Watch for the Recycle logo to find gems from the back issues!
Evolutionist told his colleagues they are deluding themselves about the evidence for natural selection:
Depressed? Believe in a Caring God
Feb 28, 2010 Belief in a Caring God Improves Response to Medical Treatment for Depression, Study Finds.
Thats what Science Daily said.
The statement assumes, of course, that psychiatry knows what depression is. Another story on
Science Daily worried that
Psychiatrys Main Method to Prevent Mistaken Diagnoses of Depression Doesnt Work.
It makes sense that diagnosis must precede treatment. The psychiatry industrys
manual, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM (see
02/17/2010) contains the criteria for diagnosing depression.
A patient needs 5 of 9 listed symptoms to be diagnosed.
However, these symptoms can also occur in normal responses to loss and stress.
Because of false positives resulting from the old DSM criteria, the new DSM-IV tried to correct
them with a Clinical Significance Criterion (CSC), in order to reduce over-diagnosis (some studies
suggested that 33% of the population suffer from depression). A new study, though shows that
the CSC does not reduce false positives.
Even if the dividing line between clinical depression and normal distress or sadness
is fuzzy, there is no question that many people are afflicted with grief, sadness, and feelings of
despair that can be debilitating. A study of 136 adults
at Rush University Medical Center tried to quantify the effect of belief in a caring God on
medical treatment for depression. Science
Daily said the doctors used the Beck Depression Inventory, the Beck Hopelessness Scale, and the Religious Well-Being Scale
to assess the depth and intensity of depression, and feelings of hopelessness and spiritual satisfaction.
According to the article, the study found that those with strong beliefs in a personal and concerned God
were more likely to experience an improvement. Therefore, clinicians need to be aware of the role of
religion in their patients lives.
Articles like this might encourage some readers, but it is questionable
whether scientific assessments by secularists can state anything meaningful on questions
of this sort. If they cant even decide what depression is, how are they going to measure
the religious well being of a patient who claims he or she is depressed? Is hopelessness measured in ohms or centimeters?
There are so many variables in the human soul, and so many differences between souls, it seems hopeless
to try. Information of this sort is usually conveyed soul-to-soul, not by means of brain scans
or arbitrary scales.
How to Call Your Opponent Stupid Using Evolution
Not all caring God beliefs are equivalent, either. Suppose somebody
believes in Elvis, or in the Force, or in Jupiter, or has false beliefs about the man upstairs
without any basis for them other than subjective feelings. Assuming there is a true God for the
sake of argument, would you rather have depressing beliefs about a true God, or comforting beliefs in
a false god? Would you rather have a false hope that makes you feel good, or a true hope that
tugs on your conscience? Better get that question settled first. If feeling good is your
highest priority, then there is no point in reading further; youre irrational.
Of the possible contenders for true God who is also a caring God, not many options are
available. Buddha doesnt care; he didnt even want to be a god. Hinduism has
thousands of gods; which are you going to pick? Which one really cares about you anyway, seeing you are
obligated to follow your own karma? Confucianism is a system of teachings without a personal God.
Its doubtful readers of these pages will take seriously animism, polytheism, or any of the defunct
religions of history. Dittos for recent man-made cults like Scientology that made its founder filthy rich;
who thinks for a minute that L. Ron Hubbard cares for you?
Of the religions with a personal God, theres Islam, but imams teach it is impossible to know Allah,
because his will is capricious. There is no peace or assurance. A Muslim never knows if Allah is
satisfied. He can only hope at death he has done enough good works to make it. That is the problem,
too, with cults and misrepresentations of the God of the Bible. If peace with God is based on
our works, there is never a way to have assurance of salvation. Judaism, having rejected Jesus
Christ, keeps looking for a Messiah that
never comes. Without a temple or sacrificial system in place, it has no
assurance of pleasing God. Post-Christian Judaism has devolved into another religion of works, rituals and moral teachings.
Jews today do not love God. They try to obey him, but they dont generally have a sense of God as a caring father.
As a religion that
tells of a caring God, Christianity stands alone and uncontested. For God so loved the world,
that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but has everlasting
life. Thats the most favorite and well-known Bible verse on Gods care for
His creatures (see it in every tongue), but it is
certainly not the only one. He so loved us that He did that.
Knowing that we could never reach up to Him, God reached down to us.
Knowing we could never do enough works to please Him, He did all the work himself.
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5).
Now he offers reconciliation as a free gift (Romans 6).
We receive that gift by receiving Christ himself (John 1).
We receive Christ by acknowledging our sin and turning from it, and
confessing Him as the Lord (Romans 10).
Confessing Christ means saying He is Lord, trusting that what He did for us when he died on the cross and rose again was for our salvation.
By receiving Christ, we are born again (John 3,
Romans 1-10) saved from eternal death, and started on a new life.
If that were not enough care for the hopeless and broken-hearted, look at what else Gods gift provides:
a full pardon from all our sin (Isaiah 55);
a new nature capable of pleasing God (II Corinthians 5); the
Spirit of God to live within us (Romans 8);
access to God at all times through prayer
(Luke 18), illumination to understand his Word
(John 16); a family of believers to encourage and build us up,
a real purpose for life (I Corinthians 10)
and the sure hope of heaven: a new, uncorrupted creation, beyond anything we can imagine
Talk about a cure for depression! That kind of caring God can provide a peace that passes understanding
and inner joy, confidence and assurance of His care even in trials (Romans 5,
II Corinthians 4).
Of course, you can play the pompous scientific elitist if you choose to.
You can reject all this, and mock belief in a caring God as superstitious nonsense. Fine.
Depressed? Who cares? Tough luck. Stuff happens.
Get over it. Evolve, and may the farce of Darwin bewitch you that is, till your protoplasm becomes manure for
something else just as meaningless until the ultimate vanity the heat death of the universe.Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
Godless philosophy, pointless for me,
None to cause us, but Cosmos
All that is, was, and ever shall be.
From the big bang, to the slime soup,
To the heat death, dark and old:
Godless philosophy, it leaves me cold;
Godless philosophy, it leaves me cold.
Oh, and what was that issue about sense and nonsense again? No comprendo, bud. Get outta my way.
Feb 27, 2010 It may be that Professor Kanazawa was intending to be compassionate by
couching his assessment in the language of evolutionary theory, but he essentially made a
categorical judgment that conservatives and Christians are stupid, and atheists and the
sexually promiscuous are smart. How could he say such a thing? He could dodge
the charge of hate speech by claiming that this is just the way evolution designed things.
Its hard to know which portion of a bizarre article in
to select for winner of Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week; its even harder to know
why Science Daily titled Kanazawas thesis uncritically, Liberals and Atheists Smarter?
Intelligent People Have Values Novel in Human Evolutionary History, Study Finds.
Heres how Science Daily summarized the press release from the American
Sociological Association: More intelligent people are statistically significantly more
likely to exhibit social values and religious and political preferences that are novel to
the human species in evolutionary history. Specifically, liberalism and atheism, and
for men (but not women), preference for sexual exclusivity correlate with higher intelligence,
a new study finds. (Notice that this proposition states that sexual exclusivity is
not morally preferable just novel. Novelty is presumably the seed plot of evolutionary
progress.) It would be difficult to find a pastor or theologian willing
to grant these things as scientific findings.
Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics and
Political Science, put forward his thesis this way: General intelligence,
the ability to think and reason, endowed our ancestors with advantages in solving evolutionarily
novel problems for which they did not have innate solutions.
As a result, more intelligent people are more likely to recognize and understand such novel entities
and situations than less intelligent people, and some of these entities and situations are preferences,
values, and lifestyles. But how can that be? Have conservatives and religions
people never come up with novel ideas? Have liberals and atheists never reverted to old
doctrines and habits? Could it not be considered novel to be a conservative Christian
in a liberal communist dictatorship?
These two paragraphs will probably suffice as the winning entry:
In the current study, Kanazawa argues that humans are evolutionarily designed to be conservative,
caring mostly about their family and friends, and being liberal, caring about an indefinite number
of genetically unrelated strangers they never meet or interact with, is evolutionarily novel.
So more intelligent children may be more likely to grow up to be liberals....
In this, Kanazawa has just labeled PhDs who support intelligent design as stupid and paranoid.
He also opened a door for the sexually licentious to consider themselves smarter than the average dog.
But it is not clear that using an oxymoronic phrase like evolutionarily designed is a mark of intelligence.
One intriguing but theoretically predicted finding of the study is that more
intelligent people are no more or no less likely to value such evolutionarily familiar entities as marriage,
family, children, and friends. This appears to be an attempt to justify gay marriage or any
other arrangement, using evolutionary theory.
Similarly, religion is a byproduct of humans tendency to perceive agency and
intention as causes of events, to see the hands of God at work behind otherwise natural phenomena.
Humans are evolutionarily designed to be paranoid, and they believe in God because they are paranoid,
says Kanazawa. This innate bias toward paranoia served humans well when self-preservation and protection
of their families and clans depended on extreme vigilance to all potential dangers. So, more
intelligent children are more likely to grow up to go against their natural evolutionary tendency to believe
in God, and they become atheists.
There are so many fallacies in this article, it would be easier to
quote the few statements that make sense than to list them all. Surely any intelligent reader
is shaking her or his head in disbelief right now. This silliness gets printed in Science Daily?
People may joke about one another being less evolved but this guy is actually serious.
Clueless would be a charitable accusation. He would need a whole additional wit to be a half-wit.
Life Leads the Way to Invention
Notice again how Darwin leads people to say dumb things while thinking themselves smart. This week the Republicans
met with Obama to discuss health care. A number of Republicans who attended commented afterwards that liberals seem
to fancy themselves smart, and think of their conservative opponents as stupid. Some liberal TV
commentators seemed actually surprised to watch the conservatives acting better prepared and more eloquent,
while the liberal standard-bearers that they expected to be the IQ champs said some pretty dumb things.
A similar sociological dynamic hampers rational discussion about intelligent design: Darwin-lovers
merely assume they are the smart ones, and look down their pointy elitist noses at scholars who
are often their intellectual superiors. There is no one more pitiful than a dunce with a mortarboard cap.
Kanazawa really needs to get out more. He is apparently suffering from chronic
dementia, brought about by Darwine addiction and constant exposure to the toxic atmosphere of liberal
academia. For shock treatment, lets help the professor out a little.
Dr. Kanazawa, I assume you consider yourself intelligent. You also believe you are a product of evolution, and
evolution, like you said, endowed humans with the ability to think and reason.
So lets think this through. If liberals are the bearers
of novelty, that means in Darwinian terms that they are mutants, right? Are you sure you want to act as
a bearer of mutations, since they are almost always deleterious? It is much more probable that your mutation
will lead to death than to any evolutionary progress. Wouldnt it be more to your advantage to become a
conservative Christian, the way evolution designed you to be? Think of the advantages.
It would increase your fitness. It would help you and the other cooperators prevent the mutants
(the atheists and liberals) from polluting the gene pool.
This is harsh therapy, we realize, but tough love demands it.
As a conservative Christian possessing higher fitness, you would have to denounce Darwin, you
realize. But it would increase your chances of passing on your selfish genes,
which are using humans to propagate themselves by making them believe things that arent true, like God.
Now, since the selfish genes are amoral, they are making all humans, including the liberals,
believe things that arent true, correct? That would include evolutionary theory.
Otherwise, on what basis would you judge something to be true or to be false? If it is the novel idea
that is to be preferred as true, then wouldnt it be novel for conservative Christians in North Korea to
stand out from the communist regime? Since novelty can produce opposite things, truth is clearly
not the issue at hand. Selfish genes are just as capable of using humans to believe in evolution as
it is to lead them to believe in God. You said we are evolutionarily designed to be paranoid, and claimed
that it is paranoid to believe in God, but it is equally paranoid to be an atheist.
Your choice, therefore, is either to become a conservative
Christian, which is what evolution designed you to be, or to attempt to escape the tyranny of the selfish
genes, which are deceiving you into thinking evolutionary theory is true. You can tell the selfish
genes are deceiving you when they lead you to believe things that are logically inconsistent.
The escape from paranoia to sanity and higher intelligence, therefore, is for you to repent of your folly
and speak in rationally-consistent terms, like intelligent design.
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
Politics and Ethics
Theology or Philosophy
Feb 26, 2010 Heres a factoid for the party: a cell is 10,000 times more energy-efficient than
a transistor. PhysOrg tells us that
In one second, a cell performs about 10 million energy-consuming chemical reactions, which
altogether require about one picowatt (one millionth millionth of a watt) of power.
This and other amazing facts lead to an obvious conclusion: inventors ought to look to life for
Some of the most dynamic and productive areas of scientific research today take their inspiration from
the living world. We should reverse the old General Electric slogan: not we bring good things to life,
but life brings good things to us.
- Cell-inspired electronics: The
PhysOrg article, based on a press release from
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, tells how MITs Rahul Sarpeshkar is now applying
architectural principles from these ultra-energy-efficient cells to the design of low-power,
highly parallel, hybrid analog-digital electronic circuits. He calls this cytomorphic
electronics design inspired by cells. Think computers are reaching the
pinnacle of their efficiency? Think again:
Essentially, cells may be viewed as circuits that use molecules, ions, proteins and DNA
instead of electrons and transistors. That analogy suggests that it should be possible to build electronic chips
what Sarpeshkar calls cellular chemical computers that mimic chemical reactions
very efficiently and on a very fast timescale.
Notice that the design imitates the architecture and the interaction strategies, not the materials.
This is good news; it means that Moores Law has not approached the limit, and that smaller, greener,
ultra-fast supercomputers could be in everyones future thanks to the living cell.
- Bio-inspired networks: A related story on
PhysOrg reported that European researchers are
trying to build bio-inspired networks to form distributed computers. Powerful computers made up of
physically separate modules, self-organising networks, and computing inspired by biological systems are three
hot research topics coming together in one European project, the article began. Modular elements
called ubidules can explore their environment and share information with other agents. These form a
network of self-organizing networks that can help solve scientific problems in which complexity arises
from simple building blocks, such as in brains, stock markets, and the spread of new ideas.
Modeling the complex neural networks of the brain is one example. Another is the foraging problem:
how to get distributed agents to a collection point. A set of robots with colored beacons can converge
on the solution using the distributed agent algorithms.
Even humans can provide biological inspiration. Computer programmers and robot designers
study how social networks act as collections of agents that can learn and share to solve problems: as in an unfamiliar shopping mall
where you might locate a particular store by following a trail of people carrying distinctive plastic bags.
Social networks also exhibit emergent self-organizational effects due to the ability of individuals
to learn, share and communicate. The challenge, then, is to make robots and computers that model the collective problem-solving
ability of intelligent agents able to communicate their ideas and learn from one another.
- See turtle run: An amazing race happens at night on some beaches. Baby sea turtles
hatch from under the sand, and race to the water. Life can be scary for endangered loggerhead
sea turtles immediately after they hatch, reported
After climbing out of their underground nest, the baby turtles must quickly traverse a variety
of terrains for several hundred feet to reach the ocean. Fortunately, they are well equipped
for their journey. They have specially-designed flippers that provide excellent mobility
over dune grass, rigid obstacles and sand of varying compaction and moisture content.
Its so good, in fact, that researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are envisioning
how to build robots that can travel across complex environments. They built an
artificial flipper to measure the stresses and strains as it pushes on sand. Somehow, the
newly-hatched turtles, who have never run the race before, know how to maintain a
balance between high speed, which requires large inertial forces, and the potential for
failure through fluidization of the sand.
Robot designers, instead of having to calculate the number of appendages to traverse
complex surfaces, could save a lot of time by imitating how these baby turtles do it.
They could just design a robot with a flat mitt and a claw like these turtles have,
the researchers concluded. Speaking of loggerhead sea turtles,
reported on efforts to reduce accidental captures of the endangered species.
Spanish scientists are working on rules for fisherman that can reduce the turtles getting snagged
in nets a problem that not only hurts the 20,000 turtles that are accidentally caught
each year, but also hurts the fisherman who must spend time freeing and releasing them.
- How to trap radioactivity: To grab radioactive ions, make like a Venus flytrap.
Thats how PhysOrg said scientists at
Argonne National Laboratory are strategizing. They are designing chemical traps that snap shut
on wandering ions, to sequester them and decontaminate areas of radioactive pollution.
To be successful, the strategy needs the discriminating abilities of the plant.
Imagine the framework like a Venus flytrap, one of the inventors said.
When the plant jaws are open, you can drop a pebble in and the plant wont closeit
knows it isnt food. When a fly enters, however, the plants jaws snap shut.
Experiments showed that metal sulfides with a negative charge show promise for trapping radioactive
cesium ions. As far as we know, this Venus-flytrap process is unique, he said.
It also works over a large range of aciditiesan essential property for cleanup at different
sites around the world, where pH can range considerably. The article is adorned with
pictures of the Venus flytrap to show how the molecular trap imitates its botanical inspiration.
Intelligent design should claim these initiatives.
Usually, there is no mention of evolution in the reports, and when it is mentioned, it is a useless
appendage with no explanatory power or direction. When you approach an observable function
in nature an adaptive flipper, an efficient network you can imitate it on the
assumption that its design, structure, and architecture were designed. Then you design
inventions to imitate that design. Instead of the GIGO (garbage-in, garbage-out) algorithm
of Darwinism, biomimetics works on the DIDO (design-in, design-out) principle.
Its important that the D in DIDO be design, not Darwin, or else you get irrational
results (see 04/26/2008 commentary).
We are the world might be an appropriate song for the
02/28/2004 entry. A weed is a nice plant at the
wrong party (02/28/2004). And find out the reason the
02/20/2004 entry ended with the comment,
When your opponent is shooting himself in the foot, there is really no need to return fire,
but rather to sit back and enjoy the entertainment.
Next headline on:
Making Evolution Simple
Feb 25, 2010 Getting the vast diversity of highly complex creatures seems an impossible
task for evolutionary theory, but some recent stories claim its not so hard.
So, now, with biology being so simple, and evolutionary theory having a powerful driving force,
and finch beaks evolving according to just two parameters, what was that complexity that creationists were
making such a big deal about? Maybe some of them would point to a different story on
Science Daily about
bird beaks. This article made no claims about evolution or simplicity. It reported
that German scientists have found a magnetometer in the beaks of many birds.
- Beak of the finch: Darwins finches keep pecking their way into the media. A new study
claims that the wide diversity of beak shapes that have evolved can be explained by a few simple
mathematical rules. Scientists at Harvard performed a numerical feat, reported
PhysOrg, on perhaps the most famous
icon of evolution: the beaks of Darwins finches. They grouped the 14 beak shapes into
three groups that vary mainly by length and depth. They claimed broad application of their findings:
Broadly, the work suggests that a few, simple mathematical rules may be responsible
for complicated biological adaptations. That being said, there are caveats:
It is not possible, however, to explain the full diversity of beak shapes of all Darwins
finches with only changes in beak length and depth. But another biologist was
astonished by the simple relationships and concluded that The mechanism that allows
organisms to adapt so readily to new environments may be a relatively easy process.
- Not so complex: If you thought biology was mystifying in its complexity, you just
need the take-home headline from Emory University:
Biology may not be so complex after all. A confident-looking young biophysicist by
the name of Ilya Nemenman accompanies the opening sentence: Centuries ago, scientists began
reducing the physics of the universe into a few, key laws described by a handful of parameters.
Such simple descriptions have remained elusive for complex biological systems until now.
The build-up is breathtaking: what could Ilya possibly have found? Here it is: he
identified parameters for several biochemical networks that distill the entire behavior
of these systems into simple equivalent dynamics. In his words, in bold print, he said,
It appears that the details of the complexity of these biological systems dont matter,
as long as some aggregate property, which weve calculated, remains the same.
This is too easy, the astute reader must be thinking. How does this explain
eyes, wings and brains? It goes on: Nemenman next compares his principles to the ideal gas law,
that explains All of the crazy interactions of these molecules hitting each other with
a simple relationship between pressure, volume and temperature. Why would nature make the
networks of chemical reactions complex when they could be simple? He announced,
The whole behavior of the system boils down to just one parameter. What were all
the previous biologists thinking by making everything so hard. Yet, one might ask, how fruitful is this
explanation for understanding the origin and function of biological systems? It sounds like
measuring the hum of a bumblebee is being substituted for understanding its structure, organs,
senses and aerodynamics. An organism is surely more complex than gas molecules bouncing around at random
(see glittering generalities). To be sure, the article did
not discuss the origin and evolution of complexity. But the boldness of the headline, claiming
that biology may not be so complex after all, seems crafted to play into the hands of
evolutionists who would be eager to downplay all that complexity that intelligent design theorists keep
talking about. And the article did assume evolution, asking, is the unnecessary complexity
a fossil record of the evolutionary heritage?
- Driving force: Scientists have not just proposed a driving force for evolution.
Now, announced PhysOrg, theyve revealed
it. The news is that evolution is driven most powerfully by interactions between species,
rather than adaptation to the environment. That surprising finding may catch some readers
off guard who thought the environment was a major player in evolution. Even more surprisingly, this announcement invokes the
Red Queen hypothesis of continuous variation. That flies directly in
the face of the announcement two weeks ago (02/11/2010,
bullet 3), that claimed the Red Queen idea only helps on rare occasions, if any. But now,
Science Daily tells us
that the Red Queen is not only correct, but is the driving force behind evolution.
Nothing was stated in either article about the origin of new genetic information, structure,
function, or complexity. Presumably, a driving force is all you need to bring these about.
Pigeons and other migratory birds have iron particles
in short nerve branches in the upper beak. This serves not only as a magnetic compass,
which shows the direction of the magnetic field lines, but also as
a magnetometer to measure the vector of the Earth magnetic field (intensity and inclination)
values used by the birds for their incredible feats of navigation.
The scientists were astonished to find this structure in a wide variety of birds, including
warblers, robins and chickens birds which have varied habitats, lifestyles and navigation needs.
The scientists used high-resolution X-rays to study the dendritic structures.
Most probably each of these more than 500 dendrites encodes only one direction of the
magnetic field, the article said. These manifold data are processed to the
brain of the bird and here recomposed serve as a basis for a magnetic map, which
facilitates the spatial orientation. It seems doubtful such a structure could be
reduced to two parameters controlled by a Red Queen, except for someone imagining biology
in Alice in Wonderland.
What is more simple: the actual biology, or the storytelling of the
evolutionists? The latter is not just simple; its simplistic. It takes a simpleton
to believe it. Evolutionists are comedians. They help us recall Groucho Marxs line,
Who are you gonna believe? Me, or your own eyes?
Spider Hair: The Perfect Water Repellant Surface
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
Feb 24, 2010 To keep dry, make like a spider.
Engineering researchers have crafted a flat surface that refuses to get wet, began a
press release from University of Florida.
Water droplets skitter across it like ball bearings tossed on ice. The inspiration?
Not wax. Not glass. Not even Teflon. The audience waits breathlessly
for the answer. Instead, University of Florida engineers have achieved what they label
in a new paper a nearly perfect hydrophobic interface by reproducing, on small bits of flat plastic,
the shape and patterns of the minute hairs that grow on the bodies of spiders.
How does the spider do it? The researchers expected to find a regular
pattern on a small scale, but instead, learned that spider hairs are both long and short
and variously curved and straight, forming a surface that is anything but uniform.
This apparently chaotic surface is key to its effectiveness. When Wolfgang Sigmund
at U of Florida imitated that, the results were perfect. Unlike other hydrophobic
materials, this one repelled the microscopic spheres of water without distorting them.
The results came as a great surprise. Its something that had to be
discovered in the lab instead of by theory, he said. Most people that publish in
this field always go for these perfect structures, and we are the first to show that the
bad ones are the better ones, Sigmund said.
Another benefit of this finding is that it can be made from any material.
Because the trick is done with physics instead of chemistry, the hydrophobic surface
manufactured to spider spec does not have to slough off any dangerous chemicals.
Sigmund is now working on similar surface tricks that can repel oil.
If engineers can figure out economical ways to manufacture these surfaces with
enough durability for a range of temperatures, industry will beat a path to the spiders
web. The spider, of course, already knows how to manufacture the material durably
and flexibly, and even repair it. Ever seen a wet spider?
See also the
02/04/2010 for another wonder of spider water management technology.
Who taught the spider that a chaotic pattern of curved,
straight, long and short hairs created the perfect water-repellant surface?
Natural selection? Ha! How many spiders had to drown trying to get that right.
Biomimetics is the coolest thing in biology. Its interdisciplinary, too: the
biologists, the physicists, and the engineers can all get together. Were
going to see a lot of neat products coming from this very un-Darwinian, ID-friendly
approach. Your spidey raincoat and lotus windshield will keep you high and dry.
You may not want this technology in your sponge, though. (For that, mimic
a natural sponge.)
Hopeful Monsters and Other Tales: Evolutionists Challenge Darwin
Next headline on:
Feb 24, 2010 Two recent articles show that Darwin is not invincible.
On one side he is being attacked by hopeful monsters. On the other, he is
being attacked by an atheist truth-seeker. Neither of these attacks are
coming from creationists.
Fodor knows his views could be perceived as traitorous.
I think theres the sense that if you think that theres something wrong with the
theory youre giving aid and comfort to intelligent design people.
And people do feel very strongly about whether you want to do that.
He himself is unperturbed by that eventuality. When you do science, you try to find the truth.
- Return of the hopeful monster: Tanguy Chouard raised eyebrows in
Nature News with
a headline that sounds like a new movie: Revenge of the hopeful monster.
It discusses the revival of a heresy that would have ruffled Darwin, who always said,
Natura non facit saltum (nature does not take leaps). Chouard discusses
evidence that nature does take leaps big changes that can occur within a single
generation. Experimental evidence has shown that individual genetic changes
can have vast effects on an organism without dooming it to the evolutionary rubbish heap,
he said. (The evolutionary rubbish heap is presumably where winners of the Darwin
Awards go.) But does the evolutionary Aesop fable give the edge to the gradualist
tortoise, or to the saltationist hare? Maybe both.
Avoiding a complete overhaul of the Darwin evolution engine,
Chouard tried to have his cake and eat it, too: But small-effect mutations still matter a lot.
They provide essential fine-tuning and sometimes pave the way for explosive evolution to follow,
he explained. As the molecular details unfold, theory badly needs to catch up.
For evidence, Chouard exhibited an evolutionary
pet, the stickleback fish. Offspring can vary substantially between armored and
naked forms. This is due to a single gene location responsible for 2/3 of the spines.
Chouard explained, the reigning gradualist dogma regarded these as artificially
protected monstrosities that would never survive the harsh hand of natural selection.
Gradualists have argued that pleiotropy (multiple effects of single changes) means that large
changes would generally be deleterious. How could a mutation in such a crucial gene
result in anything but a hopeless monster? A successful large change would be
tantamount to a miracle.
The stickleback study, though, shows that surgical strike mutations
that cause sudden changes in armor happen repeatedly. And Lenskis multi-generational
studies on E. coli showed both saltations and gradual mutations at work, producing
increases in fitness by jumps and by small steps. The idea is large-early, small-late
big jumps that dont kill the organism are fine-tuned by gradual changes. Some of
the bacteria learned to digest citrate, and then these mutants quickly swept through and
overtook the population. Lenski considered that comparable to the invasion
of land by tetrapods. (For a different interpretation, see
the Behe Blog.)
It remains to be seen, though, Chouard added,
whether such elementary mechanisms of adaptation, often referred to as microevolution,
can instruct the higher processes that constitute macroevolution, such as speciation and the
emergence of biodiversity or complex organs. Even Goldschmidt, the hopeful-monster
champion, doubted leaps that large could be made. And Jerry Coyne cautioned generalizing
results from asexual bacteria with small genomes and high mutation rates.
So is this disjunctive theory that says evolution proceeds both by leaps and
by crawls an improvement on Darwin? Do the tortoise and the hare join hands and cross
the finish line as a team? Large effect or small, evolution begins to look
like an endless list of special cases,.... Chouard admitted. One reason is the
general lack of knowledge about how changes in genes contribute to function and how this affects fitness.
That sounds a pretty basic requisite for understanding evolution. One evolutionist longed
for a functional synthesis, marrying evolutionary biology, molecular genetics and structural biology.
Some are glad for the return of Goldschmidts hopeful monster hypothesis; others favor
a middle ground. We need much more data before the issue of large versus small can be settled,
Coyne said, before the new studies can argue that Darwin was wrong about saltation.
The organisms are going to be the arbiters of this dispute. A mutation may affect phenotype but not change fitness much,
Chouard ended. It may have a large effect in the context of a given genome, or in a given environment,
but may have a smaller effect later in an organisms history. So it seems way premature to
claim that evolutionary biology has settled on a comprehensive theory of speciation, even 150 years after
Darwin. Chouard handed out promissory notes: As researchers drill down to the molecular
mechanisms driving adaptation, theory may catch up and dogmas may recede.
Maybe Darwin was wrong. Maybe he was right. Maybe he was partly right. Who knows?
He must be celebrated as the greatest biologist in history regardless.
- Dogma must go: Jerry Fodor, a philosopher at Rutgers, is angry at the dogmatic Darwinists who see
natural selection as the be-all and end-all of evolutionary change. But he is no
creationist; he is an avowed atheist. He discussed his book What Darwin Got Wrong,
co-authored with Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, an atheist professor of cognitive sciences at
U of Arizona, on Salon.com.
Thomas Rogers, who interviewed Fodor, was surprised that a published attack on Darwin did not
come from the religious right. He said, Their book details (in very technical language)
how recent discoveries in genetics have thrown into question many of our perceived truths
about natural selection, and why these have the potential to undermine much of what we know
about evolution and biology. For challenging Darwin, Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini
have received obscene and debased comments on blogs.
Fodors beef with natural selection appears to stem from its storytelling
propensity. Why do people have traits like hair on their heads and dark hair with
dark eyes? You can make up a story that explains why it was good to have those
properties in the original environment of selection, he said. Do we have any reason to think that
story is true? No.
Fodor argues that there is no way to tell which traits were selected because they
contribute to fitness, and which traits come along for the ride. There isnt
anything in the Darwinist picture that allows you to answer that question.
Why do we have toenails? Do they serve an evolutionary purpose? How would we know?
It may be a case that in the environment there was some factor that favored toenails but there also may not.
This sounds like the Stuff Happens Law. Gene expression is too complicated, he said, to sort out
fitness effects from random change: Now the question is, how much of the evolutionary variance is determined by
factors of the environment and how much is controlled by the organization of the organism,
and the answer is nobody knows.
Fodor even argues that picking out traits may be meaningless.
A giraffe has a long neck. Did nature select that trait, or is it part of the giraffe package?
Animals can have long necks and toenails, but if you try to break such creatures apart into
traits and you say, OK, What selected this trait? and, What selected that trait?
youve made a mistake right from the beginning, he said. The disintegration of the
organism into traits is itself a spurious undertaking. Selection acts on the whole
animal, he believes.
An example of the storytelling habit can be seen in last weeks Science
paper on whale evolution.1
The link between diatom diversity and observed cetacean diversity supports the hypothesis
that diatom-based primary production has been an important driver of neocete evolution,
wrote Marx and Uhen. (A neocete is a modern whale.) How, exactly, did that environmental
driver (diatom diversity and number) act on the genes of a pre-whale to make it a whale? It leaves the evolution of
the complex structures of the customers assumed rather than explained. Undeterred, the authors
next pulled a completely different explanatory tool off the shelf.
Similarly, the observation that climate change also has a role to play is not surprising in light of
recent research that has demonstrated substantial temperature-dependent variations in the diversity of extant cetaceans.
But how can they disentangle that driver from other drivers, and explain why it acted the way it did on whales,
but not on birds, mammals and everything else in the biosphere that was simultaneously subject to climate change?
To take Fodors response, Nobody knows. Maybe Marx and Uhen should make a
bold, Popperian prediction. Maybe they should predict what whales will evolve into after
todays anthropogenic climate change. Will it be as dramatic as turning a cow into a whale?
Should we find it not surprising if climate change has a role to play in driving
whales back onto land, or giving them wings? How would that role be measured?
1. Felix Marx and Mark Uhen, Climate, Critters, and Cetaceans: Cenozoic Drivers of the Evolution of Modern Whales,
19 February 2010: Vol. 327. no. 5968, pp. 993-996, DOI: 10.1126/science.1185581.
Fodors courage for facing flak while seeking truth is admirable, but
he doesnt realize that his truth-seeking is incompatible with his atheism. Truth refers
to ideas that are eternal otherwise they are not true. How is an atheist,
who is presumably a physicalist, going to employ concepts, ideas and propositions,
which must be defended with honesty and integrity, without presupposing a moral and spiritual
realm? A force will not do. Honesty, truth, integrity, morality
presuppose a Person. The creationists, whom he accuses of post-hoc reasoning,
actually have the pre-hoc conditions for intelligibility that give their post-hoc deductions
meaning. Darwinists hawk their post-hoc stories without the pre-hoc, making them
ad-hoc. Thats when the post-hoc fallacy ensues.
Fodor should stop plagiarizing Judeo-Christian presuppositions and pay the price before
taking part in the Judeo-Christian smorgasbord with its nutritious ingredients of rationality.
So he should not worry about offending the other thieves, but make amends with the smorgasbord Owner.
The 02/20/2003 entry discussed how
cells repair not just their DNA, but their RNA, too. What does this fact imply for attempts
to call small RNAs a link between the primordial soup and the genetic code?
It should be clear from these stories that criticisms of Darwin are not all religiously motivated.
They are substantive. Darwinism is a collection of just-so stories funded by
promissory notes with no empirical collateral. The bank that issues Darwin notes
is bankrupt. Any theory that reduces to the Stuff Happens Law is dealing in
worthless explanatory currency. If you call Chairman Charlie and ask, What do you know?
he doesnt answer. Let the dead bury their dead.
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
Evolutionary Inferences: Are They Incontrovertible?
Feb 23, 2010 No matter what is found in plants or animals, it finds its way into an
evolutionary explanation eventually. Are these explanations driven by the data, or
forced into a belief system? Are other explanations possible? Some recent
reports might inform these questions.
Scientific evidence belongs to mankind as a whole. We find two populations of explainers
evolutionists and creationists inhabiting what appear to be parallel worlds with one-way glass between them.
The evolutionists ignore the creationists and dont even acknowledge their explanations.
Creationists, with two-way vision, actively take on the evolutionary explanations and attempt to falsify
them, and use the very same physical evidence to support alternate conclusions. They are also usually
the most eager to stage debates so that the public can hear both sides. Many of their invitations,
however, are usually met with mockery and disdain by evolutionists who claim that creationism is
not science, even when it is done by individuals with PhDs in science.
- Your inner plant: Get in touch with your inner plant with a report
from Science Daily
that claims Protein Study Shows Evolutionary Link Between Plants, Humans.
In an experiment at Purdue, an enzyme named aminopeptidase M1 was transferred from a human
to a plant. It helped revive dying specimens. The inference made by the
scientist was this: M1 aminopeptidase activity is such a fundamental process that
its been conserved evolutionarily. This protein has changed very little over time.
The problem is that conservation is the opposite of evolution, so conserved evolutionarily
is a bit of a conundrum. It assumes evolution, but posits that everything else evolved
since plants and humans shared a common ancestor but this enzyme did not.
Was evolution unable to improve on this enzyme in all that time, at least along one lineage?
Is it a new evolutionary principle a law of nature that fundamental processes are unable to evolve?
Are there exceptions? Or is evolutionary conservation a phrase that assumes
what it needs to prove? (See circular reasoning.)
Creationists explain similarities in living things as evidence of common design, not common ancestry.
- Dinosaur tooth truth: A new species of dinosaur has been found in Utah,
reported PhysOrg. This one,
fortunately, was found head-first: two complete skulls were found. That means the fossils can provide fresh insight
into lives of dinosaurs some 105 million years ago, including the evolution of sauropod teeth,
the article said. Yet the skulls were made of thin, fragile bones bound by soft tissue that
were easily destroyed after death. Creationists often point to the fact that dinosaurs
appear abruptly in the fossil record without ancestors (12/22/2009). It would seem presumptuous to claim
that the fossils can provide insight into the evolution of sauropod teeth when the evolution of
sauropods themselves is the larger issue (literally).
- The men who walked through time: Another out of Africa claim made
prominence in a report on Science Daily:
DNA Evidence Tells Global Story of Human History. The article quotes a
scientist saying, To understand what it is to be human, it is essential to understand the human past.
Many a theologian or preacher would shout Amen! but would offer a completely different history. In fact,
Dr. Robert Carter, a geneticist working with Creation Ministries International,
gave a lecture at The Masters College Feb. 20 explaining how the DNA evidence points
to a single Y-chromosome and a single mitochondrial Eve, supporting the Biblical story
(see CMI store for DVD).
In his analysis, Carter showed how the genetic evidence also supports the Flood and the Tower of Babel.
No such room was allowed for alternative interpretations in the Science Daily article, which announced triumphantly,
Overall, the reviews show just how clear it has become that all of us trace our evolutionary roots to Africa,
though admitting a couple of sentences later, Of course, there are many things about our ancient ancestors
we will never be able to know with any certainty.
Science Daily also claimed that the genetic evidence shows how traits like
lactose tolerance have been selected for over evolutionary time. Creationists would
agree, but without the Darwinian ape-to-man interpretation and the millions of years. An article in Creation Magazine
(32:1, 2010, pp. 12-15; see CMI for online edition)
by David Catchpoole discussed this very subject. He showed that lactose intolerance is actually
the normal condition, and claimed that the genetic evidence overturns evolutionary notions.
- Island dwarfing: Continuing with dinosaurs, another article appeared this week in
PhysOrg claiming to show evidence for
island dwarfing in Romania. An ancient island shows smaller dinosaur fossils than
elsewhere. The question was answered with only evolutionary views: How did the dinosaurs get to the island?
Its not certain whether they were marooned there as the seas rose, or whether they swam or drifted there by chance later on.
Either way, this research demonstrates that once they arrived they evolved to become dwarfs.
Yet the site contains rich assemblages of fossil plants, insects, fishes, frogs, lizards, birds, and
mammals show that the scene was rich and tropical. No claim appears to have been made that the
other groups of animals also evolved into dwarfs.
Yet there is a third way to interpret the evidence.
Saturday at The Masters College, Dr. Robert Carter gave another talk about dinosaurs. He showed evidence
for dinosaurs and humans co-existing after the Flood. He showed engravings on Bishop Bells tomb
(CMI) and at Angkor Wat
(CMI), indicating that people saw these creatures
till medieval times at least. Carter believes they were hunted to extinction as pests or trophies, or were unable to
survive the climate changes after the Flood. He pointed to the fact that all other species, including the
more vulnerable crocodiles, are still doing just fine causing grief to the evolutionary stories about
causes of dinosaur extinction. He also referred to the soft tissue and blood cells found in dinosaur bone
to show that they could not have been extinct for 65 million years. In addition to these points,
scientists admitted recently that a significant number of dinosaur species could be misidentified as
separate species when in fact they were varieties or the same species, or individuals of different ages.
Evolutionary storytelling is science, but evidence that supports the
Bible record is not science by definition. Isnt that a convenient
false dichotomy for Darwin and his disciples?
It allows them unlimited storytelling potential, uncontested, with no fear of contradiction.
It makes evolutionary science a kind of priesthood and everything else a heresy.
Is that how science is supposed to operate? The evidence is out there; it belongs to
everyone. The pool of smart people in the world is not exhausted by the evolutionary
Solomonic Wall in Jerusalem Announced
Even some evolutionists are realizing this is a very unfair and
unjust situation. Read this book review, What Darwin Got Wrong, on
Author Jerry Fodor, who himself has felt the heat of academia for failing to worship Darwin unquestionably,
chides the evolutionists for their dogmatism, but then accuses the creationists
of post-hoc and ad-hoc reasoning. Given his experience with the Darwin-worshipping consensus,
doesnt that charge cut both ways? Indeed it does. Fodor said:
Creationism isnt the only doctrine thats heavily into post-hoc explanation.
Darwinism is too. If a creature develops the capacity to spin a web, you could tell a story of
why spinning a web was good in the context of evolution. That is why you should be as suspicious of
Darwinism as of creationism. They have spurious consequence in common. And that should be enough to make
you worry about either account.
Since everyone is guilty, maybe it should also make us suspicious of Jerry Fodors characterization of the
situation. At least here at CEH you can read both sides (with links to original sources) and decide for yourself, without
having an elitist academic making summary judgments for you.
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
Bible and Theology
Feb 22, 2010 A large wall dating from the time of Solomon is being announced
by the news media (see PhysOrg,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Archaeologist Eilat Mazar linked the structure,
near the southeast end of the Temple Mount, to a Biblical
passage in I Kings 3:1
that speaks of until he (Solomon) had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord,
and the wall of Jerusalem round about. The wall is some 230 feet long and almost 20 feet high.
A large tower of carved stones was also identified, and possibly a chambered gatehouse.
Todd Bolen on Bible
Places Blog issued some cautions for interpreting the find. Its not new,
for instance; the area was excavated by Mazar and her father in 1986-1987 (see his
on the story). What is new is dating the structure to the time of Solomon based on
pottery and jars found at the site. The jars,
with to the king inscriptions on them, are some of the largest ever found in Jerusalem.
Even if this is not a new discovery,
the re-dating of the wall earlier to the time of Solomon is significant. Minimalist schools
of archaeology have long argued that David and Solomon were small tribal clans in the
Iron Age II and therefore could not have built the large cities ascribed to them.
The pictures show otherwise. The construction is massive and sophisticated,
suggesting a powerful kingdom was thriving, consistent with the Biblical account (see also
the Edom findings from 10/27/2008 and the
Qeiyafa inscription from 01/07/2010).
Multiverse Explanations Are Fashionable, If Not Justifiable
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
Feb 22, 2010 How can scientists get away with speculating about unobservable
universes, when science is supposed to concern itself with observation?
In the end, there is no way to know for sure what other universes are out there,
or what life they may hold, an article in
But that will likely not stop physicists from exploring the possibilities,
and in the process learning more about our own universe. This appears to
be a modern apparition of Arthur C. Clarkes Second Law, The only way of
discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
The PhysOrg article, echoing a press release from
speculated on life not just on other worlds, but in other universes.
A definitive answer is impossible, since we have no way of directly studying other universes,
the article admitted. The speculations are built squarely on chemical and biological
evolution: if conditions were suitable, matter would coalesce into galaxies and planets,
and if the right elements were present in those worlds, intelligent life could evolve.
Assuming those would happen, the scientists, if that is what they can be called, speculated
about what physical constants would give rise to matter: our physical laws might be explained
anthropically, meaning that they are as they are because if they were otherwise,
no one would be around to notice them. The press release noted that some of the constants
in our universe, notably the cosmological constant, appear fine-tuned to permit atoms and life.
Varying only one constant usually produces an inhospitable universe, it said,
but perhaps changes in primordial cosmological density perturbations could compensate at
least for small changes to the value of the cosmological constant. Then again,
how would they test this idea?
The multiverse concept was also prominent in a book review by
Pedro Ferreira for Nature.1 He was discussing
the new book by Sean Carroll (Caltech), From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time
(Dutton, 2010). Apparently Carroll makes big use of the multiverse concept to explain
the flow of time in our universe. The direction of time toward maximum entropy has
long fascinated physicists and philosophers. Carrolls thesis employs the
multiverse and the anthropic principle to explain times directionality:
Carrolls solution for the arrow of time invokes the multiverse, a controversial concept
that is a current battleground in theoretical physics. Arguably a prediction from cosmology
and string theory,and to some extent quantum mechanics, the multiverse idea supposes that the
Universe that we perceive is but one of a countless collection, each of which can be in a
different physical state. A case can be made that our Universe looks the way it does because
it is the only one of the many possible universes that can harbour us. For example, in another
universe in which the constants of physics were slightly different from those in ours, life would not be possible.
So what does this have to do with time?
Going further, Carroll adapts the multiverse idea to explain the directionality of time. Universes
such as ours, he suggests, continually pop into existence within the multiverse, which is itself
in thermal stasis, with no sense of time. We just happen to live in one of these baby universes,
which started off in a low-entropy state and has an entropic arrow of time.
So his answer is the Stuff Happens Law the antithesis of a law of nature, and therefore
of causation or explanation. And by low-entropy state, he means really, really low.
Some estimates of the chances of getting a universe like ours are one in 10 to the 100th to the 100th.
No problem, Carroll must think, if baby universes just pop into existence all the time.
Ferreira enjoyed Carrolls book with all these speculations.
He noted approvingly that multiverse explanations are fashionable.
1. Pedro Ferreira, The unfolding of time,
463, 881 (18 February 2010); doi:10.1038/463881a.
Would someone please explain how this kind of speculation
differs from imagining fairies and flying pigs and aliens? or why it should be
blessed with the sacred appellation of science? Theologians at least have some
revelation to constrain their speculations about an unobserved heaven, hell and the afterlife.
This has nothing to support it. Dont say that these guys are acting scientifically because
they are employing mathematics and laws of known physical quantities. One could easily do the same with the
aerodynamics of flying pigs, or the top running speed of gnomes.
Like the Winter Olympics? Read how a scientist described protein folding as an
Olympic event in the 02/27/2002 entry.
Emboldened by the empty promises of naturalism, evolutionists have let
their imaginations run amok. Berserk is too mild a term for it. They presume
to speak with the authority of science when telling us that baby universes just pop into
existence, with some of them having matter just popping into existence, into which
some of the matter coalesces into blobs of protoplasm. Then, by faith, eyes pop into
existence (the Popeye theory of evolution, 05/31/2005), allowing the cosmos to see, and brains
pop into existence, allowing the cosmos to understand itself at least in localized carbon units.
This may be fashionable, all right, but many fashions are foolish.
It would be more honest for them to announce they are founding a new religion.
Here it is: the First Multiversalist Church of the Absurd. Come in and worship
Tyche, the goddess of chance. Open your eyes of faith to see alternate realities.
Worship your imagination (01/17/2007 commentary) as
you sing When you wish upon a star, nature makes you what you are
Be uplifted by our sermon, Stuff happens
(09/15/2008 commentary). Join in
and sing our closing hymn, Godless Philosophy (see Darwin Hymnbook).
Thinking beyond the known into the unknown is not wholly unwarranted.
It can provide context for understanding the known. Considering the low entropy state of
our universe, for instance, should arouse astonishment at how improbable that would be by
chance. Considering what would happen if the physical constants of the universe were
not finely tuned should arouse more astonishment. The lesson that should result from such
mental excursions, upon returning to the real world, is how privileged we are to
enjoy life in such a world and universe. That should result in humble thanksgiving to the Creator.
There is little humility or gratitude in the proud hearts of the dreamers living
in imaginary universes. Pay them no mind; they are blind leaders of the blind.
Now get back to work with your eyes open, your feet on the ground, and a song of
praise in your heart (suggestion).
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
The Brain You Use, and How It Uses You
Feb 21, 2010 Neuroscientists continue to find out amazing things about the human brain.
In some ways we are responsible to use our brains, but in other ways the brain does things to us.
If nobody has figured out where the dividing line is for thousands of years, its unlikely
we will today; but the following findings can shed some light on the mystery.
The brain-computer analogy got another insight recently. Researchers at the Institute for
Technical Science in Graz are abandoning the single-file method of computing and building net-like
Daily said this effort was inspired by studying how the brain is wired, with each neuron
connecting to many other neurons. The scientists want to design a new generation of
neuro-computers based on the principles of calculation and learning mechanisms found in the brain,
and at the same time gain new knowledge about the brains learning mechanisms.
- Sing for mental health. Something about singing does a brain good.
The BBC News and
Geographic reported on work at Northwestern University that showed music helps prevent dyslexia in
children and can even rewire a damaged brain. That seems to indicate that if you did not choose
to avail yourself of music therapy, the benefits would not occur.
- Remember to forget: New studies on memory seem to suggest that forgetting is an
active process. Old memories dont just fade away; they are actively erased to make room
for new memories. Thats the idea in an article on
Live Science reporting
on work in China and at Cold Spring Harbor Labs, New York. The researchers feel this could lead
to drugs that could help patients erase bad memories, like traumatic events. Be sure not to overdose on it.
Who knows if the brain would come back after a reboot think of having to take all that school again.
- Nap stir: Speaking of a reboot, that mid-day nap might refresh your brain like a warm
and Science Daily
all reported on findings at UC Berkeley that show naps clear the mind and boost the brains
learning capacity. Moms may appreciate the break when the baby takes its nap, but important things are
happening in the tiny head in that interval. Maybe Mom should take one, too.
Participants who took 90-minute naps
in a controlled experiment scored markedly better on learning tests. One researcher put it
into familiar terms: Its as though the e-mail inbox in your hippocampus is full and,
until you sleep and clear out those fact e-mails, youre not going to receive any more mail.
Its just going to bounce until you sleep and move it into another folder.
So thats why we forget what the teacher said. Unfortunately, the teacher doesnt
get a Returned to sender message from the student. The student should not try to
argue to the teacher that his napping in class is a way to enhance his learning.
How did nature come up with all these slick computing tricks?
Science Daily looked
to worms for the answer. Whatever it was, it started early on.
Their headline stated, Last Ancestor Humans Shared With Worms Had Sophisticated Brain, microRNAs Show.
That last article wins Stupid Evolution Quote of the
Week for beginning, The last ancestor we shared with worms, which roamed the
seas around 600 million years ago, may already have had a sophisticated brain that
released hormones into the blood and was connected to various sensory organs.
The implication is that our brains evolved from worm brains. But this relies on evolutionary
assumptions and deep time, and doesnt help Darwin anyway; it pushes the origin of these
sophisticated mechanisms closer to the goo.
Feb 20, 2010 If you have followed the intelligent design debate for any time, you may
have been startled by the arrogance and sheer meanness of the Darwinist counterattack.
Critics like Barbara Forrest, Daniel Dennett and others rage against their intellectual enemies in
nasty, conspiratorial terms, while repeatedly misconstruing the arguments made by I.D. leaders
and failing to evaluate the same criticisms against their own views.
Few are the attempts to really deal with the issues on a scholarly level.
Back to reality. Who could not be fascinated by the brain? We are aware of
choosing to think and act, but there are also many processes that occur automatically in the
background re-organizing memories in sleep, re-wiring in response to music,
entrainment of a new skill or idea by habit after focused concentration. We sense that we
are operating a very sophisticated computer. We know how to use the GUI, but have no
idea how the software and wiring works. Evolutionists tend to be materialists and
deny we have free will (e.g., 02/17/2010, bullet 1), but creationists
typically believe we have responsibility for our choices and actions. The debates will
go on, but its hard to defend determinism, when you think about it. See?
Next headline on:
Those who have been exposed to attacks against I.D. should read William Dembskis
rebuttal, The Design Revolution (Inter-Varsity, 2004). The subtitle, Answering
the toughest objections about intelligent design, explains the purpose of the book: to take on
the charges and defend I.D. Dembski, one of the key intellectual leaders of the I.D. movement, answers 44 questions
in six categories: basic distinctions, detecting design, information, naturalism, theoretical challenges
to intelligent design, and whether I.D. is science. All the objections about pseudoscience,
the wedge document, religious motivations, creationism, imperfect design, chance, God-of-the-gaps,
miracles, intervention, the supernatural, induction, mechanism, peer review and much more are given
solid answers about 2-8 pages each.
The book is endorsed by Jeffrey Schwartz, Michael Behe, Phillip Johnson, Norman Geisler,
Lee Strobel, Ravi Zacharias, Chuck Colson, Rick Santorum, Robert P. George, Ted Peters, David Berlinski and
Michael Denton. This book belongs on your shelf next time you hear charges that I.D. is
a religious pseudo-science not on par with Darwinism. Find it at
Access Research Network.
Next resource of the week: 02/13/2010.
All resources: Catalog.
Molecular Highway Motor Comes into Focus
Feb 19, 2010 A beautiful new image of kinesin, a molecular machine that carries
cargo on cellular highways, has been produced in greater detail than ever by a team at
Berkeley and Brandeis Universities.
published a picture and description of how kinesin works. Lifes smallest motor
a protein that shuttles cargo within cells and helps cells divide
does so by rocking up and down like a seesaw, the article began.
The work is done using energy from ATP.
Ken Downing described the motion: We found that there is a pivot point,
where the kinesin motor attaches to the microtubule, which acts like a fulcrum and causes
kinesin to rock up and down like a seesaw as it moves along the microtubule.
Kinesin is involved a numerous cell processes. Its
one of the motor proteins that actually moves cargo on cellular highways.
The article said, kinesin proteins motor along microtubules like trains on a railroad track,
towing cargo to various locations within cells and assisting in cell division.
Each rocking motion of the see-saw requires energy from ATP.
Franck Fournio and Carolyn A. Moores, commenting on the findings for
PNAS,1 described the motors as being fuel-efficient
as macromotors need to be. Thus the cells nanomachines have
evolved to use ATP only when they can couple it to essential work.
The original paper by Sindelar and Downing in PNAS2 contains detailed model
illustrations of how the seesaw motion links different parts of the machine to
interact with structures on the microtubule. All these interactions occur
due to precisely-placed loops, linkers and pivots built out of the amino acids making
up the protein parts of the machine. Several domains of the machine undergo
significant conformational changes during the motion. Terms like force generation
and fulcrum used in the paper indicate that these are true machines,
just like those made by man, but on an almost unfathomably small scale
a few billionths of a meter in size.
The authors did not describe how this machine could have evolved.
Fournio and Moores simply stated that kinesins have evolved to use ATP
efficiently. Sindelar and Downing said kinesin is a descendant of the myosin
molecular motor family, with which it shares similarities. They described
myosin, however, as its larger and more complex, ancient cousin,
suggesting that any evolution has been toward simplicity.
1. Franck Fournio and Carolyn A. Moores,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
2. Sindelar, C. V., Downing, K. H., An atomic-level mechanism for activation of the kinesin molecular motors,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
early edition, February 16, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0911208107.
Once again we see evolution assumed in passing but
contributing nothing to the understanding of a wonder of nature. This story
is all about structural architecture, function, engineering, precision, efficiency
intelligent design. Lets cure scientists of their bad habit of
assuming evolution when the evidence for design keeps coming into sharper focus.
Media Uncritical of Science, Journalist Says
Next headline on:
Feb 18, 2010 Reporters need to stop regurgitating the self-promotion of scientists
and start criticizing them, a veteran science reporter wrote in
Colin Macilwain had a lot to say about whats wrong with sciences relationship
with the mass media. Like sausages being made, or legislation being passed,
the process that turns scientific developments into headlines and into radio and television
reports isnt pretty to observe, he said. Nor is it optimal.
He describes the reporter beat at a typical meeting of the American Association for the
Advancement of Science, and the science media production line:
One of the main jobs of the AAAS meeting is to parcel up original research that has already been published, and often publicized, into digestible chunks. These then reappear as news stories in papers and broadcasts around the world, turbocharged by quotes from the scientific luminaries attending the meeting. This at least marks a change in tempo from the weekly routine, which converts original scientific findings, via a production line of embargoed press releases from journals and universities, into a steady stream of largely uncritical stories.
Uncritical is the operative word. Macilwain thinks journalists need to take
on the scientists and stop being such toadies. Propped up by the specious authority of their jargon
and, most of all, by their cheapness to report which stands in stark contrast to proper investigations of issues
such as public corruption, corporate maleficence or industrial health and safety
essentially silly stories about science continue to fill newspapers and news broadcasts.
The scientists accept this media circus that disguises the very human process of scientific discovery
as a seamless stream of ingenious and barely disputed breakthroughs
Partly due to recent credibility gaps in climate science,
Macilwain thinks there should be detailed, critical assessment of
science as it is really practiced. Like they do with politicians and athletes, reporters need to be asking
hard questions about money, influence and human frailty that much of
todays science journalism sadly ignores. He called science reporting
an ugly machine that churns out inexpensive and safe content, masquerading as news,
to an increasingly underwhelmed public. Its not showing the actual
cut and thrust of the scientific process, but instead, a cacophony of sometimes
divergent but nonetheless definitive findings, each warmly accepted by colleagues,
on the record, as deeply significant.
ClimateGate showed this churnalism can backfire. Fragile public
confidence in science was deeply eroded by that episode. Britains science minister
was fairly uncritical of the status quo, but even he gave a plaintive call for more investigative reporting.
Presumably that would include investigations on scientists challenging their findings,
questioning their motivations and their funding sources, exposing the issues their
pronouncements would have on public policy.
The alarming trends Macilwain described are not likely to change in a time of high
reporter workloads, editor demands, budget cuts, the rise of public relations, lack of time for original
research, the need to stuff columns with content just because competitors do, and the embargo
system that creates a pack mentality among reporters. Scientists themselves, he said, need to be far
more willing to engage the public honestly about the strengths, weaknesses and missteps
that characterize scientific progress.
Hear, hear! Great column. He must have seen
Creation-Evolution Headlines, because weve been preaching that sermon for years
We even showed them how to do investigative reporting
Macilwain only slipped up once by using the term scientific progress. He should have specified
that progress is not guaranteed by the passage of time, but by the quality of the evidence.
Say, where have we heard that phrase strengths and weaknesses before? (see
StrengthsAndWeaknesses.org for a hint).
Like thieves at a smorgasbord, Nature authors tried to sneak morality onto their
Darwin plates. See if they got away with it in the 02/09/2009
Popular science reporting is often a wretched stench of triumphalism written by gutless wusses
trying to be clever. They treat scientists announcements like food from the
gods to be served on golden platters to the common people. They chew it first and barf it up on
our plates, thinking it will aid digestion. Look how they stood by the rascals of ClimateGate
and lectured us on how we didnt understand science. Only lately have
some of them been acknowledging that the skeptics had some valid points.
Can you imagine what would happen if reporters actually broke rank with the pack and actually
did investigative reporting on scientists? What would happen if they brushed past the
specious authority of their jargon and asked the hard
questions, challenged their findings, the motivations and funding sources behind them,
and the quality of the evidence? For one
thing, the public would suddenly become a lot more interested in science. For another,
the Darwinists would slither into dark corners to make their baloney in secret.
Imagine a time when an evolutionists pronouncement like Cooking is what made us human
(01/21/2010) is met not by genuflections from the
press but by howls and belly laughs. It wouldnt take long for them to get religion.
Next headline on:
Flabbergast: Primitive Human Ancestors Were Sailors
Feb 18, 2010 Could the headline be any more shocking if it read, iPod
found in King Tuts tomb? Heather Pringle began a report in
with, It wasnt supposed to happen like this. Stone tools
alleged to be up to 130,000 years old have been found on the island of Crete.
Since Crete is believed to have been surrounded by Mediterranean waters for five
million years, this means that human ancestors thought to be too primitive to show
modern behavior were intentional seafarers. Moreover, the hundreds of stone
tools found at nine locations suggest that groups of them came over to set up
sustainable populations. They did not drift out there accidentally.
This implies intent, purpose, curiosity, and the desire for exploration.
How will this affect current theories on the origin of humans?
Its been thought that the early humans of this time period were not capable of
devising boats or even simple raftstechnology considered an expression of modern behavior.
Homo sapiens practicing modern behaviors, such as wearing jewelry and making art didnt begin
to appear until around a hundred thousand years ago.
According to the evolutionary timeline, the sailors must have been Homo neanderthalensis
or even Homo erectus. Human ancestors were thought to have walked out of Africa.
Now, it shows they could have boated, too. The find will no doubt buttress controversial
claims that Homo erectus was capable of boat-building (see, for example,
10/20/2003), and that the Hobbits arrived
on the island of Flores over sea.
But the new discoveries hint that these human ancestors were capable of much
more sophisticated planning, cooperation, and constructionin this case, boat buildingthan
their simple stone tools would suggest.
I was flabbergasted, [Curtis] Runnels [Boston U] said. The idea of
finding tools from this very early time period on Crete was about as believable as finding
an iPod in King Tuts tomb.
Anthropologists who never thought to look for
evidence on islands may have to start looking. If ancient humans were crossing the Mediterranean,
Runnels said, then they certainly could have crossed other water barriers, such as the Red Sea or the
Gulf of Aden, Pringle wrote. Runnel added, And that means that the assumptions
that we have hadthat the peopling of Eurasia was done by early hominins moving overland
through the Near East, into India and downwill have to be revisited.
Enough surprises like this are equivalent to a Precambrian rabbit
(02/11/2010). If evolutionists wont pay attention to the
elephant in the room, dont expect them to notice the rabbits hopping all around their feet,
let alone the pharoahs with iPods.
Who Should Be Listening to Scientists?
A simple application of Bayes Theorem can assess
the fate of the evolutionary hypothesis in light of this new evidence. The
hypothesis is that modern man emerged from primitive ancestors over millions of years.
The prior probability of this hypothesis has been deemed high by most evolutionary anthropologists.
The evidence is stone tools on an island requiring sophisticated seafaring skills.
The probability of the evidence is one, since it is observed. The probability of this evidence given
the hypothesis is very low. The probability of the hypothesis has just
been substantially reduced. Therefore, the posterior probability of the hypothesis, given the
evidence, being the product of the probability of the evidence given the hypothesis and the probability
of the hypothesis, divided by the probability of the evidence,
has been substantially reduced. The Darwinian hypothesis is rejected.
Using the same updating of probabilities, we can assess the likelihood
of the creation hypothesis. It states that man has always been intelligent and
capable of purposeful, symbolic behavior. An adjunct of the creation hypothesis
is that human technology suffered a substantial setback during the Flood, so would
have shown slow advancement wherever it is found having had to start from
scratch again. Because the probability
of the evidence given the hypothesis is high, the probability of the hypothesis given
the evidence is increased. The posterior probability of the creation hypothesis
has then increased by the new evidence. The creation hypothesis is confirmed.
Next headline on:
Feb 17, 2010 Stop Listening to Scientists? is an unusual title for
a letter to Science.1 In a commentary last week
prompted by the recent scandals regarding climate change, Kevin Robert Gurney (Purdue)
made a shocking exclamation: dont listen to scientists. Heres how he began.
As a climate scientist and a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,
my heart always warms when I hear policy-makers refer to doing what the science dictates,
as President Obama did in his remarks toward the end of the U.N. Climate Change Treaty negotiations
in Copenhagen, Denmark. However, after the first-hand experience of the rapid crash of the Copenhagen
meeting, I have changed my thinking: World leaders, please stop listening to us! I dont
say this because I have lost faith in the verity of scientific results or the projected warming and subsequent
global damages. I say this because international policy-makers are adhering too rigidly and too literally
to recommended concentration thresholds and emissions targets, and it is crippling the international policy process.
He followed this with some recommendations: try incremental changes instead of deal-breakers,
lower the rhetoric, loosen commitments, prioritize, be satisfied with imperfect agreements,
and Leave aside the near-obsessive need to benchmark everything against the 2°C target.
The scientific guidelines have become ossified deal-breakers, he argued, letting
the perfect become the enemy of the good.
So its clear Dr. Gurney was using a little shock talk as an attention-getting
rhetorical device when he told us to stop listening to scientists. But look at some other
things scientists have been saying recently. Maybe his advice was better than he knew.
The stories above, taken from reputable scientific sources, do not support the belief that scientists have an
edge on truth or good sense. Nowhere is the ability of science to provide understanding more questionable
than in the field of psychiatry. The ability of one group to call another group
abnormal represents power in any culture. Whos calling whom crazy? Do scientists do any better than politicians in
figuring out what is normal and what is perverse? Be very worried.
- No free willy: For his inaugural article to the National
Academy of Sciences, Anthony Cashmore, a biologist at University of Pennsylvania,
told them they have no free will.2 Apparently, he said
this of his own volition, and they used their free will to elect him into the academy.
Or was he one of the elect? Maybe it was his chemical destiny to tell the Academy they consist of
mechanical forces of nature, who only employ free will as a useful fiction
and operate under the illusion of responsibility.
Cashmore further argued that a mistaken belief in free will is
behind our criminal justice system. Criminals are not responsible for their
behavior, he said, but should be incarcerated only for pragmatic reasons.
It is the authors contention that a belief in free will
is nothing other than a continuing belief in vitalismsomething biologists proudly
believe they discarded well over 100 years ago. Dr. Cashmore did not produce
any lab results or scientific evidence to back up his belief. Near the end, he said:
Finally, I would like to make the following point.... But who was
speaking? Isnt a mechanical force of nature pointless? Should his
mechanical audience choose to listen, even if they could?
- Hunting aliens: Gary Ruvkun, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School,
is hunting for aliens. Space.com
reported that he has an alien DNA detector he wants to use on Mars. Reporter Michael
Schirber said, The idea isnt too crazy, where too is the operative word.
His search for extraterrestrial genomes (SETG) appears poised to be as successful as the search
for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) has been. Schirber quoted another scientist thinking
the project is a little premature, given that no biomass has been found yet. Meanwhile, Ruvkun
is out calibrating his instrument on the acid runoff from a volcano in Argentina.
- Defining life: come again?: A Dutch scientist has come up with a new definition for life.
Life, says Gerard Jagers op Akkerhuis of Wageningen University, is a hierarchy of operators.
tells about his concepts of hypercyclic neural network and operators with
first-next possible closure. Reporter Clara Moskowitz admitted,
If all this is a little heady, the scientist says he understands the idea is complex and
may take some getting used to. After all, Biology is often called the study of life,
yet in the history of the field, experts have never agreed on just what, exactly, life is.
One colleague has already taken issue with Jagers op Akkerhuis definition:
This theory and definition will confuse our biological issues even more by their
circularity of reasoning,
he said. Recognizing something as living depends on criteria derived from known, recent living systems;
a bean is a bean because it is bean shaped. That started an argument.
- Play find the storyteller: Three scientists in Canada disputed a letter-writer
to PNAS3 who complained about their use of convergent
evolution and neutral drift (instead of natural selection) to explain similar rare traits
in some unrelated protozoans. They responded in PNAS4 with the following retort:
The conventional route taken by most molecular biologists is
to explain complexity by positive selection. However, we should
not dismiss the purely neutral origin of complex systems like
editing without evidence. Indeed, the absence of a working
model for the origin of editing through positive selection renders
the neutral model even more appealing, because it is liberated
from the need to justify such an absurd molecular system with
- Mr. Toads Wild Ride: How does an amphibian hop around the world?
By developing toadness. In her Evolution feature for Science Feb. 5,5
Elisabeth Pennisi explained, Toadness a Key Feature for Global Spread of These Amphibians
And what is toadness, one asks? Its warty skin, internal fat, ability to survive dryness, and
several other traits. They didnt all come from the same family tree, she explained;
Instead, this quintessential toad form has emerged multiple times on
multiple evolutionary branches. Convergent evolution came to the rescue again,
along with a new word toadness, to explain how these unique amphibians emerged.
Presumably, this provides understanding: Knowing what kind of toads spread in the past should help us understand
which ones will survive if accidentally transported into a new environment, the article
explained; i.e., which taxa are likely to become invasive, whatever that means
- Tree trouble: Two recent articles in Science illustrated the problem
that evolutionary biologists have discerning phylogenetic trees in a forest of data and dealing with their own biases. W. P. Hanage, in
The Trouble with Trees,6 didnt quite have the stomach
for Jan Sapps new book, The New Foundations of Evolution On the Tree of Life.
It was too non-Darwinian for him. Nevertheless, he acknowledged debates and disputes that
remain active today, and at least joined scientists to the human race: We all carry with us
intellectual baggage and preconceptions from not only our own experiences but also those of our friends,
colleagues, and mentors.
Terry Harrison, in Apes Among the Tangled Branches of Human Origins,7
revealed that much of the hype about human evolution is based on poor and contradictory data.
Despite the hubbub over Ardipithecus last year, no clear line of descent is discernible.
The confidence of his first sentence in the concluding paragraph is quickly swallowed up with doubt:
As paleontological exploration intensifies across Africa, our knowledge of hominoids in this critical time period will steadily grow. Rather than just a few relictual evolutionary strands surviving to the end of the Miocene and giving rise to modern hominine lineages, as was previously thought, ape diversity in Africa during the late Miocene looks very bushlike. The relationships between Ardipithecus and earlier hominids will remain enigmatic until the quality of the fossil evidence from the late Miocene of Africa improves, but this will eventually prove critical in resolving its affinities to later hominins. The important questions then become: Where did Ardipithecus and the other early hominin contenders come from? Are they truly members of the hominin lineage, or simply apes among the tangled branches that constitute the basal hominine bush?
It appears that hominine is making its appearance in the confusing mix of paleoanthropological terms.
Its instructive to compare the above paragraph with what scientists and journalists were
saying last October (10/02/2009), when Bruce Alberts (editor
of Science) proclaimed that Ardi proved that Darwin was certainly right,
National Geographic said, Oldest Skeleton of Human Ancestor Found, and the BBC News
called Ardi An ancient human-like creature that may be a direct ancestor to our species.
After a decade of work, the American Psychiatric Association (APA)
is coming out with the 5th edition of a highly-influential document, the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).
Its a book Greg Miller and Constance Holden in Science call the most influential
book in psychiatry,8 because it determines how the mentally ill are
diagnosed and what mental illness means in the first place.
Additionally, it also sways how insurance companies decide which conditions to cover,
how pharmaceutical companies design clinical trials, and how funding agencies decide which research to fund.
Naturally, some people getting labeled in this controversial exercise are not happy.
Example: Among a number of new proposals that seem likely to cause a stir are a diagnosis of
prepsychotic risk syndrome applicable to young people and a redefinition of autism spectrum
disorders that would eliminate Aspergers syndrome, which many consider a mild form of autism.
The authors are also introducing new concepts, such as dimensions, to reflect varying
degrees of symptom severity and the overlap among disorders.
That word disorder
is also coming under fire. Theres hypersexuality disorder a diagnosis with no clear limits.
At what point does your sex urge pass the line of normal and become hyper? Could a person claim he
has hypersexuality syndrome, and appeal to Anthony Cashmores thesis (above) that he has no free will or responsibility for it?
Heres one to set off another round of protests: gender identity disorder. Hey, some will
say, Its not a disorder; were just normal people caught in the wrong-sex body. Observers will recall
that homosexuality used to be termed a disorder till the gay lobby achieved enough political power to
make it impolitic to consider it abnormal. Will the benign term dimensions avoid creating new stigmas?
Dimensions also allow disorders to be deconstructed into components that can be addressed separately,
such as the depression that accompanies many disorders, Miller and Holden explain.
This approach acknowledges that pure disorders are rare, and comorbidity is the norm....
Some psychiatrists, though, see this as nothing more than word play. The word comorbidity sounds
pretty morbid itself. And the oft-used word syndrome can take on a life of its own.
Try it: think of some mental trait you have, and call it [your last name] syndrome.
With enough political clout, you might obtain millions of dollars to research it and find a cure.
Some psychiatrists dont like this book. Ive always been
uncomfortable with the idea of producing one large book that changes everything,
one said. There are concerns that much of the work has been done behind closed doors.
There are worries that some of the authors have financial ties with pharmaceutical companies.
And how reliable is it to try to diagnose complex conditions without recourse to assumptions
or causes? Thats the approach the APA has taken since the 1970s: just list the
symptoms; dont say what causes them. That leads to classification problems.
If you have four of nine symptoms for depression, are you depressed, or not?
If nothing fits your profile, do you feel better when lumped into the term not otherwise specified (NOS)?
The practice of labeling lists of symptoms is fraught with political pressure and scientific dilemmas.
If your adolescent child is diagnosed as having prepsychotic risk syndrome, will he or she be given
powerful antipsychotic drugs? Should a person with hypersexuality disorder be given
a pill or a sermon? How will the new diagnoses affect criminal justice? Andrew Cashmore
doesnt think psychiatrists should be allowed in a courtroom.
While psychiatrists are trying to sanctify the new list of diagnoses with
clinical trials and testable procedures, there are real fears of misdiagnoses and false epidemics of mental
illness caused by more expansive diagnostic criteria that could result from this book.
The average patient gets only 15 minutes with a psychiatrist to figure out what if anything is wrong.
1. Kevin Robert Gurney, Stop Listening to Scientists?,
12 February 2010: Vol. 327. no. 5967, p. 780, DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5967.780-a.
2. Anthony Cashmore, The Lucretian swerve: The biological basis of human behavior and the criminal justice system,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
advance online publication, February 8, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0915161107.
3. Speijer, D (2010) Does complexity necessarily arise from selective advantage?
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 107:E25.
4. Keeling, Leander and Lukes, Reply to Speijer: Does complexity necessarily arise from selective advantage?,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
advance online publication, February 9, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0911933107.
5. Elisabeth Pennisi, Evolution: Toadness a Key Feature for Global Spread of These Amphibians,
5 February 2010: Vol. 327. no. 5966, p. 633, DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5966.633-a.
6. W. P. Hanage, Microbiology: The Trouble with Trees,
5 February 2010: Vol. 327. no. 5966, pp. 645-646, DOI: 10.1126/science.1185784.
7. Terry Harrison, Anthropology: Apes Among the Tangled Branches of Human Origins,
29 January 2010: Vol. 327. no. 5965, pp. 532-534, DOI: 10.1126/science.1184703.
8. Greg Miller and Constance Holden, Psychiatry: Proposed Revisions to Psychiatrys Canon Unveiled,
12 February 2010: Vol. 327. no. 5967, pp. 770-771, DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5967.770-a.
Who are scientists? They are people. They are human
like the rest of us. Why should we trust their opinions more than those of others, then?
Is it because of their training? Their methods? Their political power?
Like the churchmen of medieval times, scientists strut about with presumptive authority and
speak with little fear of criticism from outsiders. But the word scientist did
not exist till 1832. Science did not become a career profession till later, and only
took on its institutional status in the 20th century. Science is a bandwagon too small
for the people wanting to ride its reputation.
March Moon Madness Arrives Early
Like members of any class of human
beings, whether musicians, construction workers, politicians, lawyers, realtors, athletes, or whatever,
scientists include the good, the bad, and the ugly. We should no more trust the pronouncements of a scientist
a priori because he or she wears the label than we should clap for the generic musician regardless of talent.
A scientists pronouncements should be valued based on the evidence not position. We would hope
that scientists have learned to be epistemically modest and committed to logic, precision (via
mathematics), and careful observation, just like any reasonable human being should be.
But as the above stories show, there are some clowns in white lab coats. Better an honest country parson
than a scientist using a PhD as a pretext for saying dumb things.
Lets put the shrinks on the couch. How should we classify these
No one doubts that there are severely disturbed people who need help, but
it wasnt that long ago when totalitarian dictators put the sane ones in the
asylum. Righteous, honest people in Stalins Russia (the ones who were not outright
murdered) were given mind-altering drugs and brainwashing to try to cure them of their
psychiatric disorder of believing in God. It was intuitively obvious to the perpetrators that
anyone who did not accept the regime was crazy by definition.
It happened. It could happen again. Many Darwinists today treat
anyone who disagrees with Charlie as de facto insane. Some of them
write scholarly papers in scientific journals alleging such things. Then they
turn right around and speak of complex life emerging from nowhere by chance.
The have delusions of aliens emerging from primordial seas. They envision
universes exploding into existence without a cause. They shoot at their feet with
self-refuting beliefs. Who is calling whom crazy?
- Logic derangement syndrome: espousing a self-refuting proposition.
- Paranoid delusion disorder: imagining non-existent friends or enemies.
- Cyclic jargonia: arguing in circles with fancy words.
- Fictitious projection: using a just-so story to accuse someone else of telling just-so stories.
- Transcendental verbalization: believing that inventing words leads to understanding.
- Divination psychosis: persistent visualization of shapes and signs in uncooperative data.
We must always be on our toes to prevent the cultural normalization
of insanity. Kipling said that part of being a man (a rational creature, by
extension), is keeping your head while everyone around you is losing theirs.
Next headline on:
Bible, Theology or Philosophy
Darwin and Evolution
Feb 16, 2010 Some of the most interesting bodies in the solar system are the
objects not big enough to be called planets. Moons, asteroids and comets continue
to yield their secrets and surprises. Heres a quick rundown on recent
Why do some asteroids look so fresh? Its because they get a facelift,
reported last month. As some asteroids wander close to earth, the tides can produce tremors
and landslides. This process could explain why many space rocks orbiting nearby appear pristine,
as if they were covered in a new and clean surface, researchers said. Normally,
space weathering would redden the surfaces. Like humans, though, it would seem asteroids
can only get a facelift a finite number of times. Clark Chapman at
Nature News and Views
indicated that this is only the latest suggestion to explain youthful surfaces on some near-earth
asteroids (NEAs). Our perceptions of NEAs are rapidly changing, he said.
Perhaps soon, robotic or piloted docking missions to some of these NEA rubble piles will
reveal the beautiful complexity of their evolving behaviour.
Pluto belongs in this entry because it is no longer a planet, but a plutoid,
or a minor planet, or a dwarf planet, or the IAUs term du jour. It made the
news recently for its seasonal changes. BBC
News shows Hubble pictures of a mottled surface that has changed in just a few years as
the angle of sunlight migrates. The article says that some astronomers have expressed
shock at the observations. Its a little bit of a surprise to see
these changes happening so big and so fast,said Marc Buie, of the Southwest Research Institute.
This is unprecedented.
The Cassini team, invigorated by the approval of its 7-year solstice mission
(see Feb 3 press release from JPL),
continues to explore the Saturn system with zest. The little moon Mimas,
barely visible in an image released Feb 15, was a
prime target for
a Feb 13 flyby. The unprocessed images are now posted at the
Team site. They show good views of its 140-km Herschel crater with its Everest-height
central peak. Prometheus, one of the F-ring shepherd moons,
gave Cassini its best-ever portrait last month.
The active moon Enceladus
continues to be a newsmaker. Space.com
repeated last months suggestion that the eruptive periods are episodic over billions of years
Latest findings of negative ions in its geyser plumes (see JPL
press release) strengthen
the case for liquid water under its surface. Some scientists cannot resist the knee-jerk
reaction of associating water with life. Science
Daily made that angle its centerpiece; Space.com
was only slightly more reserved. The water-means-life equation was presented ad nauseum in a new planet TV series
Geographic, The Travelers Guide to the Planets, which aired beginning Feb 14. The visually-rich series includes new dazzling
animations of the spacecraft and the best of the Cassini images, despite the obsession with
Speaking of astrobiology, the BBC
News declared that the Murchison meteorite that landed in Australia in 1969 contains an
organic molecular feast. A new analysis by a German team counted 14,000 organic molecules
so far; they estimate millions may exist in the rocks innards. They think the rock
predates the sun itself and picked up organics from the molecular clouds that became the sun.
Somehow it titillates the astrobiological sense: Where did we come from and what happened before?
We all have that question inside us, the lead researcher commented.
The biggest moons of the solar system made news recently.
Some scientists think they have figured out the surface differences between Jupiters Ganymede and
Callisto, reported Science
Daily. The theory brings in the Late Heavy Bombardment hypothesis (LHB) and sees Ganymede
getting the brunt of the energy by being closer to Jupiters gravity well. The extra energy
led to Ganymede melting and getting a differentiated interior while Callisto just got pummeled on the
surface. Its not clear if the theory explains Io and Europa also, which are smaller
and have very few craters due to internal activity. Richard Kerr at
Science News of the Week for Jan. 29
quoted a Caltech astronomer calling this an interesting idea thats promising.
The Late Heavy Bombardment seems to be being employed as both an assumption and an explanation:
Kerr said, to the extent that it proves to be an attractive explanation of the dichotomy,
it also lends support to the reality of the LHB.
Titan, Saturns titanic moon, continues to
get radar-scanned five years after the historic landing of the Huygens probe (see
JPL feature story).
The landing was dramatically animated in the National Geographic series mentioned earlier.
Science Daily echoed a
JPL press release showing
strange grooved hills in the latest swath. PhysOrg
reported on work to reproduce the strange organic chemistry that produces flows, cryovolcanos and
rivers on Titans surface. Its hard to find stories about Titan without the L-word
close at hand: This study could also tell us about the chemistry that led to the origin of life on early Earth.
Three major papers on Titans atmosphere and surface appeared in this months Icarus;
they will be reported here if time permits. Titanophiles will be glad to know a major
hardback science book, Titan from Cassini-Huygens, has been released and is available from
Its a companion of another book summarizing all of Cassinis scientific results about Saturn, the rings, and the icy satellites
also available at Amazon.com,
Saturn from Cassini-Huygens. Written by the Cassini scientists themselves,
these two books contain the most current and authoritative information to date on the Saturn system.
Observations and hypotheses these days are so intertwined it becomes hard to separate them.
Consider the suggestion that the Late Heavy Bombardment explains the Ganymede-Callisto dichotomy.
One has to assume the LHB and the long ages. And consider the idea
that tidal landslides explain the youthful surfaces of asteroids. How many times in
4 billion years can this occur before there is no more youthful skin underneath the rubble
to expose? There is essentially no way to
test these ideas without assuming the long ages of the consensus secular view of the solar system.
Science will never establish the long ages this way. Thats the problem with
assumptions. They are assumed, not demonstrated.
Because the long ages are never allowed to become vulnerable to falsification, they become part of a self-perpetuating
belief system that sometimes requires improbable contortions to maintain. The talk about life
every time water is mentioned is fact-free speculation. Its logic-free, too, because
it would be just as corny to go off on tangents about life every time protons are found, because they also
are building blocks of life. In the TV series, Chris McKay waxed eloquent about all the
ingredients for life that exist at Enceladus: a heat source, organics, and water. We challenge him
to put water, ammonia, ethane and carbon dioxide in a very cold sterile refrigerator, stir it occasionally, and
wait for a very long time. At least he could give us some experimental evidence to back up his
rhetoric. As long as one can filter out the speculative fluff in scientific stories,
the rich discoveries about such varied and interesting worlds should be a delight to all
who maintain a spirit of exploration.
The measurement of longitude was a big historical challenge for human sailors, but
birds had it all figured out long ago. See the
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
Life Is Smarter Than We Know
Feb 15, 2010 How can toads calculate? How can cells without a brain or
central nervous system figure out a balanced diet? How can bugs navigate the wind
for optimum flight time? These are some of the questions
that can arise from observations of the living world. The more we learn about life,
the more we find unexpected abilities in the most primitive of living things.
The ameba seems like a lowly life form. How smart can it be?
French scientists found out they are not only social organisms; they know how to
obtain a balanced diet. Science
Daily reported that Even single-celled organisms feed themselves in a smart manner.
Experiments showed that amoebas thrive best with a ratio of two parts protein to one part sugar.
When presented with a veritable grocery stand of nutrients, they went for the optimal ingredients
on their own. Social amoebae are thus capable of solving complex nutritional challenges,
quite a surprising feat for a very simple organism lacking a centralizing system,
the article said. The researchers are now attempting to elucidate the mechanisms involved.
Toads look pretty clumsy when they hop and flop, but they actually calculate
the timing and impact of their landings. Another article on
reported that experiments at Holyoke College demonstrate that
toads, like humans, are capable of anticipating when and how hard theyre
going to land after a jump and activating muscles important in absorbing impact accordingly.
This ability had only been demonstrated previously in mammals. The observations showed
that toads adjust their elbow tension according to the length of the hop.
In addition, one major elbow muscle was always activated at a fixed interval prior
to landing in all hops, regardless of distance, suggesting that toads not only gauge
how hard theyre going to hit the ground, but also anticipate precisely when that will happen.
It seems obvious that rapid feedback from eyes and other senses is involved.
This is the first time that tuned muscle activation before landings has been observed
in amphibians, and It raises questions about how widespread this ability is among
other species and how important feedback from various sensory systemse.g., visionis for
mediating this ability. The team plans to blindfold some toads in their next
experiments to measure the dependency on visual input for this ability.
We tend to think of birds as the champions of migration, but research in
the UK shows that the flight behavior of some insects is similar to that of
migrating birds in its sophistication. The short story in
Science explains that high-flying moths and butterflies are able to select
favorable winds and correct for drift, tactics that maximize the ground the insects
cover and optimize their travel times. That certainly must be true for
monarch butterflies that are currently enjoying their winter-over in some remote
mountains in Mexico after their long fall migration. There must be a lot of computing
power packed in a bug brain that is smaller than a pinhead.
Good old-fashioned science, the experimental kind,
with controls and empirical tests, was done in these stories. No appeals
to Darwin were required. The answers led to additional research questions.
Some of these experiments could be done in a middle school or high school.
If science restricted itself to observation and stayed out of theology (see next
entry), there would be no science wars, and more young people would be attracted
to careers studying the wonders of nature.
Is Your Bod Flawed by God?
Next headline on:
Feb 14, 2010 Are your bodys imperfections reasons for you to reject intelligent
design and embrace evolution? Professor John Avise (UC Irvine) thinks so. His new
book Inside the Human Genome was given good press by
Distinguished Professor of ecology & evolutionary biology at UC Irvine, Avise also
makes the case that overwhelming scientific evidence of genomic defects provides a
compelling counterargument to intelligent design, the article said.
Here, Avise discusses human imperfection, the importance of understanding our flaws,
and why he believes theologians should embrace evolutionary science.
This article was well timed. It appeared just before Evolution Sunday when some
evolutionists encourage churches to embrace Darwinism in their sermons. No ID
proponent or theologian was allowed to respond to Avises claims.
The article said that evolutionary theory provides religious
people a way out of theodicy the need to explain natural evil. Avise
said that while both theology and natural selection can explain the appearance of
design, theology has trouble explaining design flaws. Serious biological
imperfections, on the other hand, can only logically be expected of nonsentient evolutionary processes
that are inherently sloppy and error-prone, Avise claimed.
Theyre more troublesome to rationalize as overt mistakes by a
fallible God. Presumably, shuffling off the mistakes to a natural
process exonerates the Designer. Asked why theologians should welcome evolutionary
theory, Avise took off his white lab coat and put on a backward collar:
Theodicy is the age-old conundrum of how to reconcile a just God with a world containing evils and flaws. With respect to biological imperfections, evolution can emancipate religion from the shackles of theodicy. No longer need we feel tempted to blaspheme an omnipotent deity by making him directly responsible for human frailties and physical shortcomings, including those we now know to be commonplace at the molecular and biochemical levels. No longer need we be apologists for God in regard to the details of biology. Instead, we can put the blame for biological flaws squarely on the shoulders of evolutionary processes. In this way, evolutionary science can help return religion to its rightful realm not as a secular interpreter of the biological minutiae of our physical existence, but rather as a respectable counselor on grander philosophical issues that have always been of ultimate concern to theologians.
He hoped that readers of his book would see evolutionary theory as a helpful philosophical
partner of theology, rather than a nemesis. He extended Dobzhanskys oft-quoted
proverb that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution
to suggest that nothing in religion, medicine or environmental issues makes sense except
in evolutions light either.
Do you remember when the communist party bosses ruled
the Soviet Union? They were the only ones who ever got the microphone.
It was easy for them to tell the news media that nothing in politics makes sense except
in the light of Marxism. It was easy for them to show how flaws in capitalism
were hard to explain, but made sense in terms of dialectical materialism, economic
determinism and the dictatorship of the proletariat. The glorious communist utopia
was proof. Pravda was only too happy to print the triumphant Party line.
Like the communist party bosses, Avise feigns friendship to some
religion, as long as it is well-behaved (i.e., under Party control, with the sermons censored,
church activities controlled, and young people prevented from joining).
It needs to keep out of the biological minutiae of science and stick with the grand
philosophical issues. Sounds nice. Next thing you know, they are taking
over churches and turning them into museums of atheism (cf. cartoon).
This is all to help the poor dissidents, you see, who just dont understand how communism works. They only want
to emancipate them from the shackles of capitalistic errors. A little time in the
Gulag, some mind-altering drugs, a little re-education was all for their mental health.
Is it because there is no theologian worth his salt within calling distance
that PhysOrg printed one side of the story? Do they really think a modestly equipped
seminary student would be tongue-tied with a theodicy question? This illustrates common
practice for the scientific journals and secular science reporters: like Pravda before them, they deliver one
predigested view, and tell the populace how to think. At least this article took
the daring step of mentioning that a dissident belief system (intelligent design) exists.
Most mention evolutionary theory as the only answer to everything.
Theodicy might be a problem for 19th-century deism and simplistic
natural theology, but not for Biblical theology. It was not a problem for
Jesus Christ, who was certainly not oblivious to the blind, the deaf, the lepers and the lame
around him. It was not a problem for Paul, who spoke of the whole creation
groaning and travailing in pain till the coming redemption of all things
Nor is it a problem for modern Biblical creationists, who are eloquent in matters
of sin, judgment, the worldwide Flood, and the degeneration and decay of all flesh
(including the genome) because of the curse on sin. It is not even a problem
for intelligent design why? Because I.D. does not delve into matters
of theology, like Avise does. Intelligent design restricts its explanatory
domain to design detection. Avise is taking off on a tangent (see
red herring) by claiming that if one argues
intelligent design, one is duty bound to explain natural evil. That is a
We see here a pattern that was noticed decades ago in the creation-evolution
debates of Duane Gish and Henry Morris, and has been pointed out eloquently in the books of Cornelius
Hunter, Darwins God and Darwins Proof: it is the evolutionists
who argue theology, and the creationists who argue scientific evidence. Notice
how counter-intuitive that pattern is. If Darwinism is the great scientific theory, and
creationism the religiously-motivated pseudoscience, one would predict the opposite.
But this pattern holds up all the time. Hunter speaks at length about theodicy, Darwin,
Dobzhansky, Ken Miller, and theistic evolution to establish his argument that evolution
relies on religious premises rather than scientific evidence.
explains why evolutionists are quick to talk theology in debate but bankrupt at
explaining the origin of complex specified information observed everywhere in biology.
We are told that complexity and even consciousness just bubbled up out of an
inorganic world, Hunter wrote. These are extraordinary claims and
therefore they require extraordinary evidence. Instead we have a series of
unsubstantiated speculations. These speculations are made compelling, however,
by evolutions negative theology (Hunter, Darwins God, p. 174).
By negative theology, Hunter is speaking of the argument presented often by Darwin and
his disciples: God wouldnt have done it that way. (Notice that
is a theological argument, not a scientific argument.)
For a daring thrill ride, lets follow Avises line of thinking.
We put the blame for bad design on natural selection instead of on a beneficent Creator.
Now, we can comfort ourselves with the notion that Stuff Happens. Corollaries
include Bad Stuff Happens to Good People, and Stuff Happens at the Worst Possible Time.
Are you feeling better already? Continue this line of thinking. There is no
reason, purpose, or goal for anything. Stuff just happens. Whatever happens,
it is just stuff going this way or that. Stuff, by definition, has no moral categories. We have just
Continuing Avises view, we also destroyed any means of classifying things
as good or evil, right or wrong, desirable or undesirable. Why should even pleasure
be good, or pain be bad? One organisms pleasure is another ones pain.
We are bobbing about aimlessly on an undulating surface without gridlines or goalposts.
Nothing matters. Stuff happens, and we all die. Does it make any sense on Avises game board
to pursue religion, medicine, or environmental issues? Not at all; those presuppose
good and evil. But thats not all; he just destroyed
logic, too, despite his attempt to tell theologians that natural selection is the only
logical explanation for design imperfections. Explanation? Logic?
No comprendo. Avise reads from his sermon text, Nemesis 1:1 Brbrbrbrbrbrbr
(rubs his fingers rapidly over his lips while rolling eyes in opposite circles).
Avises dystopia: nothing makes any sense, and nothing is worth doing. Is this
the kind of solution to theodicy you expected? Its what you get when you
force Avise, Miller and the other anti-ID propagandists to remain consistent with their
worldview presuppositions. They presume to think they can
preach from their innate (created) moral sense while denying its source.
Now that you have experienced the vertigo and insanity their solution leads to,
perhaps you would like to build on the rock. Consider the logical necessity of,
and the rational evidence for, a living and true God, who is rational, holy,
loving, and a lot wiser than man (Jeremiah
Nothing comes from nothing; nothing ever could.
Lets start at the very beginning a very good place to start. Julie Andrews
Next headline on:
Alabama professor killer was a signer of the Clergy Letter Project encouraging
churches on Evolution Sunday to promote Darwin in their sermons; see story on
Feb 13, 2010 For a weekend when some churches are celebrating Darwin Sunday, our
attention should be turned instead to Christian Men of Science a book that underscores
the Christian roots of modern science. This book, subtitled Eleven men who changed the
world, was a lifetime project of George Mulfinger, a summa cum laude graduate of Syracuse University
an atheist then, but who became a born-again Christian in graduate school. He became a well-loved professor of physics
at Bob Jones University and served on the board of the Creation Research Society.
In his spare time, he researched the lives of great Christians in science.
He excluded deists and theistic evolutionists choosing only those who had a personal relationship
with Jesus Christ but his list includes some of the brightest
scientific lights of all: Kepler, Boyle, Faraday, Maxwell and seven others. Mulfinger
uncovered many little known details about these great scientists. His daughter, Julia Mulfinger Orozco,
researched with him and completed the project after his death; son Mark Mulfinger provided the drawings.
The biographies are written in a very readable narrative form. Published in 2001, it is an
evergreen book, because it deals with history and biography. The stories,
inspiring for all ages, provide good role models for young people. The book can be ordered from
Next resource of the week: 02/06/2010.
All resources: Catalog.
For His Birthday, Darwin Gets a Scrambled Arthropod Tree
Feb 12, 2010 If Darwin lost his tree last year (01/22/2009),
it would seem any corrections or rearrangements would be academic. Nevertheless, eight evolutionary
biologists at Duke University tried rearranging one of the biggest branches on Darwins tree of
common ancestry the highly diverse group known as arthropods (animals with jointed appendages).
Arthropods comprise the largest number of species and the largest count of animals on the planet.
It includes the insects, spiders, crustaceans, millipedes, shrimp and much more.
The teams results were advance-published on the Nature website
right before Darwins 201st birthday,1 accompanied by a
press release from Duke University.
This is just the latest in a century-long project to make sense of the arthropod
family tree. The authors admitted an often-heated, century-long debate on arthropod
relationships. Early attempts were based entirely on morphology (physical traits).
More recent methods have included genetic and protein comparisons, but the authors said
The molecular phylogeny of Arthropoda has proven difficult to resolve.
The puzzles are reflected by some of the names: Paradoxopoda (paradoxical feet), Miracrustacea
(surprising crustaceans) and Xenocarida (strange shrimp).
The researchers quadrupled their earlier data set for the latest phylogeny. They claimed
overall strong agreement between molecular and morphological phylogenies, but the press release
stated, Some of the relationships are so surprising that new names had to be coined for
five newly-discovered groupings.
Even though the paper and press release present a tone of success in finally resolving the
family tree, some statements indicate this is just the latest rest stop on a work in progress.
The success comes at a price; some relationships are counterintuitive or controversial.
The authors, moreover, had to select data they thought was more indicative of signal over noise.
Here are some excerpts that show any claimed success is strained:
Their final paragraph contains the most significant caution lights:
- The remarkable antiquity, diversity and ecological significance of arthropods have inspired numerous attempts to resolve their deep phylogenetic history, but the results of two decades of intensive molecular phylogenetics have been mixed.
- More typically, analyses based on limited samples of taxa and genes have generated results that are inconsistent, weakly supported and highly sensitive to analytical conditions.
- These results provide a statistically well-supported phylogenetic framework for the largest animal phylum and represent a step towards ending the often-heated, century-long debate on arthropod relationships.
- Until recently, arthropod molecular phylogenetics relied mainly upon nuclear ribosomal DNA and mitochondrial sequences. Our data come from the complementary DNA of single-copy nuclear protein-coding genes, which represent the largest source of data for phylogenetics.
- Uncertainty about homology at sites bracketing small insertion–deletion (indel) regions resulted in exclusion of approximately 6.5% of all sites.
- Of the six newly named groups shown in bold in Fig. 1, only two had more than 70% bootstrap support in single-gene analyses (one gene each; Supplementary Table 3).
- Bootstrap values derived for amino acids were sometimes lower than those derived from nucleotides.
- At the deepest level, our phylogeny strongly supports Mandibulata (Pancrustacea plus Myriapoda), a controversial result that is robust to expanded outgroup sampling.
- Our strong support for Mandibulata contradicts several molecular studies that have placed Myriapoda as sister group to the Chelicerata (Euchelicerata plus Pycnogonida), a grouping so contrary to morphology that it was recently dubbed Paradoxopoda.
- Although our phylogeny resolves many problems within Mandibulata, it does not resolve the status of Chelicerata, the group including Pycnogonida (sea spiders) and Euchelicerata (horseshoe crabs, scorpions and spiders).
- Xenocarida includes two unusual and morphologically dissimilar classes of crustacean, Remipedia and Cephalocarida. We place the xenocarids and hexapods in the newly named clade Miracrustacea (surprising crustaceans). Both Xenocarida and Miracrustacea are found in the maximum-likelihood trees for all four methods of analysis, although support varies.
- Bootstrap support for both Xenocarida and Miracrustacea is strong for noLRall1+nt2 and degen1 analyses (93–100%), moderately strong for codon analysis (79–89%) and weak for amino-acid analysis (17–54%).
- Our results strongly support the monophyly of Hexapoda, in contrast to mitochondrial studies that place Collembola (springtails) among crustaceans rather than other hexapods.
- The sister group to Miracrustacea is another unanticipated group, Vericrustacea (true crustaceans), which joins Malacostraca (crabs, shrimp and so on), Branchiopoda (fairy shrimp, water fleas and so on) and some members of the polyphyletic Maxillopoda, namely Thecostraca (barnacles) and Copepoda.
- Within the Vericrustacea are two other groupings not anticipated by morphology: the Multicrustacea
(numerous crustaceans: Malacostraca plus Thecostraca plus Copepoda) and the Communostraca (common shelled ones: Malacostraca plus Thecostraca).
- Significantly, our analysis adds Mystacocarida to Oligostraca. The mystacocarids are small, enigmatic crustaceans that live between sand grains along marine shores. Oligostracans are a disparate, ancient clade, and there is little in their gross morphology other than reduction in the number of body segments that would suggest a close relationship among them.
- Our results differ from morphology-inspired hypotheses in uniting Pauropoda with Symphyla rather than with Diplopoda, a result that is also seen in recent analyses of nuclear ribosomal sequences.
In conclusion, our phylogenomic study provides a strongly supported phylogenetic framework for the arthropods, but the problem of reconstructing and interpreting morphological evolution within this diverse group remains. Our phylogeny highlights the large gaps in the morphological spectrum of extant arthropods that have complicated the task of morphology-based systematists. Our result has significant implications, as it requires taxonomists to acknowledge crustaceans as a paraphyletic grade of primitively aquatic mandibulates and to classify hexapods as a terrestrial clade within Pancrustacea. In particular, the position of Xenocarida (Remipedia plus Cephalocarida) as the sister group to Hexapoda, and the relatively derived placement of supposedly primitive groups such as Branchiopoda, promises to alter views on the evolution of morphology and morphogenesis in Arthropoda.
The press release called this work a scientific and technological tour de force
with a result that at least the shape of the tree seems right.
Questions not addressed by the paper, though, might be posed by a philosopher,
historian, logician, or skeptical inquirer.
Why should molecular evidence outweigh morphological evidence, or vice versa?
Which kind of molecular evidence should be given priority when different schemes conflict?
Would a different research team, with different strategies, agree with these results?
Are some of the groupings contrived? Do the new groupings really carve nature at its joints,
or do they reflect researcher bias to force-fit uncooperative data into predetermined schemes?
1. Regier et al, Arthropod relationships revealed by phylogenomic analysis of nuclear protein-coding sequences,
advance online publication 10 February 2010; doi:10.1038/nature08742.
Details are necessary to show how arbitrary and
contrived the practice of evolutionary tree-building is. If this is how tree-building goes for the greatest
group of animals in the world, should we be impressed with claims for any other
group? But it doesnt matter. Since we have
already shown that tree-building is hopeless (07/25/2002)
and the branching tree is a fallen icon of evolution anyway (01/22/2009),
it would be charitable to call this work that the Dukes have hazarded an exercise
Darwin and the St. Valentines Day Massacre, from
Darwinists have taken the love out of romance.
They might just as well try to build a family tree for the
tools in a hardware store.
Look at their capricious and arbitrary name game. Does it help understand relationships to name a group
Miracrustacea? Are you impressed by the Latin name for surprising crustaceans?
What if phylogenists in a hardware store invented a group name for crowbars and
screwdrivers called Xenocapulus (strange handles)? Latin is a poor mask for
Maybe it makes them feel good to be busy,
but constructing paper trees for Darwin seems hardly a useful scientific quest.
Darwin trees arent good for wood, construction, shade, the environment, or
anything. Their usefulness for understanding is highly doubtful.
Scientists should do better than to obsess over vain projects that are rootless and fruitless.
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
More Surprises for Darwin
Feb 11, 2010 Its not uncommon for theories to have to deal with anomalies,
but Darwinism sure seems to get more than its share. Here are some recent
- Fossils lie: Fossils preserve unmistakable clues about past life,
right? Not so fast. Nature reported that Non-random decay of
chordate characters causes bias in fossil interpretation.1
The way early fish decayed before burial could have changed important details about their morphology
(this is from the smelly fish experiments, 01/30/2010).
The decay of traits is non-random and the more phylogenetically informative are the most labile.
Informative features of the head, in particular, tend to decay faster than the rest of the body.
The more the decay, the more the fossil looks primitive.
It means that fossils can be erroneously placed farther back the evolutionary tree than they should.
Failure to distinguish between the underlying causes of character absence will lead to erroneous evolutionary conclusions.
The paper warned that the problem could affect interpretations of many groups:
Preliminary data suggest that this decay filter also affects other groups of organisms and
that stem-ward slippage may be a widespread but currently unrecognized bias
in our understanding of the early evolution of a number of phyla. How come
nobody thought of this before?
Derek Briggs commented on this in the same issue of Nature.2
He summed up the problem: Decay distorts ancestry.
The synopsis: Experiments with simple chordate animals show how decay may make the
resulting fossils seem less evolved. The consequence is to distort evidence
of the evolution of the earliest vertebrates and their precursors. One immediate
consequence is that the Cambrian fish found at Chengjiang, China, may actually be more
complex than previously assumed. Those famous Cambrian fossils, and those of the
Burgess Shale, will have to be re-evaluated in light of the new knowledge.
This is big. Fossils might look more primitive than they were.
Briggs pointed to this as an illustration of the most general law in science:
Is stem-ward slippage just an isolated palaeontological example of Murphys law
in this case, that the most useful evidence is least likely to be preserved
relevant only to early vertebrates? Or is it a more pervasive phenomenon?
In general, the answer is that stem-ward slippage is widespread: all fossil animals
with a high proportion of missing information tend to fall out near the base of an evolutionary tree
through the lack of morphological features (such as structures in the head, in the case of chordates)
to ally them with more evolved groups. And the resulting tree may be biased unless
the decay sequence is random relative to the trees branching order that is, the
order in which characters evolved. As well as prompting caution in interpreting soft-bodied fossils,
Sansom and colleagues research may turn out to be important in identifying a way
to assign confidence limits to the placement of these extinct forms in the tree of life.
- Lilliputians conquered: Speaking of fossils, another interpretation has been
falsified. The Lilliput hypothesis claims that life shrinks after a mass
extinction. This hypothesis has been put to use in the Permian-Triassic extinction, one of the
largest in evolutionary history, to explain why gastropods were small after the event.
Now, Brayard et al, writing in Geology,3 announced the
discovery in Utah of some of the largest gastropods ever found in the early Triassic.
The occurrence of large-sized gastropods less than 2 Ma after the Permian-Triassic mass extinction
refutes the Lilliput hypothesis in this clade, at least for the last ~75% of the Early Triassic.
The paper said, The assumption that Early Triassic gastropods (and other organisms)
were generally smaller than during other periods therefore needs more substantiation....
Nothing in the Utah fossil bed suggested unusual conditions that would have contributed to
smaller or larger specimens for gastropods or other taxa. And theres the anomaly.
Continuing the Swift metaphor, they said, Our large specimens from western Utah can be
considered as Gullivers compared to most other described Early Triassic gastropods.
See Science Daily for
a summary and pictures of the fossils.
- Red Queen murdered: The Red Queen effect, a popular theme in evolutionary literature
about continuous variation in response to changing environments, has been tested and found wanting. Michael J. Benton,
writing in Nature January 21,4 summarized work by Venditti, Meade and Mark Pagel
in the same issue,5 saying, Biologists have assumed that
natural selection shapes larger patterns of evolution through interactions such as competition
and predation. These patterns may instead be determined by rare, stochastic speciation.
It is obvious that any re-interpretation of speciation bears directly on theories by Darwin about the origin
of species. Now, evolutionists cannot assume that natural selection will act in any predictable
away to constant selection pressure. So, constant speciation rate, and the Red Queen model in general,
Benton explained, are perhaps better understood as the outcome of rare stochastic events that cause
reproductive isolation, rather than a never-ending race in which species are constantly coping with a changing environment.
That sounds closer to the Stuff Happens Law than before.
- The naked chimpanzee: Y-chromosome studies of the chimpanzee genome have revealed
a surprise: the chimp Y-chromosome is remarkably divergent in structure and gene content
(Nature, Jan 28).6 The differences are not only more extensive
than predicted; they are clustered in certain hot spots.
Science Daily took this
not as a falsification of evolution, but evidence that evolution runs super-fast sometimes:
Contrary to a widely held scientific theory that the mammalian Y chromosome is slowly decaying or stagnating,
new evidence suggests that in fact the Y is actually evolving quite rapidly through continuous, wholesale renovation.
See a short update on the chimp-human-similarity-meme by Jay Richards on
Evolution News & Views.
Cornelius Hunter on the blog Darwins God
considers the rapid evolution explanation as an appeal to magic:
we must believe that evolution magically caused rapid changes to occur right where needed to improve function and eventually create a human.
Why, then, did PNAS report on slow evolution of the coelacanth genome?7
Why did that fish want to stay virtually unchanged for 150 million years?
- Butterfly spotted: Just-so story alert! An article in
PhysOrg is entitled,
How the butterflies got their spots. The story is of little help
to evolution, though: it discusses the conundrum of how two different kinds of butterflies
converged on the same wing patterns, down to the same spots, even at the gene level.
Its one of the most extraordinary examples of mimicry in the natural world.
Chris Jiggins (U of Cambridge) remarked, Its interesting because it tells us how flexible evolution is.
If you get the same wing pattern evolving independently in different populations, do you expect the same genes to be involved?
The expected Darwinian answer to that rhetorical question seems to be, No.
Mutations were found, however, to have occurred not randomly throughout the genome, but at
certain genetic hot spots more subject to variation.
One might have thought this would
constitute a falsification of an evolutionary prediction. Jiggins, though, turned the bug
into a feature: This tells us something about the limitations on evolution, and how predictable it is.
Our results imply that despite the many thousands of genes in the genome there are only one or two that are useful for changing
this colour pattern. It seems like evolution might be concentrated in quite small regions of the genome or hotspots
while the rest of it does not change very much. It appears that evolution
runs as fast or as slow as needed to keep the theory viable.
1. Sansom, Gabbott and Purnell, Non-random decay of
chordate characters causes bias in fossil interpretation,
463, 797-800 (11 February 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08745.
2. Derek E. G. Briggs, Palaeontology: Decay distorts ancestry,
463, 741-743 (11 February 2010); doi:10.1038/463741a.
3. Brayard et al, Gastropod evidence against the Early Triassic Lilliput effect,
v. 38, no. 2, pp. 147-150, doi: 10.1130/G30553.1.
4. Michael J. Benton, Evolutionary biology: New take on the Red Queen,
463, 306-307 (21 January 2010); doi:10.1038/463306a.
5. Venditti, Meade, and Pagel, Phylogenies reveal new interpretation of speciation and the Red Queen,
463, 349-352 (21 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08630.
6. Hughes et al, Chimpanzee and human Y chromosomes are remarkably divergent in structure and gene content,
463, 536-539 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08700.
7. Amemiya et al, Complete HOX cluster characterization of the coelacanth provides further evidence for slow evolution of its genome,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
online before print February 5, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0914312107.
The first story is especially significant.
It means that complex animals could be inferred earlier in the fossil record than
previously thought. That muddled trace fossil might actually be the
elusive Precambrian rabbit after all. If you dont accept that, then
please explain why you accept anything by people who say that evolution runs
super-fast except when it runs slowly, that evolution is predictable except when
it isnt, that evolution is a law of nature except when it is extremely
flexible, that mutations are random except when they
occur on hotspots, that chimpanzees are 99% similar to humans except when the
differences are 70%, that Lilliputians are Gullivers, and that Red Queens
are really Court Jesters. When that Precambrian rabbit dove into the fossil
hole it was shouting, Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late! to a very
important date! at the Malice in Blunderland party.
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
Have Precambrian rabbits been found? Yes, all the time; and no, evolutionary biologists
make sure they cannot be found. Find out how this all works in Paul Nelsons
series Ghosts in the Bushes, Part II, at
News and Views.
Life Masters Physics
Feb 10, 2010 Living things, especially cells, have mastered the forces of
advanced physics in ingenious ways. This ingenuity sometimes inspires
physicists to try to copy it. Here are some recent examples:
The last entry talked about evolution numerous times: e.g., evolution has devised a system
to do this or that, personifying evolution as some kind of
engineer directing mutations toward a goal an invalid notion in evolutionary theory.
As evidence, the article pointed to the ginkgo tree as a primitive (less evolved) plant
with a simpler distribution of veins. The article did not point explain, though, if its leaves
were primitive, why it survived as a living fossil from ancient times all the way to the present, nor why
corals, more ancient than ginkgo, already were outfitted with the more-advanced loop network design.
- Photosynthesis and quantum mechanics: Nature reported that
plants take advantage of quantum mechanics in photosynthesis.1 The photosynthetic
apparatus of cryptophyte algae is odd its pigments are farther apart than is expected
for efficient functioning. A study into how this apparatus works so well finds
quantum effects at play.
Grondelle and Novoderezhkin continued, showing that plants exceed humans at this skill:
It is common knowledge that plants, algae and certain bacteria use photosynthesis to convert solar energy into a form that can be used by the organisms to live and reproduce. But what is less well known is that the efficiency of photosynthesis might depend in part on quantum-mechanical processes. On page 644 of this issue, Collini et al.2 report evidence suggesting that a process known as quantum coherence wires together distant molecules in the light-harvesting apparatus of marine cryptophyte algae. This is the first time that this phenomenon has been observed in photosynthetic proteins at room temperature, rather than at much lower temperatures, bolstering the idea that quantum coherence influences light harvesting in vivo.
Collini et al appeared surprised by their discovery: Intriguingly, recent work has documented that
light-absorbing molecules in some photosynthetic proteins capture and transfer energy according to quantum-mechanical
probability laws instead of classical laws at temperatures up to 180 K,
they said. This contrasts with the long-held view that long-range quantum coherence between
molecules cannot be sustained in complex biological systems, even at low temperatures. The plants
ability to use counter-intuitive design employ quantum mechanical laws boosts the efficiency of light harvesting.
Grondelle and Novoderezhkin titled their article, Quantum design for a light trap.
- Smart grid technology: Continuing on the theme of photosynthesis, a commentary
in PNAS by David M. Kramer (Washington State U)3 describes how plants and other
phototrophs (light-loving organisms) employ a smart grid system
to dissipate excess energy and prevent damage:
To deal with the Promethean consequences
of harvesting light, phototrophs
have evolved a photonic smart grid that
balances the delivery of light energy to its
two photosystemsphotosystem I (PSI)
and photosystem II (PSII)to prevent
overexcitation and subsequent production
of reactive oxygen species. Like human-engineered
electrical systems, the photonic
smart grid can regulate energy
transfer at several levels. Unlike its engineered
counterparts that have controllable
power plants, phototrophs cannot
down-regulate the sun. Instead, when light
capture exceeds the capacity of the system
to process it, it must be dissipated or rerouted
to avoid photodamage. Chloroplasts
deal with this problem by adjusting
the properties of the photosynthetic antennae
under photodamaging conditions.
Kramer went on to describe how the power plant has a fail-safe mechanism.
The default state of the conformation of molecules in the photosystem is probably
in the quenched mode the safe mode. In this way, several different
stimuli can result in similar down-regulation of the photonic smart grid.
- Adhesion by cohesion: We know that post-it notes work by creating cohesive
forces with tiny droplets on paper. Beetles employ a similar trick to stick to leaves.
They are so good at it, they can cling to leaves with a force 100 times their own weight, and then
instantly detach themselves. They achieve this by controlling thousands of tiny liquid droplets in their
feet. The adhesion created by surface tension in any one drop is small, but the large number
of droplet contacts adds up.
Inspired by the success of the beetles, engineers at Cornell, with funding
from the National Science Foundation and DARPA, have created a prototype adhesive that works on
the same principle. It controls the droplets with electric fields. By reversing the
fields, it can detach the device easily. Their main problem is figuring out how to keep
the droplets from coalescing, but they are making progress.
Daily reported that their palm-size device that employs water surface tension
might make it possible for future Spider-man mimics to walk on walls.
- Acoustical nanomechanics: NASA Studies Nanomechanics of Inner Ear,
announced PhysOrg. We often take our
balance for granted, but it depends on sophisticated responses of tiny hair cells to the environment
(see also a second PhysOrg article on this subject).
But how do the hair cells maintain enhanced sensitivity to very small movements without being overwhelmed by large movements?
The article describes how the amplifier can be instantly switched on or off by the organism.
The inner ear organs are designed and precisely attuned to changes in the environment: for the hearing organ, a change in the sound pressure, such as caused by a car horn, can deform the ear drum and rapidly lead to the recognition and location of the sound. For the balance organ, movement of the head, such as unexpectedly stepping off the curb, is sensed and rapidly leads to motor reflexes to maintain equilibrium. The more sensitive our ability is to detect these changes, the more acute our sensation. This remarkable tuning and amplification to detect the slightest stimuli, allows us to adjust our posture.
NASA wants to understand these mechanisms so as to help astronauts avoid vertigo in space.
They are studying the hair cells in toadfish. Fossil evidence, dating from at least the
Devonian Period 400 million years ago, shows that the elaborate sensory structures used to sense
the organisms movement are remarkably conserved among vertebrata. The results demonstrate
an active process in the hair cells of an ancient bony fish, thus suggesting that the mechanism is ancestral,
and may underlie the broad appearance of active hair cell processes in amphibians, reptiles, birds, and
mammals, including humans. For a picture of one of the hair cells, see
- Cilia got rhythm: A paper in Nature last month tackled the problem of how cilia and flagella
beat with regular oscillations.4 To understand it, the researchers came up
with a mathematical model that employed opposed motors and springs. In particular, they
studied the oscillation of the flagellum in sperm cells to come up with a sperm equation.
This excerpt sounds like something out of an engineering textbook:
Any oscillation can be described as a sum of sinusoidal oscillations of increasing frequency, called Fourier modes;
sideways oscillations can be described by the temporal Fourier modes of tangent angles. Power-spectrum analysis
showed that experimentally observed oscillations in tangent angles were well approximated using only the first
(fundamental) Fourier mode, so the sperm equation could be analytically solved using values of this mode.
Tangent angles quantify the curvature of the axoneme at a given position, and the curvature is geometrically related
to the sliding distance between doublets at that position. The sperm equation thus relates time-dependent angular
movement at each position to the extent and rate of inter-doublet sliding at that position, and to the local forces that
either oppose or promote further sliding.
The authors went on to describe physics concepts like beat frequency, force-detachment relationships,
piston-like movement of doublets at the base of the cilia, and sliding friction. Your life
depended on a sperm cell understanding the physics of beating its way to an egg cell and
still depends on trillions of other cilia and flagella being good physicists in the cells of your body today.
The model contains two adjustable parameters stiffness and friction of the active material
inside the axoneme that deforms and exerts force during bending. It also contains several fixed parameters that
Jülicher and colleagues independently measured and fed into the equation. These include the hydrodynamic drag of
the moving flagellum and its ordinary stiffness, both of which oppose active deformation, and the beat frequency.
The authors obtained an excellent fit to the data, with both internal stiffness and friction taking the negative values
expected for an active material. Importantly, a microscopic model of dynein behaviour, incorporating the force-dependent
detachment concept illustrated in Figure 2, predicted negative values for stiffness and friction similar to those obtained
by fitting the sperm equation.
- Bacterial flagellar switch: A paper in Science discussed how the flagella
of a bacteria can cooperate by using a stochastic switch.5
Several of the authors work in the Department of Physics at Oxford not just the
biology department. The elements of protein signaling networks are often complexes that
change their activity in response to binding specific ligands, their paper began.
Multisubunit protein complexes often show cooperativity, with either binding or activity
showing a switchlike sigmoidal dependence upon ligand concentration.
The authors introduced the concept of conformational spread to explain the switching behavior
between clockwise (CW) and counterclockwise (CCW) rotation. The description went on to
discuss physical properties of the system: elasticity, a two-state Poisson process,
stochastic coupling, and more. The fact that these cellular machines can be described
with the tools of mechanics not only emphasizes the physics in biophysics, but shows how
human engineers envy the techniques that living things have mastered.
- Thermodynamics: Maxwells demon found: The 19th-century physicist James Clerk
Maxwell knew that entropy must increase in a system, but envisioned
a way to overcome it: putting an intelligent selector in the system. A demon could,
in principle, isolate hot and cold molecules into different compartments, for instance.
PNAS reported that bacteria could be employed to harness random
Brownian motion to turn gears.6
The laws of thermodynamics prohibit extraction of useful work from the Brownian motion of molecules or particles in systems at equilibrium (nonexistence of a perpetuum mobile of the second kind or Maxwell demon). When, however, such randomly moving objects interact with certain types of time-varying external potentials or with asymmetric geometrical obstacles under nonequilibrium conditions, their motions can be rectified and made directional. This phenomenon, first considered by Smoluchowski and then analyzed in detail by Feynman, underlies the operation of so-called Brownian ratchets and motors. The examples of biological Brownian motors include kinesin and myosin proteins converting chemical energy into directed motion on microtubules, and bacteria propelling themselves in viscous fluid owing to the asymmetry/chirality of flagellar rotation.
The authors suggest that human engineers could employee flagella as Maxwell demons to turn nanoscopic gears.
It should be noted that all the instances they listed of Brownian ratchets are found in living systems or were produced by human engineers.
- Network engineering: To build a better distribution network, make like a leaf.
PhysOrg announced that
Leaf veins inspire a new model for distribution networks.
Following the straight and narrow may be good moral advice, but its not a great design principle for a distribution network. In new research, a team of biophysicists describe a complex netting of interconnected looping veins that evolution devised to distribute water in leaves. The work, which bucks decades of thinking, may compel engineers to revisit some common assumptions that have informed the building of many human-built distribution networks.
The netted patterns seen in leaves may not only be the most efficient way to get cargo from here to there; it may also
provide the best safety net. The tree network most commonly deployed lacks the redundancy of leaf networks.
By contrast, in the leaves of most complex plants, evolution has devised a system to distribute water that is
more supple in at least two key ways, responding to fluctuating demand and re-routing around damaged parts of the network.
Videos in the article show how water is distributed in different kinds of leaves. The article also pointed out that
the loopy network design is also found in corals and insect wings.
These findings could seriously shake things up, a researcher said. People will have to take another look at
how they design these kinds of systems. One of the researchers is further
studying how the design handles fluctuating loads, guided by natures own solution in the leaf.
1. Grondelle and Novoderezhkin, Photosynthesis: Quantum design for a light trap,
463, 614-615 (4 February 2010); doi:10.1038/463614a.
2. Collini et al, Coherently wired light-harvesting in photosynthetic marine algae at ambient temperature,
463, 644-647 (4 February 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08811.
3. David M. Kramer, The photonic smart grid of the chloroplast in action,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
online February 5, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0914429107.
4. T. J. Mitchison and H. M. Mitchison, Cell biology: How cilia beat,
463, 308-309 (21 January 2010); doi:10.1038/463308a.
5. Bai, Branch et al, Conformational Spread as a Mechanism for Cooperativity in the Bacterial Flagellar Switch,
5 February 2010: Vol. 327. no. 5966, pp. 685-689, DOI: 10.1126/science.1182105.
6. Sokolov et al, Swimming bacteria power microscopic gears,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
January 19, 2010 vol. 107 no. 3 969-974, 10.1073/pnas.0913015107.
Dont you get sick of the constant credit evolution gets
for engineering design? Its sickening because it is nonsensical. Evolution is
not an engineer. It is not a person. It cannot organize parts for a goal; it is
completely a random, instantaneous response to immediate circumstances. Evolutionists
commit two fallacies with sickening frequency. For one, they use evolution as an active verb, saying,
for instance, that hearts evolved to pump blood. That phrase evolved to
is the fallacy: it implies goal-directed behavior. Only intelligent agents direct things
toward functional goals. Matter in motion does not nor do non-sentient living things.
The apparent goal-directed behavior of bacteria toward a chemical gradient or moths toward
a light is an artifact of their design. The organisms are not deciding to
set goals and work toward achieving them. When you see evolved to, or find
design and evolution in the same sentence, red flags
should go up. The science and philosophy referees need to call a foul.
Dinosaurs Evolved from Birds
The second fallacy evolutionists commit is kind of like the anthropic principle
in cosmology: If the universe were not finely tuned for life, we wouldnt be here
to worry about the question. Thats a dodge, not an explanation. It doesnt
explain why the universe is designed or how it got that way; it is an appeal to a counterfactual.
Similarly, natural selection theory implies that if the bird did not evolve a wing, it wouldnt be
flying; if the plant did not employ quantum mechanical light traps, it wouldnt be
harvesting light. It does not follow that the bird
did evolve the wing. That would be the logical consequence only if evolution
is assumed a priori to be the only option. But it is not. One cannot assume what needs
to be proved (circular reasoning). Since our uniform
experience is that intelligent agents do engineering, intelligent design should be the
default inference to the best explanation for wings, hearts and photosynthetic systems.
The item about Maxwells demon (#7 above) is noteworthy.
As the Second Law of Thermodynamics is sometimes defined, all natural systems
increase in entropy. We know that humans can overcome the law of increasing entropy
(locally and temporarily) by exerting goal-directed work, such as in harnessing the chemical
energy of gasoline (from sunlight) in a well-designed piston engine. Is that natural?
If humans are natural products of evolution, then everything they do should be defined as
natural. That would mean, however, that decreasing entropy is also natural a
contradiction with the Second Law of Thermodynamics, a law of nature if there ever was one.
And what about the real-world Maxwell demons like ATP synthase motors,
flagella and other Brownian ratchets that harness random thermal energy to perform
useful work? Are they natural? It is only by making the word natural
a self-contradictory concept, or by abandoning the universality of laws of nature, that a materialist can
deny intelligent causes are at work in the universe and played a role in its origin.
Next headline on:
Feb 9, 2010 Birds evolved from dinosaurs, we are often told. Thats
backwards, reply some scientists at Oregon State University. According to
PhysOrg, the recently-published bi-plane model
study of Microraptor gui (01/29/2010) demonstrates
that theropod dinosaurs did not sprout wings and fly; instead, they became flightless after
their bird ancestors came down from the trees.
Their response demonstrates how the same evidence can be spun different ways.
They are adamant about it: The weight of the evidence is now suggesting that
not only did birds not descend from dinosaurs, John Ruben of OSU said,
but that some species now believed to be dinosaurs may have descended from birds.
Hes glad to see a breakthrough from the conventional wisdom. This issue
isnt resolved at all. There are just too many inconsistencies with the idea
that birds had dinosaur ancestors, and this newest study adds to that.
Ruben believes instead that theropods and birds had a common ancestor,
and birds evolved into flightless varieties, including raptors like Velociraptor.
This may be hugely upsetting to a lot of people, but it makes perfect sense,
Ruben portrayed OSU scientists as mavericks against the consensus
along with others at Florida State, particularly Alan Feduccia, a long critic of
the dinosaur-to-bird consensus.
OSU research on avian biology and physiology has been raising questions on this issue since the 1990s,
often in isolation. More scientists and other studies are now challenging the same premise,
Ruben said. The old theories were popular, had public appeal and many people saw what
they wanted to see instead of carefully interpreting the data, he said.
Rubens commentary critiquing the accepted wisdom of bird evolution
was published on PNAS today.1
The commentary ends with a warning to his colleagues to be careful about interpreting fossils. He referred to
very recent data suggest that many clearly cursorial theropods previously thought to have
been feathered may not have been so, and that dromaeosaurs, the
group that birds are assumed to have been derived from, may not even
have been dinosaurs. Scientists should therefore be careful about considering
controversies solved. What pops up next is anyones guess.
O Pesky new fossils...sharply at odds with conventional wisdom never seem to
cease popping up, Ruben wrote in his PNAS commentary. Given the vagaries of the
fossil record, current notions of near resolution of many of the most basic questions about
long-extinct forms should probably be regarded with caution.
1. John Ruben, Paleobiology and the origins of avian flight,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA (PDF), February 9, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0915099107.
So scientists saw what they wanted to see. Next question: why did they want
to see it? The invisible hand of Charlie controls the blinders on their eyes.
Incredible Preservation of Beetle Wings Found
Conventional wisdom is often an oxymoron. It afflicts those infected
with sophoxymoronia (02/02/2008
commentary). Wisdom often requires breaking from conventions, especially
scientific ones, where wrong ideas reinforce one another. Cheer for the
Mavericks. In this case, Ruben is not maverick enough. He needs to
burn his Darwin Party card and join the ID revolution.
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
Feb 9, 2010 Beetle wings with their original shimmering luster have been found
preserved in fossilized peat in Japan. The strata in which they were found have
been labeled middle Pleistocene and dated at 600,000 years old. Yet these same
wings, when dried in the sun, lose their luster within hours.
The authors of the paper in Geology attributed the preservation
not to issues of time but factors of environment.1 The slight acidity of the
interstitial water, the fine mud in the matrix, the lack of bioturbation, and a covering
of pumice led the research team to conclude that the local depositional environment
played a role in the preservation of the fine structure and macromolecules of the fossils....
The beetle wings look very similar to those of extant beetles. By comparing the elytra
[shield wings] of fossil leaf beetles with those of Holocene relatives, we have demonstrated
that the original cuticle structure and its structural colors and macromolecules
can be preserved through geologic time.
That remarkable preservation included more than the multilayer structure of chitin
that causes the shimmering colors of these beetles. Pyrolysis–gas chromatography–mass
spectrometric analysis revealed that the fossil elytra have preserved some of their original
macromolecules (chitin, protein, and amino acids), which are similar to those of a related Holocene species,
they said. The high-porosity matrix of the peat contains many fragments of diatoms,
indicating the high productivity of the water column but a reducing bottom environment.
Slight acidity of the interstitial water also seems to contribute to the preservation of
some original macromolecules of fossil insects through geologic time.
That phrase, geologic time, was used four times in the paper: (1) Slight acidity of the interstitial water also
seems to contribute to the preservation of some original macromolecules of fossil insects through geologic time;
(2) the luster has been preserved over geologic time;
(3) These results show that the original internal fine structure of the epicuticle has been preserved through geologic time; and,
(4) we have demonstrated that the original cuticle structure and its structural colors and macromolecules can be preserved through geologic time.
1. Tanaka et al, Original structural color preserved in an ancient leaf beetle,
v. 38 no. 2, pp. 127-130; doi: 10.1130/G25353.1.
The reader could hardly miss the one fixed parameter that could
not be altered. Of course: as usual, it was geologic time. It doesnt
matter that these delicate structures and molecules had to be str-r-r-r-e-t-ched into
hundreds of thousands of years. Boy, they sure dont look that old.
Couldnt it be possible that these beetles died not that long ago, maybe just a few
centuries or thousands of years ago? No; that is forbidden.
It would mean something is wrong with geological dating methods. Whoops;
we just committed a thought crime: we asked questions about geologic time.
Just when you thought Darwin celebrations were over,
Evolution Sunday is coming up again Feb 14. Some churches really
shuck and jive
at the thought of partying for Darwin again. Read about Evolution Sunday on our
To preserve geologic time, we were just forced
to accept numerous improbable notions: the pH of this environment never changed, the
sun never shone, the worms never came digging, and no earthquakes or tsunamis or volcanoes
in a land on the Pacific Ring of Fire
disturbed this delicate microenvironment for a hundred times the length of recorded
human history. Geologic time that unobservable, imponderable, occult
substance plays such a central role in evolutionary beliefs, everything else
in science and logic must adjust to it. Since geologic time cannot be questioned, that
makes it irrational. It should be called, Gee, illogic time.
Next headline on:
The Evolution of Religion or Vice Versa?
Feb 8, 2010 A Harvard professor has evolutionized religion again. Marc Hauser,
the one who trains his little boy to adore Darwin (07/03/2007)
and wrote a book on how natural selection created morality (10/27/2006),
is now saying that religion is a by-product of our evolution. These findings suggest that religion
evolved from pre-existing cognitive functions, he wrote in Trends in Cognitive Sciences,1
but that it may then have been subject to selection, creating an adaptively designed system for
solving the problem of cooperation.
The science news media, like
Daily, published this suggestion uncritically based on a press
release from Cell Press. Their headline reads, Morality Research Sheds Light
on the Origins of Religion. A key element in Hausers suggestion
was that the moral sense seems uniform across cultures. No one in these articles
entertained a different suggestion: that this moral sense came from design, not
evolution. Nor did they indicate how morality could be defined or characterized
apart from a religious perspective.
Phillip Ball at Nature
News announced, based on this study, Morals dont come from God.
At first, this sounded like an endorsement of Hausers thesis, but Ball only met him
halfway. The finding that religion scarcely influences moral intuition undermines
the idea that a godless society will be immoral, says Philip Ball, the subtitle reads.
Whether it explains religion is another matter. Ball appeared to
agree that irreligion does not necessarily lead to an amoral society. Moral dilemma tests show that
people from all walks of life have a basic moral intuition an innate moral grammar
that guides their ideas of right and wrong. He doubted, though, that moral instinct is the place
to look for the origin of religion itself. It seems hard to credit the idea that the
immense cultural investment in religion was made merely to strengthen and fine-tune existing
neural circuits related to morality, he ended. Some people place more emphasis on
the adaptive rationale for religious symbols and mystical beliefs, rather than morals.
Ball just indicated that he denies propositional truths have any bearing on religious beliefs.
Any explanation must be sought in evolutionary adaptation. He seems to admit, though,
even that kind of reductionism falls short of explaining religion. Yet attempting to explain
the origins of such a rich cultural phenomenon as religion is doomed to some extent to be a
thankless task, Ball concluded. For to explain Chartres Cathedral or Bachs Mass
in B Minor in terms of non-kin cooperation is obviously to have explained nothing.
For earlier discussions on the evolution of
religion, see 11/09/2009
1. Ilkka Pyysiäinen and Marc Hauser, The origins of religion: evolved adaptation or by-product?
Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Cell Press, 08 February 2010, doi:10.1016/j.tics.2009.12.007.
Hauser is just as religious as his lab rats; he just
doesnt advertise it. He attends the Church of Darwin a bigoted
hate group (12/12/2009,
02/11/2006 commentary) with its own
Monday School curriculum
(12/21/2005), where he plays the role of
High Priest Yoda (09/26/2006 commentary),
accompanied by the other bishops Pascal Boyer
and Daniel Dennett
(02/02/2006). James Dow accompanies
on the organ (05/27/2008).
Small Hobbit Brain Means Little
The way to make Hausers belief implode and
refute itself is to write a satire
on The Evolution of Darwinian Storytelling. That is what Cornelius Hunter has done on his blog
God. It appears that Hunter turned out the Hahvahd professors lights
(assuming there were any to begin with).
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
Darwin and Evolution
Feb 7, 2010 Central in the debate whether Homo floresiensis (nicknamed hobbits)
were human is the matter of their small brains. Could diminutive human-like skeletons
really be human with such small skulls? (cf. 03/04/2005).
Scientists at the University of Cambridge conducted a detailed analysis of
brain size vs. body size for a number of primates. They found no clear trend,
The results show that while brains evolved to be larger in both relative and absolute
terms along most branches of the primate family tree, the opposite happened along several lineages.
Some South American capuchin monkeys compare with African apes in ratio of brain to body size,
while gorillas, with large brains, have a compensating larger body, bringing the ratio down.
Our analysis, together with studies of brain size in island populations of living primates,
the researchers said, suggests we should perhaps not be surprised by the evolution of a small brained,
small bodied early human species.
There goes decades of bigoted evolutionary anthropology
ranking humans by brain size (11/09/2007, bullet 3). This has nothing to say about evolution
(cf. with birds, 09/07/2005). If evolution
is the explanation for brain/body ratios going both ways, it explains nothing. The article said that
sometimes individuals with smaller brains are favoured by natural selection, even though
selection usually favored big brains in primates. Then again, brain size shrank in
mouse lemurs, marmosets and mangabeys. In contrast, the study found no overall trend
to increase body size, suggesting that brain and body mass have been subject to separate
selection pressures in primates. Look how flexible evolution is; it explains
everything. If big brains are usually so favored by selection, why didnt brain size
increase in every kind of animal over time? As a law of nature, natural selection has
the strange property of producing opposite outcomes. Its not just Stuff Happens;
its Contradictory Stuff Happens.
The Institute for Creation Research (ICR.org) is one of the oldest
and most prestigious of the Biblical creationist organizations. Founded by Dr. Henry Morris Jr.
and Duane Gish, it continues to be a leader in creation research and education. The Institute
recently moved from San Diego to Dallas. The website is loaded with articles and information,
and many books are available for sale in its online store. Two free periodicals are worth your
subscription: Days of Praise, a daily devotional like Our Daily Bread but more meaty
with apologetics-based inspiration, and Acts and Facts, a glossy monthly loaded with interesting
articles about scientific evidences for creation by ICR staff. Go to the
subscriptions page and sign up today.
Did evolutionary theory provide understanding here?
No; as usual, researchers were surprised by what they found: The argument raised has been that
the evolution of such a small brain does not fit with what we know about primate brain evolution,
they article said. Rather than providing an explanatory framework that can make
predictions, evolution is a Gumby explanation that continually gets stretched and squished
to fit the data after discoveries are made (12/14/2004,
Look at another recent example: Charles Q. Choi in
told about a controversial theory that claims The evolution of the distant ancestors of
humans and other primates may have been driven by dramatic volcanic eruptions and the parting
of continents. Wow. Volcanos made you what you are today.
One problem with this absurd theory is that it has
resulted in all sorts of contradictory centers of origin. Moreover, Choi said that
fossils often serve as an incomplete record for what and when animals actually existed.
Keep that sentence in mind when you hear someone pointing to fossils as proof of evolution.
Satisfied? Vote if you think evolution is increasing our understanding of nature. For a good joke,
look at the last sentence of Chois article.
The obsession with brain size is misguided, anyway
As we have noted many times before, its quality, not quantity that counts
Was Tom Thumb any less human because of his small stature? There have been examples of
living humans doing pretty well with shrunken and damaged brains (e.g.,
07/22/2009). Theres some redundancy
built in (08/28/2001).
Crows have small brains but show a lot of intelligence (05/26/2009,
08/11/2009). Blue whales have huge brains
but are not correspondingly better philosophers than humans. We see large differences in morphology
between living human tribes (Watusi vs pygmy, Inuit vs Vietnamese). It is certainly within
the range of variation for an inbred tribe, stranded on a small island, subject to local diseases, to grow
physically smaller. It doesnt mean they were stupid or less evolved.
If we could have talked to Bilbo and Frodo on the island of Flores, we might have been
impressed with their cognitive abilities.
A small brain that performs well could be taken as a good example of miniaturization. Human
engineers pride themselves on packing more oomph in smaller devices; look how USB drives have
progressed from 56k to 4GB, while getting smaller and cheaper, in a few years. Its not just the hardware.
The software is often more indicative of design. There are plenty of large-brained humans
walking around today with self-inflicted buggy code. Put them in an Indonesian cave
without their Bud Light and see how long they survive.
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
Next resource of the week: 01/30/2010.
All resources: Catalog.
Sociology of Science: the IPCC Case
Feb 6, 2010 Climate change is off-topic for evolution news, but what is taking place
in this internationally-potent paradigm is instructive. Its troubles provide fodder for several
extra-scientific disciplines: the philosophy of science, the history of science, the rhetoric
of science, and the sociology of science. Lessons from the IPCC case can inform citizens
about current scientific practices in general especially highly politicized sciences like evolution.
What the world is witnessing in the IPCC case is astonishing perhaps
unprecedented. Within a few months, a solid international consensus has unraveled.
It began days before a huge international conference in Copenhagen that was to impose draconian
measures on world governments to curb carbon emissions. Emails leaked or stolen revealed
something rotten at the IPCC, the international clearinghouse for climate science.
Climate skeptics immediately smelled blood; their criticisms went viral on the internet.
It didnt help that Copenhagen suffered one of its coldest winters as politicians traipsed
through the snow and cold to figure out how to fight global warming. Relevant or not,
the irony was not lost on the public.
the response of the scientific community to the Climategate email scandal was to circle the
wagons, underestimate the scandals impact, and blame the naysayers for their ignorance
of the scientific facts. But then, additional scandals came to light, exposing failures
in peer review, lapses in scholarship, and evident conflicts of interest.
The disconnect between Big Sciences overconfidence and public skepticism
has been growing steadily to the point where even staunch supporters of anthropogenic global
warming (AGW) are calling for deep reforms. Here are a few recent data points in the
These are just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Time and space do not allow
coverage of the torrent of articles dealing with the question: how reliable is the
consensus about global warming? What does this tell us about scientific practice?
It goes without saying that the skeptics are
having a field day: sites like Climate Depot
and SEPP are rushing to put out all the hot news
with unmasked glee. But when even the ardent supporters of the consensus are
calling for reforms and resignations, and are starting to print scientific papers
challenging the consensus, its a hint that this is big. It may just turn
out to put the Revolution back in Thomas Kuhns Structure of Scientific Revolutions,
the 1962 book that launched whole disciplines devoted to critically analyzing knowledge generation in science.
- American opinion about global warming is cooling, reported
- The BBC News, originally
in the wagon circle, has lately been more open about reporting breaches of ethics that
have eroded public confidence in climate science.
- The BBC News, at first
supportive of the IPCC, reported that the University of East Anglia where the scandal erupted
breached data laws by withholding data when it was requested by skeptical scientists.
The article acknowledged that the incident caused damage to the public interest.
The university manipulated and suppressed data in a way that was at odds with acceptable scientific practice.
- The journal Nature, originally in a huff over climate skeptics, has started
printing some papers that are not as confident about AGW, such as this paper
that considered degrees of climate feedback throughout the medieval period.
- Science Daily
reported that stratospheric water vapor turns out to be a climate wild card, affecting
climate models in unexpected ways.
- Science Magazine on Jan 29
printed an interview with IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri when calls for his resignation were
heating up. The magazine allowed him free rein to defend himself against allegations,
which he did rather brusquely, but the interviewer questions seemed a little worried.
- On Feb 2, Nature
acknowledged that the IPCC has been flooded with criticism and took note that
some of the criticisms, including data flaws and conflicts of interest, are not easily dismissable.
- BBC commentator Malini Mehra
said that The Copenhagen Climate Accord was a failure of historic proportions that is
hardly worth the paper it is printed on. The meetings led to a chaos of
competing national self-interests.
- BBC commentator Roger
Harrabin has been growing more vocal about reform. On
Feb 1 he
called for embracing uncertainty rather than pretending that the consensus science is settled.
On Feb 3 he discussed
problems at the IPCC and entertained reasons why its leader should resign.
- Richard Blacks commentaries for the BBC News
have been evolving. From initial overconfidence, he has been having to admit the scientific consensus
is taking a beating. He acknowledged on Feb 5 that skepticism is rising in the UK,
noting several prominent British commentators speaking out and polls showing public discontent with the IPCC.
- This week Science Magazine
reported on the latest scandal, the misinformation about melting glaciers. The magazine also
printed an Editorial preaching
about the need for integrity in science.
- News outlets that a month ago seemed sold out to the AGW consensus are now showing some courage
to give skeptical stories favorable press. Today,
Science Daily printed
a story that estimates of melt from Alaskan glaciers were largely overestimated, and another
Science Daily article
questioned scientists knowledge about orbital forcing: The notion that scientists understand
how changes in Earths orbit affect climate well enough for estimating long-term natural climate trends
that underlie any anthropogenic climate change is challenged by findings just published.
See also the 12/19/2009 entry about cave proxies.
- Another day, another embarrassment: PhysOrg
reported that the Dutch found an inaccurate statement in the IPCC's 2007 report, claiming that
half of the Netherlands is below sea level. No evidence could be found to show the
claim had been published in a peer-reviewed journal and reports in Britain have said the reference
came from green group the WWF [World Wildlife Federation], who in turn sourced it to the New Scientist magazine.
Normally, scientific findings flow the other direction.
- New Scientist, a cheerleader
for the IPCC, nevertheless called to Let the sunshine in and embrace open debate,
including dialogue with bloggers and skeptics. Notice how the editorial even
suggested the possibility a naked emperor on the loose:
Some argue that the views of an untutored blogger, or even a scientist from another discipline, should never carry the same weight as those of someone with a lifetimes expertise in a relevant field. But if occasionally the emperors of the lab have no clothes, someone has to say so. The wider review of science made possible by the blogosphere can improve science and foster public confidence in its methods. Scientists should welcome the outside world in to check them out. Their science is useless if no one trusts it.
- AfricaGate: Now another widely-quoted factoid about global warming has come under attack:
that North Africas crop production would drop by 50% by 2020.
The Times Online
reported Feb 7 there was no basis in the IPCC report for such a claim, but it had been quoted
by the IPCC chairman and by the UN Secretary-General. A leading British government scientist
has warned the United Nations climate panel to tackle its blunders or lose all credibility,
the article began.
Creationists and leaders of the intelligent design movement are, for the
most part, siding with the skeptics. Several commentators on the ID blog
Uncommon Descent have joined the war dance,
Moderator and ID leader William
Dembski noted that
a publication of conservative World Net Daily, made the climate
scandals a centerpiece of its latest issue, Hijacking Science.
The subtitle gives the flavor of the issue: From global warming to
biology to psychology to sociology, blatant corruption of science is running rampant.
At least four of the articles in the issue deal with evolution.
This commentary is not taking sides on AGW, since it is
off-topic. But there are important lessons here for all of science. It goes
without saying that scientists are only human, but thats the problem: scientists
are only human. They have emotions, biases, friends, enemies, likes, dislikes, habits and weaknesses
like the rest of humanity. They are also not omniscient. We are taught
that the methods of science and peer review overcome these limitations, and produce
knowledge that is reliable, progressive and relevant to nature as it really is.
Oh? That is so 1930s. It may still be taught in middle schools and high schools,
but the philosophy of science has been quite literally revolutionized since the 1950s and 60s.
Kuhns book in particular launched or re-invigorated
several disciplines that began to analyze scientific practice more critically:
Calls for scientific integrity are nothing new. Back in 2005,
the AAAS (02/11/2005) bemoaned the lack of
societal ethics, and a Cambridge scientist preached integrity to his fellow scientists
(02/06/2005). Yet this was the same year
that calls for unrestricted embryonic stem cell research were all the rage
The current hubbub over climate science could calm down, with the consensus stabilizing
itself again, or we could witness its collapse. If the latter, the public image
of science as objective and reliable could be severely damaged. To be true, the
IPCC is a somewhat unique case. It is a centralized body invested with a special
role for a single research domain. Nevertheless, all the major scientific organizations
and nations placed unquestioned trust in its reports, because they assumed its methods
guaranteed objectivity. Look at their initial knee-jerk reaction to skeptics.
It was not just the IPCC, but Nature, Science, PNAS, the media,
and a host of non-governmental organization that treated the AGW consensus as truth
and the IPCC reports as revelation from heaven (the atmosphere, that is).
Skeptics were treated as outsiders and pariahs. The resemblance to the Darwin
consensus is apt.
- History of Science changed from describing sciences march of progress to a
different realization: that scientific knowledge itself is historical in character i.e.,
it changes over time. Ideas claimed to be scientific facts in one generation can be
fundamentally modified or overturned in the next.
- Sociology of Science: Kuhns description of science as a guild locked
in a paradigm led to
renewed attempts to examine the human element of knowledge generation:
the cliques, reinforcements, shared beliefs, taboos and other non-empirical aspects
that influence conclusions in scientific institutions. Some took on the project
of analyzing science scientifically, going into labs to describe the way scientists
work in the way they would investigate a tribal culture. Postmodernism overlapped
with these efforts. For sources on the history and sociology of science, see
the 12/19/2009 and
04/18/2009 Resources of the Week.
- Rhetoric of Science sprang up as a discipline after Kuhn to tackle the
rhetorical character of scientific claims. How do scientists frame their theories?
How do they communicate them to the public? To what extent do analogies, projection themes
and shared language modes influence not only what scientists believe, but what direction
science should go? In addition, how is rhetoric employed in scientific controversies?
For sources on rhetoric of science, see the 11/21/2009
and 03/28/2009 Resources of the Week.
there will be some bandage reforms to the IPCC peer review process, some individuals will step down,
some new regulations will be passed, and journal editors will be a little more careful
for awhile. Then old habits will return. Remember the Hwang scandal?
Remember the calls for major reforms in peer review? (02/05/2006)
Like last New Years resolutions, much of that soul-searching has been forgotten.
Scientists, after all, are only human.
Those watching this climate scandal perceptively should be alert to the degree
to which non-empirical forces shape widely held beliefs in scientific institutions.
The institutions of science must be distinguished from the ideals of science.
As with labor unions, the ideals of protecting workers rights often get lost
in the politics, corruption and self-interest of the party leadership. Dont think for a minute that
just because Big Science owns the institutions and journals and political power
when they trumpet allegiance to Darwin and hatred of intelligent design,
they have an inside track on knowledge. Its no coincidence that the same
liberal, progressive mentality that dominates Big Labor also dominates Big Science.
The Law of Nature most apropos to climate science, UN science and origins science comes
from Political Science: Power Corrupts.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Old Primordial Soup Is Spoiled
Feb 5, 2010
Dont open it; that can of primordial soup sitting on the shelf for decades is rotten.
New research rejects 80-year theory of primordial soup as the origin of life.
In its place come new theories about tiny chemical cooking pots in the pores of deep-sea vents.
Pioneered by Michael Russell (02/15/2008)
and others, these scenarios picture energy gradients and concentrating
mechanisms that might have gotten life cooking deep below the sea.
National Public Radio
printed a short synopsis, asking, Is It Time To Throw Out Primordial Soup Theory?
The article is clear that primordial soup is off the shelf.
Textbooks have it that life arose from organic soup and that the first cells
grew by fermenting these organics to generate energy in the form of ATP, said team leader
Dr Nick lane from University College London. We provide a new perspective
on why that old and familiar view wont work at all.
One problem is that there is no energy gradient in such a view: no driving force for
chemical reactions. Despite bioenergetic and thermodynamic failings the
80-year-old concept of primordial soup remains central to mainstream thinking on the
origin of life, said senior author, William Martin, an evolutionary biologist
[Institute of Botany III in Düsseldorf]. But soup has no capacity for
producing the energy vital for life. There goes a ton of expensive soup
down the drain. It sure had a lot of sentimental value.
This story should make the righteous angry.
For decades almost a century (more if you consider Darwins warm little
pond story) the Primordial Soup Myth filled biology textbooks with fallacies.
The Miller experiment, with its flasks zapped with electricity, lent itself to
power of suggestion. It became
a veritable icon of evolution a useful lie for materialists
(05/02/2003). Lee Strobel was one of countless students
swayed by the Primordial Soup Myth, as he recounted in his book and film,
The Case for a Creator
(watch it on YouTube).
This simplistic mythoid, devoid of factoids, has now been destroyed and should be avoided,
but it will take an act of Congress, an executive order and a Supreme Court decision
to overcome the Law of Inertia for Falsified Theories (01/15/2010).
Spider Webs Are Precision Dew Collectors
With the soup gone, would you trust the same materialists to come up with a better dish?
Would you dare taste their Thicken Plot Pie? (08/22/2005).
Their new story has all the same fallacies as the old one, including the biggest: it doesnt
account for the most important element of all, the origin of genetic information
(01/26/2008, and Meyers
Signature in the Cell).
To dispense with materialistic origin-of-life scenarios, with their
building blocks of lie, let us propose an alternative experiment that is
easily visualized and can even be tested by junior high school students.
(This was suggested by Dr. A. E. Wilder-Smith.) Take a sardine can.
It has ideal conditions for the origin of life, because the little fishies were once
alive. It has all the molecules and nutrients life could ever want.
Do anything you want with the can, other than puncturing it or breaking its seal.
You can heat it, chill it, tap it, spin it, and expose it to electromagnetic fields.
An alternative experiment was suggested by Dr. Jonathan Wells. Take a living
cell in a test tube of sterile fluid, and puncture it. Let the cells contents
ooze out, then cap the tube.* Again, you have all the ingredients for life right
there. Wait for life to emerge.
These are the best possible conditions for origin-of-life studies.
Let the materialists succeed here before attempting to prove life could have emerged
under far less favorable conditions. We suggest it will be a lot like watching
the prophets of Baal. Give them time to cut themselves, weep and wail for the
god of chance to send the fire of life. Then, send a modern Elijah to show
where the true power behind life is to be found. He can insert a little genetic
information, a little E. coli into the can perhaps, and like fire from heaven, the
can will burst with life. The only step left will be to round up the fakes
and deal with them.
*Actually, a variation on this experiment was done by Louis
Pasteur in the late 1800s the famous swan-necked flask experiment that
disproved spontaneous generation. Some of his flasks, on display in
France, remain sterile to this day, after well over a century, even though open to the air (source:
They stand as a testament to the fact that life (containing genetic information),
and only life, begets life. If materialists respect empirical evidence, let them
stand in silent humility at one of the longest-running experiments in the history of science.
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
Feb 04, 2010 Photographs of dew drops on spider webs are favorite targets for
nature photographers, because they resemble strings of pearls on fine jewelry
But did you know the reason dewdrops bead up so well on webs is due to the fine
microstructure of the spider silk? A team of Chinese scientists studied this
phenomenon and reported in Nature how it works.1
Their description is almost as dazzling as the photos:
Many biological surfaces in both the plant and animal kingdom possess unusual structural features
at the micro- and nanometre-scale that control their interaction with water and hence wettability.
An intriguing example is provided by desert beetles, which use micrometre-sized patterns of hydrophobic
and hydrophilic regions on their backs to capture water from humid air. As anyone who has admired spider webs
adorned with dew drops will appreciate, spider silk is also capable of efficiently collecting water from air.
Here we show that the water-collecting ability of the capture silk of the cribellate spider Uloborus walckenaerius
is the result of a unique fibre structure that forms after wetting, with the wet-rebuilt fibres
characterized by periodic spindle-knots made of random nanofibrils and separated by joints made of
aligned nanofibrils. These structural features result in a surface energy gradient between
the spindle-knots and the joints and also in a difference in Laplace pressure, with both factors acting together
to achieve continuous condensation and directional collection of water drops around spindle-knots.
Submillimetre-sized liquid drops have been driven by surface energy gradients, or a difference in Laplace pressure, but
until now neither force on its own has been used to overcome the larger hysteresis effects that make the movement of
micrometre-sized drops more difficult. By tapping into both driving forces, spider silk achieves this task.
Inspired by this finding, we designed artificial fibres that mimic the structural features of silk and exhibit its
directional water-collecting ability.
In other words, it is the structural detail the pattern of alternating random and
aligned nanofibrils that collects the dew and channels it into drops.
The structure creates a gradient that allows small drops to overcome energy barriers and move to collection points.
Fibers without the alternating nodes do not have this ability. The researchers compared silkwork
silk and nylon fibers and found that they did not exhibit the directional water
collection of spider silk. Moreover, the spider web only exhibits this trick when wet.
Clearly there is more going on in the humble spiders output than we realized
(and that was a lot; see 05/25/2005).
This function is in addition to the well known strength and flexibility of spider silk
Imagine living out in the wild and having your water brought to you. Magdalena Helmer
wrote in her review of this paper in Nature,2
Why did Incy Wincy Spider climb up the water spout? If he was after a drink,
a report by Yongmei Zheng et al. in this issue suggests that he might have missed a trick —
spiders dont need to look for water because the silk fibres that they spin are highly
efficient at collecting it from moist air.
The authors did not describe how the spider spins its web with this structure.
But they mimicked the same effect with artificial fibers and said,
We therefore anticipate that the design principles uncovered and implemented in this study
will aid the development of functional fibres for use in water collection and in liquid aerosols filtering
in manufacturing processes.
Now that we understand the principle, we can use the same water-collecting technique in
artificial materials that might help those in parched lands extract water out of the air
PhysOrg published a summary of
Update 02/08/2010: Spider webs have another optimized feature:
structural robustness. PhysOrg
reported that physicists are examining how spider webs achieve flexibility and strength even
when damaged. By better understanding the unique structural properties of spider webs,
researchers could apply the information to other areas, such as designing buildings, bridges,
and space structures, the article said. But how did the lowly spider learn tricks that
human engineers have yet to imitate? Although the orb web of a spider is a lightweight structure,
it seems to be a highly optimized structure, presumably as a result of evolution from the
Jurassic period or earlier, the physicists said. The article explained,
As the most familiar web form, orb webs have features that are universal to many spider species,
suggesting that they have beneficially evolved by natural selection.
1. Zheng et al, Directional water collection on wetted spider silk,
463, 640-643 (4 February 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08729.
2. Magdalena Helmer, Biomaterials: Dew catchers,
463, 618 (4 February 2010); doi:10.1038/463618a.
Heres another teachable moment with your child in the garden.
We should never take simple things for granted. Its clear that the spider can teach
humans their design principles, but who taught them to the spider? Be sure to explain
to the child that storytelling with tautologies is not an acceptable response
Next headline on:
You wont believe this is Mars; it looks like abstract art.
Take a look at this Mars
Reconnaissance Orbiter image. Click it, then click it again for high-res.
Check out the crater rims, especially. Look at their concentric rings in
the midst of lava flows. How did that happen?
The MRO front page has
more amazing new image downloads, like these
Universe Has a Run-Down Feeling
Feb 03, 2010 Theres 30 times more entropy in the universe than thought,
according to Dr. Charley Lineweaver at the Australian National University.
said that Lineweaver and a PhD student Charles Egan measured the entropy of the universe.
It looks like it is feeling pretty run down.
We considered all contributions to the entropy of the observable universe: stars, star light,
the cosmic microwave background. We even made an estimate of the entropy of dark matter.
But its the entropy of super-massive black holes that dominates the entropy of the universe.
When we used the new data on the number and size of super-massive black holes, we found that the
entropy of the observable universe is about 30 times larger than previous calculations, said
This has implications for how much more time life has to emerge. Once the entropy
grows to its maximum (the so-called heat death of the universe), all energy transformations
will be impossible, and the same for life. A good question is why the entropy started
out so low i.e., highly-ordered at the beginning.
Contrary to common opinion, the maintenance of all the complicated structures
we see around us -- galaxies, stars, hurricanes and kangaroos -- have the net effect of increasing
the disorder and entropy of the universe. But to be fair, their contributions are negligible
compared to the entropy of super-massive black holes, added Dr Lineweaver.
Hurry! You only have billions of years left to
evolve! Whether evolutionists will yawn, or will question the measurements of
the entropy of unobservable entities, remains to be seen. Still, its a
reminder that the universe will run down over time. It will take something
able to work outside the universe and time to stop the inevitable. For three
great Christian physicists who took part in the energy conservation revolution of the
19th century, see our biographies of
No man is an island; we are the world. See why in the
Next headline on:
Building a Cell: Staggering Complexity
Feb 2, 2010 The living cell is a self-organizing, self-replicating, environmentally
responsive machine of staggering complexity. Thus began a special section
on Building a Cell in Nature last week.1 The section
with five papers explores what is known about gene regulation, cell organization and signalling.
Its an opportunity, as well, to see what scientists think about what they are seeing.
This Insight offers a hint of the most exciting research on the regulation of
cellular organization and function, the editors said, inviting the readers in for a look.
The authors of the last paper concluded with another quote from Paul Weisss lecture in 1960:
Life is a dynamic process. Logically, the elements of a process can be only elementary
processes, and not elementary particles or any other static units. Cell life, accordingly,
can never be defined in terms of a static inventory of compounds, however detailed, but only in terms of their interactions
(italics in original).
This realization reverberates throughout all the sciences. The more we focus on reducing
biology to chemistry, and chemistry to physics, and physics to fundamental particles,
the more we risk missing the real story.
- Chromosome segregation: staggering machinery: Bloom and Joglekar started out the series with a look
at how cells divide the daughter chromosomes during cell division.2
All organisms, from bacteria to humans, face the daunting task of replicating, packaging and
segregating up to two metres (about 6 x 109 base pairs) of DNA when each
cell divides, their attention-getting abstract began. This task is carried out up
to a trillion times during the development of a human from a single fertilized cell.
Scientists may understand the strategy for replication, But when it comes to packaging
and segregating a genome, the mechanisms are only beginning to be understood and are often as variable
as the organisms in which they are studied.
Yet the seemingly unlimited ways different organisms accomplish this must meet stiff requirements for
precision: chromosome segregation must be executed with high fidelity so that the mother cell and the daughter
cell that arise from division receive precisely the same DNA content, they said. Everything has to be
done just right. The cell has to be able to tell the chromosomes apart: which ones are the copies,
and which ones are just look-alikes? Where does each chromosome belong on the spatial template, like band
members on a football field half-time show? And where is the drum major calling the signals? Heres a take-home sentence:
Finally, the segregation machinery must function with far greater accuracy than man-made machines and
with an exquisitely soft touch to prevent the DNA strands from breaking.
Bloom and Joglekar talked machine language over and over. The cell
has specialized machines for all kinds of tasks: segregation machines, packaging machines,
elaborate machines, streamlined machines, protein translocation machines, DNA-processing machines,
DNA-translocation machines, robust macromolecular
machines, accurate machines, ratchets, translocation pumps, mitotic spindles, DNA springs, coupling devices,
and more. The authors struggle to understand how these remarkable machines function with such exquisite accuracy.
The paper reads like a description of an alien spaceship filled with machinery carrying out amazing
coordinated functions that visitors can only partially grasp, but know everything is obeying laws of physics:
e.g., Although DNA is not covalently linked to spindle microtubules or motor proteins, it may act
as a spring in its capacity to absorb force and therefore prevent molecular motors from travelling too fast.
Another example: A different way of organizing polymers is to anchor many chains to a substrate (Fig. 1c).
In the field of polymer physics, this is an important strategy for regulating forces between polymers
(for example in polymer brushes) and the environment, and for creating methods to switch rapidly from attraction to repulsion.
One type of brush is a Velcro-like structure, in which a highly oligomerized protein is attached to a subcellular site.
Sure enough, such a strategy was discovered recently in a bacterium, with finesse:
Polymers of the C. crescentus protein PopZ assemble into a higher-order filamentous network that functions
as an anchor for chromosome capture, they said.
On two occasions they referred to evolution: (1) Speaking of how cells package the
chromosomes to avoid breakage while making certain essential genes accessible during cell division,
they said, Several diverse protein machines have evolved to carry out these processes.
They did not say how they evolved. (2) Speaking of how certain genes are deactivated
by histone modifications, they said, DNA wrapping around the histone may impart a topological
block to transcription. In this model, nucleosome chirality at the centromere, as well as the
path of DNA as it enters and exits the nucleosome, may have evolved to inhibit transcribing polymerases
from inactivating the centromere, which would otherwise lead to chromosome loss.
Presumably, if the cell had not evolved all this machinery to do these exquisite,
coordinated functions, it would not exist today.
- Alternative splicing: staggering information and control:
Nilson and Graveley contributed a review article for the series about how
alternative splicing expands the genome.3
This refers to the fact that a compact library of genes can be
read in different ways, to generate more information in less space. It would be like a software library
with modules that can be joined in various ways to produce a variety of outcomes. Like the other papers,
this one has plenty of wow factor
The collection of components required to carry out the intricate processes involved in
generating and maintaining a living, breathing and, sometimes, thinking organism is staggeringly complex.
Where do all of the parts come from? Early estimates stated that about 100,000 genes would be required
to make up a mammal; however, the actual number is less than one-quarter of that, barely four times the number
of genes in budding yeast. It is now clear that the missing information is in large part
provided by alternative splicing, the process by which multiple different functional messenger RNAs, and
therefore proteins, can be synthesized from a single gene.
A realization has been growing that alternative splicing, once thought unusual, is common.
Heres a spectacular example, they noted: a gene in a fruit fly can produce
38,016 distinct messenger RNAs, a number far in excess of the total number of genes (~14,500) in the organism.
This means that there is far more information encoded in the genome than earlier believed:
the number of functionally distinct proteins that could be encoded by the genome is staggering.
They said it now appears that alternative splicing is one of the main sources of proteomic diversity
in multicellular eukaryotes.
This raises obvious questions about oversight and control. What tells the
fruit fly which one of the 38,000 protein products is needed at a particular time from that particular gene?
The biochemical mechanisms that control splice-site usage, and therefore alternative splicing, are
complex and in large part remain poorly understood, they said. It is clear that
there cannot be specific and distinct factors dedicated to each of the more than 100,000 alternative
splicing decisions that occur in human cells; several genomes worth of regulatory proteins would be
required if this were the case. Apparently, a small number of proteins are involved in
alternative splicing events. But what regulates the regulators? How can this handful of
splicing regulators be responsible for controlling the plethora of alternative splicing events that occur?
Again, this is far from understood. The complexity truly is staggering when just the known
mechanisms are listed:
The number of mechanisms that are known to be involved in splicing regulation approximates the number of specific splicing decisions that have been analysed in any detail. These mechanisms range from straightforward ones, such as steric blocking of splice sites or positive recruitment of the splicing machinery, to more complicated ones, such as formation of dead-end complexes, blocking of splice-site communication or facilitation of splice-site communication. Even these mechanisms are poorly understood at a detailed biochemical level (for example, what distinguishes dead-end complexes from productive complexes remains unclear).
So the kinetic factors add another dimension to the effects of alternative splicing. Add to this
the effects of chromatin structure (the histone code) and staggering seems an understatement.
Had enough yet? Last, before leaving the mechanistic aspects of alternative splicing, it should
be noted that we have understated the complexity of the mechanisms involved. At this point,
when the reader is about to collapse from overload, they keep rubbing it in: it is clear that context
affects function, and this adds a layer of complexity to the already complex field of alternative
and regulated splicing.
The picture becomes even cloudier when splicing (and alternative splicing) is viewed not as a static process but as a highly dynamic process encompassing a large (yet to be defined) number of kinetic steps. It is now clear that many factors can have marked effects on splicing patterns; these include transcription rate, core-splicing-machinery levels, intron size and competition between splice sites.
Surely these authors would not think this all evolved, would they? Actually, they
did. In a confusing section about bioinformatics, a word that connotes intelligent design,
they suggested that alternative splicing provides evolutionary plasticity a more fluid
environment in which mutations could cause significant evolution over point mutations on a gene.
But at the current time, these are only suggestions, if you can envisage them:
These examples show the high level of evolutionary plasticity that alternative splicing provides. Because small changes (that is, point mutations) in either exons or introns can create or destroy splicing control elements, it is easy to envisage that splicing patterns are constantly evolving: advantageous mutations would rapidly be selected for, and deleterious mutations would be selected against. Indeed, we speculate that non-conserved changes in splicing patterns might underlie the observed phenotypic variations between species and between individuals within species. Recent studies have provided insight into the way in which human exons have evolved and the extent of alternative splicing differences between humans and chimpanzees. Additional studies along these lines are likely to improve the understanding of how alternative splicing contributes to speciation and phenotypic diversity.
Thus, the real understanding is only a promissory note dependent on future research.
Will anyone remember to check back in a decade and see how the promissory note paid off?
Or will this be an example of a misuse of the power of suggestion?
The authors are not ignorant of the questions this research raises about final causes.
Another crucial question is how many mRNA isoforms are functionally relevant?
Teleology suggests that if an isoform exists, it is important (similarly to the way in which junk DNA is now considered to be treasure),
they noted, as if smarting from the realization that the junk DNA paradigm has
imploded. But this idea [teleology] is hard to prove and is difficult for some to accept.
First of all, we dont know how many isoforms [products of alternative splicing] are functional,
and the question of how many alternative splicing events are functionally relevant is destined to
remain unanswered for some time. A number of tantalizing possibilities appear on the horizon.
Another outstanding question is whether there is a decipherable splicing code.
Will a computer be able to predict reliably the splicing patterns in a cell or organism?
Despite the numerous variables (known and unknown) involved in splice-site choice, rapid progress has been made in this area.
But it is not clear when or whether this Rosetta stone of splicing will emerge....
Much remains to be learned about the mechanisms of alternative splicing and the
regulatory networks of alternative splicing. It is clear that researchers are only beginning to understand
the diversity and details of the mechanisms that are used to regulate alternative splicing,
as well as the factors involved. Recent technological advances, particularly in genomic analysis,
suggest that the next few years are likely to be filled with many exciting and unanticipated discoveries
that could rapidly reveal the mysteries of the field.
- Endocytosis: Master Plan Association: Cells are not isolated entities. They interact
profoundly with their environment. One way they do this is through endocytosis: the orderly capture of
material from outside the cell membrane to the inside. The authors of the third entry in Building a Cell4
wrote that endocytosis, long understood as mere intercellular trafficking, is being integrated at a deeper level
in the cellular master plan (the cellular network of signalling circuits that lie at the
base of the cells make-up). By deciphering this level, the endocytotic matrix,
scientists might uncover a fundamental aspect of how a cell is built.
Their are two major types of endocytosis. One uses clathrin (see 10/07/2003), the other does not.
Clathrin is a unique 3-legged protein that links up to form a kind of geodesic-dome net around the cargo coming
in through the cell membrane (watch the Flight of the Clathrin Bumblebee animation from
Harvard). Other pathways envelop the cargo in lipids, without the clathrin.
By containing the cargo in a vesicle, the cell can control it, like shipping containers arriving at a dock.
The cargo can contain nutrients or signals from the environment. A new finding coming to light is that the
signals are reciprocal. This hints that more is going on than once thought:
Recent studies, however, have uncovered a wealth of evidence that endocytosis has a much wider impact on signalling, including the finding that signalling pathways and endocytic pathways are regulated in a reciprocal manner, and the finding that several molecules have roles in both endocytosis and signalling (see refs 3, 4, 5 for reviews). The emerging model is that the net biochemical output of signalling pathways largely depends on topological constraints. These constraints are imposed by the association of signalling molecules with membranes, which in turn is regulated by endocytosis and by cycles of endocytosis and recycling to the plasma membrane (that is, endocytic and exocytic cycles (EECs)). This set-up allows signals to be decoded by the cell according to precise kinetics and at spatially defined sites of action. And, not surprisingly, it translates into endocytosis having a large impact on almost every cellular process. In addition, evidence is emerging that the endocytic machinery has molecular functions that are not immediately reconcilable with membrane trafficking, leading researchers to question whether these non-canonical functions are moonlighting jobs or whether they point to deeper levels of integration of the endocytic matrix within signalling circuitries and cellular programs.
Moonlighting jobs: what a suggestive analogy. But if the moonlighting is even part of a bigger master plan,
thats even more suggestive of unforeseen complexity at deeper levels. Here we summarize the
current understanding of how endocytosis is embedded in the cellular master plan, and more specifically
its connections to signalling, they said, launching into the discussion. They seem to like that
master plan metaphor: We review endocytosis at the level of the circuits involved,
highlighting how the integration of endocytosis and signalling determines the net biochemical output of a cell.
Then, we analyse how endocytosis affects the execution of complex cellular programs.
And, last, we speculate on how endocytosis might have evolved to become a pervasive component of the cellular master plan.
How did the E-word evolved sneak into the master plan? We shall see.
Sparing our overwhelmed readers the details of signalling, circuits and I/O, we note
that the authors make a plea for systems biology to pull all this data together
i.e., a big-picture perspective. We note the authors mentioning microtubule motors
that propel the vesicles along highways to their targets, such as the nucleus. Yet the
average speed of the motors seem inadequate to explain how the signals traverse large
distances to reach their targets as rapidly as experiments show. Are there traveling
waves of protein activation? We dont yet know. The system also has to
account for degradation and recycling of some parts. Recent findings show endocytosis
intimately involved in such diverse activities as mitosis, cell-cycle progression, and transcription,
as well as in signaling. The roles for endocytosis described by the authors seems endless:
asymmetrical cell division, cytokinesis (the last part of cell division), genetic reprogramming,
tumor suppression, transcription. They wonder again whether the endocytosis mechanisms are
freelancing these jobs or are part of a bigger picture.
Trying to get a grip on how all these roles might have evolved, they explored three
analogies: (1) the moonlighting hypothesis (endocytic proteins carry on dual functions),
the (2) autogenous hypothesis (it all started with membrane budding), and (3) the Roman-road hypothesis
(it emerged for one function but found uses for others later, like Roman roads built to transport armies
proved useful for commerce). The autogenous hypothesis imagines the nucleus evolving from
an endosome (endocytotic vesicle). Eukaryotic cells would thus have evolved as a consequence
of the acquisition of a novel cellular property, the capacity to carry out endocytosis,
putting this process at the centre of the eukaryotic cell master plan. Putting
have evolved and master plan in the same sentence seems strained. It gets
even more strained when motors enter the picture: As a consequence, several functions must have co-evolved with endocytosis,
they said: For example, the evolutionary development of endocytosis must have co-evolved with that
of the cytoskeleton, because membrane dynamics requires cytoskeletal scaffolds and molecular motors.
How that happened was left as an exercise. The Roman-road discussion became even more personified
and mixed with intelligent-design lingo:
Different passengers can be envisaged on these endocytic routes: commuters, hitch-hikers, hijackers and ticket holders. Commuters are the regular passengers (cargo and associated machinery) for which the system was initially designed. Hitch-hikers are molecules that parasitize the system (that is, they hitch a free ride) for a purpose not associated with endocytosis, without altering the functioning of the system. Hijackers are hitch-hikers that sidetrack the system for their own purposes, causing it to malfunction, for example pathogens and, probably, cancer proteins. Ticket holders are hitch-hikers that have evolved to pay the fare, by acquiring a new endocytosis-associated role (and therefore contributing to the functioning of the endocytic system), while retaining their original role. Their new endocytic function might be unrelated to their original role to the extent that they seem to be moonlighting, thus bringing us back to the first proposed hypothesis [moonlighting].
How useful these metaphors are to really understanding the master plan of the cell is debatable.
But it appears that intelligent design is the key to unlocking the mystery of endocytosis, regardless of
what the authors think about evolution. Why? Because it is apparent there is a master plan:
The evidence that we have reviewed here clearly indicates that endocytosis and signalling are two sides of the same coin and should be conceptualized as a single cellular process that is central to the eukaryotic cellular master plan. Unravelling the logic of the endocytic matrix therefore seems to be indispensable to any attempt to reverse engineer the cellular master plan in order to understand how a cell is built.
Remarkably, their concluding suggestions for further research incorporate both intelligent-design and evolutionary concepts.
On the one hand, they recommended complete understanding will be obtained only by integrating an additional level of complexity:
information from omics approaches and top-down modelling, as if there really is a master plan.
But then they said we might be able to reproduce the evolutionary history of endocytosis.
Finally, scientists have traditionally devoted considerably more energy to understanding how things are than to how things came to be the way they are.
Re-evolving an endomembrane system in vivo, starting from prokaryotes, is a formidable task, but if it is successful, it will
enormously improve understanding of the master plan of eukaryotic cells. Go figure.
They used the phrase master plan eight times, but spoke of its antithesis, evolution, 14 times.
We can only hope that with understanding however scientists arrive at it will come healthful benefits, like the ability to fight disease.
- Chromatin remodelling: glimpses of a higher code: Combinatorial assembly is a key phrase in
the fourth paper in the series.5 If that sounds like coding, thats because it is.
Ho and Crabtree wrote,
Before mammalian genomes were sequenced and genome-wide analyses of chromatin function became possible, ATP-dependent chromatin remodelling was thought to be largely a permissive mechanism that operates to allow the binding of general transcription factors. However, the discovery that a large number of non-redundant genes are involved in chromatin remodelling and the ability to carry out more rigorous genetic analyses is enabling the specialized and instructive functions of these complexes to be defined. These functions arise partly from the combinatorial assembly of the complexes. The assembly of complexes from products of gene families suggest that biological specificity is produced in much the same way that letters produce meaning by being assembled into words. But the mechanisms by which these chromatin-remodelling words are translated into specific biological functions are still unclear, and new ways to probe complex chromatin structure might be needed before we can improve our mechanistic understanding.
The authors did not use the phrase histone code but the concept is related.
Apparently the combinatorial assembly of histone modifications is a means of storing
cellular information independent of the genetic code. An important question is whether
the code is heritable. The answer: we dont yet know. They said,
At present it is not known whether chromatin remodelling can transmit the memory of cell fate from one generation to the next.
With mounting evidence of the transience and reversibility of chromatin modifications
(such as the presence of histone demethylases), the view that chromatin configuration is fixed after being
established is giving way to the view that the chromatin landscape can be altered in response to
both extrinsic signals and intrinsic signals, such that de-differentiation through nuclear reprogramming is possible.
That possibility is clearly of interest for stem cell research. On the other hand,
If their program of action is transmitted from one generation to another, then uncovering the
mechanisms that direct remodellers back to their appropriate sites of action after each cell division
will be crucial for understanding how the specificity and the memory of chromatin-remodelling
action are achieved during development. One thing is clear from recent research:
For these reasons, the roles of ATP-dependent chromatin remodelling may be wider, yet more precise and programmatic,
than was previously thought.
What did these authors think about evolution? All they said was brief
and speculative. They assumed evolution without saying anything about how it took place.
ATP-dependent chromatin-remodelling complexes seem to have evolved to accommodate the major changes in chromatin regulation
that occurred during the evolution of vertebrates from unicellular eukaryotes (Box 1). As an example, complexes of
the SWI/SNF family, which is one of the most-studied families of chromatin-remodelling complexes, have lost, gained and shuffled
subunits during evolution from yeast to vertebrates. In particular, the transition to vertebrate chromatin-remodelling
complexes involved the expansion of several of the gene families encoding the subunits and the use of combinatorial assembly,
which together are predicted to allow the formation of several hundred complexes. But what is the advantage of combinatorial assembly?
This statement says little more than it evolved during the evolution of this or that.
Moreover, the wording that said evolution involved the expansion...and the use of combinatorial assembly,
by using subjunctive and passive verbs, shields the statement from any explanatory utility. <1>Who1> or
<1>what1> came up with the use of combinatorial assembly How? Why?
Evolution, a mindless and passive process, cannot shed light on such questions.
the authors avoided elaborating on what they meant. But they did elaborate on their last question,
what is the advantage of combinatorial assembly? Its much like the
advantage of alternative splicing (see #2 above): it allows for orders of magnitude more information to be derived from
the same compact code. It means that both alternative splicing and chromatin remodelling use
the same strategy of combinatorial assembly to yield vast quantities of functional information.
One of their figures illustrates how Combinatorial assembly of chromatin-remodelling complexes
produces biological specificity. They said,
Current evidence indicates that many vertebrate chromatin-regulatory
complexes are assembled combinatorially ... thereby greatly expanding
the potential for diverse gene-expression patterns compared with unicellular eukaryotes.
This expansion of compact information is particularly evident in the diverse patterns of
gene expression [that] occurs in the development and function of the brain,
they noted; therefore, it may be no accident that an extraordinary diversity of neural phenotypes is
emerging from genetic studies of the subunits of chromatin remodellers in the nervous system, they said.
No accident; does that comport with a blind Darwinian mechanism?
- Cell skeleton: epigenetic information: The final paper in the series concerns the cytoskeleton.
Did you know those soft squishy entities we call cells have a skeleton? Its true:
The ability of a eukaryotic cell to resist deformation, to transport intracellular cargo and to change shape during movement
depends on the cytoskeleton, an interconnected network of filamentous polymers and regulatory proteins, wrote
Fletcher and Mullins,6 (see 01/14/2008). Thats old news. Whats new, they continued, is that
Attention is now focused on how cytoskeletal networks generate, transmit and respond to mechanical signals over both
short and long timescales. An important insight is emerging from this work, they said:
long-lived cytoskeletal structures may act as epigenetic determinants of cell shape, function and fate.
Not all the information about a living cell is stored in DNA. Thats what epigenetic (above the gene) means.
These authors put cell research into a historical context. Years of detailed research
has brought us to a time when we need to step back and look at the big picture.
In a 1960 lecture, cell and developmental biologist Paul A. Weiss encouraged his audience to think of the cell as an integrated whole lest our necessary and highly successful preoccupation with cell fragments and fractions obscure the fact that the cell is not just an inert playground for a few almighty masterminding molecules, but is a system, a hierarchically ordered system, of mutually interdependent species of molecules, molecular groupings, and supramolecular entities; and that life, through cell life, depends on the order of their interactions.
Notice how this statement relates to the quote by Dr. Daniel Robinson at the top right of this page.
Understanding is not going to come merely from studying fragments; its going to require
grasping the big picture of how all these hierarchical complex organizations fit together.
This statement may be more relevant today than it was 50 years ago. Despite tremendous progress, fundamental gaps remain between our understanding of individual molecules and our understanding of how these molecules function collectively to form living cells. The sequencing of genomes outpaces characterization of the cellular components they encode and far exceeds our ability to reassemble these components into the types of complex system that can provide mechanistic insight into cellular behaviour. An even more difficult task is to connect the behaviour of cells in culture with that of more complex living tissues and organisms.
With that sermon in mind, Fletcher and Mullins delved into the details of the cytoskeleton.
The cytoskeleton carries out three broad functions: it spatially organizes the contents of the cell;
it connects the cell physically and biochemically to the external environment; and it generates coordinated
forces that enable the cell to move and change shape. The word skeleton is a bit of a
misnomer, they noted; it is a dynamic and adaptive structure whose component polymers and regulatory
proteins are in constant flux.
Once again, the concepts of combinatorial assembly come to mind. They use a
simple analogy that invokes images of intelligent design more or less:
The proteins that make up the cytoskeleton have many similarities to LEGO, the popular children's toy. Both consist of many copies of a few key pieces that fit together to form larger objects. Both can be assembled into a wide range of structures with diverse properties that depend on how the pieces are assembled. And both can be disassembled and reassembled into different shapes according to changing needs. But only the cytoskeleton fulfils all of these functions through self-assembly.
It appears that we are looking at a system that is both the toy and the player.
From a few simple building blocks, many diverse structures and functions are built. The authors wonder
how molecules collaborate to form functional cytoskeletal structures that both
provide stability to the cell and response from the environment. Does self-assembly
really explain such things? Or is it a place-holder for ignorance about processes beyond
Many wonders about the protein parts, like the microtubules, which form highways
for intracellular traffic, are discussed in this paper, which space does not allow to recount.
Heres one sample: A microtubule can switch between two states: stably growing and rapidly shrinking.
This dynamic instability enables the microtubule cytoskeleton to reorganize rapidly and
allows individual microtubules to search the cellular space quickly, up to 1,000-fold faster than a polymer
that is sensitive only to changes in the cellular concentration of its constituent subunits or to the
actions of regulatory proteins.
Microtubules, intermediate filaments, and actin filaments with their cross-bridges form intricate,
dynamic networks that give spatial organization to the cell interior. The pieces are not independent:
the polymers of the cytoskeleton are intricately linked together,
they said. The organization of these links and the resultant architecture of the cytoskeletal networks has a central role in
transmitting compressive and tensile stresses and in sensing the mechanical microenvironment.
On the hubs and highways of this network, motor proteins do their work carrying
cargo, pulling, harnessing, constructing, and responding to signals. Interestingly,
Some cytoskeletal structures can span distances much larger than that of the typical cell,
such as in filopodia, forming communication channels between cells. The same physical constraints
must be obeyed that engineers consider when building bridges:
Microtubules are the stiffest of the three polymers and have the most complex assembly and disassembly dynamics.
The persistence length of microtubules, a measure of filament flexibility that increases with stiffness, is so large (~5 mm) that
single microtubules can form tracks that are almost linear and span the length of a typical animal cell,
although microtubules are known to buckle under the compressive loads in cells. During interphase, the part of the
cell cycle during which cells prepare for division, many cells take advantage of this stiffness by assembling radial arrays
of microtubules that function as central hubs and highways for intracellular traffic. During mitosis,
the part of the cell cycle during which cells separate chromosomes into two identical sets, the microtubule cytoskeleton
rearranges itself into a high-fidelity DNA-segregating machine called the mitotic spindle. The ability
of the mitotic spindle to find and align chromosomes depends, in part, on the complex assembly dynamics of individual microtubules.
Another example shows that biology speaks the same language as engineering:
When shear stresses are applied to actin-filament networks, as well as to networks of intermediate filaments or extracellular-matrix filaments such as collagen and fibrin, the networks stiffen and resist additional deformation, as a result of filament entanglement (in which the displacement of one filament is impeded by another filament) and the entropic elasticity of individual filaments. When a rigid crosslinker such as scruin is added to randomly organized actin filaments and shear stress is applied, the magnitude of the elastic modulus (a measure of the resistance of the network to deformation) increases significantly, and the network retains the stress-stiffening behaviour attributed to the entropic elasticity of individual filaments. When the more flexible crosslinker filamin A is added to randomly organized actin filaments together with the molecular motor myosin, the rigidity of the network increases to more than that of an entangled filament network, and the network stiffens nonlinearly as though it were subject to external stress. These studies demonstrate the importance of the entropic elasticity of filaments in the mechanical properties of networks without specific filament orientation.
You get the idea. Youngs modulus, compressive forces, shear stresses and
other physics terms pervade the paper as if we were reading a treatise on architecture.
But its not just the architecture. These systems are integrated with other systems in
a hierarchical, unified whole the living cell. When things go wrong, the results
can be as catastrophic as an earthquake. And mutations in the genes encoding
intermediate filament proteins are associated with many diseases in humans ...
including a predisposition to liver disease in the case of some keratins, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
(also known as Lou Gehrigs disease) in the case of a neuronal class of intermediate filament called
neurofilaments, and progeria (a hereditary form of premature ageing) in the case of improperly
assembled nuclear lamins.
The authors commented on one other interesting and important development: epigenetics.
Evidence is emerging that the cytoskeleton determines part of a cells memory that is
inherited through cell division. Given that cytoskeletal structures are often highly dynamic,
with specific factors that promote disassembly and recycling of the cytoskeletal building blocks competing
with factors that assemble and stabilize them, is it possible for mechanical inputs to be recorded? they asked.
Because the time lag for disassembly of a network exceeds the cell cycle, it appears that a hysteresis signal
persists through the division: the result can be a persistent structure that affects the behaviour of a cell
over a longer timescale than the initial signal. It can provide a memory independent of DNA.
But this memory is not in the particulars, but rather than in the interactions:
In contrast to molecular motors, for which the relationship between force and velocity is immediately reversible,
the observation that there is more than one growth velocity for a given force suggests that actin-filament network growth
depends on history. The cytoskeletal structure and the process by which it is built can record mechanical interactions,
whereas a single filament could not. What are the implications? A cells fate will
depend not only the DNA it inherits, but on the structure of the parent cells:
To the extent that the cytoskeleton is intricately involved both mechanically and biochemically in
cellular processes such as cell division and motility, long-lived cytoskeletal structures could create
variability in cell behaviour and may guide variation towards certain phenotypes, i.e., cell fate.
The details of this idea have just begun to be explored in detail.
The authors ended by noting that, Until not long ago, eukaryotic cells
were thought to be distinguished from bacteria and archaea by the presence of a cytoskeleton.
But the discovery of cytoskeletal polymers even in comparatively simple cells of small size and genome
are revealing the central importance of internal organization for cell function.
They speculated briefly on the origin of the polymers of the cytoskeleton, but the description was
only about possible homologous structures in bacteria. More than 35 actin-like proteins have
been identified in bacteria, but most remain to be characterized, they said. This begs
the question about where the bacteria got their cytoskeletons. They must do a good job,
because we still have them with us.
1. Deepa Nath, Ritu Dhand and Angela K. Eggleston (Editors), Building a Cell,
463, 445 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/463445a.
2. Kerry Bloom and Ajit Joglekar, Towards building a chromosome segregation machine,
463, 446-456 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08912.
3. Timothy W. Nilsen and Brenton R. Graveley, Expansion of the eukaryotic proteome by alternative splicing,
463, 457-463 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08909.
4. Giorgio Scita1 and Pier Paolo Di Fiore, The endocytotic matrix,
463, 464-473 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08910.
5. Lena Ho and Gerald R. Crabtree, Chromatin remodelling during development,
463, 474-484 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08911.
6. Daniel A. Fletcher and R. Dyche Mullins, Cell mechanics and the cytoskeleton,
463, 485-492 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08908.
We hope you have enjoyed this tour inside the cell. Review articles like those in this series,
unlike single papers that focus on one detail, are valuable for pulling together many recent findings into a
coherent picture. And what a picture! Systems upon systems, structures upon structures,
codes upon codes: the language of networks, signals, responses, interactions, and communication
the details of which underscore the complexity of the whole. Whoever described a cell as an
undifferentiated blob of protoplasm should be placed in the Dodo cage. Dr. Mullins
sure knows better now. His paper was the least concerned about evolution. We hope he will
smell the coffee, trust his instincts, and wake up to thoughts of design (10/21/2008).
Evolutionists have to be the most incorrigible ideologues that ever walked this planet.
No one else in the history of mankind has had this much access to the details of lifes complexity.
Yet despite staring at this complexity with the highest resolution ever attained, and despite employing
the language of engineering to describe it, they continue to say it evolved.
They attribute machinery [that] must function with far greater accuracy than man-made machines
to blindness and accident. To add insult to injury, some of them forbid anyone from thinking anything else!
This is one area where the Master Plan has broken down. The broken parts require
complete overhaul, wipe, reinstall of new software, and reboot. It was costly to provide that overhaul, but it
can be downloaded free. In the big picture,
though, we can see that, all along, it was the Master Plan behind the Master Plan.
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
Was the Haiti earthquake an act of God? See what a natural hazards expert said
about it in PhysOrg.
SETI, Miracles, and Comfort
Feb 1, 2010 Would knowledge that the universe is filled with aliens bring you
comfort? Or are you more comfortable thinking humans are alone in the universe?
Seth Shostak, director of the SETI Institute, was interviewed briefly by Bill Hemmer
on Fox News this morning, where only one answer to this idea was assumed.
Shostak came on the program to talk about the recently-publicized
views by astronomer Paul Davies that alien life may be among us in forms we cannot
recognize (see PhysOrg and
for examples). Shostak agreed with Davies that scientists may be missing it,
because we are attuned to look for DNA as evidence of life. But aliens might be made
of other stuff QNA, ZNA or something we dont know, he quipped.
Shostak went on to opine that since life appeared quickly on Earth after
its formation, that suggests that life is easy to evolve. He leapt from that
suggestion to opine that life might be easy to evolve on other planets, too
i.e., that life is not a miracle, but will appear as a natural consequence anywhere
the conditions are right.
In the respectful dialogue, Hemmer interjected the option that even if
alien life is found, it doesnt necessarily mean it wasnt created.
After all, many people believe that life on Earth is a miracle. Shostak responded
(paraphrasing), Well, that would be comforting, wouldnt it?
He said a termite in a mound might feel special until it looked out and found
termite mounds all over the place. The short interview left off on that note.
Lets see if we have this straight. According to Shostak, (1) a scientist
is allowed to defend a conclusion on a single data point; (2) its OK to believe in
unobservables, as long as they are materialistic; (3) assumptions count as data,
(4) theology brings naïve comfort, but materialism brings realistic
unexceptionalism, and (5) dont believe in miracles rely on them
(Finagles Rule #6).
Who in the Universe Makes Music?
CEH has often challenged Shostaks ideas (e.g.,
or search on Shostak in the search bar for more), but this is nothing personal;
he appears to be a likeable chap and is only human. His ideas, though,
can be considered representative of many in the secular science community, particularly
in the astrobiology and origin-of-life tribal cultures. Since he often writes about them
in colorful language for the media, he places himself in the dunking booth (e.g.,
07/16/2009). Our arguments, therefore,
aim at the dunking lever, not the man (08/08/2008).
If he gets dunked in the process, well, we will be glad to offer him a towel with
the word LOGIC printed on it.
Shostak portrays himself a scientist, but what has he just done?
He has defended philosophical materialism with its own assumptions. He said,
in short, life evolved materialistically because it evolves materialistically, and
we know this because we evolved materialistically, because we are here. This is
worse than defending astrology with horoscopes, because there is zero evidence to back
it up. He assumed life emerged materialistically on an unobserved primitive earth, and since
that assumption pulled itself up by its own bootstraps, he walked around in the boots and said it
means life emerges materialistically everywhere and that it means life is not
miraculous. Yet the improbability of chemicals coming together into systems
with coded operating systems, able to reproduce themselves accurately, is so extreme,
it makes belief in theological miracles tame by comparison.
Then he made the bizarre assertion that the belief life is a miraculous
creation brings some people comfort. Do you see the disgusting elitism
in that remark? It characterizes many in academia, and in progressivist politics,
too. Its the underlying attitude that Were smart, and lay
people (especially those who believe in a Creator) are stupid. Their beliefs in
miracles (and other fairy tales) may give them comfort, like drunkards guzzling their
Southern Comfort, but we sober-minded, rational, objective scientists are the
Patrons of Truth and Knowledge and Wisdom.
This is not only patronizing nonsense, it is logical nonsense. Those who disagree with his materialism could
just as logically make the argument that SETI believers would find comfort in a universe filled with aliens.
In fact, a theist could turn the tables and argue that Shostak and his ilk have a strong emotional need to find comfort
in alien life, otherwise there is the disturbing implication that life might be somehow special, and
therefore might have been created. No theist need be disturbed by the discovery of life on other
worlds. A materialist, though, would find its absence disturbingly hard to explain. Who needs
comfort but a disturbed mind?
Finally, if Shostak employs inference without evidence to explain unobservables, he should
allow others to make inferences about unobservables from evidence. Without evidence for QNA, ZNA and other unknown bases
for alien life, nor any evidence it exists, he allowed Paul Davies and himself to speculate unfettered
about the possibility of life-as-we-dont-know-it living among us and throughout the
universe as long as it matches ones world view. Have a little fun with that kind of liberty.
Speculate that when the aliens are detected, their first message will be that it has been revealed to
them that humans are depraved sinners, so they are on the way as missionaries to bring us the gospel.
But even the material stuff physicists talk about is often inferred only by its effects.
We cant see quarks or neutrinos, but their presence is inferred by secondary effects in expensive colliders
and by the comfort it gives physicists in the elegance of their theories. It is just as common for
scientists in other scientific fields to infer intelligent causes from their effects in forensics, cryptography,
archaeology, and yes, Dr. Shostak, even in SETI itself (12/03/2005).
If you permit yourself the liberty to infer
intelligent causation from communications from sentient beings without evidence for it, then allow that right to others who
infer intelligent causation in the DNA of sentient beings in front of their observing eyes, right here on this planet.
If you allow yourself the liberty to believe in miracles, then dont deny that liberty to those who
define miracles not as wildly improbable chance occurrences, but as the visible effects
of intelligent agents, whom we know from uniform experience are able to direct and constrain the
laws of nature with goals and willful intent. Fairness, after all, can be a very comforting thing.
So is logical consistency. Your towel, sir.
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
Bible and Theology
Feb 1, 2010 A cosmologist and some musicians want to sonify the universe
by making music out of stellar events like supernova explosions. In an unusual
article for a science media outlet, Reaching for the Stars to Create Music of the Universe,
reported that Nobel laureate George Smoot was inspired by the wishes of a Grateful Dead
drummer and Grammy artist Mickey Hart to make music with a bang.
While the supernova can be seen, it cant be heard, as sound waves
cannot travel through space. But what if the light waves emitted by the exploding star
and other cosmological phenomena could be translated into sound? Keith Jackson
is the computer scientist bringing the cosmic data into the musicians recording booth.
It brings together my love of science, my love of music and my love of the Grateful Dead,
he said. What more could you ask for in life?
No, this is not going to get our Dumb award; it is
fine for human beings to look to nature for inspiration for their art and music.
There is a long-standing tradition of using and imitating the sounds of nature in composition.
Respighi incorporated the songs of a nightingale in his tone poem, The Pines of Rome.
Ferde Grofe used a wind machine in Grand Canyon Suite: Cloudburst.
More recently, fluegelhornist Jeff Oster used sonified electromagnetic waves from
Saturns magnetosphere in his piece, Saturn Calling. Undoubtedly you
can think of other examples. Centuries ago,
Johannes Kepler sensed a music of the spheres
in the orderly laws governing planetary motion.
Seven years ago, the American Association for the Advancement of Science embraced native
American religion, but could you ever imagine them making such overtures to Christians?
Read the 02/16/2003 entry.
What this reminds us of, though, is that music is a product of a human soul.
No one else we know is making music no aliens, no animals (at least in the production
of music for aesthetic purposes), and surely not supernovas. Maybe angels sing
if they do, its because they also are sentient beings with emotions. Finding aesthetic beauty
in the sounds and workings of nature is a trademark of human nature. Its not
purely logical, like Dr. Spock might call curious, though it overlaps with logic.
It incorporates the body and soul, the intellect and the emotions. But we would add
to this story: the only way to be grateful dead is to be right with God, both before and
after your physiology attains room temperature. What more could you ask for in life?
Next headline on:
Support This Site|
Note: if you have trouble with the donate function, please contact Feedback.
Scientist of the Month
Find our articles in:
Dutch Spanish Russian
|Guide to Evolution
Thank you for your site. I have thoroughly enjoyed it for a few years now and find it an awesome resource.
(a pastor in the arctic circle)
This is a lovely site, and I personally visit this often.... An interesting thing is also the
creation scientist of the month .... just this information alone is enough to write a book from.
(a reader in South Africa)
What God has done through you and crev.info in the past 9 years is nothing less than miraculous.
(an author, PhD in science, and head of a Christian apologetics organization)
I thank God for you and your contribution to His Kingdom. Yours is my favorite site.
May the Lord bless you this season as you get some rest. We really appreciate your work.
(a consultant in Virginia responding to our Thanksgiving-week hiatus)
Instead of criticising every piece of evidence for evolution how about presenting some evidence for creationism?
Obviously there are holes in evolutionary theory we cant even define a species! But its a theory with a
whole load of evidence and if taken at its definition is a mathmatical [sic] certainty.
(a student in Leeds, UK, who must have reacted to one or a few articles, and appears to be
philosophically and mathematically challenged)
In the creation vs. evolution world, which oftentimes is filled with a strong negative vibe,
your website is a breath of fresh air! Keep it up.
(a business manager in Texas)
The maple-seed helicopter (10/21/2009) is fascinating.
Ill be spending some time surfing your encyclopedic collection of articles.
(dean of the aerospace engineering department at a major university)
I stumbled upon this web site more than once by following links from my usual creationist web sites but now I visit here quite often. I am glad to see that there are more and more creationist web sites but disappointed to find out that this one has been running for nearly 10 years and I never knew about it.
(an electronics engineer in Sweden)
I am a teacher ... For three years ive been learning from you at crev.info/... My wife, a teacher also, passes your website on to all interested. We are blessed by your gifts to the body of Christ through this site! Thank-you for ALL your efforts over the decade.
(a teacher in California)
I just want to thank you for these resources that go back 9 years.
It has helped be tremendously when debating evolutionists. Just like in the Parable of the
Talents, God will say to you, Well done, good and faithful servant!
(an engineer in Maryland)
There is no other place I can find the breadth of subjects covered, yet with the detailed insight you give.
People actually think I am smarter than I really am after I read your summaries.
(a business owner in Utah)
I believe there is a middle ground between ID and Evolution that defines what goes on in the real world. It hasnt been labeled by humanity yet, and its probably better that it hasnt, for now. The problem is there is still so much that humanity doesnt know about the universe we live in and our learning progress is so uneven throughout our population. If there is an Intelligent Designer, and I believe there is, these problems too will be taken care of eventually. In the meantime, you do the best you can, the best that's humanly possible, to be objective and logical, while maintaining your faith.
(a retired letter carrier in Pennsylvania)
The information you have provided has been instrumental in completely resolving
any lingering doubts I had when I became a Christian and being faced with the monolithic
theory of evolution. Your website is unique in that it allows the evolutionists
themselves to shoot them in the feet by quoting them in context. Bravo!
(a retired surveyor in Australia)
I really enjoy reading your posts and often send out links to various friends and family members to direct them to your site.
You have an incredible gift and I truly appreciate how you use it.... I have been a satisfied reader of your headlines for the last 5 years at least...
cant remember when I first stumbled on your site but it is now a daily must-stop for me.
(a senior software engineer in Ohio)
Thank you so much for your news. Ive fully enjoyed your articles and commentary for a while now and look forward to the future.
(a doctor in North Carolina)
I like your stuff.
(a doctor in New York)
Thank you and may God bless you all at CEH, for the wonderful work you do.
(a retired surveyor in Australia)
The information you put out there is absolutely superb.
(a lawyer in Kansas)
Your website is the best website on the web for keeping me current of fast developing crev material.
(a medical doctor in California)
I am a christian & really appreciate the creation websites, I check your site every night.
(a logger in New Zealand)
I just found your website a day or so ago and am totally addicted.
You dont know what that says, considering Im only now within the last few days, as a matter of fact
a recovering old-earther ... Talk about going down internet rabbit trails.
I could go deeper and deeper into each headline you post and never get anything else done...
(a home school educator, graphic designer, painter, former geologist in Texas)
I very much enjoy your web site. I have used it as a resource for debating evolutionist for about a year.
I am impressed at the breadth of journals and quantity of articles you report on. I have recommended your site to
several of my on line friends. I dont care if you publish this post but I wanted you to know how thankful
I am for all the hard work you do.
(an engineering recruiter in California)
I pray that our Lord continue to give you strength to continue writing your articles
on Creation-headlines. I have been really blessed to read it daily....Unlike all
other creation sites I am familiar with, yours has such a high scientific quality and
your discussions are great.
(a scientist and university professor in Iceland, where 95% of the people believe in evolution)
Thank you for the work you do ... I scratch my head sometimes, wondering how you have the time for it all.
(a former atheist/evolutionist in aerospace engineering, now Biblical creationist)
Im a regular (daily :) reader of your site. It is amazing the amount
of work that you impart in such a project. Thank you very much.
(an IT professional with a degree in mechanical engineering from Portugal)
I find your site so helpful and you are so fast in putting up responses to current news.
I have your site RSS feed on my toolbar and can easily see when you have new articles posted.
(a geologist in Australia)
I have been reading your website for several years now. Working in an environment where
most people believe that there are only two absolutes, evolution and relativism, it has been wonderful
to be able to get the facts and the explanations of the bluffs and false logic that blows around.
I have posted your website in many places on my website, because you seem to have the ability to cut
through the baloney and get to the truth--a rare quality in this century. Thank you for all that you do.
(a business analyst in Wisconsin)
...this is one of the websites (I have like 4 or 5 on my favorites), and this is
there. Its a remarkable clearinghouse of information; its very well written,
its to the point... a broad range of topics. I have been alerted to more
interesting pieces of information on [this] website than any other website I can think of.
(a senior research scientist)
I would assume that you, or anyone affiliated with your website is simply not
qualified to answer any questions regarding that subject [evolution], because I can almost
single-handedly refute all of your arguments with solid scientific arguments....
Also, just so you know, the modern theory of evolution does not refute the existence
of a god, and it in no way says that humans are not special. Think about that
before you go trying to discredit one of the most important and revolutionary scientific
ideas of human history. It is very disrespectful to the people who have spent
their entire lives trying to reveal some kind of truth in this otherwise crazy world.
(a university senior studying geology and paleontology in Michigan)
Hi guys, thanks for all that you do, your website is a great source of information: very comprehensive.
(a medical student in California)
You are really doing a good job commenting on the weaknesses of science, pointing
out various faults. Please continue.
(a priest in the Netherlands)
I much enjoy the info AND the sarcasm. Isaiah was pretty sarcastic at times, too.
I check in at your site nearly every day. Thanks for all your work.
(a carpet layer in California)
I just wanted to write in to express my personal view that everyone at Creation
Evolution Headlines is doing an excellent job! I have confidences that in the
future, Creation Evolution Headline will continue in doing such a great job!
Anyone who has interest at where science, as a whole, is at in our current times,
does not have to look very hard to see that science is on the verge of a new awakening....
Its not uncommon to find articles that are supplemented with assumptions and vagueness.
A view point the would rather keep knowledge in the dark ages. But when I read over the
postings on CEH, I find a view point that looks past the grayness.
The whole team at CEH helps cut through the assumptions of weary influences.
CEH helps illuminate the true picture that is shining in todays science.
A bright clear picture, full of intriguing details, independence and fascinating complexities.
I know that Creation Evolution Headlines has a growing and informative future before them.
Im so glad to be along for the ride!!
(a title insurance employee in Illinois, who called CEH The Best Web Site EVER !!)
Thank you very much for your well presented and highly instructive blog [news service].
(a French IT migration analyst working in London)
Please keep up the great work -- your website is simply amazing!
Dont know how you do it. But it just eviscerates every evolutionary
argument they weakly lob up there -- kind of like serving up a juicy fastball
to Hank Aaron in his prime!
(a creation group leader in California)
I just want to thank you for your outstanding job. I am a regular reader of
yours and even though language barrier and lack of deeper scientific insight play
its role I still draw much from your articles and always look forward to them.
(a financial manager and apologetics student in Prague, Czech Republic)
You guys are doing a great job! ... I really appreciate the breadth of coverage and depth of analysis that you provide on this site.
(a pathologist in Missouri)
I have read many of your creation articles and have enjoyed and appreciated your website.
I feel you are an outstanding witness for the Lord.... you are making a big difference, and
you have a wonderful grasp of the issues.
(a PhD geneticist, author and inventor)
Thank you for your great creation section on your website. I come visit
it every day, and I enjoy reading those news bits with your funny (but oh so true) commentaries.
(a computer worker in France)
I have been reading Creation Evolution Headlines for many years now with ever increasing astonishment....
I pray that God will bless your work for it has been a tremendous blessing for me and I thank you.
(a retired surveyor in N.S.W. Australia)
I totally enjoy the polemic and passionate style of CEH... simply refreshes the
heart which its wonderful venting of righteous anger against all the BS were
flooded with on a daily basis. The baloney detector
is just unbelievably great. Thank you so much for your continued effort,
keep up the good work.
(an embedded Linux hacker in Switzerland)
I love to read about science and intelligent design,
I love your articles.... I will be reading your articles for the rest of my life.
(an IT engineer and 3D animator in South Africa)
I discovered your site about a year ago and found it to be very informative,
but about two months back I decided to go back to the 2001 entries and read through the
headlines of each month.... What a treasure house of information!
....you have been very balanced and thoughtful
in your analysis, with no embarrassing predictions, or pronouncements or unwarranted
statements, but a very straightforward and sometimes humorous analysis of the news
relating to origins.
(a database engineer in New York)
I discovered your site several months ago.... I found your articles very
informative and well written, so I subscribed to the RSS feed. I just want to
thank you for making these articles available and to encourage you to keep up the good work!
(a software engineer in Texas)
Your piece on Turing Test Stands (09/14/2008)
was so enlightening. Thanks so much. And your piece on Cosmology
at the Outer Limits (06/30/2008) was
another marvel of revelation. But most of all your footnotes at
the end are the most awe-inspiring. I refer to Come to the light
and Psalm 139 and many others. Thanks so much for keeping us grounded in the
TRUTH amidst the sea of scientific discoveries and controversy. Its so
heartwarming and soul saving to read the accounts of the inspired writers testifying
to the Master of the Universe. Thanks again.
(a retired electrical engineer in Mississippi)
I teach a college level course on the issue of evolution and creation.
I am very grateful for your well-reasoned reports and analyses of the issues that
confront us each day. In light of all the animosity that evolutionists
express toward Intelligent Design or Creationism, it is good to see that we on
the other side can maintain our civility even while correcting and informing a
hostile audience. Keep up the good work and do not compromise your high
standards. I rely on you for alerting me to whatever happens to be the news
of the day.
(a faculty member at a Bible college in Missouri)
Congratulations on reaching 8 years of absolute success with crev.info....
Your knowledge and grasp of the issues are indeed matched by your character and desire for truth,
and it shows on every web page you write.... I hope your work extends to the ends of the world,
and is appreciated by all who read it.
(a computer programmer from Southern California)
Your website is one of the best, especially for news.... Keep up the great work.
(a science writer in Texas)
I appreciate the work youve been doing with the
Creation-Evolution Headlines website.
(an aerospace engineer for NASA)
I appreciate your site tremendously.... I refer many people to your content
frequently, both personally and via my little blog....
Thanks again for one of the most valuable websites anywhere.
(a retired biology teacher in New Jersey, whose blog features beautiful plant
and insect photographs)
I dont remember exactly when I started reading your site but it was probably
in the last year. Its now a staple for me. I appreciate the depth
of background you bring to a wide variety of subject areas.
(a software development team leader in Texas)
I want to express my appreciation for what you are doing. I came across
your website almost a year ago.... your blog [sic; news service] is one that I regularly
read. When it comes to beneficial anti-evolutionist material, your blog
has been the most helpful for me.
(a Bible scholar and professor in Michigan)
I enjoyed reading your site. I completely disagree with you on just
about every point, but you do an excellent job of organizing information.
(a software engineer in Virginia. His criticisms led to an engaging dialogue.
He left off at one point, saying, You have given me much to think about.)
I have learned so much since discovering your site about 3 years ago.
I am a homeschooling mother of five and my children and I are just in wonder over
some the discoveries in science that have been explored on creation-evolution headlines.
The baloney detector will become a part of my curriculum during the next school year.
EVERYONE I know needs to be well versed on the types of deceptive practices used by
those opposed to truth, whether it be in science, politics, or whatever the subject.
(a homeschooling mom in Mississippi)
Just wanted to say how much I love your website. You present the truth
in a very direct, comprehensive manner, while peeling away the layers of propaganda
disguised as 'evidence' for the theory of evolution.
(a health care worker in Canada)
Ive been reading you daily for about a year now. Im extremely
impressed with how many sources you keep tabs on and I rely on you to keep my finger
on the pulse of the controversy now.
(a web application programmer in Maryland)
I would like to express my appreciation for your work exposing the Darwinist
assumptions and speculation masquerading as science.... When I discovered your site
through a link... I knew that I had struck gold! ....Your site has helped me to
understand how the Darwinists use propaganda techniques to confuse the public.
I never would have had so much insight otherwise... I check your site almost daily to
keep informed of new developments.
(a lumber mill employee in Florida)
I have been reading your website for about the past year or so.
You are [an] excellent resource. Your information and analysis is spot on, up to
date and accurate. Keep up the good work.
(an accountant in Illinois)
This website redefines debunking. Thanks for wading through the obfuscation
that passes for evolution science to expose the sartorial deficiencies of
Emperor Charles and his minions. Simply the best site of its kind, an
amazing resource. Keep up the great work!
(an engineer in Michigan)
I have been a fan of your daily news items for about two years, when a friend pointed
me to it. I now visit every day (or almost every day)... A quick kudo: You are
amazing, incredible, thorough, indispensable, and I could list another ten
superlatives. Again, I just dont know how you manage to comb so widely, in so many
technical journals, to come up with all this great news from science info.
(a PhD professor of scientific rhetoric in Florida and author of two books, who added that he was
awe-struck by this site)
Featured Creation Scientist for February
Leonardo da Vinci
1452 - 1519
Before getting more into the life of Leonardo, two specific slanders about
him from the book The Da Vinci Code should be dealt with. One was that he painted Mary Magdalene into The
Last Supper, because the person supposed to be John looks effeminate or androgynous.
This page on Priory-of-Sion.com
compares the work with other art of the Renaissance, showing it was common practice to depict
John as beardless, young and gentle (but certainly a man, not Mary).
There is no basis for the claim Leonardo painted a secret message in the piece.
Browns claim amounts to a slander of one of the worlds greatest artworks,
and takes attention away from its powerful depiction of the Savior, whom Leonardo regarded
with the highest reverence.
Another slander is that Leonardo was a flamboyant homosexual.
Again, this has no basis in history. It is libelous to consider a man homosexual based
on marital status; would all bachelors allow such an implication? Leonardo was an artist
of the first order. He painted all kinds of characters in various situations in
Renaissance styles. He was also a scientist and keen observer of nature; that is why
he studied anatomy so as to present his characters as realistically as possible. He did
not get along with his contemporary Michelangelo, the more likely homosexual. There is
evidence that this myth about Leonardos sexuality was promulgated by Sigmund Freud.
Here is what Jack Meadows says in The Great Scientists:
....both Morelli and Freud took up seemingly marginal clues from which
they could construct a plausible case... Earlier, in 1910, from a single sentence in the notebooks of
Leonardo da Vinci, he [Freud] had suggested that the artist had been over-mothered in
childhood and turned into a homosexual. Unfortunately, in 1923 it was shown
that Freuds analysis turned on a German translators false rendering
of the Italian word for a childs kite as a vulture. Nor were art historians
convinced by Freuds analysis on Michelangelo.
Meadows continues by saying that these studies were very influential even when
based on a mistranslation.
Its easy but unfair to use innuendo against historical heroes who are no longer
present to defend themselves. Lets give Leonardo the benefit of the doubt.
His work should speak for itself.
So who was Leonardo da Vinci? Without dispute, he was one of the greatest
stars of early science, the consummate Renaissance Man, at once a painter and sculptor par
excellence, and also a keen observer, inventor and innovator. He has been called a man
ahead of his time. He produced drawings for flying machines, parachutes, giant
crossbows, battle tanks and other devices, indicating his forward-looking mind and faith in the
power of man to harness the forces of nature. He produced detailed sketches of internal
anatomy based on his own dissections when those about him trusted the work of Galen.
He studied the proportions of the human body, and gave us enduring art treasures like the Mona
Lisa (not, as Brown claims, an androgynous figure, but a painting of a real woman, the
wife of Francesco del Giocondo), the Virgin of the Rocks, The Annunciation,
St. John the Baptist, and The Last Supper.
Many of his works have Biblical themes.
The depth and genuineness of his Christian faith is less easy to ascertain. He was
Catholic in a Catholic stronghold. How much was his artwork a matter of satisfying patrons, or a
matter of the soul? How much did his motivation stem from Christian foundations, compared to
the renewal of Classical ideals characteristic of the Renaissance? Its hard to say,
but one clue from biographer
Vasari describing his work on The Last Supper is instructive:
He also painted in Milan for the friars of S. Domenic, at S. Maria delle Grazie, a Last Supper, a thing
most beautiful and marvelous. He gave to the heads of the apostles great majesty and beauty,
but left that of Christ imperfect, not thinking it possible to give that celestial divinity which is required for the representation of Christ. The work, finished after this sort, has always been held by the
Milanese in the greatest veneration, and by strangers also, because Leonardo imagined, and has
succeeded in expressing, the desire that has entered the minds of the apostles to know who is betraying
their Master. So in the face of each one may be seen love, fear, indignation, or grief at not
being able to understand the meaning of Christ; and this excites no less astonishment than the obstinate
hatred and treachery to be seen in Judas....
Continuing, Vasari has Leonardo explaining his thoughts to the prior of the church:
He added that he still had two heads to do; that of Christ, which he would not seek for in the world,
and which he could not hope that his imagination would be able to conceive of such beauty and celestial
grace as was fit for the incarnate divinity. Besides this, that of Judas was wanting, which he
was considering, not thinking himself capable of imagining a form to express the face of him who after
receiving so many benefits had a soul so evil that he was resolved to betray his Lord and the creator of the world.
This hint shows that Leonardo believed in creation as taught in the Scriptures.
Whether Leonardo was a devout student of theology during his life may be unclear, but Vasari claims it
became more important to him later in life:
At last, having become old, he lay ill for many months, and seeing himself near death, he set himself
to study the holy Christian religion, and though he could not stand, desired to leave his bed with
the help of his friends and servants to receive the Holy Sacrament. Then the king, who used often
and lovingly to visit him, came in, and he, raising himself respectfully to sit up in bed, spoke of his
sickness, and how he had offended God and man by not working at his art as he ought. Then there
came a paroxysm, a forerunner of death, and the king raised him and lifted his head to help him and lessen
the pain, whereupon his spirit, knowing it could have no greater honor, passed away in the kings arms
in the seventy-fifth year of his age.
Since we have not the firm evidence to indicate Leonardo da Vinci was a Biblical
Christian, and the Christian motivation for his achievements is ambiguous, we will not press the point.
It is clear, however, that a Christian world view was no impediment to the work of this inventive
genius, and that he did express clear indications of reverence for Jesus Christ, considering him
to be no less than the Creator of the world.
See also: Answers in Genesis short
article; Notebooks of Leonardo;
Gallery of artworks
If you are enjoying this series, you can
learn more about great Christians in science by reading
our online book-in-progress:
The Worlds Greatest
Creation Scientists from Y1K to Y2K.
A Concise Guide|
You can observe a lot by just watching.
First Law of Scientific Progress
The advance of science can be measured by the rate at which exceptions to previously held laws accumulate.
1. Exceptions always outnumber rules.
2. There are always exceptions to established exceptions.
3. By the time one masters the exceptions, no one recalls the rules to which they apply.
Nature will tell you a direct lie if she can.
So will Darwinists.
Science is true. Dont be misled by facts.
Finagles 2nd Law
No matter what the anticipated result, there
will always be someone eager to (a) misinterpret it, (b) fake it, or (c)
believe it happened according to his own pet theory.
3. Draw your curves, then plot your data.
4. In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
6. Do not believe in miracles rely on them.
Murphys Law of Research
Enough research will tend to support your theory.
If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
1. The bigger the theory, the better.
2. The experiments may be considered a success if no more than 50%
of the observed measurements must be discarded to obtain a correspondence
with the theory.
The number of different hypotheses erected to explain a given biological phenomenon
is inversely proportional to the available knowledge.
All great discoveries are made by mistake.
The greater the funding, the longer it takes to make the mistake.
The solution to a problem changes the nature of the problem.
Peters Law of Evolution
Competence always contains the seed of incompetence.
An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.
Repetition does not establish validity.
What really matters is the name you succeed in imposing on the facts not the facts themselves.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
Thumbs Second Postulate
An easily-understood, workable falsehood is more useful than a complex, incomprehensible truth.
There is nothing so small that it cant be blown out of proportion
Hawkins Theory of Progress
Progress does not consist in replacing a theory that is
wrong with one that is right. It consists in replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is
more subtly wrong.
The best theory is not ipso facto a good theory.
Error is often more earnest than truth.
Advice from Paul|
Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle
babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge by
professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.
I Timothy 6:20-21
Song of the True Scientist
O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made
them all. The earth is full of Your possessions . . . . May the glory of the Lord endure forever. May the
Lord rejoice in His works . . . . I will sing to the Lord s long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my
being. May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord. May sinners be
consumed from the earth, and the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!
from Psalm 104
Through the creatures Thou hast made
Show the brightness of Thy glory.
Be eternal truth displayed
In their substance transitory.
Till green earth and ocean hoary,
Massy rock and tender blade,
Tell the same unending story:
We are truth in form arrayed.
Teach me thus Thy works to read,
That my faith, new strength accruing
May from world to world proceed,
Wisdoms fruitful search pursuing
Till, thy truth my mind imbuing,
I proclaim the eternal Creed
Oft the glorious theme renewing,
God our Lord is God indeed.
James Clerk Maxwell
One of the greatest physicists
of all time (a creationist).
Like your site especially the style of your comments.... Keep up the good work.
(a retired engineer and amateur astronomer in Maryland)
I really enjoy your website, the first I visit every day. I have a
quote by Mark Twain which seems to me to describe the Darwinian philosophy of
science perfectly. There is something fascinating about science.
One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment
of fact. Working as I do in the Environmental field (I am a geologist
doing groundwater contamination project management for a state agency) I see that
kind of science a lot. Keep up the good work!!
(a hydrogeologist in Alabama)
I visit your website regularly and I commend you on your work. I
applaud your effort to pull actual science from the mass of propaganda for Evolution
you report on (at least on those rare occasions when there actually is any science
in the propaganda). I also must say that I'm amazed at your capacity to
continually plow through the propaganda day after day and provide cutting and
amusing commentary.... I can only hope that youthful surfers will stop by
your website for a fair and interesting critique of the dogma they have to
imbibe in school.
(a technical writer living in Jerusalem)
I have enjoyed your site for several years now. Thanks for all the
hard work you obviously put into this. I appreciate your insights, especially
the biological oriented ones in which I'm far behind the nomenclature curve.
It would be impossible for me to understand what's going on without some
interpretation. Thanks again.
(a manufacturing engineer in Vermont)
Love your site and your enormous amount of intellectualism and candor
regarding the evolution debate. Yours is one site I look forward to on
a daily basis. Thank you for being a voice for the rest of us.
(a graphic designer in Wisconsin)
For sound, thoughtful commentary on creation-evolution hot topics go to
(Access Research Network
Your website is simply the best (and Id dare say one of the most important) web sites on the entire WWW.
(an IT specialist at an Alabama university)
Ive been reading the articles on this website for over a year, and
Im guilty of not showing any appreciation. You provide a great service.
Its one of the most informative and up-to-date resources on creation available
anywhere. Thank you so much. Please keep up the great work.
(a senior research scientist in Georgia)
Just a note to thank you for your site. I am a regular visitor and I use your site
to rebut evolutionary "just so" stories often seen in our local media.
I know what you do is a lot of work but you make a difference and are appreciated.
(a veterinarian in Minnesota)
This is one of the best sites I have ever visited. Thanks.
I have passed it on to several others... I am a retired grandmother.
I have been studying the creation/evolution question for about 50 yrs....
Thanks for the info and enjoyable site.
(a retiree in Florida)
It is refreshing to know that there are valuable resources such as Creation-Evolution
Headlines that can keep us updated on the latest scientific news that affect our view of
the world, and more importantly to help us decipher through the rhetoric so carelessly
disseminated by evolutionary scientists. I find it Intellectually Satisfying
to know that I dont have to park my brain at the door to be a believer
or at the very least, to not believe in Macroevolution.
(a loan specialist in California)
I have greatly benefitted from your efforts. I very much look forward
to your latest posts.
(an attorney in California)
I must say your website provides an invaluable arsenal in this war for souls
that is being fought. Your commentaries move me to laughter or sadness.
I have been viewing your information for about 6 months and find it one of the best
on the web. It is certainly effective against the nonsense published on
Talkorigins.org. It great to see work that glorifies God and His creation.
(a commercial manager in Australia)
Visiting daily your site and really do love it.
(a retiree from Finland who studied math and computer science)
I am agnostic but I can never deny that organic life (except human) is doing a wonderful
job at functioning at optimum capacity. Thank you for this ... site!
(an evolutionary theorist from Australia)
During the year I have looked at your site, I have gone through your archives and
found them to be very helpful and informative. I am so impressed that I forward link
to members of my congregation who I believe are interested in a higher level discussion
of creationist issues than they will find at [a leading origins website].
(a minister in Virginia)
I attended a public school in KS where evolution was taught. I have
rejected evolution but have not always known the answers to some of the
questions.... A friend told me about your site
and I like it, I have it on my favorites, and I check it every day.
(an auto technician in Missouri)
Thanks for a great site! It has brilliant insights into the world of
science and of the evolutionary dogma. One of the best sites I know of on
(a programmer in Iceland)
The site you run creation-evolution headlines is
extremely useful to me. I get so tired of what passes
for science Darwinism in particular and I find your
site a refreshing antidote to the usual junk.... it is clear that your thinking and logic
and willingness to look at the evidence for what the
evidence says is much greater than what I read in what
are now called science journals.
Please keep up the good work. I appreciate what you
are doing more than I can communicate in this e-mail.
(a teacher in California)
Although we are often in disagreement, I have the greatest respect and admiration for your writing.
(an octogenarian agnostic in Palm Springs)
your website is absolutely superb and unique. No other site out
there provides an informed & insightful running critique of the current
goings-on in the scientific establishment. Thanks for keeping us informed.
(a mechanical designer in Indiana)
I have been a fan of your site for some time now. I enjoy reading the No Spin of what
is being discussed.... keep up the good work, the world needs to be shown just how little the scientist
[sic] do know in regards to origins.
(a network engineer in South Carolina)
I am a young man and it is encouraging to find a scientific journal
on the side of creationism and intelligent design....
Thank you for your very encouraging website.
(a web designer and author in Maryland)
GREAT site. Your ability to expose the clothesless emperor in clear language is indispensable to
us non-science types who have a hard time seeing through the jargon and the hype. Your tireless efforts
result in encouragement and are a great service to the faith community. Please keep it up!
(a medical writer in Connecticut)
I really love your site and check it everyday. I also recommend it to everyone I can, because there is
no better website for current information about ID.
(a product designer in Utah)
Your site is a fantastic resource. By far, it is the most current, relevant and most frequently
updated site keeping track of science news from a creationist perspective. One by one, articles
challenging currently-held aspects of evolution do not amount to much. But when browsing the archives,
its apparent youve caught bucketfulls of science articles and news items that devastate
evolution. The links and references are wonderful tools for storming the gates of evolutionary paradise
and ripping down their strongholds. The commentary is the icing on the cake. Thanks for all your
hard work, and by all means, keep it up!
(a business student in Kentucky)
Thanks for your awesome work; it stimulates my mind and encourages my faith.
(a family physician in Texas)
I wanted to personally thank you for your outstanding website. I am intensely interested in any
science news having to do with creation, especially regarding astronomy. Thanks again for your GREAT
(an amateur astronomer in San Diego)
What an absolutely brilliant website you have. Its hard to express how uplifting it is for me
to stumble across something of such high quality.
(a pharmacologist in Michigan)
I want to make a brief commendation in passing of the outstanding job you did in rebutting the
thinking on the article: Evolution of Electrical Engineering
... What a rebuttal to end all rebuttals, unanswerable,
inspiring, and so noteworthy that was. Thanks for the effort and research you put into it.
I wish this answer could be posted in every church, synagogue, secondary school, and college/university...,
and needless to say scientific laboratories.
(a reader in Florida)
You provide a great service with your thorough coverage of news stories relating
to the creation-evolution controversy.
(an elder of a Christian church in Salt Lake City)
I really enjoy your website and have made it my home page so I can check on your latest articles.
I am amazed at the diversity of topics you address. I tell everyone I can about your site and encourage them to
check it frequently.
(a business owner in Salt Lake City)
Ive been a regular reader of CEH for about nine month now, and I look forward to each new posting.... I enjoy the information CEH gleans from current events in science and hope you keep the service going.
(a mechanical engineer in Utah)
It took six years of constant study of evolution to overcome the indoctrination found in public schools of my youth. I now rely on your site; it helps me to see the work of God where I could not see it before and to find miracles where there was only mystery. Your site is a daily devotional that I go to once a day and recommend to everyone. I am still susceptible to the wiles of fake science and I need the fellowship of your site; such information is rarely found in a church.
Now my eyes see the stars God made and the life He designed and I feel the rumblings of joy as promised. When I feel down or worried my solution is to praise God the Creator Of All That Is, and my concerns drain away while peace and joy fill the void. This is something I could not do when I did not know (know: a clear and accurate perception of truth) God as Creator. I could go on and on about the difference knowing our Creator has made, but I believe you understand.
I tell everyone that gives me an opening about your site. God is working through you. Please dont stop telling us how to see the lies or leading us in celebrating the truth. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
(a renowned artist in Wyoming)
I discovered your site a few months ago and it has become essential reading via RSS to
(a cartographer and GIS analyst in New Zealand)
I love your site, and frequently visit to read both explanations of news reports,
and your humor about Bonny Saint Charlie.
(a nuclear safety engineer in Washington)
Your site is wonderful.
(a senior staff scientist, retired, from Arizona)
Ive told many people about your site. Its a tremendous service to
science news junkies not to mention students of both Christianity and
(a meteorology research scientist in Alabama)
...let me thank you for your Creation-Evolution Headlines. Ive been an avid reader of it since I first discovered your website about five years ago. May I also express my admiration for the speed with which your articles appearoften within 24 hours of a particular news announcement or journal article being published.
(a plant physiologist and prominent creation writer in Australia)
How do you guys do it--reviewing so much relevant material every day and writing incisive,
(a retired high school biology teacher in New Jersey)
Your site is one of the best out there! I really love reading your articles on creation evolution
headlines and visit this section almost daily.
(a webmaster in the Netherlands)
Keep it up! Ive been hitting your site daily (or more...).
I sure hope you get a mountain of encouraging email, you deserve it.
(a small business owner in Oregon)
Great work! May your tribe increase!!!
(a former Marxist, now ID speaker in Brazil)
You are the best. Thank you....
The work you do is very important.
Please dont ever give up. God bless the whole team.
(an engineer and computer consultant in Virginia)
I really appreciate your work in this topic, so you should never stop doing what you do,
cause you have a lot of readers out there, even in small countries in Europe, like Slovenia
is... I use crev.info for all my signatures on Internet forums etc., it really is fantastic site,
the best site! You see, we(your pleased readers) exist all over the world, so you must be
doing great work! Well i hope you have understand my bad english.
(a biology student in Slovenia)
Thanks for your time, effort, expertise, and humor. As a public school biology teacher I
peruse your site constantly for new information that will challenge evolutionary belief and share much
of what I learn with my students. Your site is pounding a huge dent in evolutions supposed
solid exterior. Keep it up.
(a biology teacher in the eastern USA)
Several years ago, I became aware of your Creation-Evolution Headlines web site.
For several years now, it has been one of my favorite internet sites. I many times check your
website first, before going on to check the secular news and other creation web sites.
I continue to be impressed with your writing and research skills, your humor,
and your technical and scientific knowledge and understanding. Your ability to cut through
the inconsequentials and zero in on the principle issues is one of the characteristics that
is a valuable asset....
I commend you for the completeness and thoroughness with which you provide
coverage of the issues. You obviously spend a great deal of time on this work.
It is apparent in ever so many ways.
Also, your background topics of logic and propaganda techniques have been useful
as classroom aides, helping others to learn to use their baloney detectors.
Through the years, I have directed many to your site. For their sake and mine,
I hope you will be able to continue providing this very important, very much needed, educational,
humorous, thought provoking work.
(an engineer in Missouri)
I am so glad I found your site. I love reading short blurbs about recent discoveries, etc,
and your commentary often highlights that the discovery can be interpreted in two differing ways,
and usually with the pro-God/Design viewpoint making more sense. Its such a refreshing difference
from the usual media spin. Often youll have a story up along with comment before the masses
even know about the story yet.
(a system administrator in Texas, who calls CEH the UnSpin Zone)
You are indeed the Rush Limbaugh Truth Detector of science falsely so-called.
Keep up the excellent work.
(a safety director in Michigan)
I know of no better way to stay
informed with current scientific research than to read your site everyday, which in turn has helped me understand
many of the concepts not in my area (particle physics) and which I hear about in school or in the media.
Also, I just love the commentaries and the baloney detecting!!
(a grad student in particle physics)
I thank you for your ministry. May God bless you! You are doing great job effectively
exposing pagan lie of evolution. Among all known to me creation ministries [well-known organizations listed]
Creationsafaris stands unique thanks to qualitative survey and analysis of scientific publications and news.
I became permanent reader ever since discovered your site half a year ago. Moreover your ministry is
effective tool for intensive and deep education for cristians.
(a webmaster in Ukraine, seeking permission to translate CEH articles into Russian to reach
countries across the former Soviet Union)
The scholarship of the editors is unquestionable. The objectivity of the editors is
admirable in face of all the unfounded claims of evolutionists and Darwinists. The amount
of new data available each day on the site is phenomenal (I cant wait to see the next new
article each time I log on). Most importantly, the TRUTH is always and forever the primary
goal of the people who run this website. Thank you so very much for 6 years of consistent
dedication to the TRUTH.
(11 months earlier): I just completed reading each entry from each month. I found your site about
6 months ago and as soon as I understood the format, I just started at the very first entry
and started reading.... Your work has blessed my education and determination to bold in
showing the unscientific nature of evolution in general and Darwinism in particular.
(a medical doctor in Oklahoma)
Thanks for the showing courage in marching against a popular unproven unscientific belief system.
I dont think I missed 1 article in the past couple of years.
(a manufacturing engineer in Australia)
I do not know and cannot imagine how much time you must spend to read, research and
compile your analysis of current findings in almost every area of science. But I do know
I thank you for it.
(a practice administrator in Maryland)
Since finding your insightful comments some 18 or more months ago, Ive
visited your site daily.... You
so very adeptly and adroitly undress the emperor daily; so much so one
wonders if he might not soon catch cold and fall ill off his throne! ....
To you I wish much continued success and many more years of fun and
frolicking undoing the damage taxpayers are forced to fund through
unending story spinning by ideologically biased scientists.
(an investment advisor in Missouri)
I really like your articles. You do a fabulous job of cutting through
the double-talk and exposing the real issues. Thank you for your hard
work and diligence.
(an engineer in Texas)
I love your site. Found it about maybe
two years ago and I read it every day. I love the closing comments in
green. You have a real knack for exposing the toothless claims of the
evolutionists. Your comments are very helpful for many us who dont know
enough to respond to their claims. Thanks for your good work and keep it
(a missionary in Japan)
I just thought Id write and
tell you how much I appreciate your headline list and commentary. Its
inspired a lot of thought and consideration. I check your listings every day!
(a computer programmer in Tulsa)
Just wanted to thank you for your creation/evolution news ... an outstanding educational
(director of a consulting company in Australia)
Your insights ... been some of the most helpful not surprising considering the caliber of
your most-excellent website! Im serious, ..., your website has to be the
best creation website out there....
(a biologist and science writer in southern California)
I first learned of your web site on March 29.... Your site has far exceeded my expectations and is
consulted daily for the latest. I join with other readers in praising your time and energy spent to educate,
illuminate, expose errors.... The links are a great help in understanding the news items.
The archival structure is marvelous.... Your site brings back dignity to Science conducted as it
should be. Best regards for your continuing work and influence. Lives are being changed and
sustained every day.
(a manufacturing quality engineer in Mississippi)
I wrote you over three years ago letting you know how much I enjoyed your Creation-Evolution headlines,
as well as your Creation Safaris site. I stated then that I read your headlines and commentary every day,
and that is still true! My interest in many sites has come and gone over the years, but your site is
still at the top of my list! I am so thankful that you take the time to read and analyze some of the
scientific journals out there; which I dont have the time to read myself. Your commentary is very,
very much appreciated.
(a hike leader and nature-lover in Ontario, Canada)
...just wanted to say how much I admire your site and your writing.
Youre very insightful and have quite a broad range of knowledge.
Anyway, just wanted to say that I am a big fan!
(a PhD biochemist at a major university)
I love your site and syndicate your content on my church website....
The stories you highlight show the irrelevancy
of evolutionary theory and that evolutionists have perpetual foot and
mouth disease; doing a great job of discrediting themselves. Keep up
the good work.
(a database administrator and CEH junkie in California)
I cant tell you how much I enjoy your article reviews on your
websiteits a HUGE asset!
(a lawyer in Washington)
Really, really, really a fantastic site. Your wit makes a razor appear dull!...
A million thanks for your site.
(a small business owner in Oregon and father of children who love your site too.)
Thank God for ... Creation
Evolution Headlines. This site is right at the cutting edge in the debate
over bio-origins and is crucial in working to undermine the
deceived mindset of naturalism. The arguments presented are unassailable
(all articles having first been thoroughly baloney detected) and the
narrative always lands just on the right side of the laymans comprehension
limits... Very highly recommended to all, especially, of course, to those who
have never thought to question the fact of evolution.
(a business owner in Somerset, UK)
I continue to note the difference between the dismal derogations of the
darwinite devotees, opposed to the openness and humor of rigorous, follow-the-evidence
scientists on the Truth side. Keep up the great work.
(a math/science teacher with M.A. in anthropology)
Your material is clearly among the best I have ever read on evolution problems!
I hope a book is in the works!
(a biology prof in Ohio)
I have enjoyed reading the sardonic apologetics on the Creation/Evolution Headlines section
of your web site. Keep up the good work!
(an IT business owner in California)
Your commentaries ... are always delightful.
(president of a Canadian creation group)
Im pleased to see... your amazing work on the Headlines.
(secretary of a creation society in the UK)
We appreciate all you do at crev.info.
(a publisher of creation and ID materials)
I was grateful for creationsafaris.com for help with baloney detecting. I had read about
the fish-o-pod and wanted to see what you thought. Your comments were helpful and encouraged me
that my own baloney detecting skill are improving. I also enjoyed reading your reaction
to the article on evolution teachers doing battle with students.... I will ask my girls to read your
comments on the proper way to question their teachers.
(a home-schooling mom)
I just want to express how dissapointed [sic] I am in your website. Instead of being objective, the
website is entirely one sided, favoring creationism over evolution, as if the two are contradictory....
Did man and simien [sic] evovlve [sic] at random from a common ancestor? Or did God guide this evolution?
I dont know. But all things, including the laws of nature, originate from God....
To deny evolution is to deny Gods creation. To embrace evolution is to not only embrace his creation,
but to better appreciate it.
(a student in Saginaw, Michigan)
I immensely enjoy reading the Creation-Evolution Headlines. The way you use words
exposes the bankruptcy of the evolutionary worldview.
(a student at Northern Michigan U)
...standing O for crev.info.
(a database programmer in California)
Just wanted to say that I am thrilled to have found your website! Although I
regularly visit numerous creation/evolution sites, Ive found that many of them do
not stay current with relative information. I love the almost daily updates to
your headlines section. Ive since made it my browser home page, and have
recommended it to several of my friends. Absolutely great site!
(a network engineer in Florida)
After I heard about Creation-Evolution Headlines,
it soon became my favorite Evolution resource site on the web. I visit several times a
day cause I cant wait for the next update. Thats pathetic, I know ...
but not nearly as pathetic as Evolution, something you make completely obvious with your snappy,
intelligent commentary on scientific current events. It should be a textbook for science
classrooms around the country. You rock!
(an editor in Tennessee)
One of the highlights of my day is checking your latest CreationSafaris creation-evolution news listing!
Thanks so much for your great work -- and your wonderful humor.
(a pastor in Virginia)
Thanks!!! Your material is absolutely awesome. Ill be using it in our Adult Sunday School class.
(a pastor in Wisconsin)
Love your site & read it daily.
(a family physician in Texas)
I set it [crev.info] up as my homepage. That way I am less likely to miss some really interesting events....
I really appreciate what you are doing with Creation-Evolution Headlines. I
tell everybody I think might be interested, to check it out.
(a systems analyst in Tennessee)
I would like to thank you for your service from which I stand to benefit a lot.
(a Swiss astrophysicist)
I enjoy very much reading your materials.
(a law professor in Portugal)
Thanks for your time and thanks for all the work on the site.
It has been a valuable resource for me.
(a medical student in Kansas)
Creation-Evolution Headlines is a terrific resource. The articles are
always current and the commentary is right on the mark.
(a molecular biologist in Illinois)
Creation-Evolution Headlines is my favorite
anti-evolution website. With almost giddy anticipation, I check
it several times a week for the latest postings. May God bless you and
empower you to keep up this FANTASTIC work!
(a financial analyst in New York)
I read your pages on a daily basis and I would like to let you know
that your hard work has been a great help in increasing my knowledge
and growing in my faith. Besides the huge variety of scientific
disciplines covered, I also enormously enjoy your great sense of humor
and your creativity in wording your thoughts, which make reading your
website even more enjoyable.
(a software developer in Illinois)
THANK YOU for all the work you do to make this wonderful resource! After
being regular readers for a long time, this year weve incorporated your
site into our home education for our four teenagers. The Baloney Detector
is part of their Logic and Reasoning Skills course, and the Daily Headlines
and Scientists of the Month features are a big part of our curriculum for an
elective called Science Discovery Past and Present. What a wonderful
goldmine for equipping future leaders and researchers with the tools of
(a home school teacher in California)
What can I say I LOVE YOU!
I READ YOU ALMOST EVERY DAY I copy and send out to various folks.
I love your sense of humor, including your politics and of course your faith.
I appreciate and use your knowledge What can I say THANK YOU
THANK YOU THANK YOU SO MUCH.
(a biology major, former evolutionist, now father of college students)
I came across your site while browsing through creation & science links. I love the work you do!
(an attorney in Florida)
Love your commentary and up to date reporting. Best site for evolution/design info.
(a graphic designer in Oregon)
I am an ardent reader of your site. I applaud your efforts and pass on
your website to all I talk to. I have recently given your web site info
to all my grandchildren to have them present it to their science
teachers.... Your Supporter and fan..God bless you all...
(a health services manager in Florida)
Why your readership keeps doubling: I came across your website at a time when I was just getting to know what creation science is all about. A friend of mine was telling me about what he had been finding out. I was highly skeptical and sought to read as many pro/con articles as I could find and vowed to be open-minded toward his seemingly crazy claims. At first I had no idea of the magnitude of research and information thats been going on. Now, Im simply overwhelmed by the sophistication and availability of scientific research and information on what I now know to be the truth about creation.
Your website was one of dozens that I found in my search. Now, there are only a handful of sites I check every day. Yours is at the top of my list... I find your news page to be the most insightful and well-written of the creation news blogs out there. The quick wit, baloney detector, in-depth scientific knowledge you bring to the table and the superb writing style on your site has kept me interested in the day-to-day happenings of what is clearly a growing movement. Your site ... has given me a place to point them toward to find out more and realize that theyve been missing a huge volume of information when it comes to the creation-evolution issue.
Another thing I really like about this site is the links to articles in science journals and news references. That helps me get a better picture of what youre talking about.... Keep it up and I promise to send as many people as will listen to this website and others.
(an Air Force Academy graduate stationed in New Mexico)
Im a small town newspaper editor in southwest Wyoming. Were pretty
isolated, and finding your site was a great as finding a gold mine. I read
it daily, and if theres nothing new, I re-read everything. I follow links.
I read the Scientist of the Month. Its the best site Ive run across. Our
local school board is all Darwinist and determined to remain that way.
(a newspaper editor in Wyoming)
have been reading your page for about 2 years or so....
I read it every day. I ...am well educated, with a BA in Applied Physics
from Harvard and an MBA in Finance from Wharton.
(a reader in Delaware)
I came across your website by accident about 4 months ago and look at it every day....
About 8 months ago I was reading a letter to the editor of the Seattle Times that was written
by a staunch anti-Creationist and it sparked my interest enough to research the
topic and within a week I was yelling, my whole lifes education has been a lie!!!
Ive put more study into Biblical Creation in the last 8 months than any other topic in my life.
Past that, through resources like your website...Ive been able to convince my father (professional mathematician and amateur geologist), my best friend (mechanical engineer and fellow USAF Academy Grad/Creation Science nutcase), my pastor (he was the hardest to crack), and many others to realize the Truth of Creation.... Resources like your website help the rest of us at the grassroots level drum up interest in the subject. And regardless of what the major media says: Creationism is spreading like wildfire, so please keep your website going to help fan the flames.
(an Air Force Academy graduate and officer)
I love your site! I **really** enjoy reading it for several specific reasons: 1.It uses the latest (as in this month!) research as a launch pad for opinion; for years I have searched for this from a creation science viewpoint, and now, Ive found it. 2. You have balanced fun with this topic. This is hugely valuable! Smug Christianity is ugly, and I dont perceive that attitude in your comments. 3. I enjoy the expansive breadth of scientific news that you cover. 4. I am not a trained scientist but I know evolutionary bologna/(boloney) when I see it; you help me to see it. I really appreciate this.
(a computer technology salesman in Virginia)
I love your site. Thats why I was more than happy to
mention it in the local paper.... I mentioned your site as the place
where..... Every Darwin-cheering news article is
reviewed on that site from an ID perspective. Then
the huge holes of the evolution theory are exposed,
and the bad science is shredded to bits, using real
(a project manager in New Jersey)
Ive been reading your site almost daily for about three years. I have
never been more convinced of the truthfulness of Scripture and the faithfulness of God.
(a system administrator and homeschooling father in Colorado)
I use the internet a lot to catch up on news back
home and also to read up on the creation-evolution controversy, one of my favourite topics.
Your site is always my first port of call for the latest news and views and I really appreciate
the work you put into keeping it up to date and all the helpful links you provide. You are a
beacon of light for anyone who wants to hear frank, honest conclusions instead of the usual diluted
garbage we are spoon-fed by the media.... Keep up the good work and know that youre changing lives.
(a teacher in Spain)
I am grateful to you for your site and look forward to reading new
stories.... I particularly value it for being up to date with what is going on.
(from the Isle of Wight, UK)
[Creation-Evolution Headlines] is the place to go for late-breaking
news [on origins]; it has the most information and the quickest turnaround.
Its incredible I dont know how you do it.
I cant believe all the articles you find. God bless you!
(a radio producer in Riverside, CA)
Just thought I let you know how much I enjoy
reading your Headlines section. I really appreciate
how you are keeping your ear to the ground in so
many different areas. It seems that there is almost
no scientific discipline that has been unaffected
by Darwins Folly.
(a programmer in aerospace from Gardena, CA)
I enjoy reading the comments on news articles on your site very much. It is incredible
how much refuse is being published in several scientific fields regarding evolution.
It is good to notice that the efforts of true scientists have an increasing influence at schools,
but also in the media.... May God bless your efforts and open the eyes of the blinded evolutionists
and the general public that are being deceived by pseudo-scientists.... I enjoy the site very much
and I highly respect the work you and the team are doing to spread the truth.
(an ebusiness manager in the Netherlands)
I discovered your site through a link at certain website...
It has greatly helped me being updated with the latest development in science and with
critical comments from you. I also love your baloney detector
and in fact have translated some part of the baloney detector into our language (Indonesian).
I plan to translate them all for my friends so as to empower them.
(a staff member of a bilateral agency in West Timor, Indonesia)
...absolutely brilliant and inspiring.
(a documentary film producer, remarking on the
I found your site several months ago and within weeks
had gone through your entire archives.... I check in several times a day for further
information and am always excited to read the new
articles. Your insight into the difference between
what is actually known versus what is reported has
given me the confidence to stand up for what I
believe. I always felt there was more to the story,
and your articles have given me the tools to read
through the hype....
You are an invaluable help and I commend your efforts.
Keep up the great work.
(a sound technician in Alberta)
I discovered your site (through a link from a blog) a few weeks ago and I cant stop reading it....
I also enjoy your insightful and humorous commentary at the end of each story. If the evolutionists
blindness wasnt so sad, I would laugh harder.
I have a masters degree in mechanical engineering from a leading University. When I read the descriptions, see the pictures, and watch the movies of the inner workings of the cell, Im absolutely amazed.... Thanks for bringing these amazing stories daily. Keep up the good work.
(an engineer in Virginia)
I stumbled across your site several months ago and have
been reading it practically daily. I enjoy the inter-links
to previous material as well as the links to the quoted
research. Ive been in head-to-head debate with a
materialist for over a year now. Evolution is just one of
those debates. Your site is among others that have been a
real help in expanding my understanding.
(a software engineer in Pennsylvania)
I was in the April 28, 2005 issue of Nature [see 04/27/2005
story] regarding the rise of intelligent design in the universities. It was through your website
that I began my journey out of the crisis of faith which was mentioned in that article. It was an honor to see you all highlighting the article in Nature. Thank you for all you have done!
(Salvador Cordova, George Mason University)
I shudder to think of the many ways in which you mislead readers, encouraging them to build a faith based on misunderstanding and ignorance. Why dont you allow people to have a faith that is grounded in a fuller understanding of the world?...
Your website is a sham.
(a co-author of the paper reviewed in the 12/03/2003
entry who did not appreciate the unflattering commentary. This led to a cordial
interchange, but he could not divorce his reasoning from the science vs. faith dichotomy,
and resulted in an impasse over definitions but, at least, a more mutually respectful dialogue.
He never did explain how his paper supported Darwinian macroevolution. He just claimed
evolution is a fact.)
I absolutely love creation-evolution news. As a Finnish university student very
interested in science, I frequent your site to find out about all the new science
stuff thats been happening you have such a knack for finding all this
information! I have been able to stump evolutionists with knowledge gleaned from
your site many times.
(a student in Finland)
I love your site and read it almost every day. I use it for my science class and
5th grade Sunday School class. I also challenge Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers to
get on the site to check out articles against the baloney they are taught in school.
(a teacher in Los Gatos, CA)
I have spent quite a few hours at Creation Evolution Headlines in the past week
or so going over every article in the archives. I thank you for such an informative
and enjoyable site. I will be visiting often and will share this link with others.
[Later] I am back to May 2004 in the archives. I figured I should be farther
back, but there is a ton of information to digest.
(a computer game designer in Colorado)
The IDEA Center also highly recommends visiting Creation-Evolution Headlines...
the most expansive and clearly written origins news website on the internet!
(endorsement on Intelligent Design and Evolution
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
dailyarchives go back five years.
(a reader who found us in Georgia)
I just wanted to drop you a note telling you that at www.BornAgainRadio.com,
Ive added a link to your excellent Creation-Evolution news site.
(a radio announcer)
I cannot understand
why anyone would invest so much time and effort to a website of sophistry and casuistry.
Why twist Christian apology into an illogic pretzel to placate your intellect?
Isnt it easier to admit that your faith has no basis -- hence, faith.
It would be extricate [sic] yourself from intellectual dishonesty -- and
from bearing false witness.
Sincerely, Rev. [name withheld] (an ex-Catholic, apostate Christian Natural/Scientific pantheist)
Just wanted to let you folks know that we are consistent readers and truly appreciate
the job you are doing. God bless you all this coming New Year.
(from two prominent creation researchers/writers in Oregon)
Thanks so much for your site! It is brain candy!
(a reader in North Carolina)
I Love your site probably a little too much. I enjoy the commentary
and the links to the original articles.
(a civil engineer in New York)
Ive had your Creation/Evolution Headlines site on my favourites list for
18 months now, and I can truthfully say that its one of the best on the Internet,
and I check in several times a week. The constant stream of new information on
such a variety of science issues should impress anyone, but the rigorous and
humourous way that every thought is taken captive is inspiring. Im pleased
that some Christians, and indeed, some webmasters, are devoting themselves to
producing real content that leaves the reader in a better state than when they found him.
(a community safety manager in England)
I really appreciate the effort that you are making to provide the public with
information about the problems with the General Theory of Evolution. It gives me
ammunition when I discuss evolution in my classroom. I am tired of the evolutionary
dogma. I wish that more people would stand up against such ridiculous beliefs.
(a science teacher in Alabama)
If you choose to hold an opinion that flies in the face of every piece of evidence
collected so far, you cannot be suprised [sic] when people dismiss your views.
(a former Christian software distributor, location not disclosed)
...the Creation Headlines is the best. Visiting your site...
is a standard part of my startup procedures every morning.
(a retired Air Force Chaplain)
I LOVE your site and respect the time and work you put into it. I read
the latest just about EVERY night before bed and send selection[s] out to others and
tell others about it. I thank you very much and keep up the good work (and
(a USF grad in biology)
Answering your invitation for thoughts on your site is not difficult because
of the excellent commentary I find. Because of the breadth and depth of erudition
apparent in the commentaries, I hope Im not being presumptuous in suspecting
the existence of contributions from a Truth Underground comprised of
dissident college faculty, teachers, scientists, and engineers. If thats
not the case, then it is surely a potential only waiting to be realized. Regardless,
I remain in awe of the care taken in decomposing the evolutionary cant that bombards
us from the specialist as well as popular press.
(a mathematician/physicist in Arizona)
Im from Quebec, Canada. I have studied in pure sciences and after in actuarial mathematics.
Im visiting this site 3-4 times in a week. Im learning a lot and this site gives me the opportunity to realize that this is a good time to be a creationist!
(a French Canadian reader)
I LOVE your Creation Safari site, and the Baloney Detector material.
(a reader in the Air Force)
You have a unique position in the Origins community.
Congratulations on the best current affairs news source on the origins net.
You may be able to write fast but your logic is fun to work through.
(a pediatrician in California)
Visit your site almost daily and find it very informative, educational and inspiring.
(a reader in western Canada)
I wish to thank you for the information you extend every day on your site.
It is truly a blessing!
(a reader in North Carolina)
I really appreciate your efforts in posting to this website. I find
it an incredibly useful way to keep up with recent research (I also check science
news daily) and also to research particular topics.
(an IT consultant from Brisbane, Australia)
I would just like to say very good job with the work done here,
very comprehensive. I check your site every day. Its great
to see real science directly on the front lines, toe to toe with the
pseudoscience that's mindlessly spewed from the prestigious
(a biology student in Illinois)
Ive been checking in for a long time but thought Id leave you a
note, this time. Your writing on these complex topics is insightful,
informative with just the right amount of humor. I appreciate the hard
work that goes into monitoring the research from so many sources and then
writing intelligently about them.
(an investment banker in California)
Keep up the great work. You are giving a whole army of Christians
plenty of ammunition to come out of the closet (everyone else has).
Most of us are not scientists, but most of the people we talk to are not
scientists either, just ordinary people who have been fed baloney
for years and years.
(a reader in Arizona)
Keep up the outstanding work!
You guys really ARE making a difference!
(a reader in Texas)
I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say that science is not
hostile towards religion. It is the dogmatically religious that are
unwaveringly hostile towards any kind of science which threatens their
dearly-held precepts. Science (real, open-minded science) is not
interested in theological navel-gazing.
Note: Please supply your name and location when writing in. Anonymous attacks
only make one look foolish and cowardly, and will not normally be printed.
This one was shown to display a bad example.
I appreciate reading your site every day. It is a great way to keep
up on not just the new research being done, but to also keep abreast of the
evolving debate about evolution (Pun intended).... I find it an incredibly useful
way to keep up with recent research (I also check science news daily) and also
to research particular topics.
(an IT consultant in Brisbane, Australia)
I love your website.
(a student at a state university who used CEH when
writing for the campus newsletter)
....when you claim great uncertainty for issues that are fairly
well resolved you damage your already questionable credibility.
Im sure your audience loves your ranting, but if you know as much
about biochemistry, geology, astronomy, and the other fields you
skewer, as you do about ornithology, you are spreading heat, not
(a professor of ornithology at a state university, responding to
the 09/10/2002 headline)
I wanted to let you know I appreciate your headline news style of
exposing the follies of evolutionism.... Your style gives us constant,
up-to-date reminders that over and over again, the Bible creation account
is vindicated and the evolutionary fables are refuted.
(a reader, location unknown)
You have a knack of extracting the gist of a technical paper,
and digesting it into understandable terms.
(a nuclear physicist from Lawrence Livermore Labs who worked
on the Manhattan Project)
After spending MORE time than I really had available going thru
your MANY references I want to let you know how much I appreciate
the effort you have put forth.
The information is properly documented, and coming from
recognized scientific sources is doubly valuable. Your
explanatory comments and sidebar quotations also add GREATLY
to your overall effectiveness as they 1) provide an immediate
interpretive starting point and 2) maintaining the readers
(a reader in Michigan)
I am a huge fan of the site, and check daily for updates.
(reader location and occupation unknown)
I just wanted to take a minute to personally thank-you and let
you know that you guys are providing an invaluable service!
We check your Web site weekly (if not daily) to make sure we have
the latest information in the creation/evolution controversy.
Please know that your diligence and perseverance to teach the
Truth have not gone unnoticed. Keep up the great work!
(a PhD scientist involved in origins research)
You've got a very useful and informative Web site going.
The many readers who visit your site regularly realize that it
requires considerable effort to maintain the quality level and
to keep the reviews current.... I hope you can continue your
excellent Web pages. I have recommended them highly to others.
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)
As an apprentice apologist, I can always find an article
that will spark a spirited debate. Keep em
coming! The Truth will prevail.
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)
Thanks for your web page and work. I try to drop by
at least once a week and read what you have. Im a
Christian that is interested in science (Im a mechanical
engineer) and I find you topics interesting and helpful.
I enjoy your lessons and insights on Baloney Detection.
(a year later):
I read your site 2 to 3 times a week; which Ive probably done for a couple
of years. I enjoy it for the interesting content, the logical arguments, what I can
learn about biology/science, and your pointed commentary.
(a production designer in Kentucky)
I look up CREV headlines every day. It is a wonderful
source of information and encouragement to me.... Your gift of
discerning the fallacies in evolutionists interpretation of
scientific evidence is very helpful and educational for me.
Please keep it up. Your website is the best I know of.
(a Presbyterian minister in New South Wales, Australia)
Ive written to you before, but just wanted to say again
how much I appreciate your site and all the work you put into it.
I check it almost every day and often share the contents
(and web address) with lists on which I participate.
I dont know how you do all that you do, but I am grateful
for your energy and knowledge.
(a prominent creationist author)
I am new to your site, but I love it! Thanks for updating
it with such cool information.
(a home schooler)
I love your site.... Visit every day hoping for another of your
brilliant demolitions of the foolish just-so stories of those
who think themselves wise.
(a reader from Southern California)
I visit your site daily for the latest news from science journals and other media,
and enjoy your commentary immensely. I consider your web site to be the
most valuable, timely and relevant creation-oriented site on the internet.
(a reader from Ontario, Canada)
Keep up the good work! I thoroughly enjoy your site.
(a reader in Texas)
Thanks for keeping this fantastic web site going. It is very
informative and up-to-date with current news including incisive
(a reader in North Carolina)
Great site! For all the Baloney Detector is impressive and a
great tool in debunking wishful thinking theories.
(a reader in the Netherlands)
Just wanted to let you know, your work is having quite an impact.
For example, major postings on your site are being circulated among the
Intelligent Design members....
(a PhD organic chemist)
opening a can of worms ... I love to click all the related links and
read your comments and the links to other websites, but this usually makes me late
for something else. But its ALWAYS well worth it!!
(a leader of a creation group)
I am a regular visitor to your website ... I am impressed
by the range of scientific disciplines your articles address.
I appreciate your insightful dissection of the often unwarranted conclusions
evolutionists infer from the data... Being a medical
doctor, I particularly relish the technical detail you frequently include in
the discussion living systems and processes. Your website continually
reinforces my conviction that if an unbiased observer seeks a reason for the
existence of life then Intelligent Design will be the unavoidable
(a medical doctor)
A church member asked me what I thought was the best creation web site.
I told him CreationSafaris.com.
(a PhD geologist)
I love your site... I check it every day for interesting
information. It was hard at first to believe in Genesis fully, but
now I feel more confident about the mistakes of humankind and that all
their reasoning amounts to nothing in light of a living God.
(a college grad)
Thank you so much for the interesting science links and comments
on your creation evolution headlines page ... it is very
(a reader from Scottsdale, AZ)
visit your site almost every day, and really enjoy it. Great job!!!
(I also recommend it to many, many students.)
(an educational consultant)
I like what I seevery
much. I really appreciate a decent, calm and scholarly approach to the
whole issue... Thanks ... for this fabulous
It is refreshing to read your comments. You have a knack to get to the heart of
(a reader in the Air Force).
Love your website. It has well thought out structure and will help many
through these complex issues. I especially love the
I believe this is one of the best sites on the Internet.
I really like your side-bar of truisms.
Yogi [Berra] is absolutely correct. If I were a man of wealth, I would
support you financially.
(a registered nurse in Alabama, who found
us on TruthCast.com.)
WOW. Unbelievable.... My question is, do you sleep? ... Im utterly
impressed by your page which represents untold amounts of time and energy
as well as your faith.
(a mountain man in Alaska).
Just wanted to say that I recently ran across your web site featuring science
headlines and your commentary and find it to be A++++, superb, a 10, a homerun
I run out of superlatives to describe it! ... You can be sure I will
visit your site often daily when possible to gain the latest information
to use in my speaking engagements. Ill also do my part to help publicize
your site among college students. Keep up the good work. Your
material is appreciated and used.
(a college campus minister)
Disclaimer: Creation-Evolution Headlines includes links
to many external sites, but takes no responsibility for the
accuracy or legitimacy of their content. Inclusion of an
external link is strictly for the readers convenience,
and does not necessarily constitute endorsement of
the material or its authors, owners, or sponsors.|