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Wet Cave with Fossils Found in Dry Desert 07/31/2008
July 31, 2008 The Atacama Desert in Chile is one of the driest places on
earth it gets about 1mm of rainfall per year, if that but scientists
just discovered a wet cave there. Robert Roy Britt reported for
Science that these desert caves can contain water, and at least one is
loaded with fossils indicating a moist climate for the region in the past.
The discovery was totally unexpected, the article says.
There is even evidence of prehistoric human activity. Hundreds of thousands
of bones in one of the Atacama caves, mixed with tree branches, were found eroding
out of cave walls. The article contains a link to a photograph of ungulate bones
seemingly jammed together in the wall in a haphazard manner. Ungulates (grazing
animals that chew the cud) must have enjoyed a wealth of grass here at one time.
The team led by
J. Judson Wynne of the SETI Institute was exploring the desert for caves that
might resemble those on Mars, in hopes of finding likely places to look for life.
Mars is still a question, but there was apparently plenty of life at this location in the past.
The team is seeking to determine whether the bones were dumped into the cave
by prehistoric people or if perhaps they were trapped by a flood.
One of the team members was marveling over the extent of this deposition
as well as discussing what could have possibly led to the deposition of these bones.
Readers may want to follow the adventures of the expedition on
Speaking of caves, another amazing underground feature has been
exciting cavers since its discovery in New Mexico in 2001. A large passageway in
old Fort Stanton Cave sports a river of crystal running for over four miles
the longest known cave formation in the world.
Science for the story. Named the Snowy River by its discoverers,
it is unique and beautiful. They still have not determined how far it goes.
The Bureau of Land
Management tells about its discovery and has a photo gallery of the river and the cave.
In a return trip last year, cavers were surprised to find water flowing over the
crystal. It had been dry on previous surveys. Apparently new layers of calcite are
deposited each time the underground river periodically flows.
What a planet we live on. There are still
phenomenal discoveries to be made. Imagine hundreds of thousands of fossils
and tree branches buried in one of the driest places on earth. What does that suggest?
Visualize an Ethernet in your eyeball. Revisit the
Next headline on:
Whats SETI Got to Do With It? 07/31/2008
July 31, 2008 The science news outlets are all posting a story from
about how you can adopt a scientist. Mark Showalter is an interesting guy astronomer,
scuba diver, amateur naturalist, award-winning photographer, and specialist in
planetary rings. But why was this story posted in the SETI column?
There doesnt seem to be anything Mark has done to find intelligent
life in space. It appears that the SETI Institute, with its
Adopt a Scientist program, hopes that getting people to follow a
scientist around will end up transferring his passion for science onto the
search for life in space. When you adopt a scientist, you help lead
the way towards answering profound questions regarding our place in the universe,
the article says.
Another story from Live
Science talks about a cave explorer adventuring in Chile who is also a member
of the SETI Institute (see previous entry).
His work is aimed at comparing habitats on Earth that
might compare to those on Mars where life might be found. Again, though,
the search for microbes has nothing to do with the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
This is an example of the propaganda tactic of
transfer or association. The positive
vibes you receive by getting to know an interesting person are supposed to transfer
over into making you think that SETI is science, not religion. Anybody can
play the association game. Mark is a nice guy with a lot of abilities
and interests, but his personality does not put SETI in the Science column.
Science needs data. SETI will become a science when Mark finds an alien in
his viewfinder, on his next dive, or in the rings of Saturn. Good luck.
Ethane Lake Found on Titan 07/31/2008
Next headline on:
July 31, 2008 Liquid ethane has been detected in a lake near the south pole
of Saturns moon Titan, reported JPL
yesterday. This confirms long-held suspicions that ethane, a byproduct of
methane disruption by the solar wind, accumulates on the surface of the large
atmosphere-shrouded moon. A problem remains why there is so little of it.
Pre-Cassini predictions envisioned a global ocean of liquid ethane.
Nature1 reported observations by the Cassini Visual and Infrared Mapping
Spectrometer (VIMS) of a lake near the south pole that had been discovered previously. The specular
signal indicated an extremely smooth surface smoother than any geological process
could make. The spectrum of ethane, a hydrocarbon that is
liquid at Titans surface temperature, confirmed that ethane is present.
Ethane is formed when atmospheric methane, CH4, in its gaseous form, is struck by the solar wind
in Titans upper atmosphere. The bombardment strips off a hydrogen atom. The ionized
methane molecules, CH3+, quickly combine into ethane, C2H6, which
falls to the surface as rain. A stable molecule, ethane should collect
continuously on the surface in pools and lakes. The chemical process is
Ethane cannot evaporate back up into the atmosphere, nor can it
dissociate back into methane. This should lead to the accumulation of liquid ethane on the
surface of Titan over time.
Calculations prior to
Cassinis arrival showed that a global ocean of ethane and liquid methane should
have accumulated over 4.5 billion years up to a half-mile deep or more.
Pre-arrival radar images from
earthbound instruments cast doubt on the presence of a global ocean, but before the
Huygens Probe parachuted to the surface (01/15/2005,
01/21/2005), scientists were still hoping for
a splash. The probe landed, instead, on a dry lake bed of what appears to be
methane-saturated icy sand, with only traces of ethane present.
Before Cassini, scientists thought Titan would have global
oceans of methane, ethane and other light hydrocarbons, the
press release stated. More than 40 close flybys of Titan by Cassini
show no such global oceans exist, but hundreds of dark, lake-like features are present.
The southern lake, comparable to the Great Lakes in extent, has been named Ontario Lacus
Lake Ontario. Science
Daily posted a picture of the 150-mile-long lake from orbit. It covers 7,800
square miles, slightly larger than its earthly counterpart. How deep is it?
VIMS can only constrain the minimum depth to 3/4 of an inch. It could be much deeper.
The presence of a beach around the perimeter, though, suggests that the lake is evaporating.
Scientists wonder if the lakes migrate from pole to pole as the seasons change during
Saturns 29.4-year orbit. Cassini has detected more and larger lakes in Titans
map) than in the south
paper began with the mystery of the missing ethane ocean: Titan was once thought
to have global oceans of light hydrocarbons on its surface, but after 40 close
flybys of Titan by the Cassini spacecraft, it has become clear that no such oceans exist.
The statement included references to five papers from 1982 to 1995 predicting an ocean
and 1993 abstracts by Lunine),
including two by Carl Sagan
Francois Roulin, commenting on the paper in the
same issue of Nature,2 noted that Titans
lakes are probably a liquid ethane–methane mixture together with dissolved nitrogen,
as previously proposed for the speculative oceans that turned out to exist only
on paper. Jonathan Lunine, who had predicted a global ocean in 1983, told
Geographic News that the lakes do not hold enough ethane to account for
what can be produced over the age of the solar system. So we still have a mystery here.
See also the 02/15/2008 entry.
The lake may contain other organic molecules besides ethane. Hydrocarbons
and nitriles such as propane, butane, acetylene and benzene have been detected in
Titans atmosphere, as well as high-mass cluster ions.
Cosmic rays bombarding the lakes may produce additional exotic molecules.
tries to convey what an observer might see on this dim world with orange sky;
here is another.
The surface near the Huygens Probe was actually photographed in realistic color in
image from the landing site. Photographs of the descent have been put together
into a stunning movie available from the
Descent Imager website.
turned out to be drier than expected. The equatorial regions are awash in
reminiscent of the Namib Desert except that the particles are made of ice,
probably coated with hydrocarbons manufactured in Titans bizarre chemical laboratory.
1. Brown, Soderblom et al, The identification of liquid ethane in Titan's Ontario Lacus,
454, 607-610 (31 July 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature07100.
2. Francois Roulin, Planetary science: Organic lakes on Titan,
454, 587-589 (31 July 2008) | doi:10.1038/454587a.
Here is a science project crying out for some
mathematically-minded person to work on. It can be done right at the desk
without special equipment just a literature search and a calculator.
Figure out how long it would take to get the observed
lakes on Titan. Inputs are conservative rates of ethane production in the atmosphere
and the most optimistic estimates of lake volume. The result should place a
severe upper limit on the age of Titan.
Dinosaur Soft Tissue: Fooled by Slime? 07/30/2008
Scientists have downplayed the severity of this problem.
They usually mention it in passing only to change the subject. Usually,
they jump to the possibility that Titans organic
chemistry might have something to say about the origin of life
(07/26/2005) a foolish
distraction. Where is the ethane?
There should be a huge ocean of it by now, according to their belief in
billions of years.
Their only escapes now are less credible. They have
to claim the chemical process started recently, or that the ethane remains in the
atmosphere (how long could that last?), or that the ethane went
underground. They never, ever question the billions-of-years age!
Their problem would be solved by reducing the age of Titan (and Saturn, and
the solar system) by a few orders of magnitude. That would fit this
observation and many others (e.g., 04/08/2005,
So here is a challenge. The long-age believers
made a prediction that appears to have been falsified.
We want to know what they are going to do about it. Dont let them
sweep this problem under the crust.
Next headline on:
July 30, 2008 The claim made in 2005 that soft tissues in dinosaur bone had
been discovered (see 03/24/2005)
has been challenged by new research published in PLoS One.1
Maybe the pliable stuff is just slime.
Thomas Kaye from the Burke Museum of Natural History in Seattle with two colleagues
were actually hoping to find more soft tissue samples. After analysis, they concluded
instead that what they saw
in both dinosaur bone, turtle and ammonite fossils is bacterial biofilm that grew
in the hollow spaces inside the fossils. This challenges the findings of
Mary Schweitzers team who not only claim to have found flexible tissues and
remnant blood vessels, but had also sequenced collagen protein in the samples
Kaye interprets the putative iron-rich blood cell remnants as framboids
microscopic mineral spheres. Finding similar structures in an ammonite (squid-like
animal with a shell) and turtle indicated to the team that these framboids were too
common to be examples of exceptional preservation from the original tissue.
Instead, they postulate that bacterial biofilms grew inside and around the original tissue,
maintaining the shape of it after it had decayed away.
The paper was summarized by Science
Daily, PhysOrg and
Scientist, though, Schweitzer is not convinced. Her studies indicated
that the dinosaur collagen resembled that of chicken, and the mammoth collagen resembled
that of elephants. Kaye offered no explanation for how that could happen, she said.
Other scientists quoted in the article conjectured that the tissues could be
composites of both original tissue and biofilm. The Reuters article quotes
Kaye as saying, We are not experts in the field. We are not disagreeing
with the fact that their instruments detected protein. We are offering an
The original paper offered more evidence that the proteins are from
Bridged trails observed in biofilms indicate that a previously viscous film was populated
with swimming bacteria. Carbon dating of the film points to its
relatively modern origin. A comparison of infrared spectra of modern biofilms
with modern collagen and fossil bone coatings suggests that modern biofilms share a
closer molecular make-up than modern collagen to the coatings from fossil bones.
Blood cell size iron-oxygen spheres found in the vessels were identified as an
oxidized form of formerly pyritic framboids. Our observations appeal to a
more conservative explanation for the structures found preserved in fossil bone.
The team investigated 15 genera from seven different geological formations, including
the Hell Creek formation where the T. rex soft tissue had been found. The tissues in this
investigation were compared with modern biofilms grown in the laboratory. Some
of them bore branching structures mimicking blood vessels. The
procedure, however, is not as simple as just looking at the tissue with a magnifying
class. Their methods indicate significant alteration and interpretation:
A turtle carapace from the Hell Creek formation was selected for spectroscopy because
of its proportionally large chambers in the trabecular bone that allowed scraping the
coatings loose. Two milligrams of material was ground with 450 milligrams of
potassium bromide (KBr) and pressed into a pellet using 8 tons pressure. Modern
biofilms grown on microscope slides in pond water were allowed to desiccate for 7
days and 2.5 milligrams were pressed into a KBr pellet as above. A 2.5 milligram
sample of desiccated tendon from a chicken was ground with KBr and pelletized.
Spectrums were taken on a Nicolet 510P bench at 1 cm-1 resolution with a minimum of
15 scans. Infrared flux was matched within 5% for all specimens and a clean
KBr pellet used for background subtraction between specimens. Excel cross
correlation routines were used to determine percentage of similarity for spectrums.
The team did apply several cross-checks. Bones from the surface and from
burial meters down showed the same effects. Spectra from living and fossilized
specimens were compared. They did not find as close a correlation of the tissues
with modern collagenonly 37%. In addition, the radiocarbon dates
correlated with modern times.
How did these biofilms grow to look so much like original soft
tissue? Here was their explanation:
A biofilm would coat the voids of vascular canals and lacunae, producing an endocast
of the structure. Once the bone is dissolved, these biofilm endocasts would
closely mimic pliable vascular structures. The results presented here suggest
that the tubular structures and osteocytes are formed by this process. The
lack of observed cell structure in the transparent tubes is inconsistent with preserved
They further stated that bacteria are known to produce collagen-like proteins.
And since biofilms are ubiquitous in nature, existing on almost any water/surface
boundary, they could be expected in the cave-like surfaces inside bones.
They provide a protective medium against changes in the broader environment
from pH levels, toxins, etc., they said. They are viscous,
flexible and long lasting through mineralization. Thats how the
earlier team was misled, they think: When biofilms coat a substrate, and that substrate
is subsequently removed, the biofilm will retain much of the original morphology.
This can explain the quantity and similarity of structures found in fossil bone
and indicates that these structures are unlikely to be preserved dinosaurian
tissues but the product of common bacterial activities.
It appears, therefore, that they made a good case for interpreting
the soft tissues as modern bacterial slime, not original dinosaurian remnants.
Further investigation will be required to answer new questions this interpretation
raises along with time for rebuttal from the Schweitzer team.
Update:: After our first posting of this story today,
Geographic reported it and said Mary Schweitzer is standing by her claims.
She offered four counter-arguments: (1) No biofilms have been reported with branching,
hollow tubes such as the ones she found in the T. rex bone; (2) Over time,
gravity would have made the films thicker at the bottom, contrary to what her team
found; (3) Methane-breathing bacteria have never been reported inside bone; (4)
Kayes team failed to address her teams follow-up reports that employed
chemical and molecular evidence for soft tissue. Surprisingly, Kaye responded,
If they say they got T. rex protein, then were not disagreeing.
He just questioned why they got so little of it. A paleontologist at the National Museum of Natural History left it as
a draw. Both teams make compelling arguments. I think you do have
two very interesting alternative hypotheses, he said.
1. Kaye, Gaugler and Sawlowicz, Dinosaurian Soft Tissues Interpreted as Bacterial Biofilms,
of Science One 3(7): e2808 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002808.
We agree with Kaye that You have to go where
the science leads, and if Schweitzer ever retracts the claim (based on the
best evidence and further study) that these represent (at least in part) original
soft tissues from the dinosaur, then so be it. Well have to concede the point.
However, a number of questions arise from the new interpretation. For one thing,
as some observers noted in the
Scientist write-up, the structures could still be a composite of original tissue
and biofilm. And why did Schweitzer get a match of collagen in the dinosaur
bone with that of chickens, while using the same techniques, got the collagen in
mastodon bone to resemble that of elephants? What about Schweitzers
discovery of fragile medullary bone in the same dinosaur fossil? (see
If humans harness cellular machines, is it intelligent design?
See the 07/20/2007 entry.
We asked a dozen follow-up questions
in the 11/11/2006 entry when the slime interpretation
was first raised. More questions come to mind now. Why was biofilm inside fossilized bone
discovered now, after centuries of collecting fossils? Is there something in
common with the environments displaying this phenomenon? What did all the
scraping, grinding and pressing do to the original material? Maybe less destructive
techniques need to be used for corroboration. Even if biofilms can conform
to original tissues and persist after they decay away or fossilize, is it reasonable
to believe they would remain unaltered for 68 million years? If the biofilms date modern
by radiocarbon methods, and bacteria are still seen swimming around,
it would have to imply the bacteria have been sitting there all this
time, incorporating carbon-14 as they grow and divide millions of times.
What did they live on after the original tissue was all gone? Wouldnt
there be evidence of millions of generations of biological growth in the bacterial
colony? How reasonable is it to assume that for 68 million years, a biofilm
would maintain such a good mimic of original dinosaur tissue (now long gone) that
it would fool careful researchers in the lab?
So even granting victory to the Kaye teams interpretation
would seem to still argue these bones arent that old. Evolutionists tell us
the world underwent drastic changes since this fossil was deposited. A meteor
nearly destroyed all life on earth. Mountains rose, valleys sank, floods
came, tectonic plates mashed against one another while others drifted apart, climates warmed and cooled, ice
sheets blanketed continents and animal life was evolving like crazy. Cows
evolved into whales and shrews evolved into giraffes. All that time, we are
asked to believe, the bacteria in that bone held hands to maintain the shape of long-gone
soft tissue for millions of generations, till in 2005 a team of scientists found
it so perfectly matching collagen and blood vessels they announced to the world
the discovery of original soft tissue. How credible is that? The fact
that Kaye et al found similar biofilms in ammonite and turtle might just
suggest those fossils arent millions of years old, either.
This is a scientific controversy in progress. It illustrates the
tentative nature of scientific announcements. The biofilm advocates might
argue that Schweitzers soft-tissue interpretation is the extraordinary claim that demands
extraordinary evidence. One should take a conservative, guarded attitude
about it till more observations can test it. Fine; creationists were
going strong without dinosaur soft tissue. Their views do not require it.
It would be very interesting to them if the soft-tissue interpretation wins out,
and they could employ it as additional evidence falsifying millions of years.
Even so, their claims were no less robust before the surprise announcement in 2005.
Creationists dont need the soft tissue, but evolutionists need their millions of years.
As we have argued, the biofilm interpretation, even if it wins out, does not
get rid of their difficulty.
Next headline on:
Leaf Assumption Challenged: Affects Climate Modeling 07/29/2008
July 29, 2008 A reasonable-sounding assumption has been overturned, leaving
climate models in upheaval. The assumption was that leaf temperature stays in
equilibrium with air temperature. It doesnt. Leaves are hotter than
assumed during active periods of growth, such as at midday in the growing season.
They maintain a relatively constant temperature through their own biological air conditioning,
regardless of what the weather is doing.
This affects the interpretation of oxygen isotopes in wood extracted from
tree rings, which in turn affects inferences about past climate. The story
came unraveled in Nature last week.1
Scientists have used the ratio of oxygen-16 to its heavier sibling
oxygen-18 as a proxy for climate variations. The interpretation, however,
assumed that leaves are in equilibrium with ambient temperature. Helliker
and Richter (U of Pennsylvania) found that leaves can be 10° C hotter than
air temperature, and were almost uniformly warm across a wide range of habitats.
This also affects calculations of relative humidity a function of temperature.
Our results explain this observation over a broad climatic range and further
suggest that the overarching trend is to maintain leaves at an optimal temperature
irrespective of mean climate, they said.
F. I. Woodward (U of Sheffield, UK), commenting on this paper in the same issue
of Nature, 2 explained, During the growing
season, with photosynthesis at its peak, leaf temperatures remain constant over
a wide latitudinal range. This is a finding that overturns a common
assumption and has various ramifications.
One key ramification relates to climate models. Scientists
have built models of past climate on the assumption that the oxygen ratios they
measured in wood reflected the air temperature during the growing season.
Now, it appears that assumption is misguided. Pine needles, for example,
cannot be modeled in isolation, because they usually are in tight clusters.
It seemed reasonable that a pine needle, exposed on all sides to the air, would
be the same temperature as the air. But in the dense forest canopy, clusters
of densely-packed needles create their own microclimate as the needles actively expend
energy manufacturing sucrose in response to photosynthesis. Leaf temperatures,
therefore, can be much higher than air temperature and relative humidity
correspondingly lower. This affects the rates at which oxygen-16 and oxygen-18
diffuse and become incorporated into the cellulose in tree rings.
Woodward summarized the potential impact of this finding on climate
models: The fact that vegetation canopy rather than leaf morphology dominates
temperature control in the forests sampled by Helliker and Richter suggests the
need for greater emphasis on understanding how the canopy responds to climate
change, and to global warming in particular. The authors also suggested
that the finding will force researchers to modify estimates of water loss in the forest canopy.
In addition, theories about how climate affects leaf evolution have been called into question.
1. Brent R. Helliker and Suzanna L. Richter, Subtropical to boreal convergence of tree-leaf temperatures,
454, 511-514 (24 July 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature07031.
2. F. I. Woodward, Ecology: Forest air conditioning,
454, 422-423 (24 July 2008) | doi:10.1038/454422a.
Do you see how unquestioned assumptions become
weak links in chains of reasoning on which politicians and societies put their
trust? Maybe the modifications to theory required will not be dramatic in this
case, but they could be. Scientists had treated oxygen ratios in tree rings
as bona fide scientific evidence of past climate conditions. Scenes of
scientists measuring isotope ratios to high precision in labs make for impressive visuals in
documentaries. The lay public becomes persuaded that scientists have a
virtual crystal ball into the past. All the while they were not measuring
climate they were measuring local microclimates right at the leaf surfaces,
which can be significantly warmer than the air just a meter away. Plants
have a thermostat of their own that maintains near-constant temperatures during
the growing season. These temperatures are the ones recorded in the wood
not the climate conditions. This little whoops discovery should
teach us a healthy caution and skepticism about proxy measurements employed matter-of-factly by
scientists. We can all learn, furthermore, to question our own assumptions,
as reasonable as they may seem to us.
History Channel Airs Evolve 07/29/2008
Next headline on:
July 29, 2008 A new 13-part series on the
called Evolve, begins with an episode on the evolution of the eye.
To sell the story, the blurb needed to cast Evolution as an inventor:
They are one of evolutions most useful and prevalent inventions.
Ninety five percent of living species are equipped with eyes and they exist in many
different forms. Learn how the ancestors of jellyfish may have been the
first to evolve light-sensitive cells. Discover how dinosaurs
evolved eyes that helped them become successful hunters. Finally, learn
how primates evolved unique adaptations to their eyes that allowed them to
better exploit their new habitat, and how the ability to see colors helped them find food.
Evolve seems to be used as a verb here. If dinosaurs evolved
eyes, and primates evolved color vision, were they doing it with purposeful intent?
Did they know how to commandeer the mutations necessary to give natural selection
the raw materials on which to tinker, in order that the required function
for survival would emerge? This would certainly not represent the new-Darwinian
view. The terminology seems misleading.
The series relies heavily on CGI animations. These, however, depend on the
imaginations of current-day people not historical records.
History used to be defined in terms of written records. Since this subject matter
lacks written records, maybe the channel should be renamed the Prehistory Channel.
The hour before also contains an animated episode set in prehistory from the series Jurassic Fight
Club about a supposed cannibal dinosaur. Perhaps as a bow to those who
respect written records, though, is the episode following Evolve. It
is entitled Noahs Great Flood from the series Mega Disasters.
The film treats the Biblical story as myth, however. It popularizes the
theory of Ryan and Pitman that the Noah legend grew up out of a theorized
historical megaflood restricted to the Black Sea region
Illustra Media has been a leader in exploring the origin of life and
complex organs from the alternative intelligent design perspective. Readers
familiar with Unlocking the Mystery of Life and The Privileged Planet
may not be aware that they have also produced films about history for which there
are written records: about Jesus Christ and the Exodus. Their titles
have just been gathered into one website at
Speaking of history on an unrelated topic, space program buffs will get a thrill out of finding the most
comprehensive compilation ever of NASAs vast collection of photographs,
historic film and video at NASAimages.org.
The collaborative website between Internet Archive and NASA was launched July 24.
Evolution thrives on
visual propaganda and the
power of suggestion. Animation
fills in the holes in their story. Dont be fooled.
Carl Sagan weaved animation tricks decades ago in the Cosmos TV series.
In one of the most egregious cases of visual propaganda for evolution
ever shown, his animators depicted a single cell morphing into one animal
after the other, till the final output was upright-walking man.
The number of conceptual, evidential and philosophical obstacles he leaped over
in a single bound makes Evel Knievel look like a pogo-stick rider.
OK, Carl, if you want to play the Imagination game, even
Homer Simpson can
do a better job evolving than that. And
at least got the direction of evolution right.
Gems and Hot Ideas About Lifes Origin 07/28/2008
Next headline on:
July 28, 2008 It seems that origin-of-life speculations are constantly
looking for new plot lines. PhysOrg
published a new idea that life started on diamonds. Yes, Diamonds may have
been lifes best friend on primordial Earth, it began, raising the
interesting question whether friendship was a concept before consciousness
emerged. Since diamonds are thought to be among the oldest minerals on
earth, some German researchers studied whether their surfaces would make good
incubators for the birth of the first cell. In a series of laboratory
experiments, the scientists showed that after treatment with hydrogen,
natural diamond forms crystalline layers of water on its surface, essential for
the development of life, and involved in electrical conductivity.
How does one say necessary and sufficient conditions in German?
When primitive molecules landed on the surface of these hydrogenated diamonds
in the atmosphere of early Earth, the resulting reaction may have been sufficient
enough to generate more complex organic molecules that eventually gave rise to
life, researchers say.
In another odd scenario, the BBC
News suggested that life came from Venus. If it is so difficult as to
challenge the best astrobiologists on earth to imagine life forming on a congenial
planet in the habitable zone, how much more from a scorching-hot, sultry cooker
with a sulfuric-acid-drenched atmosphere? The Wickramasinghe brothers
(Chandra being long-time colleague of the late Fred Hoyle) dont look at
Venus that way. They think Venuss clouds contain chemicals
that are consistent with the presence of micro organisms. And so
how did those Venus microbes arrive here on earth? They were blown here
by the solar wind. A skeptical researcher considered this not really
How do wild ideas get such good press?
If you need a refresher course on why crystals are not templates for information,
read the 02/19/2004,
and 06/08/2007 entries.
Progress will be measured in some future day by the decibel level of laughter
such conjectures evoke among thinking people.
Backup systems in the cell challenge evolutionary ideas, from
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
Can Worms Outsmart Humans? 07/27/2008
July 27, 2008 Worms may seem creepy to some people, but they possess some
amazing abilities. How many of you had to struggle through calculus class,
for instance? Worms know it by heart, reported Greg Soltis at
Their brains instinctively apply the logic of calculus to input signals from
sensory inputs. A University of Oregon biologist found that
when a roundworm is sensing the presence of food, it essentially takes a
derivative to arrive via the shortest possible path.
In other worm news, engineers may have found a source for
super-strong, lightweight materials for use as construction and repair
materials for spacecraft, airplanes, and other applications.
Its in the fang-like jaws of a common marine worm, reported
Daily. A unique histidine-rich protein identified in the jaw and pincers
of this worm rivals that of human teeth and exceed the hardness of many
synthetic plastics, yet is as lightweight as it is strong. Nereis
virens (sandworm or ragworm; see description),
a marine worm prized as bait by Maine fishermen, uses the jaws to capture and cut up its food.
Maybe dogs learned calculus from worms
(05/20/2003). If an evolutionist tries to call
this a case of convergent evolution, debate him. Its funny to watch
them squirm and bark when challenged.
Lick Your Wounds 07/27/2008
Next headline on:
July 27, 2008 Saliva contains a powerful anti-infection protein, say scientists
from the Netherlands. Science
Daily reported that if this compound could be mass-produced, it offers hope
for those with diseases, burns and injuries prone to infection.
Saliva is a complex concoction with many kinds of molecules.
With controlled experiments, the researchers were able to identify histatin as
the effective ingredient in promoting healing of wounds.
The editor of the journal in which the results were published
explained the significance of this finding. This study not only
answers the biological question of why animals lick their wounds, it also explains
why wounds in the mouth, like those of a tooth extraction, heal much faster
than comparable wounds of the skin and bone, he said.
It also directs us to begin looking at saliva as a source for new drugs.
A search on histatin revealed a paper in 2001 published in
Infection and Immunity
that also attributed antifungal and antibacterial properties to histatin-5, one of a
family of polypeptides produced in the parotid and submaxillary glands.
Like other salivary proteins, histatin 5 appears to be multifunctional,
If you have been grossed out by the sight of an animal
licking an open sore, maybe you should respect the animal for having tacit knowledge
that scientists are just discovering. How would evolution explain this? How many
animals had to die of infection before the right compounds emerged by chance?
How did the animal learn to lick the wound once the antiseptic did emerge?
Dinosaurs Placed in Big Tree 07/26/2008
The creation perspective makes sense. We are equipped with the substances
needed to flourish in the environment that was created for our enjoyment.
This includes tools for handling routine exigencies that might arise from our
curiosity. You have an effective healing ointment right there in your mouth.*
The shame is that modern science took so long to think about this cue from nature.
Sometimes civilization seems to train us away from the tacit
knowledge we need as part of our design. Will the Red Cross start
teaching licking ones wounds in First Aid class?
Next headline on:
*As the Eden Principle advises,** things are not necessarily the
same now as in the original creation. This finding about histatin should be modulated by
the possibility of risks in human saliva offsetting some of the benefits; it does not,
therefore, render unnecessary the proper application of modern antiseptics.
**Eden Principle: examination of the original interoperations of natural phenomena should provide our default
understanding of their current optimal interoperations, unless historical changes indicate otherwise.
Corollary: the burden of proof is on the proposer of a health treatment if it was unnecessary in Eden.
Examples: (1) Vegetarianism was the prescribed diet in the Garden of Eden, but subsequent events permitted
the eating of meat. (2) If coffee enemas were not prescribed as routine health treatments in Eden,
they are probably not needed today.
July 26, 2008 Dinosaurs didnt take advantage of the big rise in diversity
at the end of the Cretaceous, say British researchers. Their big supertree
of dinosaur evolution shows that the dinosaurs were just evolving at a regular speed
while flowering plants, social insects, birds and mammals were evolving like crazy.
Daily and New
Scientist were among popular media reports that printed the supertree diagram
and stated the claim without question. An examination of the original paper,1
however, shows something interesting:
In order to obtain a well-resolved tree, we undertook some post hoc taxon
pruning where poorly constrained species, producing unacceptably high numbers
(more than 5000) of equally probable supertrees, were removed.
Choosing a tree for diversity analyses was based on overall supertree support.
In fact, numerous subjective decisions were made to come up with the supertree.
The authors had to decide which fossils qualified as distinct species, for instance.
They also ran various tree-building software programs and had to decide threshold
values for agreement: e.g., To enforce MIX to run a compatibility analysis,
the threshold parsimony option was set to 2. One hundred heuristic searches
were performed, and characters were weighted (as described above) using a
specifically generated weight file. Subsequent paragraphs show
even more subjectivity. Here is one selection from the Materials and Methods
section, to give a taste of the tweaking behind the result. Some definitions
of terms were added in brackets.
Phylogenetic shifts in diversification were detected using SYMMETREE v. 1.0 (Chan & Moore 2005). Analyses of tree shape are biased when a group is paraphyletic [composed of some but not all members descending from a common ancestor], as a particularly speciose clade (in this case, birds) is represented by a single terminal (Archaeopteryx). A modification was thus required in order to account for the absence of birds. Although it was not feasible in the present contribution to include all birds, a hand-drawn phylogeny of the better-known Mesozoic taxa (72 species in total) was inserted at the node subtending Archaeopteryx +Jinfengopteryx, effectively making the tree a Mesozoic time slice. (This placement of Jinfengopteryx is based on the original description (Ji et al. 2005), but more recent analyses, e.g. Turner et al. (2007), have placed it within Troodontidae.) Polytomies [divisions into three or more parts] were treated as soft, with the size-sensitive ERM [equal-rates Markov] algorithm set to perform 10000 random resolutions per individual node and 1000000 random resolutions for the entire tree. Internal branches within the phylogeny on which diversification shifts are inferred to have occurred were identified using the Delta-2 shift statistic. This process was repeated for time slices of the whole tree as described in Ruta et al. (2007) to avoid violating the ERM model.
The tree was also fitted to the geological time scale, which assumes the very
evolutionary story that the researchers were trying to discern. Then, they
added missing data (a kind of oxymoron), or ghost ranges, to get a smoother result:
Ghost ranges, minimal basal stratigraphic range extensions implied by the geometry of the phylogenetic tree, indicate missing fossil data, and allow us to correct diversity profiles for the group through the Mesozoic and to compare diversification rates, the proportional change in observed species richness as a function of time, at different points (figure 2b, solid line): note how the addition of ghost ranges smoothes the curve. In particular, peaks in observed diversification rate in the Norian and Campanian-Maastrichtian (bins 3 and 12) are greatly reduced when ghost ranges are introduced. This is a minimal correction that does not take account of unknown taxon ranges before the first appearance of the older of a pair of sister groups. In addition, this correction does not address possible upward range extensions. However, peaks in the earliest, Middle and Late Jurassic are still observed after introduction of ghost ranges (figure 2b, dashed line).
Did anyone ask whether selective judgments in software settings and subjective
decisions about which species to include and exclude would generate reliable
inferences about an unobservable past assumed to be over 100 million years ago?
Could this kind of tweaking be guaranteed, instead, to reproduce the authors
The authors did try to correct for some known biases, such as sampling
error. They also discussed uncertainties that are hotly debated among evolutionists,
such as whether diversification typically occurs early in a radiation or not.
The fossil record of continental vertebrates is clearly patchy, with large
temporal gaps between sampling horizons. The seriousness of sampling bias is
debated, they also granted. Even so, they had to admit, It follows that the fluctuations in
diversification rate may not necessarily reflect evolutionary signal, and these
must be tested rigorously.
When all was said and done, after repeated
rounds of tuning the knobs, the signal that dinosaurs did not take part in the alleged
Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution was weak. The popular science articles,
though, reported it as a discovery of science.
1. Lloyd, Davis, Pisani et al, Dinosaurs and the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution,
Royal Society Proceedings B,
0962-8452 (Paper) 1471-2954 (Online), DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2008.0715.
You have just watched professional divination in
action. What these scientists did has no more relation to the true history
of the world than the tea leaves in a fortune-tellers bowl reveal about the
origin of tea plants. This is pure hocus, foisted on a gullible public
under the guise of science (i.e., knowledge). We provided detailed quotes from
the paper to reveal how the trickery is done. You dont have to understand
the jargon. Just look at how subjective it is. Why do the popular
media publish the bottom-line claims of these wizards as if knowledge has just
been gleaned from the world? This is nothing but Darwinist imagination
masquerading as scientific research.
Poultry excuses for evolutionary change, and we mean poultry, not paltry, because
they are mere chicken feed: read why in the 07/25/2005
entry. And could anyone today really suggest that anti-Semitism is an example of
natural selection in action? National Geographic did: see
Notice how the project was saturated with evolutionary religion
from start to finish. The fossils (admittedly scanty) were first placed
into the millions-of-years evolutionary story. This step has already been
falsified by the discovery of soft tissue in dinosaur bone, bringing the millions-of-years
assumption crashing down (see 04/26/2008).
Unabashed by that inconvenient fact, the authors continued their vision quest by borrowing other published
evolutionary-diviner chants and spells. Its only polite, after all, to reference ones sources.
Then they used Darwin-divination software.
They selected only the tea leaves and lighting guaranteed to support their story.
They published their resultant horoscope in a Darwin-divination journal, then handed it to the
Darwin-inebriated press to herald to the unwashed masses. A colorful image of the
Magic Supertree Diagram was displayed to lend an air of mystical authority to the announcement.
All these shenanigans are designed to create a sense of numinous awe
in the public consciousness. Readers are supposed to bow down and confess
that the diviners possess The Wisdom of The World,
and that they are to be heeded instead of those wicked, nasty, evil, insane
Creationists who proclaim a different message: that the complex bodies of
birds, mammals, dinosaurs and insects reveal design, not chance, and that
mythical Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolutions are incapable of forcing
undirected matter to invent complex organs and functions.
Get wise to the tricks of the wizards. This is not science.
Its not even magic. Its deception. The deceivers who believe
their own lies are the most to be distrusted.
Next headline on:
Did Lyell Lie a Little? 07/25/2008
July 25, 2008 Science is supposed to be a collective process involving
presentation of arguments by many people making reference to observational data. Ideally, no one
persons world view should dominate what other scientists think. Yet in
the history of geology, the figure of Charles Lyell has loomed large as a
guiding influence. With rare exceptions, his principle that geological phenomena should be explained
with reference to current processes at current rates (uniformitarianism) dominated
geological practice for over 150 years. Did Lyell discover this
principle in the data, or impose it on the data? Indications are coming to light that
he not only pre-selected uniformitarian thinking as his own guiding principle, but through force of his writings and personal
prestige succeeded in marginalizing opposing views. His influence channeled generations of geologists to
look at evidence through the lens of slow and gradual processes.
Geologist Victor R. Baker had little good to say about Lyell in a book
review in Nature.1
Geological history turned upside down is how he titled his
review of a second book on the history of geology by Martin J. S. Rudwick,
Worlds Before Adam: The Reconstruction of Geohistory in the Age of Reform
(University of Chicago Press, 2008). Baker began by stating that geology also has
its own set of attitudes that have accrued during the disciplines long history.
Attitudes can be taken as synonymous with presuppositions those
ways of looking at the world that precede actual investigation of the facts.
Lyell was, of course, preceded by notable figures like Cuvier (a
catastrophist who invoked multiple earth-changing events), and gradualists like
Comte du Buffon, Werner, Hutton and others who had laid the groundwork for viewing
earth history in terms of vast ages of gradual change. Rudwick
had discussed these in his prior work, Bursting the Limits of Time (U of
Chicago Press, 2005).2
Worlds Before Adam looks at how the ideas generated by Cuvier and others
came together with more theoretical concepts between 1820 and 1845.
Lyell was a man of faith but one who rejected the Mosaic chronology of Genesis.
He believed strongly that geological science should be free to investigate the history
of the world apart from the framework of a recent creation and world-wide Flood that
a straightforward reading of Genesis indicated. Though a dozen or so Scriptural
geologists in the late 18th and early 19th centuries defended that view, some of
them with equal academic credentials and more field experience, Lyell and his
band of academics had little time or interest in hearing them.
They were on a program: to advocate a uniformitarian approach to interpretation.
Rudwicks books are myth-busters, of which writers of
introductory geology texts and popularizations should take note. In both volumes
he counters the Anglocentric view that James Hutton, William Smith and Charles Lyell
were the founders of modern geology who shone their British intellectual light
onto the darkness of continental musings. To a large degree, he argues,
the reverse was the case.
Controversially, Rudwick challenges the view that geologys
development is a story of secular progress.
If contemporary lists of the greatest scientists feature a geologist
at all, it is usually Lyell, a central figure in Worlds Before Adam.
Lyell intended the title of his great multi-volume opus Principles of Geology
(first published in 1830–1833) to recall Isaac Newtons Principia.
He sought to recast geology on firm foundations, just as Newton had
done for physics. Following his geologist contemporaries and predecessors,
Lyell used the understanding of present-day causes to interpret the
deep past a principle termed actualism. Rudwick explains that Lyells
excellent descriptions of current geological processes, embellished
with observations from his own geological excursions, derived from an original
listing by the eighteenth-century German scholar Karl Ernst Adolf von Hoff.
Lyell greatly extended the actualistic method by making pronouncements
about how the complex geological processes of the past occurred through the
progressive action of small-scale procedures that were still in operation,
and by prescribing how geologists should reason about these past processes.
So even though Lyell appealed to evidence, the force of his influence was in prescribing
how geologists should reason about and interpret what they were seeing.
Surprisingly, his view faced strong opposition at the time and only gradually became
dominant. It was comparable, Baker said, to the influence of Darwin on biology.
Darwin had not proved gradual evolution or common descent, either, but had prescribed
how biologists should reason and interpret the evidence through a lens of slow and
gradual change. In this, of course, he had been strongly influenced as a young man
by Lyells own vision. Principles of Geology was among his favorite
readings aboard the Beagle.
Its interesting why Lyell initially faced opposition.
Notice the contrast between facts and reasoning about the facts:
Rudwick shows that Lyells ideas met with almost universal criticism. This was not caused by his advocacy of actualism, which was widely used, nor was any serious denunciation forthcoming from the biblical literalists, who were considered anti-scientific by Lyell and by his critics. Instead, the geological facts themselves seemed contrary to Lyells vision of uniform action by small-scale processes operating over a long time. Examples include evidence for sudden mass extinctions from records in various bone caves, the existence of huge blocks sitting erratically out of geological place in the Alps and northern Europe, and deep U-shaped valleys containing streams too small to account for their excavation. Lyells critics held that one should inquire into nature through evidence, rather than through privileged reasoning.
This excerpt from Bakers book review underscores two notable points about
the history of geology. First, the
biblical literalists (a term of derision still in use today by Darwinists)
were dismissed not on the basis of the strength of their arguments or evidence, but
because they were considered anti-scientific i.e., they were
marginalized by categorizing them out of science (a strategy still in use today
by Darwinists). Second, Lyells own contemporaries fought against the
principle of applying privileged reasoning and argued for inquiry into
nature based on evidence. Apparently many of them felt at the time
that Lyell failed to respect the evidence when it militated against his world view.
The term actualism gave way to uniformitarianism
through the nomenclature of William Whewell, a distinguished philosopher of science
(see June 2007 Scientist of the Month),
who sought to clarify the debate in a way that would discredit Lyells scientific method.
It is an irony of subsequent developments in geology, and a testimony to the success of Lyells advocacy, that catastrophism came to be regarded as unconventional. This perverted Whewells original intention, which was to show that the uniformitarians and Lyell were extreme in thinking that geologists should say in advance how nature works, through slow and uniform processes, before interpreting the evidence.
As an example, Baker (reviewing Rudwick) points out that Lyell stuck to his guns
even when the evidence was against him. When Louis Agassiz (perhaps the
greatest of the catastrophists) presented evidence in favor of glacial
theory, Lyell resisted, remaining true to his epistemological project.
Strictly speaking, an epistemological project is an agenda.
It says, I am going to advocate for a different definition of knowledge
before going and looking at the evidence. That might be what Baker was referring
to in his title, Geological history turned upside down.
The influence of Lyell pervaded the field of geology from about 1830
till the 1980s, when individual neo-catastrophists sought a place at
the table. One of the most colorful case studies is that of J Harlan Bretz
who argued for the catastrophic creation of the Channeled Scablands of eastern Washington
by means of a giant flood. His story is told by a new NOVA program airing this
week called Mystery of the Megaflood. Information on the
PBS website about this program
reveals that this is a story as much about the nature of science as about a geological event.
It recalls how Bretz had trouble getting his fellow geologists to see
data that contradicted their uniformitarian paradigm. Since Bretzs
interpretation required phenomena for which there was no present example, such as
powerful underwater vortices (kolks) capable of ripping racetrack-size potholes out of solid
rock, they ridiculed his ideas for decades
(see PBS article
interviewing Vic Baker). Bretz defied the uniformitarian consensus and
was eventually vindicated (03/05/2008 commentary).
It is now more in vogue to offer catastrophist explanations for things (see
Lyells ghost, however, has not been exorcised; it continues making frequent
apparitions in the geological literature and popular media.
1. Victor R. Baker, Geological history turned upside down,
454, 406-407 (24 July 2008) | doi:10.1038/454406b.
2. Lyell portrayed his predecessor James Hutton (1726-1797) as the father of
uniformitarian geology. This was largely a historical myth propounded by John
Playfair, Huttons protègè, and by Lyell, who had propaganda needs for an English
giant on whose shoulders to build his ideas. Relying heavily on Rudwicks
2005 book Bursting the Limits of Time, John Reed, writing in the latest
Journal of Creation (22:2, 2008), explodes five myths about Hutton: (1) that
he was the father of uniformitarian geology (those ideas were common in the 18th
century), (2) that Hutton was an empiricist, (3) that Hutton was an objective thinker
(he was in fact building a deistic system), (4) that Hutton was a secular martyr
(neither religious people nor his fellow savants opposed him), and (5) that Playfair
merely clarified Huttons hard-to-understand writing style (he actually cut-and-pasted
sections to sanitize Huttons true beliefs).
3. Uniformitarianism does not work for Venus, planetologists confess:
As Terry Mortenson documents in his detailed treatise
on the Scriptural geologists, The Great Turning Point, the uniformitarian
view was an agenda-driven worldview choice, not a requirement of the evidence.
Many of the Scriptural geologists were at least as qualified (if not more so) than
the long-age advocates who wanted to compromise Christianity with the ancient-earth ideas of Hutton.
Lyell himself stated clearly in his letters that his agenda was to divorce geological inquiry
from any and all consideration of the Mosaic record in Genesis. He succeeded
uniformly with catastrophic results for free inquiry. A perusal of the abstracts from Geology
any given month reveals Lyells paradigm nearly unchallenged. Article after
article is consumed with fitting this or that formation into its presumed place in
the billions-of-years geological timescale. The categories, names and dates
are never questioned. Out-of-the-box thinking plays second fiddle to
keeping the story going.
What Can Science Really Know? 07/24/2008
The Scriptural geologists argued that this approach was as doomed as trying to understand the Roman
Empire by choosing to study only the monuments of Rome without reading any contemporaneous eyewitness
testimony. They had strong scientific justifications for evaluating
the evidence within a creation and Flood framework. They argued with scholarship and finesse, showing
how the data fit with a global catastrophe as described in the Genesis Flood but did not fit with long ages and
gradualism. Flood geology died out around 1840 for reasons Mortenson gives in the conclusion
of his book. Among them was the fact that the Scriptural geologists acted alone
and did not raise up a school of thought or society that could carry on their work.
The uniformitarians won by default and continued through sheer dominance of academia, till
Flood geology emerged again (essentially independently from its 1830 predecessor) with the publication
of The Genesis Flood by Whitcomb and Morris in 1961. The secular geological societies
continue to pay them no attention. True to the Lyell playbook, they label them
anti-science only to dismiss them.
It is apparent from Rudwicks book that the marginalization of the
biblical literalist view was an example of a category error in
science. Lyell, Sedgwick, Buckland, Phillips and the other uniformitarians who captured
19th-century academic geology departments did not have to listen to the Scriptural geologists, review
their books, answer their arguments or evaluate their evidences. Why?
Because they had decided, in advance, that the Scriptural geology position was
anti-science. Sound familiar? That is exactly what the
Darwinians do to the creationists today. How convenient it is to rule your opponent out of
a debate by definition. I dont have to listen to you;
you are a fool. The real fool is often the one calling the other one a fool.
Todays entry fits well with the yesterdays on philosophy
of science. What can science know? Surely it is hard enough interpreting
the causal thicket for things that we can observe and repeat in a lab.
Geology is a science necessarily historical in nature. Is there any good
reason for rejecting historical accounts a priori that speak of processes
germane to ones subject matter? Much less so when the written records
show a good fit to the evidence. What the Bible described as a real event fits
what we see: billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all
over the earth, to borrow Ken Hams pithy phrase.
So did Lyell lie a little? In view of his negative influence
on geology for 150 years, he lied a lot. He pretended to be promoting objective
science but really was imposing his own theological views on geological practice.
The Charlie & Charlie Company (Darwin and Lyell) are partners in crime
defining science so as to downplay the priority of evidence.
Now that we have seen that Lyell had an agenda, and that his epistemological project
outran his respect for the evidence, its time we toss his ideas overboard and let them experience
a little catastrophism up close.
Next headline on:
Theology and Philosophy
July 24, 2008 Two book reviews on philosophy of science appeared in the leading
general-science journals Nature and Science last week. Both of
them downplayed the oft-told triumphalist portrayal of science as a progressive
path toward infallible knowledge the picture most students get in school.
In Nature,1 N. David Mermin (Cornell)
gave a surprising reprimand to an icon of triumphalist
science: Alan Sokal (see 06/03/2008
commentary). Sokals famous hoax against the postmodern deconstructionists
in 1996 embarrassed them soundly and signalled the approaching end of the Science Wars of
the 1990s.2 Sokal emerged as a champion of scientific
realism. His bold trick made him a darling of the scientific establishment.
The hoaxs value as a victory for scientific claims to epistemic superiority
is debatable, though. Some viewed it more as a boyish taunt than a
serious conflict over ideas. Among them is the reviewer of Sokals new
collection of essays, Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy, and Culture
(Oxford, 2008). Mermin, a physicist and colleague of Sokal, did not have much
good to say about this book. He considered Sokals treatment of critics
of the triumphalist spirit of science as ill-informed, dismissive and shallow.
He found much to agree on, But Sokals unwillingness to expand his frame
of reference to accommodate legitimately different points of view undermines
his effectiveness as a scourge of genuine rubbish, he concluded. I
would like to think that we are not only beyond Sokals hoax, but beyond
the science wars themselves. This book might be a small step backwards.
In Science,3 Kim Sterelny (philosophy program,
Australian National University and Victoria University of Wellington) reviewed
William C. Wimsatts essay compendium,
Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality
(Harvard, 2007). Wimsatt, whom Sterelny considers among the most creative,
original, and empirically informed philosophers of our day, dealt with the
problem of finite humans trying to form idealized conceptions of natural phenomena
that are too complex to grasp in their entirety. These idealizations are heuristic
devices. Scientists believe by faith they can be refined with further research
and become better approximations to reality. In turn, higher-order complex
phenomena can then be reduced in terms of their simpler components: i.e., biology
reduces to chemistry, which reduces to physics. Scientific explanation becomes
organized into hierarchical domains of increasing complexity. So much for the triumphal
It is common ground between Wimsatt and his targets that these ideas about science
are idealizations, perhaps even extreme ones. But Wimsatt argues
that they are unhelpful idealizations. For they idealize away from what
we most need to explain: the cognitive success of limited beings. Treating
science as ideally rational is like a developmental biologist using
preformationism to model development: the subject matter of the discipline
has been idealized away.
Wimsatt respects the success of science but understands that causes and effects are
not simple. There exists a causal thicket because elements at one
level are not always influenced by adjacent levels. If you understand the chemistry
of the atomic bonds in DNA, for instance, how much do you really understand DNA translation?
The world is messy. We are fallible and bounded.
Yet science progresses with great reliability. Wimsatts conception
of science is organized around these three facts. Like science itself, his
account is partial and incomplete, an approximation organized around the idea of
a heuristic. Many questions are left open, and much could be challenged.
Perhaps one question that arises immediately is how a messy, heuristic approach
to epistemology could yield reliable knowledge. In a new lecture series on the
solar system,4 professor Frank Summers (Southwest Research Institute) stated openly
that concordance with reality is not important in science. If a theory has
good explanatory power and makes good predictions, thats what matters.
With that in mind, he had surprisingly good things to say about Ptolemys
earth-centered model of the solar system. It explained complex motions in
terms of simple geometrical shapes, and helped its users make predictions to
sufficient accuracy for 1500 years hardly an achievement to sneeze it,
whether or not the model corresponded to the way things really are.
1. N. David Mermin, Science wars revisited,
454, 276-277 (17 July 2008) | doi:10.1038/454276a.
2. The Sokal Hoax episode is discussed at length in a lecture series by the
Company, Science Wars: What Scientists Know and How They Know It by Steven L Goldman, Lehigh University.
3. Kim Sterelny, Philosophy of Science: Addressing Complexity,
18 July 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5887, p. 344, DOI: 10.1126/science.1156895.
4. Frank Summers, New Frontiers: Modern Perspectives on Our Solar System,
Teaching Company, 2008.
As these book reviews show, its overdue to
dispense with the triumphalist, progressivist view of science. None of these
factors guarantee science has a grip on truth: (1) it gets a lot of money, (2)
a lot of smart people practice it, (3), it appears to be successful, (4) the
textbooks portray it as victorious over superstition, (5) it wins Nobel Prizes, (6) it has a
scientific method (whatever that is), (7) geeks major in it at school,
(8) its hard and uses a lot of math, (9) it explains things, (10) it
uses a peer review system, (11) it has big organizations and publishes impressive
journals, or (12) it owns lots of big buildings and museums.
Tree of Life in the Genes? Not Yet 07/23/2008
Clearly science seems on to something because of its
practical successes in medicine, electronics and the space program, but even then,
how much of the success is due to trial and error? How much is due to
practical engineering? How much do we assume is true simply because it
works according to the best theories of the day? One only need look at
history to see many examples of practical success using theories we now believe
The hard sciences like physics and chemistry arguably
have the best case to make. They give us practical benefits like lasers, computers and robotic
spacecraft that arrive at distant planets on schedule. But arriving at Saturn and
taking pictures of its rings is different from explaining how Saturn got there in the
first place. Even physics gets pretty
far out when it comes to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, or
the many-worlds interpretation, or cosmology. How much more the storytelling
that goes on in psychology and evolutionary biology and uniformitarian geology?
Its not beyond belief to foresee todays leading theories being tomorrows
Look at how many of sciences claims to epistemic priority have been undermined
by philosophers of science:
What are you left with? What works for our needs right now. We call something
scientific if it gives us some nice feelings with its explanations, allows us to make useful predictions,
or gives us some practical control over the world. Its grip on reality or truth is tenuous at best.
- There is no one scientific method.
- Even if there were a scientific method,
exercising a method cannot be done without making assumptions and judgments.
- There are no demarcation criteria between science and pseudoscience that can reliably
keep the good stuff in (physics) and the bad stuff out (e.g., astrology).
- Scientific discovery follows no rules: it can come from hard work, tacit
knowledge, accident, or even dreams.
- Scientific hypothesis-making follows no rules. Few scientists arrive at
a hypothesis out of raw data without some hunch or intuition of what to look for.
Many scientists have their hypothesis before looking at any evidence at all.
- Scientific explanations are fraught with logical pitfalls. Reducing
a complex phenomenon into simple principles runs the risk, for instance, of
explaining away the very thing to be explained.
- Induction is subject to serious criticism. It begs the question that
patterns in past experience will continue in the future.
- Prediction is no reliable guide to good science. Astrologers and
other pseudoscientists often succeed at predictions. Predictive success runs the
risk of affirming the consequent: a logical fallacy. Thats why Karl Popper
denied predictive success has any role in scientific justification.
- Falsification rarely succeeds in overcoming a paradigms web of belief.
- Scientific reasoning may differ in diligence but not in substance from
other kinds of reasoning.
- The requirement for natural laws is fraught with pitfalls. Are laws descriptive
or normative? Statements that sound like laws may be nothing more than accidental generalizations.
Laws also make claims that far outrun experience; on what basis can they be justified?
Should natural laws be permitted that have zero instances? Newtons did e.g.,
A body in motion acted on by no external forces will continue in a straight line forever.
Some legitimate sciences, like biology, employ few natural laws, and the ones they do
employ are often plagued by exceptions.
- Science is a vague term with wannabees trying to latch onto the prestige of the word.
Where does one draw the line? At social science? political science? economics?
Christian Science? Scientology? The speculations even within a
hard science like physics are arguably just as unproveable
as those of a soft science like psychology.
Once we get past triumphalist science, we should take a
more informed look at other avenues of human knowledge. History and the humanities
might want to re-assert some of their claims in the marketplace of ideas. Likewise,
philosophy and theology
have been footstools of imperial science for too long. Provided that scholars in other fields
apply sound principles of reason, use thorough research methods, interact where theories are analyzed
and different points of view are considered, and build on prior knowledge, are their methods really so
different from those of science? Arent these good practices for any kind of research?
At the end of the 19th century, science was king. Two world wars later, and a century of
revolutions in philosophy of science later (with no clear winners), its time to
re-evaluate sciences claims to special epistemic status and cultural priority.
Take another look at that quote by Dr. Daniel Robinson at the top right of this page.
Next headline on:
Theology, Philosophy, or History
Politics and Ethics
July 23, 2008 Now that we have hundreds of animal genomes in the bank (the
GenBank), is Darwins tree of life becoming visible? If the image is present, it is
extremely weak, said Michael J. Sanderson of the Department of Ecology and
Evolutionary Biology at University of Arizona. Writing for Science,1
he showed that only a small fraction of genomes show even minimal support for a
phylogenetic (evolutionary) tree.
His report was accompanied by a circle diagram with 876 taxonomic orders
represented by small rectangles along the rim. He shaded blue those that contained a
minimal phylogenetic signal, and yellow those that did not. The entire circle
was almost all yellow. One has to look hard for blue rectangles. This is
after improvements in algorithms and high-performance computing technology
have dramatically increased the scale of feasible phylogenetic inference; and
unconventional sources of data, including whole genomes, expressed sequence tag
libraries, and barcode sequences, have altered the landscape of large-scale
phylogenetics with an infusion of new evidence. The distribution of
species in GenBank (the database of gene sequences) is remarkably broad, he said.
If there was ever a time to see Darwins tree of life come to light in the genes, it
should be now.
In light of the flood of evidence, how can the phylogenetic signal be so weak?
Construction of a high-resolution phylogenetic tree containing all eukaryotic
species in the database is a grand challenge that is substantially more
tractable than inferring the entire tree of life, but to succeed, strategies will
have to overcome serious sampling impediments, he said. Quantifying
the distribution and strength of phylogenetic evidence currently in the database
is a prerequisite for this effort. So thats what he set out to
do. And thats what turned out to look pretty weak.
Sanderson looked at 1127 higher taxa for evidence of a phylogenetic
signal. He had to set his standards pretty low. He figured if
there were at least four operational taxonomic units [OTUs] that were similar between two taxa,
for instance, then an evolutionary relationship could be inferred. His choice
of tree-building software also was rigged to produce a fast but conservative
result. Any clade in the resulting tree will have had at least 50%
bootstrap support in maximum parsimony fast bootstrap analyses
with two different sequence alignment algorithms, he explained.2
Although this protocol biases the confidence assessment slightly downward,
the bias is small. Is that a matter of human opinion?
There were more hints the standards were loose.
For comparative purposes and to aid in the visualization of results,
an arbitrary cutoff value of 1.5 was selected as minimal phylogenetic support,
he continued. This is equivalent, for example, to the information content
of two independent loci, each resolving three-quarters of clades to at
least a bootstrap value of 51%. This sounds close to the tipping
point for inferring no relationship at all.
After manipulating his protocols, summing, and averaging, the evolutionary
signal came out surprisingly low, even with the loose standards. Here is the upshot:
Among individual OTUs [operational taxonomic units], Homo sapiens had the
maximum support value of 293.9, but the distribution of scores had a long tail
leading to 6402 OTUs with no support at all (most of which, 6079, simply
were not found in any phylogenetically informative clusters). The top
10 were all mammals; the top 25 were mammals, angiosperms (tomato, potato,
tobacco, rice, and wheat), Drosophila melanogaster, and Drosophila simulans,
all with support scores above 60 units. Of the 171,703 OTUs for which scores
were calculated, only 12% achieved minimal phylogenetic support. The
mean support was 0.84, less than the equivalent of each taxon being found in at
least one well-resolved and -supported phylogenetic tree.
So only 12% reached the already-low bar for evolutionary signal that means 88% did not.
At the level of orders, the scores were skewed even lower. The maximum
score was 10 in primates, and 0.0 in 75 other orders. He tried to draw an inference
between orders that were species-rich and species poor, but many of the orders outside
of primates and arthropods did not even reach minimal phylogenetic support regardless
of species richness.
So what did Sanderson conclude from his investigation of the strength
of the signal of Darwins tree of life in the genes? Basically, he said
more work is needed. An accurate high-resolution phylogeny will require
substantial increases in sequence data to bring that score to a level comparable
to that of the best-supported higher taxa. He thinks more data targeted
at the right clusters of genes might help. Better algorithms in the
tree-building software might help, too. Maybe the signal will become clearer
when genes from undiscovered species in poorly-resolved branches become available.
In the meantime, sampling protocols guided by quantitative assessments of
the phylogenetic distribution of data will improve the efficiency of emerging
phylogenomic strategies for building the tree of life of known organisms.
Translated, this almost sounds like he is claiming that
better data-massaging methods might just begin to help develop strategies for beginning
to find ways to begin to visualize Darwins tree. In colloquial terms,
its going to take a lot of work to fix this picture.
1. Michael J. Sanderson, Phylogenetic Signal in the Eukaryotic Tree of Life,
4 July 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5885, pp. 121-123, DOI: 10.1126/science.1154449.
2. For more on the meanings of bootstrap, maximum parsimony and other phylogenetic
tree-building terms, see the entries from
Charlies hanging from his own tree.
Why give him more rope? It will only make the carcass horizontal instead
Visualize spaghetti in a basketball. Now read the 07/24/2004 amazing entry.
In fact, there were a lot of good entries that month, like You have motorized sunscreens
in your eyeballs, 07/19/2004.
Browse the whole page while youre there.
Next headline on:
Mangrove as Metaphor 07/22/2008
July 22, 2008 The mangrove that shoreline tree with the salt-tolerant
roots that grows into dense thickets is the fulcrum of two unrelated news
stories. It never met a force it couldnt handle. It also provides
metaphors for evolution and creation.
that the mangrove is a key to saving lives. The replanting of mangroves
on the coasts of the Philippines could help save many of the lives lost in the 20-30
typhoons that hit the islands annually, the article said. Mangrove forests
help people in two ways: they create rich ecosystems that benefit local fisheries
and the economy, and they absorb the energy of typhoons and tsunamis
(02/18/2005). Tragically, many of the
native mangrove forests have been depleted. In Mexico,
Geographic reported, mangrove forests are being destroyed by resort development.
This is dooming fisheries and ravaging the local economy. The government
has overvalued such development and grossly undervalued the vital role mangroves play
in the ecology that benefits humans, a report found. Asian governments are
beginning to understand the value of mangroves. The PhysOrg article showed that expensive
rehabilitation projects are not required. Often, locally-led, low-budget
attempts work best.
On a completely different topic, science writer Carl Zimmer considered the mangrove
as one possible metaphor for what has happened to Darwins tree of life.
Its appearance of a tangled thicket represents a little closer the kind of relationships
among microorganisms that recent research has discerned, contrary to the sketch of
a branching tree Darwin produced in his early notebooks. Writing for
Magazine, in Festooning the Tree of Life, Zimmer illustrated concepts
from a paper by Tal Dagan (U of Dusseldorf) in PNAS.1
Dagan and colleagues analyzed 181 microbe genomes and determined that lateral gene transfer has been a
major contributor to the diversity of microbes. This means that much of the history of
life may not fit the tree metaphor very well any more, Zimmer said.
Zimmer produced a series of illustrations of the original Darwinian branching
tree getting all tangled up. He showed that lateral gene transfer produces cross-connections that scramble the
data so thoroughly, the tree pattern is no longer discernible. After crossing
out tree, bush and mangrove thicket, Zimmer selected Gordian Knot as the
best metaphor for the result. This new picture is a far cry from Darwins
sketch, and thank goodness for that, he ended. A science that
doesnt move forward for 150 years isnt much of a science at all.
But we may need some new metaphors to help us catch up with it.
1. Tal Dagan, Yael Artzy-Randrup, and William Martin, Modular networks and
cumulative impact of lateral transfer in prokaryote genome evolution,
of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, published online before print July 16, 2008, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0800679105.
Science has moved forward, all right. It has
moved so far forward since Darwins time, his speculative worldview of design without
a designer has been thoroughly scrambled. A Gordian knot is not the illustration
Darwin projected about how life changes. Look at Zimmers last diagram.
It requires faith to see any tree at all. Why even maintain the metaphor?
Zimmers own reasoning has falsified the original tree diagram and made it superfluous.
Earth from Space Is a Special Place 07/21/2008
A mangrove thicket, by contrast, is a tightly-knit community of trees, birds, fish,
insects and animals all living together simultaneously and harmoniously as a system.
Who really needs to believe they evolved from one anothers microbe ancestors over mythical millions of
years? If you want a worldview that has withstood wave after wave of scientific discoveries,
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolutionary Theory
July 21, 2008 The Deep Impact spacecraft, 31 million miles away,
captured images of the moon circling the Earth, reported
(for the sequence of images, click
here). Making a video of Earth from so far away helps the search for other life-bearing
planets in the universe by giving insights into how a distant, Earth-like alien
world would appear to us, commented Michael AHearn (U of Maryland),
principal investigator for the mission. Deep Impact made history by crashing
a probe into a comet in 2005. It is now en route to another comet rendezvous
in 2010, and searching for earth-like planets around other stars in the meantime.
In another story on Space.com,
Clara Moskowitz reported that solar systems like ours may be rare. A study
of stars in the Orion Nebula only found 10% with enough material orbiting to form
Jupiter-size planets. The number of stars able to host planetary systems
may be as low as 6%. Surveys like this are subject to statistical interpretation
and new data, of course,
but the consensus seems to be at this point that without a Jupiter-size planet in the system,
it would be unlikely an earth-like planet could survive.
See also the 07/13/2008
entry for a list of conditions that make Earth appear unique.
Nobody knows at this time whether other earth-like planets exist.
NASA missions are continuing to refine methods to detect them. Till then, as far as we know, only
our Earth has the conditions that allow silly people to act insanely happy
(see Astronomy Picture
of the Day).
Watch the two videos in order. They communicate to the heart.
Where else in the universe could conditions exist for such behavior? What impassionate
physical laws brought about the happy dance? Think and then thank
The Creator has not left himself without witness, Paul said. Turn away from
worthless things. The Creator has given us blessings that fill our hearts
with joy in order that we would seek Him, though He is not far from each one of us
Adult Stem Cells May Cure Muscular Dystrophy 07/19/2008
Next headline on:
July 19, 2008 Muscular dystrophy leaves children and adults in a nearly
helpless state. Parents watch in agony as their children suffer rapid
and progressive weakness. Attempts to support research, like the annual Labor Day events
Jerry Lewis has held for over 40 years, have betrayed their inability to find a cure by
the very fact of their continuance. Now, there is a new possibility that
the solution may not lie in some exotic drug or invention of man, but in cells that
live right inside our bodies: adult stem cells.
The BBC News
reported hopeful results from a study at Harvard that showed Transplanting
adult stem cells into mice with an illness like muscular dystrophy (MD) helped
rebuild muscle structure and strength. It took awhile to identify the
correct cells, but Once the stem cells were in place, they spread throughout
the muscle, producing new cells and improved the way it worked.
It appears they also produce a stem-cell reservoir for long-term benefit.
Moreover, the cells were not rejected (in mice) when injected from a donor.
Before human treatments can begin, of course, much further study will
be required. Problems of distributing the cells to every affected tissue in
the body will need to be solved. The lead researcher said, however, that
This study indicates the presence of renewing muscle stem cells in adult
skeletal muscle, and demonstrates the potential benefit of stem cell therapy for
the treatment of muscle degenerative diseases such as muscular dystrophy.
In other adult stem cell news,
reported that dentists may be able to use your own bone stem cells to repair teeth.
Orthodontic work might be accomplished in months instead of years.
Another report on the BBC News
said that immune cells cloned from your own skin might cure melanoma and other
forms of skin cancer. Yet another report on
Daily said that scientists are finding ways to reprogram stem cells in
place in the body without having to manipulate them in the lab. This
can even be done with your own neural cells inside your brain reprogramming
them in their natural environment. All these advances are occurring without
the need for embryonic stem cells.
Praise God for progress on all debilitating diseases
regardless of how scientists find them, but this one has special significance for
those who have been watching the debate over embryonic stem cells. It
illustrates the disconnect between the researchers actually finding cures and the
scientific establishments who keep pushing embryonic stem cells (ELS cells), which require the
killing of fertilized human embryos. Adult stem cells cause no ethical
Damage control: another potentially falsifying piece of evidence against evolution
was analyzed in the 07/16/2003 entry.
Evolutionists cant connect natural selection to the fact that every animal
develops from a single-celled embryo. Moreover, the genes that control this
development are astonishingly conserved across the animal kingdom!
Watch how they tried to wiggle out of that straitjacket.
Here is another tremendously hopeful example of a potential cure
from the use of adult stem cells. The list of near-miraculous cures has
been growing for years now. Big Science keeps pushing ELS cells, tricking
voters into spending billions of taxpayer dollars on stem cell research centers,
yet still have nothing to show for it. They even admit that any treatments
usable by doctors may be over a decade away or more. As a citizen
and voter, dont expect scientific institutions, with eyes on Nobel Prizes
and international prestige, to do the right thing. Doing the right thing
has to start with you and me.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Cellular Trucks Use Moving Highways 07/18/2008
July 18, 2008 Imagine how cool it would be to get in your car and have the
road do the driving. The highway would stretch or shrink, moving this way or
that, till you saw your destination and hopped off. That appears to be what
the cargo-bearing motors do in the cells in your body. A new paper by a
team of American biophysicists published the hypothesis in PNAS this week.1
Cell biologists have known for a long time that molecular motors
move cargo around on long strands of protein, called microtubules, that form
an intracellular highway network (12/04/2003) called the cytoskeleton.
One observation that has been confusing, though, is why the motors seem to just move back and
forth (bidirectional transport) instead of making progress toward a destination.
It doesnt seem to make any sense. Would
a car that has to get somewhere just keep shifting between forward and reverse gears?
It starts to make better sense when you consider that the road is also doing the moving.
The situation in a cell is much more complex than suggested above.
The cell is a crowded environment, with enzymes and parts moving about rapidly. In
addition, there is thermal motion adding to the hustle and bustle. Microtubules
grow and shrink as their molecular components are added and removed constantly.
Cargo-carrying motors, like dynein and kinesin, attach and detach from their
freeways all the time. It seems chaotic, but the cell works. Somehow it
is a powerhouse of organization and function.
The authors of this new idea proposed that any given cargo vesicle
has multiple motors attached to multiple tracks at a time. These motors
can work in concert, tugging on the microtubules, making them bend and buckle at
times. Think of what could happen if cars could do this on a 3-D freeway
system, in which they had attachments to multiple tracks at once. They could
compress the road, let go of the overhead track, and then shoot out quickly for
miles as the road beneath them stretched back to its extended position.
Some vehicles along for the ride could get a free ride like on a moving
sidewalk that advances by un-stretching itself.
Is this a novel concept, or what? Heres how the authors explained it,
after first dismissing other possibilities:
Given these observations, a more parsimonious explanation is
that nonthermal (motor-induced) forces and quenched disorder
constraining the microtubule backbones within the cell body
generate large backbone undulations. Numerous constraints are
imposed by the crowded intracellular environment, forcing the
microtubule backbone into an effective highly curved confining
tube, in particular through entanglement with other microtubules.
The large stored length of microtubules (within the cell
body) is transmitted over long distances by the virtually incompressible
microtubules and projected in the longitudinal direction
inside the processes....
... The fluctuating tensions are induced by multiple molecular motors
decorating intracellular cargos and cross-bridging between several
microtubules at a time.
A cells molecular motors thus drive the road as well as the car!
With this mechanism, they get a velocity boost that helps them arrive at their
destinations faster than if they simply moved along the microtubule at constant velocity.
This also begins to explain why the motors move back and forth:
The microtubule network actively animated in this fashion
induces an additional velocity component that adds to the
motor-driven cargo transport velocities in the microtubule fixed
As suggested by our data, within the fluctuating cytoskeleton
picture we can indeed understand the observed back-and-forth
motion as a consequence of a peculiar form of tug of war
of many motors competing with each other and with microtubule
elastic forces. As opposed to the local tug of war of opposite
polarity motors on the same vesicle, the global tug of war
described here allows large numbers of motors distributed along
the whole microtubule to exert forces at a time and compete for
the direction of microtubule movement. When bent on large
scales, the microtubules offer a rather large compliance to the
exerted longitudinal and lateral forces, which in turn allows all
of the motors along their length to act at a time and generate the
observed microtubule fluctuations. Switching of motor pulling
and microtubule relaxation phases can induce a back-and-forth
motion of the microtubule backbone.
But a question remains. How does this help the motor get its attached
cargo get to its destination? Simple: it hitchhikes. This is actually
the term they suggested to describe their hypothesis. Some motors only need
a short hop. They grab the moving microtubule and let go when they need
to. Others, needing rapid transit across longer distances, play
the system by binding and unbinding repeatedly. In a matter of seconds,
the motor can cover a long distance (relative to its own tiny size).
The moving-sidewalk system even works for cargos without their own motors.
For this mode of motility involving transient
binding of cargos to moving microtubules, which eventually
leads to a long-range dispersion, we suggest the term hitchhiking,
they said. Exploiting this simple mechanism, even cargos devoid
of active motors can be efficiently dispersed throughout the
entire cell. In short,We demonstrate
that, besides being tracks for motors that directly haul
cargos, microtubules can transmit the force of distant motors
onto a cargo over large separations.2
1. Kulik, Brown, Kim, Kural, Blehm, Selvin, Nelson and Gelfand,
The role of microtubule movement in bidirectional
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, Published online before print July 14, 2008, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0800031105.
2. Physicists may enjoy this extra detail: This implies a mechanical
nonlocality of the cytoskeleton because a longitudinal pulling
strain in an almost stretched microtubule is essentially instantaneously
transmitted over long distances. Furthermore, microtubule
motion on intermediate timescales (tens of milliseconds
to several seconds) can be understood as a consequence of
pulling out the slack length of microtubules induced by random
constraints and motor forces along its entire length.
Frequent readers of CEH will know immediately the answer to
this pop quiz question. True or false: evolution was mentioned in this
paper. (Answer: false).
Early Magnetic Galaxies Surprise Astronomers 07/17/2008
As amazing as this explanation was, other questions come to mind.
How does the motor know where to get on and off? How do the motors conspire to
control the microtubules for best effect? Remember, these are blind molecules
in a busy, seemingly chaotic environment. The results, however, are anything but chaotic.
There are wonders in this black box we are only beginning to appreciate.
Next headline on:
July 17, 2008 Astronomers reported in Nature that early galaxies have
normal magnetic fields.1 That is surprising because
magnetic fields were supposed to start small and strengthen over billions of years.
The team tried to be careful to distinguish intervening magnetic
signatures from those in quasars. Their measurements indicated that
organized fields of surprisingly high strengths are associated with
normal galaxies when the Universe was only about one-third of its present age.
It also reveals that physicists dont understand galactic magnetism very well. The finding puts
severe constraints on models of how magnetic fields form in galaxies.
The international team of astronomers ended their paper with a commentary
about modern cosmology that was revealing. It also serves as a general
reminder of the potential importance of magnetic fields, which is usually completely
ignored, in the formation and evolution of cosmic structures in the
gave a laymans report on the announcement. The article ended,
The new finding means scientists must come up with an improved explanation
for how magnetic fields build up inside galaxies in the young universe such as
those Miniati and his team observed.
1. Bernet, Miniati et al, Strong magnetic fields in normal galaxies at high redshift,
454, 302-304 (17 July 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature07105.
This is disturbing.
What else are they ignoring that could have
important effects on their cosmological models?
The Cro-Magnon Were Europeans 07/16/2008
Next headline on:
July 16, 2008 Theres no genetic difference between Cro-Magnon Man and
modern Europeans, a genetic study reported by
Daily. Researchers took extra care to avoid contamination of bones
found in southern Italy, they said. They claimed Cro-Magnon people were
able to maintain genealogical continuity for 28,000 years, remaining distinct from
Neanderthals, whom they said lived in Europe for 300,000 years.
Forget everything you were taught about early
man in Europe, because the evolutionists keep changing their story and what
they say now is absurd. Is it really plausible that two groups of
Homo sapiens lived side by side for nearly 30,000 years and never intermarried?
Has that ever happened in modern times? Where is all the genetic evolution
that should have occurred between the time this Italian Cro-Magnon individual lived
and today? Hes virtually identical to modern Europeans. Why
even classify him as other than us?
Why building evolutionary phylogenetic trees is a hopeless task, both now and for
any future civilization on any planet in the universe, from
07/25/2002. This hurdle doesnt keep
the Darwinists from trying, though (see 07/30/2002,
And why think that he lived
so long ago? 28,000 years is three to four times the length of all recorded
human history. These people were our equals physically and probably mentally.
Maybe they were even superior.
Who could possibly believe that Cro-Magnon, or even Neanderthals for that matter
(with bigger average cranial capacity than us), would not have reached the moon
in 28,000 years, to say nothing of 300,000? Evolutionists want us to believe they
were smart enough to hunt mammoths and produce cave paintings that attract the awe of modern artists,
but never learned how to ride a horse in all that time. That is absurd.
Wouldnt you expect that they would have built cities in a fraction of the
evolutionary time scale, and invented writing? They have no answer for what
switched on in the human brain to create instant civilization about
6,000 to 8,000 years ago.
The ages they give are not
scientific. They are part of a vast evolutionary myth that is propagated
by a powerful class of shamans who run our schools and scientific institutions.
There is nothing in the data that is inconsistent with the Biblical view that
these were people after the Flood (which itself is remembered in hundreds of tribal legends around
the world), scattered after Babel into distinct family clans. Those remaining
in the Fertile Crescent built the first cities and started writing in clay tablets
about their banking transactions and laws. Others with different spoken languages
migrated east and west, north and south.
The harsh conditions in Europe during the Ice Age
delayed the development of writing and civilization. (Think of how few records
modern tribes near the Arctic leave today.) Neanderthals
were particularly hardy individuals who got to Europe first. Cro-Magnon people
(just as much offspring of Noah as their brethren but genetically distinct) arrived later
after conditions were becoming more hospitable.
If this started a big war, with the Cro-Magnon ending up victorious over the Neanderthals,
would there be any fossil remains? Not likely; nor would there necessarily
be any written records, any more than detailed accounts of wars between Germanic
tribes in later Roman times or Anasazi in North America much later, who vanished
without a trace (unless the Hopi are living descendants).
No long periods spanning tens or hundreds of thousands of years is
required in this scenario. It matches what we know about people, and it
matches the Table of Nations in
Think how much migration could happen among intelligent people in just
decades or centuries. We know how curious people are. Within a few
millennia, Germanic tribes were exploring the New World. South Pacific
Islanders were hopping from island to island. Columbus, a latecomer, was
sailing west for the Indies.
We are familiar with human wanderlust.
It is inconceivable that Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons would have sat still for
28,000 years or 300,000 years and not populated the globe. Theres
only one logical conclusion. The evolutionary story, with its vast
periods of time, portraying brutish people living like cave potatoes, is a myth.
If they can be so flagrantly wrong about dates and activities close to us in time,
do the math and tell us if you trust them when they weave tales about what
happened millions and billions of years ago. The reckless drafts on the
bank of time must stop.
Next headline on:
Another Evolutionary Statistic Is Wrong 07/15/2008
July 15, 2008 Marine invertebrate diversity has not increased dramatically
over time, contrary to conventional wisdom. Thats the conclusion of a
team of 35 researchers who spent a decade analyzing seashell fossils from around
Daily reported the story July 7. A week later, on July 14,
reported a follow-up story, entitled, Disproving Conventional Wisdom On Diversity
Of Marine Fossils And Extinction Rates. The later article featured
John Alroy (UC Santa Barbara), the principal author of the paper published in
Science.1 Theres been 36 years of people arguing about this,
he said. And I feel we finally resolved this debate, which is certainly
one of the most high profile debates in the study of diversity of the fossil record.
95% of the fossil record consists of marine invertebrates (see
ICR claim). The abstract says,
It has previously been thought that there was a steep Cretaceous and Cenozoic
radiation of marine invertebrates. This pattern can be replicated with
a new data set of fossil occurrences representing 3.5 million specimens, but only
when older analytical protocols are used. Moreover, analyses that employ sampling
standardization and more robust counting methods show a modest rise
in diversity with no clear trend after the mid-Cretaceous.
Globally, locally, and at both high and low latitudes, diversity was less than
twice as high in the Neogene as in the mid-Paleozoic. The ratio of global
to local richness has changed little, and a latitudinal diversity gradient
was present in the early Paleozoic.
The team painstakingly catalogued 248,816 fossils from around the world and found
that things that paleontologists have been saying for 40 years may not be accurate.
Diversity reached saturation early after the Cambrian and Ordovician and remained
flat, with minor excursions, over the remaining eras.
The new database suggests that there were only three, not five, mass extinctions.
The number of species recovered quickly, they said. The sixth and last
presumed extinction never happened, they claim, based on their results.
Another researcher explained the utility of the project. She said,
If we know where we have been, we know something about where it will go.
1. Alroy et al, Phanerozoic Trends in the Global Diversity of Marine Invertebrates,
4 July 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5885, pp. 97-100, DOI: 10.1126/science.1156963.
Its good to know where you have been.
Where you have been, though, does not necessarily predict where you will go.
Do these researchers know the answer to such questions?
Is Artificial DNA Intelligently Designed? 07/15/2008
Statistics can be misleading. Good for
them that they went at it in much more detail than in previous studies. They have falsified
claims going back four decades. That does not ipso facto truthify their
own claims. Because their work has an incestuous relationship with evolutionary
geology and biology, any conclusions borne out have a statistically high likelihood of
Next headline on:
July 15, 2008 Japanese chemists have made a new kind of DNA, reported
It resembles natural DNA, but is composed of bases that are shorter, modified forms
of the ones cells use. The finding could lead to improvements in gene therapy,
futuristic nano-sized computers, and other high-tech advances, the article says.
An evolutionist should extend his or her reasoning
to ask if these new molecules are products of natural selection. If the DNA in the scientists
body is a product of natural selection, why not the products of his body?
If the mind is an excretion of the brain, why are not products directed by the
natural brain through natural hands also products of natural selection?
At what point did something new like purpose or design emerge
from undirected natural ingredients? Is not artificiality merely an artifact of the same
natural process that produced DNA?
Watery Moon Upsets Conventional Wisdom 07/14/2008
If the evolutionist answers yes to the above, we continue the line
of questioning. How do we know that your answer was not a product of natural
selection, a mindless, undirected process of chance and necessity?
Information is the key ingredient that makes understanding possible.
The prerequisite for information is a mind. If these scientists truly
invented a new molecule on purpose that is capable of storing information,
then explain why the DNA in their cells was not purposefully created.
Next headline on:
July 14, 2008 The moon looks pretty dry. It may have maria (oceans)
but the figurative term would not attract customers for beachfront property: its
seas are made of hardened lava. The moons Ocean of storms (Mare
Procellarum) only gets rain in the form of solar wind and cosmic rays. Still,
could there be water molecules in this dry place? New studies say yes.
Whats most interesting about this answer is the reaction of some scientists
to unexpected information.
In a paper in Nature,1 Saal et al
believe they have discovered primordial water in orange and green soil samples returned
by Apollo astronauts. Since the H2O molecules are deeply embedded
in crystals, they feel it rules out contamination from earth or condensation from
extra-lunar sources. The concentration of water (their best estimate being
750 parts per million) is much higher than the estimates for the earths upper mantle.
The researchers feel it represents magmatic water in the interior of the moon that
was buried after volcanic eruptions then became exposed after meteoritic impacts.
They detected, in addition, other volatiles,
including sulfur, fluorine, chlorine and carbon dioxide.
So what? The problem is that the favored theory for the origin
of the moon would not permit these volatiles to be present. Many astronomers feel
a Mars-size object impacted the earth early in its history. The moon condensed
out of the ejecta. This process, however, would not have left much if any water or
volatile elements and molecules behind. Commenting on this paper in the same issue of Nature,2
Mark Chaussidon (CRPG, France) explored the ramifications:
These results raise many questions. Are the volatile contents of the melts that formed the green and orange glasses typical for the Moon? Can the general scarcity of most volatile elements on the Moon be reconciled with the apparent abundance of sulphur, chlorine, fluorine and especially water in the lunar glasses? What happened to all the water during the Moons formation? And if the Moon is not bone dry, where did the water come from?
He tried to salvage the impact hypothesis by suggesting that maybe earth and the
primordial moon exchanged volatile material for a few centuries while the moon
coalesced. Future comparisons of hydrogen-to-deuterium ratios between earth
and moon may help resolve the dispute.
reported the story and ended with a surprising comment about scientific discovery in general:
Lead author of the study, Alberto Saal of Brown University remarked: Beyond the evidence for the presence of water in the interior of the Moon, which I found extremely exciting, I learned that the contributions from scientists from other disciplines has the potential to produce unexpected results. Such a scientist is able not only to ask questions that no one has asked before, but also can challenge hypotheses that are embedded in the thinking of the scientists working in the field for many years. Our case is a typical example. When I suggested we measure volatiles in lunar material, everyone I talked to thought that such proposal was a futile endeavor. We knew the Moon was dry.
Magazine also reported the story and included the above quote. It also
included artwork of the Mars-impact hypothesis.
The BBC News
also reported the story. It should be recalled from the
11/04/2002 entry that Apollo astronaut and
geologist Harrison Schmidt (Apollo 17), who discovered the orange soil on the
moon, denies the Mars-impact hypothesis.
1. Saal et al, Volatile content of lunar volcanic glasses and
the presence of water in the Moons interior,
454, 192-195 (10 July 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature07047.
2. Mark Chaussidon, Planetary science: The early Moon was rich in water,
454, 170-172 (10 July 2008) | doi:10.1038/454170a.
How can science progress if scientists dont
ask the right questions? Looking for water on the moon was futile.
They knew the moon was dry. If you think science is always an
unbiased collection of evidence, think about this case. Scientists always
approach a problem with a bias. No one collects data in a strict Baconian
fashion. There is always an element of human selection, deciding what
questions are interesting, and what data are most likely to yield fruitful
hypotheses. Thank goodness for a few individuals who bravely ask the
questions others dont consider worthwhile. If the finding holds up,
a lot of artwork and computer animations may get tossed out the window.
Another problem will resurface: where did our moon come from? The Mars
impact hypothesis was the leading theory for a long time, not because the data
demanded it, but because the other contenders were each losers (see
But consider what was said in the previous entry about our privileged planet:
the moon has a function. Its very probable that without our specific
moon, its mass and distance, life could not exist. Then there is the amazing
coincidence about solar eclipses: the moons apparent diameter in the sky
is the same as the suns. Too many coincidences and the chance
hypothesis sounds uncannily lucky. Maybe the moon was created.
Gushy adoration of Darwin gets embarrassing, from 07/18/2006
and 07/14/2006. Is Charlie the atheists idol?
Judge for yourself from the 07/12/2006 and
Next headline on:
Love Your Planet 07/13/2008
July 13, 2008 Modern astronomy and space travel have given humans the ability
to view the earth from a distance and ponder its significance. Some astronomers
expected the earth to be ordinary-looking. In many respects, however, astronomy
is teaching us otherwise. Clara Moskowitz, staff writer for
began an article by saying, Earth is one special planet.
What makes the earth special? Let her count the ways:
Moskowitz entertained hopes that astronomers will find billions of earth-like
planets eventually, but her list of unique features of the
home planet is impressive. No other planet or moon in the solar system comes close:
not Venus, Mars, Jupiter, or Titan. No other body is in the Goldilocks
position of being just right.
And So far, she added, we havent seen
any planet outside the solar system come very close to Earth either.
Of the extrasolar planets discovered so far (going on 300), many are hot
Jupiters or gas giants as close in as Mercury to our sun, or even closer.
An earth-like planet could not compete in the habitable zone of such a system.
- Liquid water in abundance but not too much water to submerge the continents.
- Plate tectonics and active geology.
- A magnetic field that shelters it from harmful solar radiation.
- The only planet known to have life.
- The only planet known to have intelligent life.
- The only known planet hosting intelligent beings who have achieved space travel.
- An environment that has kept water liquid for a long time.
- A safe distance from its star.
- A carbon-silicate cycle that has operated for a long time.
- The right size to hold onto an atmosphere, yet have a habitable surface.
- A moon the right size and distance to stabilize earths tilt and rotation.
- A moon that circulates the ocean tides.
She quoted Donald Brownlee, co-author of Rare Earth
07/15/2002) and project scientist
of the Stardust mission
01/25/2008), who said, I doubt that in our galaxy typical stars
have planets just like Earth around them. Im sure there are lots of
planets in the galaxy that are somewhat similar to Earth, but the idea that
this is a typical planet is nonsensical. See also the
04/04/2005 entry, where five astronomers on
a panel agreed that our solar system is special.
Brownlee appeared briefly in the DVD
The Privileged Planet explaining
his view about the uniqueness of earth. The unique properties listed above
and more are discussed in the film along with a thought-provoking hypothesis
about why these features point to intelligent design. The production includes
startling admissions by a variety of astronomers, some hostile to intelligent
design but struck by the facts of nature. If you havent yet seen this
powerful and beautiful film, order a copy today. It makes a nice loaner
and conversation starter.
What Mean These Stars? 07/12/2008
Next headline on:
July 12, 2008 There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of
in current astronomical models. Two articles recently underscored the fact
that astronomers still have a lot to learn.
How scientists treat anomalies in their models is instructive. Many scientists
are reluctant to jettison a working model just because of a few anomalies.
More often they employ rescuing devices to save the model. Sometimes, however,
the anomalies are just too stubborn to fit. It is up to observers outside the
paradigm to decide when the rescuing devices have become less plausible than
- Cluster generation conundrum: The members of globular star clusters
were long thought to be old stars of the same age, like seniors at a care facility.
Then the discovery of blue stragglers caused consternation; they were
too massive to be billions of years old. In the first episode of a new DVD
series produced by Astronomy magazine, The Life and Death of Stars,
an astronomer proposed that the blue stragglers are stars born from collisions among the older
stars. Now, a third population is further upsetting cluster age models,
according to a press release from the
Telescope Science Institute.
stated that the dilemma of three out-of-sync stellar populations in globular cluster
NGC 6791 may fundamentally challenge the way astronomers estimate cluster ages.
The article says that astronomers have found three populations of stars with
different estimated ages: 4 billion, 6 billion and 8 billion years. Two of the
populations consist of white dwarf stars.
The age discrepancy is a problem because stars in an open cluster should be the
same age, said one astronomer. They form at the same time within
a large cloud of interstellar dust and gas. So we were really puzzled about
what was going on. Another added, This finding means that there
is something about white dwarf evolution that we dont understand.
The article proposed a simple and elegant reconciliation of
the two discrepant ages of white dwarf populations. They might
be binary systems. The brightness of the binaries makes them look younger, the team
of astronomers suggested. They did not explain why this was never discovered
before, or what it means to other estimates of cluster ages and distances.
White dwarfs are commonly-used age indicators, because according to
leading models of stellar evolution, they are the end products of main sequence
stars of a certain range of masses after the red giant phase. For more on
problems with globular cluster dating, see
Geographic News published the stunning Hubble image that shows the interior of the cluster.
A couple of distant spiral galaxies can be seen in the background.
- Cosmic baby boom: Another conundrum baffles astronomers,
according to Space.com.
The article subtitle explains the problem: Our galaxy cranks out about 10 new stars per year.
Now astronomers have found one near the beginning of time thats generating a
whopping 4,000 a year. At that rate, the galaxy needs only 50 million years
to grow into one equivalent to the most massive ever observed. Such
rapid-fire starbirth and growth confounds theory. Sure enough, the
leading Hierarchical Model of galaxy evolution expects that galaxies
should grow slowly, not explosively in one big burst of star formation.
Peter Cepak of Caltech used a human analogy to explain the problem: If our
human population was produced in a similar boom, then almost all of the people
alive today would be the same age. He continued,
If the universe was a human reaching retirement age, it would have been about
6 years old at the time we are seeing this galaxy.
The new finding further exacerbates the problem of instant maturity
in the early universe (see 06/04/2001,
Why would stellar evolution occur at a much more rapid pace in the early universe?
What was exceptional about that epoch? The idea contradicts uniformitarianism.
Astronomers announced the results based in images of a galaxy taken by the Hubble
Space Telescope and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope
in Hawaii. Now, the team is trying to see if this Baby Boom galaxy
is an exceptional case. If not, and most early galaxies were bursting into
growth in their cosmic infancy, the Hierarchical Model of galaxy formation may
Well let our readers chew on these stories
and ponder their implications. Some will feel comfortable with the explanations
offered by the pros. Others will wonder if a scientific revolution is in the
offing. For a diversion, try this riddle on someone today:
Flatfish Evolution Revealed 07/11/2008
Q: I am the end of time and the beginning of eternity. I am the last
of space, and the beginning of every end. What am I?
A: The letter e.
Have a stellar day.
Next headline on:
July 11, 2008 Darwin has been vindicated again, to hear the media reports.
said, Flatfish Fossils Fill in Evolutionary Missing Link.
Geographic News ruled out the competition by saying, Odd Fish Find Contradicts
Intelligent Design Argument. In a nutshell, Science Daily said,
Hidden away in museums for more that 100 years, some recently rediscovered
flatfish fossils have filled a puzzling gap in the story of evolution and answered a
question that initially stumped even Charles Darwin. By implication,
anything that would stump Darwin would stump all the brightest minds in history.
The case concerns two species of flatfish fossils from Italy, locked in away a French museum,
that were re-evaluated by Matt Friedman (U of Chicago and Chicago Field Museum). In his report
in Nature,1 he claims that the fossils
clearly show mature forms of flatfish with eyes only partially migrated to the
top. Thats the transitional-form claim. He also claimed they
were the right age to precede the later flatfish with fully migrated eyes.
Then he speculated on how the partially-migrated eyes might have been adaptive to
the fish. Thats the thing that puzzled Darwin. Apparently,
Darwin was tempted to resort to Lamarckian mechanisms to explain it. Not
necessary, Friedman explained: The discovery of stem flatfishes with incomplete
orbital migration refutes these claims and demonstrates that the assembly of the
flatfish bodyplan occurred in a gradual, stepwise fashion, he said.
Thus, the evolutionary origin of flatfish asymmetry resembles its
developmental origin, with increasing degrees of orbital migration transforming
a symmetrical precursor into a fully asymmetrical form.
Friedman is not resurrecting Haeckels idea that
ontology recapitulates phylogeny, is he?
Friedman noted that modern flatfish sometimes prop their bodies
up using their fins. This might have allowed the half-evolved forms to use
both eyes, he speculated. Its not clear why this would be beneficial
to a fish. It would seem a lot of work for an upright fish to lie on its
side with one eye up, occasionally struggling to get its other eye up for a better
look. The flatfish-to-be would certainly not be able to look ahead to
the day, perhaps hundreds of thousands or millions of years in the future, when
its descendents would get both eyes to the top and life would be sweet.
And why do living flatfish exhibit this behavior when both eyes are already on
top? Whether or not this makes any evolutionary sense,
the bulk of Friedmans argument that the alleged
transitional forms were adaptive was that they existed.
This begs the question that existence proves adaptation let alone a
process of evolution. How could one know that extinct life forms were not
maladapted? Maybe that is why some went extinct. It does not
necessarily prove they were evolving toward a more adapted state.
Some damaging admissions about the evolutionary story showed up in the
final paragraph after the pro-Darwin claims had been made.
Inferring interrelationships between higher groups in this explosive
radiation has proved difficult, and an unresolved bush persists.
Documenting the origin of these clades is vital to understanding
the roots of modern biodiversity, because acanthomorph fishes comprise nearly
one-third of living vertebrate species. Stem representativessuch
as Amphistium and Heteronectes [the two fossils discussed in the paper]
in the case of pleuronectiforms [flatfish]have yet to be identified
for many acanthomorph clades, but their recognition might prove invaluable
in delivering a stable hypothesis of interrelationships for this
exceptional vertebrate radiation.
What this seems to imply is that this transitional form is too little
too late. Why have these fossils been sitting in museums for 100 years, only
now to be reclassified as missing links? And where are the missing
links for the numerous other acanthomorph fishes (1/3 of all living vertebrates),
that so far as is known at this time, comprise an unresolved bush
instead of a phylogenetic tree? Did not Darwin envision a gradually branching tree,
not a picture of explosive radiation?
According to Friedman, the bulk of missing links are in the future. It will be
up to future biologists to find them.
He implied there is not now, nor ever has been, a stable hypothesis of interrelationships
about vertebrate evolution. This can only mean that the current evolutionary
story is unstable. Admitting an exceptional vertebrate radiation
undermines a natural law of evolution. Its an exception, not an
In addition, Friedman admitted to the National Geographic reporter
that Fossils from excavations in northern Italy and Paris revealed that the
intermediate specimens once lived together with flatfishes having both eyes on one
side of the skull. The ancestor and descendent lived side by side.
Doesnt that make it a little questionable to conclude an ancestral relationship?
His assertion that these two fossils with partially-migrated eyes demonstrate
that the assembly of the flatfish bodyplan occurred in a gradual,
stepwise fashion seems exaggerated to say nothing of the claim
it vindicates Darwinism.
Geographic write-up took the unusual step of asking the opinion of a creationist.
After opening with a line that the discovery of this missing link could give
intelligent design advocates a sinking feeling, and stating without a reference
that Intelligent design advocates have seized on the idea of instant flatfish
rearrangement as evidence of God or another higher being intentionally creating new
animal forms, NG asked Frank Sherwin of ICR for his response.2
The query was preceded by the qualifier, The new discovery, however, is
unlikely to change the minds of many creationists. Sure enough, Sherwin
found the evidence underwhelming. He did not deny that rearrangements
of parts was possible within created kinds. What were asking is,
Show me how a fish came from a nonfish ancestor. After all, the putative
flatfish ancestor and its sole descendents already had eyes, fins, gills, scales
and all the equipment of a fish. Moreover, flatfish and upright fish have the
same vertebrate body plan. The parts only got rearranged, if they
evolved in a Darwinian sense. Though the rearrangement
seems to help the flatfish with its camouflage, obviously most fish get by just
fine without flatness. It could not be argued, therefore, without floundering
for the halibut, that the environment pushed fish to adopt this posture.
Interesting facts about flatfish were stated in the NG article.
There are 500 species with this lifestyle. They vary from four inches to seven
feet in size. Surprisingly, the fish are not born that way. The embryonic
fish start out life with eyes on both sides of the skull, as with normal fish.
As a flatfish develops from a larva to a juvenile, one eye migrates up and
over the top of the head, coming to rest in its adult position on the opposite side
of the skull. The young adults apparently have to spend some time learning
to cope with this biological rearrangement that takes place as they grow up.
Biologist Richard Palmer (U of Alberta) confessed that
the mystery of flatfish development has really been a major, major puzzle
to evolutionary biologists. Has it been resolved? The answer
must be evaluated in context of Friedmans own admission that the big picture
of acanthomorph fish evolution remains unresolved and current theories are unstable.
News, meanwhile, exposed numerous inaccuracies in the National Geographic write-up.
Despite the empirical doubtfulness of the claims, evolutionists seem in
ecstasy with the spirit of Darwin. Philippe Janvier, in the same issue of Nature,3
could not resist eloquence: In the case of the fossils described by Friedman ...
one cannot but admire the vindication of a prediction, made by Darwin,
of a gradual eye migration during flatfish evolution that mirrors the metamorphosis
of the living forms. Janvier is not resurrecting Haeckels idea that
ontology recapitulates phylogeny, is he?
Evolution in action: its all over the place, claimed Jonathan Weiner of Natural History
Magazine. Writing for Live Science, he said,
Finches, monkeyflowers, sockeye salmon, and bacteria are changing before our eyes.
He launched into a paean of praise for Darwins gradualism against a backdrop of
his wife Emmas religious concern for his soul. For most of the twentieth
century the only well-known example of evolution in action was the case of peppered
moths in industrial England, he said. He may have revealed more than he
wished about the state of evolutionary theory. Did he really intend to suggest that
during a whole century, with the Scopes Trial and all the propaganda of the Darwin Centennial,
only shifting populations of one species of moth provided a well-known example of evolution
in action? Undoubtedly he will be happy to add the flatfish story to the score.
He needs to show the other side of Americas house divided
over evolution that by peering over the shoulders of biologists, one can
actually watch Darwins process in action.
1. Matt Friedman, The evolutionary origin of flatfish asymmetry,
454, 209-212 (10 July 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature07108.
2. Sherwin is a Biblical creationist, not a member of the intelligent design
community per se, although he would accept some of their principles.
3. Philippe Janvier, Palaeontology: Squint of the fossil flatfish,
454, 169-170 (10 July 2008) | doi:10.1038/454169a.
We peer over the shoulders of biologists all the
time and find them exaggerating.
They talk about evolution in action, but what is observed is evolution inaction
(01/01/2007). They need to get busy
and find the vast majority of missing links they claim must exist if they expect
reasonable people to accept their myth. Finding explosive radiations and
unresolved bushes is only helping their sworn enemies, the creationists.
No wonder this discovery is unlikely to change the minds of many creationists.
They have too much respect for evidence and logic. To watch Darwins process
in action you mean his propensity for just-so storytelling? Why yes, we see that
Selective intolerance at Tulsa Zoo, from 07/16/2005:
OK to worship the elephant god, but not Jehovah.
One of our readers asked a good question. How do we know that these
fossils were not mutants, or were not de-evolving from flatfish back to the upright
position? After all, blind cave fish can re-evolve eyes under the right
circumstances (see 01/08/2008).
Maybe in these rare cases the developmental process got stopped
in the middle. If the proposed intermediate and the full flatfish
lived side by side, it seems these possibilities are just
as warranted by the evidence.
Even if an independent panel of philosophers and
logicians were to judge that the evidence in this paper is sufficient to justify the claims that
the fossils were (1) ancestral and (2) intermediate and (3) adaptive (conclusions one should not
assume based on the exaggerated claims of its supporters), creationists can handle
a few rearrangements of existing parts without being whelmed over the ankles. Sherwin is right
about the real issue: Show me how a fish came from a nonfish ancestor.
That goes for the entire panoply of life. Show us how a human came from a
bacterial ancestor. Systematic gaps, explosive radiations
and unresolved bushes put the burden
on the evolutionists, not the creationists. Stop the BAD science (bluffing
assertions of dogmatism). Get back to the intellectual restraint that scientists
are supposed to exhibit.
Next headline on:
Why Academic Freedom Is Dangerous 07/10/2008
July 10, 2008 Barbara Forrest has a tough case on her hands.
The veteran creationist-fighter has to convince the people of Louisiana that they did a bad thing by passing the
Academic Freedom Bill, because academic freedom when it comes to discussing
intelligent design and evolution is dangerous (cf. 05/12/2008, bullet 3). The bill passed by 94-3 in
the state House and unanimously in the Senate.
Amanda Gefter, reporting on
Scientist admitted Forrest has the deck stacked against her. Those supporting
the measure outnumbered her group and had more spirit. Nevertheless, she
empathized with Forrests anti-ID position, titling
her article New legal threat to teaching evolution in the US
and speaking of hidden dangers in the bill recently signed by Governor
Bobby Jindal that protects the rights of teachers who wish to supplement their lessons with
alternative material on controversial science topics such as evolution, human cloning and global
warming, after first teaching the assigned textbook material. It is the prospect
of offering alternatives to evolution that has generated the most heated discussion.
What is it about the evolution issue that is so threatening to the time-honored tradition
of giving voice to opposing views on controversial topics, and letting people
think critically about the evidence? In sum, here are the arguments as gleaned
from the article for forbidding academic freedom on the evolution question:
Convinced that intelligent design is unconstitutional,
Forrest is worried that the bill makes it harder for opponents of ID to sue schools
and teachers who present what they feel is religious material. Because the law allows
individual boards and teachers to make additions to the science curriculum without
clearance from a state authority, Gefter reported, the responsibility
will lie with parents to mount a legal challenge to anything that appears to
be an infringement of the separation of church and state.
Forrest complained that this is like starting a lot of local brush fires that have
to be fought individually. This is done intentionally, to get this
down to the local level, she said. Its going to be very
difficult to even know whats going on.
- [Forrest] had spent weeks trying to muster opposition to the bill on the grounds
that it would allow teachers and school boards across the state to present
non-scientific alternatives to evolution, including ideas related to
intelligent design (ID) the proposition that life is too
complicated to have arisen without the help of a supernatural agent.
- The act is designed to slip ID in through the back
door, says Forrest, who is a professor of philosophy at Southeastern
Louisiana University and an expert in the history of creationism.
- She adds that the bills language, which names evolution along
with global warming, the origins of life and human cloning as worthy
of open and objective discussion, is an attempt to
misrepresent evolution as scientifically controversial.
- Jindal .... enjoys a close relationship with the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF),
a lobbying group for the religious right whose mission statement includes
presenting biblical principles in centers of influence.
It was the LFF which set the bill in motion earlier this year.
- The development has national implications, not least because Jindal is
rumoured to be on Senator John McCains shortlist as a potential running
mate in his bid for the presidency.
- The new legislation is the latest manoeuvre in a long-running war
to challenge the validity of Darwinian evolution as an accepted scientific fact
in American classrooms.
- ...Forrest presented evidence that ID was old-fashioned creationism by another name....
- Academic freedom is a great thing," says Josh Rosenau of the
National Center for Science Education in Oakland, California. But if
you look at the American Association of University Professors definition
of academic freedom, it refers to the ability to do research and publish.
- This, he points out, is different to the job high-school teachers are supposed to do.
In high school, youre teaching mainstream science so students can go
on to college or medical school, where you need that freedom to explore cutting-edge ideas.
To apply academic freedom to high school is a misuse of the term.
- Its very slick, says Forrest. The religious right
has co-opted the terminology of the progressive left... They know that phrase appeals to people.
- ....those who wish to challenge Darwinian evolution have plausible deniability
that this is intended to teach something unconstitutional.... They are better camouflaged now.
- In a landmark 1987 case known as Edwards vs Aguillard, the US Supreme Court ruled
the [balanced treatment] law unconstitutional, effectively closing the door on
teaching creation science in public schools.
Forrest says she doesnt fight academic freedom
for fun, but because its a duty. Her next tactic is to get the word
to teachers to be on the lookout for creationist material finding its way into science class.
Writing for National Review,
Discovery Institute senior fellow John West denied that the Louisiana bill is a threat to science.
The act is not a license for teachers to do anything they want, he said.
Instruction must be objective, inappropriate materials may be vetoed
by the state board of education, and the law explicitly prohibits teaching religion
in the name of science, stating that its provisions shall not be construed to
promote any religious doctrine. It is hypocritical for pro-Darwin
lobbyists to fight this bill on religious grounds, he said, when many of them have
a clear atheist agenda. He pointed out that Barbara Forrest is a militant
atheist and long-time board member of the New Orleans Secular Humanist Organization.
West countered that the real threat to science
is to indoctrinate students and fail to teach them how to evaluate evidence.
The law was so carefully framed, he added, that even the head of the Louisiana ACLU
has had to concede that it is constitutional as written. He accused the
usual suspects of mounting a disinformation campaign against
the bill which turned out to be a massive failure in Louisiana. Both political parties,
he pointed out, were nearly unanimous in support of the bill, and some science professors
came to the hearings to testify in favor of the bill.
West argued that
students deserve to be taught more than the consensus views on controversial issues,
because historically the consensus has often been wrong or subject to blind
fanaticism (he cited the eugenics movement, supported by all the leading scientific
societies of the early 1900s, as a particularly bad example).
Furthermore, scientific positions often have serious implications for
society and government policy. Students, therefore, need to be able to evaluate critically the
evidence on which the claims are based. In truth, the effort to promote
thoughtful discussion of competing scientific views is pro-science, he concluded.
Michael Stebbins (co-founder of Scientists and Engineers for America)
did not quite elevate the cordiality of the dialogue when he wrote in The
Scientist about Jindals Creationist Folly and referred to
intelligent design as urine in the education pool. Meanwhile,
News took time out for a reality check concerning the New Scientist article.
Hallelujah! The dogmatists are on the run.
Were you impressed by the scare tactics and
loaded words used to support the idea that high
school students are so dumb and pliable, they must be indoctrinated into lily-white
evolutionary truths lest their pure minds get corrupted by evil religious ideas?
Were you attracted by the tender vitriol of their hate speech?
First Mercury Research Papers in from MESSENGER 07/09/2008
This is how you make freedom look dangerous. You characterize
the ones calling for freedom as evil. Those sneaky, creepy (05/22/2008),
creationists are just angry they lost at Dover. So in retaliation, they look for new ways to
set brush fires and wreak havoc on civilization
(cf. 11/30/2005). Thus black is white
and white is black. (Be sure to throw in a few big
lies wherever needed, like defining ID incorrectly, mischaracterizing the Supreme
Court ruling [it does not prevent teaching creation science but only laws that require
teaching creation equally alongside evolution], and claiming there is
no controversy among evolutionists; see 03/07/2008.
Also, keep holding up the Dover decision an ACLU-plagiarized ruling by one unelected judge in
one Pennsylvania school district as the standard of jurisprudence for the entire world.)
Evolution, of course, is so scientific that it is the only contender
for a science class (06/03/2008).
And of course, evolutionists have no bias or agenda (06/21/2008,
Why, those evolutionists, they are so smart, and so logical
they know for a fact that people have bacteria ancestors
02/22/2008). They only tell the honest
Their math is so good they get the whole universe out
of nothing (01/15/2008). Yes, we must protect students from challenges to those natural truths.
Nothing supernatural about their miracles. And they just lo-o-o-o-o-ve the people
of Louisiana (04/09/2008). They would never
do legal maneuvering and play politics to sneak around the will of the people
The dogmatists cant win through the democratic process and town hall
or through open debate on the evidence, so they use the courtroom and special-interest
PACs. To enforce their will on the people, they get unelected judges
to tell us what science is, and get the ACLU and Americans United for Separation
of Church and State (a misleading slogan, more properly United Against Academic Freedom)
to slap parents, teachers and students with budget-busting lawsuits
(intimidation, e.g., 01/06/2007).
Who has been setting those brush fires? No wonder the people at the Louisiana
hearing were wearing stickers, clapping, cheering and standing in the aisles.
No longer will they have to stay after class with Ben Stein, covering the chalkboard
with I will not question Darwinism.
Lets keep the pressure on Barb till she emigrates to a country she
would really enjoy Cuba. There, she can stand and clap for little Elian Gonzalez
you remember the little boy denied freedom in America and captured at gunpoint and
shipped to Castros evolutionary heaven? Now, eight years older (high school age) and
sufficiently indoctrinated with the consensus view, Elian is a proud young member of the Communist
Youth Brigade (see New
York Times). He promised he will never let down the murderous Castro
dictators. Enough to make Forrest clap, cheer and stand in the aisle!
Sufficiently programmed, Gonzalez will have all the academic freedom he wants to be a good,
loyal communist on an island where alternative views are systematically excluded.
Maybe he can debate (with his professional academic freedom) controversial topics like whether an
annual pro-communist rally should be held on Fidels birthday or on Rauls.
See? Were only trying to alleviate the anxiety that is wearing Barbara Forrest down.
Why not take your services to a place where they would be appreciated?
After reading the anti-ID smear piece on New Scientist, take a refreshing
intellectual shower. Read John Wests piece on
Review celebrating the fact that neo-Darwinism is no longer a protected orthodoxy
in Bayou country. He explains what academic freedom is really all about.
If you agree, get to work against the Darwin-only-Darwin-only DODOs in your state.
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
Politics and Ethics
July 9, 2008 Science published a suite of papers analyzing data from
the first MESSENGER spacecraft flyby of Mercury.1 The flyby last January was
the first since Mariner 10 visited in the 1970s. Mariner 10 had left many questions
that are now being revisited. Among the dozen papers and articles, here are
three that discuss the most significant discoveries touching on Mercurys origin
MESSENGERs next flyby is October 6. After another flyby September 29, 2009,
the spacecraft reaches orbit around Mercury on March 18, 2011. The
MESSENGER home page
contains details on the mission and science goals, along with a gallery and summary
of findings (see the July
3 press release). Popular reports were posted on
Geographic and Space.com.
- Volcanoes: The volcanoes are officially real. Mariner had
left doubt whether the smooth plains and craters with flattened floors were produced
volcanically. Now, MESSENGER scientists have confirmed numerous cases of
intrusive and extrusive volcanism.2 Many impact craters and areas between
craters have been flooded with lava. In addition, small ghost craters
can be seen in some lava flows. The volume of lava in some craters is impressive.
Some flooded craters are hundreds of miles wide and 5 km deep. Grabens and
wrinkle ridges subsequent to the eruptions suggest that Mercurys surface
shrank subsequent to the planets formation. Overall, the volcanic
evidence on Mercury resembles that of earths moon.
- Craters: The interpretation of surface age by crater counts has continued
to be controversial, reported Strom et al in another paper.3
Crater-counters will need to take into consideration what they said:
Clusters of secondaries, seen in some higher-resolution Mariner 10 images,
were presumed to constitute a minor fraction of Mercurys smaller
craters. MESSENGER images suggest that secondary cratering is much more
important than had been thought, as exemplified by the many distinct chains
and clusters of craters radiating away from prominent, large, fresh impact
craters and basins.
Additional findings cast more doubt on the assumption
that craters signify how old things are. Some heavily-cratered plains appear
much younger than others which presumably formed during a hypothetical Late Heavy
Bombardment 3.5 billion years ago. In any event, the use of small
craters for dating of geological units on Mercury must be done with even greater
caution than is needed for other bodies. Why? Whereas
an older unit will tend to have more secondaries on it than a younger unit,
there cannot be the one-to-one correspondence of crater density with relative
or absolute age (as there is for primary craters) because of the temporally
and spatially nonuniform production of secondaries. If crater counts
are to have any age interpretation, it seems that each planet or moon will have
to have its own rules.
- Magnetic field: The fact that two rocky planets (Mercury and Earth)
have global magnetic fields, and the other two (Venus and Mars) do not remains puzzling.
Mariner 10 yielded the surprising result that Mercury has a coherent,
intrinsic magnetic field, Anderson et al stated in another paper.4
For a small, ancient, slow-spinning body to maintain a global field, when larger planets do not,
is a mystery. There has not been a statistically significant change in Mercurys magnetic
field strength since 1974.
The field seems predominately dipolar. How is it produced? The leading theory suggests
a stagnant layer at the top of the outermost molten core, where convection currents
might generate a dynamo. MESSENGER measurements are consistent with
this view. The field produces a sizeable magnetosphere, which was analyzed
by Slavin et al.5 Mercury is unique in having
a double magnetopause and multiple current sheets: This double MP signature had not been observed previously
at Mercury or any other planetary magnetosphere, they said. Perhaps the
reason is Mercurys unusual proximity to the sun and the solar wind.
The magnetosphere is immersed in a cloud of comet-like planetary ions that influence
the fields shape and behavior.
press release said, Researchers have been puzzled by
Mercurys field since its iron core should have cooled long ago and stopped
generating magnetism. Some researchers have thought that the field may have
been a relic of the past, frozen in the outer crust. The fact that the
field remains dipolar rules that out, and supports the view that were
seeing a modern dynamo. If so, the core is not solid as it should be
for a small planet after billions of years.
1. Solomon et al, Return to Mercury: A Global Perspective on
MESSENGERs First Mercury Flyby,
4 July 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5885, pp. 59-62, DOI: 10.1126/science.1159706.
2. Head et al, Volcanism on Mercury: Evidence from the First MESSENGER Flyby,
4 July 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5885, pp. 69-72, DOI: 10.1126/science.1159256.
3. Strom et al, Mercury Cratering Record Viewed from MESSENGERs First Flyby,
4 July 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5885, pp. 79-81, DOI: 10.1126/science.1159317.
4. Anderson et al, The Structure of Mercurys Magnetic Field from MESSENGERs First Flyby,
4 July 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5885, pp. 82-85, DOI: 10.1126/science.1159081.
5. Slavin et al, Mercurys Magnetosphere After MESSENGERs First Flyby,
4 July 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5885, pp. 85-89, DOI: 10.1126/science.1159040.
Interpretations are a dime a dozen, but raw data
from distant places are worth their weight in gold. Weve seen a remarkable
paradigm shift about crater count dating (09/25/2007,
10/20/2005). Space.com delivered the usual
assumption: Scientists will also be able to use variations in crater density
across the surface to date the sequence of geological events, it piped;
The longer a surface sits out there, the more cratered it becomes,
Solomon explained, so more cratered surfaces should be older formations.
Should be and Are are different words. If scientists cannot infer absolute
or relative dates, they cannot infer ages much at all. You just saw them admit
that secondary cratering went from minor to major concern, and greater caution must
be used in interpreting crater ages. This implies that they were not cautious
before when they made bold pronouncements about how old Mercury was. Their
readers should therefore exercise even greater caution.
Amazing Update: July 9: more evidence that all birds have superfast
muscles was published by Science
Daily. These muscles can move 100 times quicker than a human can blink an eye.
See the 09/08/2004 entry about doves. Quote:
By having these extraordinary muscles, birds have a more precise control of
their voice and can actively change the volume and frequency of their song faster
than previously thought physically possible.
Dont expect observations of remnant volcanism to provide any
stronger evidence for hidden epochs of time. A lot can happen in a short
time if the conditions are right. The presence of ghost craters hints that
very little time elapsed from the point eruptions began and craters were emplaced.
The only ones who need an old, old Mercury are the evolutionists. The
solar system is exempt from the requirements of their world view.
Next headline on:
Next headline on:
Feather Fossil Fallacy? 07/09/2008
July 9, 2008 Imprints of melanocytes have been found in fossil feathers.
What does this mean? The popular science news reports, like
PhysOrg and the
BBC News seem
convinced it can tell us something about how birds evolved from dinosaurs.
Understanding what was discovered requires sifting through claims that go far
beyond the evidence.
The Claims: The complex coloured plumage of extinct birds which once soared
over the heads of dinosaurs could soon be revealed (BBC). Artists
may now be able to paint dinosaurs and ancient birds and mammals in their true
colors, thanks to the discovery of pigment residues in fossilized feathers. (Live Science).
The traces of organic material found in fossil feathers are remnants of
pigments that once gave birds their color, according to Yale scientists whose
paper in Biology Letters opens up the potential to depict the original
coloration of fossilized birds and their ancestors, the dinosaurs (Science Daily).
Another Yale scientist remarked, Now that we have demonstrated that melanin
can be preserved in fossils, scientists have a way to reliably predict,
for example, the original colors of feathered dinosaurs (Live Science).
In other words, more imaginary feathers have been found, but this time on imaginary
dinosaurs (see 04/10/2006,
02/08/2006). The question no one seems
to be asking is, how could these delicate protein structures survive for over 100
million years? One of the co-authors of the paper simply stated that the
fact they exist proves that they are that old. Jakob Vinther stated flatly,
Understanding these organic remains in fossil feathers also demonstrates
that melanin can resist decay for millions of years.
What Was Found: The Yale scientists determined that some imprints of
carbon in the rock were not bacterial residues but traces of melanocytes
the cells that contain the pigment melanin. The protein melanin was thought
to degrade quickly, but carbon imprints of melanin were still identifiable in
color bands within the specimens. These were detected in a fossil of a striped
feather from Brazil (which evolutionists claim is 100 million years old), and
in a fossil of an Eocene bird from Denmark (claimed to be 55 million years old).
Both specimens were from birds. No dinosaur feathers were found.
Only the BBC News came close
to questioning the claim. Co-author Mike Benton was quoted asking,
But then how do you square that with the well-known fact that the majority
of organic molecules decay in thousands of years? His answer was
vague: Somehow [the melanosomes] are retained and replaced during
the preservation process and hence you preserve a very life like representation
of the colour banding.
In the end, no one questioned the age of the fossils.
The Yale team believe [sic] it could identify brown, red, buff and even iridescent colours,
the BBC reported. The technique may be applied to other creatures to
reveal the colour of fur or even eyes, the team believes. Benton did
offer one more clue that the result was astonishing: It might give you a very
clear handle on an aspect of the ecology that people would have thought impossible
to divine for an ancient fossil, he said.
The observation-to-assumption ratio in this story
was so low, that if it were a signal-to-noise ratio, you would hear mostly
static. Ask yourself a simple question. Up till now scientists respected
the well-known fact that organic molecules decay in mere thousands of
years. Doesnt the presence of organic molecules in fossils suggest the
slight possibility that the scientists are flat wrong about their dating, and
that the fossils are indeed mere thousands of years old?
Veteran of the neo-Darwinism wars recounts how the modern consensus was manufactured,
Read Ernst Mayrs comments and look for evidence for evolution
if you can find any.
Next headline on:
Its Networks All the Way Down 07/08/2008
July 9, 2008 New ways of seeing biology are finding life is full of networks.
At both ends of the complexity scale from humans to bacteria complex
interactions are the rule. Two teams studying different phenomena had the
same reaction astonishment.
Only in the last few years has networking become a biological buzzword.
Proteins form networks. Genes form networks. Neurons form networks.
Ecological members form networks. Networks are characterized not so much by
the nodes but by the relationships between the nodes. By nature they are
- Bottom-up complexity: Who would have thought one of the simplest
life forms has a more complex network of signaling molecules than man?
We were absolutely stunned, remarked Gerhard Manning, a bioinformatics researcher, at
the level of complexity in a network of tyrosine kinases in a single-celled
Daily said of the organism studied, Monosiga brevicollis,
It commands a signaling network more elaborate and diverse than found in
any multicellular organism higher up on the evolutionary tree, researchers at
the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have discovered.
Speaking of evolution, this organism was selected precisely because
of its evolutionary position. The choanoflagellates are thought to be basal
members of microbes about to evolve into multicellular animals. Imagine the
shock seeing network complexity at that level:
With all this new information, one obvious question remains unanswered:
what is a single-celled organism doing with all this communications gear?
We dont have a clue! says Manning, but this discovery is the
first step in finding out.
The article title was telling: Can You Hear Me Now? Primitive Single-Celled
Microbe Expert In Cellular Communication Networks.
- Top down complexity: This is your brain on diffusion imaging:
Review. A refined method of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that follows
water molecules as they move through neurons is allowing scientists to see, for
the first time, the network connections in the brain. The crude new views
of this non-invasive imaging technique have revealed a core region in the back
of the brain, reported Emily Singer, that seems to act as a central hub.
The number of connections within the hub as well as outside suggest an important
function. What goes on there? asked one of the neuroscientists
at Indiana University.
This imaging technique promises new looks at the complexity of the
human brain. Before, MRI and CAT scan images showed only shadows of the surfaces of
regions of the brain. Now, diffusion imaging promises to reveal the network
connections of the brains trillions of neurons. (Note: in the illustration,
multiple layers of complexity have been subtracted in order to focus on certain
features.) By comparing normal
brains to victims of autism and Alzheimers disease, researchers hope to
understand what went wrong in the network wiring in those debilitating conditions.
Singer called the newly-discovered
hub a kind of Grand Central Station. Even in a resting state, your hub is
a hubbub of traveling signals.
It was way too funny to see the Salk guys admit
they dont have a clue figuring out where a microbe got all that complex
communications gear. If they dont have a clue about what is right in
front of their eyes, what can we trust of their claims about the unobservable
Leaky Fat Blobs Produced Life 07/07/2008
Creation scientists might also have been stunned by
this discovery, but in a different way. They would be delighted with yet another
display of the Creators wisdom. Evolutionists, on the other hand,
are stunned with a tinge of dismay. Their delight in discovery is tempered
by an unexpected level of complexity in an organism that was supposed to primitive
and simple. Dumbstruck, they flounder about for an explanation of how it
could have evolved. That calls for a new word: theyre dumbfloundering.
Next headline on:
July 7, 2008 How life began remains an open question, said
David Deamer in Nature,1 then filled the opening
with a speculation: maybe life started in leaky blobs of fat.
The imaginary first primitive cells would have had a problem.
Without transport proteins that control entrances and exits, any lucky ingredients
that might have come together inside a primitive membrane might leak out. But if the membrane
was too protective, the inside molecules would be trapped. A model
of a primitive cell suggests that early membranes were surprisingly permeable,
the article subtitle teased. Indeed, a team writing in the same issue
published results of their laboratory simulations of an artificial vesicle that
allows small, organic nutrient molecules to pass through its membrane.
Would that solve the problems?
Deamer switched imaginary views to a primitive earth with volcanoes
popping out like acne. Thelocal conditions were far from equilibrium
a constant flux of energy drove organic reactions towards ever-increasing complexity,
he imagined. This would ultimately have yielded various polymeric products,
perhaps including prototypes of nucleic acids or proteins. Next, he
envisioned vast numbers of microscopic assemblies of molecules that
became enclosed in fatty bubbles. By chance, life emerged:
In this theory of the origins of life, each cell-like assembly had a
different composition from the next. Most were inert, but a few might
have contained a particular mixture of components that could be driven towards
further complexity by capturing energy and small nutrient molecules
from the environment the beginnings of a heterotrophic system.
As the nutrient molecules were transported into the internal compartment,
they became linked together into long chains in an energy-consuming process.
Life began when one or more of the assemblies found a way not only to grow, but
also to reproduce by incorporating a cycle involving catalytic functions and genetic information.
The leaps in that scenario are astonishing, but finally Deamer acknowledged a
problem: the membrane that forms the compartment of the putative cell is
also a permeability barrier. How to get nutrients inside for the
catalytic cycle, assuming it got going? He pointed to the work of Mansy et al
in the same issue.2 They experimented with
prefabricated vesicles that were able to selectively permit the passage of ribose
or nucleotides but exclude polymers. The researchers establish for the
first time that a simulated prebiotic protocell can work with an external source of reagents,
he said. a heterotrophic origin of primitive cellular life is feasible.3
In his closing paragraph, Deamer took a swipe at the strong minority
of origin-of-life researchers who believe life took hold in metabolic cycles before
cells emerged: Cells are the basic unit of all life today, and there is
increasing reason to think that the first form of life was a primitive version of a
cell, rather than a replicating molecule supported by a metabolic network.
1. David Deamer, Origins of life: How leaky were primitive cells?,
454, 37-38 (3 July 2008) | doi:10.1038/454037a.
2. Mansy et al, Template-directed synthesis of a genetic polymer in a model protocell,
454, 122-125 (3 July 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature07018.
3. Heterotroph (other-nourished) means an organism that lives off the nutrient
manufacture of others; i.e., humans are heterotrophs. Autotrophs (self-nourished)
organisms make their own food. Because autotrophs, like plants, require much
more complexity in order to harvest energy and make food, origin-of-life researchers
have preferred to believe that the first life-forms were heterotrophs. Though
the complexity gets divided up somewhat, it begs the question of how heterotrophs
obtained their required nutrients with no autotrophs around.
More powerful than a loco motive, leaping tall
conceptual hurdles with a single bound, faster than a speeding roulette,
Darwinist Reporter Calls Everyone a Hypocrite 07/06/2008
For more cartoons, stay tuned to the Nature channel.
Now, for a word from our sponsors. Do you sometimes feel like a fat blob?
Are you lacking energy and feeling lifeless? Heres a tip; jump into
a volcano. Thats right. The far-from-equilibrium conditions at the Volcano Mountain Health Spa
are sure to drive you toward higher degrees of complexity and fitness. It
will also improve your sex life. Youll find yourself growing and
reproducing in no time. Spend a few million years on our metabolic cycles and read
our magazines, filled with genetic information. Join today and get a free
cart load of our sugary snacks made of 100% pure ribose, just in from Death
If youre tired of cartoon re-runs (09/03/2004),
get some realistic intellectual nourishment at Creation-Evolution Headlines.
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
July 6, 2008 In a surprising show of journalistic hubris, reporter Robin Nixon of
Science accused every human being in the world of being a moral hypocrite.
Why Were All Moral Hypocrites reported results of a study by
Piercarlo Valdesolo at Northeastern University that indicated people tend to
judge themselves more leniently than others.
The article discussed moral instincts, moral behaviors and moral
decisions, and even said we are instinctively moral beings.
Yet all this morality was ascribed to the amoral processes of evolution:
The researchers speculate that instinctive morality results
from evolutionary selection for team players. Being fair,
they point out, strengthens mutually beneficial relationships and improves
our chances for survival.
Speak for yourself, Robin. This reporter
for one of the most egregious of the dogmatic-Darwin news sites has illustrated
profoundly illogical and unscientific behavior. She has just besmirched the character of all
gentle grandmothers praying for wayward children, all men of God in the pulpit,
all self-sacrificing parents, all missionaries, all doctors serving poor people
in third-world countries, and all honorable people everywhere by calling them
moral hypocrites. Is a guilty conscience here finding comfort in numbers?
Read about three body-blows against evolutionary theory back-to-back from 2003:
alarm at theories of the evolution of rape, from 07/18/2003,
rank speculation about predator-prey evolution, from 07/17/2003,
and serious doubts about the evolutionary potential of developmental genes, from
That evolutionists are never alarmed at damaging admissions like this is a measure of their intellectual lethargy.
Worse, she speaks nonsense by speaking of morality as a product of
evolution. If morality is only about self-survival, and if it bears no
reference to absolute standards of right and wrong, it is a meaningless word.
Not even survival can be called morally beneficial; death and extinction are equally
as meaningless as survival in Darwins universe. Who is to judge that
survival is a good thing? Who is there to pat the chimps on the back when they
act like team players and survive better?
is an oxymoron. The fact that this reporter innately knows right from wrong and makes moral
judgments herself refutes her claim that morals evolved. At least she admitted
that the researchers had nothing to back up that claim other than speculation.
Only the Biblical world view can defend the assertion that we are
moral beings, because it teaches moral absolutes rooted in the character of God
who created all things. And only the Biblical worldview can judge humans
as hypocritical. This hypocrisy, the result of sin, is curable through
Even thoughtful non-Christians should look at this article as
profoundly irrational. Can a contrived lab test on 85 individuals be
generalized to all of humanity, of all cultures and all times? What kind
of scientific reasoning is that? Robin should have been laughing at this
study, not praising it. In our culture, any stupid thing that a so-called
scientist publishes in some journal somewhere garners more presumptive authority
than something that a righteous man in the pulpit has to say from the word of God.
Hypocrisy is not limited to the occasional preacher who strays from the moral standard.
It applies also to those who speak vain words of morality while denying its
foundation. By indicting all humanity, this reporter indicts herself.
Her readers are therefore justifiably entitled to ignore anything she says,
including the assertion that morality evolved. How can we trust her word?
Shes a hypocrite, too unless she claims Yoda privileges, which make her
an exalted master looking in on the predicament of mankind from the outside.
But then, how could we know such a claim is not hypocritical?
Evolutionary theory offers no hope for hypocrisy, because whatever
moral instincts we have could only be part of a pointless, meaningless, inborn
nature; why fight it? The Bible offers forgiveness for hypocrisy
and a moral standard to which we can and should aspire, enabled by Gods Holy
Spirit (Romans 12).
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
Amazing Cell Tricks: Contour Map Navigation 07/05/2008
July 5, 2008 Watch a cell divide, and if things go well, it always divides
in the middle. How does a cell figure out where its middle is? It
follows its contour map. PhysOrg
titled its entry, Dividing cells find their middle by following a protein
Cell division, or cytokinesis, is a precisely-controlled operation
that is vital to all of life (see 12/28/2007).
Each molecule in the cell has to know its proper position during each stage,
and how to get there. For some molecules, crossing a cell is like navigating
a countryside over a long distance. Human navigators, we know, need a topo map printed out or software
or GPS. They also have to know where they are trying to go, and have sensory
equipment (eyes, kinesthetic sense) to gauge contour lines on a hill or valley.
How can a cell pull off this feat? They use periodically-placed signaling molecules
that act like beacons.
The team measured all over the cell the positions of important
sensory molecules involved in cell division. They detected a gradient
like the slope of a hill that was greatest at the center, where the site of cleavage
must be located. The proteins and enzymes that create the cleavage furrow are
thus able to sense the contours and arrive at the right spot to begin cleaving
the cell in two.
Wonderful stuff, that molecules are so precisely
choreographed that they can arrive in formation like band players on a football
field. The explanation was duly marvelous, but... it seems to beg the
question. What tells the signalling molecules where to go and where the
center is? If Dan found the mountaintop because Bob hollered to him from
the summit, how did Bob find it? Clearly more is going on than scientists have
thus far been able to figure out.
How to Tell an Evolutionary Story 07/04/2008
Next headline on:
July 4, 2008 Thanks to Science Daily,
we now know that Evolutionary Origin Of Mammalian Gene Regulation Is Over 150 Million Years Old.
The proof is easy. It is so easy, in fact, that no proof is necessary. One
can merely assume it is true. Trust them; they are scientists, after all.
Here is how the E word evolution was used in the article:
Apparently the members of the consortium felt it superfluous to explain how
the gene regulatory toolkit emerged through a random process of mutation and
selection. Science Daily was satisfied. It summarized the paper by
saying, Scientists ... have found that a complex, highly conserved and
extremely important mechanism of controlling genes is over 150 million years old.
- The findings, reported online in Nature Genetics, have provided new insights into the evolution of genomic or parental imprinting and epigenetic regulation in mammals.
- Imprinting is thought to have evolved because of genetic conflict that influences the allocation of resources from parents to offspring.
- The apparent absence of genomic imprinting in monotremes and presence in eutherians and marsupials suggests that imprinting has evolved at the boundary of monotremes and therians divergence.
- Interestingly, imprinting evolution paralleled the apparition of the placenta and implantation.
- Hence, it is possible that imprinting and placentation co-evolved in the therian ancestor.
- The next stage is to look for the IGF2-H19 locus in another branch of mammals evolution...
- Recent evidence suggests that therians diverged from the egg-laying monotremes like the platypus approximately 180 million years ago, and then split into the eutherian and marsupials infra-classes around 150 million years ago.
- Hence the ... consortium will concentrate its efforts in obtaining the sequence of the monotreme IGF2 locus to provide further insights into the imprinting evolution and the mysteries of gene regulation in these curious creatures which carry mammalian, bird-like and reptilian characteristics.
Evolution is such a wonderful story. It
explains everything. It conjures up such marvelous apparitions of mythical
worlds in the far distant past. Evolution is so versatile. It mixes things up rapidly but then
saves other things for 150 million years. Who would have ever thought up
such things. Arent you glad we have the shamans to comfort
us with their hidden wisdom? Think how hard life would be if we actually had
to think for ourselves.
Leaf Vein Patterns Are Not in Vain 07/03/2008
Next headline on:
July 3, 2008 The vein patterns in a leaf approach perfection. If the
requirement is to reach every cell with the shortest and most efficient paths,
leaves do it just right. A team of scientists at Cornell, inspired
by plant leaves, tried to build a network in a polymer substrate that would
maximize distribution of fluid with evaporation-driven flow. Their biomimetic leaf
couldnt improve on the real thing. Read all about it in
Next, they think the design principles they uncovered
will be useful for inventors. These scaling relations for evaporatively
driven flow through simple networks reveal basic design principles for the
engineering of evaporation–permeation-driven devices, and highlight the role of
physical constraints on the biological design of leaves.
1. Noblin et al, Optimal vein density in artificial and real leaves,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, published online before print July 1, 2008, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0709194105.
Dont you creationists try to latch onto this
story now. They said, The long evolution of vascular plants has resulted
in a tremendous variety of natural networks responsible for the evaporatively
driven transport of water. So clearly they believe in evolution.
This is merely an adaptation. Natural selection is up to the task.
Thats what natural selection does: adapts things to their environment.
It searches through all possibilities and finds the optimum solutions to natures
engineering problems. It tinkers with things until it gets them right.
Evolution has millions of years to work its magic. Given enough time, anything is
possible, even things that look like miracles. Evolution is smart.
Evolution is like... well, a god. Believe!
Remember all the claims that brain size revealed the path of human evolution? Did it occur
to anyone that quality might be more important than quantity? See the July 4th entry from six years ago
(07/04/2002) where that firework exploded. That month, also,
another ape-man shook up the family tree (again) on 07/11/2002.
With that much shaking going on, is there really a tree left? Trees can be extraordinarily
robust... in the imagination.
Next headline on:
Saturn Rings: F is for Flamboyant 07/02/2008
July 2, 2008 The Cassini spacecraft
just started its extended mission on July 1. Among its many achievements during the
four-year prime mission (2004-2008) was the elucidation of complex processes occurring
in Saturns rings. One ring in particular, the thin outlying F-ring,
attracted particular interest. Voyager scientists from the early 1980s could
hardly believe their eyes when separate strands of this narrow ring appeared to
braid around each other. Thanks to Cassini, a little more is known now,
but the discoveries are no less surprising.
A press release from JPL
last month announced the discovery of collisions within the F-ring. These
collisions, on the order of 30 meters per second, create some of the flamboyant features seen by the cameras: rapid
perturbations, spurs, grooves, gouges and fan-like structures that vary rapidly.
Large scale collisions happen in Saturns F ring almost daily,
said one of the authors of the paper in Nature,1
making it a unique place to study. We can now say that these
collisions are responsible for the changing features we observe there.
Interactions with the two shepherd moons, particularly Prometheus (the larger and
nearer one) also perturb the ringlets. Prometheus both incites violence in
the embedded moonlets, causing them to collide more frequently, and it gets
struck itself during its periodic close passages of the ring.
One detail strangely omitted from the reports is an estimation of
how long these processes could continue. Carl Murray said that
Saturns F ring is perhaps the most unusual and dynamic ring in the
solar system; it has multiple structures with features changing on a variety
of timescales from hours to years. But for a ring undergoing almost
daily collisions of its constituent moonlets, could this ephemeral ring
last for billions of years? No one in the popular reports was asking the question.
The original paper, however, noted that these processes could not last for long.
It is difficult to understand how the observed ~1 km-wide ring component
seen in some of the highest resolution images can survive in such a chaotic environment,
they said. Nonetheless, the evidence suggests not only that
it does, but also that it even maintains enough integrity to precess
uniformly; the only obvious mechanisms to prevent its destruction
are self-gravity and collisions. They left to future researchers
the need to make progress in understanding how self-gravity might work.
The authors placed an upper limit for the origin of the ring
at a million years a tiny fraction of the assumed
4.5-billion-year age of the solar system (and of Saturn itself). To save the
age of the system, they either had to presume a moon broke up in the vicinity of
the F-ring a million years ago,
or that the F-ring is balanced between forces of accretion and disruption.
The latter suggestion, however, does not take into account the brightness of the
ephemeral ring (which would have been darkened by dust pollution), nor other
disruptive processes, such as external bombardment and sunlight pressure, that would also
erode the ring over time.
printed a review of the surprises Cassini found at Saturn over the last four years.
1. Murray et al, The determination of the structure of Saturns F ring by nearby moonlets,
453, 739-744 (5 June 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06999.
Great. Now we can add another evidence that
the consensus age of the solar system is vastly overdrawn (see also last months
admission about Enceladus, 06/19/2008). You will notice
that the scientists have to keep adding ad-hoc rescuing devices to their paradigm in order to
maintain the 4.5-billion-year figure. Multiplying rescuing devices makes a
theory look bad. The straightforward interpretation is
that the rings are not so old. Thank you, Cassini, for adding impetus toward
another scientific revolution. Keeps gurus honest.
Can Psychology Figure Out Humans? 07/01/2008
Next headline on:
July 1, 2008 Psychology is often considered a soft science. Anything
they pronounce one year is likely to be modified or overturned the next.
A few years ago (and still in some quarters), self-esteem was all the rage
(now fading, though; see 05/12/2003).
We should be assertive and confident, we were told, and make our feelings known.
Two recent reports might place more value on self-restraint.
Last month Science
Daily reported, for instance, that its OK to keep your feelings to yourself.
Contrary to popular notions about what is normal or healthy,
new research has found that it is okay not to express ones thoughts and
feelings after experiencing a collective trauma, such as a school shooting or
terrorist attack. Many teachers and school counselors may feel a
jolt at that idea. Dont the psychological counselors rush in after
every disaster to help students express their feelings? Might it be possible
in some cases that such a response does more harm than good?
On July 1, a report on Science
Daily warned about the perils of overconfidence. A French psychologist
tested subjects with a computer game and tried to measure the effect of
overconfidence on their reactions. His research suggested a
pretty far-reaching conclusion: Overconfidence is not limited to the realm
of subjective beliefs and cognitive judgments but appears instead to reflect
a general characteristic of human decision making. Is such
a conclusion warranted by one little artificial test? Can psychologists
really find the sweet spot between underconfidence and overconfidence for
all possible personalities in all possible situations?
The usefulness of psychology as a science is
very limited. Some findings about memorization and learning methods
have value, but any time they try to generalize about human nature, psychologists
are right about as often as the proverbial broken clock. The field is
replete with discredited theories, contradictory speculations, and outright
scandals (Freud, Jung). Some of its teachings are indistinguishable from
those of cults. Who needs these guys?
The rational animal is far too complex for a science of the soul. If lab
rats under controlled conditions do what they darn well please (the Harvard Law),
how much more people who can choose to deceive and mislead a researcher?
There are no scientific laws in this field anything as rigorous as the law of
gravity. You are likely to have far better luck figuring out how to interact
with your fellow humans with good old folk psychology: the kind we learn growing
up. We learn by experience how to judge one anothers inner mental
states, to anticipate what they will say or do, to empathize with what they are
feeling. We assume, without proof, that our fellow humans are rational
entities, not just Pavlovian responders to neural states (see
06/21/2008, bullet 3), despite what the
cognitive neuroscientists tell us. In terms of
explanatory power and practical utility, folk psychology has a pretty impressive
track record over professional psychology. It is arguably just as scientific.
Best of all is to get your anthropology from the operators
manual. Only the Maker understands how humans are put together.
First, we need to get reconnected to the power source. The Bible says we
are like walking dead needing life, rebels needing to lay down our arms, fools in need of wisdom, sinners in need
of redemption (Romans
3). Christs sacrificial work, accepted by faith, pays our debt, resurrects us back to spiritual
life and imputes His righteousness to us. Then, the Bibles instruction manual, such as the
of Solomon and teachings of Jesus Christ (e.g.,
on the Mount but dont stop there) and the writings of Paul, James,
John and the other apostles are the textbook for living. The Bible is
loaded with real, practical principles on all aspects of life. It comes with
numerous case studies. No other source of soul-ology (psychology) has the
Creators imprint on it. Why would you go anywhere else? The sweet
spot for confidence is right there: Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight
Next headline on:
Scientist of the Month
Click on Apollos, the trusty|
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|Guide to Evolution
I have learned so much since discovering your site about 3 years ago.
I am a homeschooling mother of five and my children and I are just in wonder over
some the discoveries in science that have been explored on creation-evolution headlines.
The baloney detector will become a part of my curriculum during the next school year.
EVERYONE I know needs to be well versed on the types of deceptive practices used by
those opposed to truth, whether it be in science, politics, or whatever the subject.
(a homeschooling mom in Mississippi)
Just wanted to say how much I love your website. You present the truth
in a very direct, comprehensive manner, while peeling away the layers of propaganda
disguised as 'evidence' for the theory of evolution.
(a health care worker in Canada)
Ive been reading you daily for about a year now. Im extremely
impressed with how many sources you keep tabs on and I rely on you to keep my finger
on the pulse of the controversy now.
(a web application programmer in Maryland)
I would like to express my appreciation for your work exposing the Darwinist
assumptions and speculation masquerading as science.... When I discovered your site
through a link... I knew that I had struck gold! ....Your site has helped me to
understand how the Darwinists use propaganda techniques to confuse the public.
I never would have had so much insight otherwise... I check your site almost daily to
keep informed of new developments.
(a lumber mill employee in Florida)
I have been reading your website for about the past year or so.
You are [an] excellent resource. Your information and analysis is spot on, up to
date and accurate. Keep up the good work.
(an accountant in Illinois)
This website redefines debunking. Thanks for wading through the obfuscation
that passes for evolution science to expose the sartorial deficiencies of
Emperor Charles and his minions. Simply the best site of its kind, an
amazing resource. Keep up the great work!
(an engineer in Michigan)
I have been a fan of your daily news items for about two years, when a friend pointed
me to it. I now visit every day (or almost every day)... A quick kudo: You are
amazing, incredible, thorough, indispensable, and I could list another ten
superlatives. Again, I just dont know how you manage to comb so widely, in so many
technical journals, to come up with all this great news from science info.
(a PhD professor of scientific rhetoric in Florida and author of two books, who added that he was
awe-struck by this site)
Like your site especially the style of your comments.... Keep up the good work.
(a retired engineer and amateur astronomer in Maryland)
I really enjoy your website, the first I visit every day. I have a quote by Mark Twain which seems to me to describe the Darwinian philosophy of science perfectly.
There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
Working as I do in the Environmental field (I am a geologist doing groundwater contamination project management for a state agency) I see that kind of science a lot.
Keep up the good work!!
(a hydrogeologist in Alabama)
I visit your website regularly and I commend you on your work. I applaud your effort to pull actual science from the mass of propaganda for Evolution you report on (at least on those rare occasions when there actually is any science in the propaganda). I also must say that I'm amazed at your capacity to continually plow through the propaganda day after day and provide cutting and amusing commentary.... I can only hope that youthful surfers will stop by your website for a fair and interesting critique of the dogma they have to imbibe in school.
(a technical writer living in Jerusalem)
I have enjoyed your site for several years now. Thanks for all the hard work you obviously put into this. I appreciate your insights, especially the biological oriented ones in which I'm far behind the nomenclature curve. It would be impossible for me to understand what's going on without some interpretation. Thanks again.
(a manufacturing engineer in Vermont)
Love your site and your enormous amount of intellectualism and candor
regarding the evolution debate. Yours is one site I look forward to on
a daily basis. Thank you for being a voice for the rest of us.
(a graphic designer in Wisconsin)
For sound, thoughtful commentary on creation-evolution hot topics go to
(Access Research Network
Your website is simply the best (and Id dare say one of the most important) web sites on the entire WWW.
(an IT specialist at an Alabama university)
Ive been reading the articles on this website for over a year, and
Im guilty of not showing any appreciation. You provide a great service.
Its one of the most informative and up-to-date resources on creation available
anywhere. Thank you so much. Please keep up the great work.
(a senior research scientist in Georgia)
Just a note to thank you for your site. I am a regular visitor and I use your site
to rebut evolutionary "just so" stories often seen in our local media.
I know what you do is a lot of work but you make a difference and are appreciated.
(a veterinarian in Minnesota)
This is one of the best sites I have ever visited. Thanks.
I have passed it on to several others... I am a retired grandmother.
I have been studying the creation/evolution question for about 50 yrs....
Thanks for the info and enjoyable site.
(a retiree in Florida)
It is refreshing to know that there are valuable resources such as Creation-Evolution
Headlines that can keep us updated on the latest scientific news that affect our view of
the world, and more importantly to help us decipher through the rhetoric so carelessly
disseminated by evolutionary scientists. I find it Intellectually Satisfying
to know that I dont have to park my brain at the door to be a believer
or at the very least, to not believe in Macroevolution.
(a loan specialist in California)
I have greatly benefitted from your efforts. I very much look forward
to your latest posts.
(an attorney in California)
I must say your website provides an invaluable arsenal in this war for souls
that is being fought. Your commentaries move me to laughter or sadness.
I have been viewing your information for about 6 months and find it one of the best
on the web. It is certainly effective against the nonsense published on
Talkorigins.org. It great to see work that glorifies God and His creation.
(a commercial manager in Australia)
Visiting daily your site and really do love it.
(a retiree from Finland who studied math and computer science)
I am agnostic but I can never deny that organic life (except human) is doing a wonderful
job at functioning at optimum capacity. Thank you for this ... site!
(an evolutionary theorist from Australia)
During the year I have looked at your site, I have gone through your archives and
found them to be very helpful and informative. I am so impressed that I forward link
to members of my congregation who I believe are interested in a higher level discussion
of creationist issues than they will find at [a leading origins website].
(a minister in Virginia)
I attended a public school in KS where evolution was taught. I have
rejected evolution but have not always known the answers to some of the
questions.... A friend told me about your site
and I like it, I have it on my favorites, and I check it every day.
(an auto technician in Missouri)
Thanks for a great site! It has brilliant insights into the world of
science and of the evolutionary dogma. One of the best sites I know of on
(a programmer in Iceland)
The site you run creation-evolution headlines is
extremely useful to me. I get so tired of what passes
for science Darwinism in particular and I find your
site a refreshing antidote to the usual junk.... it is clear that your thinking and logic
and willingness to look at the evidence for what the
evidence says is much greater than what I read in what
are now called science journals.
Please keep up the good work. I appreciate what you
are doing more than I can communicate in this e-mail.
(a teacher in California)
Although we are often in disagreement, I have the greatest respect and admiration for your writing.
(an octogenarian agnostic in Palm Springs)
your website is absolutely superb and unique. No other site out
there provides an informed & insightful running critique of the current
goings-on in the scientific establishment. Thanks for keeping us informed.
(a mechanical designer in Indiana)
I have been a fan of your site for some time now. I enjoy reading the No Spin of what
is being discussed.... keep up the good work, the world needs to be shown just how little the scientist
[sic] do know in regards to origins.
(a network engineer in South Carolina)
I am a young man and it is encouraging to find a scientific journal on the side of creationism and intelligent design....
Thank you for your very encouraging website.
(a web designer and author in Maryland)
GREAT site. Your ability to expose the clothesless emperor in clear language is indispensable to
us non-science types who have a hard time seeing through the jargon and the hype. Your tireless efforts
result in encouragement and are a great service to the faith community. Please keep it up!
(a medical writer in Connecticut)
I really love your site and check it everyday. I also recommend it to everyone I can, because there is
no better website for current information about ID.
(a product designer in Utah)
Your site is a fantastic resource. By far, it is the most current, relevant and most frequently
updated site keeping track of science news from a creationist perspective. One by one, articles
challenging currently-held aspects of evolution do not amount to much. But when browsing the archives,
its apparent youve caught bucketfulls of science articles and news items that devastate
evolution. The links and references are wonderful tools for storming the gates of evolutionary paradise
and ripping down their strongholds. The commentary is the icing on the cake. Thanks for all your
hard work, and by all means, keep it up!
(a business student in Kentucky)
Thanks for your awesome work; it stimulates my mind and encourages my faith.
(a family physician in Texas)
I wanted to personally thank you for your outstanding website. I am intensely interested in any
science news having to do with creation, especially regarding astronomy. Thanks again for your GREAT
(an amateur astronomer in San Diego)
What an absolutely brilliant website you have. Its hard to express how uplifting it is for me
to stumble across something of such high quality.
(a pharmacologist in Michigan)
I want to make a brief commendation in passing of the outstanding job you did in rebutting the
thinking on the article: Evolution of Electrical Engineering
... What a rebuttal to end all rebuttals, unanswerable,
inspiring, and so noteworthy that was. Thanks for the effort and research you put into it.
I wish this answer could be posted in every church, synagogue, secondary school, and college/university...,
and needless to say scientific laboratories.
(a reader in Florida)
You provide a great service with your thorough coverage of news stories relating to the creation-evolution controversy.
(an elder of a Christian church in Salt Lake City)
I really enjoy your website and have made it my home page so I can check on your latest articles.
I am amazed at the diversity of topics you address. I tell everyone I can about your site and encourage them to
check it frequently.
(a business owner in Salt Lake City)
Ive been a regular reader of CEH for about nine month now, and I look forward to each new posting.... I enjoy the information CEH gleans from current events in science and hope you keep the service going.
(a mechanical engineer in Utah)
It took six years of constant study of evolution to overcome the indoctrination found in public schools of my youth. I now rely on your site; it helps me to see the work of God where I could not see it before and to find miracles where there was only mystery. Your site is a daily devotional that I go to once a day and recommend to everyone. I am still susceptible to the wiles of fake science and I need the fellowship of your site; such information is rarely found in a church.
Now my eyes see the stars God made and the life He designed and I feel the rumblings of joy as promised. When I feel down or worried my solution is to praise God the Creator Of All That Is, and my concerns drain away while peace and joy fill the void. This is something I could not do when I did not know (know: a clear and accurate perception of truth) God as Creator. I could go on and on about the difference knowing our Creator has made, but I believe you understand.
I tell everyone that gives me an opening about your site. God is working through you. Please dont stop telling us how to see the lies or leading us in celebrating the truth. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
(a renowned artist in Wyoming)
I discovered your site a few months ago and it has become essential reading via RSS to
(a cartographer and GIS analyst in New Zealand)
I love your site, and frequently visit to read both explanations of news reports,
and your humor about Bonny Saint Charlie.
(a nuclear safety engineer in Washington)
Your site is wonderful.
(a senior staff scientist, retired, from Arizona)
Ive told many people about your site. Its a tremendous service to
science news junkies not to mention students of both Christianity and
(a meteorology research scientist in Alabama)
...let me thank you for your Creation-Evolution Headlines. Ive been an avid reader of it since I first discovered your website about five years ago. May I also express my admiration for the speed with which your articles appearoften within 24 hours of a particular news announcement or journal article being published.
(a plant physiologist and prominent creation writer in Australia)
How do you guys do it--reviewing so much relevant material every day and writing incisive,
(a retired high school biology teacher in New Jersey)
Your site is one of the best out there! I really love reading your articles on creation evolution
headlines and visit this section almost daily.
(a webmaster in the Netherlands)
Keep it up! Ive been hitting your site daily (or more...).
I sure hope you get a mountain of encouraging email, you deserve it.
(a small business owner in Oregon)
Great work! May your tribe increase!!!
(a former Marxist, now ID speaker in Brazil)
You are the best. Thank you....
The work you do is very important.
Please dont ever give up. God bless the whole team.
(an engineer and computer consultant in Virginia)
I really appreciate your work in this topic, so you should never stop doing what you do,
cause you have a lot of readers out there, even in small countries in Europe, like Slovenia
is... I use crev.info for all my signatures on Internet forums etc., it really is fantastic site,
the best site! You see, we(your pleased readers) exist all over the world, so you must be
doing great work! Well i hope you have understand my bad english.
(a biology student in Slovenia)
Thanks for your time, effort, expertise, and humor. As a public school biology teacher I
peruse your site constantly for new information that will challenge evolutionary belief and share much
of what I learn with my students. Your site is pounding a huge dent in evolutions supposed
solid exterior. Keep it up.
(a biology teacher in the eastern USA)
Several years ago, I became aware of your Creation-Evolution Headlines web site.
For several years now, it has been one of my favorite internet sites. I many times check your
website first, before going on to check the secular news and other creation web sites.
I continue to be impressed with your writing and research skills, your humor,
and your technical and scientific knowledge and understanding. Your ability to cut through
the inconsequentials and zero in on the principle issues is one of the characteristics that
is a valuable asset....
I commend you for the completeness and thoroughness with which you provide
coverage of the issues. You obviously spend a great deal of time on this work.
It is apparent in ever so many ways.
Also, your background topics of logic and propaganda techniques have been useful
as classroom aides, helping others to learn to use their baloney detectors.
Through the years, I have directed many to your site. For their sake and mine,
I hope you will be able to continue providing this very important, very much needed, educational,
humorous, thought provoking work.
(an engineer in Missouri)
I am so glad I found your site. I love reading short blurbs about recent discoveries, etc,
and your commentary often highlights that the discovery can be interpreted in two differing ways,
and usually with the pro-God/Design viewpoint making more sense. Its such a refreshing difference
from the usual media spin. Often youll have a story up along with comment before the masses
even know about the story yet.
(a system administrator in Texas, who calls CEH the UnSpin Zone)
You are indeed the Rush Limbaugh Truth Detector of science falsely so-called.
Keep up the excellent work.
(a safety director in Michigan)
I know of no better way to stay
informed with current scientific research than to read your site everyday, which in turn has helped me understand
many of the concepts not in my area (particle physics) and which I hear about in school or in the media.
Also, I just love the commentaries and the baloney detecting!!
(a grad student in particle physics)
I thank you for your ministry. May God bless you! You are doing great job effectively
exposing pagan lie of evolution. Among all known to me creation ministries [well-known organizations listed]
Creationsafaris stands unique thanks to qualitative survey and analysis of scientific publications and news.
I became permanent reader ever since discovered your site half a year ago. Moreover your ministry is
effective tool for intensive and deep education for cristians.
(a webmaster in Ukraine, seeking permission to translate CEH articles into Russian to reach
countries across the former Soviet Union)
The scholarship of the editors is unquestionable. The objectivity of the editors is
admirable in face of all the unfounded claims of evolutionists and Darwinists. The amount
of new data available each day on the site is phenomenal (I cant wait to see the next new
article each time I log on). Most importantly, the TRUTH is always and forever the primary
goal of the people who run this website. Thank you so very much for 6 years of consistent
dedication to the TRUTH.
(11 months earlier): I just completed reading each entry from each month. I found your site about
6 months ago and as soon as I understood the format, I just started at the very first entry
and started reading.... Your work has blessed my education and determination to bold in
showing the unscientific nature of evolution in general and Darwinism in particular.
(a medical doctor in Oklahoma)
Thanks for the showing courage in marching against a popular unproven unscientific belief system.
I dont think I missed 1 article in the past couple of years.
(a manufacturing engineer in Australia)
I do not know and cannot imagine how much time you must spend to read, research and
compile your analysis of current findings in almost every area of science. But I do know
I thank you for it.
(a practice administrator in Maryland)
Since finding your insightful comments some 18 or more months ago, Ive
visited your site daily.... You
so very adeptly and adroitly undress the emperor daily; so much so one
wonders if he might not soon catch cold and fall ill off his throne! ....
To you I wish much continued success and many more years of fun and
frolicking undoing the damage taxpayers are forced to fund through
unending story spinning by ideologically biased scientists.
(an investment advisor in Missouri)
I really like your articles. You do a fabulous job of cutting through
the double-talk and exposing the real issues. Thank you for your hard
work and diligence.
(an engineer in Texas)
I love your site. Found it about maybe
two years ago and I read it every day. I love the closing comments in
green. You have a real knack for exposing the toothless claims of the
evolutionists. Your comments are very helpful for many us who dont know
enough to respond to their claims. Thanks for your good work and keep it
(a missionary in Japan)
I just thought Id write and
tell you how much I appreciate your headline list and commentary. Its
inspired a lot of thought and consideration. I check your listings every day!
(a computer programmer in Tulsa)
Just wanted to thank you for your creation/evolution news ... an outstanding educational
(director of a consulting company in Australia)
Your insights ... been some of the most helpful not surprising considering the caliber of
your most-excellent website! Im serious, ..., your website has to be the
best creation website out there....
(a biologist and science writer in southern California)
I first learned of your web site on March 29.... Your site has far exceeded my expectations and is
consulted daily for the latest. I join with other readers in praising your time and energy spent to educate,
illuminate, expose errors.... The links are a great help in understanding the news items.
The archival structure is marvelous.... Your site brings back dignity to Science conducted as it
should be. Best regards for your continuing work and influence. Lives are being changed and
sustained every day.
(a manufacturing quality engineer in Mississippi)
I wrote you over three years ago letting you know how much I enjoyed your Creation-Evolution headlines,
as well as your Creation Safaris site. I stated then that I read your headlines and commentary every day,
and that is still true! My interest in many sites has come and gone over the years, but your site is
still at the top of my list! I am so thankful that you take the time to read and analyze some of the
scientific journals out there; which I dont have the time to read myself. Your commentary is very,
very much appreciated.
(a hike leader and nature-lover in Ontario, Canada)
...just wanted to say how much I admire your site and your writing.
Youre very insightful and have quite a broad range of knowledge.
Anyway, just wanted to say that I am a big fan!
(a PhD biochemist at a major university)
I love your site and syndicate your content on my church website....
The stories you highlight show the irrelevancy
of evolutionary theory and that evolutionists have perpetual foot and
mouth disease; doing a great job of discrediting themselves. Keep up
the good work.
(a database administrator and CEH junkie in California)
I cant tell you how much I enjoy your article reviews on your
websiteits a HUGE asset!
(a lawyer in Washington)
Really, really, really a fantastic site. Your wit makes a razor appear dull!...
A million thanks for your site.
(a small business owner in Oregon and father of children who love your site too.)
Thank God for ... Creation
Evolution Headlines. This site is right at the cutting edge in the debate
over bio-origins and is crucial in working to undermine the
deceived mindset of naturalism. The arguments presented are unassailable
(all articles having first been thoroughly baloney detected) and the
narrative always lands just on the right side of the laymans comprehension
limits... Very highly recommended to all, especially, of course, to those who
have never thought to question the fact of evolution.
(a business owner in Somerset, UK)
I continue to note the difference between the dismal derogations of the
darwinite devotees, opposed to the openness and humor of rigorous, follow-the-evidence
scientists on the Truth side. Keep up the great work.
(a math/science teacher with M.A. in anthropology)
Your material is clearly among the best I have ever read on evolution problems!
I hope a book is in the works!
(a biology prof in Ohio)
I have enjoyed reading the sardonic apologetics on the Creation/Evolution Headlines section
of your web site. Keep up the good work!
(an IT business owner in California)
Your commentaries ... are always delightful.
(president of a Canadian creation group)
Im pleased to see... your amazing work on the Headlines.
(secretary of a creation society in the UK)
We appreciate all you do at crev.info.
(a publisher of creation and ID materials)
I was grateful for creationsafaris.com for help with baloney detecting. I had read about
the fish-o-pod and wanted to see what you thought. Your comments were helpful and encouraged me
that my own baloney detecting skill are improving. I also enjoyed reading your reaction
to the article on evolution teachers doing battle with students.... I will ask my girls to read your
comments on the proper way to question their teachers.
(a home-schooling mom)
I just want to express how dissapointed [sic] I am in your website. Instead of being objective, the
website is entirely one sided, favoring creationism over evolution, as if the two are contradictory....
Did man and simien [sic] evovlve [sic] at random from a common ancestor? Or did God guide this evolution?
I dont know. But all things, including the laws of nature, originate from God....
To deny evolution is to deny Gods creation. To embrace evolution is to not only embrace his creation,
but to better appreciate it.
(a student in Saginaw, Michigan)
I immensely enjoy reading the Creation-Evolution Headlines. The way you use words
exposes the bankruptcy of the evolutionary worldview.
(a student at Northern Michigan U)
...standing O for crev.info.
(a database programmer in California)
Just wanted to say that I am thrilled to have found your website! Although I
regularly visit numerous creation/evolution sites, Ive found that many of them do
not stay current with relative information. I love the almost daily updates to
your headlines section. Ive since made it my browser home page, and have
recommended it to several of my friends. Absolutely great site!
(a network engineer in Florida)
After I heard about Creation-Evolution Headlines,
it soon became my favorite Evolution resource site on the web. I visit several times a
day cause I cant wait for the next update. Thats pathetic, I know ...
but not nearly as pathetic as Evolution, something you make completely obvious with your snappy,
intelligent commentary on scientific current events. It should be a textbook for science
classrooms around the country. You rock!
(an editor in Tennessee)
One of the highlights of my day is checking your latest CreationSafaris creation-evolution news listing!
Thanks so much for your great work -- and your wonderful humor.
(a pastor in Virginia)
Thanks!!! Your material is absolutely awesome. Ill be using it in our Adult Sunday School class.
(a pastor in Wisconsin)
Love your site & read it daily.
(a family physician in Texas)
I set it [crev.info] up as my homepage. That way I am less likely to miss some really interesting events....
I really appreciate what you are doing with Creation-Evolution Headlines. I
tell everybody I think might be interested, to check it out.
(a systems analyst in Tennessee)
I would like to thank you for your service from which I stand to benefit a lot.
(a Swiss astrophysicist)
I enjoy very much reading your materials.
(a law professor in Portugal)
Thanks for your time and thanks for all the work on the site.
It has been a valuable resource for me.
(a medical student in Kansas)
Creation-Evolution Headlines is a terrific resource. The articles are
always current and the commentary is right on the mark.
(a molecular biologist in Illinois)
Creation-Evolution Headlines is my favorite
anti-evolution website. With almost giddy anticipation, I check
it several times a week for the latest postings. May God bless you and
empower you to keep up this FANTASTIC work!
(a financial analyst in New York)
I read your pages on a daily basis and I would like to let you know
that your hard work has been a great help in increasing my knowledge
and growing in my faith. Besides the huge variety of scientific
disciplines covered, I also enormously enjoy your great sense of humor
and your creativity in wording your thoughts, which make reading your
website even more enjoyable.
(a software developer in Illinois)
THANK YOU for all the work you do to make this wonderful resource! After
being regular readers for a long time, this year weve incorporated your
site into our home education for our four teenagers. The Baloney Detector
is part of their Logic and Reasoning Skills course, and the Daily Headlines
and Scientists of the Month features are a big part of our curriculum for an
elective called Science Discovery Past and Present. What a wonderful
goldmine for equipping future leaders and researchers with the tools of
(a home school teacher in California)
What can I say I LOVE YOU!
I READ YOU ALMOST EVERY DAY I copy and send out to various folks.
I love your sense of humor, including your politics and of course your faith.
I appreciate and use your knowledge What can I say THANK YOU
THANK YOU THANK YOU SO MUCH.
(a biology major, former evolutionist, now father of college students)
I came across your site while browsing through creation & science links. I love the work you do!
(an attorney in Florida)
Love your commentary and up to date reporting. Best site for evolution/design info.
(a graphic designer in Oregon)
I am an ardent reader of your site. I applaud your efforts and pass on
your website to all I talk to. I have recently given your web site info
to all my grandchildren to have them present it to their science
teachers.... Your Supporter and fan..God bless you all...
(a health services manager in Florida)
Why your readership keeps doubling: I came across your website at a time when I was just getting to know what creation science is all about. A friend of mine was telling me about what he had been finding out. I was highly skeptical and sought to read as many pro/con articles as I could find and vowed to be open-minded toward his seemingly crazy claims. At first I had no idea of the magnitude of research and information thats been going on. Now, Im simply overwhelmed by the sophistication and availability of scientific research and information on what I now know to be the truth about creation.
Your website was one of dozens that I found in my search. Now, there are only a handful of sites I check every day. Yours is at the top of my list... I find your news page to be the most insightful and well-written of the creation news blogs out there. The quick wit, baloney detector, in-depth scientific knowledge you bring to the table and the superb writing style on your site has kept me interested in the day-to-day happenings of what is clearly a growing movement. Your site ... has given me a place to point them toward to find out more and realize that theyve been missing a huge volume of information when it comes to the creation-evolution issue.
Another thing I really like about this site is the links to articles in science journals and news references. That helps me get a better picture of what youre talking about.... Keep it up and I promise to send as many people as will listen to this website and others.
(an Air Force Academy graduate stationed in New Mexico)
Im a small town newspaper editor in southwest Wyoming. Were pretty
isolated, and finding your site was a great as finding a gold mine. I read
it daily, and if theres nothing new, I re-read everything. I follow links.
I read the Scientist of the Month. Its the best site Ive run across. Our
local school board is all Darwinist and determined to remain that way.
(a newspaper editor in Wyoming)
have been reading your page for about 2 years or so....
I read it every day. I ...am well educated, with a BA in Applied Physics
from Harvard and an MBA in Finance from Wharton.
(a reader in Delaware)
I came across your website by accident about 4 months ago and look at it every day....
About 8 months ago I was reading a letter to the editor of the Seattle Times that was written
by a staunch anti-Creationist and it sparked my interest enough to research the
topic and within a week I was yelling, my whole lifes education has been a lie!!!
Ive put more study into Biblical Creation in the last 8 months than any other topic in my life.
Past that, through resources like your website...Ive been able to convince my father (professional mathematician and amateur geologist), my best friend (mechanical engineer and fellow USAF Academy Grad/Creation Science nutcase), my pastor (he was the hardest to crack), and many others to realize the Truth of Creation.... Resources like your website help the rest of us at the grassroots level drum up interest in the subject. And regardless of what the major media says: Creationism is spreading like wildfire, so please keep your website going to help fan the flames.
(an Air Force Academy graduate and officer)
I love your site! I **really** enjoy reading it for several specific reasons: 1.It uses the latest (as in this month!) research as a launch pad for opinion; for years I have searched for this from a creation science viewpoint, and now, Ive found it. 2. You have balanced fun with this topic. This is hugely valuable! Smug Christianity is ugly, and I dont perceive that attitude in your comments. 3. I enjoy the expansive breadth of scientific news that you cover. 4. I am not a trained scientist but I know evolutionary bologna/(boloney) when I see it; you help me to see it. I really appreciate this.
(a computer technology salesman in Virginia)
I love your site. Thats why I was more than happy to
mention it in the local paper.... I mentioned your site as the place
where..... Every Darwin-cheering news article is
reviewed on that site from an ID perspective. Then
the huge holes of the evolution theory are exposed,
and the bad science is shredded to bits, using real
(a project manager in New Jersey)
Ive been reading your site almost daily for about three years. I have
never been more convinced of the truthfulness of Scripture and the faithfulness of God.
(a system administrator and homeschooling father in Colorado)
I use the internet a lot to catch up on news back
home and also to read up on the creation-evolution controversy, one of my favourite topics.
Your site is always my first port of call for the latest news and views and I really appreciate
the work you put into keeping it up to date and all the helpful links you provide. You are a
beacon of light for anyone who wants to hear frank, honest conclusions instead of the usual diluted
garbage we are spoon-fed by the media.... Keep up the good work and know that youre changing lives.
(a teacher in Spain)
I am grateful to you for your site and look forward to reading new
stories.... I particularly value it for being up to date with what is going on.
(from the Isle of Wight, UK)
[Creation-Evolution Headlines] is the place to go for late-breaking
news [on origins]; it has the most information and the quickest turnaround.
Its incredible I dont know how you do it.
I cant believe all the articles you find. God bless you!
(a radio producer in Riverside, CA)
Just thought I let you know how much I enjoy
reading your Headlines section. I really appreciate
how you are keeping your ear to the ground in so
many different areas. It seems that there is almost
no scientific discipline that has been unaffected
by Darwins Folly.
(a programmer in aerospace from Gardena, CA)
I enjoy reading the comments on news articles on your site very much. It is incredible
how much refuse is being published in several scientific fields regarding evolution.
It is good to notice that the efforts of true scientists have an increasing influence at schools,
but also in the media.... May God bless your efforts and open the eyes of the blinded evolutionists
and the general public that are being deceived by pseudo-scientists.... I enjoy the site very much
and I highly respect the work you and the team are doing to spread the truth.
(an ebusiness manager in the Netherlands)
I discovered your site through a link at certain website...
It has greatly helped me being updated with the latest development in science and with
critical comments from you. I also love your baloney detector
and in fact have translated some part of the baloney detector into our language (Indonesian).
I plan to translate them all for my friends so as to empower them.
(a staff member of a bilateral agency in West Timor, Indonesia)
...absolutely brilliant and inspiring.
(a documentary film producer, remarking on the
I found your site several months ago and within weeks
had gone through your entire archives.... I check in several times a day for further
information and am always excited to read the new
articles. Your insight into the difference between
what is actually known versus what is reported has
given me the confidence to stand up for what I
believe. I always felt there was more to the story,
and your articles have given me the tools to read
through the hype....
You are an invaluable help and I commend your efforts.
Keep up the great work.
(a sound technician in Alberta)
I discovered your site (through a link from a blog) a few weeks ago and I cant stop reading it....
I also enjoy your insightful and humorous commentary at the end of each story. If the evolutionists
blindness wasnt so sad, I would laugh harder.
I have a masters degree in mechanical engineering from a leading University. When I read the descriptions, see the pictures, and watch the movies of the inner workings of the cell, Im absolutely amazed.... Thanks for bringing these amazing stories daily. Keep up the good work.
(an engineer in Virginia)
I stumbled across your site several months ago and have
been reading it practically daily. I enjoy the inter-links
to previous material as well as the links to the quoted
research. Ive been in head-to-head debate with a
materialist for over a year now. Evolution is just one of
those debates. Your site is among others that have been a
real help in expanding my understanding.
(a software engineer in Pennsylvania)
I was in the April 28, 2005 issue of Nature [see 04/27/2005
story] regarding the rise of intelligent design in the universities. It was through your website
that I began my journey out of the crisis of faith which was mentioned in that article. It was an honor to see you all highlighting the article in Nature. Thank you for all you have done!
(Salvador Cordova, George Mason University)
I shudder to think of the many ways in which you mislead readers, encouraging them to build a faith based on misunderstanding and ignorance. Why dont you allow people to have a faith that is grounded in a fuller understanding of the world?...
Your website is a sham.
(a co-author of the paper reviewed in the 12/03/2003
entry who did not appreciate the unflattering commentary. This led to a cordial
interchange, but he could not divorce his reasoning from the science vs. faith dichotomy,
and resulted in an impasse over definitions but, at least, a more mutually respectful dialogue.
He never did explain how his paper supported Darwinian macroevolution. He just claimed
evolution is a fact.)
I absolutely love creation-evolution news. As a Finnish university student very
interested in science, I frequent your site to find out about all the new science
stuff thats been happening you have such a knack for finding all this
information! I have been able to stump evolutionists with knowledge gleaned from
your site many times.
(a student in Finland)
I love your site and read it almost every day. I use it for my science class and
5th grade Sunday School class. I also challenge Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers to
get on the site to check out articles against the baloney they are taught in school.
(a teacher in Los Gatos, CA)
I have spent quite a few hours at Creation Evolution Headlines in the past week
or so going over every article in the archives. I thank you for such an informative
and enjoyable site. I will be visiting often and will share this link with others.
[Later] I am back to May 2004 in the archives. I figured I should be farther
back, but there is a ton of information to digest.
(a computer game designer in Colorado)
The IDEA Center also highly recommends visiting Creation-Evolution Headlines...
the most expansive and clearly written origins news website on the internet!
(endorsement on Intelligent Design and Evolution
Check out this site: www.creationsafaris.com.
This is a fantastic resource for the whole family.... a fantastic reference library with summaries,
commentaries and great links that are added to
dailyarchives go back five years.
(a reader who found us in Georgia)
I just wanted to drop you a note telling you that at www.BornAgainRadio.com,
Ive added a link to your excellent Creation-Evolution news site.
(a radio announcer)
I cannot understand
why anyone would invest so much time and effort to a website of sophistry and casuistry.
Why twist Christian apology into an illogic pretzel to placate your intellect?
Isnt it easier to admit that your faith has no basis -- hence, faith.
It would be extricate [sic] yourself from intellectual dishonesty -- and
from bearing false witness.
Sincerely, Rev. [name withheld] (an ex-Catholic, apostate Christian Natural/Scientific pantheist)
Just wanted to let you folks know that we are consistent readers and truly appreciate
the job you are doing. God bless you all this coming New Year.
(from two prominent creation researchers/writers in Oregon)
Thanks so much for your site! It is brain candy!
(a reader in North Carolina)
I Love your site probably a little too much. I enjoy the commentary
and the links to the original articles.
(a civil engineer in New York)
Ive had your Creation/Evolution Headlines site on my favourites list for
18 months now, and I can truthfully say that its one of the best on the Internet,
and I check in several times a week. The constant stream of new information on
such a variety of science issues should impress anyone, but the rigorous and
humourous way that every thought is taken captive is inspiring. Im pleased
that some Christians, and indeed, some webmasters, are devoting themselves to
producing real content that leaves the reader in a better state than when they found him.
(a community safety manager in England)
I really appreciate the effort that you are making to provide the public with
information about the problems with the General Theory of Evolution. It gives me
ammunition when I discuss evolution in my classroom. I am tired of the evolutionary
dogma. I wish that more people would stand up against such ridiculous beliefs.
(a science teacher in Alabama)
If you choose to hold an opinion that flies in the face of every piece of evidence
collected so far, you cannot be suprised [sic] when people dismiss your views.
(a former Christian software distributor, location not disclosed)
...the Creation Headlines is the best. Visiting your site...
is a standard part of my startup procedures every morning.
(a retired Air Force Chaplain)
I LOVE your site and respect the time and work you put into it. I read
the latest just about EVERY night before bed and send selection[s] out to others and
tell others about it. I thank you very much and keep up the good work (and
(a USF grad in biology)
Answering your invitation for thoughts on your site is not difficult because
of the excellent commentary I find. Because of the breadth and depth of erudition
apparent in the commentaries, I hope Im not being presumptuous in suspecting
the existence of contributions from a Truth Underground comprised of
dissident college faculty, teachers, scientists, and engineers. If thats
not the case, then it is surely a potential only waiting to be realized. Regardless,
I remain in awe of the care taken in decomposing the evolutionary cant that bombards
us from the specialist as well as popular press.
(a mathematician/physicist in Arizona)
Im from Quebec, Canada. I have studied in pure sciences and after in actuarial mathematics.
Im visiting this site 3-4 times in a week. Im learning a lot and this site gives me the opportunity to realize that this is a good time to be a creationist!
(a French Canadian reader)
I LOVE your Creation Safari site, and the Baloney Detector material.
(a reader in the Air Force)
You have a unique position in the Origins community.
Congratulations on the best current affairs news source on the origins net.
You may be able to write fast but your logic is fun to work through.
(a pediatrician in California)
Visit your site almost daily and find it very informative, educational and inspiring.
(a reader in western Canada)
I wish to thank you for the information you extend every day on your site.
It is truly a blessing!
(a reader in North Carolina)
I really appreciate your efforts in posting to this website. I find
it an incredibly useful way to keep up with recent research (I also check science
news daily) and also to research particular topics.
(an IT consultant from Brisbane, Australia)
I would just like to say very good job with the work done here,
very comprehensive. I check your site every day. Its great
to see real science directly on the front lines, toe to toe with the
pseudoscience that's mindlessly spewed from the prestigious
(a biology student in Illinois)
Ive been checking in for a long time but thought Id leave you a
note, this time. Your writing on these complex topics is insightful,
informative with just the right amount of humor. I appreciate the hard
work that goes into monitoring the research from so many sources and then
writing intelligently about them.
(an investment banker in California)
Keep up the great work. You are giving a whole army of Christians
plenty of ammunition to come out of the closet (everyone else has).
Most of us are not scientists, but most of the people we talk to are not
scientists either, just ordinary people who have been fed baloney
for years and years.
(a reader in Arizona)
Keep up the outstanding work!
You guys really ARE making a difference!
(a reader in Texas)
I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say that science is not
hostile towards religion. It is the dogmatically religious that are
unwaveringly hostile towards any kind of science which threatens their
dearly-held precepts. Science (real, open-minded science) is not
interested in theological navel-gazing.
Note: Please supply your name and location when writing in. Anonymous attacks
only make one look foolish and cowardly, and will not normally be printed.
This one was shown to display a bad example.
I appreciate reading your site every day. It is a great way to keep
up on not just the new research being done, but to also keep abreast of the
evolving debate about evolution (Pun intended).... I find it an incredibly useful
way to keep up with recent research (I also check science news daily) and also
to research particular topics.
(an IT consultant in Brisbane, Australia)
I love your website.
(a student at a state university who used CEH when
writing for the campus newsletter)
....when you claim great uncertainty for issues that are fairly
well resolved you damage your already questionable credibility.
Im sure your audience loves your ranting, but if you know as much
about biochemistry, geology, astronomy, and the other fields you
skewer, as you do about ornithology, you are spreading heat, not
(a professor of ornithology at a state university, responding to
the 09/10/2002 headline)
I wanted to let you know I appreciate your headline news style of
exposing the follies of evolutionism.... Your style gives us constant,
up-to-date reminders that over and over again, the Bible creation account
is vindicated and the evolutionary fables are refuted.
(a reader, location unknown)
You have a knack of extracting the gist of a technical paper,
and digesting it into understandable terms.
(a nuclear physicist from Lawrence Livermore Labs who worked
on the Manhattan Project)
After spending MORE time than I really had available going thru
your MANY references I want to let you know how much I appreciate
the effort you have put forth.
The information is properly documented, and coming from
recognized scientific sources is doubly valuable. Your
explanatory comments and sidebar quotations also add GREATLY
to your overall effectiveness as they 1) provide an immediate
interpretive starting point and 2) maintaining the readers
(a reader in Michigan)
I am a huge fan of the site, and check daily for updates.
(reader location and occupation unknown)
I just wanted to take a minute to personally thank-you and let
you know that you guys are providing an invaluable service!
We check your Web site weekly (if not daily) to make sure we have
the latest information in the creation/evolution controversy.
Please know that your diligence and perseverance to teach the
Truth have not gone unnoticed. Keep up the great work!
(a PhD scientist involved in origins research)
You've got a very useful and informative Web site going.
The many readers who visit your site regularly realize that it
requires considerable effort to maintain the quality level and
to keep the reviews current.... I hope you can continue your
excellent Web pages. I have recommended them highly to others.
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)
As an apprentice apologist, I can always find an article
that will spark a spirited debate. Keep em
coming! The Truth will prevail.
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)
Thanks for your web page and work. I try to drop by
at least once a week and read what you have. Im a
Christian that is interested in science (Im a mechanical
engineer) and I find you topics interesting and helpful.
I enjoy your lessons and insights on Baloney Detection.
(a year later):
I read your site 2 to 3 times a week; which Ive probably done for a couple
of years. I enjoy it for the interesting content, the logical arguments, what I can
learn about biology/science, and your pointed commentary.
(a production designer in Kentucky)
I look up CREV headlines every day. It is a wonderful
source of information and encouragement to me.... Your gift of
discerning the fallacies in evolutionists interpretation of
scientific evidence is very helpful and educational for me.
Please keep it up. Your website is the best I know of.
(a Presbyterian minister in New South Wales, Australia)
Ive written to you before, but just wanted to say again
how much I appreciate your site and all the work you put into it.
I check it almost every day and often share the contents
(and web address) with lists on which I participate.
I dont know how you do all that you do, but I am grateful
for your energy and knowledge.
(a prominent creationist author)
I am new to your site, but I love it! Thanks for updating
it with such cool information.
(a home schooler)
I love your site.... Visit every day hoping for another of your
brilliant demolitions of the foolish just-so stories of those
who think themselves wise.
(a reader from Southern California)
I visit your site daily for the latest news from science journals and other media,
and enjoy your commentary immensely. I consider your web site to be the
most valuable, timely and relevant creation-oriented site on the internet.
(a reader from Ontario, Canada)
Keep up the good work! I thoroughly enjoy your site.
(a reader in Texas)
Thanks for keeping this fantastic web site going. It is very
informative and up-to-date with current news including incisive
(a reader in North Carolina)
Great site! For all the Baloney Detector is impressive and a
great tool in debunking wishful thinking theories.
(a reader in the Netherlands)
Just wanted to let you know, your work is having quite an impact.
For example, major postings on your site are being circulated among the
Intelligent Design members....
(a PhD organic chemist)
opening a can of worms ... I love to click all the related links and
read your comments and the links to other websites, but this usually makes me late
for something else. But its ALWAYS well worth it!!
(a leader of a creation group)
I am a regular visitor to your website ... I am impressed
by the range of scientific disciplines your articles address.
I appreciate your insightful dissection of the often unwarranted conclusions
evolutionists infer from the data... Being a medical
doctor, I particularly relish the technical detail you frequently include in
the discussion living systems and processes. Your website continually
reinforces my conviction that if an unbiased observer seeks a reason for the
existence of life then Intelligent Design will be the unavoidable
(a medical doctor)
A church member asked me what I thought was the best creation web site.
I told him CreationSafaris.com.
(a PhD geologist)
I love your site... I check it every day for interesting
information. It was hard at first to believe in Genesis fully, but
now I feel more confident about the mistakes of humankind and that all
their reasoning amounts to nothing in light of a living God.
(a college grad)
Thank you so much for the interesting science links and comments
on your creation evolution headlines page ... it is very
(a reader from Scottsdale, AZ)
visit your site almost every day, and really enjoy it. Great job!!!
(I also recommend it to many, many students.)
(an educational consultant)
I like what I seevery
much. I really appreciate a decent, calm and scholarly approach to the
whole issue... Thanks ... for this fabulous
It is refreshing to read your comments. You have a knack to get to the heart of
(a reader in the Air Force).
Love your website. It has well thought out structure and will help many
through these complex issues. I especially love the
I believe this is one of the best sites on the Internet.
I really like your side-bar of truisms.
Yogi [Berra] is absolutely correct. If I were a man of wealth, I would
support you financially.
(a registered nurse in Alabama, who found
us on TruthCast.com.)
WOW. Unbelievable.... My question is, do you sleep? ... Im utterly
impressed by your page which represents untold amounts of time and energy
as well as your faith.
(a mountain man in Alaska).
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. Ill also do my part to help publicize
your site among college students. Keep up the good work. Your
material is appreciated and used.
(a college campus minister)
Featured Creation Scientist for July
1627 - 1705
He has been called the Father of British Natural History. He influenced
Linnaeus, John Wesley and William Paley. He compiled a monumental catalog of plants
through his own field work, and was the greatest authority of his day in both
botany and zoology. And one of his great works was titled,
The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of the Creation.
John Ray (also spelled Wray) was the son of a poor blacksmith. He had to work his way
through college at Cambridge. Though he studied for the ministry, and became
an accomplished preacher, his childhood love of plants and animals, nurtured by
his mother, directed him toward a career goal of studying the handiwork of God in the
world of living things. Dan Graves said of him,
John Ray felt that if man were placed on earth to mirror back to God the
glory of all His works, then he ought to take notice of every created thing.
With the help of a friend, John Ray set out to catalog all the plants of Britain.
The friend died early, but Ray kept up the project, eventually publishing a catalog
of 18,600 plants. His systematic encyclopedia was without peer in its day,
though the work of Linnaeus soon overshadowed it. It was Ray who divided the
plants into the monocots and dicots. Along with Robert Boyle,
he helped found the Royal Society of London.
John Ray was interested in all the works of God. In addition to his
botanical studies, he also wrote on English folklore
and proverbs, and on metals, birds and fish. Throughout his life he marveled
at the wonders of Gods creation and expressed delight in whatever he
discovered. He believed in the fixity of species. He opposed the
Deistic views of Descartes and others on the Continent. Even during extreme
illness in his later years, he carried on his work. His daughters brought
specimens to him so he could continue.
Darwins Origin was 152 years into the future at the time of John Rays
death. One can only speculate what John Ray would have thought of the idea that
plants emerged without design by an impersonal, aimless process. It is doubtful
he would have endured such nonsense. Post-Enlightenment moderns
might argue that John Ray was a Christian and creationist only because everybody
was at that time. That argument, however, cuts both ways. Could it not be
asserted that todays scientists are similarly products of their secularist culture?
In addition, John Rays story defeats the myth that Christian faith is a
detriment to science. It was Rays confidence in the Word of God and its
account of creation that impelled him to spend years observing and collecting and
cataloging specimens. Finally, to attribute Rays views to his culture
does a huge dishonor to a great natural philosopher. Who could deny that he
believed it with all his heart when he said,
There is for a free man no occupation more worthy and delightful than to
contemplate the beauteous works of nature and honor the infinite wisdom and goodness of God.
If you are enjoying this series, you can
learn more about great Christians in science by reading
our online book-in-progress:
The Worlds Greatest
Creation Scientists from Y1K to Y2K.
A Concise Guide|
You can observe a lot by just watching.
First Law of Scientific Progress
The advance of science can be measured by the rate at which exceptions to previously held laws accumulate.
1. Exceptions always outnumber rules.
2. There are always exceptions to established exceptions.
3. By the time one masters the exceptions, no one recalls the rules to which they apply.
Nature will tell you a direct lie if she can.
So will Darwinists.
Science is true. Dont be misled by facts.
Finagles 2nd Law
No matter what the anticipated result, there
will always be someone eager to (a) misinterpret it, (b) fake it, or (c)
believe it happened according to his own pet theory.
3. Draw your curves, then plot your data.
4. In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
6. Do not believe in miracles rely on them.
Murphys Law of Research
Enough research will tend to support your theory.
If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
1. The bigger the theory, the better.
2. The experiments may be considered a success if no more than 50%
of the observed measurements must be discarded to obtain a correspondence
with the theory.
The number of different hypotheses erected to explain a given biological phenomenon
is inversely proportional to the available knowledge.
All great discoveries are made by mistake.
The greater the funding, the longer it takes to make the mistake.
The solution to a problem changes the nature of the problem.
Peters Law of Evolution
Competence always contains the seed of incompetence.
An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.
Repetition does not establish validity.
What really matters is the name you succeed in imposing on the facts not the facts themselves.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
Thumbs Second Postulate
An easily-understood, workable falsehood is more useful than a complex, incomprehensible truth.
There is nothing so small that it cant be blown out of proportion
Hawkins Theory of Progress
Progress does not consist in replacing a theory that is
wrong with one that is right. It consists in replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is
more subtly wrong.
The best theory is not ipso facto a good theory.
Error is often more earnest than truth.
Advice from Paul|
Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle
babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge by
professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.
I Timothy 6:20-21
Song of the True Scientist
O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made
them all. The earth is full of Your possessions . . . . May the glory of the Lord endure forever. May the
Lord rejoice in His works . . . . I will sing to the Lord s long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my
being. May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord. May sinners be
consumed from the earth, and the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!
from Psalm 104
Through the creatures Thou hast made
Show the brightness of Thy glory.
Be eternal truth displayed
In their substance transitory.
Till green earth and ocean hoary,
Massy rock and tender blade,
Tell the same unending story:
We are truth in form arrayed.
Teach me thus Thy works to read,
That my faith, new strength accruing
May from world to world proceed,
Wisdoms fruitful search pursuing
Till, thy truth my mind imbuing,
I proclaim the eternal Creed
Oft the glorious theme renewing,
God our Lord is God indeed.
James Clerk Maxwell
One of the greatest physicists
of all time (a creationist).
Disclaimer: Creation-Evolution Headlines includes links
to many external sites, but takes no responsibility for the
accuracy or legitimacy of their content. Inclusion of an
external link is strictly for the readers convenience,
and does not necessarily constitute endorsement of
the material or its authors, owners, or sponsors.|