Creation-Evolution Headlines
March 2009
Darwin quote

“The essence of the theory of evolution is the hypothesis that historical diversity is the consequence of natural selection acting on variations.  Regardless of the verity it holds for explaining biohistory, it offers no help to the experimenter—who is concerned, for example, with the goal of finding or synthesizing a new antibiotic, or how it can disable a disease-producing organism, what dosages are required and which individuals will not tolerate it.  Studying biohistory is, at best, an entertaining distraction from the goals of a working biologist.”
—Dr. Phillip S. Skell, “The Dangers of Overselling Evolution,” Forbes 2/23/2009.

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Envying the Tooth of the Sea Urchin   03/31/2009    
March 31, 2009 — Did you know the lowly sea urchin has a tooth?  It’s not just any tooth: it’s “a remarkable grinding tool,” according to a team of international scientists.  They even used the word “exquisite” in the title of their paper in PNAS.1  Humans might benefit from knowing more about this tool.  “The improved understanding of these structural features,” they said, “could lead to the design of better mechanical grinding and cutting tools.
    The sea urchin “tooth” is not really a tooth, but a hard rod with a serrated edge used for crushing the animal’s food (see description at Univ. of Wisconsin about the work of Pupa Gilbert, one of the co-authors).  The urchin tooth, which grinds down hard limestone, has the hardness of teeth in higher animals.  “Even though the tooth is composed almost entirely of calcite, it is used to grind holes into a rocky substrate itself often composed of calcite,” the abstract from the paper reads.  It continues—

Here, we use 3 complementary high-resolution tools to probe aspects of the structure of the grinding tip: X-ray photoelectron emission spectromicroscopy (X-PEEM), X-ray microdiffraction, and NanoSIMS.  We confirm that the needles and plates are aligned and show here that even the high Mg [magnesium] polycrystalline matrix constituents are aligned with the other 2 structural elements when imaged at 20-nm resolution.  Furthermore, we show that the entire tooth is composed of 2 cooriented polycrystalline blocks that differ in their orientations by only a few degrees.  A unique feature of the grinding tip is that the structural elements from each coaligned block interdigitate.  This interdigitation may influence the fracture process by creating a corrugated grinding surface.  We also show that the overall Mg content of the tooth structural elements increases toward the grinding tip.  This probably contributes to the increasing hardness of the tooth from the periphery to the tip.  Clearly the formation of the tooth, and the tooth tip in particular, is amazingly well controlled.
The slight misalignment and interdigitation appears to provide a functional advantage, they found.  It provides a corrugated edge that fractures along its cleavage planes so as not to fracture the tooth but actually sharpen it as it cuts.  “We also note that in this model, the edges of the individual plates would remain anatomically sharp due to cleavage along the {104} planes, and the cleavage would probably not propagate through the whole tooth tip because of the small misalignment between neighboring plates.”  In other words, even the apparent misalignment has a function.  They said, in conclusion,
The mature sea urchin tooth possesses incredible structural and compositional complexity.  Here, we show the presence of crystalline blocks composed of 3 different coaligned elements: needles, plates, and polycrystalline matrix.  We also show that the tip, and presumably the whole tooth, is composed essentially of 2 such coaligned blocks that differ in their orientations by [less than] 6°.  The blocks are also interdigitated in the tip.  Furthermore, the Mg concentrations increase toward the center of the tooth tip.  We propose that all of these features contribute to the grinding capability of the tooth.  A deep understanding of the structural design features of the tooth tip sheds light on the manner in which one crystalline phase, calcite, can be tailored to fulfill grinding and self-sharpening functions that enable the tooth to be used to grind holes into a substrate that is also composed only of calcite.  Much can be learned from the sea urchin tooth that can be applied to the development of improved grinding and cutting tools.

1.  Ma, Aichmeyer, Paris, Fratzl, Meibom, Metzler, Politi, Addadi, Gilbert and Weiner, “The grinding tip of the sea urchin tooth exhibits exquisite control over calcite crystal orientation and Mg distribution,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, published online before print March 30, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0810300106.
All together, everyone: how much was said about evolution in this paper?  ZILCH!  Instead, they used the D word design: they wanted to gain a “deep understanding of the structural design features” of this “exquisite” grinding tool to learn how we might tailor our own bottom-up nanofabrication of crystals to fulfill functions useful to us.  This paper had intelligent design all over it – in the research, in the understanding, and in the application.  Show this to your biology teacher and tell him or her that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of design.”
Next headline on:  Marine BiologyBiomimeticsIntelligent DesignAmazing Facts
  How a spider can rappel without getting dizzy: 03/29/2006.

Natural Selection Studies Based on Bad Statistics   03/30/2009    
March 30, 2009 — Hundreds of studies claiming to show natural selection may be wrong, say scientists from Penn State and Japan.  PhysOrg reported today that “several statistical methods commonly used by biologists to detect natural selection at the molecular level tend to produce incorrect results.”  Many studies of human evolution have relied on these flawed methods.  If the methods were wrong, the conclusions are unreliable.  “Of course, we would never say that natural selection is not happening, but we are saying that these statistical methods can lead scientists to make erroneous inferences,” said Masatoshi Nei (Penn State), the leader of the analysis.
    Associating natural selection with genetic changes that result in a different amino acid being substituted in a protein is a dubious assumption.  “Actually, the majority of amino acid substitutions do not lead to functional changes, and the adaptive change of a protein often occurs by a rare amino acid substitution,” Nei said.  “For this reason, statistical methods may give erroneous conclusions.
    The authors re-examined a 2007 paper by Yokoyama (see 09/05/2008) that Austin Hughes (U of South Carolina) had boasted last year represented the right way to infer positive selection.  Hughes had himself ruled out the validity of statistics used to show natural selection, saying, “Thousands of papers are published every year claiming evidence of adaptive evolution on the basis of computational analyses alone, with no evidence whatsoever regarding the phenotypic effects of allegedly adaptive mutations.”  He had pointed to the Yokoyama paper as an exception – a study “solidly grounded in biology.”  Now, these scientists have apparently shown that even that case was flawed.  There was no correlation between predicted sites of selection and those determined by experiment – Yokoyama had found false positives, they claim.
    What would be required to test for natural selection more accurately?  Nei’s team said that scientists should pair statistical data with experimental data whenever possible.  This, however, is difficult and costly.  The article ended, “Scientists usually do not use experimental data because such experiments can be difficult to conduct and because they are very time-consuming.
    The Penn State press release is visible at the Penn State Live news website.  The paper appeared on PNAS Early Edition on April 1, 2009.1 


1.  Nozawa, Suzuki and Nei, “Reliabilities of identifying positive selection by the branch-site and the site-prediction methods,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print April 1, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0901855106.
Tell this to Texas high school students.  Remember the pile of papers the Darwin Party stacked at the Dover trial showing evidence for evolution?  It was all fluff by lazy scientists unwilling to pay the price to get valid scientific evidence for Charlie’s grand myth.  Cut away the bad statistics, the storytelling and the assumption of evolution offered as evidence for evolution, and the stack would disappear.  Notice that to protect their safety, these Penn State folks had to declare that “Of course, we would never say” that natural selection is an overhyped, vapid process.  It’s time to call the Darwinist’s bluff.  Show us the studies that really establish Charlie’s Stuff Happens Law can create wings out of slime.  Creationists have a bigger pile of evidence for their view.  The universe.
Next headline on:  DarwinismGenetics

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Tall Dinosaurs Couldn’t Lift Up Their Heads   03/29/2009    
March 29, 2009 — In Jurassic Park, the huge sauropods were pictured grazing on the tops of tall trees.  This would have been physically implausible, said an Australian biologist in a letter to Science.1  A brachiosaur’s head would be 9 meters above its chest.  That would require 750 mm (Hg) of blood pressure.  The problem of circulation, not only of hypertension, would have made these beasts keep their heads down, he said.

This approach to the problem does not rely on knowledge of heart size or strength, but involves an estimate of the energy cost of the circulation, based on two axiomatic relationships between metabolic rate, blood flow rate, and blood pressure.  First, the Fick Principle states that an animal’s aerobic metabolic rate is proportional to blood flow rate.  Second, the rate of work done by the left ventricle is proportional to the product of blood flow rate and mean arterial blood pressure.  Therefore, cardiac work is proportional to the product of metabolic rate and blood pressure.  Cardiac work averages about 10% of the metabolic rate in mammals that have a mean arterial blood pressure of about 100 mm Hg.  An animal that produces 750 mm Hg would consequently have a cardiac work rate 7.5 times higher.  Its metabolic rate would increase to 165%, and it would expend 45% of its total energy requirements just to circulate the blood.  These percentages would be the same whether the animals were active or resting, high-energy endotherms or low-energy ectotherms.  The high cost of high browsing makes it energetically more reasonable to keep the head down and move the neck horizontally rather than vertically.
Even so, the hearts of these creatures must have been enormous.
1.  Roger S. Seymour, “Sauropods Kept Their Heads Down,” Science, 27 March 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5922, pp. 1671-1672, DOI: 10.1126/science.323.5922.1671.
Creationists have long pointed to the design features of living giraffes that enable them to lift their heads high to browse in the tall trees, yet bend over and drink water without passing out (see, for instance, Robert Kofahl’s article from Creation Magazine, and the film Incredible Creatures That Defy Evolution).  The engineering problems solved by the Creator in the giraffe are simple compared to those of the brachiosaurus.  We think, despite Seymour’s concern, that God’s engineering expertise is adequate for the task.
Next headline on:  DinosaursPhysics
Doubts About Darwin (Baker, 2003) by Dr. Thomas Woodward is a history of the intelligent design movement with a bonus: a look inside the emerging field of Rhetoric of Science, in which he earned his PhD.  Dr. Woodward knows the principal characters of ID well.  He was an eyewitness of many of the key events he describes in the book, so he is eminently qualified to write on both the history and rhetoric of ID supporters and detractors.  His sequel, Darwin Strikes Back (2006), describes the vitriolic over-reaction of Darwinists fearing the rise of intelligent design, their assaults on key ID principles, but their inability to explain fossils and the origin of life – with unexpected allies to ID emerging from cosmologists and philosophers.  These books are important for understanding current news reporting about intelligent design that often present a very distorted picture.  They are available from ARN or Amazon.com.

Big Texas Win on “Critical Thinking”   03/27/2009    
March 27, 2009 — Students in Texas schools will now have more opportunities to hear the flaws in Darwinism as well as evidences for it.  After months of acrimonious debate, the Texas State Board of Education adopted science standards that require students learn to “analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations” including theories of evolution and the origin of life.
    The new language replaced the long-standing wording of teaching the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution.  Though Darwin critics were advocating to retain the old language (the website of Texans for Better Science Education is StrengthsAndWeaknesses.org), they feel the new language is even stronger.  The general critical thinking language states:

...in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.
As applied to evolutionary theory, this means students will have opportunity to “analyze, evaluate and critique” hypotheses of natural selection, mutations and common ancestry.  They will also be able to evaluate evolutionary explanations for the “sudden appearance, stasis, and sequential nature of groups in the fossil record,” the “complexity of the cell,” and the “formation of simple organic molecules and their organization into long complex molecules having information such as the DNA molecule for self-replicating life.”  They can also “discuss scientific hypotheses for the origin of life by abiotic chemical processes in an aqueous environment through complex geochemical cycles given the complexity of living organisms.”
    As reasonable and straightforward as this language may sound to outside observers, the evolutionists are treating the vote as a defeat for them and a victory for supporters of intelligent design.  The NCSE was just crowing over defeat of the “strengths and weaknesses” language by a tie vote (and therefore defeat) on March 26, but was angry at the final vote today, March 27.  On the other side, Evolution News and Views blog of the Discovery Institute, which has been giving the blow-by-blow account of the proceedings, calls the vote a big win, “a huge victory for those who favor teaching the scientific evidence for and against evolution.”  Undoubtedly, cheers and boos will soon be heard in the press.  Evolution News is keeping a running blog on whether the reporting in the media is accurate or not.
    What happens in Texas matters to the whole country.  Texas is the biggest textbook buyer in the United States.  Authors of biology textbooks will not wish to write one version for the Lone Star State and another for other states.  The textbooks written to incorporate the new standards, therefore, will likely become normative for the rest of the country.
    The NCSE and other pro-Darwin groups had tried to persuade the SBOE that their opponents had religious motivations.  John West of the Discovery Institute was quick to point out that the vote is a victory for fairness and balance, not the teaching of creationism or religion.  “Contrary to the claims of the evolution lobby, absolutely nothing the Board did promotes ‘creationism’ or religion in the classroom.  Groups that assert otherwise are lying, plain and simple.  Under the new standards, students will be expected to analyze and evaluate the scientific evidence for evolution, not religion.  Period.”  The chairman of the Texas State Board of Education, Don McLeroy, has written a commentary in The Statesman explaining why the new definitions will help teachers and students weigh testable evidence instead of ideology.
It is a sad measure of our cultural demise when getting a vote in favor of fairness and critical thinking requires a herculean effort against a dogmatic establishment.  Much as we celebrate with those who won, consider what a small advance this is.  The Darwinist totalitarian regime has imposed such thought control on the scientific and educational institutions they can hardly think straight.  This should have been common sense.  In what other branch of inquiry is it normal for students to have predigested conclusions poured down a funnel into their skulls?  Of all subjects, science should be the most open to critical thinking.  Not so with Darwinism.
    Less than a century ago the Darwinists were clamoring for fairness themselves.  They wanted to defend the right of a teacher to teach their views in the classroom.  Now that the shoe is on the other foot, they have redefined one-sided dogmatism to whole new levels of shame (see 12/16/2008).
    They’re like crooks who rob a radio station by begging at the door that they just want a minute to give their commercial on the air, because they want fairness and it isn’t right for the owners of the station to give just one point of view.  After enough pressure, the exasperated manager lets the Darwinists in.  They grab the manager, owner, broadcasters and toss them outside and lock the door.  Then they take over the microphones and announce that the station is under new management.  While the rightful owners are banging at the locked doors and windows, the usurpers commandeer the airwaves, teaching fairy tales about how dirt came to life and bacteria became human.  The owners spend years in court trying to get the usurpers to open the door.  The courts (in cahoots with the crooks) rule against the owners over and over, often by one-vote margins.  Finally, by a close vote, after months of wrangling, a board still doesn’t let them in, but grants them one small concession: allowing them to insist that the stories the Darwinist usurpers tell on the air can be analyzed and critiqued by the public.
    That is where this vote brings us.  It does not restore the rightful owners (i.e., the taxpayers) to their place.  It does not allow two sides to be heard.  It only means that the listeners will no longer be forced to endure propaganda taught as fact; they will have the right to think about it critically in light of empirical evidence.  In today’s mad, mad world, one can be grateful for any glimmer of sanity, no matter how slight.
    This “huge victory” is just a cloud the size of a man’s hand on the horizon (I Kings 16).  Whether it ends the drought of reason will require much more work and providence.  Lovers of fairness should take heart at the hard work and persistence of Texans for Better Science Education and the many who testified, wrote the Board and assisted in the effort in numerous small ways.
    New Scientist is all paranoid that this vote “leaves loopholes for teaching creationism.”  No it doesn’t.  It takes away the dogmatism of the Darwin Party and calls their presumptive authority to account.  They can no longer merely tell students their story is plausible.  They will have to provide evidence.  This is a good thing that everyone should welcome – parents, teachers, scientists.  The taxes in Texas should promote facts and a nexus of fair-minded people, not an axis of hacks devoted to dogmatism.  Let’s work to make last year’s movie Expelled represent the rock bottom of Darwinist intolerance, about which, from the vantage point of a new era of critical thinking, society will look back at with disgust and promise, “never again.”
The stars for right, are big and bright,
deep in the heart of Texas,
The science sky is wide and high,
deep in the heart of Texas.
The sage advice is so precise,
deep in the heart of Texas,
Reminds me of, the vote I love,
deep in the heart of Texas.

Fanatics wail, along the trail,
deep in the heart of Texas,
Reporters beat around the bush,
deep in the heart of Texas.
The righteous cry, "Ki-yip-pee-yi,"
deep in the heart of Texas,
The bigots brawl, and crawl and bawl,
deep in the heart of Texas.
Next headline on:  EducationEvolutionOrigin of LifeIntelligent DesignMedia
  Evolutionists say the mammals went crazy.  We say the evolutionists did.  Read and decide at the 03/29/2005 entry.

Fossil Fish Pushes Evolutionary Time   03/26/2009    
March 26, 2009 — Quick!  When was the Age of Fishes?  If you said “Devonian,” you were correct according to the textbooks and museums, but where’s your evidence?  Look at this diorama in the Smithsonian depicting the seas of the Silurian, the period preceding the Devonian: crinoids, trilobites, corals and nautiloids, but no fish.  It may be time to change the artwork and the textbooks.  A fully-finned fish, jaws and all, has been found in Silurian rock in China.
    Prior to the announcement in Nature,1 the only tentative fossil evidence of a gnathostome (jawed) fish in the late Silurian consisted of head fragments dated 416 million years ago (Mya).  Now, a nearly complete fossil of a jawed fish the discoverers named Guiyu oneiros pushes the date three million years earlier, well into the Silurian.  The fact that it is already fully a boned fish means its non-fish predecessors had to have evolved, according to Darwin’s theory, much earlier than that.  “As the oldest articulated sarcopterygian, the new taxon offers insights into the origin and early divergence of osteichthyans [bony fish], and indicates that the minimum date for the actinopterygian–sarcopterygian split was no later than 419 million years ago,” the authors said.  “No later than” translates to “probably a lot earlier than.”
    This puts pressure on the whole fish family tree.  Prior to the division between actinopterygians (which includes most familiar fish species) and sarcopterygians (lungfish, Coelacanth, and all four-footed animals, including us), there was supposed to be some branching points within the osteichthyes (bony fish) and chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish), and between jawed and non-jawed vertebrates.  How well documented have these major branching points been in the fossil record?

Osteichthyans, which fall into two major monophyletic groups, namely actinopterygians (bichirs, sturgeons, gars, bowfins and teleosts) and sarcopterygians (coelacanths, lungfishes and tetrapods), make up 98% of recognized living vertebrate species.  The rise of osteichthyans from other primitive gnathostomes is a key transition in vertebrate evolution, yet this transition is poorly documented by the fossil discoveries of the last century.  Major morphological gaps existed between actinopterygians and sarcopterygians, and between osteichthyans and non-osteichthyan gnathostomes (chondrichthyans, acanthodians and placoderms).  The past decade has seen the gap narrowing with fossil discoveries such as Psarolepis, Ligulalepis and Dialipina, which show fascinating combinations of osteichthyan and non-osteichthyan gnathostome characters, providing new opportunities for studying the polarity and evolution of these characters.  However, the basal osteichthyan phylogeny remains uncertain owing to the large number of unknown character states in these early forms and the provisional assignment of disarticulated remains to a single taxon.  A better understanding of these fishes is therefore crucial in reconstructing the part of phylogeny close to the split between actinopterygians and sarcopterygians.
That’s where Guiyu comes in.  It is unquestionably sarcopteryginian.  Before now, evolutionary paleontologists drew their phylogenetic trees of the Silurian in the absence of evidence about jawed vertebrates.  The three specimens mentioned above are all well in the Devonian, except for Psarolepis, “an indeterminable osteichthyan” tentatively dated to the late Silurian.  Now, Guiyu puts one of the major branching points well into the Silurian.  Whatever led to the evolution of the sarcopterygians had to happen earlier, and more rapidly, than previously believed.
    Michael I. Coates (U of Chicago) commented on this find in the same issue of Nature.2  “Discovery of an unusually intact and ancient fossil fish provides further evidence that the search for modern vertebrate origins requires breaking out of the Devonian and into the preceding period,” he began.  Usually, the earliest fossils are scrappy and indistinct, concocted into “conjectural species” from fragments, but this one is remarkably well preserved.  Coates agrees that it comes from a “poorly resolved patch of vertebrate evolution.  Crucially, this piscine offshoot of our own distant past is both unusually intact and exceptionally old.”
    What does this find indicate about our knowledge of past eras?  After discussing other remarkable recent finds, some of which have surprising mosaics of features, he said that “The straightforward message is that the origin of modern gnathostomes is not a Devonian phenomenon, after all.”  Add some fish to that Silurian diorama.  In fact, in his article he showed a 1940s-era artwork of a fishless Silurian sea, and said, “What else might be absent?  Evidence of early actinopterygians (ray-finned fishes) and chondrichthyans (sharks and chimaeras) must be lurking out there, somewhere in the Silurian sediments.”  Here’s another straightforward message by Coates: “By pushing a whole series of branching points in gnathostome evolution out of the Devonian and into the Silurian, the discovery of Guiyu also signals that a significant part of early vertebrate evolution is unknown.”  He encouraged paleontologists to take a new look at their Silurian fossils and dig up evidence that must be there.
1.  Zhu, Zhao, Jia, Lu, Qiao and Qu, “The oldest articulated osteichthyan reveals mosaic gnathostome characters,” Nature 458, 469-474 (26 March 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature07855.
2.  Michael I. Coates, “Palaeontology: Beyond the Age of Fishes,” Nature 458, 413-414 (26 March 2009) | doi:10.1038/458413a.
The collapse of a mythology – the fishless Silurian sea – occurring before our eyes.  Evolutionists like to quote the maxim “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” when they are confronted with the lack of transitional forms.  That maxim cuts both ways.  They jeer creationists about the lack of any “Precambrian rabbit” fossils, but notice two things about that: (1) use the same maxim against the evolutionists, and (2) the evolutionists have rigged the names and dates of the strata to prevent such a thing from being found.  We’ve seen them reclassify a stratum from one end of the geological column to the other when it suited their purposes (01/03/2007).  Finding a rabbit in a Precambrian bed would not make them abandon Darwin Daddy.  They would just say, “Well, what do you know; this bed is Pleistocene.”
    When you find anomalies like this within their own dating scheme, the case for falsification is more convincing.  Notice that the “earliest” fossils are not transitional.  They neither show primitive features nor clear-cut lineages.  Prior to Guiyu, they said the earliest specimens like Psarolepis had a mosaic of features.  This means it did not clearly fall into a single lineage.  Now, an even earlier specimen is unquestionably sarcopterygian and 100% fish.  The artist conception shows a fish you could catch and eat.  It’s got teeth, gills, scales, fins, eyes and all the equipment a fish could want.  It wasn’t becoming a fish from something else, and it wasn’t evolving into something else.  Think how many lucky mutations must have been required to get all these parts working together from some non-fish predecessor.  Since vertebrates have now been found all the way back to the early Cambrian (01/30/2003), it’s not that big a stretch to imagine finding a mammal in Cambrian or Precambrian strata some day.  After all, the skeletal system, immune system, digestive system, circulatory system, central nervous system had already “emerged” by then, so what’s the big deal shaping the outward morphology a little?
    Another case of the “absence of evidence” maxim bears repeating.  The world is full of “living fossils” – species alive today that left no trace for supposed tens or hundreds of millions of years (see list on CreationWiki).  There are two possible lessons here.  One is that Precambrian rabbits could conceivably be found.  If you accept the evolutionary timeline, you would have to believe that the tuatara, coelacanth and Wollemi Pine lived through tens of millions of years, catastrophes and all, without leaving a trace in the fossil record – because they are still alive today.  There you go – “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”.  Secondly, living fossils argue against the evolutionary timeline altogether.  Is it plausible to think that these organisms survived unchanged for all that time?  Where is the evolution?  Just maybe those millions of years are fiction.  It would make more sense to believe that not much time has passed between the fossil and living representatives.  Whichever way you take it, today’s entry should shame the Darwinists into admitting they don’t know what they claim in their museum dioramas.
Next headline on:  FossilsMarine BiologyEvolution
Animal Protein Appears in Plant   03/25/2009    
March 25, 2009 — Science Daily reported a “a first-of-its-kind discovery that overturns conventional wisdom” – an animal substance produced by a plant.  The white bird of paradise tree, a large plant that resembles a palm or banana plant (see picture), has bright orange flowers with a substance previously known only in animals.
    Animals produce bilirubin from the breakdown of blood cells.  Bilirubin also puts the yellow in jaundice, bruises and urine.  This is the first instance of this substance in a plant.  Science News said this is a “wonderful new discovery” about a plant that is not rare.  Bilirubin is similar in some respects to phycobilin, a pigment used by bacteria in photosynthesis, and phytochrome, a pigment used by plants to sense light.
    Science Daily said this discovery “may change scientific understanding of how the ability to make bilirubin evolved.”  Researchers found the substance in two closely related plant species.  “The discovery may stir evolutionary research to understand why and how plants make what everyone regarded as an animals-only pigment,” the article ended.  Science News did not speculate on the evolution of this ability, but quoted a researcher saying, “Researchers have found that plant enzymes open the chlorophyll molecule to form a substance that could turn into bilirubin with just one more step.... The most interesting thing is that this suggests the first couple of steps of degradation are identical in plants and animals.”
One cannot have “understanding” about how the ability to make bilirubin evolved.  Jumping into storytelling mode is the first refuge of Darwinist scoundrels.  It gives them an excuse to look busy by saying this will “stir evolutionary research.”
    Since bilirubin is a breakdown product of heme in animals, it may well be within the reaction pathways of phycobilin or phytochrome – similar molecules – in plants.  It would be like altering the path of a ball rolling downhill.  A variation in the reactions could have led to a buildup of bilirubin in the flowers of the white bird of paradise tree without adding any new genetic information.  If the change in coloration attracted pollinators, the change could become established in the species, within the “edge of evolution” described by Michael Behe in his second book.
    For Darwinists to believe “ability to make bilirubin evolved,” they would have to explain why a single-celled common ancestor needed the substance, only to have the ability to make it show up hundreds of millions of years later in a flowering plant needing bright orange flowers and in animals with blood circulatory systems and livers.  That is not understanding; that is oversleeping.
Next headline on:  PlantsEvolution
Is a Hippo a Pig or a Whale?   03/24/2009    
March 24, 2009 — Two teams of evolutionists are having a spat over whale evolution.  Thewissen and team (Northeastern Ohio U) say the hippo is close to the pig, but Jessica Theodor (U of Calgary) and Jonathan Geisler (Georgia Southern U) say it’s in the whale family tree.  Their arguments and counter-arguments were published in Nature last week.1  Science Daily gave Theodor and Geisler time to tell their side of the story.
    Theodor and Geisler feel that DNA phylogeny needs to be taken into account, which their opponents failed to do.  They worked several phylogenetic trees with living and fossil animals that put hippopotamids in the line with raoellids, Indohyus (an extinct Indian pig-like animal), and cetaceans (whales).  One of their trees treated all characters equally, another suppressed homoplasy (convergent characters).  They also omitted Andrewsarchus, a dog-like predator known only from one skull and a few bones.  In addition, they took into account the thickening of bones in the ears of both whales and hippos, which they took as evidence of common ancestry.
    Thewissen et al agree with parts of their opponents’ tree but think hippos are closer to true pigs.  They say the thickening of bones in the hippos and whales are due to different molecular mechanisms.  Hippos, they say, appeared after the cetaceans, and in Africa, not Pakistan, where most of the whale ancestor candidates have been found.
    Science Daily said, “Geisler and Theodor argue that leaving out the DNA data not only ignores important information, it implies that the evolution of swimming evolved independently in hippos and whales, when it may have evolved only once in a common ancestor.”  Thewissen et al said, “Geisler and Theodor place confidence in their results with regard to hippopotamids by stating that their analysis is consistent with ‘previous phylogenetic studies’.  However, one of the two articles that they cite was published after the publication of our paper, and they do not cite a recent paper that disagrees with their (and our own) results.”  Apparently there are other positions besides these two.  “We also believe that improving fossil collections of poorly known taxa is important in advancing understanding of cetacean relationships.”
    One position that was not considered by either team is creation.  For that perspective, see Jonathan Sarfati’s article on whale evolution from Creation Ministries International.
1.  Brief communication arising, J. H. Geisler and J. M. Theodor, Nature, E5 (19 March 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature07775; Reply by Thewissen et al, Nature E5 (19 March 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature07775.
Remember that whale evolution was #1 in Nature’s “15 Evolution Gems” published in January (01/02/2009).  They advertised this list again this month (03/18/2009).  But read their spiel and you’ll find it’s full of speculation and appeals to the future: “there is every reason to think that many others await discovery,” they said – so keep the credulity dollars flowing into the Darwin Party coffers.  Whale evolution was also the darling of the episode on “Great Transformations” in the PBS Documythary series, Evolution (see 12/20/2007).
    This little controversy appearing in Nature shows that the case is not so tight.  The arguments on both sides reveal the usual tricks of the Darwin Party: appeals to theory-laden concepts like convergent evolution, tweaking of tree-building software, and the weighting of uncooperative lines of evidence to get the results they want.  It’s time to step back and look at the big picture: can you really link a whale, a pig, a hippopotamus and a dog into a family tree?  The morphological differences between these groups are arguably greater than their similarities, despite the fact they are vertebrates and air-breathing mammals.  Each animal group is perfectly happy living in its specialized environment without trying to become something else.  Each animal is well adapted to its habitat, possessing all the machinery and systems needed to thrive (see news about hippo sunscreen).  Only by picking and choosing which pieces of evidence shall be garnered to support a preselected story would a silly human mind imagine joining them together into a genealogy.
    There’s another controversy brewing.  Two groups of evolutionary carpenters are fighting over the evolution of the concrete saw, which requires water for its operation.  Both agree it is related to the bench saw, but one party says both are related to the power drill, and another says they are related to the reciprocating saw.  One view makes the circular motion of the drill and the concrete saw a case of convergent evolution; the other makes the motors products of a common ancestor.  The evolutionary carpenter guild may have internal disputes about the details, but one thing is clear: these tools did evolve from each other, because they are all members of the electrical power tool clade.  All evolutionary carpenters agree: evolution is a fact!
Next headline on:  MammalsMarine BiologyEvolution
  Win a vacation on the Isle of DeBris!  That is, only if you fall for the yarn the evolutionists told in the 03/29/2004 entry.  This led into a discussion of Huxley, Wilberforce, Colin Patterson and other memorable moments in evolutionary rhetorical history.

Whoops, the Wrong Star Exploded   03/23/2009    
March 23, 2009 — “Our understanding of the evolution of massive stars before their final explosions as supernovae is incomplete, from both an observational and a theoretical standpoint.”  That’s how a paper in Nature begins.1  Avishay Gal-Yam was not kidding; a star exploded that theory says was not supposed to.
    The famous supernova 1987A was already an anomaly.  Its progenitor was a blue supergiant.  That fact “required a rethink of stellar evolution models,” they said.  Now, the progenitor of a supernova in 2005 has been identified. 

The progenitor of supernova SN 2005gl was proposed to be an extremely luminous object, but the association was not robustly established (it was not even clear that the putative progenitor was a single luminous star).  Here we report that the previously proposed object was indeed the progenitor star of SN 2005gl.  This very massive star was likely a luminous blue variable that standard stellar evolution predicts should not have exploded in that state.
Massive stars are not supposed to explode during the Luminous Blue Variable (LBV) stage, but this one did.  The astronomers think, based on the unexpectedly low amount of material flung off from the star, that the material collapsed into a black hole 10-15 times the mass of our sun.
    How serious is this disconnect between theory and observation?  Gal-Yam told Space.com, “This might mean that we are fundamentally wrong about the evolution of massive stars, and that theories need revising.”  It shows also that “The unexpected explosion could mean other stars may behave in ways not previously expected,” the article said.  Astronomers are scrambling to figure out what happened.
    So the tidy models of core collapse of red giants may not be the whole story.  “This also leaves open the question that there may be other mechanisms for triggering supernova explosions,” Gal-Yam said.  “We may be missing something very basic in understanding how a superluminous star goes through mass loss.” 
1.  A. Gal-Yam and D. C. Leonard, “A massive hypergiant star as the progenitor of the supernova SN 2005gl,” Nature doi:10.1038/nature07934, published online March 22, 2009.
Fundamental misunderstanding, missing something very basic, requiring a rethink.... and this is in one of the hard sciences, not the squishy stuff of which Darwinism is made.  Lesson learned?
Next headline on:  StarsPhysics
Evolution of Photosynthesis: A Theory in Crisis   03/23/2009    
March 23, 2009 — “Although the last word on the origins of oxygen-making photosynthesis isn’t in,” writes Mitch Leslie in Science,1 “researchers say they are making progress.  One thing is for certain, however: Without this innovation, Earth would look a lot like Mars.”  That’s the end of his story.  What did he say in the beginning and middle?  Not much, in terms of scientific evidence.
    Leslie started by singing the praises of photosynthesis.  Maybe this excerpt will help you see the world in a new light:
Try to picture the world without photosynthesis.  Obviously, you’d have to strip away the greenery--not just the redwoods and sunflowers, but also the humble algae and the light-capturing bacteria that nourish many of the world’s ecosystems.  Gone, too, would be everything that depends on photosynthetic organisms, directly or indirectly, for sustenance--from leaf-munching beetles to meat-eating lions.  Even corals, which play host to algal partners, would lose their main food source.
    Photosynthesis makes Earth congenial for life in other ways, too.  Early photosynthesizers pumped up atmospheric oxygen concentrations, making way for complex multicellular life, including us.  And water-dwellers were able to colonize the land only because the oxygen helped create the ozone layer that shields against the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.  Oxygen-producing, or oxygenic, photosynthesis “was the last of the great inventions of microbial metabolism, and it changed the planetary environment forever,” says geobiologist Paul Falkowski of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
This being the reality, coming up with a story of how photosynthesis evolved is a challenge.  “Given its importance in making and keeping Earth lush, photosynthesis ranks high on the top-10 list of evolutionary milestones.”  One looks in vain, though, for evidence that it evolved at all.  Leslie approaches the story from two fronts: geology and biochemistry.  Let’s examine the latter first.
    The machinery involved in photosynthesis is mind-boggling.  Electrons are shuttled between two reaction centers called Photosystem I and Photosystem II.  “Light jump-starts an electrical circuit in which electrons flow from the photosystems through protein chains that make the energy-rich molecules ATP and NADPH,” he said in a brief simplification.  “These molecules then power the synthesis of the sugars that organisms depend on to grow and multiply.”
    The cyanobacteria that live in hot springs can use hydrogen sulfide instead of other oxygen-hugging molecules like water for an energy source.  Leslie described these nonconformists, which don’t produce oxygen, as simpler: “Their photosynthetic proteins huddle in relatively simple ‘reaction centers’ that may have been the predecessors of the two photosystems.”  But in the very next sentence he said, “Envisioning the steps that led to this complex biochemistry is mind-boggling.
    All he could suggest in terms of an evolutionary story were two scenarios: (1) bacteria co-opted existing machinery used for other functions; and (2) bacteria shared their technology by lateral gene transfer.  Tantalizing as these suggestions are, he admitted scientists are at a loss.  “However, other researchers remain skeptical, arguing that one photosystem evolved from the other, possibly through the duplication of genes, creating an ancient cell with both.  No one knows for sure.”  As if to fiddle over a grave, he threw in another complication: “Either way, it took some fancy fiddling to convert the primitive reaction centers to oxygen-generating photosystems.”  So not only are evolutionists at a loss to explain the anoxic photosynthesis machinery, it is no small order to upgrade it to the advanced kind.
    Turning to geology, evolutionists try to approach the question by looking for clues when oxygen first became abundant in the early earth.  That, at least, might pinpoint the time that oxygenic photosynthesis began:
How the photosystems got their start is crucial for understanding the origin of photosynthesis.  But the question that’s drawn the most attention--and provoked the most wrangling--is when photosynthesis began.  “Most researchers accept that nonoxygenic photosynthesis arose first, probably shortly after life originated more than 3.8 billion years ago.  “Life needs an energy source, and the sun is the only ubiquitous and reliable energy source,” says Blankenship.
The common story is that there was a “great oxidation event” at 2.4 billion years ago.  This is supposed to mark the onset of oxygenic photosynthesis—the time eukaryotes figured out the more demanding photosynthesis that swipes electrons from water, generating oxygen as a by-product.  Leslie entertained controversial evidence that oxygenic photosynthesis began even earlier.  That was the occasion for the reference to Mars:
The early-origin case isn’t ironclad.  For example, a 2008 paper that has some researchers fuming claims that the oil biomarkers are contaminants that seeped in from younger rocks.  Advocates also have to explain why it took hundreds of millions of years for oxygen to build up in the air.
    Although the last word on the origins of oxygen-making photosynthesis isn’t in, researchers say they are making progress.  One thing is for certain, however: Without this innovation, Earth would look a lot like Mars.
What would he think, then, about a new report that pushes oxygen back another billion years?  That would not only push the origin of the complex machinery of photosynthesis further back in time, providing less time for the lucky accidents to happen; it also cast doubt on the origin of life itself, because the prebiotic molecules the astrobiologists envision cannot form in the presence of oxygen.  Leslie entertained the possibility of an earlier date in a March 13 entry in Origins, the AAAS blog celebrating the Darwin Bicentennial.  “It’s no surprise that this is a tough question to answer,” he cautioned.  But then, Phil Berardelli reported on Science Now2 March 16 that researches deduced the presence of oxygen in iron-oxide-rich rocks in Australia containing red hematite said to be 3.46 billion years old:
If confirmed, the discovery could mean that oxygen-producing photosynthetic organisms originated more than a billion years earlier than previously thought....
It’s “very compelling evidence,” says isotope chemist Paul Knauth of Arizona State University, Tempe.  The result may go “against the widespread view that [oxygenic] photosynthesis didn’t appear” until about 2.4 billion years ago, he says, but the paper’s conclusion “is the simplest explanation.”  He says he hopes the findings will provoke discussion among “all those who argue that the case is closed--surely, we are still learning.

1.  Mitch Leslie, “Origins: On the Origin of Photosynthesis,” Science, 6 March 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5919, pp. 1286-1287, DOI: 10.1126/science.323.5919.1286.
2.  Phil Berardelli, “Oxygenated Oceans Go Way, Way Back,” ScienceNOW Daily News, 16 March 2009.
Always learning, yet never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (Paul).  Picture transients on the street trying to build a power plant.  Even if they co-opted pieces of their cardboard shacks, and shared their technology by lateral jeans transfer, any success would still be due to intelligent design.  Evolutionists expect us to believe one of the most efficient and complex examples of cellular technology of all (07/27/2007, 05/09/2007) just emerged out of nowhere – right near the beginning of life on earth, along with all the other cellular technologies and coding systems.  If scientists these days did not feel obligated to force-fit every thought into a 19th-century speculative plot, such evidence-free flights of imagination would be laughable.
Next headline on:  PlantsPhysicsGeologyEvolution
Explore Evolution is perfect for the Darwin Bicentennial: it is an illustrated, high-quality classroom resource that, unlike most biology textbooks, actually does what Darwin advised in The Origin: obtains a fair result on the question of evolution the only way possible, “by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.”  This informative book presents both the arguments for and against neo-Darwinism.  Written by five highly-qualified authors, Dr. Stephen Meyer (philosopher of science), Dr. Scott Minnich (biochemist), Jonathan Moneymaker (technical writer), Dr. Paul Nelson (philosopher of biology), and Ralph Seelke (research microbiologist), the material is up-to-date, reliable and balanced.  The prime aspects for Darwinian evolution are presented in a “Case For” and “Reply” format, giving the student or interested layperson a chance to balance the facts and arguments on both sides, just like Darwin said.  The book was written to be suitable for use in high school biology classes.  What teacher wouldn’t want students to think and understand?  Go to the Explore Evolution website, where you can watch a two-minute introductory video, read reviews, peek inside, find additional material, and purchase the book.

Crystal Mysticism Invades Astrobiology   03/20/2009    
March 20, 2009 — Mystical ideas about the life-giving power of crystals usually go with New Age movies and storefronts.  Science is above all that, right?  Then what is a reader supposed to think of this opening line by Leslie Mullen on Space.com?

One of the greatest mysteries about the origin of life is how the necessary ingredients consistently came together in a workable way.  On a planet full of raw chemical materials, what happy accident of nature led to the first tiny glimmer of life?
    To Alexander Graham Cairns-Smith, that glimmer may owe something to the sparkle of a crystal....
Proponents of intelligent design (ID) have long argued that the specified complexity of the DNA code differs from the repetitive order of crystal structures.  Cairns-Smith (U of Glasgow) recognizes that repetitive patterned order is more common in the inorganic world than in living cells.  He knows that DNA is not repetitive.  It contains highly-specific sequences, like language.  “One of the miracles of life, to my mind, is the accuracy with which DNA gets itself replicated in the cell,” he said.  “It has to be that unbelievably accurate, otherwise we’d all die out in no time.”  So far, the evolutionist agrees with the ID position.  In the Space.com piece, though, he compared the replication of crystals with DNA replication – the basis of heredity.  Where did the genetic information in DNA come from, though?
In 1949, the Irish scientist J.D. Bernal suggested that clay minerals may have created a meeting place for life’s first molecules.  Such a scenario could explain how the randomly dispersed molecules of life managed to come together in the diffuse primordial soup.
    Cairns-Smith’s idea takes Bernal’s theory a step further.  In his view, clay mineral layers not only attracted certain chemicals from the environment to their surfaces, the mineral layers also acted as the first genetic information carriers, much as the base pairs in DNA do today.
Cairns-Smith attributed the origin of genetic information to random stacks of clay crystals that were able to make copies of themselves.  Mixed-layer crystals might have acted as primitive information carriers, he proposed.
Cairns-Smith doesn’t think the clay mineral crystals were “alive” anymore than a DNA sample is thought to be alive.  Instead, by acting as the first genetic materials for early life, clay mineral crystals created a link between the worlds of inorganic and organic chemistry.
    At some point, life launched free of its inorganic genetic origins – the organic substances that evolved from chemical interactions on the mineral layers became stable enough to live apart from their birthplace, and complex enough to replicate themselves into the future.
    Some mineral layer combinations probably worked better than others when it came to marshalling the organic molecules that were to eventually become genetic materials.  One of his favorite contenders for life’s early mineral template is authigenic chlorite, which can create complicated shapes that resemble brussels sprouts.  Such chlorite crystals growing inside sandstone often coat the sand grains and do not block the flow of solutions within the rock – a potentially important quality for the very first evolving systems.  However, rather than one particular mineral layer sequence leading to life, Cairns-Smith thinks many different mixed layer structures might have contributed to life’s evolution.
Why has Alexander Graham Cairns-Smith rung this bell since the 1960s?  Mainly, because the other theories that focus on sugars, amino acids and RNA are too incredible. 
Cairns-Smith thinks such a chain of events was improbable on the early Earth – the nucleic acid and protein system of life is too complex to have sprung outright from simple ingredients.  Even the RNA world hypothesis, which envisions RNA playing dual roles that today are carried out by DNA and proteins, is a relatively advanced and sophisticated process.
He can live with crystals – but not with an intelligent Creator.
“A simpler kind of evolution came first, and then what are now the molecules of life came to be produced in a consistent way,” says Cairns-Smith.  “Of course there was no foresight here, but as soon as an evolutionary process was underway, the world would have changed and nature would have had a new set of toys to play with.”
Space.com envisioned this vision illuminating the cosmos.  “If Cairns-Smith’s theory is correct,” Leslie Mullen ended, “then the spark of life may be shimmering on crystal surfaces throughout the universe.”
We hope you were entertained by this clown act.  This is the kind of clown act where one clown carries a 2x4.  As he turns, he whacks the other clown in the face.
    In case you needed program notes, here’s what happened.  Cairns-Smith, as the fortuneteller Chlorite the Magnificent, looked into his crystal ball and saw brussels sprouts emerging from the sparkle of randomness.  He told his witless, breathless customer, Leslie Mullen, that he could visualize her emergence unfolding in the crystal, from random bits, to codes, to cells, to brussels sprouts and Space.com reporters.  As she rushed off to write this all down, he picked up his scepter to leave, put it over his shoulder, turned, and inadvertently whacked Gerald Joyce in the face with it, who had just come in to complain that Chlorite the Magnificent is a fake (02/15/2007, 11/29/2007, 07/11/2002).
Next headline on:  Origin of LifeDumb Ideas
  Politically correct paleontology: The classification of early human bones may represent more the bias of the modern paleontologist than the actual evidence.  Revisit the 03/28/2003 entry to see why an evolutionary paleontologist cautioned his fellow researchers to exercise restraint in their storytelling.

Amazing Fossils: Do They Help Darwin?   03/19/2009    
March 19, 2009 — Some remarkable fossils have been found recently.  According to the reports, scientists are not sure what to make of them, even though evolutionary language is liberally applied to the interpretation.

  1. Octopus:  The earliest fossil octopus is 100% octopus.  A rare well-preserved octopus fossil, as unlikely as finding a fossilized sneeze according to Live Science, shows all the tentacles, suckers, and even the ink sac.  The specimens, found in Cretaceous rock in Lebanon, push back the evolutionary date for octopus fossils tens of millions of years to 95 million years before the present.  Even though the discoverer said “This provides important evolutionary information,” he was surprised at how similar the fossil is to living species.  “These things are 95 million years old, yet one of the fossils is almost indistinguishable from living species,” said Dirk Fuchs of the Free University in Berlin.  Primitive octopi were presumed to have fleshy fins along their bodies.  “The new fossils are so well preserved that they show, like living octopus, that they didn’t have these structures,” he said.  National Geographic shows a detailed picture of the octopus, tentacles, suckers and all.  An ID website called Intelligent Design and More analyzed the significance of this fossil for evolutionary theory.
  2. Old spider silk:  The oldest sample of spider web silk was found in amber in East Sussex, UK this month.  The BBC News said it’s 140 million years old.  Some pieces of amber from the Cretaceous beds were lying on the surface of a beach.  The article did not mention the evolution of spiders – just that this was the oldest known example of spider silk.  A professor at Oxford said, “If it is confirmed – and we think we have got good evidence for it – then it would be the oldest preserved spider’s web and the oldest fossil silk, I think, in the fossil record.”  It implies the spider spinner already had all the spinneret equipment for mixing the chemicals of this complex material and weaving her web.
  3. Anomalous Anomalocaridid from the Burgess Shale:  Another strange critter from the Cambrian-era Burgess Shale was announced in Science.1  This one, named Hurdia, is similar to the better-known predator Anomalocaris, but had a prominent carapace in front (see National Geographic for artist reconstruction).  Live Science called it a miniature monster.  Its estimated length was one meter.
        Although the paper promised to elaborate on “its significance for early euarthropod evolution,” the E-word never appeared in the body of the paper.  The authors did say that “The phylogenetic analysis we conducted places Hurdia as sister to a group composed of Anomalocaris and Laggania, with these three taxa forming a clade in the stem group of the euarthropods.”  No ancestral progression was therefore shown, unless Anomalocaris was a later species that lost the carapace – but that would represent devolution, not evolution.  The authors said, “If the carapace is homologous with the euarthropod cephalic shield, this head covering may have originated before the last common ancestor of the anomalocaridids and higher euarthropods.”  That is just a speculation.  It doesn’t help evolutionary theory anyway, since it puts the origin of the carapace farther in the past without a transitional form.
  4. Dino-midget:  One of the smallest dinosaurs ever known was found in Canada.  EurekAlert said it is smaller than a housecat and likely ate insects, small mammals and other prey.  “Hesperonychus is currently the smallest dinosaur known from North America,” a member of the discovery team remarked.  “But its discovery just emphasizes how little we actually know, and it raises the possibility that there are even smaller ones out there waiting to be found.”  Nothing was said about how this species evolved.  They inferred from the fused pelvic bones that the creature was fully grown.  Live Science also reported the find.
        Speaking of dinosaurs, EurekAlert also reported a collection of adolescent Sinornithomimus found in Mongolia.  The discoverers presume the individuals died getting stuck in a mud flat.  They inferred that the young represented a herd that perished together.  The skeletons showed exquisite preservation and were oriented in similar directions, suggesting they perished together over a short time.
  5. Fuzzy dinosaur:  Another “feathered dinosaur” from China was announced by Nature News, but its relation to birds seems questionable.  Integumentary filaments were found running along the back of Tianyulong confuciusi; the alleged feathers are only stiff filaments without vanes.  Live Science, nevertheless, emphasized the “feather” interpretation, but the BBC News said the fossil only hints at “fuzzy dinosaurs.”  Whatever the structures were, they were clearly not related to flight.  Were they for display?  for warmth?  Opinions vary.  The authors of the original paper in Nature did not have a clear answer.2  In addition, calling these things feathers would require evolutionary appeals to homology and convergence:
    The unique filaments of Tianyulong add more complexity to the issue of feather origins.  Homology of the structures in Tianyulong and theropods is far from obvious with present data, but cannot be precluded.  Although based on negative evidence, the derived position within the Theropoda for the known appearance of ‘protofeathers’ indicates that earlier theropods lacked integumentary structures, implying in turn that the common ancestor of theropods and ornithischians also lacked such structures and that their appearances in each clade were convergent.
        This fossil represents the first in the Ornithischian branch of dinosaurs to sport integumentary filaments.  The BBC article emphasized the problems this makes for the dinosaur-to-bird scenario.  All the other “feathered dinosaurs” were members of Saurischia, the “lizard-hipped” branch.  One might think that finding “proto-feathers” on a bird-hipped species would excite the believers in dinosaur-to-bird evolution, but Lawrence Witmer (Ohio U) said this “really muddies the waters” of the story.  “The bad news is that something we thought was neatly wrapped up is now not so neat,” he said.  The Ornithischia were all thought to be scaly, like reptiles.  The announced date of this fossil, 150 million years before the present, also puts the filaments long before birds in the evolutionary timeline.  “We now need to rethink what the coat of the ancestral dinosaurs actually was.”  Do the filaments imply warm-bloodedness?  Are they even related to feathers at all?  “We now need to think completely differently about the evidence we already have,” Witmer said.
        Witmer elaborated on the problems in a News and Views commentary in the same issue of Nature.3  The fossil shows three patches of long filaments “reminiscent of the structures thought to be the evolutionary progenitors of feathers,” he said.  “The only problem is that Tianyulong isn’t supposed to have anything like feathers.”  Again, he said, “Tianyulong is not at all closely related to birds and, as a heterodontosaurid ornithischian, is on an entirely separate branch of the dinosaur family tree.”  He doubts that these are feathers at all.  It’s not even clear what part of the skin they emerged from:
    Given the position of Tianyulong near the evolutionary base of ornithischian dinosaurs, the presence of epidermal, filamentous, feather-like structures could mean that the ancestral dinosaur was a fuzzy (though maybe not cuddly) animal.  Of course, that would also mean that a fuzzy coat of protofeathers was lost many times in dinosaur evolution, because lots of dinosaur groups on both great branches of the dinosaur family tree are known to have scaly, reptilian skin (Fig. 1).  But, before complicated scenarios for feather evolution are concocted, the fundamental question to be answered is whether the filaments of Tianyulong are on the outside or inside of the skin’s surface.
        That seemingly simple question is surprisingly hard to answer....
    Even if the filaments are epidermal, and the evidence is ambiguous, it would not prove they were in the lineage of bird feathers.  The evidence from all the claimed feathered dinosaurs at this point “raises the possibility that there may be a range of filamentous epidermal structures in dinosaurs, and that not all such structures may be related evolutionarily to feathers.”  If he is right, there has been a rush to judgment to call these things feathers.  “Perhaps the only clear conclusion that can be drawn from the foregoing is that little Tianyulong has made an already confusing picture of feather origins even fuzzier.
How about a living fossil to cap off this entry?  National Geographic News posted a photo of a young tuatara found near Wellington, New Zealand.  Tuatara are considered a classic “living fossil” because of their “dinosaur-age lineage.”  The dinosaurs are all gone, but this reptile that lived among them survives today, having left no fossils in the 65 million years evolutionists believe separated them.
1.  Daley, Budd, Caron, Edgecombe and Collins, “The Burgess Shale Anomalocaridid Hurdia and Its Significance for Early Euarthropod Evolution,” Science, 20 March 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5921, pp. 1597-1600, DOI: 10.1126/science.1169514.
2.  Zheng, You, Zu and Dong, “An Early Cretaceous heterodontosaurid dinosaur with filamentous integumentary structures,” Nature 458, 333-336 (19 March 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature07856.
3.  Lawrence M. Witmer, “Dinosaurs: Fuzzy origins for feathers,” Nature 458, 293-295 (19 March 2009) | doi:10.1038/458293a.
Sudden appearance, well-adapted creatures, stasis, lack of clear lineal descent – these are not what Charles Darwin would have liked to see.  Fossils represented the biggest problem to his theory in 1859, and despite the bombast of his disciples, continue to throw up obstacles to belief in slow, gradual progression of creatures from simple to complex.
Next headline on:  FossilsMarine BiologyDinosaursBirdsAmazing Finds
Physicists Bow to Darwin   03/18/2009    
March 18, 2009 — What’s Darwin got to do with physics?  Presumably, if you dropped his statue off the leaning tower of Pisa, it would fall at 32 feet per second squared, but the man is remembered for his speculations about biology, not physics.  Why, then, did Nature Physics devote a special issue to Darwin?  Here’s what it presented.
  1. Editorial:  The editors explained why they were honoring Darwin.1  In “What’s the big idea?” they wrote, “It is not obviously the business of a physics journal to mark the anniversary of a major development in biology.  But the repercussions of Darwin’s theory of evolution are relevant to all.”  They believe the story of Darwin has something for everyone – including physicists.  They encouraged subscribers to read The Origin of Species in recognition of a “bold scientist” who, according to Mark Buchanan, was one of few “leaving the comfortable confines of the accepted theoretical framework of their day and launching themselves out into territory unknown.”
        The editors compared evolution to gravity.  Neither is something to be believed; it just is.  Something else just is: science. 
    That is something to be understood from this year’s anniversary celebrations, perhaps – that science has a unique place in human culture, and is not counter, or equal and opposite, to anything else.  Science just is.  After all, isn’t it appreciation of that purity, that integrity, that ultimately motivates us as scientists?
    George Berkeley might have asked, if there were no scientist performing a measurement, would there be a science?  (For thoughts on evolution and integrity, see the 03/12/2009.)  The Editorial recommended that its physicist readers review the 15 “Darwin’s Gems” published in Nature in January (see 01/02/2009).
  2. Michael Shermer:  The well-known skeptic (of religion) Michael Shermer wrote a piece in the issue entitled, “A noble conception.”2  He’s not a physicist, but he wanted to share thoughts on why evolution is still controversial when physical theories are not.  His thesis relied heavily on the “god of the gaps” argument.  He quoted Sir Isaac Newton who had said, “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being,” and asked why creationists and intelligent design proponents do not quote this line more often.  His answer: scientists have filled in the gap in our knowledge with theories of the formation of planets.  “That is the fate of all such ‘god of the gaps’ arguments – the gaps are filled by science, and religion moves on to other problems.”  He parried this line of thinking to Darwin, whom Shermer said was moving in the same direction.
        This raises the question whether religion will retreat entirely from saying anything about nature.  Shermer feels it should.  “Why did religion not fall into disuse with the rise of science?  The reason is that it is no longer the job of religion to explain the natural world.  That is what science does, and it does so spectacularly.”  Yet Shermer knows that a controversy still revolves around Darwin’s ideas, but not Newton’s.  He offered six reasons for this: (1) The fear that evolution degrades our humanity by making us another animal species; (2) Belief that science is in conflict with religion, which tends to polarize “believers” against scientists “If scientific discoveries do not seem to support religious tenets”; (3) Belief that evolution is a threat to specific religious tenets, like a recent Genesis creation vs a 4.5-billion-year-old earth; (4) Misunderstanding of evolutionary theory, because teachers are afraid to teach it; (5) The fear that evolutionary theory implies we have a fixed human nature (surprisingly, a fear from the political left, who don’t like the implications of a mind that evolved from animal nature, he claimed); and (6) the equating of evolution with nihilism and moral degeneration.
        On point 6, Shermer quoted Irving Kristol and Nancy Pearcey both arguing that society cannot survive if individuals believe they have meaningless lives in a meaningless universe.  He argued, though, that “It need not be so.”  First, “Evolution is science, as solidly supported as any in the human pantheon of knowledge.”  And then he said “if one is a theist,” it shouldn’t matter how or when God created: “whether it was through a miraculous spoken word or through the natural forces of the Universe that He created: the grandeur of the work commands awe regardless of the processes used.”  It’s a stretch to imagine what this article has to do with physics.  The famous agnostic ended with theological arguments:
    Theists and theologians should embrace science, especially evolutionary theory, for what it has done to reveal the magnificence of the divinity in a depth never dreamed by our Bronze Age ancestors who first penned the origin myths to which some still cling today.  We have learned a lot in 4,000 years, and that knowledge should never be dreaded or denied.  Instead, science should be embraced by all who cherish human understanding and wisdom, and that is ultimately what Darwin’s noble conception implies, and why Darwin matters today more than ever.
  3. Quantum weirdness:  Seth Lloyd, a specialist in extreme quantum information processing at MIT, offered his speculations about deep connections between biological natural selection and quantum physics.3  After a touch of history about the parallel development of quantum mechanics (QM) and the neo-Darwinian synthesis, Lloyd wrote, “Which brings us to the central question that I wish to consider here: what, if anything, does quantum mechanics have to do with natural selection?”  His answer: “quite a lot.”  QM is like Mendelian genetics: it is based on discreet states, not fluid, continuous variations predicted by classical physics.  The discreet nature of quantum interactions, he explained, “gives a package of digital ‘gifts’ to nature, which in turn uses these gifts crucially in the development of life.”  Here is his list of five gifts bequeathed by QM: (1) stability, because the quantum atom is stable, whereas the classical atom would have imploded; (2) countability, because QM only allows for a limited number of stable atomic arrangements; (3) information, because QM states are like bits; (4) information processing, because bits can be combined into ever more complex ways at higher scales; (5) randomness.  Why is randomness a gift?  Bring in Darwin:
    The fifth and last gift that quantum mechanics gives to nature might not always be considered a gift: it is randomness.  Unlike classical mechanics, quantum mechanics contains intrinsic uncertainty, which translates, under the proper circumstances, into irreducibly random behaviour.  It was this intrinsic randomness to which Albert Einstein was objecting when he declared “God does not play dice”.  In fact, Einstein was wrong: God does play dice and, luckily, is very good at it.  Randomness is indeed the enemy of order – this is the quality to which Einstein objected.  But randomness is also the source of variation.  And as Darwin taught us, life without variation is not life.
        Nature took these quantum gifts of stability, countability, information, information processing and randomness, and ran with them.  The Universe began with a bang, and immediately started processing information.
    Lloyd proceeded to portray the evolution of nature as the outworking of a cosmic creative process:
    Each reaction transformed its input molecules and their attendant bits of information into a particular mix of output molecules and bits, which in turn became the inputs to further chemical reactions and so on.  Eventually, in a sequence of events that scientists would desperately like to uncover, the more sophisticated methods of processing information that underlie life came into being.  Once proto-life had attained the ability to reproduce with variation, the genie was out of the bottle.  Darwinian natural selection kicked in.  Bacteria, multicellular organisms, plants, animals, primates and humans all came onto the scene in due course.
    This argument seems to beg the question of the nature of information.  What is information, if not informed by a mind?  And how does life and humanity evolving “in due course” square with what he just said about randomness?  The quantum weirdness of Lloyd’s thesis gets weirder when he tries to incorporate human intelligent design into the category of natural:
    When I give talks about quantum computers, every now and then a member of the audience will object that quantum computers are not possible to build, because if they were, “nature would have already discovered them”.  This is a silly argument, not least because we can already build simple quantum computers.  The same argument could also be made about lasers: natural selection did not cause pre-human life on Earth to evolve the laser, yet we still have lasers.  Nor is the laser somehow unnatural.  Natural selection evolved human beings, who then, naturally, invented the laser.
    To support the idea that nature randomly selected humans able to build computational machines, Lloyd claimed that the 99% efficiency of the antenna of photosynthesis is a case of quantum computation achieved by bacteria.  He claims bacteria used a quantum search algorithm to achieve this remarkable efficiency of converting sunlight to chemical energy.  The efficiency of the quantum search in spite of noise and temperature fluctuations, he said, arose by accident: “we conclude that, on the one hand, nature is an excellent quantum mechanic, and, on the other hand, trillions of bacteria did not give their lives in vain.”
        It’s apparent that Seth Lloyd just personified nature as if it were some communist dictator willing to sacrifice countless individuals in a five-year plan to build a factory for the revolution.  But Lloyd is not done Darwinizing reality yet.  Next, he extended it into hyper-reality.  “Let’s close with some speculation,” he said, as if he had not already been engaging in it.  He leaped into the multiverse and made natural selection the law to rule all laws:
    The power of natural selection extends beyond mere biological systems.  The laws of physics as we know them may themselves have been the outcome of a process of natural selection.  Lee Smolin has suggested that the Universe is constantly sprouting baby universes, whose physical laws are similar to, but not quite the same as their mother’s.  As they mature, these baby universes in turn sprout further universes, and so on (see Fig. 2).  Our Universe could be ‘naturally selected’, in the sense that its physical laws support life, where the laws of its cousins do not.  A similar notion arises in Leonard Susskind’s string theory ‘landscape’ in which some 10500 different sets of physical laws, each equally likely a priori, vie to construct the Universe we see today.  Finally, Max Tegmark and I (ref. 16) have speculated that the Universe is generating all possible self-consistent information-processing structures.  If this is so, quantum mechanics itself, with all its weirdness, might have been naturally selected out of other potential bases for physical law for the simple reason that, as we have seen, quantum mechanics has much to offer to life.
  4. Historical science:  Mark Buchanan wrote a thesis in the special issue about Darwin’s use of history in science.4  It began with Lyell, he said, who brought in the notion of gradual change over long periods of time.  “But if Lyell brought history into science, Darwin pushed it further, introducing the notion that everything in biology that exists does so, in some sense, by chance, as a result of accidents that left ineradicable marks on the future.”  Contingency, he acknowledged, seems the opposite of laws that science describes.  Yet much of what science works with is contingency.  “Darwin gave science a way to proceed in this setting by identifying underlying historical processes – algorithms, if you will – which may be simple in outline, yet lead to consequences of surprising complexity.”  His next paragraph admitted that Darwin, despite the title of his famous book, never provided evidence for the origin of species:
    There is, indeed, little simplicity in biology.  To take one example, Darwin never managed to explain the creation of new species, focusing rather on the gradual phenotypic change of existing species – the lengthening of beaks, or the changing of colours.  Today, it’s increasingly clear that speciation probably takes place through a variety of mechanisms, such as so-called allopatric speciation, driven by the division of populations into geographically isolated sub-populations, which may then evolve divergently with time.  But experiments and theory over the past two decades suggest that speciation may also take place without geographical isolation, through the ordinary dynamics of evolution.
    Buchanan did not explain the apparent circularity of this last statement: can one invoke “ordinary dynamics of evolution” to prove evolution?  Next, he mentioned a recent hypothesis that speciation acts like a phase transition (here’s a tie-in with physics).  As with a phase transition (like liquid water freezing into ice), small change in circumstances of a bird population can cause a rapid change in optimality that produces a big result in the population.  Yet that seems an argument by analogy.  “Even so, it seems to me fair to place with Darwin – although Lyell and whoever inspired him deserve credit as well — the very beginnings of the appreciation that complex phenomena can emerge from relatively simple dynamical origins, a notion that resonates strongly with much of modern physics.”  This, he indicated, resembles chaos theory:
    Today we are all influenced by this thinking and find it hard to see how revolutionary it was initially.  In physics we’re used to models in which accidents count and accumulate and end up driving outcomes – models of self-organized criticality, applied in contexts ranging from earthquake dynamics to mass extinctions, models for fracture dynamics, erosion or deposition, crystallization and so on.  If the timeless laws of classical physics and quantum mechanics attempt to wipe history away, or at least demote it to secondary status, processes based on evolution – in a general sense – focus on the accidental and how it gets locked into place.  This is part of the broad legacy of Charles Darwin, even if it has little to do with biology.
    As a metaphor for what Darwin accomplished, he invoked Sewall Wright’s notion of the “fitness landscape” (Buchanan likes the word “notion” – he used it four times in his short essay; see 10/14/2008 commentary).  According to Wright’s metaphor, populations can be pushed by natural selection onto local fitness peaks and get stuck there – unable to cross the lower-fitness basins to a higher peak.  Similarly, Darwin pushed humanity off its comfortable “fitness peak” because he saw a distant, higher peak far away.  “This inevitably means traversing a valley of low ‘fitness’ in between, which includes the usual ridicule and opposition facing all those with disruptive ideas which inevitably start out ill- and incompletely formed,” he ended.  “We owe the greatest scientific discoveries to those who shoulder such risks, of whom Darwin himself may be the greatest example.
        Buchanan did not clarify whether he thinks mankind ever reached said higher peak.  One can only wonder what he would think if intelligent design proponents were to apply the same metaphor to themselves: suffering ridicule and opposition from the Darwinist majority while traveling toward their “vision of another, higher peak far away.”  Whose measurement criteria should prevail: those of the majority, or of the brave minority or individual?  Darwin was in a minority when he struck out across the landscape, but now the scientific institutions strongly oppose the minority of intelligent design scientists who would wish to follow their vision.  He seems right about one thing: we need a “sense of history.
  5. Cause for celebration:  Dan Csontos reviewed the Darwin celebrations taking place around the world.5  Down House, Cambridge, London – these all received glowing descriptions.  The “tree of life” sketch from the Origin, “perhaps the perfect encapsulation of Darwin’s big idea,” adorned the short article, but precious little was said about physics.  (For the scientific status of Darwin’s “tree of life,” see the 01/22/2009, 01/28/2009, and 01/23/2009 entries.)
  6. Origin reviewed:  Patrick Goymer, 150 years after the publication of Darwin’s Origin, decided to review the venerated book.6    “It’s probably the most famous scientific book ever written, but is On the Origin of Species worth reading if you are not an evolutionary biologist or a historian of science?,” he asked.  Indeed it is, he argued.  He surveyed the major themes in the book – none of which have to do with physics – as useful to the educated lay reader, even if built on the science of his time (Malthus and Lyell providing “essential foundations”).  Darwin’s handling of possible objections to his theory (“this is falsifiable science,” Goymer said), including the evolution of the eye and gaps in the fossil record, “are handy reference for any scientist who might encounter creationism.”  He ended by recommending two physics-informed books on evolution – What Is Life? by Erwin Schroedinger, and Quantum Aspects of Life by Paul Davies.  That’s about the only tie-in he provided with physics.
  7. Quantum Darwin:  The most detailed tie-in of Darwin with physics was a “Progress Article” by Wojciech Hubert Zurek entitled, “Quantum Darwin.”7    Here a physicist can feel at home: the article is adorned with the equations of mathematical physics and quantum mechanics.  Zurek applied natural selection to the outcomes of quantum states.  The discussion, though, is as much philosophical as mathematical.  Sparing the reader the math, here’s a sample:
    Selection of the set of outcomes by the proliferation of information essential for quantum Darwinism parallels Bohr’s insistence that a ‘classical apparatus’ should determine the outcomes.  However, it follows from the purely quantum equation, and is caused by a unitary evolution responsible for the information transfer.  Nevertheless, as classical apparatus would, preferred pointer states designate possible future outcomes.  This precludes measurements of complementary observables and makes it impossible to find out the pre-existing state of the system.  Thus, information acquisition—a copying process—results in preferred states.....
        There was nothing non-unitary above– unitarity was the crux of our argument, and orthogonality of branch seeds our main result.  The relative states of Everett come to mind.  One could speculate about the reality of branches with other outcomes.  We abstain from this—our discussion is interpretation free, and this is a virtue.  Indeed, the ‘reality’ or ‘existence’ of a universal state vector seems problematic.  Quantum states acquire objective existence when reproduced in many copies.  Individual states—one might say with Bohr—are mostly information, too fragile for objective existence.  And there is only one copy of the Universe.  Treating its state as if it really existed seems unwarranted and ‘classical’.
    If this seems to beg questions about knowledge of information and existence, it does.  Nevertheless, Zurek invoked all the Darwinian ideas – struggle for existence, contingency, variation, favoured races and natural selection in his discussion of “quantum Darwinism.”  This was the longest article in the series.  It had the most mathematical rigor.  Yet, in the end, it ended with questions.  Zurek raised possibilities that could render his entire discussion self-refuting.  What is information, if its history can be overwritten?  Could that mean that there is no way to know Zurek’s treatise itself contains reliable information?
    We have seen how quantum Darwinism accounts for the transition from quantum fragility (of information) to the effectively classical robustness.  One can think of this transition as ‘the it from bit’ of John Wheeler.
        In the end, one might ask: how Darwinian is quantum Darwinism?  Clearly, there is survival of the fittest, and fitness is defined as in natural selection—through the ability to procreate.  The no-cloning theorem implies competition for resources...so that only pointer states can multiply (at the expense of their complementary competition).  There is also another aspect of this competition: the huge memory available in the Universe as a whole is nevertheless limited.  So, the question arises: what systems get to be ‘of interest’, and imprint their state on their obliging environments, and what are the environments?  Moreover, as the Universe has a finite memory, old events will eventually be ‘overwritten’ by new ones, so that some of the past will gradually cease to be reflected in the present record.  And if there is no record of an event, has it really happened?  These questions seem far more interesting than deciding the closeness of the analogy with natural selection.  They suggest one more question: is quantum Darwinism (a process of multiplication of information about certain favoured states that seems to be a ‘fact of quantum life’) in some way behind the familiar natural selection?  I cannot answer this question, but neither can I resist raising it.

1.  Editorial, “What’s the big idea,” Nature Physics 5, 161 (2009) doi:10.1038/nphys1206.
2.  Michael Shermer, “A noble conception,” Nature Physics 5, 162 - 163 (2009) doi:10.1038/nphys1207.
3.  Seth Lloyd, “A quantum of natural selection,” Nature Physics 5, 164 - 166 (2009) doi:10.1038/nphys1208.
4.  Mark Buchanan, “A sense of history,” Nature Physics 5, 167 (2009) doi:10.1038/nphys1209.
5.  Dan Csontos, “Anniversary: Cause for celebration,” Nature Physics 5, 170 (2009) doi:10.1038/nphys1211.
6.  Patrick Goymer, “Modern classic,” Nature Physics 5, 169 - 170 (2009) doi:10.1038/nphys1210.
7.  Wojciech Hubert Zurek, “Quantum Darwin,” Nature Physics 5, 181 - 188 (2009) Published online: 2 March 2009 | doi:10.1038/nphys1202.
Making Darwin the god of physics demonstrates once for all that the Darwiniacs have turned evolutionism into a religion.  You need no more proof than to read these articles.  Darwin’s theory of natural selection has been turned into a meta-law exalted above all meta-laws, such that it governs the fictional multiverse and steers the formation of universes toward evolving fools who will believe such things.
    There’s a logical fallacy to which mortals often succumb, called “begging the question.”  It’s a form of circular reasoning that fails to deliver on a promised explanation.  Usually, the responder distracts attention from the main question by answering some other question, leaving the original question sitting there, begging for an answer.  For example, let’s say Joe asks Moe how he knows the future will be like the past.  Moe responds cheerfully that it has always been so.  He proudly thinks he has provided empirical evidence that the future will be like the past, till Joe points out that he didn’t ask how the past turned out to be like the past; he wants to know how the future will be like the past.  A little reflection reveals the fallacious nature of Moe’s logic.  One cannot appeal to past evidence to explain the future.
    Nor does it help if Moe hedges his explanation with probability, claiming that “very probably” the future will be like the past.  Joe asks why.  Moe says, “Well, because it has always worked out that way.”  Once again he has appealed to past explanations as evidence for the future, leaving the original question begging.  Lest one think this is silly semantic quibbling, it is part of a major philosophical problem – the problem of induction – that David Hume and others have used to challenge the pretensions of the self-proclaimed wise among us.  Bertrand Russell used a humorous illustration to point out the flaw of assuming the future will be like the past.  Imagine a chicken that learns to associate the appearance of the farmer at 6:00 in the morning with feed on the ground.  Every morning, day after day, the chicken experiences the sight of the farmer with feed.  6:00 a.m.: farmer, feed.  Next morning: farmer, feed.  This continues for years.  It becomes like a law of nature to the chicken.  The chicken has every reason to assume the future will be like the past, till one morning, the farmer shows up with an axe.  Similarly, we humans sing with Little Orphan Annie that the sun will come up tomorrow, and bet our bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be sun, but we cannot know whether the Rapture will occur or a meteor will wipe out the planet or the sun will go supernova, or any other of a number of unknown eventualities will spoil the pattern to which our experience has made us accustomed.  Scientists cannot even prove the laws of nature will be the same tomorrow.  Yet science relies on assuming they will.  Bible believers have a solution to the riddle of induction.  They believe the word of God (as in Genesis 8:22) that because the Creator is orderly and truthful, we can trust His word that the future will be like the past (subject to His promises), because He is the Lawgiver who set up the laws.  This “precondition for intelligibility,” as philosopher Greg Bahnsen called it, allows us to do science.  The materialist, however, has no such foundation for induction.  Scientists are supposed to demonstrate things, not assume them.  But without assuming the validity of induction and the reliability of the laws of logic, they have no grounds for making sense of the world.  Moe responds, “well, they are doing science without worrying about this.”  True, Joe says; they are “helping themselves” to assumptions from the Christian worldview, assumptions they cannot justify from their own premises.  If Joe were really merciless, he could explain that they make good use of these assumptions because, as rational creatures made in the image of God, they have the law of God written on their consciences (Romans 2:14-15).  In a sense, they are using God’s BiOS (Bible input-output system) to boot up a faulty operating system and run junk programs.
    Look at the papers from Nature Physics above and go hunting for begged questions.  The hunting field is rich with game.  One example is the presumption that natural selection has creative power.  The authors all simply assumed that Darwin’s Supreme Law of Nature could generate eyes, livers, lungs, wings and minds from matter, simply because Darwin seemed to demonstrate variation among pigeons, mockingbirds, sheep and plants.  The Darwinians extrapolate horizontal motion into vertical motion.  Another is Lloyd’s silly analogy between baby animals and baby universes on which natural selection can act.  Another is assuming that laws of nature can emerge by natural selection.  Another is assuming similarities prove ancestry.  And another is assuming natural selection conveys any meaning at all.  Zurek repeated the tautology that “fitness is defined as in natural selection—through the ability to procreate.”  Once defined by its outcome, natural selection reduces to “survivors survive.”  How do you know they are fit?  Because they had the ability to procreate; i.e., their progeny survived.  Why did their progeny survive?  Obviously, because they were the fittest.  Without an independent measure of fitness, the statement conveys no information.  It’s simply a restatement of the obvious: one equals one, boys will be boys, a rose is a rose, and survivors survive.
    In fact, the question-begging goes further.  By appealing to an undirected, purposeless process, they reduced natural selection to the Stuff Happens Law.  The mutation component of neo-Darwinism clearly has no direction or goal – it is all chance.  The natural selection part, similarly, cannot be personified into an intelligent Selector.  Natural selection is incapable of foresight – indeed of any sight at all.  Contrary to Darwin’s characterization of his law as something that is “daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good,” natural selection is not a person.  It can only react to the immediate circumstances.  It cannot foresee that an eye or a wing or brain would be beneficial, and even if it did, it would convey no sense of value on it since, as we just explained, fitness is a meaningless metric.  No part of the theory, therefore, is anchored in any factor that is necessary or normative.  It wobbles like a dust particle undergoing Brownian motion.  In short, Stuff Happens.  How explanatory is that?  One might try to boast that the Stuff Happens Law is scientific because it makes predictions (stuff will happen) and is falsifiable (if nothing happens, the law is disproved) and produces corollaries (e.g., Murphy’s Law; see 09/15/2008 commentary), but its explanatory power is nil.  Since it can accommodate contradictory outcomes (i.e., some planets produce life but others don’t, or some bacteria produce humans but others undergo no change at all for 2.6 billion years) it explains nothing.  Opposite stuff happens as probably as ordinary stuff.  Buchanan calls this an algorithm.  If this is an algorithm, then earthquakes are architects.
    Re-read the papers above with this in mind.  Is it not true that they are wallowing in a fantasyland of their own making, begging questions left and right?  They attribute the beauty, order and design of the universe and life to Stuff Happens.  They help themselves to concepts like law, information, and virtue from the Christian smorgasbord – items that cannot be derived from their materialistic presuppositions.  They exalt the imagination of their own hearts (01/17/2007), extending the speculations of a biologist into speculations about physics and cosmology and imaginary worlds beyond observation.  Having assumed the supremacy of the Law of Natural Selection (aka the Stuff Happens Law), they fall into religious ecstasy, worshipping its founder, celebrating his apotheosis, and glorying in his sacred scripture.  They spread Savior Charlie’s Gospel of Stuff Happens to every realm, from the behavior of quantum particles to the operation of a mythical multiverse.
    Their rhetoric consists primarily of bald assertions of dogmatism (b.a.d.).  They’re b.a.d., and like Michael Jackson, they brag about it.  Michael Shermer boasts that it is no longer the job of religion to explain the natural world.  “That is what science does, and it does so spectacularly.”  Remember that the word spectacular can apply to failures (see Wired.com).
Next headline on:  DarwinPhysics
From Dust to St. Patrick in 5 Billion Years Flat   03/17/2009    
March 17, 2009 — Biblical creationists and evolutionists have one belief in common: we came originally from dust.  How that dust became organized is the difference.  Both views teach that our bodies are comprised of the same atoms found in dust, but creationists say an intelligent designer purposefully molded the dust into a fully-formed man and woman, whereas evolutionists claim the dust organized itself over aeons of time (see cartoon).  Several recent evolutionary articles seem to endow dust with nearly magical properties of self-organization.
    As if pulling a rabbit out of a dusty hat, Astrobiology Magazine announced, “Galactic Dust Bunnies Contain Stuff of Life.”  The basic idea is that carbon, oxygen and iron may form in stars at the centers of galaxies like ours and blow the dust into the outer regions.  The Spitzer Space Telescope detected silicates and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), rich in carbon and oxygen, near the center of the Milky Way.  “These elements are the building blocks of all planets, including our own Earth (as well as of human beings and any other life forms that may exist in the universe).”  The implication is that there is an evolutionary connection between PAH molecules (which are like the dust in your tailpipe) and you.
    The preoccupation with life-potentiating dust was also seen in another article on Astrobiology Magazine.  It began, “NASA scientists analyzing the dust of meteorites have discovered new clues to a long-standing mystery about how life works on its most basic, molecular level.”  That mystery is homochirality: the fact that all proteins in life use left-handed amino acids.  Science Now echoed the finding by Goddard astrobiologists who noticed slight excesses of one hand over the other in meteorites collected in Antarctica.  “In one of the rocks, the imbalance was 18%, the largest ever reported for a meteorite.”  The discoverers theorized that the amino acids made contact with melting ice in the parent asteroids, and become more biased toward left handedness when polarized light in space impinged on the molecules.  “Whatever the reason,” the article said (indicating these theoretical notions are not certain), “life as we know it could just as easily have been given a nudge toward the right-handed side in a different environment.”  Jeffrey Bada of UC San Diego remained skeptical.  “It’s a lot to ask from a natural geochemical process, which, basically, we know nothing about.”  Another astrobiologist mentioned the possibility that bacterial contamination of the meteorite biased the ratios.
    Problems or not, the two articles on Astrobiology Magazine were optimistic that the secret of life is inherent in dust: “The study shows that biological molecules created in space and delivered to Earth by meteorites” [i.e., space dust] “ may have had a profound effect on the development of life.”  And as to the origin of the dust from stars, the other article said, “The research is helping astrobiologists understand how elements necessary for life are formed and distributed through the Universe.”  A few billion years later, St. Patrick walks the heaths of Ireland, bringing good news to people walking in pagan darkness and fear.
Now we can add the Dust Bunny to Tinker Bell, Popeye and Yoda in the cast of characters in the evolutionary play, King Charles and His Magic Kingdom.  The Dust Bunny from space contains within herself all the potentialities of eagles, frogs, giraffes, starfish and humans: NASA tells us that galactic dust bunnies contain the stuff of life.  So the cosmic Dust Bunny, sent on a beam of starlight, falls to a planet that had just emerged from the dust of the sun.  All she needs is the awakening zap from Tinker Bell’s mutation wand, and her inherent potential begins to unfold.  Over billions and billions of years, left-handed amino acids, “for whatever reason,” join hands and invent codes, morphing into trilobites and squid and jellyfish and worms.  Under King Charles’ just laws, stuff happens: fins swim, legs walk, and eyes pop into existence.  The living dust morphs into mice and cavemen and Popeye the Sailor Man.  Minds emerge from the dust, till at the pinnacle of this long process, Yoda the scientist looks back, calls St. Patrick a fool, and explains how it all really happened.
    More primitive versions of this philosophy were called pantheism.  Darwin Party Productions, Inc., has animated the ancient play into a new epic – Pantoonism – now playing in science journals near you.  Abadabadababacadabra, that’s all, folks.
Next headline on:  Origin of LifeSolar SystemEvolutionDumb Ideas
  Learning Darwinese: the Darwin freak show (03/09/2007) delights in ignorance (03/08/2007).

Peking Man Ages 200,000 Years   03/16/2009    
March 16, 2009 — Dates for Chinese fossils of Homo erectus have been pushed back 200,000 years to 780,000 years before the present, reported Live Science.  The report is based on a paper in Nature by scientists who used cosmogenic nuclide dating methods for the first time.1  Ciochon and Bettis, in the same issue of Nature,2 said the report “prompts a rethink of the species’ distribution in both the temperate north and the equatorial south of east Asia.”
    Zhoukoudian Cave near Beijing has been a prime site for Homo erectus remains since 1918.  “Homo erectus stood 145–180 cm tall, walked fully upright with a modern-like human footprint, and used stone tools,” Ciochon and Bettis said.  “The species is easily distinguished from H. sapiens by its distinctive torso, which was much more barrel-shaped and larger in volume.”  Six crania and bones of 40 individuals have been found at the site (Ciochon and Bettis count 50 individuals and 17,000 artifacts).
    How certain are the dates?  A variety of methods have been employed since the 1970s.  “A time range of ~230 to 500 kyr ago for the hominin-fossil-bearing layers has been widely accepted by palaeoanthropologists, although with a few critical comments,” the authors said.  They pointed out problems, though, with previous dating methods:

  1. The age of Zhoukoudian Homo erectus, commonly known as ‘Peking Man’, has long been pursued, but has remained problematic owing to the lack of suitable dating methods.
  2. In contrast, much older ages were determined using mass spectrometric U-series dating of intercalated pure and dense calcite samples, known to be a more reliable chronometer.
  3. The suggestion that Zhoukoudian H. erectus is substantially older than previously estimated remains to be validated by independent checks.
  4. However, numerical dating beyond the upper limit of mass spectrometric U-series dating, ~600 kyr ago, is difficult in China because the lack of contemporaneous volcanic activity nearly precludes the application of 40Ar/39Ar dating.
The U-series dates, being substantially older, led to their attempt to use an independent method—cosmogenic radionuclide dating.  This depends on the exposure time of surface sediments to cosmic radiation.  The ratio of aluminum-26 (half-life 717,000 years) and beryllium-10 (half-life 1,360,000 years) in quartz crystals is 6:8:1 when exposed to the ground surface.  “Their initial concentrations depend on the mineral’s exposure time, which in turn is controlled by the erosion rate of the host rock,” they explained.  “If quartz grains from the surface are deeply buried, for example by deposition in a cave, then the production of cosmogenic nuclides nearly stops.”  Because the aluminum-26 decays faster than beryllium-10, the ratio decreases exponentially with a half-life of 1.52 million years.  “The strengths of this method are its radiometric basis and its independence from other dating methods,” they said.
    Nevertheless, the method must be used with caution.  “However, it must be recognized that cave sediments can have complex stratigraphy, particularly in vadose fills.  If fossils are mixed with quartz sediments with a prior burial history, the resulting age will be erroneously old.”  They took six samples from different levels and four quartzite samples from artifacts that directly indicate hominin presence.  Three of the latter were consistent, but one gave an anomalous date of 1.6 Mya (million years ago).  “This particular sample could have been taken from an older cave fill or terrace before manufacture,” they suggested, so they threw it out.  Of the sediment quartz samples, three gave consistent results “slightly older than, but within error of, the weighted mean of the results from the three artefacts, indicating that some sand might have entered the cave with a previous burial signal.”  One sample, though, gave a result of 2.78 Mya.  How did they explain that?  “This sample may possibly date to an earlier phase of cave formation, as it was collected from a thin sandy layer that is adhered to the north wall and is now out of stratigraphic contact with the main cross-section.”  The other two had to be tossed, also.  “The two samples from the basal fluvial sediments do not yield statistically meaningful results,” they said; “Their inherited cosmogenic nuclide concentrations are quite low due to rapid erosion in their source area, leading to large uncertainty.”
    In summary, they had to eliminate four out of ten measurements to arrive at a consistent result.  “Taken together, we consider the weighted mean of the six meaningful measurements, 0.77 [plus or minus] 0.08 Myr, to best represent the age for layers 7–10.  This is consistent with both previous U-series and palaeomagnetic data.”  Future refinements of these estimates will be necessary, they said, correlating the cave sediments with the local geology and ecological history.  They summarized their findings within the wider context of dating uncertainties:
A reliable chronology is critical for resolving debate over the mode of Middle Pleistocene human evolution in East Asia.  Previously, the chronology of Chinese sites has been largely based on the U-series and electron spin resonance dating of fossil materials, which are known to be vulnerable to post-burial U migration230Th/234U dating of speleothem calcite has repeatedly shown that the previous timescale for Middle–Late Pleistocene hominin sites in China may have been underestimated as a whole.  The results of this paper show that such a tendency persists beyond the range of mass spectrometric U-series dating.  It is foreseeable that 26Al/10Be burial dating will be applied to other hominin sites in China and elsewhere, contributing substantially to a robust chronological framework and thereby to a better understanding of human evolution.
What are the consequences of the new dates?  Ciochon and Bettis claim that Homo erectus arose in equatorial Africa two million years ago, then migrated to Asia 250,000 years later over a 150,000 year period, with some surviving (Solo Man in Java) till 50,000 years ago.  If Homo erectus was in Asia as long ago as the new dates indicate, then the population had to endure an ice age.  “Many scientists thought that the species moved north with the interglacials and south with the glacials,” the Live Science article said, but Ciochon told them the new date shows they must have hung around during colder periods.  It’s not like the land was covered with ice, he explained: it was just a colder, dryer period.  Presumably the caves provided some warmth.  The new date also tells evolutionary paleoanthropologists there were two migrations–one to China, and one to Java.  Before, they thought the Chinese population was related to the Indonesia population.  Ciochon told Live Science that Homo erectus had legs: “Aside from Homo sapiens,” he said, “it’s the most widespread hominin species.”  One can only wonder why such a migration-capable population took 400,000 years to do reach China when modern man spread from the Fertile Crescent in one thousandth of that time.  Despite these questions, Live Science provided its readers a matter-of-fact synopsis of the human evolution saga:
The Homo genus, which includes modern humans, originated in Africa with Homo habilis about 2.5 million years ago.  H. erectus likely derived from some early version of H. habilis around 2 million years ago, anthropologists think.
    Some portion of the H. erectus population later left Africa and spread out across the Old World (the population left behind in Africa likely led to Homo heidelbergensis, from which the first early Homo sapiens likely derived, Ciochon said).  Other sites of H. erectus bones show that the migration had reached Dmanisi, Georgia (in Asia), by about 1.75 million years ago and Java by about 1.6 million years ago.
Filling in details will require future work, like finding more fossils along the migration route, the article said.
1.  Shen, Gao, Gao, and Granger, “Age of Zhoukoudian Homo erectus determined with 26Al/10Be burial dating,” Nature 458, 198-200 (12 March 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature07741.
2.  Russell L. Ciochon, and Arthur Bettis III, “Palaeoanthropology: Asian Homo erectus converges in time,” Nature 458, 153-154 (12 March 2009) | doi:10.1038/458153a.
It should become evident that Darwin Party hacks are engaging in another of their colossal storytelling episodes.  This is akin to listening to an ancient Babylonian creation myth.  The only difference is improved arcane terminology with which they con the listeners into thinking they are worthy Shamans, worthy of respect as Wise Knowers.
    If you think this judgment is too harsh, look at what they did.  They tossed out half their samples to get the dates they wanted—dates that would match up with their predetermined myth.  Well, we think they should use the outlier measurements: we propose that our ancestors emerged suddenly 2.78 million years ago, then just sat in a cave for 2,730,000 years till the last one, Solo Man, wasted away without a bride (alone again, naturally).  We say the African population arose independently, or started when a few Peking Man people moved there.  Why not?  We have data to support that myth just as much as they have to support theirs.  Pick which lie you like better.
    This is not science.  It is storytelling with a vengeance.  Aluminum and beryllium isotopes and cosmic rays have nothing to do with it.  These people have a predetermined script they are following.  Data are just props to make it sound convincing.  For one thing, they completely eliminated from consideration any alternative script (like creation).  No matter how much the evidence supports alternatives, and no matter how much data causes problems to their script, they cling to it tenaciously, even when it is absurd on the face of it.  Why?  Because it supports their naturalistic, materialistic world view.
    Consider how absurd their story is.  For one thing, they invented a class of “hominins” (a word embedding evolutionary assumptions masquerading as knowledge) to describe as “other” a class of people that are, for all practical purposes, just like us.  How many people today can you find on the beach with normal brain size, walking upright, using tools, but sporting a barrel-shaped chest?  That description easily fits within the range of human variability.  They expect us to believe that these people were smart enough to migrate long distances, endure the cold of an ice age, and make tools, but were too dumb to ride horses or make art or build cities.  Smart enough to survive diverse habitats in Georgia, China and Java, they couldn’t figure out for over two million years anything better than cave life.  And if you don’t believe this, well, they have the dates to prove it – provided you toss out half the samples they don’t like.  These con artists make reckless drafts on the bank of time (07/02/2007), and expect us taxpayers to bail them out with our endless credulity.
    Picture a wise person unaccustomed to Western evolutionary mythology listening to this tale and deciding if it made any sense.  “What?” he might exclaim.  “Are you telling me that upright-walking, world-migrating, tool-making people were not human?  And that they lived in caves for two million years – hundreds of times longer than the history of civilization?  What planet are you from?”  Most of us only give the myth the time of day because we were taught to respect “science” and somehow think the Darwin Party shamans have their reputations tied to that otherwise noble enterprise.  The shamans perpetuate the ruse by working in science labs and knowing how to speak the right mumbo-jumbo about uranium isotopes (see association in the Baloney Detector).  Occasionally they announce finds that make them “rethink the story of human evolution.”  They’re not really rethinking.  They’re just rearranging the cave furniture to keep the public thinking they are busy and therefore need the ongoing flow of research dollars.  Like the medieval scholars who forbade the populace to read the Scriptures, because only they were capable of interpreting the blatant discrepancies between its teachings and church practice without contradiction, these shamans distract others from pointing out contradictions between the evidence and their stories by hiding behind an appearance of scholarship.  Thus we allow them to explain away the contradictions, toss out the anomalies, and arrange the remaining bits into support for their schemes.
    If natural disasters were to bury some modern beach bums in California, South Africa, Yugoslavia and Siberia and fossilize their bones, how much would you want to bet that evolutionists would be able to concoct a story of the emergence of man, migrations and all, and support it with dating methods of their choosing?  You better believe they could.  Their imaginations are constrained only by their prior commitment to their over-arching world view.  As long as they could use the data to teach that the universe, life, and man all arose from slow, gradual processes of evolution, a plethora of new papers would hit the journals.  With a little selective sampling, a little weeding out of anomalous measurements, and a lot of imagination, they could make the new data fit.  The only difference with Homo erectus is that the cave people are no longer here to explain what really happened.
    Finding human bones in caves should not be surprising.  There are people living in caves today.  There are also people living under freeways and in abandoned buses.  Whoever lived in the caves of Dmanisi, Beijing and South Africa may have been outcasts, nature-lovers, temporary residents, refugees, early followers of Rousseau or the Sierra Club, or just the dumbest of the tribe with nowhere else to go.  Maybe they were expelled from their tribes for not accepting the local myth.  Just because they didn’t leave textbooks and iPods among their artifacts doesn’t mean they were non-human.  The writer of Hebrews described men of whom the world was not worthy wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth (Hebrews 11:38).  Let’s use that to start a new paradigm.  It has just as much scientific and historical evidence, if not more: cavemen represent the greatest sojourners on Earth, rejected by their fellow men, but heirs by faith of the promises of God: among them Moses, Elijah, the prophets hid by Obadiah, David, and John the Baptist.  On scales of wisdom and righteousness, there are some primitive individuals inhabiting modern research labs.
Next headline on:  Early ManDating Methods
Tip Link: Read what Charles Krauthammer said about Obama’s stem cell policy in the Washington Post (related to our 3/08/2009 entry).

Shedding Light on the Protein Big Bang Theory   03/13/2009    
March 13, 2009 — The precise three-dimensional structure of a typical protein molecule is so complex, its origin would seem hopeless by chance.  What if evolutionary biologists were to discover a whole host of proteins literally exploded into existence at the beginning of complex life?  We can find out what they would think by looking at an article on the “protein big bang” found on Astrobiology Magazine.
    The phrase “protein big bang” harks back to “biological big bang” story that appeared over six years ago (see 10/22/2002).  A team of scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaigne claims that “after eons of gradual evolution, proteins suddenly experienced a ‘big bang’ of innovation.”  Astrobiology Magazine said, “A new study of proteins, the molecular machines that drive all life, also sheds light on the history of living organisms.”
    How dramatic was the alleged protein big bang?  The theory seems to want to explain simultaneous opposites: combining and splitting:

The active regions of many proteins, called domains, combined with each other or split apart to produce a host of structures that had never been seen before.  This explosion of new forms coincided with the rapidly increasing diversity of the three superkingdoms of life (bacteria; the microbes known as archaea; and eucarya, the group that includes animals, plants, fungi and many other organisms).
Evolution seems to have quickly generated a host of “architectures” with diverse functions.  They believe this all happened by chance and natural selection, but the authors used design language, describing the protein domains as “gears and motors that allow the protein machinery to work.”  The innovation they were describing went beyond mere amino acid sequences.  It involves the three-dimensional shapes of protein domains, or modules, whose functions are tied to the shapes.
    The modules “have endured because perform critical tasks that are beneficial to the organisms that host them,” the lead author said.  So they evolved explosively, according to this idea, then didn’t change for hundreds of millions of years.  “These modules are resistant to change, they are highly integrated and they are used in different contexts,” he said, implying that they are resistant to evolution.
    The authors put protein domains into an evolutionary timeline.  They discerned slow, gradual change, then bang:
Exactly at the time of the big bang,” he said, many of the combined domains began to split apart, creating numerous single-domain modules again.  But these new modules were much more efficient and specialized than their ancient predecessors had been.
    “This makes a lot of sense,” Caetano-Anollés said.  “As you become more complex, you would want to fine-tune things, to do things in a more tailored way”....
    “This explosion of diversity allowed the eucarya to do things with their proteins that other organisms could not do,” Caetano-Anollés said.
Gustavo Caetano-Anollés is professor of bioinformatics at the University of Illinois.  The article was based on a press release from the University, which also claimed this study “sheds light on the history of living organisms.”
Once again, the evolutionists’ propensity for finding miracles in explosions, and slithering out of falsification, becomes painfully evident.  If this “makes a lot of sense” to you, you need some serious deprogramming and a delousing bath.  Do you see what these charlatans have done?  They have turned evidence against evolution into a tall tale about evolution!  Quick: read chapter 6 of our online book for a sanity check.
    On top of that, these pseudo-scholars personified bacteria as tailoring and fine-tuning their machinery so that they could do things.  You can’t talk that way in Darwinland.  Teleology is verboten.  As a last straw, Astrobiology Magazine, a NASA enterprise supported with your tax dollars, said these guys “used protein structures to gain insight into evolutionary events” and claimed this “is shedding light on the history of life on Earth.”  Fie, fie, fie.  Foul, foul, foul.  Fui, fui, phooey.  Dumb-de-dumb dumb.
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyEvolutionDumb Ideas
More Functional Non-Coding DNA Found   03/12/2009    
March 12, 2009 — Another finding undermines the concept of “junk DNA.”  A team of scientists in Massachusetts found over a thousand functional RNA transcripts from intergenic sequences.  These RNA transcripts, coming not from genes but from regions earlier thought to be non-functional, take part in diverse functions from stem cell pluripotency to HOX gene developmental processes to cell proliferation.
    The work by Guttman, Rinn et al was reported in Nature.1  The March 12 issue also included a technology feature highlighting the research of co-author John Rinn of the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.2  The research team developed new methods for identifying the activity of large intervening non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs).  They also found that these RNAs are strictly regulated.
    Recognizing that non-coding regions of DNA could be functional has “turbo-charged the field,” he said, “as not only can we identify these things now but we can get a good idea of what they might be doing to test functional relationships.”
1.  Guttman et al, “Chromatin signature reveals over a thousand highly conserved large non-coding RNAs in mammals,” Nature 458, 223-227 (12 March 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature07672.
2.  N.B., “Technology Feature: Transcriptomics: Rethinking junk DNA,” Nature 458, 240-241 (12 March 2009) | doi:10.1038/458240a.
The few mentions of evolution in the main paper are instructive.  One of the methods the scientists used to identify functional RNA transcripts was “evolutionary conservation,” which means the lack of evolution.  Presumably a “conserved” (unevolved) region of DNA or RNA was protected from mutation and selection because it was too functional for Tinker Bell to tinker with.  There is a subset of natural selection called “purifying selection,” which essentially means “defending DNA from the ravages of mutation.”
    The researchers found that these previously-unknown functional transcripts were, indeed, highly conserved in mammals: “In sharp contrast to previous collections,” they said, “these large intervening non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) show strong purifying selection in their genomic loci, exonic sequences and promoter regions, with greater than 95% showing clear evolutionary conservation.”  The team believes there could be many thousands of these lincRNAs in mammalian genomes.
    If some of the other non-coding DNA is found to be functional, the implications would be hard on evolutionary theory: “the markedly low rate of conservation seen in the current catalogues of large non-coding transcripts ([less than] 5% of cases) is unprecedented and would require that each mammalian clade evolves its own distinct repertoire of non-coding transcripts.”  That would be too much new genetic information for a Darwinian mechanism to create.  For that reason, they are postulating that most of the RNAs represent “transcriptional noise, with a minority of bona fide functional lincRNAs hidden amid this background.”
      The authors did acknowledge one point of logic: “Strictly speaking, the absence of evolutionary conservation cannot prove the absence of function.”  One of their criteria for measuring functionality of lincRNAs was the degree of conservation.  They hedged this criterion by saying, “We do not exclude the possibility that lincRNAs identified by shotgun sequencing that fail to show conservation are nonetheless functional, but other evidence will be required to establish this point.”
    To avoid circular reasoning, they cannot use evolutionary conservation as support for evolutionary “purifying selection.”  If absence of evolutionary conservation cannot prove the absence of function, then neither can it prove evolution; the lack of conservation might be due to other causes, like design.  And if a host of functional unconserved transcripts are found, it will seriously call into question the ability of neo-Darwinism to generate a large amount of unique functional information in each mammal genome.
    For the time being, Guttman et al are banking on the unconserved stuff being transcriptional noise.  The trend against the “junk DNA” paradigm is against them, however (11/07/2008, 02/06/2008, 09/12/2007, 07/16/2007, and especially 06/15/2007).  One additional thing from the paper is apparent: evolutionary theory was only incidental to the story.  What they were searching for was functional information, conservation, regulation, and the lack of evolution.  In a word, that’s design.  Chalk up another turbo-charged research project to the inherent motivation of ID science: seeking to understand the design in nature.
Next headline on:  GeneticsMammalsIntelligent Design
  A case of geological revisionism: Arizona’s “Grand Falls” of the Little Colorado River determined to be much younger than thought.  See 03/05/2006 (also learn about “eyeball dating”).  Meanwhile, planetary scientists try to keep the heat going on icy moons for billions of years (03/01/2006).  Is there a pattern here?

Scientists Crave Integrity: Can They Evolve It?   03/12/2009    
March 12, 2009 — An important item not found on lab shelves or test tubes has been appearing in science news stories recently: integrity.  That’s a word about character: moral rectitude, honesty, accountability, uprightness, the ability to resist temptation.  It’s the kind of word one might hear in a sermon.  For those who follow Darwin, how did integrity evolve?

  1. Obama’s pledge:  After loosening restrictions on embryonic stem cell research (03/10/2009), President Obama issued an edict demanding scientific integrity in the executive branch.  Live Science included the text of Obama’s statement in its report.  Obama’s wide-reaching executive order calls for (1) selection of scientific advisors based on their knowledge, experience, credentials and integrity; (2) well-established rules and procedures to ensure integrity, including peer review; (3) policies and procedures for guarding against compromise; (4) public disclosure of scientific findings used in policy decisions; and (5) whistleblower protections.  The statement was intended to reinforce Obama’s commitment to make decisions based on science instead of ideology when dealing with issues like stem cells and climate change.
  2. United for integrity:  The Union of Concerned Scientists website is big on integrity.  Reacting to “Political interference in federal government science” that “is weakening our nation’s ability to respond to the complex challenges we face,” the UCS posted a tutorial called “Integrity 101.”  Other resources include their examples of abuses of science, suggested solutions, and action items for the individual scientist.
  3. Anti-plagiarismScience magazine posted a Policy Forum article about Scientific Integrity and “Responding to Possible Plagiarism.”1  Plagiarism has become an increasing concern with the rise of internet publishing.  The five authors from the University of Texas concluded, “While there will always be a need for authoritative oversight, the responsibility for research integrity ultimately lies in the hands of the scientific community.”
Some other articles and news stories did not specifically mention integrity, but touched on it indirectly by discussing the nature of science:
  1. War policyYahoo News bemoaned the fact that the war over Darwin still rages after 200 years since his birth.  The policy of who gets to teach children draws on the nature of science itself.  Robert S. Boyd allowed voices from both sides to get a hearing.  The scientific community stands dead-set against a majority in the public, so whose “knowledge, experience, credentials and integrity” will be brought to bear on this issue?
  2. Evolving purposeEvolution News commented on a recent address by atheist Richard Dawkins, who tried to explain purpose without purpose.  It goes without saying that a scientist seeking to live with integrity needs to do it purposefully.  Robert Crowther wished luck to Dawkins, who famously has explained away design as an illusion: “you can’t have unintentional intention, or unpurposeful purpose,” Crowther said.  “It seems that purpose is less of an illusion even than design is.”
  3. Balanced skepticism:  It goes without saying that science must be defined before its integrity can be measured.  What is science, anyway?  Most people grant science an extra measure of respect over other branches of inquiry.  Some sociologists in recent decades, however, have defrocked science to the point of treating it like a special-interest group.  One of those sociologists has backtracked a bit.  Harry Collins (Cardiff University, UK), in an essay in Nature last week,2 called for a rational balance between scientific triumphalism and postmodern skepticism.  He gave his readers a short history of the Science Wars of the 1990s. 
    It was said that sociologists were trying to undermine science.  But we were not questioning the results of the great experiments, merely examining how the consensus about their interpretation was established.  The conclusions of most of us were moderate: science could not deliver the absolute certainties of religion or morality, and scientists were not priests but rather skilful artisans, reaching towards universal truths but inevitably falling short.  Far from being anti-science, we were trying to safeguard science against the danger of claiming more than it could deliver.  If science presents itself as revealed truth it will inevitably disappoint, inviting a dangerous reaction; even the most talented craftsmen have their off-days, whereas a god must never fail.
    Collins defended the right of skeptics to ask such questions, but now thinks they went too far.  A science that cannot defend some measure of epistemic priority has no safeguards against abuses: e.g., Lysenko, mavericks who attract politicians against the consensus views, and creationists: “Recently a philosopher acting as an expert witness in a court case in the United States claimed that the scientific method, being so ill-defined, could support creationism.”  One can justify anything with skepticism, he said.
        On the other hand, the scientific community is no stranger to abuse: “The founding myth of the individual scientist using evidence to stand against the power of church or state – which has a central role in Western societies – has been replaced with a model in which Machiavellian scientists engage in artful collaboration with the powerful.”
        What’s the solution?  Collins called for a new standard: expertise.  Sociologists need to define new classes of expertise, and understand how authoritative consensus is achieved.  They need to develop a “periodic table of expertises,” he quipped.  This is how they can avoid the pitfalls of policy based on maverick or ill-supported science.  “Although in principle the logic of the mavericks’ position cannot be defeated, a policy-maker should accept the position of those who share in the tacit knowledge of the expert community.”
        But hasn’t the maverick sometimes been right?  Collins knows that he is dealing in treacherous waters.  He called for understanding by both scientists and their skeptical sociologist critics.  Both have limitations on what can be known.  Here’s where morality came in:
    It is not only social scientists who would have to change their approach under elective modernism.  If we are to choose the values that underpin scientific thinking to underpin society, scientists must think of themselves as moral leaders.  But they must teach fallibility, not absolute truth.  Whenever a scientist, acting in the name of science, cheats, cynically manipulates, claims to speak with the voice of capitalism, the voice of a god, or even the voice of a doctrinaire atheist, it diminishes not only science but the whole of our society.
        In a society informed by elective modernism, free criticism of ideas would be a good thing; the right way to pursue knowledge about the natural world would be through observation, theorization and experiment, not revelation, tradition, the study of books of obscure origin or the building of alliances of the powerful.  Science’s findings are to be preferred over religion’s revealed truths, and are braver than the logic of scepticism, but they are not certain.  They are a better grounding for society precisely, and only, because they are provisional.  It is open debate among those with experience that is the ultimate value of the good society.
    Collins makes it clear that scholars can no longer assume science’s epistemic authority; “assessing scientific findings is a far more difficult task than was once believed,” he said, “and ... those findings do not lead straight to political conclusions.”  Still, he believes that science can provide us with values, if not findings.  Bottom line: “Scientists can guide us only by admitting their weaknesses, and, concomitantly, when we outsiders judge scientists, we must do it not to the standard of truth, but to the much softer standard of expertise.
It’s clear that many of the same voices clamoring for integrity and moral values believe in evolution.  One only has to recall the big celebrations over Darwin last month in all the major science journals to ask a pertinent question: how did integrity evolve by an unguided, purposeless, impersonal process of natural selection?  As a case in point, Live Science printed another article in a long series claiming that belief in God is an artifact of brain evolution.  Reporting on a study by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, the article said, “One question that remains unanswered is whether religion evolved as a central functional preoccupation for human brains in early societies, or whether it simply relied on brain regions which had evolved for other types of thought-processing.”  The option that religion might be true was off the list of options.  With that viewpoint, integrity could certainly not refer to any universal moral standard.  A corollary is that scientific institutions can define and govern their own moral standards.  That’s why the piece in Science stated, “the responsibility for research integrity ultimately lies in the hands of the scientific community.”
1.  Long, Errami, George, Sun and Garner, “Scientific Integrity: Responding to Possible Plagiarism,” Science, 6 March 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5919, pp. 1293-1294, DOI: 10.1126/science.1167408.
2.  Harry Collins, “We cannot live by scepticism alone,” Nature 458, 30 (5 March 2009) | doi:10.1038/458030a.
Collins’ essay is informative and thought-provoking.  Read the whole thing if you can get a copy of the March 5 Nature.  But is his advice fatally flawed?  What about his contrasts between the approach of science and that of revealed religion?  Just as religion did in earlier centuries, science now has the most powerful influence on many vital issues that impact government policy and society: global warming, stem cells, nuclear weapons, the economy, and the story of our origins.  Careful thinking on the nature and limits of science is even more vital.
    Collins provided a good summary of the Science Wars of the 1960s to 1990s.  It may surprise many who learned respect for science in school that the scientific institutions were being hammered in many parts of society for 30 years.  The collapse of logical positivism left science vulnerable to criticism from many sectors.  It could no longer be viewed in the white-lab-coat model of the objective, unbiased search for truth.  It got tied up in the military-industrial complex, international corporations, and politics.  Philosophers seriously questioned the ability of science to achieve progressive unfolding of truth about nature, and sociologists turned the tables and put scientists in their test tubes.  Postmodernists looked at science as just one other text among many, with no special epistemic status.
    Much of that played out by the turn of the millennium.  “Scientific realism” (the science institutions’ own philosophy of science) now predominates, more by endurance than justification.  It’s a toned-down version of positivism that makes less audacious claims.  Typically, scientists will justify their approach to truth-seeking as “the best tool we have.”  They assume that their measurements correspond to what is “out there” in the world.  They reach beyond strict empiricism and allow themselves to speculate on unobservables (like black holes, the interiors of stars, quarks, and dark energy).
    What all the secular players fail to realize is how much they are helping themselves to Judeo-Christian concepts.  They leave key questions begging.  How can we have confidence that what we sense corresponds to reality?  How valid is inductive reasoning?  Why can we assume the laws of logic?  Why do we assume that honesty and cooperation are good things?  Where does integrity come from?  By what standard can we measure things?
    The solution Collins offers is no help at all.  He thinks that by analyzing a mystical concept of “expertise,” the sociologists and scientists can learn to get along.  Doing that requires objective measures, else it degenerates into following the latest bandwagon or resting on appeals to authority.  Today’s expert can be tomorrow’s dunce.  A thousand French experts can be wrong.  Surely Collins doesn’t think that it is better to follow a thousand experts off a cliff.  He knows of historical examples when the maverick was right.  It seems he just doesn’t want to start another Science War, so he is content to propose a peace treaty: sociologists study expertise, and scientists avoid claiming they have a godlike truth.  Scientific institutions, though, left to their own devices, are like communists: they will not be content till they have totalitarian rule.  They want the sociologist in their test tube, not the other way around.  Before Collins knows what hit him, they will be publishing papers on the Evolution of Sociology.
    Consider this radical solution: Bible-based science.  Before exploding in rage, if you are an evolutionist reading this, think for a moment.  Here’s what you get with Christianity.  You get: an absolute standard for morality, the correspondence theory of truth, the validity of induction, the validity of deduction and the laws of logic, curiosity about the world, motivation to seek out the workings of nature, fellowship over the Imago Dei common to all human beings, and the virtues of honesty, integrity, unselfishness, charity and cooperation.  Could science use those things?  Absolutely.  You get all these for free in the Christian package.  Christianity provides the preconditions for intelligibility for science, and offers justification for all the good things in rationality and morals that science desperately needs.
    Maybe you were taught to picture Christians as backward, obscurantist, dogmatic bigots whose religious motivations would bring science to a stop.  Every group has its bad apples, but we would argue that you really cannot have science without these things the Bible provides (see introduction to our online book).  Harry Collins scorns religion as enslaved to sacred texts, but the Bible leaves many, many subjects open to investigation.  It even encourages research (Proverbs 25:3, I Thess. 5:21, Philippians 4:8, Psalm 111).  The Bible is a condensed book.  It touches on nature, but its main thrust is on salvation.  Christians believe that prior to the Fall, part of our job was to do science (ICR).  Christians believe God is glorified when we strive to comprehend His works (Psalm 104).
    Further, none of the other world views offers these good things – especially secularism.  There is no way to get integrity out of an unguided, purposeless, selfish process like evolution.  Integrity is not made of particles.  It is strongly to be doubted that human rationality has any connection to the world – or even exists – if we evolved from screeching chimpanzees.  Unable to operate consistent with their presuppositions, evolutionists cheat by filching rationality, integrity and morality from the Christian smorgasbord.  Integrity and rationality make perfect sense from a Christian viewpoint.  They make no sense at all in the shifting, aimless world of the materialist and evolutionist.
    How would Bible-based science work out in practice?  It would not end controversies in science.  Why?  Because we’re only human.  We don’t know everything.  We can see through a glass darkly that absolutes exist, and we can strive to perceive them as best we can, but our science and our knowledge will always be incomplete in this life.  The medieval period makes this clear; controversies got very lively, even when the Biblical world view was assumed by the majority.  Nevertheless, medieval scholars and nature philosophers never doubted that searching out matters of natural philosophy was worthwhile.  Their Biblical world view gave them a pole star by which to navigate.  Their doctrine of an all-wise, communicating Creator gave them confidence that real progress could be made.  Even aging Solomon, writing in Ecclesiastes, found satisfaction in learning, though calling it vain in an ultimate sense (vanity could mean inscrutable or beyond full comprehension).  Newton took heart from Daniel 12:4 that in the last days, knowledge would increase.  He was on a personal campaign to be part of that process.
    So how would a modern Bible-based scientific community deal with a Lysenko or other pseudoscientific maverick who runs counter to the consensus?  Collins and other secularists have nothing to fall back on but the political power of the majority and their self-styled measures of expertise.  With the Bible, however, all could assume absolute standards of morality and rationality.  The actual existence of integrity and rationality provide confidence for creating standards of evidence and proof.  Furthermore, believing that one’s character counts, the scientific community would take into account the lifestyle and core beliefs of a scientist making an apparently outlandish claim.  Lysenko could no longer rely on political connections and bluffing; his character record would be part of the judgment on his claims.  The humility and deference of scientists would not deny any maverick a fair hearing at the outset, but they would demand rigorous logic and evidence for any unfamiliar view.  Christianity provides the scientific community with confidence that logic is real and evidence is available to the senses.
    Another good outcome is that rank speculation and imagination would be scorned.  Speculation is the Pandora’s Box that Darwin opened in science lab (08/22/2005 commentary).  Scientists of Darwin’s day denounced his speculative theory and demanded rigorous evidence (01/14/2009 commentary), but Charlie and his schemers persuaded the intelligentsia of the day that stringing isolated facts into a broad, all-encompassing hypothesis was acceptable in science (01/15/2004 commentary).  Now we have storytellers running amok with tales of the evolution of self-control (01/01/2009), the evolution of hiccups via your inner fish (12/16/2008), the origin of life on asteroids (03/05/2009) and other fables, trying to outdo each other in silliness and getting away with it.  Biblical science would be a return to a more Baconian scientific method: support your ideas with experiment, and abide by the maxim of Jesus, “by their fruits ye shall know them.”  Good science will once again be aimed at improving the lives of people and advancing good stewardship of the Earth.
    Is this a pipe dream?  No; it’s how science was actually done before the Charlietans raided the science labs and took over (12/22/2003 commentary).  Just ask Bacon, Kepler, Harvey, Pascal, Boyle and all the other great scientists in our online book.
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See Like a Bee, Fly Like a Fly   03/11/2009    
March 11, 2009 — An aerospace engineer in Australia was inspired by insects to design a better way for missiles to find their targets.  Aviation Week reported on work announced by the Australian Government Department of Defense.  “Bioseeker,” a new guidance system for smarter weapons, was inspired by insect navigation.  The Hon. Warren Snowdon, on his website as Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, announced the new technology.  (See also the ASD-Network.)
    The press release did not say what specifically about insect navigation was being emulated, but then again, such information would be top secret.  It has something to do with the way insects are able to hone in on moving targets.  If they are modeling on the honeybee, perhaps their new Bioseeker technology includes a new stinger missile.
True or False: Snowdon’s Capability and Technology Demonstrator (CTD) Program requires grounding in the theory of evolution to achieve its technological successes.
Next headline on:  BiomimeticsTerrestrial ZoologyIntelligent Design
Ye Are the Salt of the Evolution   03/11/2009    
March 11, 2009 — Salt is good, the good book says (Mark 9:50).  Another good thing it may do for you, according to Science Daily, is act as “Nature’s Antidepressant.”  Presumably it’s hard to have a good mood about a steak with no salt on it.  In the midst of this article about the mood-enhancing effects of salt, an evolutionary tale appeared out of nowhere:
Evolution might have played an important part in the human hankering for salt.  Humans evolved from creatures that lived in salty ocean water.  Once on land, the body continued to need sodium and chloride because minerals play key roles in allowing fluids to pass in and out of cells, and in helping nerve cells transfer information throughout the brain and body.  But as man evolved in the hot climate of Africa, perspiration robbed the body of sodium.  Salt was scarce because our early ancestors ate a veggie-rich diet and lived far from the ocean.
One of the researchers at University of Iowa behind the study also claimed that “our kidneys evolved to become salt misers.”  The body’s need for salt is tied to our appetite for it: “Animals like us come equipped with a taste system designed to detect salt and a brain that remembers the location of salt sources -- like salt licks in a pasture,” the article explained.  “A pleasure mechanism in the brain is activated when salt is consumed.”  A Darwin skeptic might wonder what any of this has to do with evolution.
Our bodies are finely adapted to the environment, therefore they evolved.  This is so stupid.  Let’s try this line on lungs:
Evolution might have played an important part in the human hankering for air.  Humans evolved from birds that flew in the air.  Once on land, the body continued to need nitrogen and oxygen because gases play key roles in biochemistry, and in helping nerve cells transfer information throughout the brain and body.  But as man evolved in the hot climate of Africa, chasing game through the Serengeti plains, he got out of breath.  This left our ancestors gasping and panting.  Our lungs evolved to become oxygen misers.
Like magic, evolution just provides whatever complex systems are needed.  Evolutionists cannot escape the clear evidence these things are “designed” to do what they do (see the D word in their statement above), but they turn right around and conjure them up out of evolution, the Un-designer.  Do you realize how complicated a kidney is? (09/24/2008, 06/14/2004).  Salt regulation is a complex process that is tied in to other complex systems, like the bladder (12/11/2001), perspiration (03/02/2007) and central nervous system.  The complexity of the nervous system alone has falsified evolution (see 12/30/2004).
    This kind of storytelling can be applied to anything in the human body, or to plants and animals for that matter.  It had nothing to do with the science behind the observation that humans need and enjoy salt.  To think that our hunger for good seasoned food has something to do with our inner fish evolving in a salty ocean millions of years ago is deliciously silly.  Let’s all sing together our favorite SEQOTW song, We’re out to shame the wizard, the blunderful wizard of flaws (09/05/2008 commentary).
Exercise:  Observe a complex system in the body and make up an evolutionary tale for it.  No intelligence allowed.
Next headline on:  EvolutionHuman BodyDumb Ideas
  How plants play jigsaw puzzles, from 03/11/2005.

Gobekli Tepe: What Mean These Ancient Stones?   03/10/2009    
March 10, 2009 — Imagine stone carvings and monuments whose age make the pyramids and Stonehenge look like artifacts of modern history.  Such monuments exist on a hill in Turkey at a site called Gobekli Tepe (see brief mention in the 10/31/2006, bullet 1).  Squared-off limestone blocks stacked like the letter T, arranged in circles, with ornate animal carvings on them, have been baffling archaeologists for the last decade.  They are reported to date from 10,000 BC – six millennia earlier than the earliest known writing, and some 7500 years earlier than Stonehenge or the Great Pyramid.  One archaeologist remarked, “There’s more time between Gobekli Tepe and the Sumerian clay tablets [etched in 3300 B.C.] than from Sumer to today.”
    The site was known in the 1960s but dismissed as a medieval cemetery.  Klaus Schmidt, a German archaeologist, began excavating the hill in 1994 after a local Kurdish shepherd reported seeing stone rectangles emerging from the sands.  The neat arrangement of the blocks and the exquisite carvings of animals look artistically quite advanced for the assumed population of pre-agricultural hunters and gatherers that lived at the time.  Smithsonian Magazine printed an article on the find last November that generated dozens of comments from readers.  More recently, the UK Mail printed a sensationalized account claiming this was evidence for the Garden of Eden.  The pictures alone, though, may provide the best food for thought.
    The two recent articles don’t seem to add much to the FirstPost article we referenced in October 2006, but Todd Bolen, on the Bible Places Blog remarked on the Mail post, “Take away the wild and foolish speculation and it’s an interesting article.”  Archaeologists believe there is much, much more under the surface.  This could be a major site that could occupy researchers for decades.  There don’t seem to be any dwellings on the mound.  The leading speculation is that this was some kind of early temple, but archaeologists often joke among themselves that anything they don’t understand must be related to ritual.  Maybe it was an early art gallery.
    On a related subject, news media like National Geographic News and the BBC News have been reporting a recent finding that people were domesticating horses a thousand years earlier than thought.  Evidence from Kazakhstan shows people were riding and milking horses 5,500 years ago.  The authors of the paper in Science,1 surprisingly, attributed this to a kind of anthropological convergent evolution: “The fact that horse milking existed in a region remote from the locus of ruminant domestication in the ‘Fertile Crescent’ and in an area seemingly devoid of domestic ruminants indicates that the evolution of strategies for exploiting animals for their milk was not contingent on the adoption of the conventional ‘agricultural package,’ as it appears to have developed independently in the Botai region.”  One anthropologist told National Geographic, “If you’re milking horses, they are not wild!”


1.  Outram et al, “The Earliest Horse Harnessing and Milking,” Science, 6 March 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5919, pp. 1332-1335, DOI: 10.1126/science.1168594.
Very interesting, indeed.  Two things should be kept in mind when evaluating evidences like these.  First, the dating methods are not cast in stone, so to speak.  The older the radiocarbon dates, the more the uncertainty.  Scientists claim to have calibrated radiocarbon to multiple tens of thousands of years, but one would have to know the history of the atmosphere in great detail to know exactly how old these monuments are.  A surge in cosmic rays or some other factor could have altered the ratios of carbon isotopes, giving misleading results.  The second thing to notice is that wherever we find human artifacts, they reveal human nature: intelligence, creativity, and culture.
    Assume, for the time being, the dates as given.  Look at the pictures of these monuments.  They are profound.  This is not the work of primitive hunter-gatherers, but of artists with a clear sense of proportion, geometry and communication.  Read the articles in this light.  It’s clearly possible, though we can’t be sure, that the marks on the stones are representations of their language.  Remember how the Egyptian hieroglyphics were poorly understood till the Rosetta Stone?  Secular scholars, usually evolutionists, are trying to fit the data into their view that the earlier the humans, the more primitive they were.  That doesn’t make any sense.
    Archaeologists are claiming that this wonderful artwork was made by primitive people using flint tools.  If so, they had remarkable skill.  The Stonehenge slabs are larger but not as well-worked as these, and these are said to be 7,000 years older!  What was going on in the human race all that time?  Is it plausible that more time than recorded history passed with almost no trace of even greater monuments, indeed whole cities, leading up to the Sumer and Egypt?  Maybe the 7000-year time interval is fiction.  Evolutionists make reckless drafts on the bank of time.  Recall that the earliest cave paintings in Chauvet Cave surprised archaeologists when claimed to be 10,000 years “older” than the famous ones at Lascaux, yet are artistically superior (08/16/2008.)  This is sufficient reason to doubt their entire dating scheme of pre-Sumerian history.  And as we have stated many times, the idea that anatomically modern humans walked this planet for nearly 100,000 years before learning how to ride a horse is absurd.  Evolutionary anthropologists have no explanation for the sudden, dramatic appearance of civilization after 100,000 years of hunting and gathering by human beings essentially the same as us.  What happened?  A mutation?  Come on.
    There could be many more artifacts of human culture awaiting discovery.  The hints available reveal abrupt manifestations of intelligent, capable men and women on this planet.  That fits the Biblical record.  It describes Noah’s descendents spreading out from Babel (which was located in this Fertile Crescent region), and migrating in all directions based on their language groups.  They carried with them distant and corrupted memories of the true God.  Having recently fallen for Nimrod’s paganism, they were ripe for originating all kinds of false religions.  Wherever they went, they already possessed language, conscience and the tarnished image of God written in their fallen souls.  Some groups undoubtedly fell on hardship and were reduced to living in caves, hunting and gathering.  (It appears from the Gobekli Tepe site that game was much more plentiful at that time.)  Where migrating tribes succeeded in organizing, they built cities and monuments, and developed ways to represent their vocal languages on stone tablets.  No biological evolution was involved.  Whether in China, the Americas, Polynesia, Europe or Africa, the marks of human nature are present: the positive marks of intelligence, and the negative propensity for evil and violence.  (The reason God sent the Flood was that the whole world was filled with violence, Genesis 6.)
    Pay no attention to the “Garden of Eden” tie-in the articles speculate on.  All the secularists are trying to do is cast doubt on the historicity of the Bible by suggesting that primitive hunter-gatherers invented an Eden myth out of their glory-days of hunting, as agriculture changed their lifestyles.  This is only unbelief masquerading as scholarship.  It ignores all their problems explaining complex artwork so early in their timeline.  According to the Biblical record, the Garden of Eden had been buried in thousands of feet of Flood sediments by then.  Memories of a paradise, however, could well have survived; in fact, most worldwide people groups include legends of a Creator God, an original paradise, and a global flood in their traditions.  This all fits the remarkable Table of Nations describing of the dispersal of mankind from Babel recorded in Genesis 10.  The conservative timeline of Dr. John Whitcomb allows at least 500 years from the Flood to Babel, and up to two millennia till the narrative continues in Genesis 12.  A lot of migration and civilization can happen with intelligent people in time spans that long.
    At a time of God’s choosing, about 2100 BC, He called a man out from the paganism of Ur of the Chaldees to carry out the next step of fulfillment for the promise He had made to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:15), to establish a seed of the woman that would crush sin and bring salvation: Messiah.  Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness (Gen. 15).  How much more should we, with the advantage of hindsight, believe God?  He kept His promises then; He keeps them now (Isaiah 55, Galatians 3).  God doesn’t want your self-righteousness.  He wants your trust; He wants you to believe His word – then He will declare that faith to be the righteousness He demands.  The world could sure use some righteousness right now.  Do your part; become a child of Abraham by faith (Romans 4).
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Permian Extinction: The Origin of Specious Geological Events   03/09/2009    
March 9, 2009 — The Permian extinction – one of the most dramatic events in the history of life on Earth, in which some 90% of species went extinct – lay people assume scientists can back up this story with evidence from geology and fossils, but where is it?  Whatever happened at the prime site in South Africa, from which the story has been extrapolated to all other continents, is now being interpreted as a “nonevent” by four geologists.
    Robert Gastaldo and two geology colleagues from Colby College in Maine, and geologist Johann Neveling from Pretoria, studied the Permian-Triassic boundary in the Karoo Basin of South Africa and published a paper in Geology this month,1 titled, “The terrestrial Permian-Triassic boundary event bed is a nonevent.”  This region has been ground zero for stories of the greatest mass extinction in geological history.  Since it now appears that the area does not show an isochronous (same-time) sequence of strata followed by a recovery of vertebrate biodiversity, the linchpin of the story appears undermined.  The authors are calling for “critical reevaluation” of “South African models for the response of terrestrial ecosystems to the perturbation in the marine realm.”  But that’s not all they think needs reevaluation.  Their ending discussion bears attention:
In the Bethulie area and elsewhere, the event bed is used as the criterion for the terrestrial expression of the Permian-Triassic boundary event recorded in the marine realm (Ward et al., 2005).  Its unique character and presumed synchroneity within the Bethulie area (Fig. 3A), across the basin (Ward et al., 2000; Smith and Ward, 2001), and in the Southern Hemisphere (Retallack et al., 2003) have resulted in various models of extinction (Ward et al., 2005) and recovery (Smith and Botha, 2005; Botha and Smith, 2006) of the vertebrate fauna in response to climatic aridification.  The sedimentological features of the aerially restricted and stratigraphically confined heterolithic units do not support an interpretation of extensive playa lake formation (Smith and Ward, 2001, and others) or an isochronous marker bed that delimits the terrestrial expression of the paleontologically defined boundary.  Rather, the field relationships and suite of sedimentological features support deposition within floodplain avulsion channel systems (Slingerland and Smith, 2004), each of which has undergone weak pedogenesis.  Our study demonstrates that the laminated (laminite) beds are nonsynchronous (Fig. 3B), not isochronous, as contended by Ward et al.  (2005).  Approximately 10 m of stratigraphic section separate the exposures of the heterolithic beds on the Bethel and Heldenmoed farms, over a distance of [less than] 1 km.  In addition, neither laminated interval can be traced laterally for more than a few hundred meters, let alone traced regionally (kilometers) or across the basin.  Hence, extrapolation of the laminated interval to other continents as the terrestrial expression of the Permian-Triassic boundary event is imprudent.
    The claims of rapid vertebrate recovery within [less than] 100 k.y. following the extinction event (Smith and Botha, 2005; Botha and Smith, 2006) also must be called into question (Fig. 3).  The interval used to speculate on the recovery is on the eastern side of the valley (Fig. 2F; Botha and Smith, 2006, their Fig. 1) beneath the Permian-Triassic boundary as recognized on the western side of the valley.  Hence, the diversification patterns reported by Smith and Botha (2005) and Botha and Smith (2006) are between the two stratigraphically distinct laminated intervals and may reflect Late Permian originations, rather than Early Triassic recovery.
This appears to completely mix up the story of a Permian extinction event followed by rapid evolution.  Gastaldo has reproduced a PDF file of this paper at his Colby College web page.
1.  Gastaldo, Neveling, Clark and Newbury, “The terrestrial Permian-Triassic boundary event bed is a nonevent,” Geology, March 2009 (37:3), pp. 199-202, doi:10.1130/G25255A.1. 
Well, isn’t this an upset.  How much lag time will it take to change the textbooks and documentaries?  The BBC, Nova and other evolution-drunk interpreters of science have treated the Permian extinction as solid fact.  The goods were right there, in the Karoo Basin, for anyone to see.  Whoops....
    This announcement goes to show that rocks and layers do not interpret themselves.  They are placed in a prior philosophical framework first, then the stories and animations follow.  Notice how an interpretation at one site was extrapolated to the whole world.  How can such sweeping generalities be justified?  These geologists, bless their hearts, understate the lesson here: “extrapolation of the laminated interval to other continents as the terrestrial expression of the Permian-Triassic boundary event is imprudent,” they said.  How about “reckless”? (07/02/2007).
    We’re still suffering from the consequences of the bad assumptions by early geologists (especially the Charlie & Charlie partners in crime, Lyell and Darwin, 07/25/2008).  Science is supposed to be progressing toward better and better knowledge of nature, but when it comes to geologists and their tales of earth history, it’s hard to follow the lead of a staggering Dar-wino with a hangover (01/02/2007, 05/15/2008).
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Elect Obama, Get Embryonic Stem Cells   03/08/2009    
March 8, 2009 — President Obama is about to fulfill of his campaign promises: lifting restrictions on creating new embryonic stem cell lines (see Fox News).  The question now is, are they really needed?  They have yet to show any successes, while adult stem cells are enjoying an accelerating boom of amazing discoveries that could provide hope for some of mankind’s worst disorders.
(Note: ESC = embryonic stem cells, ASC = adult stem cells).
  1. Muscular dystrophy:  Children and adults plagued by the muscle-wasting malady of muscular dystrophy may now have hope thanks to adult stem cells.  PhysOrg and Science Daily both reported advances in treatment in mice that may soon be applicable to humans, using bone marrow stem cells.  The treatments, being studied at University of New South Wales in Australia, may also be applicable to regrowing tissues of the liver, pancreas and brain.
  2. Organ regeneration:  Stanford researchers are making progress generating whole organs from ASC.  They are finding that with the proper scaffold and an oxygen supply, adult stem cells from fat tissues and bone marrow can be coaxed into growing new organs.  “In the near future, the researchers believe that the stem cells in the tissue could be induced to become an internal, living factory of healthy, specialized cells churning out proteins missing in people with conditions such as hemophilia or diabetes,” the article encouraged.  “In the long run, they hope to encourage the cells to become entire transplantable organs such as livers or pancreases.”
  3. StrokePhysOrg reported that neural stem cells may be able to reduce the damage from strokes.
  4. Clean induction:  Viruses are no longer necessary as vectors to induce somatic cells into pluripotency.  A major advance announced in Science Daily has been made at Mt. Sinai Hospital that “accelerates stem cell technology and provides a road map for new clinical approaches to regenerative medicine.”  Dr. Andreas Nagy, the lead researcher said, “This new method of generating stem cells does not require embryos as starting points and could be used to generate cells from many adult tissues such as a patient’s own skin cells.”
ESC is not completely without promise.  Science Daily reported that embryonic stem cells are being studied to see if they can grow neurons.  This may have application to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, the disorder that afflicts Stephen Hawking.  The work appears to be very preliminary.  Though they were able to tease ESC-derived products to mimic properties of diseased motor neurons, no cells have been transplanted into animals or humans.
    In a letter to Nature this week,1 however, a researcher at University of Basel urged caution on human trials with ESC-derived neurons.  Injection will be difficult, and the results hard to assess, he said.  We don’t know yet if the treatment will make matters worse.  His final paragraph warned,
Given the controversy over the use of human ES cells in some countries, it is to be hoped that the triumphant announcement of the approval of this clinical trial will not prove to be a prime-time setback.  Regenerative medicine using human ES cells is an exciting prospect, but the field still needs time to mature.  The primary concern of scientists involved in stem-cell research is not to satisfy the short-term expectations of analysts and investors, but to improve public health with the help of innovative, safe treatments.
Speaking of safety, a medical doctor had some horror stories to tell of cancerous tumors resulting from ESC treatments.  In “Why Embryonic Stem Cells Are Obsolete,” in US News, Dr. Bernadine Healy said the setbacks using embryonic cells, and the successes of ASC and iPS render ESC research superfluous.  She reminds readers that Bush did not create a new policy, but merely reaffirmed a decision Clinton had made preventing federal money for creation of new lines of human embryos for research purposes.  “Reversing the executive orders of two prior presidents on embryo creation, which even the Congress has been unwilling to tackle, is a far bigger issue than lifting the ban on the use of IVF embryos slated for destruction,” she concluded.  “Obama stands for transparency, and it’s important for him to make sure the public understands his decision, including that all stem cells are not the same or created equally.”  Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council calls the impending action by Obama a “Deadly Executive Order.”  Arguing that it is unethical to use human life, even young embryonic life, to advance science, Perkins said this action “is a slap in the face to Americans who believe in the dignity of all human life.”  Adult stem cells have been used to treat patients with 70 diseases and conditions, he said, while ESC experiments “represent the poorest stem cell science.”  While such research is “unfortunately legal,” he argued that “taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for experiments that require the destruction of human life.”
Update 03/09/2009: Fox News reported that Obama signed the executive order, calling the old rules a “false choice” between science and morality.  His order “will not open the door for human cloning,” the article claimed.  Obama called such action “dangerous” and “profoundly wrong.”  Ethicists fear that treating human embryos from IVF as commodities will cheapen human life and make it easier to enact more dangerous policies the next time scientists claim they need something.
1.  Yves Barde, “Caution urged in trial of stem cells to treat spinal-cord injury,” Nature 458, 29 (5 March 2009) | doi:10.1038/458029a.
Why are scientists continuing to demand ESC when ASC (12/17/2008) provides all the benefits for eliminating human suffering, without the ethical and moral problems?  Why do they demand the government feed their lust with taxpayer dollars?  There seems to be more than logic going on here.  One plausible reason is that they want to assert authority over what constitutes science.  They don’t want any government telling them what they can or cannot do.  And since the pro-life and religious crowd has been standing in their way, their pride may be motivating them to give their old enemies another bullying shove.
    President Bush was persistently criticized for “politicizing science” (which means, in their tortured logic, exercising his constitutional power over what taxpayer money can be spent on).  Remember that scientists were never forbidden from working on ESC research; the only restriction was on federal funding for new stem cell lines.  They had unlimited access to ESC lines from before 2001, and could use any private funds they wanted for cutting up human embryos (see NIH Stem Cell Policy document).  Start the violins playing; it was just too inconvenient for researchers to keep two separate accounts, one for their federal funds, and one for their private funds.  They are clamoring like every other irresponsible business these days for a federal bailout.
    Bush tried to explain why he did not feel it was appropriate to use taxpayer money to fund research that many found morally objectionable.  For that, he endured scathing criticism from scientific elitists for “mixing politics with science.”  Does the hideous unrighteousness of this begin to sink in?  Of course federally-funded science is political.  If taxpayer money is going to be spent on research, the people paying the bill have the right, through their elected representatives, to have a say about it.  Big Science treats it like a divine right to dictate to the rest of us what they want to do with our money.  That’s why Feyerabend saw science as a threat to democracy; you have these oligarchs telling the populace what to do, hiding their agenda behind incomprehensible jargon.
    If ESC research were so promising of success, you can be sure corporate sponsors would be lined up to support it.  Instead, Big Science politicized it by shmoozing political hacks to write initiatives wooing the voters in California and Michigan (10/15/2008) to cough up billions of dollars for ESC institutes.  These were promoted with misleading ads suggesting that miracle cures were right around the corner.  Commercials played on their heartstrings with disabled celebrities making it sound like cutting up human embryos was the epitome of compassion.  After the damage was done (a $3 billion obligation on top of California’s economic meltdown), we are told that any treatments may be years, or decades away, if at all.  Now that Obama is enthusiastically caving in to the scientific oligarchy (01/31/2009, 01/20/2009), one of his prime voting blocks (09/28/2008), do California voters get their $3 billion back?  A better bet would be to wait for aliens to land with Elvis bringing Earth the ultimate diet.
    Citizens must be alert to what is going on.  This issue is much bigger than promises about miracle cures.  It bears on questions of the nature of human life, the nature of science (11/25/2008, 11/08/2008, 07/24/2008), and the nature of democracy (01/07/2009).  The public is rapidly losing a voice in these vital issues as science oligarchs raid their pocketbooks.  If you think you can trust scientific experts to provide objective, rational, disinterested voices when billions of dollars are at stake, get real.  Don’t take our word for it.  Look what Charles Krauthammer wrote in the Washington Post.
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyHealthPolitics and Ethics
  Round 'em up: read how the cell lassos the stray chromosomes and herds them into their corrals (the daughter cells of cell division), in the 03/04/2004 entry.

Kepler On the Way to Search for Earth-Size Planets   03/07/2009    
March 7, 2009 — The long-awaited launch of the planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft was successful Friday night, announced the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  Named for the 17th-century German astronomer-mathematician Johannes Kepler, the spacecraft will stare at 100,000 stars for over three years, looking for variations in their light that indicate the presence of planets.  Follow-up studies may determine if some of these planets are earth-sized and orbit within their stars’ habitable zones.  For more information on the mission, tour NASA’s Kepler website.
    Johannes Kepler, a strong Lutheran Christian (see our online biography), speculated about space travel and the possibility of other worlds.  In addition to his many scientific works on astronomy, optics, physics and mathematics, he wrote a fictional work, Somnium, or The Dream (see analysis by Gale E. Christiansen, which provides biographical background leading up to the writing).  The book described what astronomy might be like from another world—our moon.  Some have considered it the first work of science fiction.  Kepler’s fanciful story considered the relationship of the inhabitants of the moon to their geography.  Kepler revised the work for many years and was working on it when he died; the final version was published posthumously in 1634.  Kepler’s three laws of planetary motion form the basis for celestial mechanics and space flight, of which his namesake spaceship is one of his many scientific legacies.

It is difficult to assess what Kepler thought about a plurality of worlds with intelligent life.  The point of Somnium was to imagine astronomy from the surface of the moon.  His extensive footnotes showed more interest in scientific aspects of habitability on another world than the philosophical and theological ramifications of his fictional beings.  The moon was no longer a perfect celestial sphere; it was becoming a physical object orbiting the sun according to the laws he had developed within the new Copernican framework.  Kepler did not make his fictional work a treatise on theology or a social commentary.  But since he did take an existing genre of fiction about space travel into a new level of scientific rigor, and since he did speculate about habitable worlds other than our own, the Kepler mission is rightly named in his honor.
    Several hundred extrasolar planets down to the size of Neptune are now known to exist.  It seems rational that the size range of orbiting bodies is a continuum, but we really don’t have any hard data on how many Earth-class planets are out there.  They could be common, they could be rare.  Either answer is interesting.  Alan Boss told Nature News that if Kepler comes up empty-handed it would be astonishing.  Settling this centuries-old question with evidence once for all is a good thing for everyone, and we welcome it.  More and better data are always preferable to speculation.
    Assuming the Kepler mission is successful, and the idea of a universe filled with Earth-size planets gains a basis in empirical evidence, how will this affect philosophy and theology?  Earth-size planets alone do not imply life, much less intelligent or sentient life.  Future missions like the Space Interferometry Mission or Terrestrial Planet Finder may be able to sharpen our vision further.  Advances in remote sensing may detect biosignatures, such as atmospheric gas ratios that would be surprising under natural conditions.  Evidence for sentient life on another world would require an intelligent radio message (but even then, how would one ever prove it isn’t a lying demon?)
    Assume, for the moment, that the conclusion of beings like us on other planets becomes inescapable.  A Biblical worldview allows for that.  Christians have not been idle in giving that possibility deep thought; the science fiction works of C. S. Lewis are a case in point.  Some evolutionists are chomping at the bit to disparage Christianity, assuming that the Bible only allows for Earth to be the special abode of creatures made in His image.  A million other inhabited worlds would cast severe doubt on the claims of Christianity, they think.  But the Biblical Creator is far too transcendent and majestic for such a parochial view.  Angelic beings, such as those described in the Bible, may already obey God’s bidding unrestricted to realms beyond earth.  And a God capable of designing millions of species on our planet is certainly not lacking in power and creativity to decorate other worlds with living things appropriate to their geography.  If evolutionists think such a discovery would support their naturalistic worldview, they need to read our online book and let it sink in that the chance origin of even one useful protein molecule is so unlikely, it would have less than a vanishingly small chance of ever happening anywhere in the universe.    Read the book and see how even under the most generous conditions, getting a set of proteins or genes for a living cell is so unlikely, it is laughable to even entertain the thought.  If life is out there, it was created.
    For the time being, though, in the absence of proof of sentient physical life on other planets like ours, wasting time on unknowns is superfluous.  An eventual discovery would threaten Christianity no more than did the discovery of a New World inhabited by strange civilizations.  We would want to understand them and tell them of God’s grace.  No future discovery will undermine our awesome wonder and appreciation for our privileged planet and the historical evidence for what God has done here.  If we are alone, that would be no less thought-provoking.  It might only mean we are alone now.  The Bible describes a new heavens and new earth with eternal life.  That could conceivably include space travel without physical limits.  Earth may just be our testing ground.  With bodies fit for the new creation, as the Bible describes (e.g., I Corinthians 15), freed from the limitations of gravity and other physical restrictions, who knows?  We could be the skywalkers of galaxies far, far away, singing praises to the one true God from locations throughout the cosmos.
    Enough speculation.  Back to the real world.  There’s a lot of work to do.  Johannes Kepler set a good example.  On occasion, his mind roamed among the stars, but he was always a man of responsibility, character, integrity, faithfulness, honesty and love.  The Spirit of Christ anchored his soul in the heavens, and empowered his walk on the earthy ground.
Next headline on:  Solar SystemStarsSETICosmologyBible and Theology
One of the best biographies of Darwin is Janet Browne’s Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (Princeton, 2002).  This is part two of a full biography that began with Voyaging and picks up just before the writing of the Origin.  Several things about this secular, scholarly, award-winning biography stand out.  For one, Browne had access to more source materials than almost any other Darwin biographer.  Second, the social context of Victorian Britain she describes provides a valuable look into the man and his times.  Third, she has an engaging writing style that really draws you into the story.  And fourth, she did not hesitate to point out the flaws and intrigues of Darwin and his supporters.  The result reads almost like a novel about a plot to undermine traditional religion under the guise of advancing a scientific theory.  To really understand the historical Darwin, start with this book, available from Amazon.

The Evolution of Creationism and Other Intangibles   03/06/2009    
March 6, 2009 — If you are a creationist, you can’t help yourself, because evolution made you that way.  It might have also made you moral and religious, especially if you are a woman.  These and other evolutionary stories are making the rounds.

  1. Evo-creationismNew Scientist says humans may be primed to believe in creation.  Studies show that humans tend to see purpose in things.  That can only mean they evolved that tendency, said some psychologists at Boston University.  A good education can help cure them of this and show them that the world is really without purpose or design.
  2. Evo-religion:  Robert Roy Britt speculated on Live Science why more women tend to be religious than men.  Maybe evolution made males more apt to look for short-term thrills than long-term satisfaction (like heaven).  Britt did not overtly use evolution to explain this tendency, but quoted Rodney Stark, of all people, who appealed to biochemistry: “Studies of biochemistry imply that both male irreligiousness and male lawlessness are rooted in the fact that far more males than females have an underdeveloped ability to inhibit their impulses, especially those involving immediate gratification and thrills.”  Britt remarked, “Stark may have purposely overstated the case, but you get the point.”  The point seems to be that religiousness is a function of biochemistry, which is a function of biology (see 10/26/2008).
  3. Evo-morality:  Jonathan Haidt and two of his friends are evolutionizing morality again (cf. 05/17/2007).  They published another Perspective article in Science,1 entitled, “From oral to moral.”  Their idea, reporting on a paper by Chapman in the issue,2 is that morality evolved from the disgust response.  We find certain smells and sights disgusting, and transfer those responses to behaviors.  This is a little more specific than the theory of three UCSB profs reported here in 03/04/2003.  Chapman, Haidt et al suggest that responses to “violations of divinity”, such as righteous anger at profanity or blasphemy, began in the mouth, when the human animal learned unpleasant sensations during nausea, gagging, and loss of appetite.  One can only wonder how they would explain another scientist finding this thesis disgusting.
Each theory has anomalies.  A surprising anomaly appeared in Science Careers, a publication of the AAAS.  Imre Miklós Szilágyi, one of the best upcoming young scientists in Hungary, is “far ahead of the average student or young researcher of his age in motivation and systematic work,” but he is a creationist.  Maybe he had a particularly beneficial mutation.  Whatever it was, he claimed it helped him become a scientist.  “My belief is very important for my career,” he said, “because this is the first thing that gives me my motivations so that I could work hard and I could achieve the best I can.”
1.  Rozin, Haidt and Fincher, “From Oral to Moral,” Science, 27 February 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5918, pp. 1179-1180, DOI: 10.1126/science.1170492.
2.  Chapman, Kim, Susskind and Anderson, “In Bad Taste: Evidence for the Oral Origins of Moral Disgust,” Science, 27 February 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5918, pp. 1222-1226, DOI: 10.1126/science.1165565.
Szilagyi, who takes the Bible literally, according to the article, feels that the “the debate over evolution, design, creation, supernatural intelligence, etc., is not a scientific question in the first place but the collision of worldviews, the confrontation of materialism and idealism.”  Evolutionists love collisions (05/13/2004, 01/26/2007).  Maybe this smashup will bring good ideas to life, like academic freedom for critics of Darwinism, and the extinction of others, like self-refuting fallacies (02/09/2009, 12/23/2008, 10/26/2008).
Next headline on:  EvolutionTheologyDumb Ideas
Are You Cereous?  Life Came from an Asteroid?   03/05/2009    
March 5, 2009 — Ceres is an icy asteroid way out in space that has a lot of ice.  The DAWN spacecraft is heading there.  When it arrives in 2015, maybe it will find out if a substantial part of the water is in liquid state under an ice crust.  Say the word water, and some think... life.
    Space.com reported that an astrobiologist has a new idea: life started on Ceres and then moved to Earth.  Believe it or not, it’s a radical new theory Joot Houtkooper told the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life conference in Florence, Italy.  Ceres may be small, but its H2O molecules add up.  He figures that “The total volume of all this water is something like 40 times greater than all the oceans on Earth.”  OK so far, now what?  Well, he figures that the core of Ceres may have rock, and the rock may have radioactive elements, and the radioactive elements may heat the rock and produce hydrothermal vents.  How could life not be far behind?  “...if life is not unique to the Earth and could exist elsewhere, then these icy bodies are the places where life may have originated.”
    Now he has the problem of getting it to Earth.  Here’s how the story goes.  During the Late Heavy Bombardment, Earth got sterilized.  Smaller icy bodies like Ceres might have survived unscathed.  Life originated there, then fragments of rock blasted from it traveled toward the inner solar system.  Fragments from small Ceres would be more likely to reach escape velocity, you see.  He calculated that Earth is in a favorable position to reach the Ceres deliveries, and that is how you and I got here.
    “The thought of Earth being seeded with life from Ceres and creatures existing there today is certainly fascinating, but Houtkooper admits that it is more science fiction than science fact until evidence can be provided,” the article ended.  “This is naturally difficult to obtain, as Ceres is a small and distant world.”
See what happens when storytellers are allowed into the science lab?  This makes Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs sound scholarly.  Contest: see if you can top this.  Make up the wackiest theory for the origin of life you can, and see if you can get Space.com to publish it.  Tell them you’re an astrobiologist.  You could be one, too, because the only job requirements are life membership in the Darwin Party and a vivid imagination.
Next headline on:  Solar SystemOrigin of LifeDumb Ideas
  Darwinist philosopher of science admits that Darwinism often acts like a secular religion, in the 03/07/2003 entry.

Darwin Had Genetic Blinders   03/04/2009    
March 4, 2009 — Darwin was a contemporary of Mendel, so why did he get inheritance wrong?  That question was addressed on Science Daily by Jonathan Howard of the University of Cologne, Germany.  His thesis is that Darwin had philosophical blinders on that prevented him from recognizing the significance of evidence before him.
    “Why Didn’t Darwin Discover Mendel’s Laws?” reads the title of the article.  “Darwin’s commitment to quantitative variation as the raw material of evolution meant he could not see the logic of inheritance, argues Jonathan Howard of the University of Cologne, Germany.”  Quantitative variation forms the core of Darwin’s theory, he said, but that is the last place to see Mendel’s laws, which are based on discreet (discontinuous) inheritance.  For instance, Darwin could have seen discontinuous variation in his own breeding experiments with plants.  In his book The Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the Same Species, Darwin even noticed a well-defined unit character, but dismissed its significance.  Why?  Because he “insisted, because of his belief that only quantitative variation contributed to evolution, that the rules of inheritance were too complex and not ready for definitive analysis.”  He left it “unremarked,” therefore, while Mendel, with different assumptions, found this observation a key to a major discovery.  “Darwin boxed himself in, unable to see the laws of inheritance in continuous variation, unable to see the real importance of discontinuous variation where the laws of inheritance could be discerned.”
    Where did the blinders come from?  Howard thinks Lyell provided them.  “Darwin’s view of biology was greatly influenced by geologist Charles Lyell during and after the 1831-1836 Beagle voyage, leading to Darwin’s focus on infinitely tiny differences between individuals giving infinitesimal advantages or disadvantages in survival,” the article explains.  Janet Browne, in her biography of Darwin, portrayed him as obsessed with the idea that small changes could accumulate over time (see 03/05/2004).  This theme colored his entire view of the natural world – geology and biology.  That’s not all it did.  Darwin “never freed himself from the incorrect belief that environmentally determined changes could also be inherited,” Science Daily said.  This error was “another victim of his focus on quantitative characters, height, weight and so on, which are strongly influenced by environmental effects.”
    The article also praised Mendel over Darwin.  “Mendel had a good understanding of biology, but his understanding of physics, statistics and probability theory were far superior to Darwin’s.”  The article includes the reference to Jonathan Howard’s paper in the Journal of Biology.1 


1.  Howard et al., “Why didn’t Darwin discover Mendel’s laws?” Journal of Biology, 2009; 8 (2): 15 DOI: 10.1186/jbiol123.
This is a remarkable article.  It’s a case study on how a scientist can be blinded to facts right before his nose when the data are filtered by his world view.  Darwin took image-distorting glasses out of Lyell’s book and wore them all his life.  It made him see everything in terms of slow, gradual accumulation of tiny variations.  Look what that did.  It influenced generations of followers.  Darwin Glasses became the new fad, and millions put them on.  Evolutionary biologists continue to mistakenly assume that environmental changes can be inherited, and that this creates adaptation.  (It may filter out the ones who are not pre-adapted, but no one has demonstrated this neo-Lamarckian hypothesis can originate new genetic information.)
    Modern evolutionists will harrumph and declare that all this has been solved.  They will admit that Darwin made some mistakes.  The few and minor mistakes of this greatest and most perfect scientist who ever walked this planet were all thoroughly corrected in the neo-Darwinian synthesis of the 1940s, so it is evil to disparage the reputation of the King Charles, the Bearded Buddha.  “Now we KNOW that we evolutionary biologists wear NO blinders.  We have 20-20 vision, 20-20 hindsight, and 20-20 foresight.  All is clear.  Now we KNOW that creationists look funny.  Blinders?  We don’t see no blinders. We’re scientists.  We don’t put on blinders any more.”  (They don’t need to.  They’ve become fused to their eyeballs.)
Next headline on:  DarwinGenetics
Using Engineering to Prove Evolution   03/03/2009    
March 3, 2009 — David Deamer smiling at a tide pool: is there an evolutionary connection?  The picture accompanies an article on Science Daily about Deamer’s latest thinking on the origin of life.  He’s going to share his ideas at a symposium in Oakland, California, organized by Eugenie Scott of the NCSE.
According to Deamer, life began with complex systems of molecules that came together through the self-assembly of nonliving components.  A useful metaphor for understanding how this came about, he said, can be found in combinatorial chemistry, an approach in which thousands of experiments are carried out in parallel by robotic devices.
But, one asks, where are the robots in the ancient primordial soup?  Who designed the experiments?  Nobody.
The power of combinatorial chemistry lies in the vast numbers of structurally distinct molecules that can be synthesized and tested at the same time.  Similarly, conditions on the early Earth allowed not only the synthesis of a wide variety of complex organic molecules, but also the formation of membrane-bound compartments that would have encapsulated different combinations of molecules.
    “We have made protocells in the lab--artificial compartments containing complex systems of molecules,” Deamer said.  “The creationists charge that it’s too unlikely for the right combination to have come together on its own, but combinatorial chemistry gives us a better way to think about the probability of life emerging from this process.
In his view, the spark of life was born “when one or a few protocells happened to have a mix of components that could capture energy and nutrients from the environment and use them to grow and reproduce.”  He distinguished between protocells that simply grew and those that could evolve:
Evolution began when large populations of cells had variations that led to different metabolic efficiencies,” Deamer said.  “If the populations were in a confined environment, at some point they would begin to compete for limited resources.
    The first evolutionary selection processes would have favored those organisms that were most efficient in capturing energy and nutrients from the local environment, he said.
Deamer has been working on the origin of life for more than 20 years, and others decades longer than that.  The first serious thinking about a naturalistic origin of life dates back to Oparin in the 1920s at least, but Deamer remarked that the “Efforts to replicate this process in the laboratory are still in their infancy.” 
Will someone in the philosophy department please look at this nonsense that passes for science these days and speak up?  This is absurd.  Deamer and Scott are asking the public to tolerate decades of fruitless research with nothing to show for it and a lot against it and still bless it with the label of science.
    Creationists point out how improbable their fable is for good reason (see online book).  Deamer responds, in effect, “Oh, so you think our story is improbable?  Well, I’ll show you.  I have a LOT bigger imagination than you think!”  So he conjures up metaphorical robots doing combinatorial chemistry experiments with no chemist around.  The lucky imaginary “protocell” (there’s the power of suggestion for you) wins the X-prize: the one that learns to synthesize and capture energy and nutrients and use them to grow and compete for resources.  Wow.  You thought intelligent agents did those things, but no: Deamer’s magic molecules are endowed with purpose and drive and visions of new possibilities: pterosaurs, roses, and concert pianists (01/24/2008).  Now isn’t this a “better way to think” about it?
    Look how many miracle words are in this short article.  Life came about.  Life came together through self-assembly via natural experiments in combinatorial chemistry.  Molecules were synthesized and formed membranes that allowed different protocells to compete for limited resources.  In sum, life emerged.  There is their favorite miracle word again.  That miracle is so common it hardly seems miraculous any more (see repetition).
    Look at that smile on Deamer’s face again.  He’s happy when you’re gullible.  “I’m a scientist, and YOU came from slime!”  Some smiling people need a change of face.  A citizen’s arrest should help (see 09/30/2007 commentary).
Next headline on:  Origin of LifeMarine BiologyDumb Ideas
Tracking Human Ancestors   03/02/2009    
March 2, 2009 — “Earliest human footprints found,” the BBC News announced, and National Geographic echoed, “Oldest Human Footprints With Modern Anatomy Found.”  Presumably these are to be distinguished as human rather than pre-human.  What was discovered?
    A photo of a modern-looking footprint accompanies the two articles.  The print was found in volcanic ash in Kenya dated by paleoanthropologists at 1.5 million years old.  The scientists infer that the being who made the prints walked upright and even “with a spring in his step,” as National Geographic put it.  “The size and spacing of the footprints indicate they were made by people with bodies similar to modern humans.  Given their age, the prints were most likely made by Homo erectus,” the article said.  The discoverers also inferred from the stride that the “people” of that time were also capable of running.
    Daniel Lieberman, a paleoanthropologist at the Harvard, felt that the print shows unambiguously that Homo erectus had a human-like foot.  “I would be surprised if this were not the case,” he told National Geographic.  “Because how could H. erectus have hunted more than a million years before the invention of tipped spears—as we know it did—without the ability to run well?”
    That raises the question of how a human foot evolved.  Older footprints from Laetoli are claimed to be 3.7 million years old and made by Australopithecus, largely from the stratigraphic position in the evolutionary timeline.  The BBC article claims those prints show a more flat foot and a “significantly higher angle between the big toe and the other toes, representative of a foot still adapted to grasping.”  At the time of discovery of those prints, however, National Geographic said they look indistinguishable from modern human footprints (see 03/12/2003).
Update 03/12/2009: Michael Oard commented on the latest footprint claim at Creation Ministries International.  Another footprint story made tracks this month.  Renne’s paper that claims the “Mexican footprint” strata is 1.3 million years old (see 11/30/2005) was published in the March issue of Geology.1  Gonzalez et al had claimed hundreds of human and animal footprints in the volcanic ash were made 44,000 years ago (see Mexican Footprints website).  Their 44,000-year date was already pushing the limit of credibility, but now, according to the Geology paper, the ash flow from a nearby volcano has been re-dated at 1.3 million years old.  “If the marks identified by González et al. (2006a) were of human origin, then they would probably belong to early Homo erectus (Antón and Swisher, 2004),” they said.  “This is unlikely, based on the known geographic distribution of these early hominids (Antón and Swisher, 2004) and the genetic and archaeological evidence for the peopling of the Americas (Goebel et al., 2008).”  They attribute the prints to marks made in recent years during quarrying operations at the site.  The marks were later enlarged by weathering and erosion.  If so, it appears the quarrymen walked barefoot (picture) with their children and animals.
1.  Feinberg et al, “Age constraints on alleged ‘footprints’ preserved in the Xalnene Tuff near Puebla, Mexico,” Geology, March 2009, v. 37, no. 3, p. 267-270, doi:10.1130/G24913A.1.
The Mexican footprint article basically sweeps away the footprint evidence because it is evolutionarily impossible for people to have walked at that location so long ago.  It also assumes their evolution-soaked dating methods are reliable, compounding error upon error.  Look at the prints on the proponents’ website; they look even more convincing than the ones in Kenya.
    Watch out whenever an evolutionist says “we know” something.  Clearly these evidences are being forced into an evolutionary timeline and declared to show a progression from ape to man.  A neutral observer, without being prepped by the Darwin Party on the consensus age of the tracks, would say the tracks were made by people.  It is their stratigraphic position that forces evolutionists to concoct a story that they were progressing up to personhood by slow and gradual steps.  Somehow, somewhere, sometime, as if by magic in their story, they crossed a divide, and the spark of our humanity was lit.  Clever fable, isn’t it?  Would that Paul Harvey, who died yesterday, were still with us to tell us “the rest of the story.”
Next headline on:  Early ManFossils
  Body language: Read about marvels of our bodies reported here in 2002: your eye jumps, but your brain doesn’t (03/29/2002); why cold feels cold (03/22/2002); the complex gates in your nerves (03/12/2002); and music – it’s all about soul, not evolution (03/07/2002).


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“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)

“I’ve been reading you daily for about a year now.  I’m 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 don’t 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)

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Featured Creation Scientist for March

George Young
1777 - 1848

George Young was a competent geologist during the time when Lyell’s uniformitarianism was becoming accepted.  Young defended a young earth and a world-wide flood.  He was the author of a major work on this subject, Scriptural Geology (1838), in which he discussed evidences, philosophical and theological reasons for rejecting long ages and taking the Bible’s history of the earth seriously.

Dr. Terry Mortenson discusses George Young and his views at length in his treatise on the Scriptural Geologists, The Great Turning Point (Master Books, 2004), to which we defer for a thorough account of Young’s life, work and views.  (There is a brief biography at Answers in Genesis).  Suffice it for here to summarize it in these words: Young was very competent as a geologist, both in reading and field work; he upheld the study of geology as a worthwhile and profitable venture; and he wrote in a style that was both courteous and firm.

Mortenson encapsulated Young’s writings as follows:

He sought to explain the Flood and geological record by natural processes analogous to those operating in the present, though greatly magnified during the Noachian flood.  In this regard he argued in a manner very similar to how all the old-earth catastrophists contested the uniformitarian interpretations of the geological data.... it is... accurate to say that he rather than generally questioning the facts themselves, Young objected to the old-earth interpretations of those facts.  He also opposed the old-earth theories because he believed that they ignored significant contrary geological facts and involved alternative interpretations of Scripture which were not exegetically sound.  Though he often strongly disagreed with his opponents’ geological theories, he respectfully acknowledged their contributions to the advancement of the science.

Using both geological and scriptural arguments, he attempted to provide a brief answer to every difficulty and objection to the biblical view of earth history of which he was aware.  He believed that new discoveries would throw much additional light on the subject.  But he hoped that his research and writings would assist future geologists to arrive at a more accurate knowledge of the structure and history of the globe.

Has George Young been vindicated in the succeeding 170 years since he wrote Scriptural Geology?  Consider three findings.  (1) The Cambrian Explosion problem still plagues evolutionary paleontology (see 05/10/2008).  Darwin had hoped that subsequent findings would throw additional light on the subject, but the problem has only grown worse for the old-earth, Darwinian paradigm.  (2) The discovery of billions of nautiloids buried suddenly all over the Colorado Plateau (10/05/2005) and hundreds of whales buried in diatoms (02/02/2004) are more examples of widespread catastrophic change, contrary to Lyell’s thesis, like some examples Young himself wrote about.  And (3) Darwin’s own interpretation in Lyellian style of the Santa Cruz river in Argentina is now shown to be wrong; what he saw as the result of slow and gradual erosion is better interpreted as the result of a colossal flood unlike any seen today (see 02/12/2009).

It appears that Lyellian uniformitarianism was a fad that is being displaced (11/04/2003, 05/22/2003).  Catastrophism is again gaining respect.  In fact, geology itself has undergone several revolutions since Lyell proposed his ideas.  The facts are not the problem.  It was the interpretation of the observations, the naturalistic worldview, and the penchant for imagination that swept Scriptural geology from the field in the 1840s.  We’ve seen that the cliqueishness of scientific societies can produce stubbornness against new ideas and impede knowledge, as it did in the case of J Harlan Bretz (see 07/25/2008 and 03/05/2008).

Geology would profit from a critical look at the failings of uniformitarianism.  Why cling to a research program with so many anomalies?  Why force every stratum into a geological column invented in Great Britain before the world had been explored?  Of mythical risings and fallings of seas over long periods of time, Young wrote these words that bear repeating today: “The evidences exist only in the wild imaginations of some modern geologists.”  George Young believed that imagination should not have a privileged position over facts.  That sounds like the genuine scientific spirit.

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

A Concise Guide
to Understanding
Evolutionary Theory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Souder’s Law
Repetition does not establish validity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advice from Paul

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

I Timothy 6:20-21

Song of the True Scientist

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

from Psalm 104

Maxwell’s Motivation

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

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

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

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“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, it’s apparent you’ve 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)

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(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 website!”
(an amateur astronomer in San Diego)

“What an absolutely brilliant website you have.  It’s 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.”
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(a mechanical engineer in Utah)

“It took six years of constant study of evolution to overcome the indoctrination found in public schools of my youth.  I now rely on your site; it helps me to see the work of God where I could not see it before and to find miracles where there was only mystery.  Your site is a daily devotional that I go to once a day and recommend to everyone.  I am still susceptible to the wiles of fake science and I need the fellowship of your site; such information is rarely found in a church.
    Now my eyes see the stars God made and the life He designed and I feel the rumblings of joy as promised.  When I feel down or worried my solution is to praise God the Creator Of All That Is, and my concerns drain away while peace and joy fill the void.  This is something I could not do when I did not know (know: a clear and accurate perception of truth) God as Creator.  I could go on and on about the difference knowing our Creator has made, but I believe you understand.
    I tell everyone that gives me an opening about your site.  God is working through you.  Please don’t stop telling us how to see the lies or leading us in celebrating the truth.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.”
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(a meteorology research scientist in Alabama)

“...let me thank you for your Creation-Evolution Headlines.  I’ve been an avid reader of it since I first ‘discovered’ your website about five years ago.  May I also express my admiration for the speed with which your articles appear—often within 24 hours of a particular news announcement or journal article being published.”
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(a biology student in Slovenia)

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(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)

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(a grad student in particle physics)

“I thank you for your ministry.  May God bless you!  You are doing great job effectively exposing pagan lie of evolution.  Among all known to me creation ministries [well-known organizations listed] Creationsafaris stands unique thanks to qualitative survey and analysis of scientific publications and news.  I became permanent reader ever since discovered your site half a year ago.  Moreover your ministry is effective tool for intensive and deep education for cristians.”
(a webmaster in Ukraine, seeking permission to translate CEH articles into Russian to reach countries across the former Soviet Union)

“The scholarship of the editors is unquestionable.  The objectivity of the editors is admirable in face of all the unfounded claims of evolutionists and Darwinists.  The amount of new data available each day on the site is phenomenal (I can’t wait to see the next new article each time I log on).  Most importantly, the TRUTH is always and forever the primary goal of the people who run this website.  Thank you so very much for 6 years of consistent dedication to the TRUTH.”
(11 months earlier): “I just completed reading each entry from each month.  I found your site about 6 months ago and as soon as I understood the format, I just started at the very first entry and started reading.... Your work has blessed my education and determination to bold in showing the ‘unscientific’ nature of evolution in general and Darwinism in particular.”
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(a manufacturing engineer in Australia)

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(a practice administrator in Maryland)

“Since finding your insightful comments some 18 or more months ago, I’ve visited your site daily.... You so very adeptly and adroitly undress the emperor daily; so much so one wonders if he might not soon catch cold and fall ill off his throne! .... To you I wish much continued success and many more years of fun and frolicking undoing the damage taxpayers are forced to fund through unending story spinning by ideologically biased scientists.”
(an investment advisor in Missouri)

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(an engineer in Texas)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(a lawyer in Washington)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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