... Your website is a sham.”
(a co-author of the paper reviewed in the 12/03/2003 entry who did not appreciate the unflattering commentary.  This led to a cordial interchange, but he could not divorce his reasoning from the science vs. faith dichotomy, and resulted in an impasse over definitions – but, at least, a more mutually respectful dialogue.  He never did explain how his paper supported Darwinian macroevolution.  He just claimed evolution is a fact.)

“I absolutely love creation-evolution news.  As a Finnish university student very interested in science, I frequent your site to find out about all the new science stuff that’s been happening — you have such a knack for finding all this information!  I have been able to stump evolutionists with knowledge gleaned from your site many times.”
(a student in Finland)

“I love your site and read it almost every day.  I use it for my science class and 5th grade Sunday School class.  I also challenge Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers to get on the site to check out articles against the baloney they are taught in school.”
(a teacher in Los Gatos, CA)

“I have spent quite a few hours at Creation Evolution Headlines in the past week or so going over every article in the archives.  I thank you for such an informative and enjoyable site.  I will be visiting often and will share this link with others.”
[Later] “ I am back to May 2004 in the archives.  I figured I should be farther back, but there is a ton of information to digest.”
(a computer game designer in Colorado)

“The IDEA Center also highly recommends visiting Creation-Evolution Headlines... the most expansive and clearly written origins news website on the internet!”
(endorsement on Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center)

“Hey Friends, Check out this site: www.creationsafaris.com.  This is a fantastic resource for the whole family.... a fantastic reference library with summaries, commentaries and great links that are added to daily—archives go back five years.”
(a reader who found us in Georgia)

“I just wanted to drop you a note telling you that at www.BornAgainRadio.com, I’ve added a link to your excellent Creation-Evolution news site.”
(a radio announcer)

“I cannot understand why anyone would invest so much time and effort to a website of sophistry and casuistry.  Why twist Christian apology into an illogic pretzel to placate your intellect?  Isn’t it easier to admit that your faith has no basis -- hence, ‘faith’.  It would be extricate [sic] yourself from intellectual dishonesty -- and from bearing false witness.”
Sincerely, Rev. [name withheld] (an ex-Catholic, “apostate Christian” Natural/Scientific pantheist)

“Just wanted to let you folks know that we are consistent readers and truly appreciate the job you are doing.  God bless you all this coming New Year.”
(from two prominent creation researchers/writers in Oregon)

“Thanks so much for your site!  It is brain candy!”
(a reader in North Carolina)

“I Love your site – probably a little too much.  I enjoy the commentary and the links to the original articles.”
(a civil engineer in New York)

“I’ve had your Creation/Evolution Headlines site on my favourites list for 18 months now, and I can truthfully say that it’s one of the best on the Internet, and I check in several times a week.  The constant stream of new information on such a variety of science issues should impress anyone, but the rigorous and humourous way that every thought is taken captive is inspiring.  I’m pleased that some Christians, and indeed, some webmasters, are devoting themselves to producing real content that leaves the reader in a better state than when they found him.”
(a community safety manager in England)

“I really appreciate the effort that you are making to provide the public with information about the problems with the General Theory of Evolution.  It gives me ammunition when I discuss evolution in my classroom.  I am tired of the evolutionary dogma.  I wish that more people would stand up against such ridiculous beliefs.”
(a science teacher in Alabama)

“If you choose to hold an opinion that flies in the face of every piece of evidence collected so far, you cannot be suprised [sic] when people dismiss your views.”
(a “former Christian” software distributor, location not disclosed)

“...the Creation Headlines is the best.  Visiting your site... is a standard part of my startup procedures every morning.”
(a retired Air Force Chaplain)

“I LOVE your site and respect the time and work you put into it.  I read the latest just about EVERY night before bed and send selection[s] out to others and tell others about it.  I thank you very much and keep up the good work (and humor).”
(a USF grad in biology)

“Answering your invitation for thoughts on your site is not difficult because of the excellent commentary I find.  Because of the breadth and depth of erudition apparent in the commentaries, I hope I’m not being presumptuous in suspecting the existence of contributions from a ‘Truth Underground’ comprised of dissident college faculty, teachers, scientists, and engineers.  If that’s not the case, then it is surely a potential only waiting to be realized.  Regardless, I remain in awe of the care taken in decomposing the evolutionary cant that bombards us from the specialist as well as popular press.”
(a mathematician/physicist in Arizona)

“I’m from Quebec, Canada.  I have studied in ‘pure sciences’ and after in actuarial mathematics.  I’m visiting this site 3-4 times in a week.  I’m learning a lot and this site gives me the opportunity to realize that this is a good time to be a creationist!”
(a French Canadian reader)

“I LOVE your Creation Safari site, and the Baloney Detector material.  OUTSTANDING JOB!!!!”
(a reader in the Air Force)

“You have a unique position in the Origins community.  Congratulations on the best current affairs news source on the origins net.  You may be able to write fast but your logic is fun to work through.”
(a pediatrician in California)

“Visit your site almost daily and find it very informative, educational and inspiring.”
(a reader in western Canada)

“I wish to thank you for the information you extend every day on your site.  It is truly a blessing!”
(a reader in North Carolina)

“I really appreciate your efforts in posting to this website.  I find it an incredibly useful way to keep up with recent research (I also check science news daily) and also to research particular topics.”
(an IT consultant from Brisbane, Australia)

“I would just like to say very good job with the work done here, very comprehensive.  I check your site every day.  It’s great to see real science directly on the front lines, toe to toe with the pseudoscience that's mindlessly spewed from the ‘prestigious’ science journals.”
(a biology student in Illinois)

“I’ve been checking in for a long time but thought I’d leave you a note, this time.  Your writing on these complex topics is insightful, informative with just the right amount of humor.  I appreciate the hard work that goes into monitoring the research from so many sources and then writing intelligently about them.”
(an investment banker in California)

“Keep up the great work.  You are giving a whole army of Christians plenty of ammunition to come out of the closet (everyone else has).  Most of us are not scientists, but most of the people we talk to are not scientists either, just ordinary people who have been fed baloney for years and years.”
(a reader in Arizona)

“Keep up the outstanding work!  You guys really ARE making a difference!”
(a reader in Texas)

“I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say that ‘science’ is not hostile towards ‘religion’.  It is the dogmatically religious that are unwaveringly hostile towards any kind of science which threatens their dearly-held precepts.  ‘Science’ (real, open-minded science) is not interested in theological navel-gazing.”
(anonymous)
Note: Please supply your name and location when writing in.  Anonymous attacks only make one look foolish and cowardly, and will not normally be printed.  This one was shown to display a bad example.

“I appreciate reading your site every day.  It is a great way to keep up on not just the new research being done, but to also keep abreast of the evolving debate about evolution (Pun intended).... I find it an incredibly useful way to keep up with recent research (I also check science news daily) and also to research particular topics.”
(an IT consultant in Brisbane, Australia)

“I love your website.”
(a student at a state university who used CEH when writing for the campus newsletter)

“....when you claim great uncertainty for issues that are fairly well resolved you damage your already questionable credibility.  I’m sure your audience loves your ranting, but if you know as much about biochemistry, geology, astronomy, and the other fields you skewer, as you do about ornithology, you are spreading heat, not light.”
(a professor of ornithology at a state university, responding to the 09/10/2002 headline)

“I wanted to let you know I appreciate your headline news style of exposing the follies of evolutionism.... Your style gives us constant, up-to-date reminders that over and over again, the Bible creation account is vindicated and the evolutionary fables are refuted.”
(a reader, location unknown)

“You have a knack of extracting the gist of a technical paper, and digesting it into understandable terms.”
(a nuclear physicist from Lawrence Livermore Labs who worked on the Manhattan Project)

“After spending MORE time than I really had available going thru your MANY references I want to let you know how much I appreciate the effort you have put forth.
The information is properly documented, and coming from recognized scientific sources is doubly valuable.  Your explanatory comments and sidebar quotations also add GREATLY to your overall effectiveness as they 1) provide an immediate interpretive starting point and 2) maintaining the reader’s interest.”
(a reader in Michigan)

“I am a huge fan of the site, and check daily for updates.”
(reader location and occupation unknown)

“I just wanted to take a minute to personally thank-you and let you know that you guys are providing an invaluable service!  We check your Web site weekly (if not daily) to make sure we have the latest information in the creation/evolution controversy.  Please know that your diligence and perseverance to teach the Truth have not gone unnoticed.  Keep up the great work!”
(a PhD scientist involved in origins research)

“You've got a very useful and informative Web site going.  The many readers who visit your site regularly realize that it requires considerable effort to maintain the quality level and to keep the reviews current....  I hope you can continue your excellent Web pages.  I have recommended them highly to others.”
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)

“As an apprentice apologist, I can always find an article that will spark a ‘spirited’ debate.  Keep ’em coming!  The Truth will prevail.”
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)

“Thanks for your web page and work.  I try to drop by at least once a week and read what you have.  I’m a Christian that is interested in science (I’m a mechanical engineer) and I find you topics interesting and helpful.  I enjoy your lessons and insights on Baloney Detection.”
(a year later):
“I read your site 2 to 3 times a week; which I’ve probably done for a couple of years.  I enjoy it for the interesting content, the logical arguments, what I can learn about biology/science, and your pointed commentary.”
(a production designer in Kentucky)

“I look up CREV headlines every day.  It is a wonderful source of information and encouragement to me.... Your gift of discerning the fallacies in evolutionists interpretation of scientific evidence is very helpful and educational for me.  Please keep it up.  Your website is the best I know of.”
(a Presbyterian minister in New South Wales, Australia)

“I’ve written to you before, but just wanted to say again how much I appreciate your site and all the work you put into it.  I check it almost every day and often share the contents (and web address) with lists on which I participate.  I don’t know how you do all that you do, but I am grateful for your energy and knowledge.”
(a prominent creationist author)

“I am new to your site, but I love it!  Thanks for updating it with such cool information.”
(a home schooler)

“I love your site.... Visit every day hoping for another of your brilliant demolitions of the foolish just-so stories of those who think themselves wise.”
(a reader from Southern California)

“I visit your site daily for the latest news from science journals and other media, and enjoy your commentary immensely.  I consider your web site to be the most valuable, timely and relevant creation-oriented site on the internet.”
(a reader from Ontario, Canada)

“Keep up the good work!  I thoroughly enjoy your site.”
(a reader in Texas)

“Thanks for keeping this fantastic web site going.  It is very informative and up-to-date with current news including incisive insight.”
(a reader in North Carolina)

“Great site!  For all the Baloney Detector is impressive and a great tool in debunking wishful thinking theories.”
(a reader in the Netherlands)

“Just wanted to let you know, your work is having quite an impact.  For example, major postings on your site are being circulated among the Intelligent Design members....”
(a PhD organic chemist)

“It’s like ‘opening a can of worms’ ... I love to click all the related links and read your comments and the links to other websites, but this usually makes me late for something else.  But it’s ALWAYS well worth it!!”
(a leader of a creation group)

“I am a regular visitor to your website ... I am impressed by the range of scientific disciplines your articles address.  I appreciate your insightful dissection of the often unwarranted conclusions evolutionists infer from the data... Being a medical doctor, I particularly relish the technical detail you frequently include in the discussion living systems and processes.  Your website continually reinforces my conviction that if an unbiased observer seeks a reason for the existence of life then Intelligent Design will be the unavoidable conclusion.”
(a medical doctor)

“A church member asked me what I thought was the best creation web site.  I told him CreationSafaris.com.”
(a PhD geologist)

“I love your site... I check it every day for interesting information.  It was hard at first to believe in Genesis fully, but now I feel more confident about the mistakes of humankind and that all their reasoning amounts to nothing in light of a living God.”
(a college grad)

“Thank you so much for the interesting science links and comments on your creation evolution headlines page ... it is very informative.”
(a reader from Scottsdale, AZ)

“I still visit your site almost every day, and really enjoy it.  Great job!!!  (I also recommend it to many, many students.)
(an educational consultant)

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

“It is refreshing to read your comments.  You have a knack to get to the heart of the matter.”
(a reader in the Air Force).

“Love your website.  It has well thought out structure and will help many through these complex issues.  I especially love the Baloney Detector.”
(a scientist).

“I believe this is one of the best sites on the Internet.  I really like your side-bar of ‘truisms.’  Yogi [Berra] is absolutely correct.  If I were a man of wealth, I would support you financially.”
(a registered nurse in Alabama, who found us on TruthCast.com.)

“WOW.  Unbelievable.... My question is, do you sleep? ... I’m utterly impressed by your page which represents untold amounts of time and energy as well as your faith.”
(a mountain man in Alaska).

“Just wanted to say that I recently ran across your web site featuring science headlines and your commentary and find it to be A++++, superb, a 10, a homerun – I run out of superlatives to describe it! ... You can be sure I will visit your site often – daily when possible – to gain the latest information to use in my speaking engagements.  I’ll also do my part to help publicize your site among college students.  Keep up the good work.  Your material is appreciated and used.”
(a college campus minister)

 
Featured Creation Scientist for June


Queen Elizabeth rose

Walter Lammerts
1904 - 1996

Walter Lammerts, geneticst and famous rose breeder, lived through the era when the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis was formulated, yet staunchly opposed evolutionary theory and fought to establish creation science as a solid research programme.  This short sketch is from Don DeYoung’s book, Pioneer Explorers of Intelligent Design (BMH Books, 2006), pp. 29-30.

Walter Lammerts (1904-1996) was the first president of the Creation Research Society.  This unique organization began in 1963 for the purpose of promoting the creation worldview.  With hundreds of member scientists worldwide, the society encourages the research and publication of creation topics.  Lammerts was brought up in Washington and California in an agricultural family.  He learned horticulture first hand, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in plant genetics.  Lammerts joined the faculty at UCLA and over the years became a world-class expert on rose breeding.  He is credited with introducing 46 new rose varieties.  Some varieties are given exotic names such as Chrysler Imperial and Queen Elizabeth.  Lammerts was bold in his stand for a young earth, a global flood, and the creation of all living things “after their kind,” a phrase from Genesis 1.  He was a talented scientist who effectively defended God’s Word for nearly a century.

The Creation Research Society is still in existence and publishes both a quarterly science journal and a bimonthly newsletter, Creation Matters.  The latter often contains selections from this site, Creation-Evolution Headlines.  Our readers are encouraged to subscribe to both publications of this venerable organization that has published evidence supporting creation for 45 years.


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

A Concise Guide
to Understanding
Evolutionary Theory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Souder’s Law
Repetition does not establish validity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advice from Paul

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

I Timothy 6:20-21

Song of the True Scientist

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

from Psalm 104

Maxwell’s Motivation

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

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

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

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