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Appreciate Your Gifts
May 29, 2011 We like to showcase stories of amazing animals, but humans are special, too.
What animal can boast some of the qualities that science has recently reported?
Microsoft has a novel take on human beings: use them as antennas.
Live Science reported that
since the human body gives off detectable electromagnetic signals, the signals could be harnessed to create a
home automation system that learns the layout of the house, then automatically responds to the body. Some day you might
turn on lights when you walk into a room, use gestures to turn up the thermostat or control the volume of
music, or operate appliances without knobs or switches.
- Math brain: Studies of Amazon tribespeople show that they have an innate understanding of
Euclidean geometry, even without ever learning it at school.
For the BBC News, Jason Palmer reported,
Tests given to an Amazonian tribe called the Mundurucu suggest that our intuitions about geometry are innate.
People in the Mundurucu tribe only have approximations for numbers, and no language for geometry,
but they showed comparable skill to French and US schoolchildren, even exceeding them in some ways.
The researchers believe this shows that geometry is intuitive for humans: they seemed to have an
intuition about lines and geometric shapes without formal education or even the relevant words.
They even grasped some non-Euclidean geometry better than some westerners, such as
understanding that parallel lines on a sphere can intersect.
- Baby skill set: Live
Science posted a gallery of Nine Brainy Baby Abilities, including innate knowledge of social power,
mind meld with dogs, following others moods, dancing, mimicking, learning during sleep, rudimentary math
abilities, ability to learn language, and innate ability to judge character.
- Infant rationality: A study in Science was titled, Pure Reasoning in 12-Month-Old Infants
as Probabilistic Inference.1 Whether they can or Kant make a Critique of Pure Reason is
a question for philosophers. The abstract said,
Many organisms can predict future events from the statistics of past experience, but humans also excel at making predictions by pure reasoning:
integrating multiple sources of information, guided by abstract knowledge, to form rational expectations about novel situations, never
directly experienced. Here, we show that this reasoning is surprisingly rich, powerful, and coherent even in preverbal infants.
When 12-month-old infants view complex displays of multiple moving objects, they form time-varying expectations about future events
that are a systematic and rational function of several stimulus variables.
See also the Live Science review of this paper.
It commented that robot designers have biomimetics on their brain: The goal, [Joshua] Tenenbaum [MIT] said, is a sort of reverse engineering
of infant cognition that might help robotics developers build machines that interact with the world more like the human brain does.
- Beautiful brain: Behind the outward shows of rationality are amazing cells.
Science Daily posted a color picture of the
brains most common cell, the astrocyte. Long considered to be little more than putty in the brain and spinal cord,
the star-shaped astrocyte has found new respect among neuroscientists who have begun to recognize its many functions
in the brain, not to mention its role in a range of disorders of the central nervous system. A group of researchers
at the University of Madison-Wisconsin has now succeeded in culturing some of these cells in a lab dish.
Other animals have astrocytes, dont they? Astrocytes, some studies suggest, may even
play a role in human intelligence given that their volume is much greater in the human brain than any other species of animal,
the article answered. They are involved in every brain function.
- Blind as a bat: The BBC News,
Medical Xpress and
Live Science discussed how the blind
can develop a sixth sense, a kind of echolocation, that helps them navigate in the absence of vision.
Some blind people are able to use the sound of echoes to see where things are and to navigate their environment,
Live Science said. Now, a new study finds that these people may even be using visual parts of their brains to process the sounds.
In fact, even sighted people can learn how to echolocate. This raises the interesting idea that humans are over-engineered
for perception, but through lack of practice fail to use all the latent abilities available to them.
- Power stroke: When you switch from walking to running, your body switches gears. The power in
walking comes from the hips, but when running, the body switches to get its power from the ankles, an article on
PhysOrg discussed. Researchers at North
Carolina State measured this tradeoff that occurs automatically; humans just take it in stride.
The human body is a natural antenna, the article said. It reliably picks up the electromagnetic
signals that emanate from all electrical systems and appliances in the home. These ambient signals can be used to
create an affordable home automation system that controls household electronics with a pat on the wall or even a simple hand gesture.
Many are already familiar with the Wii and Kinect game consoles that respond to body movements, and light switches
that respond to hand clapping. Tapping into human electromagnetic signals opens up new vistas.
The possibilities for controller free living are virtually limitless, reporter Leslie Meredith said.
A visitor from the past would probably worry he was seeing witchcraft if a wave of the hand could turn on the lights
but it would just be a clever application of manipulating plain old natural forces, like the old theremin musical instrument
that fascinated 1920s viewers with music made by a wave of the hand (see Theremin World).
When humans can get cats to respond to gestures, then theyll really have something.
1. Teglas, Vul et al, Pure Reasoning in 12-Month-Old Infants as Probabilistic Inference,
27 May 2011: Vol. 332 no. 6033 pp. 1054-1059, DOI: 10.1126/science.1196404.
Have you ever seen an animal make shadow puppets of human beings? Why not? Parrots can talk and sing,
but they dont reason about parallel lines on spheres. Gorillas make gestures, but they dont
write software to turn up the music with them. Peregrine falcons are fast, but humans make jets that fly faster
than sound. Whales are great divers, but humans build submarines that study life at deep-sea vents.
Birds navigate by the stars, but humans build spacecraft with star trackers that orbit distant planets. It seems we have
some bragging rights. Let the one who designed these innate capabilities in himself cast the first boast.
Five molecular motors that move you: 05/30/2007.
Next headline on:
Mind and Brain
A Little Knowledge Without Ethics
May 28, 2011 A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. When is knowledge enough?
And can a lot of knowledge be a dangerous thing, too? Whether little or much, knowledge
without ethics empowers evil.
Theres an exhibition on display at Trinity College Dublin called Human+: The Future of Our Species. Even the
leftist-leaning journal Nature found some of the art, supported by the Wellcome Trust, unsettling.1
Anthony King wrote about the exhibit that challenges what it means to be human. Genetics and artificial intelligence figure
prominently among its themes of augmented abilities, authoring evolution, extended ecologies, life at the edges and non-human encounters.
- Imbalance in India: Ultrasound is a wonderful invention that allows images inside the human body.
In India, however, where culture and economics puts a premium on the male sex, its use has had devastating consequences.
In Indian families in which the first child has been a girl, more and more parents with access to prenatal ultrasound
testing are aborting a second female in the hope that a subsequent pregnancy will yield a boy, said the study, published in The Lancet....
Between 1980 and 2010, they estimate, four to 12 million girls were aborted because of their sex.
The government has tried to stop the practice, but in a country where corruption is rampant, laws are easily
set aside. A 1996 government regulation designed to prevent the use of ultrasound for prenatal sex determination
is widely flouted, the researchers say, pointing out that few health providers have been charged or convicted.
A little bribe goes a long way. This could not have happened before science brought the technology to know the sex of an
unborn baby, but where does the fault lie?
- Imbalance in China: The Three Gorges Dam was a monumental engineering effort in China that worried
environmentalists and ethicists because of potential damage to the land and its people. Now that the reservoir is full,
reported, those worries have been realized.
Landslides, pollution, and economic upheaval with dire consequences for many displaced people are the result.
The BBC News added that 1.3 million people were displaced
by a project that was the contentious scheme even before it was approved. Ignoring warnings that it would cause
an environmental catastrophe, the government went ahead with the project.
Last week, in an unusual move, the government admitted that the Three Gorges dam has caused significant
environmental problems. But they remain unfazed by the consequences. In fact, they are going to build more dams.
- Endangered species: The Endangered Species Act has impacted many businesses and homeowners, depriving property
owners of rights to use their land in freedom because of the claims of scientists that certain species would be adversely
affected. For more than 40 years, Science
Daily reported, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has published the Red List of Threatened Species
describing the conservation status of various species of animals.
Now, however, an international team is calling for a reassessment of the definition of endangered species.
Are the one-size-fits-all criteria currently in use too simplistic? Our results challenge the application of the same sets of
threat criteria across living organisms and across regions, the team said, admitting that identifying which species
are most at risk can be difficult.... While each case must be judged on the evidence, one wonders how many human beings
have been deprived of their freedom, and what has been the impact on society and the economy, from the application of simplistic
standards of assumed knowledge.
- Climate change: For most of the past decade, global warming has been a doomsday scenario guaranteed by the
scientific consensus unless drastic changes in the worlds economies were made. States have passed carbon taxes; the
federal government pushed for cap-and-trade legislation; bodies of world governments agreed to make draconian cuts in emissions
that would cripple their economies.
Many scientists still believe the threat is real. Maybe it is, but the IPCC,
the world body that had been trusted with the scientific data to back it up, got caught in an embarrassing credibility crisis
over the Climategate affair in 2009. Subsequent investigations found conflicts of interest and sloppy data gathering by
the panel. Nature News discussed
the latest moves to repair the damage and reform the IPCC, while a growing number of climate skeptics have claimed the
threat is either overblown or unreal, leading to questions about how many nations and people might be suffering unnecessarily
over a little knowledge about climate processes that may be too uncertain for human beings to grasp.
- Government funding: Recent TV news reports mocked government spending to the National Science Foundation for apparently frivolous projects
like a shrimp on a treadmill, a robot that folds towels, and a study to discover if boys like trucks and girls like dolls. Senator Tom Coburn in particular
had brought some of these projects, buried in NSF reports, to light.
The NSF didnt take this lying down. Live Science
responded that some scientists cry foul over Coburns report, calling it misleading and out of
Whether or not researchers can back up the worth of their pet projects is one thing. Reporter Stephanie Pappas
did quote Coburns focus, It is not the intent of this report to suggest that there is no utility associated with these research
efforts. The overarching question to ask, however, is simple. Are these projects the best possible use of our tax dollars,
particularly in our current fiscal crisis?
- Fatherhood: An article on PhysOrg
pointed to the grim realities of fatherless families, but attributed the causes to poverty and lack of education.
Yet numerous men achieved success in spite of those causes. George Washington Carver
was an orphan, was dirt poor, was discriminated against, and yet became a highly successful and benevolent scientist. Is it
possible that the researchers behind the report are confusing causes and effects and ignoring other factors? How many
times has the government tried to eradicate poverty and ignorance, only to make problems worse?
Such questions need
to be asked before accepting the opinions of economists, sociologists, and public policy experts in academia.
The experts undoubtedly omitted to include input from the Family Research Council,
Focus on the Family and other conservative organizations that might beg to
differ on the causes and cures of fatherless families. In fact, a survey of the ideology of the researchers
behind this study might be illuminating. How many of them view government as the solution to all social ills?
Some of the exhibits include a man transplanting an ear onto his arm, a robot that makes threats to critics,
a robot that makes viewers ill at ease by imitating their facial expressions, a film showing robots boring holes into human bodies,
and a place where viewers can get genetically tested for a gene that is claimed to cause high risk behavior. This particular piece
caught Kings eye:
Taking a still darker turn is the sculpture Euthanasia Coaster. Should medical wonders allow us extended lifetimes,
boredom may bedevil us. Julijonas Urbonas imagines a humane and thrilling exit: death by roller coaster in the form
of an exhilarating 500-metre drop followed by a series of loops, the G-forces of which would kill passengers in a state of intense euphoria.
1. Anthony King, Art: Body work, Nature
473 (26 May 2011), p. 451, doi:10.1038/473451a.
Do you sense the lostness of this generation? There is no bottom in the abyss of human depravity when empowered by
knowledge without ethics. Things could get very much worse without a return to the Manufacturers Manual.
Fallible humans following the Manual would still make mistakes, but at least there would be a pole star to guide on.
How They Do It: Amazing Organisms
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Mind and Brain
Bible and Theology
May 27, 2011 The plants and animals around us seem so ordinary, but they all are so extraordinary,
the extraordinary becomes ordinary simply because of their numbers. But if you expanded the sample
space to include the entire solar system, what we have in earths biosphere should astonish everyone.
Here are some notable fellow creatures.
After the snipe article, someone left a comment, noting the total absence [sic] of any evolutionary talk in
this article. He said, I guess the researchers know that theres really no evolutionary explanation for
this phenomenal ability and so they keep their minds focused on what works in reality. No side-tracking into nonsense
speculation of evolutionary origins here. An evolutionist immediately retorted with an example of bad design
i.e., why God would not have made the world the way it is. He apparently didnt notice or care that he made a
religious, not scientific, argument (see Darwins
- Monarch butterflies: You can raise Monarchs in your garden. Loretta Downs does it, and
told her experience on PhysOrg.
The article speaks of the miracle of the monarch, its unlikely story, its
stained-glass wings of orange and black with drips of white, and
the most uncanny butterfly with so much wisdom tucked deep inside its jade-green chrysalis, the
transformation chamber that dangles from a leaf, where striped caterpillar unfolds into winged beauty,
catching drifts of wind.
Poetic excess? Not for her. Its a mystery, and we dont get so close
to these kinds of mysteries, says Downs. To watch this unfolding, its a miracle.
There is no better symbol for transformation, for the mystery of death that metamorphoses into
something altogether new a rebirth. She finds it a healing, comforting experience
to watch her butterflies.
Monarchs are featured in the new Illustra Media documentary
Metamorphosis, to be released on DVD June 15 and on Blu-Ray on July 6.
- Flowering plants: PhysOrg
What makes leaves sprout in the spring? In Canada a few weeks ago, trees were barren, but now
they are bursting with buds. Theres a transformation you wont find on Mars or Venus.
The question was answered by Malcolm Campbell of University of Toronto at least to the extent
science understands this complex program the article claims was designed by the trees over tens
of thousands of years, years Campbell obviously never experienced. He described how day length,
temperature and water availability are factors. Trees key on a cold snap in autumn being long enough to trigger the
program, followed by a sufficient number of warm days in the spring. Then global warming entered the discussion,
but despite the triggers mentioned by Campbell, the question remains: what makes leaves sprout in the spring?
- Wired seeds: Cute seedlings in the process of sprouting decorate an article on
Science Daily promising,
Genetic Wiring of Seeds Revealed. Work at the University of Nottingham has
discovered that the same mechanism that controls germination is responsible for another important decision in
the life cycle of plants -- when to start flowering.
Once again, environmental cues like temperature, light, moisture and nutrients trigger a complex
program to unfold. The researchers found a gene network, which they dubbed SeedNet, thats involved in both seed germination and
plant flowering. The internal and external factors ensure that the decision for a seed to germinate is made
at the perfect moment to ensure survival, the article said.
How could such a wonder arise? The article attributed it to purposeless causes, rooted in chance,
that act like a goddess: evolution has genetically wired seeds in a very complex way to
avoid making potentially deadly mistakes, the article claimed (see 04/23/2011).
Similarly, evolution took credit for the double duty of the genetic network: Given that seeds were evolved long after
plants developed their ability to withstand environmental stress, this indicated that plants have adapted existed genes
to fulfil a different role. Modular design is usually thought of as good planning and foresight.
- Cicadas: Those noisy cricket-like bugs called cicadas will be emerging from their underground hideouts
in the American south this summer. Some will live underground for 13 years before celebrating their brief above-ground
mating rituals; others 17 years. Why are these intervals prime numbers?
explained: It is no mere coincidence that cicadas have evolved indivisible life cycles, Natalie Wolchover
wrote. As explained by the entomologist Stephen Jay Gould, prime cycles have a major evolutionary advantage
over cycles that are multiples of smaller numbers of years, and for a simple reason: They make cicadas more elusive.
If they came up in 18 years, for instance, predators with life cycles of two, three or six years could get lucky every third or
ninth, sixth, or third generation. There are fewer coincidences with prime numbers because they are not divisible by
any other integer.
As plausible as this sounds, it avoids the question of what the ninth, sixth, and third generations of predators
would eat in between the lucky coincidences. It also says nothing about how the pupae survive these many years underground,
and even more amazing, how they all wake up on cue for a few weeks of frenzied mating, only to bury themselves as eggs
once again for another Brigadoon sleep underground.
- Dinosaur necking: Matt Walker had an unusual blog entry for his feature Nature Wonder Monkey on
the BBC News. He was
going to explain the tremendously long necks of sauropods (and of giraffes, for that matter).
Enter the theory of sexual selection. While it seemed Walker might present a triumphal account of how
sexual selection produced these long necks, the ending was rather different. He debunked the idea. He quoted
evolutionists who have discredited the idea that sexual selection produced long necks and other flashy traits like peacock
tails. In particular, Mike Taylor [U of Bristol] tested sexual selection on 39 giraffes and found no correlation
between neck length and sexual success.
While Matt Walker left room for sexual selection in crabs and birds, he accepted Taylors extended
conclusion, There is no example, anywhere, of a type of four-legged animal, of which there are many species, that has
evolved a single trait to be sexy. For sauropods, too, A sexy neck just didnt get the reptilian juices flowing,
he quipped. That leaves any evolutionary explanation for the even more remarkable species such as Argentinosaurus,
which holds the record for being both the heaviest land animal ever, and the longest, dangling with no support.
- Decorative spiders: Did you know that some orb-weaving spiders decorate their webs?
The BBC News explored this phenomenon for answers, but admitted that
exactly why the spiders adorn their webs is unclear. Leading contender for this tricky area
is that the spider adds highly-visible webbing in the center where it resides to make the web more visible to animals
that might accidentally damage them.
A researcher in Australia said, The debate about [its] function has lasted for over 100 years and is
still highly controversial. Another theory is that the decorations attract prey with the decorations.
What reporter Victoria Gill left out was any explanation for how a lowly spider could calculate costs, strategize, be motivated, or
tactically use the decorations by an evolutionary process. Those are the verbs of teleonomy.
- Smallest flying insect: The smallest flying insect is a parasitic wasp.
PhysOrg has a photo of one of
these little guys with a 1mm wingspan walking up a tiny egg of a cabbage white butterfly. Using a 22,000-frame-per-second
Phantom camera, the Flight Artists team from Wageningen University in the Netherlands recorded their acrobatics:
The high speed movies show how the parasitic wasp jumps up into the air, elegantly flaps around, and then somehow lands
the insect sometimes boldly lands face-first but can also land on its feet and head butt other wasps.
Time for some stats: wings beat at 350 strokes per second. Weighs one 40,000th of a gram.
Hitchhikes rides on other insects, such as butterflies. What this means is that the hardware and software for
controlled flight, navigation and reproduction is all packaged into a very tiny animal.
The article includes a short video of the wasps in slow motion. On a small white butterfly, the wasp
shows up as a speck on the butterflys face bristles under its compound eye. The Flight Artists team next
wants to take its extraordinary camera to investigate how birds, bats, bees and even seeds fly, to make the invisible
visible and to shoot images of fliers in Nature that fascinate them. See their
website at FlightArtists.com.
- Manta ray: A contest was held last month at the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center in West Bethesda, Maryland.
It was between two robot-building teams trying to imitate the elegant swimming of the manta ray.
Swimming like butterflies underwater, with mesmerizing ease and grace, manta rays are the envy of engineers seeking more
efficient underwater vehicles, Elisabeth Pennisi wrote for Science this week.1
In an article under the category Bio-Inspired Engineering, she detailed how teams from Princeton and University
of Virginia both failed, ending in a draw.
One of the contestants has long been enraptured with these gentle giants that can grow up to five meters wide.
They are such self-possessed, graceful animals, Alexander Smits said. It was almost mystical, he
added, thinking about his swim with these creatures years ago in Australia. I decided Ive got to know something about them.
No wonder; heres what Pennisi wrote about their specifications:
Mantas are everything one could want in an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). Ive thought for a long time
that the people who are interested in robotic mimicry were missing the boat in not looking at manta rays, says Adam Summers, a
comparative biomechanist at Friday Harbor Laboratories in Washington state. Most fish swing their body from side to side, and
thats not very handy if you are trying to stuff [instruments] inside. The manta body is stiff. Mantas are also
quiet, efficient swimmersAUVs tend to be one or the other. The best AUVs have a turning radius of 0.7 body lengths; the
manta needs just 0.27 its body length and maneuvers like a fighter plane. Based on the two robots performance,
in terms of maneuverability, were on the right track in understanding how mantas achieve such grace, says Frank Fish,
a functional morphologist at West Chester University in Pennsylvania who is working with UVa and Princeton on the manta project.
- Snipe hunt: Want to know the world speed-distance record for migratory birds? According to
PhysOrg, its the
great snipe, an endangered species. Arctic terns fly farther at slower speeds, and peregrine falcons fly faster for shorter distances,
but this winner excels at both speed and distance. Swedish scientists found that the birds fly non-stop over a
distance of around 4,200 miles at a phenomenal 60 mph. Some took off in Sweden and landed in central Africa,
4,225 miles away, in just 3.5 days.
This was a surprise. We never expected record-breaking flights for this ordinary bird,
they said. They had no idea where this species went after leaving Scandinavia, either. Tracking devices on
some of the birds revealed their secret. The article ended with a list of other speed records in the animal kingdom.
Trivia provided by article: The word sniper originated in the 1770s among soldiers in British India:
if a hunter was skilled enough to kill an elusive snipe, he was called a sniper.
1. Elizabeth Pennisi, Bio-Inspired Engineering: Manta Machines,
27 May 2011: Vol. 332 no. 6033 pp. 1028-1029, DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6033.1028.
Did you notice how many times the Darwinian arguments were vacuous stories, leaving the real questions begging?
This kind of storytelling masquerading as explanation will, unfortunately, be with us until the Darwinian edifice
implodes, a long-overdue event.
Mars as Anomalous Runt
You can help hasten its eventuality by drawing attention to the design specifications
scientists find in nature, to the observation that biomimetics (one of the hottest trends in science) assumes good
design, and that dysteleological arguments are appeals to religion.
Science will get along just fine without
the tacked-on personifications and just-so stories that are the besetting sins of the Darwin Party. The rest of
us can simply delight in the never-ending wonders of living things. Lets help put the fascination back in
biology with intelligent design.
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
May 26, 2011 The Mars rover Spirit is now dead in its tracks (JPL)
but the planet under it continues to rumble, in theoretical overhauls and anomalies. Mars has been much on the mind of news reporters
this week after a new paper speculated that the red planet grew up fast and then stopped as a runt.
In Nature,1 Dauphas and Pourmand studied ratios of isotopes of
hafnium (Hf) and tungsten (W) to envision a history of Mars much different than previously assumed. Their model
makes Mars form in about one-fifth or less the time previously assumed to be required.
In the same issue of Nature,1 Alan Brandon summed up the new idea:
It seems that Mars had grown to near its present size by 2 million to 4 million years after the Solar System
began to form, he said. Such rapid growth explains why the planet is much smaller than Earth and Venus.
Any explanatory gains, however, appear to be offset by puzzles, according to Blochs Law, Every solution breeds new problems.
Brandon said, The authors finding that rocky bodies the size of Mars accreted within 2 million to 4 million years
has ramifications for models of early planetary history. Some of these ramifications confirm earlier
theories, while others contradict them:
With such an early time for Mars accretion, which probably led to the formation of a global magma ocean, how do we explain
the times for magma-ocean solidification of around 100 million years after the Solar System began to form that are
obtained from measurements of Lu (lutetium)-Hf and Sm-Nd chronometers in Martian meteorites? Magma oceans are not supposed to take
that long to solidfy [sic]. This suggests that, although Dauphas and Pourmand have provided us with a key constraint
on the early formation and evolution of our planets, we still have much to learn.
None of the three authors explained how primary accretion (the gathering of dust particles into bodies large enough to grow by
gravitational attraction) might have occurred; they all began by assuming large bodies were already present. They also
assumed the truth of the controversial theory that earths moon formed by collision of a Mars-sized body into our planet.
Philosophically speaking, it is usually not a good idea to resort to ad hoc conditions to explain anomalies.
Live Science posted three videos of Mars, The Changing
Face of Mars, Whered All the Water Go?
and What Went Wrong on Mars? which includes some dramatic flyovers of
Martian terrain based on orbital photographs. The narrator divines unobserved Martian prehistory as if an eyewitness.
Science Daily presented the Dauphas-Pourmand theory uncritically,
treating the isotope ratios as unproblematic chronometers that allow scientists to see the unobserved past in a kind of crystal ball.
Space.com recounted the
history of failed spacecraft at Mars, the spacecraft graveyard. Keep an eye on
JPL Mars Exploration for latest news on this falls planned launch of
the next-generation red rover, Mars Science Laboratory, recovering from an incident that did not damage the
backshell (see PhysOrg).
1. N. Dauphas and A. Pourmand, Hf-W-Th evidence for rapid growth of Mars and its status as a planetary embryo,
473 (26 May 2011), pages 489-492, doi:10.1038/nature10077.
2. Alan Brandon, Planetary science: Building a planet in record time,
473 (26 May 2011), pages 460-461, doi:10.1038/473460a.
The question is not whether Mars had a history, but whether scientists are qualified as divination experts to read that history using
tea leaves in the present that provide no opportunity for testing or falsification. Since this solution breeds new problems
just like prior ones did, is amply seasoned with perhapses and maybes, and will undoubtedly be overturned in another few years,
astute readers had best avoid following the priests to the shrine of scientism, instead filtering out what observational
clues are meaningful and judging the reasonableness of inferences that could be made from them, keeping an open mind
that is willing to think outside the consensus box. This sentence is shorter.
Got to be kidding: a leading evolutionist offered his best proof of evolution: HIV
(05/30/2006). Meanwhile, over at Georgia Tech, the Bioneers had no need for
that hypothesis (05/13/2006).
Next headline on:
Precambrian Rabbit or Evolutionary Transition?
May 25, 2011 Some evolutionists have defended their theory by proposing a falsification test: the discovery
of a Precambrian rabbit. No such fossil has ever been found, partly because any stratum containing a rabbit
fossil would never have been labeled Precambrian in the first place. But evolutionists would be surprised at
finding complex non-marine multicellular eukaryotes in Precambrian strata, and this has just been announced in Nature.
A team led by Paul Strother of Boston College with help from Oxford University and University of Sheffield
has announced Earths earliest non-marine eukaryotes.1
Direct evidence of fossils within rocks of non-marine origin in the Precambrian is exceedingly rare,
they said. In Arizona, they found not only ambiguous traces, but oodles of clear evidence for freshwater eukaryotes:
Here we report the recovery of large populations of diverse organic-walled microfossils extracted by acid maceration,
complemented by studies using thin sections of phosphatic nodules that yield exceptionally detailed three-dimensional preservation.
These assemblages contain multicellular structures, complex-walled cysts, asymmetric organic structures, and dorsiventral,
compressed organic thalli, some approaching one millimetre in diameter. They offer direct evidence of eukaryotes
living in freshwater aquatic and subaerially exposed habitats during the Proterozoic era. The apparent
dominance of eukaryotes in non-marine settings by 1?Gyr ago indicates that eukaryotic evolution
on land may have commenced far earlier than previously thought.
The date of one billion years is nearly twice as long ago as the Cambrian explosion. The paper shows over a dozen
specimens of different shapes and levels of organization, from spherical clumps of cells to others with differentiated
structures. The Torridonian assemblages contain some striking examples of microfossils that show complexity
that goes considerably beyond that of simple leiospheres [i.e., nondescript clusters]. Some have vesicles,
outer walls and armlike projections (thalli). They figured these organisms were approaching a tissue-level grade of organization.
Where would these fit into evolutionary theory? Some evolutionists posit the origin of life at 3 billion
years ago. These organisms, at 1 billion years, would represent early experiments into multicellular organisms.
The small sizes, they said, argue against them being blastulae (early developmental stages of metazoans).
The simplicity of these balls of cells precludes their systematic assignment within the Eukarya,
they said; However, their morphology, in combination with larger, probably multicellular thalli (Fig. 3 b),
indicates that evolutionary processes that preceded tissue-grade multicellularity in marine settings, such as
cell-to-cell adhesion, were also evident in non-marine settings by 1?Gyr ago.
This means that Early eukaryotes were clearly capable of diversifying within non-marine habitats,
not just in marine settings as has been generally assumed. Because terrestrial environments offer more
variety, Such habitat heterogeneity translates directly into increased speciation potential, they claimed.
Another interesting fossil was reported in the same issue of Nature.1
A giant version of anomalocaris, the terror of Cambrian seas (as pictured in the opening of the film
Darwins Dilemma; see trailer) has been found in Ordovician deposits in Morocco.
Science Daily has an artist rendition of the creature
that measured up to three feet long a foot longer than earlier records, and 30 million years younger than other specimens
famous from the Burgess Shale. National
Geographic News called it a three-foot shrimp, giving new force to the oxymoron jumbo shrimp.
The extraordinarily well-preserved fossils also show a series of
segments across the animals back, which scientists think might have functioned as gills.
So not only was this creature more complex, it existed for much longer and grew to much larger sizes than previously thought,
the article said. How were they fossilized? The animals found in Morocco inhabited a muddy sea floor in
fairly deep water, and were trapped by sediment clouds that buried them and preserved their soft bodies.
1. Strother, Battison, Brasier and Wellman, Earths earliest non-marine eukaryotes,
473 (26 May 2011), pages 505-509, doi:10.1038/nature09943.
2. Peter Van Roy and Derek E. G. Briggs, A giant Ordovician anomalocaridid,
473 (26 May 2011), pages 510-513, doi:10.1038/nature09920.
These fossils will not cure the evolutionists of their storytelling.
Evolution has been falsified in so many ways already, another anomaly or two wont cure them.
The evolutionist brain has evolved extraordinary plasticity above the average brain, allowing it to
stretch and twist beyond comprehension. What they should be noticing is the trend that
complex life keeps appearing abruptly earlier and earlier, even in their own twisted dating scheme.
The anomalocaridid fossil is typical of the fossil record: abrupt appearance, fully formed, lives for
a time, and disappears. Thats not evolution.
Earth Still Privileged Planet
Their self-contained web of belief is immune to challenge,
because it is already accepted by faith and enforced by consensus. Those not already snared by the
web can see what they are doing. The catch-phrase than previously thought is a tip-off
that another fact has impacted the web. When you see it, you are about to watch the Darwin spider
come running to repair it with a new twist on the plot.
Exercise: Describe how evolutionists would repair their web of belief if a Precambrian
rabbit were to be found.
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
May 24, 2011 Astronomers have found over a thousand extrasolar planets now. How does our solar
system compare? Thanks to the Kepler spacecraft, we now have a catalog of 1,235 alien planet candidates
after just four months of operation. Of the 408 that have been found in multiple-planet systems,
170 of these containing two to six planets have been pictured in a Kepler Orrery posted by the
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
The press release says, most of those look very different than our solar system
(see also 05/21/2011, bullet 2).
The poster is accompanied by an animated
version that shows the 170 systems revolving like gears
(see also PhysOrg).
Due to selection effects of the transiting method, Kepler has tended to find systems with low inclinations.
These have planets smaller than Neptune, because large gas giants can perturb the orbits of member planets
into higher inclinations. The Kepler team was surprised to find so many multiple-planet systems in their
quarry: over 100, when only two or three were expected. It is still too early, though, to detect earth-mass
planets within their stars habitable zones.
How do planets form? The astronomical community has undergone a paradigm revolution in the
last decade about planet formation (05/07/2001).
Ever since Laplace, astronomers have assumed that disks of dust and gas will slowly condense
into planets (the nebular hypothesis). The discovery of hot Jupiters (gas giants orbiting
extremely close to their parent stars) was shocking. It indicated that planets migrate inward and will
quickly be destroyed unless they can form faster than the core accretion model permits.
This was a factor
contributing to a newer disk instability model that posits clumps within the disk condensing rapidly into
planets a heretical view when first proposed (06/03/2003,
03/21/2006). All such models have problems of their own, however
(09/22/2003, 08/27/2004, 08/06/2004,
07/15/2005). In either case, an upper limit typically given for planet
formation has been ten million years or less to avoid the death spiral.
Ten million years now appears too long. Observations of IC 348, a cluster of stars thought to
be two or three million years old, shows that the dust is rapidly depleting in nine disks detected.
Universe Today interpreted what this means:
If planets are forming in IC 348 at the same frequency in which they form in systems astronomers have
observed elsewhere, this would seem to suggest that the gravitational collapse model is more likely to be correct
since it doesnt leave a large window in which forming planets could accrete.
If the core accretion model is correct, then planetary formation must have begun very quickly.
Join Voiseys headline for the story was, Want to Make Planets? Better Hurry.
The 05/07/2001, 06/03/2003 and 05/21/2009 entries
show this has been known to be a problem for at least a decade.
Scientist commented on the Kepler results. Exoplanet systems around other stars are surprisingly flat
compared with our own, reporter Jeff Hecht wrote. The discovery means that the solar system must have had a
far more colourful history than many of its counterparts and is forcing astronomers to rethink their ideas about the way
planetary systems form.
Another factor essential to life on earth is its magnetic field.
Space.com posted an image of
how earths magnetic field would look from space. This view is conceptual, but based on real science
observations that have been made since the beginning of the Space Age, the article said. Without a magnetic
field, life would be bombarded from blasts and harmful radiation from the sun.
In combination with
earths atmosphere and ozone layer, the transparent atmosphere lets in the benevolent wavelengths for photosynthesis and
vision. See the film The Privileged Planet on Illustra Medias
YouTube channel for numerous other factors that
combine on earth to make it not only habitable but an ideal platform for scientific discovery.
Take the time to re-read the commentaries from our earlier entries linked above (if only time for one, try
05/21/2009). Theres not much
more to say thats new, other than that astronomers are no nearer a solution to their problems than they were in
2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2009, even with the latest Kepler Spacecraft observations. What does this say about their
epistemic status? Maybe they should go back and reconsider what made Johannes Kepler
so delighted with his discoveries.
Embryonic Stem Cells Left in iPS Dust
Next headline on:
May 23, 2011 A few years ago, scientists were clamoring for access to human embryos for stem cell research.
Now, the discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) from human skin and other adult tissues has sidetracked
interest in embryonic stem cells. The momentum is clearly going with iPS. Is there any longer a need
for embryonic stem cell research?
Have embryonic stem cells made any headway toward cures? Its sometimes hard to tell in news reports.
Science Daily ran a story from Monash University
about research on how stem cells in the embryo differentiate into muscle tissue, for the purpose of helping the elderly who
suffer from age-related muscle wasting conditions, but did not indicate whether human embryos were involved in the research.
It appears they studied chicken embryos to watch what happens as the stem cells develop into muscle, not for the purpose
of injecting embryonic stem cells for treatment.
- Skirting controversy: Stem cell research courts both controversy and support in the community- depending on your viewpoint,
began an article on Medical Xpress.
Now, for the first time, scientists at Monash Universitys Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories (MISCL) have shown that they
can make human stem cells from healthy adult kidneys without working on human embryos, circumventing ethical concerns around this research.
A side-by-side comparison showed the kidney cells were just as good as embryonic stem cells in producing various tissues.
- Chemotherapy-resistant bone marrow: Another article on
Medical Xpress reported work at the
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center that stem cells from bone marrow can be genetically modified to resist damage from
chemotherapy, helping cancer patients endure the treatment without harmful effects.
Previously, chemotherapy treatments for gliablastoma, a brain cancer, have taken a harsh toll on patients
bone marrow. Our initial results are encouraging because our first patient is still alive and without evidence of
disease progression almost two years after diagnosis, a doctor said.
- Parkinsons disease: Researchers from South Korea and Harvard have identified a protein-based
human iPS cell that appears promising for reversing nerve cell loss in patients with Parkinsons Disease. Their
experiments reversed disease when transplanted into the brain of rats modeling Parkinson disease. Though the
article mentioned embryonic stem cells as one of the two sources of stem cells, it did not produce any evidence that embryonic
stem cells are effective only the iPS cells.
- Vision forum: Eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy
and other retinal diseases affect millions worldwide, an article on
Medical Xpress said.
Can iPS stem cells from human skin treat these devastating conditions? Apparently so;
Scientists from Schepens Eye Research Institute are the first to regenerate large areas of damaged retinas and improve
visual function using iPS cells (induced pluripotent stem cells) derived from skin, they said.
A paragraph in the article shows that many vision researchers would prefer to avoid ethical controversies with embryonic stem cells:
While Tucker, Young and other scientists were beginning to tap the potential of embryonic and adult stem cells early in the decade,
the discovery that skin cells could be transformed into pluripotent cells, nearly identical to embryonic cells,
stirred excitement in the vision research community. Since 2006 when researchers in Japan first used a set of four
transcription factors to signal skin cells to become iPSCs, vision scientists have been exploring ways to use this new technology.
Like embryonic stem cells, iPSCs have the ability to become any other cell in the body, but are not fraught with the ethical, emotional and
political issues associated with the use of tissue from human embryos.
So far the tests are being done on mice. The two scientists say their next step will be to take this technology into
large animal models of retinal degenerative disease and eventually toward human clinical trials.
- Amniotic fluid health potion: In a paper on PLoS One,1 Chinese researchers
announced success deriving multipotent stem cells from amniotic fluid of pigs. They were able to get these stem cells
to differentiate into nerve, fat, and heart tissues without producing teratomas (tumors). They said, These optimal features of
pAF-MSCs provide an excellent alternative stem cell resource for potential cell therapy in regenerative medicine and transgenic animals..
Even in China these researchers were aware of the controversy. They said, human amniotic fluid may be a new source of
pluripotent stem cells without any ethical concerns associated with human embryonic stem cells (hES cells) research.
- Umbilical vein health potion: Another paper in PLoS One by the Salk Institute showed success at getting
induced pluripotent stem cells from human umbilical vein endothelial cells.2 Their process was
rapid and highly efficient, they reported, and produced stem cells that were indistinguishable from human
embryonic stem (ES) cells with regards to morphology, pluripotent marker expression, and their ability to generate all embryonic
germ layers in vitro and in vivo.
- Progeria find-and-replace: An exciting discovery at Salk Institute shows the potential of adult stem cells to
do find and replace operations on diseased genes, such as those with progeria, a degenerative disease that causes
premature aging. PhysOrg explained the process:
The gene-targeting approach developed by Suzuki and his colleagues relies on the use of so-called helper-dependent adenoviral vector
to deliver large mutation-free DNA molecules into cells. Once there, these replacement pieces initiate a process known as
homologous recombination, which works a bit like the find-and-replace command in a word processor. If a piece
of DNA is long enough, it will find and line up with the same sequence in the genome and swap places.
The team used adult mesenchymal stem cells and iPS cells from progeria patients to test the genetic editing procedure.
The article said that these cells have been shown to differentiate into a wide variety of tissues, including
adipocytes, osteoblasts, chondrocytes, cardiomyocytes, adipocytes, and, as described lately, beta-pancreatic islets cells.
The process was remarkably efficient and we couldnt detect any undesired off-target effects such
genomic instability or epigenetic abnormalities, says Liu. Whats more, it allowed us to show that we can
correct multiple mutations spanning large genomic regions.
- Regeneration takes a village of cells: Dont expect to grow a new arm with stem cells. In an article on
Science Daily, researchers at the
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that, at least for zebrafish, multiple cell types are
needed to regrow a lost fin.
- Crop yields: Plants have stem cells, too and not just in their stems. Researchers at Texas Agrilife Research are studying
stem cells in Arabidopsis to learn how to make plants produce more fruit, seeds and leaves, according to
A paper in Nature about embryonic stem cell research appears limited to understanding transcription in normal animals,3
without any mention of potential applications for human health. Similarly, an article on Science
Daily discussed how scientists at the University of Pennsylvania are trying to understand how embryonic stem cells
differentiate in living organisms. While the press release stated that Investigators want to make embryonic stem cells
for liver or pancreatic beta cells for therapies and research, there was no indication that the team has come anywhere close
to that goal. By better understanding how a cell is normally programmed we will eventually be able to properly
reprogram other cells, one of them said. Once again, embryonic stem cell therapy looks like a pipe dream.
Is there a state of the stem cell address? An overview of stem cell research was provided by Erika Check Hayden
in Nature,4 who said, The field of induced pluripotent stem cells has grown up fast.
Now it is entering the difficult stage. She focused on the promise of iPS cells which are changing the face of biology.
Like human embryonic stem cells, iPS cells could potentially be used as therapies, disease models or in drug screening,
she wrote. And iPS cells have clear advantages: they can be made from adult cells, avoiding the contentious need
for a human embryo, and they can be derived from people with diseases to create models or even therapies based on a persons
From there, Hayden described some of the growing pains of iPS stem cell research, but never
mentioned any case in which embryonic stem cells are clearly superior to the ethics-friendly iPS cells. The ease of reprogramming
adult cells into pluripotent stem cells has led to a gold rush of research into promising therapies. In spite of the fact
that (as often happens in biology), things are not as simple as we thought, it was noteworthy that the thrust of
Haydens article was about the strong momentum in the iPS research community. The silent subtext is that embryonic research
has apparently lost a lot of steam.
1. Chen, Lu, Cheng, Peng, and Wang, Isolation and Characterization of Porcine Amniotic Fluid-Derived Multipotent Stem Cells,
PLoS One 6(5): e19964. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019964.
2. Panopoulos, Ruiz et al, Rapid and Highly Efficient Generation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells,
PLoS One 6(5): e19743. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019743.
3. Pastor, Pape, Huang et al, Genome-wide mapping of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in embryonic stem cells,
Nature, published online 08 May 2011,
4. Erika Check Hayden, Stem cells: The growing pains of pluripotency,
published online 18 May 2011; Nature 473, 272-274 (2011); doi:10.1038/473272a.
It has been very encouraging for people who value ethics to see adult stem cell research take off, leaving embryonic stem cell
research in its rear-view mirror. But what if it had turned out the other way? What if embryonic stem cells were
actively producing cures? Experimenting on human embryos would still be unethical. A basic principle of ethics is that ends do not justify the
means (see commentary from the 09/03/2010 entry). The past decade of stem-cell
research has shown that some scientists greed for fame and money outruns their interest in ethics. It takes
a concerned public to keep science in check, because scientists are only human, prone to the same moral lapses as the
rest of us.
Everything you wanted to know about spider webs is in the 05/25/2005,
except their evolution.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Enlightenment History of Science Being Rewritten
May 22, 2011 Its a common myth that enlightenment atheists gave birth to the scientific
era by casting off the darkness of the Christian middle ages and replacing magical arts like alchemy
with the scientific experimental method. Historians of science know better.
A couple of recent articles help set the record straight.
Alchemy has long had a bad rap, but that is beginning to change. Professor
Lawrence Princippe (Johns Hopkins University) has spent 30 years investigating the writings and
experiments of alchemists, and has concluded that many of them were real scientists doing
valid work in chemistry. Among the respectable practitioners were Robert Boyle
and Isaac Newton.
This does not mean that the methods of alchemists deserve a comeback, or that
their belief that base metals could be turned into gold should be taken seriously, but rather that for
their time, they were pursuing real scientific questions with the limited materials available to
them. Sara Reardon described the growing recovery of alchemys reputation in Science.1
In a Nature blog,1 James Hannam, historian of science
and author of The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution
wrote to correct misconceptions about the relation of Christianity to science. Right off the bat
he made a list:
The ongoing clash of creationism with evolution obscures the fact that Christianity has actually had a far more positive role
to play in the history of science than commonly believed. Indeed, many of the alleged examples of religion holding back
scientific progress turn out to be bogus. For instance, the Church has never taught that the Earth is flat and,
in the Middle Ages, no one thought so anyway. Popes havent tried to ban zero, human dissection or lightening rods,
let alone excommunicate Halleys Comet. No one, I am pleased to say, was ever burnt at the stake for scientific ideas.
Yet, all these stories are still regularly trotted out as examples of clerical intransigence in the face of scientific progress.
After dispensing with the myths, he listed positive cases of the church supporting science. Churches supported
the teaching of science and even built observatories into cathedrals, for example. Hannam then pointed out that
Christians did science as an act of worship when it was unprofitable. He mentioned a historical point rarely considered:
It was only during the nineteenth century that science began to have any practical applications.
Technology had ploughed its own furrow up until the 1830s when the German chemical industry started to employ their
first PhDs. Before then, the only reason to study science was curiosity or religious piety.
Christians believed that God created the universe and ordained the laws of nature. To study the
natural world was to admire the work of God. This could be a religious duty and inspire
science when there were few other reasons to bother with it. It was faith that led Copernicus to reject
the ugly Ptolemaic universe; that drove Johannes Kepler to discover the constitution of the solar system;
and that convinced James Clerk Maxwell he could reduce electromagnetism to a set of equations so elegant
they take the breathe [sic] away.
Hannam went on to describe how the Middle Ages, dominated by the Church, was actually a time of innovation
and progress. Even the Dark Ages that preceded it was a time of advance, he said, in spite of the
depression caused by the fall of Rome.
Why, then, do so many people get the idea that Christianity and science are opposed?
Hannam presented a brief conspiracy theory, pointing out that the conflict of science with religion arose
only during the enlightenment (his mock quotes and non-capitalization).
Voltaire and his fellow philosophes opposed the Catholic Church because of its close association with Frances
absolute monarchy. Accusing clerics of holding back scientific development was a safe way to make a political point.
The cudgels were later taken up by TH Huxley, Darwins bulldog, in his struggle to free English science from
any sort of clerical influence. Creationism did the rest of the job of persuading the public that
Christianity and science are doomed to perpetual antagonism.
In closing, Hannam said that both science and religion are the two most powerful intellectual forces on the planet,
pointing out that Both are capable of doing enormous good, but their chances of doing so are much greater if they can work together.
He ended by congratulating Lord Martin Rees winning of the Templeton Prize as a small step in the right direction.
1. Sara Reardon, History of Science: The Alchemical Revolution,
20 May 2011: Vol. 332 no. 6032 pp. 914-915, DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6032.914.
2. James Hannam, guest blogger for Soapbox Science, a blog of
May 18, 2011.
Hannams article is a small step in the right direction, but he joined in the tar-and-feather-the-creationists
game. He blamed them for the ongoing clash today (as if they started it), and blamed them for
persuading the public that Christianity and science are doomed to perpetual antagonism as if the Dawkins crowd
is lily-white innocent in that regard. He might as well blame the Christians in the Roman arena being attacked by wild animals and crucified
for causing the ongoing clash with Nero.
Carbon Units Study Carbon Unity
There is no more despised group in academia today than creationists. Alchemists get more
respect than people who take Gods word as a historical account of origins, even though the great scientists
Hannam listed, including Copernicus, Kepler, Newton and Maxwell all believed it. Maybe it takes centuries to
get respect back after it has been shredded by bulldogs.
If it werent for the political power they wield, evolutionists are far more deserving of the disdain they
regularly dish out to creationists. Read John Sanfords book Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome and
wonder how intelligent people could ever bring themselves to believe that mutations would create progress in fitness, and continue to
believe natural selection built all the wonders of life, decades after it was demonstrated by evolution-believing secular population geneticists to be
unworkable. Re-read Jonathan Wells book Icons of Evolution and wonder at how intelligent people could continue to
trot out such wimpy and fraudulent examples as evidence for evolution. Watch Darwins Dilemma and
stand aghast at how a Darwinian theory so utterly falsified by evidence could be forced onto students as the only theory
deserving of a hearing. Do you want to despise a group who believes myths, has an agenda, refuses to face facts,
ignores falsifying data, accepts their world view by faith, is intransigent and pugnacious? Look no further than the Darwin Party.
The comments after Hannams blog entry are interesting. Several readers trained in TH Huxleys
bulldog kennel tried to go after Hannam for not being vicious enough against the evil, wicked, stupid creationists.
One argued the old faith-vs-reason canard, another the NOMA line. Hannam responded that some of the attitudes
on display in this thread are actually damaging to the cause of science because many people here wear their
hostility to religion on their sleeves. While not defending creationism or intelligent design per se, he had
more blame to lay at the feet of atheists: Evolution is so tainted by its association with atheism that many
cannot analyze it objectively, he said, And yet, new atheists keep trying to make matters worse.
The history of science is nuanced and colorful, defying simplistic narratives. Hannam at least acknowledged
that. Princippe is a very knowledgeable and persuasive narrator of the history of science in his Teaching Company lecture
series, but listeners should be warned that, for all the good historical facts he shares, he ends up presenting a thoroughly
Darwinized theistic-evolutionary solution to science-and-religion issues (probably because a Johns Hopkins professor could not survive in academia
with anything else) Academia is rigged to always keep Darwin on top.
Hannam and Princippe both know there are faults to find among the religious and non-religious, fools and heroes and (more often) great
thinkers with flaws. As for this site, we are not here to defend the abuses of the Catholic church nor their positions on scientific
questions either current or historic. Kepler, Newton and Maxwell and most
others in our list were Protestants (that makes sense only after 1517), but Christian theism of any stripe is
arguably friendlier to science than atheism, which cannot justify reason emerging from hydrogen, and thus has to plagiarize Judeo-Christian
presuppositions to get off the starting line.
As for Sir Martin Rees getting the Templeton Prize, he is about as deserving of praise for progress
in humanitys efforts to comprehend the many and diverse manifestations of the Divine
08/16/2005) as Darwin would have been. The guy is a sold-out Darwinist and atheist,
like Dawkins but with a little less vitriol. Dont hold your breath till the real ones making progress (Behe, Dembski,
Meyer and others in the ID camp) win the prize. Remember the Nobel Peace Prize that Yasser Arafat got for
progress in blowing up Jews? Good grief, what a mixed-up world.
Next headline on:
Philosophy of Science
Politics and Ethics
Bible and Theology
May 21, 2011 Lifes dependency on carbon was so distinctive to aliens in Star Trek, they nicknamed
humans carbon units. With its four valences, carbon is able to form an almost infinite number
of complex molecules based on chains (polymers) and geometric shapes. But does the presence of carbon in
abundance explain the appearance of life? Evolutionists desire a unified, bottom-up story that
derives complex life from particles exploding out of the big bang by undirected processes and natural law.
Heres a look at stages in the grand story.
Thats a new label for creationists: pre-Darwinists. Will they like it?
- Whence carbon? Over a half century ago, flamboyant astrophysicist Fred Hoyle realized that
a finely-tuned resonance state in nuclear reactions going on in the interiors of stars was responsible for carbon nucleosynthesis.
Now, according to PhysOrg, researchers at
North Carolina State University have modeled the Hoyle State state from first principles and proved it correct. Dean Lee at
NC State commented, This work is valuable because it gives us a much better idea of the kind of
fine-tuning nature has to do in order to produce carbon in stars.
- Whence carbon-rich planets? Once you have carbon, what happens to it? Much of it remains
in stars, but supernovas can blast it and other heavy elements out into molecular clouds. As theory has it,
these clouds condense and form planets (but see 05/21/2009,
08/21/2009). Rocky planets might have abundant carbon.
Science news outlets are asking if the Kepler spacecraft has found one.
Is the Rocky Alien Planet Gliese 581d Really Habitable? Its seven times bigger than
earth, but appears to lie in the circumstellar habitable zone (see other habitable zone requirements in the
02/26/2011 commentary). Beyond that, nobody knows if it has the
requirements for life, and detection of life is beyond current capabilities.
Guillermo Gonzalez, astrobiologist, intelligent design advocate and co-author of The Privileged Planet (see video version on
YouTube), was asked about the likelihood of life on
this world on ID the Future.
He said that other factors, such as plate tectonics and the right atmosphere and temperature, will have to be
Descent noticed that Gonzalez, who predicted in his book that habitable planets would be rare, has been
right in that prediction so far but that didnt win him any awards in academia. After
The Privileged Planet came out proposing that life was rare in the universe, he later lost his
tenure battle at Iowa State due to the intolerance of some atheist professors for his views on intelligent design
(05/22/2007 bullet 7,
An article on New
Scientist agrees that worlds like ours are rare, and is worried about it. In No place like home: Our lonesome solar system,
Lee Billings quoted planet hunter Geoff Marcy saying, Our system is a rarity, theres no longer a question about that.
The only question that remains is, just how rare is it? (More from March in the 02/23/2011 entry).
- Whence carbon-based life? Is that
end of the road a planet with carbon and other heavy elements that just sits there?
Obviously, evolutionary scientists would like to see those elements self-organize into living cells.
A story on Science Daily
promised important clues to how life originated from non-life and how modern cells came to exhibit
complex behaviors. Unfortunately for tantalized readers, the researchers at Penn State did not
bring carbon to life. They played with toy models of cells. They generated simple, non-living
model cells with which they established that asymmetric division the process
by which a cell splits to become two distinct daughter cells is possible even in the absence of
complex cellular components, such as genes. Whatever this oversimplified model has to
do with the origin of life is anyones guess.
One researcher claimed, We observed that even model cells can divide in a structured way,
which implies a kind of intrinsic order. Whether that order was intrinsic or was inserted by the
investigators into the system, since they tweaked variables in their model to get the outcomes they desired, is a
good follow-up question. They modeled various carbon-based molecules such as amino acids and lipids to get
their toy cells to divide without genetic control. It was left unstated if real molecules would do such things.
Real cells divide with a host of complex machines, and require accurate copying of millions of base pairs of DNA.
They saw their work as just a piece of a puzzle: Scientists have simulated early-Earth conditions
in laboratories and have demonstrated that many amino acids the biochemical constituents of proteins
can form through natural chemical reactions, Christine Keating [Penn State] said.
We hope our research helps to fill in another part of the puzzle: how chemical and spatial organization
may have contributed to the success of early life forms. Taxpayers can thank the
National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health for funding these imaginary scenarios.
- Whence life complexity? Give evolutionists all the carbon-based molecules they want will they
get life to form and evolve? Will the amino acids form proteins (see online book)
that can evolve into complex life? Michael Lynch and Ariel Fernandez, scientists at the University of Chicago, reported
began with proteins, and then speculated that Errors in protein structure sparked evolution of biological complexity.
Thats right: complex life is the result of mistakes. This idea was published in Nature.1
Over four billion years of evolution, plants and animals grew far more complex than their single-celled ancestors.
But a new comparison of proteins shared across species finds that complex organisms, including humans, have accumulated
structural weaknesses that may have actually launched the long journey from microbe to man.
This new idea is actually un-Darwinian. In a nutshell, PhysOrg said, random introduction of errors into proteins,
rather than traditional natural selection, may have boosted the evolution of biological complexity.
How can that be? Is there any complex system that gets better with the introduction of random errors? The article continued,
Flaws in the packing of proteins that make them more unstable in water could have promoted protein interactions and
intracellular teamwork, expanding the possibilities of life.
Jason Palmer cheerfully echoed this
could have story on the BBC News, quoting
Michael Lynch [Indiana U], who added this un-Darwinian comment: Weve opened up the idea that the roots of complexity
dont have to reside in purely adaptational arguments. The team felt that new protein interactions
nudged complexity forward with functional possibilities. No actual possibilities were presented.
Wouldnt many of these actions be deleterious? Dont proteins denature into sticky, shapeless masses unless
they fold correctly? To solve this problem, they had another could-have story up their sleeves: The authors suggest
then that other adaptations occur that undo the deleterious effects of the sticky proteins.
Co-author Fernandez applied the tinkerer metaphor to their idea while tossing a useful line to intelligent design advocates:
Natural designs are often one notch more sophisticated than the best engineering, he said in the PhysOrg article.
This is another example: Nature doesnt change the molecular machinery, but somehow it tinkers with it
in subtle ways through the wrapping. (See personification.)
Palmers BBC story included a curious quote by Ford Doolittle [Dalhousie University] about this
new evolutionary pathway that didnt exist before. Doolittle commented about what he perceived as useless complexity in real life:
Darwinists are a little bit like the pre-Darwinists before them, who would have marveled at the perfection of Gods creation.
Doolittle disagrees with Lynch about the repair of deleterious proteins; instead, he imagines cells with presuppression
mechanisms that would protect them from mistakes. But we both agree that much of complexity does not have an
adaptive explanation. They also agree that it does not have a design explanation, but that goes without saying;
their idea presents a random explanation: stuff happens.
1. Ariel Fernandez and Michael Lynch, Non-adaptive origins of interactome complexity,
published online 18 May 2011, doi:10.1038/nature09992.
Help your local pre-creationist friend at the university become a full-fledged one. Give him or her the following books:
Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist by Moshe Averick. Chapter 3
gives a good summary of the hopelessness of evolutionary theories on the origin of life, with ample quotes from leading
evolutionists and origin-of-life researchers themselves.
Signature in the Cell by Stephen C. Meyer.
Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome by Dr. John C. Sanford. Fascinating and convincing evidence (from a geneticist) on why mutations will never, ever lead to increased fitnessin fact, the human genome is disintegrating due to mutations.
The Nature of Nature by numerous authors on both sides of the design question.
The Programming of Life by Don Johnson.
Browse the catalog for additional resources.
Peppered Moths Are Back
Next headline on:
Stars and Astronomy
Origin of Life
Darwin and Evolution
May 20, 2011 One might think that past embarrassments about the peppered moth as evidence for evolution
would keep evolutionists reluctant to mention them. A team from the University of Liverpool either didnt get
the message, or shed all
reluctance anyway. They published a new paper about Biston betularia in Science,1
calling the moth story a textbook example of how an altered environment may produce morphological adaptation
through genetic change and one of the most widely recognized examples of contemporary evolutionary change.
The first reference was to Michael Majerus, who spent years trying to establish the peppered moth as an icon of evolution
and item following 02/08/2009).
Their paper, however, only discussed which mutations might have produced the black variety. The black ones,
apparently losing their color due to a single mutation, did better when the trees were darker, but are now rapidly disappearing.
No long-term evolutionary adaptation was demonstrated. Heres how the paper ended:
The rapid spread of an initially unique haplotype, driven by strong positive selection, is expected to generate the
profile of linkage disequilibrium we have observed, establishing that UK industrial melanism in the peppered moth was seeded
by a single recent mutation that spread to most parts of mainland Britain and also colonized the Isle of Man (fig. S4).
Paradoxically, although the carbonaria [black] morph is now strongly disadvantageous and consequently rare
in the United Kingdom, the rapidity of its decline has minimized the eroding effect of typica [white] introgression
on the molecular footprint of strongly positive selection created during its ascendency.
This means that the mutant appeared recently, spread for awhile, and is dying out, without leaving much of an evolutionary
trace on the species or the world.
1. van't Hof, Edmonds et al, Industrial Melanism in British Peppered Moths Has a Singular and Recent Mutational Origin,
20 May 2011: Vol. 332 no. 6032 pp. 958-960, DOI: 10.1126/science.1203043.
The evolution of the peppered moth was the kind even young-earth creationist
Ken Ham would yawn about, because it represented a temporary case of population statistics not even micro-evolution.
Its perfectly fine to study the moths and their distributions and genes, but to call them a textbook example
of evolutionary change should embarrass the breeches off any evolutionist who isnt clueless
Critics of the peppered myth have been complaining about it loud and long for decades. Why does it persist?
Seven years ago, the late George C. Williams (an ardent evolutionist who died last September) chided his fellow Darwinians for
trading in reckless explanations that amounted to little more than ad hoc stories. He called such stories
absolute nonsense (see 05/31/2004.
The reason is that evolutionists are a closed society. They talk amongst themselves in an echo chamber,
reinforcing their pet illusions or attacking straw men
(09/03/2007). They never read the critics. These guys are probably oblivious to Jonathan
Wells 2000 book Icons of Evolution that demolished the peppered myth, and the other critiques by non-creationists
and others not advocating intelligent design (11/13/2008).
As an argument for evolution, the peppered moth is over, done, defunct. Give it up, Darwinians!
The real lesson of the peppered moth is one of fantastic design. Moths and butterflies create immense
challenges to Darwinian theory, as the new documentary Metamorphosis
from Illustra Media (to be released next month on Blu-Ray) will make abundantly clear. This exceptional film is complete and now
in the packaging stages. Get your Dolby 5.1 HDTV system tuned up for a visual, auditory, intellectual tour de force!
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
Cellular Machines Coming to Light
May 20, 2011 As imaging techniques improve, cells are yielding up their secrets.
Scientists are getting closer to watching the processes in cellular factories in real time.
- Dynein: PhysOrg
reported, Biologists capture cells elusive motor on videotape, solving the mystery of its deployment.
The article began, Their experiments can be likened to restoring never-before-seen footage to a classic film.
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are discovering How dynein, the cells two-part, nano-scale
mitotic motor, positions itself to direct the [cell] dividing process. They described their delight
at watching a complete surprise and a eureka moment for us to witness a hypothesis supported by direct evidence for the first time.
- Myosin: Another motor machine in the cell is myosin.
PhysOrg described how
scientists on the east coast have found a way to turn the motor on and off with light.
Molecular motors are at the root of most biological movement, the press release stated.
They propel cell components, whole cells, and even our muscles on command. The teams paper claimed
this should make it possible to follow cellular processes that involve myosin in real time.
- DNA structure: Scientists at the University of Amsterdam have measured the force holding DNA together, and found that
a small force can make it separate like a zipper. PhysOrg told
how the strands re-join when the tension is relaxed. With this research, they can now have a better understanding of
how DNA in cells is locally opened so genes can be turned on or off.
- DNA packaging Penn State researchers have discovered more about how DNA is packaged into chromosomes.
They have achieved a milestone in the goal of assembling a chromosome from its component parts by adding histones to purified
yeast DNA and watching it wrap into nucleosomes building blocks of the supercoils that form chromosomes. To get the
wrapping started, they had to add ATP, which they likened to the leaven that makes bread rise. Enzymes used the ATP
to wrap the DNA neatly into the nucleosomes. Some 60,000 nucleosomes make up a yeast chromosome.
According to PhysOrg, their work overturns three previous
theories of the genome-packaging process and opens the door to a new era of genome-wide biochemistry research.
It is hoped that research like this will yield insights leading to therapies for genetic disorders.
- Photosynthesis: Argonne National Laboratory has worked for fifty years to understand photosynthesisone
of the most mysterious and wonderful chemical processes in the world, an article on
Photosynthesis built a green Earth out of the bare, meteor-blistered planet which had sat empty for a billion years;
it tipped the composition of the atmosphere towards oxygen, allowing all kinds of life to blossom, including us.
The team is applying what they are learning for human benefit. Basically, weve been reverse-engineering
photosynthesis, one of the researchers said. If we understand how Nature does it, we can tweak the process to produce hydrogen
that would lead to efficient solar cells.
- Photosynthesis reactor: Speaking of photosynthesis, Japanese scientists have achieved the imaging of the
Crystal structure of oxygen-evolving photosystem II at a resolution of 1.9?Å, zooming in almost twice
as far as previous studies. Their paper, published in Nature,1 spoke of the reactor
as indispensable for sustaining life on Earth. It includes detailed drawings of the 20 subunits involved
with numerous molecular contacts.
The particular part of the reactor that splits water molecules and combines oxygen atoms into the O2 gas
we breathe they said is one of natures most fascinating and important reactions. Understanding
Photosystem II may help humans to mimic plants ability to split water efficiently at ambient temperatures, leading to
renewable energy for a multitude of applications. The ability lives all around us if we can tap into its secrets.
- Ribosome: Biochemists from five US universities have witnessed a key reaction in the ribosomes, the elaborate
structures that translate messenger RNA [mRNA] into proteins. Reporting in Science,2
they described how the ribosome, the transfer RNA [tRNA] molecules and other elements form moving parts and machinery:
During protein synthesis, the ribosome controls the movement of tRNA and mRNA by means of large-scale structural rearrangements.
We describe structures of the intact bacterial ribosome from Escherichia coli that reveal how the ribosome binds tRNA in two
functionally distinct states, determined to a resolution of ~3.2 angstroms by means of x-ray crystallography.
One state positions tRNA in the peptidyl-tRNA binding site. The second, a fully rotated state, is stabilized by
ribosome recycling factor and binds tRNA in a highly bent conformation in a hybrid peptidyl/exit site. The structures
help to explain how the ratchet-like motion of the two ribosomal subunits contributes to the mechanisms of
translocation, termination, and ribosome recycling.
Drawings in the paper show the moving parts with rotations of up to 70°. In their concluding paragraph, they described
what they saw: Because simple mRNAs can be translated in the absence of exogenous factors like EF-G (44), the ribosome itself
serves as a Brownian ratchet, with tRNA substrates probably serving as the teeth., they said.
A notable feature of the ratcheting mechanism is the use of RNA secondary structural elements to control
large-scale conformational rearrangements in the ribosome. They went on to compare the moving parts to
bridges, swivels, springs, pawls, and hinges.
- Ribosome information: Information is a profound concept that presupposes purpose and design. It is being joined to biology.
Two researchers at the University of Maryland titled a paper, An Extensive Network of Information Flow through the B1b/c Intersubunit Bridge of
the Yeast Ribosome. Writing in PLoS One,3 they described
an extensive network of information exchange between distinct regions of the large and small subunits of the ribosome.
Mutations, they found, had wide-ranging effects on cellular viability and translational fidelity and mentioned
some of the diseases they cause.
They discussed two subunits in particular that work together to communicate information pertaining to
the tRNA occupancy status of the P-site and the B1b/c bridge. In fact, These shared changes in rRNA chemical
protection patterns suggest that, while spatially remote, all of these different regions
of the ribosome are connected through specific informational nodes comprised of specific bases of 25S rRNA.
The words information and translational fidelity were key terms in this paper.
1. Umena, Kawakami, Shen, and Kamiya, Crystal structure of oxygen-evolving photosystem II at a resolution of 1.9?Å,
473 (05 May 2011), pp. 55–60, doi:10.1038/nature09913.
2. Dunkle, Wang et al, Structures of the Bacterial Ribosome in Classical and Hybrid States of tRNA Binding,
Science 20 May 2011:
Vol. 332 no. 6032 pp. 981-984, DOI: 10.1126/science.1202692.
3. Rhodin and Dinman, An Extensive Network of Information Flow through the B1b/c Intersubunit Bridge of the Yeast Ribosome,
6(5): e20048, May 19, 2011; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020048.
None of these articles even attempted to explain how these complex systems evolved (oxygen-evolving photosystem II
doesnt count thats a different meaning of the word). Only one (the Science paper)
mentioned evolution at all, and only on the periphery, as if needing to acknowledge an irrelevant faith in
evolution to fulfill some kind of obligation. These articles need Darwin like a swimmer needs a barbell.
Does Science Belong Here?
Stephen C. Meyer, author of Signature in the Cell, has this quote on his website.
It suffices as commentary.
In the 21st century, the information age has finally come to biology.
We now know that biology at its root is comprised of information rich systems, such as the
complex digital code encoded in DNA. Groundbreaking discoveries of the past decade are
revealing the information bearing properties of biological systems.
Next headline on:
May 19, 2011 Scientists continue to insert their particular methods and viewpoints into
every aspect of life, but questions might be raised about the validity of their findings and
the propriety of scientists acting as advisors on moral and political questions.
These articles in the science media raise questions about whether researchers should just state their
findings, and leave policy to the government and culture. Laws against drug abuse, for instance, contribute to many unsavory consequences
in crime and drug trafficking, but is it the job of scientists or researchers to present legal advice?
- Happiness science: Advice found online:
the best way to increase your happiness is to stop worrying about being happy and instead divert your energy
to nurturing the social bonds you have with other people. Did that come from a religious counselor
or family member? No, it was on Science Daily,
touting what psychological science has concluded.
Live Science added material on why werere
not happy and how to be happy based on research by psychologists at the University of Denver.
- Gossip science: Live Science
presumed to explain Why we love juicy gossip mags. While some might respond Speak for yourself, Joseph
Brownstein entertained the antics of a primatologist from UC Davis, Eliza Bliss-Moreau, who speculated about why unobserved
ancestors may have found gossip titillating. Whether experiments on human subjects presented with visual stimuli say
anything about unobserved ancestors, the article was confident in its ignorance: While the reasons negative gossip draws
attention are still unknown, researchers noted that it matches up with evolutionary findings in people and in animals.
Medical Xpress then said that gossip can actually
serve a useful purpose. According to Lisa Feldman Barrett of the Northeastern University, gossip helps us see potential
threats: The researchers said gossip gives people information about whether a person might be a friend or foe, and
suggest that being able to spot the face of a person about whom they have heard negative stories could provide some social
protection by focusing on people who could be a threat. The article appeared to be completely
mechanistic and amoral. It omitted discussing the downside of gossip that is untrue.
- Love science: A photo of a happy couple accompanies an article on
Science Daily that announced,
Want Lasting Love? Its Not More Commitment, but Equal Commitment That Matters. But did they
get their material from Focus on the Family or the Family Research Council? No the article relied on the
work of six researchers from academia, who used the rich mine of data in the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation
(MLSRA), coupled with a lab procedure, to look for the answers of lasting relationships.
Can science go beyond correlations and statistics to present advice?
- Abortion science: An article on Medical
Xpress claims that Polands law making abortions illegal has reduced hospital abortions by 99% but led to a flourishing
private abortion industry. While gathering statistics may be valid for researchers, the article stated,
Women have been the biggest losers during this push of abortion provision into the clandestine private sector,
tainting the findings with suggestions of policy advice throughout the article.
- Global politics: Ever heard of the Anthropocene Era? That is a name some scientists are giving
to the period of earth history showing influence by humans.
PhysOrg said that
humans are giving the earth an extreme makeover, leading scientists to become geopolitical advisors.
The Anthropocene concept forces us to ponder whether humanitys outsized impact on the planet could
lead to undesired, possibly uncontrollable, outcomes, and what, if anything, humanity should do about it,
the article said. That leaves scientists who may be more comfortable classifying rocks than rocking the
boat in a tricky position.
- IQ and criminal justice: New
Scientist posted a story with unpleasant throwbacks to eugenics and impacts on criminal law. Some people in the US may have been wrongly executed
because of inaccuracies in the IQ tests used to assess them, the article by Jessica Griggs began. But the inaccuracies
may also have seen some escape execution if they scored lower on the tests than their real IQ. That reference to real IQ
presumes that IQ is a valid concept that could, in principle be measured with accurate IQ tests (04/27/2011, bullet 1).
questions could be asked about laws regarding anything: monopolies, energy policy, vice and prostitution, alcoholism, and much more.
Additionally, science appears to continue usurping roles traditionally given to counselors outside the science department.
Whether that advice is more valid than those of non-scientists is bound to raise questions about the presumptive authority
of scientists and the so-called scientific method, if there is such a thing.
The word researcher sounds so authoritative. Its much more satisfying that speculator or
storyteller or divination artist. Im not making this up; Im researching. But research as a
concept is so broad it could include anything. The reader of a gossip mag is researching whether
Elvis really landed in a spaceship with the ultimate diet. Take off the re- prefix; it should be just
searching. We should all be searching for the truth. Truth is not the sole domain of scientists.
What are the standards for research, and is research
limited to the science department? Dont all academics do research, even theologians, historians and
students writing term papers? The quality and validity of research are prime concerns for the claims above.
Calling the proponents researchers or scientists (seekers of knowledge) assumes what they
need to demonstrate. Critical analysis is needed, not regurgitation by toady reporters enraptured like groupies
with the aura of science. Such criticism is sadly lacking in the science media.
Science in its idealized state should stick to observations and seek to link causes to effects.
Whether that is even possible is subject to much philosophical debate. But when scientists step out of
observations and try to give advice, like telling us how to be happy, or that we need to be global citizens,
they are out of line. Their opinions deserve only one man, one vote. They need to keep their greedy
hands out of the humanities.
You can help reduce the fallacy of scientism in our culture by taking a scientist to church.
Let the researcher learn something about his or her fallibility. Let the scientist learn about the beginning
of wisdom, the fear of God. But remind them it is only the beginning of wisdom. It takes years of research
in the Operations Manual to achieve maturity. We all need to be wise, mature searchers and researchers.
Heres a better use of science: helping people. Read this
Science Daily story and rejoice!
Next headline on:
Philosophy of Science
Politics and Ethics
Mind and Brain
Bible and Theology
Want to fly like a bird? You can do the next best thing by hitching a ride on a brown booby
as it flies over the sea and then lands on the water. A video on
gives a real birds-eye view from a bird outfitted with a tiny video camera.
This is the first study to deploy video recorders on flying seabirds, said Ken Yoda
from Nagoya University in Japan that pulled off the technical feat.
Fossils Support Evolution! (Because Evolution Is Assumed)
May 18, 2011 Fossils come in a variety of manifestations not always bone. They could be leaf
imprints, whole animals trapped in amber, footprints, or mineral traces made by once-living organisms.
Some recent fossil finds are having trouble fitting into evolutionary theory. But one thing
about those Darwinists: they always find a way.
How about human fossils?
An intact fossil canine tooth said to be from Peking Man (Homo erectus) has been found in an unopened box of
fossils originally dug up in China, reported PhysOrg.
Per Ahlberg from Uppsala University
remarked that this is an absolutely incredible find because most of the Peking Man
fossils were lost during World War II. This adds a fourth tooth to their collection, and the only canine tooth.
The press release did not explore what this means to the story of human evolution; they just want to figure out the
- Graph fight: Evolutionists have used the mineral graphite as a biomarker a sign of
fossilized life. By dating the rocks containing the graphite, they have inferred the age of the
fossils. Science Daily
has some bad news: the graphite could be much younger. A study of rocks in Canada by a team from
four scientific institutions has concluded that carbonaceous particles are millions of years younger
than the rock in which theyre found, pointing to the likelihood that the carbon was mixed in with
the metamorphic rock later than the rocks earliest formation
estimated to be 3.8 to 4.2 billion years ago.
What does this do to evolutionary theory? One team member, Dominic Papineau of Boston College,
said, That can only ring a bell and require us to ask if we need to reconsider earlier studies.
He added, We can no longer assume that carbon is indigenous in the oldest metamorphosed sedimentary rock.
The article paraphrased his remarks and the impact of this upset on evolutionary theory:
Nearly 4,000-million years old samples from Greenland have been used to develop the dominant time line regarding
the emergence of the earliest biosphere. The recent findings suggest the biosphere may have emerged
millions of years later, a hypothesis that now demands a rigorous study, said Papineau....
The presence of carbon and the specific characteristics of that carbons source material are crucial
to understanding the evolution of the early microbial biosphere. The subject of much debate within
scientific circles, a new set of assumptions may be required when using the presence of carbon to date milestones in Earths evolution.
- Croco-bird split: The phrase earlier than thought appears often in fossil news.
Heres a case noted by University
of Washington: China fossil shows bird, crocodile family trees split earlier than thought. A specimen
of Xilousuchus sapingensis, looking like a crocodile with four legs under its body and a sail-like fin like that of dimetrodon,
has been reclassified as an archosaur. This means it turns out to have come from the crocodile family tree
after it had already split from the bird family tree, the article claimed (birds are assumed to have come from
the archosaur branch).
What does this mean to the evolutionary picture? The work could sharpen debate among
paleontologists about whether archosaurs existed before the Permian period and survived the extinction event,
or if only archosaur precursors were on the scene before the end of the Permian. It also
means early members of the crocodile and bird family trees evolved earlier than previously thought.
- Snake lizard: There are lizards alive today that resemble snakes, because they have no legs (see
(05/13/2011, bullet 5). A press release from the University of Toronto published on
PhysOrg reported the discovery
of a tiny lizard said to be 47 million years old that resolves a controversy about the relationship of snakes and
lizards. According to a lead author, This fossil refutes the theory that snakes and other
burrowing reptiles share a common ancestry and reveals that their body shapes evolved independently.
In that case, why PhysOrg called this a missing link is anyones guess.
- Genetic fossils: Genes can be an indirect type of fossil provided one believes the evolutionary
story connecting genomes by phylogenetic trees. A press release at the
University of Texas announced,
Sodium Channels Evolved Before Animals Nervous Systems, Research Shows.
The old story was that sodium channels came along with the first nervous systems in jellyfish.
The research team found genes for sodium channels (highly important in the nervous systems of complex
animals) in a one-celled animal that has no nervous system: a choanoflagellate. They discovered the
genes for such sodium channels hiding within an organism that isnt even made of multiple cells,
much less any neurons. What does this do to evolutionary theory? Because the sodium channel
genes were found in choanoflagellates, the scientists propose that the genes originated not only before the
advent of the nervous system, but even before the evolution of multicellularity itself.
Sodium channels are pretty complex systems (01/17/2002). That would be quite an innovation for a poor
one-celled organism. David Hillis rescued evolution thusly: This study shows how complex traits,
such as the nervous system, can evolve gradually, often from parts that evolved for other purposes.
His colleague Harold Zakon picked up on the co-option theme: Evolutionarily novel organs do not spring up from nowhere,
he said, but from pre-existing genes that were likely doing something else previously. What they were
doing in the choanoflagellate was not explained; apparently that is the next research project.
- Texas lemur: Speaking of Texas, Science
Daily announced the discovery of a previously unknown species of fossil primate, Mescalerolemur horneri,
in the Devils Graveyard badlands of West Texas. The only primates living in the wild in Texas today
are those on football fields and freeways.
The press release was ready to explain how this primate evolved so far from its ancestors in Africa:
Mescalerolemurs dental anatomy reveals a close evolutionary relationship with adapiform
primates from Eurasia and Africa, including Darwinius masillae, a German fossil primate previously claimed
to be a human ancestor, the reporter wrote (05/19/2009,
03/03/2010). However, the discovery of Mescalerolemur
provides further evidence that adapiform primates like Darwinius are more closely related to living lemurs and
bush babies than they are to humans (bush babies are small nocturnal primates resembling lemurs).
The article also appealed to convergent evolution to explain fusion of lower jaws in a related lemur and those of apes and humans.
A picture of the lemurs jaw was posted at the
University of Texas website.
- Dog or cat? One might suppose that paleontologists are good at telling dogs from cats, but when
it comes to marsupial mammals in Australia, theyve had trouble classifying thylacines alternately
classed as marsupial wolf or Tasmanian tiger. Recently,
Brown University researchers voted
it into the cat category, according to Science Daily.
The old story was one of evolutionary convergence, the article explained:
The conventional thinking had been that dingoes were the placental spitting image of the marsupial thylacines,
evolved in isolated settings, which biologists term evolutionary convergence. When dingoes [dogs] arrived in Australia,
they helped push the thylacines out. Now, the picture is more subtle and complicated:
What that means for the dingos role in the thylacines disappearance from continental Australia is not clear,
but it does show the animals, while similar in many respects, likely hunted differently. No further
evolutionary explanation was offered for the remarkable convergence of many marsupials to their placental look-alikes
(for chart, see NWCreation.com).
- Marsupial flood: Speaking of marsupials, about 35 fossilized marsupial rats were found buried together
in a mass grave in Bolivia, according to Live
Science. From the collection, researchers concluded that they were social animals, unlike todays marsupials.
But the mechanism of burial might lead to other inferences: They seem to have all died at the same time, possibly
during a flash flood or other natural catastrophe.
PhysOrg provided more
detail and noted that the bones showed exceptional preservation.
- Raindrop tales: How much can you tell from fossil raindrops? David Catling [U of Washington]
thinks quite a lot. According to New
Scientist, he is deducing atmospheric pressure 2.7 billion years ago from the size and shape of the tiny craters
made by raindrops in an ancient bed of volcanic ash in South Africa. The number of variables involved
would seem to make any conclusions dubious.
- Spider detail: Remains of a spider trapped in Baltic amber have been revealed in exquisite detail
thanks to X-ray computed tomography, reported Science
Daily. The article includes an image of the spider taken at University of Manchester from Karl Berendts
19th century collection.
Nothing was said about spider evolution in the article, but Science Daily did focus attention on the
evolutionary age in its headline, Imaging Technology Reveals Intricate Details of 49-Million-Year-Old Spider.
But in the body of the article, there was this detail about what happens to amber fossils in one fifty-thousandth of that time:
A problem here is that these old, historical amber pieces have reacted with oxygen over time and are now often dark
or cracked, making it hard to see the animal specimens inside. Apparently they were clear when Berendt collected them.
Last month, Ann Gibbons on
Science Magazine News
showed fossil footprints of about 30 archaic humans of various ages found in volcanic ash near an
African lake. They look surprisingly modern for being 120,000 years old. Gibbons said
that researchers have uncovered 350 tracks made by anatomically modern humans (as shown by their arched feet),
over an area of 150 square meters. In her focus on what the tracks reveal about the social behavior of
the group, she did not explain how the well-preserved trail could have lasted for 120,000 years.
If you were to look at these fossils without the Charlie & Charlie Brand Eyeglasses (Lyell & Darwin),
they would look completely different. Would you see evolution? Would you see phylogenetic
trees emerging from the data? Would you see exquisite preservation lasting millions of years?
Arguably not. You would see catastrophic burial and young-looking objects.
Last year this month (05/18/2010), we remembered how Mt. St. Helens overturned
important paradigms in geology.
Evolutionists are blind to their contradictions because they begin with the premise that evolution is true.
It is impossible for fossils to falsify evolution, therefore, because evolution is a given.
The truth of evolution is not under investigation. Neither is the evolutionary timetable. Their only
challenge is keeping their imaginations exercised enough to come up with stories that sound plausible
to keep the public in check and give the illusion of understanding, so that they can maintain their
brotherhood and authority. They all know the price of disunity.
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
Small Animals Astound, Inspire
May 17, 2011
Elephants and great whales impress us with their bulk, but there are smaller critters that are no less impressive.
Here are a few fantastic animals that come in very small packages.
The panoply of life is so vast and varied, that even with teams of scientists around
the world observing, we run no risk of understanding it all any time soon. Whether in remote parts of the earth,
or just under our feet, living things reveal new and amazing features that surprise PhDs and inspire entrepreneurs.
- Bears in space: Heres an animal so bizarre, so well-armed, so scary looking, if you knew they
were in your back yard you would run away screaming unless you were told they are less than a millionth of
a meter in size. Theyre called water bears, or tardigrades. Take a look at the color electron
micrograph of one on the BBC News and imagine your reaction coming
across one of these if it were as large as an army tank. The picture of a water bear egg further down the
article looks like an alien spaceship, yet these creatures live in many environments around our world.
The article said that the Italian Space Agency is studying what makes tardigrades world-class survivors.
They have the ability to shut down operations so completely, they can survive freezing and even the vacuum of outer space
with its ionizing radiation. Called the hardiest animal on earth, the water bear can enter a cryptobiotic state of
desiccation that can allow it to survive for months or years, showing a high resistance to physical and chemical extremes
such as very low and high temperatures, exposure to high pressure or vacuum, as well as contact with organic solvents
and ionizing radiation.
The Italian Space Agency would like to apply their secrets to learn how to
protect other organisms, including humans, from the extreme stresses found under space conditions.
Maybe a water bear spacesuit will become the latest fashion on some future spaceship.
- Flatworm regeneration: Students who have looked at flatworms in biology class have been
amused by their tiny triangular heads and cross-eyed look, but they can do something students cant do:
regenerate themselves. Massachusetts
Institute of Technology reported that one of their teams has figured out that the tiny creatures do it
with adult stem cells. They are a long way, though, from figuring out exactly how regeneration works.
Amazing as flatworm regeneration is, one of the researchers attributed it to a blind, unguided
process: This is an animal that, through evolution, has already solved the regeneration problem, Dan Wagner,
a grad student, said. Were studying planarians to see how their regeneration process works.
And, one day, well examine what are the key differences between whats possible in this animal and
whats possible in a mouse or a person.
- Honeybee flight simulator: Researchers at the
Centre national de la recherche scientifique are trying to see
how honeybees get around in life. They built a flight simulator consisting of a complex tunnel with
lines and curves intended to challenge the bees navigational abilities, with a reward at the end.
They have learned that bees, with their large peripheral vision, measure optical flow (the
lateral movement of objects) to judge distance, and can speed up or slow down with the information.
Bees are able to see objects overhead as well as on both sides and forward. The researchers observed
that a bees speed decreased in proportion to the narrowest point of passage in the flight chamber, whether
the constriction was horizontal or vertical, the article explained. In other words, a bee slows
its flight speed as an obstacle gets closer. Its speed depends on the size of the visual field and, therefore,
on the closeness of the obstacle.
The press release began with an expression of astonishment: How can a creature as tiny as a bee,
whose brain is proportionally smaller than that of a bird, manage to control its flight and avoid obstacles both in
flight and on the ground? We now know that bee sensory-motor performance depends on a nervous system consisting
of a hundred thousand to a million neurons. However bees do it, their tiny brains could help us design
objects weighing tons: These findings could have aerospace applications, such as during the crucial phases
when aircraft fly in confined environments. Maybe the Millennium Falcon had honeybee software that
allowed Han Solo to navigate successfully through that asteroid field.
- Colorblind hiding in plain color sight: Cuttlefish have the remarkable ability to quickly blend in with their
surroundings by turning a variety of colors. But since they are color blind, how do they do it? Scientists at
the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, wanted to find out.
Previous studies have shown that certain background variablessuch as brightness, contrast, edge and size of objects,
etc.are essential for eliciting camouflaged body patterns, a press release posted on
However, cephalopod eyes lack color perception, thus the vexing question of how they achieve effective camouflage
while being colorblind still remains.
The team tackled this incredibly difficult problem by using a new imaging technology,
Hyper Spectral Imaging (HSI), that samples 540 windows of color. This allowed them to hone in on the aspects of a cuttlefish profile
that a predator would see. The cuttlefish is able to dodge a predators sensitivity to brightness, or
luminance, with color tricks: What this means is that cuttlefish camouflage strategies take away a tool from
predators in their ability to pick out their prey from the background and instead leave them with only brightness
as a method for prey identification.
This is only a partial explanation, they realize, for a phenomenon that puzzled Aristotle. It doesnt
explain the systems the cuttlefish uses, nor how it discerns its background so as to blend in.
We hope our work takes us one step closer to understanding how a colorblind animal adopts
near-perfect camouflage in a variety of backgrounds.
posted a video of the creatures adjusting to different backgrounds with split-second timing.
Sad to see grad students like Dan Wagner so thoroughly brainwashed by Darwin Vader that he is already
manipulating the dork side of the farce. He says that the flatworm, through evolution, has
already solved the regeneration problem. Evolution solves nothing. It has no mind;
therefore it sees no problems or solutions. The statement makes no sense except in some epic myth
that views evolution as a farce that permeates the university. He could use a little
Cosmology, Mythology, and Heaven
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
May 16, 2011 Stephen Hawkings recent comment that heaven is a fairy tale
Guardian) started blogger keystrokes clicking. But one might ask, what does he know about it?
Are the opinions of a cosmologist any better than those of a theologian?
that he considers the brain like a computer that stops working
when its components fail. It was timely that PhysOrg
just reported that Jian-Jun Shu, an engineer Nanyang Technical University in Singapore, thinks that the
next stage of computing should imitate genetics. For some problems, DNA-based computing could
replace silicon-based computing, offering many advantages. Its potential for parallel processing
and fuzzy logic are attractive. Shu is wondering, though, how to plug a monitor into DNA.
Returning to the topic of heaven, the science blogs are focusing not on the evidence
for it, but on whether or not belief in heaven is innate, or is useful to human beings.
PhysOrg told about
40 studies in 20 countries that indicated belief in an afterlife is hardwired into the human
brain. The studies (both analytical and empirical) conclude that humans are predisposed to believe
in gods and an afterlife, and that both theology and atheism are reasoned responses to what is a basic
impulse of the human mind.
The 57 researchers were not out to establish the validity of beliefs
but to determine whether they are innate or learned. One researcher commented, Just because we
find it easier to think in a particular way does not mean that it is true in fact. Even so, why
would an unguided evolutionary process produce belief in god or heaven that do not exist? Echoes of
Anselms old Ontological Argument for the existence of God may come to mind. The article did not
discuss how evolution would produce belief in heaven, but a lively debate arose in the reader comments.
Stephanie Pappas at Live
Science weighed in with her take on Hawkings statement, saying that his opinion doesnt matter,
because belief in heaven offers benefits. Pappas invited responses from Daniel Kruger, an evolutionary
psychologist at the University of Michigan, and Nathan Heflick, a psychology doctoral student at the University of Florida,
who has investigated beliefs in the afterlife. Kruger noted that belief in heaven provides hope, staves off
fear of death, and promotes a sense of fairness that stimulates society to produce just laws. Heflick
pointed out that heaven enables people to think of themselves as more than their bodies.
If you think of your body as a machine, its kind of hard to believe in life after death, Heflick said.
Youre not going to be able to think of yourself as a spirit. Nevertheless, such thinking
might well raise questions about the Inventor of the Machine, based on our common experience that machines
come via intelligent design.
Thus far, we have watched scientists trying to analyze a theological question.
But how firm a grip does science have in its own domain? on reality, even so-called observable reality, or nature?
Scientist posted an intriguing article on the many ways our eyes fool us. Our brain is filling in information
and predicting the future for us, reporter Graham Lawton pointed out, producing in us a grand delusion
that we see what is really there. Speaking of cosmology (Hawkings specialty),
reminded us that cosmologists are still looking for 96% of an assumed universe about which they are clueless.
It would seem premature for Hawking to rule out heaven when the reality he believes in is mostly hidden
even if he could trust his senses. There might be much more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in
his philosophy (naturalism).
Scientists do best when they stick with the observations.
PhysOrg, echoing a press release from
Cardiff University, provided a mix of news and history
in an article about the Herschel Space Observatory, describing not only the latest observations, but giving
a history of the Herschel family William, the father of stellar astronomy, who
discovered Uranus and infrared light and catalogued thousands of objects in space (and many comets)
along with his faithful sister Caroline, and John, his son, who extended the observations
into the southern hemisphere. Professor Matt Griffin said, Two centuries on, I think William and Caroline
would be intrigued and certainly quite pleased to see how what they started has developed.
Hawking might take note of the fact that excellent scientific work, both observational and theoretical,
was done by the Herschels who were strong believers in heaven.
Immature Christian to scientist: if you will just keep your nose out of
our heaven, well keep our hell out of your labs. That emotional response should be discarded
for a more charitable dialogue, in which we first invite the scientist to consider his own limitations, such as
flawed eyes, logical fallacies, and tendencies to believe in his own fairy tales (like 96% of a reality that cannot be
seen). Then we turn his attention to his undeniable sense of justice and truth, and ask how that could evolve.
Ups & Downs of SETI
Once we get him to admit that justice and truth make reference to universals that are necessary and timeless,
we help him to discover that his own reasoning depends on the assumptions of theology. Having awakened the hapless
soul out of his naturalistic slumbers, we can begin asking the right questions about eternity, taking advantage of
innate knowledge of such things
that had been buried under the academic dusts of unreasoned assumptions. The response might be heavenly.
Next headline on:
Stars and Astronomy
Genetics and DNA
Mind and Brain
Philosophy of Science
Bible and Theology
May 15, 2011 The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence arouses excitement in some, boredom in
others. The SETI Institute has taken lumps recently; due to a $5 million shortfall in funding, they
had to mothball a search using the Allen Telescope Array. But
that an unspecified group of astronomers will be using the Green Bank Radio Telescope in West Virginia, the worlds
largest steerable antenna, to watch 86 stars identified by the Kepler spacecraft as potential sites
for habitable planets. The article did not say who is funding the project.
A press release from UC
Berkeley contained more detail. The astronomers involved are from UC Berkeley. The press release
said that the Green Bank Observatory is funded by the National Science Foundation, but did not specify if NSF
funds are being used for the SETI activity. Volunteers around the world will parse the data using
SETI@home software after a year of searching. SETI@home is partly funded by the NSF and NASA, the
article said, but did not specify the amount.
As long as taxpayers are not forced to fund it, let the SETI enthusiasts look. It might keep
them out of mischief. Just dont let them lie that SETI is a science project, because it has
no data. Would using scientific equipment to search for gnomes be scientific? You have
to have data to have any claim to being a science, and not just any data (like habitable planets),
but data that pertain to the question you are investigating (intelligent life).
Whos analyzing whom? Popular anthropologist Jared Diamond wrote about the cultural evolution of some
New Guinea tribespeople, only to be slapped by a lawsuit from some of them for defamation of character.
Read the 05/17/2009 entry for details and
for another example of scientific humans blundering about their so-called primitive brethren.
Dont let them lie, further, that it reinforces evolutionary theory. They are not
looking for purposeless, unguided phenomena, but for SETID: search for extra-terrestrial intelligent design.
Tell them that and they get very angry... another unscientific response.
Next headline on:
Eye on Io
May 14, 2011 Jupiters volcanic moon Io continues to erupt, its heat flowing into
science journals. Planetary scientists are mapping its surface and devising new ideas about
what drives its activity.
A paper in Icarus presented a new global geologic map of Ios surface.1
The most common feature is plains (65.8%), followed by lava flow fields (28.5%, about a third of which are currently
active), with a few mountains (3.2%) and patera floors (volcanic depressions, 2.5%). These paterae account for
64% of Ios hot spots. The mountains and volcanoes appear evenly distributed by longitude, whereas there
is a slight dropoff of lava flows in the polar regions. This was the first complete map of Io from Galileo
data at 1:15M scale (1 km per pixel). Detailed surface mapping is essential for contemplating Ios interior.
This little moon, about the size of Earths moon, is the most volcanically active body in the
solar system (12/03/2007,
05/04/2004). What makes it pop, with dozens of volcanoes active at a time, spewing out 100 times more lava
than all Earths volcanoes combined? A new theory by Krishan Khurana [UCLA] and a team from UCLA, UC Santa
Cruz and University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is that Io has a global subsurface
ocean of magma. Space.com
and PhysOrg featured the
theory published in Science.2
The team inferred the presence of a global conducting layer based on magnetometer data from the Galileo mission.
They estimate that 20-30 miles below the crust, a layer of molten rock 30 miles deep produces the magnetic signature.
They did not address, however, questions about how the molten material erupts onto the surface without plate tectonics,
or why heavy elements seen in the ultramafic lavas remain near the surface rather than having dropped deep into the interior
billions of years ago.
1. Williams et al, Volcanism on Io: New Insights from Global Geologic Mapping,
Icarus paper available online 05/13/2011,
2. Khurana et al, Evidence of a Global Magma Ocean in Ios Interior,
published online 12 May 2011.
Stranger than Io's volcanoes and the geysers of Enceladus is a phenomenon under the skulls of planetary scientists,
where an unseen layer of liquid thought, worrying about how such activity could persist for billions of years, never seems
to rise to the surface.
Dinosaur Classification Is a Mess
Next headline on:
May 13, 2011 Are there a thousand species of dinosaurs or far fewer?
John Horner, a dinosaur hunter himself, thinks the classification is a mess and wants to
clean it up. According to Science Magazine News Horner is worried that with almost 1000 types of
dinosaurs on record and a new species being named somewhere in the world every 2 weekstoo many supposedly new discoveries
are actually duplicates of animals already on the books. Another paleontologist, Michael J. Benton,
estimates that over half of the named dinosaurs are misclassified.
Apparently human pride is to blame. Part of the problem, Horner says, is that scientists are
sometimes too keen on finding and naming new dinosaurs. Naming a new dinosaur gets you noticed and
published. As a result, fossil hunters tend to focus on the differences instead of the similarities.
Additionally, paleontologists are coming to realize that the bones of an adult dinosaur can be very different
from those of a juvenile animal of the same species and can easily mislead scientists into thinking they are two different species.
Ignoring these pitfalls can lead to misinterpretations about dinosaur evolution.
Early in their development, Horner explains, the skulls of young dinosaurs may resemble the relatively unspecialized
skulls of primitive ancestral species. To avoid confusion, paleontologists must know precisely where a specimen came from,
how it appeared while still encased in rock, and which level it occupied in a geologic formation.
Horner has proposed a Unified Frame of Reference (UFR) to fellow paleontologists to try to rein in
This is terrible. What will they tell the children who memorized the names of some of these dinosaurs
and love to show off their knowledge? How can they tell them some of the creatures never existed?
It will break their hearts and shake their confidence in scientists.
Weird Evolution Tricks
Classification is a problem not only for dinosaurs, but for all organisms. Knowing where
to draw the line between species is a human problem, because there are not joints in nature that will provide
reliable division points. The biological species concept (species are groups that produce fertile offspring),
for instance, does not help with asexual microbes and fossils.
Maybe there are only two kinds of dinosaurs:
big ones and little ones (like potatoes). Or maybe ones that walked on all fours and ones that walked on two hind legs.
Whatever scheme works for your purposes can be defended as scientific; even using as a criterion those that
reproduce after their kind.
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
Philosophy of Science
May 13, 2011 Evolution is a strange theory; it goes forwards, backwards, sideways and nowhere, fast or slow,
up or down, inside out and outside in. Here are some examples that contradict the slow, gradual picture of
progress that was so popular in Victorian England.
- Re-using lost genes: Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology are claiming that evolution dug into an old bag
of tricks and pulled out something lost 200 years ago. Ever since Charles Darwin proposed his theory of evolution
in 1859, scientists have wondered whether evolutionary adaptations can be reversed, the press release from
MIT News said. Examples have been the re-evolution
of wings in insects (see 05/28/2003).
Using a computational model, Jeff Gore at the university decided that evolution can reverse itself, but only
if fewer than four mutations were involved. He studied bacteria that achieved resistance to an antibiotic named cefotaxime.
It took five mutations to confer resistance; there were 120 ways to get all five, but only 18 could actually occur, he found.
The article did not get back to the question of how insects could re-evolve wings a reversal that would
seem to involve many more than four mutations. It also repeated the discredited idea that the human appendix is no longer needed.
- Going nowhere: New
Scientist announced in a bold headline, Horsetail fossil tells tale of plant evolution. But when the reader looks
for said evolution, there is none to be found except a tale indeed. Alan Channing [Cardiff U] found a fossilized horsetail that must have been
preserved in a hot spring environment. It looks modern: Though a new species, the fossilised plant is quite similar to some
horsetails living today with a single upright evergreen shaft, the article confessed. While admitted that horsetails
have had a contested evolutionary history that Channings work now clears up, the article went on to
say that The findings suggest horsetails experienced only modest innovations in their long evolutionary history.
Innovations? The article presented no evidence of ancestors of horsetails. Worse, Channings
study pushes the origin of modern-looking horsetails back another 14 million years, to 150 million years before the present.
The fossil preserved not only stems but also leaf sheaths, roots and reproductive structures. Its as if
this plant popped into existence 150 million years ago and never dreamt up any new innovations all the way to the present
except, if anything, the older ones were bigger and better: Todays horsetail plants are living fossils, the only
surviving members of the class Equisetopsida, the article ended. For more than a 100 million years,
Equisetopsida plants dominated the understory of the late Mesozoic period forests, stretching up to 30 metres high.
- Evolution in reverse: PhysOrg
tells us that cicada-like insects called treehoppers cast aside their front wings 200 million years ago, only to call them up into service as headgear.
Thats probably shocking news if you are an entomologist, and challenges some very basic ideas about what
makes an insect an insect, the researchers said.
Strange things happen in evolution. But then, some 50 million years ago, something strange happened to the
cicada-like treehoppers: they once again sprouted wing-like structures from the top of the first segment of the thorax.
But they didnt flap: Some of these wildly divergent extrusions resemble thorns, others look like antlers, and still others
like aggressive ants or animal droppings, creating one of Natures most exotic menageries. It wasnt clear if
the capitalized Nature referred to the outdoors or the journal Nature, where the study made the cover story.1
What does this mean for evolutionary theory? Evolution is usually described as linear, but these
modified wings suggested the process had come full circle. Turning evolution into a personified
inventor, French biologist Benjamin Prud'homme said, This extra pair of wings was not needed for flight, but nor did it prevent it.
So it became raw material for evolution to play with. A co-author said that the study shows
how development abilities can be lost or silenced over millions of years, only to be redeployed to
contribute to the evolution of a complex and beautiful appendage. The abstract of the Nature paper
remarked, This innovation in the insect body plan is an unprecedented situation in 250 Myr of insect evolution.
The paper claimed this required no new genetic information: We submit that morphological innovations can arise from the deployment
of existing but silenced developmental potentials, therefore requiring not so much the evolution of new genetic material but
instead the expression of these potentials.
- Evolution in hiding: Biologists who study fungi have found an embarrassing surprise: according to
a hitherto unknown type of fungi which has fundamentally expanded the scientific understanding of this group of organisms.
A British team has uncovered a whole new group of fungi which they named cryptomycota hidden fungi.
Dr Tom Richards, from the University of Exeters Biosciences department and the Natural History Museum London, said:
This study has been very surprising not least because the original sample came from the nearby pond.
Fungi have been well studied for 150 years and it was thought we had a good understanding of the major evolutionary groups,
but these findings have changed that radically.
Cryptomycota apparently lack a rigid cell wall. What does this mean? The article referred to the fungus as either
an intermediate state or a living fossil, but admitted that it must be successful:
Despite lacking the tough cell wall, they seem still to be very successful in the environment because of their
extensive diversity and cosmopolitan distribution. The discovery also points out that biologists may be oblivious to
large segments of the living world: Until recent years, researchers investigating microbial diversity have sampled by
growing microbes in lab cultures, but now it seems that the vast majority of life forms are never captured using these
methods meaning most of the evolutionary complexity of life remains unsampled.
Current understanding of fungal diversity turns out to be only half the story weve discovered this
diverse and deep evolutionary branch in fungi that has remained hidden all this time.
- Evolution by loss: A lizard in Cambodia has no legs or eyes. The
BBC News has a picture of what looks like
an earthworm, but is a legless lizard that has also lost its eyes.
Descent teased about Evolution as loss of function.
- Unnatural selection: What would you call unnatural selection? Would it be synonymous with intelligent design?
Not according to Michael Le Page at New Scientist, who has been writing
a series about how humans are harming the environment with their pesticides, hunting, climate change, pollution, diseases, and shuffling of
invasive species. He left begging the question of whether humans were naturally selected to do this.
1. Prud'homme et al, Body plan innovation in treehoppers through the evolution of an extra wing-like appendage,
473 (05 May 2011), pp. 83–86, doi:10.1038/nature09977.
By making evolution mean anything, they make it mean everything and therefore nothing.
By creating an illusion of progress, evolutionists have created the perfect conspiracy: a way to snow the public under the
banner of science, using the Stuff Happens Law (SHL). Philosophers may realize that stuff happens amounts to a failure
of scientific explanation, but by calling it something more sophisticated evolution evolutionists can tinker with it in
countless ways. Being inherently flexible, the Stuff Happens Law lends itself to endless corollaries that can be couched
in Darwinian jargon.
Strange stuff happens (evolutionary reversal)
Stuff happens at any speed (evolutionary stasis or radiation)
Stuff happens by surprise (evolutionary innovation)
Stuff re-happens (circular evolution)
Stuff survives happenstance (living fossils)
Stuff makes other stuff happen (humans affecting biology by unnatural selection)
Ben Stein's expose of Darwinian intolerance in Expelled three years ago did not make the
Darwinists repent. It made them even more intolerant. In the
05/12/2008 entry, read accounts of subsequent acts
of Darwinist bigotry, and a commentary on why the very institutions founded to protect rights often
end up doing the exact opposite.
As long as creative minds inhabit evolutionary biology labs, the future looks bright for endless twists on
Darwins tale. Whether this amounts to science is an entirely different question.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Darwin and Evolution
Whos Playing Your Gene Piano?
May 12, 2011 Is your genetic code a library or a musical instrument?
Scientists have long considered it to be like the former, a genetic code. Now, however,
a new metaphor is emerging: a piano. Discoveries in epigenetics (beyond-the-gene), processes
that determine which genes are played or silenced, are tending toward the new interpretation.
In Medical Xpress,
a headline reads, Study gives clue as to how notes are played on the genetic piano.
It features the work of Dr. Kohzoh Mitsuya [U of Texas Health Science Center] who studies genes
as if watching a performance: epigenetics corresponds to a pianist playing a piece of music,
he said. Like keys on a piano, DNA is the static blueprint for all the proteins that cells
produce, the article described. Epigenetic information provides additional dynamic
or flexible instructions as to how, where and when the blueprint will be used.
His work has only identified one note on the piano so far: DNA methylation, a process
that silences genes by having an RNA attach a methyl group to them. After watching the response
of mice deficient in the RNA, he said, It shows how one note is played on the piano.
Perhaps, though, the piano is just one instrument of a larger work. The symphony has only
just come into view, Dr. Mitsuya said. We can hear it, but we need to learn how all
the parts are being played. His teams work, published in Science today,1
did not mention pianos or music, but did not discuss evolution, either.
1. Watanabe, Tomizami, Mitsuya et al, Role for piRNAs and Noncoding RNA in de Novo DNA Methylation of the Imprinted Mouse Rasgrf1 Locus,
13 May 2011: Vol. 332 no. 6031 pp. 848-852, DOI: 10.1126/science.1203919.
OK, whos the pianist? Whos the conductor? Metaphors can be misleading, and should
not be pushed too far, but this one causes trouble for Darwin while it fits neatly into intelligent design.
The environment cannot be the musician; it is oblivious to the needs of the organism. Heredity cannot
be the musician; it has no foresight to read or comprehend a collection of processes organized into a work.
Science Out of Touch
Function (the requirement of an organism to survive and reproduce) is a necessary but not sufficient
condition for the origin of the information required to produce function. Darwinists: dont give
us that line, If it hadnt evolved, it wouldnt be there. Science is supposed to seek
efficient causes, not just-so stories or appeals to chance based on circular reasoning. The alternative
explanation, intelligent design, is the only explanation with a known cause sufficient to produce functional
The article referred to a NOVA special that called epigenetics The ghost in your genes.
Just when neuroscience thought they had exercised the ghost in the machine of the brain, another shows up in
the genetic code. Ghosts have a way of coming back to haunt the overconfident.
Next headline on:
Genetics and DNA
May 11, 2011 When science became a profession instead of an avocation, there were some unintended
consequences. Scientists began to lose touch with the public. When a scientist goes to
work doing science for a living, he or she sometimes takes public support for granted, thinking the work
is justified for its own sake. Recent articles, however, warn scientists and scientific institutions
to re-think their presumed authority. They need to start acting more accountable to the public who
expects a return on investment.
Part of the need for scientists to re-evaluate their status comes from mistakes and surprises.
Society looks to scientists to understand the world, but often, they are caught off guard or backtracking on
previously well-established theories. In todays news, for instance, the
BBC said that astronomers are
mystified by high-energy gamma rays seen coming from the Crab Nebula.
Space.com says this
burst defies explanation. Many of the findings from the Cassini Mission to Saturn,
like the Enceladus geysers and the lack of an ethane ocean on Titan, contradicted predictions and still
have no explanation. PhysOrg
reported that the discovery of hot Jupiters (gas giants orbiting near other stars) orbiting backwards
so obviously violates our most basic picture of planet and star formation.
Another embarrassment comes when the public comes to believe, or scientists admit, that their projects
were not worth doing in the first place. For instance, the political push for biofuels is well known, but
reported on a study that shows that conventional fossil fuels are sometimes greener than biofuels,
when their entire carbon footprint is measured. Remember the promises of artificial intelligence (AI)?
PhysOrg reminded readers that back in
the 1950s and 60s, hopes were high that tools emerging from the new science of computation would
soon unravel the mysteries of human thought. Since then, AI research has had to dramatically reduce its
aspirations; As the computational complexity of even the most common human cognitive tasks became clear,
however, researchers trimmed their sails, the article admitted, quoting one researcher who couldnt
imagine building a robot able to reach into its pocket for its keys. Embryonic stem cell research has yet to produce
one actual treatment despite soaring promises, and the Human Genome Project, while generating a great deal of knowledge,
similarly failed to simplify our understanding of human diseases. Last week,
reported that Evolutionary literary criticism (see 01/27/2006)
has flopped, remaining unpopular in the university.
To be sure, any investigation of the unknown is going to have problems and setbacks.
But when the public pays for it, or when parents pay big bucks to have their children sit under science professors,
they have reason to expect some return on investment. This was emphasized in a Nature editorial
this week,1 Value judgements. Members of the public are stake-holders
in science, the editors admitted; their values cannot be ignored. Scientists cannot just assume that
the old canard of knowledge for its own sake will sell. A recent symposium published by the journal Minerva raised awareness of this:
Policy-makers, funders and scientists should take note. For example, a paper by Ryan Meyer, also a policy scientist
at Arizona State University, focuses on the failure of the US governments Global Change Research Program to deliver
broad public value (Minerva 49, 47–70; 2011). Basing his studies on public statements and private interviews with
researchers and political decision-makers, Meyer says that US climate programmes have in the past two decades benefited
from public investment of more than US$30 billion, but have largely failed to produce information and participation in the
forms that policy-makers and the public wanted. The notion that society considers any advance in knowledge to be
inherently good even if the science fails to meet the objectives and priorities it was meant to address
cannot be sustained, says Meyer.
The editorial reflected on post-normal science: Science becomes post-normal when facts are uncertain,
stakes high, values in dispute and decisions urgent; in such cases, societal needs must be taken into account to avoid
costly mistakes. The controversies about climate science come to mind. The editors pointed to climate science
as an example; But, according to the workshop participants, most climate researchers continue to act as if purely
scientific values are, and will always be, adequate to set the agenda. The editors of Nature
agree with the scientific consensus on climate science, but realize that scientists have lost the public trust on the matter.
This pointed up another unintended consequence of the professionalism of science: scientists became a special-interest
group, seeking their own priorities instead of those of society:
More importantly, these studies highlight a significant deficit in current typical appraisals of science and technology outcomes.
They should serve as cautionary tales about the danger of scientists interests, deliberately or otherwise, becoming too dominant
in determining outcomes. And they introduce ways to assess failures in social returns on investment that, one can only hope,
will help to improve sciences public value.
How did science become professionalized in the first place?
The Scientist presented an essay by historian of science
by Laura J. Snyder. In the 19th century, four friends changed the way scientists viewed themselves, the
subtitle of her essay begins. She believes, Its time for another shake-up. Those four friends, featured in her new
book The Philosophical Breakfast Club (Broadway Books, 2011), were William Whewell (who coined the term scientist), Charles Babbage, John Herschel,
and Richard Jones. Each of the four men was brilliant, self-assured, and possessed of the optimism of the age,
Snyder said. It was these four, who met for Philosophical Breakfasts to discuss the status of science,
who were most influential in transforming science from the province of the amateurthe clergyman collecting fossils or
beetles in his spare hours, or the wealthy gentleman conducting electrical experiments at his country estateto the career of the
professional: trained at the university, published in specialized journals, and admitted to associations open only to fellow
professionals. Darwin, for instance, rode the wave that elevated the scientist to the revered professional.
But then Snyder pointed out that the achievement of these four philosophers led to a serious problem plaguing science in our
One of the unintended consequences of the revolution wrought by the Philosophical Breakfast Club has been that
the professional scientist is now less interested in, and perhaps less capable of, connecting with the broader public,
sharing the new discoveries and theories that most excite the scientific community. Although there are some notable exceptions,
todays researcher has been less adept than the Victorian-era natural philosopher at engaging the publicand
this estranged the general public from science. In part this is because the scientific establishment discourages
its members from writing popular books and articles, considering these projects unserious, even frivolous, diversions from the
real work of research. But this attitude has to change in order to mend the ever-deepening rift between science
and the rest of modern culture. Todays scientist should strive to be more like the 19th-century natural
philosopherironically, more like those very men who created the modern scientist.
1. Editorial, Value judgements, Nature
473 (12 May 2011), pp. 123–124, doi:10.1038/473123b.
The points are well taken, but Snyder and the editors of Nature ignore a couple of realities: one, that many
members of the public are just as informed, intelligent, and worthy of being heard as professional scientists, and
two, that not all sciences are epistemically equal. Much in biochemistry is testable and repeatable, for instance,
but theories of the origin of the universe or the evolution of life are not. A third oversight is that information
flows one way: from scientist to public. There needs to be a two-way dialogue.
Saturns Titan Is Changing
scientist is an honored badge that attracts many who do not deserve to wear it. We would include evolutionists
as among the worst who take on the label but provide no return on investment to society in fact, who do much
to misuse and harm society while bragging about their status as scientists. A PhD confers no more authority on a
scientist than a real estate license does on a realtor; it depends on what the individual person does with the
skills and learning they acquired.
The legacy of the Philosophical Breakfast Club is interesting history; clearly, however, much has
happened since then. It would be unrealistic, if not ridiculous, to expect science today to go back to being a
part-time hobby of clergymen and wealthy gentlemen, not just because many scientists these days are female.
The complexity of science has grown enormously since the days of Babbage,
Herschel and Whewell (Scientist of the Month for Nov 2010).
It takes money and large teams to do spacecraft, giant telescopes and genomics. Were stuck with big science
Theres something to be said
though, for more private involvement in science. Consider the benefactor-funded origin of the Palomar Observatory, and todays
private-enterprise space projects. Look, too, at the good work being done by citizen scientists
If the root meaning of science is knowledge, any human has the freedom and obligation to increase
it. Better a field amateur with years of observations than an armchair professor pontificating from his
Even if the professionalization of science has had unintended consequences, those
consequences are not insurmountable. Increased scrutiny, accountability, and humility by scientists
are worthy steps. We mean no insult to the many honorable scientists using their position for good,
doing honest work each day, and providing society with a good return on investment. Professional
scientists need to realize, though, they must earn their wings each day. Not everything they do
is scientific, and not everything a non-scientist does is unscientific. A scientist speaking outside
his or her area of knowledge can have opinions no better than those of anyone else.
One of the best correctives would be to have the media get out of the lap of scientific institutions and turn their
critical-thinking scopes on science with the aid of philosophers, ethicists and taxpayer-watchdog groups.
Its time to doubt the presumptive authority of science and call scientists to reveal their assumptions,
justify their methods, face their critics honestly, and serve society rather than preach to it.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Philosophy of Science
May 10, 2011 The giant smog-shrouded moon of Saturn, Titan, is changing both in situ and
in the minds of planetary scientists. Several news stories show not only dynamic processes in play,
but revolutions in what scientists think about the moon and its history. Readers will need to
determine which ideas are solidly based on observational evidence.
Last month the BBC News recounted the
success of the Huygens Probe, the first spacecraft to land on Titan.
Now, its about TiME to return to Titan to explore its lakes: the Titan Mare Explorer (TiME) is one of several
proposed missions after Cassini to return to Titans maria and investigate them at sea level.
- Punching bag: Where did Titan get its thick nitrogen atmosphere, unique to the bodies
of the outer solar system?
Yasuhito Sekine, a planetary scientist at the University of Tokyo, believes the nitrogen came special
delivery, in the form of comets, during a theoretical period called the Late Heavy Bombardment.
Scientist parroted Sekines ideas without stopping to ask why the comets left their gas at Titan
and not the other moons. Space.com
did ask, however, where the impact craters went. Perhaps they were covered up somehow. The article
quoted one other planetary scientist who called Sekines idea an interesting hypothesis.
- Falling sky: A Cassini press release from
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
says that Titans atmospheric haze is dropping as the sun moves northward, changing Titans seasons from equinox to solstice.
In just a few months, the news feature said, the upper haze layer dipped from 310 miles to 240 miles.
Chicken Little was not interviewed for reaction, although the caption said he was notified.
- Unobservable ocean: Space.com
says that all signs point to hidden ocean under Titans surface.
Certain details of Titans orbit and rotation arent compatible with the behavior of a celestial body
that is completely solid all the way through, the short article stated. But these details make a lot
of sense if the huge moon is assumed to have a subsurface ocean, likely of liquid water, researchers said.
If true, the ocean (estimated 100 miles or more beneath the icy crust) is composed mainly of water
not of hydrocarbons necessary to replenish Titans atmospheric methane. The article did not address
the problem of keeping volatile, short-lived methane around for billions of years.
The article threw in the L-word, saying that Titan is considered one of the leading candidates to host life beyond Earth.
Rose-Marie Balland [Royal University of Belgium], whose team is proposing the ocean model, was not shy about leaping beyond scientific
knowledge: Astrobiologists do not really know yet what are the necessary conditions for life to emerge,
she said, but it seems that the presence of water is a requirement.
- Familiar shores:
Space.com posted a video animation, based on
actual radar data, of a flyover of Titans large southern lake, Ontario Lacus (warning: loud Kinect ad
precedes and follows the video). Steve Wall explains the bays, beaches and bathtub rings of the lake,
thought to be filled with liquid ethane and methane, surrounded by water ice mountains.
- Separated at birth: Live Science
floated the idea that Titan has look-alikes. Some Alien Planets May Be Like Saturns Moon Titan,
Charles Q. Choi speculated after hearing astrobiologist Chris McKay speculate about planets around red dwarfs,
and even rogue planets careening through space in the dark without a star to warm them.
Maybe they should understand a Titan they can see before speculating about unseen brethren.
reported on the proposal from Johns Hopkins to land a floating craft in one of the lakes. As it drifts with the breeze,
it could measure the lakes depth with sonar and taste the brew of chemicals it contains
looking for signs of life. A decision about which proposed planetary missions gets funding should
be made in 2012.
Science posted a video tour of Cassini highlights at Saturn, its rings and moons but did not
discuss Titan (warning: loud Kinect ad again).
Titan is surely one of the most intriguing bodies in the solar system. Its even more
intriguing because of the intrigue among scientists it generates, who need a league to avoid fatigue from
trying to keep this young moon going for billions of years
Four years ago, an important archaeological discovery was made: the tomb of Herod the Great
was found. Reread the news from the 05/08/2007
Next headline on:
How to Fill In Missing Fossils: Imagine Them
May 09, 2011 Evolutionists have long known of systematic gaps in the fossil record.
This has been a frequent criticism lodged by Darwin skeptics against the evolutionary notion of a gradually
unfolding tree of life. Now, however, it appears that evolutionists have revived use of a tool in their
arsenal for combating the critics: imagination. Missing transitions in the record?
No problem. Fill them in with evolutionary thinking.
This tactic was illustrated in a cheerful article about Dr Marcello Ruta of the
University of Bristol, posted on Science
Daily, describing his research into the Permian extinction an evolutionary scenario that supposedly
wiped out the majority of life forms on earth 250 million years ago.
In particular, parareptiles,1
a diverse group of bizarre-looking terrestrial vertebrates which varied in shape and size, had
been thought to have been hit hard by the extinction event, whatever it was; but the Bristol team is now
claiming that, to the contrary, parareptiles were not hit much harder by the end-Permian extinction than at any other
point in their 90 million-year history. They lived merrily on for another 50 million years,
declining and diversifying repeatedly during their long tenure on earth.
At first glance, the article seems to score wins for Darwinism: the team at Bristol has made strides
connecting the dots and filling in the gaps. After all, they were studying the fossil record,
the article alleged. A closer look at their gap-filling material, however, shows it lacks empirical substance:
However, as the quality and completeness of the fossil record varies considerably,
both geographically and stratigraphically, palaeontologists need to find a way to join the dots
and piece together the fragments of a complex mosaic to give a more satisfactory and better picture
of ancient lifes diversity.
The team led by Dr Marcello Ruta of Bristols School of Earth Sciences ...
used the evolutionary relationships among known parareptiles to produce a corrected estimate of
changing diversity through time.
Dr Marcello Ruta said: Evolutionary relationships can be superimposed on a time scale, allowing
you to infer missing portions of past diversity. They are powerful tools that complement and
refine the known record of extinct diversity. If you visualize evolutionary relationships in
the form of branching diagrams and then plot them on a time scale, new patterns begin to emerge,
with gaps in the fossil record suddenly filling rapidly.
One of the team members elaborated on the success of visualization and imagination as gap-filling strategies.
It is as if ghosts from the past appear all of a sudden and join their relatives in a big family tree
you have a bigger tree, he said. This way, you can start analysing observed and extrapolated abundance of
species through time, and you can quantify novel origination and extinction events that would otherwise go unnoticed if
you were to look at known finds only.
How big a part do the known finds play in this game? Apparently, not that much.
Another co-author of the paper emphasized the role of evolutionary thinking as a substitute for
real bones: Classic text-book views of waxing and waning of groups through deep time will certainly benefit,
where possible, from the use of evolutionary thinking.
A peer from the University of Washington seemed delighted with this first-ever detailed study
of parareptile relationships, because we still know very little about their biology.
The study was published in the journal Palaeontology.2 The abstract
states that they provided Phylogeny-corrected measures of diversity and examined
ghost lineages i.e., lineages that should be there if evolution were true, but left no
fossils. Paul Nelson at the Discovery Institute described ghost lineages in a pair of articles for
Evolution News in January 19
and February 4, 2011.
1. The Wikipedia article on parareptilia states, Whether the term is valid depends on the
phylogenetic position of turtles, the relationships of which to other reptilian groups are still uncertain.
2. Ruta, Cisneros et al, Amniotes through major biological crises: faunal turnover among parareptiles and
the end-Permian mass extinction,
first published online: 27 APR 2011, DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4983.2011.01051.x.
It appears that the fossil evidence of parareptiles, if that taxon even exists, is a scattergram that does not support
any kind of evolutionary story. According to the abstract, Available data are not consistent with a model of sudden decline at the end-Permian
but rather suggest a rapid alternation of originations and extinctions in a number of parareptile groups, both before
and after the Permian/Triassic boundary.
Hummingbird Tongue More Clever Than Thought
One might think this anomaly amounts to a falsification of the Permian extinction idea itself, and would
present a serious challenge to the idea of evolutionary progress. But if one thought that way, one would underestimate
the creativity of the Darwinian imagination. No amount of data ever falsifies Darwinism, because imagination is always
on hand to insert flexible caulking to keep the HMS Charlie afloat (see four examples from last year, 05/27/2010).
Thats why it is unsinkable. You cant sink an imaginary ship on an imaginary ocean hitting obstacles,
real or imaginary, when magic caulk is available in infinite supply. Read Paul Nelsons articles and the tactic will become clear.
To those who still think Darwinism is a scientific theory forced upon scientists by tons of evidence from
the real world, look at what the team did. Its a classic case of circular
reasoning. They assumed evolutionary relationships between these complex
animals, then superimposed their assumptions on an evolutionary timeline, visualizing
evolutionary relationships and filling in all the gaps with ghost lineages that left no trace.
This is not science; this is divination peeping and muttering with a few bones to invoke the Spirit of Charlie, so
that the peasants continue to worship and make sacrifices at the shrine of the
great liberator with his magic tree, who freed the scientists from observational rigor and gave them an easy life of storytelling
(12/22/2003 commentary). Note: evolutionary thinking is an oxymoron.
Next headline on:
Dinosaurs and Extinct Reptiles
Darwin and Evolution
May 08, 2011 Humans sip their nectar by tipping a glass and slurping, but how can a hummingbird
pull liquid out of flowers with a tongue alone? Up until now, scientists thought that hummingbird tongues
acted like capillary tubes. New research with high-speed cameras show that the action is much
more clever so clever it might lead to advances in human machinery.
posted a summary of a paper on PNAS,1 where scientists from
the University of Connecticut decided to check out how hummingbirds do it. Using high-speed
cameras on 30 hummingbirds from 10 species, Rico-Guevara and Rubega discovered that the hummingbird tongue
acts as a fluid trap, not a capillary tube.
The tongue splits into two parts, lined with hair-like extensions called lamellae.
As the bird pulls the tongue out from the nectar, the two parts come together automatically and trap
the nectar, pulling the food into the mouth. The PhysOrg
article includes four video clips showing the action in slow motion.
The researchers further
discovered that the same action occurs when the tongue of dead birds is pulled through simulated
nectar, showing it is an automatic action, therefore highly efficient because no energy expenditure
by the bird is required to drive the opening and closing of the trap. According to the
article, hummingbirds flick their tongues in and out of the nectar as fast as 20 times per second.
The abstract from the paper ended with a tantalizing hint of where this research can
lead: We propose a conceptual mechanical explanation for this unique fluid-trapping capacity, with
far-reaching practical applications (e.g., biomimetics).
Bird lovers will want to watch the entertaining performance on Science Nation of Griffin, an African
gray parrot, posted on Live Science.
Is this bird really smart enough to understand shapes and colors, or is it responding to subconscious cues from
its trainers? Whether or not you believe Irene Pepperbergs claim that they controlled for such
cues, everyone will agree that bird brains are smarter than you think.
David Catchpoole at Creation.com wrote about the brilliant
colors of parrots and commented in a sidebar about Dr. Pepperbergs work on parrot intelligence.
wrote about how physicists at Yale University have found a way to improve lasers by imitating the techniques
birds use to flash bright colors.
1. Rico-Guevara and Rubega, The hummingbird tongue is a fluid trap, not a capillary tube,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
published online before print May 2, 2011, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1016944108.
Hummingbirds and parrots are not only beautiful, they are well designed and intelligent.
We hope this Amazing Facts entry will grant you even more appreciation as you watch the
hummingbird feeder. If you dont have one, go get one; the performances will
delight and astonish the family. For a good film sequence about the design of hummingbirds, get
the beautiful film God of Wonders at RPI,
where you can buy copies in bulk to share with friends and acquaintances.
Venom for Health
Next headline on:
May 07, 2011 Remember when botulinum toxin, one of the most potent poisons known to man, entered
medical science for good? Now fashion models brag about how botox improved their good
looks, and sufferers of excess sweating or migraines find relief with the neurotoxin. The search for
good in bad substances has not stopped; other venomous organisms, once a scourge of mankind, are being
investigated as agents of health for our bodies and our crops.
The Live Science article mentioned above explained why natural substances hold promise for medicine:
Because all living things share the same basic biochemistry, those chemicals can interact with the same proteins in people.
Sometimes a little poison, injected into the right place under the right conditions, can bring healing and relief.
See also 06/08/2004,
05/21/2007 bullet 4, and
12/10/2010, bullet 14.
- Natures pharmacy:
Live Science listed the following
plants and animals as potential sources of medicine: venomous cone snails, cave creatures,
sap from the guggel tree, a weed from the Nile, and various extracts from sea squirts.
Nature is a prolific source of new medicines, the article said. In fact, natural products
have led to more than half of the new drugs introduced during the past 25 years.
A passing reference to evolution said, Over millions of years, organisms have evolved
protective chemicals that interact with specific proteins in their enemies, but did not elaborate on
how that could have happened or how the organisms survived without them in the meantime. Where nature
is hiding the next medical treasure is anyones guess.
- Snail drug store: Back in February,
PhysOrg mentioned work at
the University of Utah to isolate prialt, a venom from a marine cone snail.
Prialt is injected into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord to treat chronic, intractable pain
suffered by people with cancer, AIDS, injury, failed back surgery or certain nervous system disorders.
- Scorpion fertilizer: An article on
Science Daily describes work
at Michigan State working to understand scorpion venom as a useful pesticide for farmers.
Apparently the venom attacks some ion channels in insects but not mammals. If researchers can
determine why, they may be able to design pesticides that selectively attack insects without hurting
other animals. They are using the Israeli desert scorpion as their model organism.
- Spider painkiller: Back in March, Science
Daily reported on work at UC Riverside to isolate a toxin in the American funnel web spider that
appears effective in blocking the action of calcium channels.
The toxin offers a new target for studying T-type channels, which play a role in congestive heart failure,
hypertension, epilepsy and pain.
We humans tend to attribute morality to substances the anthropomorphic fallacy.
Toxins and poisons seem evil. Actually, they are just molecules, involved in checks and balances in the
web of nature, whose actions under the right circumstances can be salutary for humans. Little is gained by
making up stories about how they evolved in the unobservable past. Observational, testable lab work will
determine whether the substances we naturally avoid in spiders, scorpions, snakes, snails, fungi and bacteria
can be useful for improving our lives.
The first Soviet cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, was no atheist. Read the
that explodes an urban legend that, not finding God in space, he supported
Soviet atheistic beliefs.
Next headline on:
Send in the Beavers
May 06, 2011 Step aside, hydraulic engineers: Brits are employing beavers to restore wetlands
in an area that hasnt seen them for three centuries. The
BBC News announced that
the Devon Wildlife Trust started a three-year experiment, in hopes that the beavers would improve
water quality and reduce flood risks by clearing scrub and trees and improving watercourses.
Local farmers worry that the mammals could damage crops and livestock. The
wildlife engineers will keep the beavers confined and will study both negative and positive impacts
of the animals on the landscape. They hope, however, that our experiment studying these
interesting creatures over the next few years will yield valuable insights into the impacts on
one of our most treasured wetland habitats. A short video clip of two beavers playing
in the water accompanies the article.
Sounds like a worthwhile experiment. Returning lands to their native balance is less risky
than introducing non-native species into an area experiments that have often had harmful
The Eyes Have It: Pro Software
It will be interesting to see if water quality increases and flood risk is reduced.
That can help the farmers in the long run. If the farmers think the beavers get out of control, they
could consider adding fur hats or beaver steakhouses to their businesses (one 300-pounder serves 80,
01/04/2011). Let the new trappers be more humane
in their methods than the 19th-century fur traders, though; and keep the Darwinians out unless tall tales
around the campfire are desired for entertainment.
For previous articles on beaver engineering and their benefits to the ecology, see
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics>2
May 05, 2011 You have a biological version of Photoshop in your eyes. Thats what
Richard Robinson, a freelance science writer from Massachusetts, said in PLoS Biology.1
The eye is not a camera, and the retina is not a piece of film. Indeed, the retina might be better likened to a computer
running Photoshop, given the extent of image processing that it performs before passing visual information along to the brain.
A central aspect of that processing is called center-surround inhibition, in which illumination stimulates the firing of a
small number of retinal cells, accompanied by inhibition of surrounding cells. This phenomenon increases spatial contrast
and sharpens perception of edges.
Robinson was discussing a new find from UC Berkeley that the retina employs both positive feedback and negative feedback systems
to improve imaging, something that researchers had missed before in 50 years of study.
(See also Robinsons article about cell zip codes last month: 04/20/2011).
Medical Xpress has
a graph showing how these two independent mechanisms work together. The human eye long ago solved a problem common
to both digital and film cameras: how to get good contrast in an image while also capturing faint detail, the article
said, with the headline announcing that the eye does the better job.
Speaking of vision, eyesight has been found where biologists might have least expected it in sea urchins.
National Geographic News
reported that work by European scientists publishing in PNAS2 shows that the spines transmit
light to the animal, making these pincushion-critters like big eyeballs on the seafloor; we suggest a model
in which the entire sea urchin, deploying its skeleton as PRC [photoreceptor cell] screening device, functions as a huge compound eye, the authors said.
1. Richard Robinson, After 40 Years, Retina Reveals It Uses Positive Feedback, as Well as Negative,
9(5): e1001058. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001058.
2. Ullrich-Luter et al, Unique system of photoreceptors in sea urchin tube feet,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
published online before print May 2, 2011, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1018495108 PNAS May 2, 2011.
WYSIWYG-BWYGINWOT: What you see is what you get, but what you get is not whats out there. This bears on
old philosophical questions about perception, sensation, and correspondence. If what we get has been Photoshopped,
what would it look like before the image processing? It would probably render life impossible, because we would
not be able to make sense of the world. The Creator has given each creature what it needs to carry on its life.
For that we should remain thankful, and amazed.
Spiral Galaxy Upset
Next headline on:
May 04, 2011 In 1964, C. C. Lin and Frank Shu looked at the galaxys curvaceous
arms and said, You are my density. The density-wave theory of spiral arm formation was married
to galactic astronomy for nearly a half century. Now, however, we are back to the future, where theories do not
always fulfill their destiny. An upstart postgrad told the Royal Astronomical Society has debunked the
old theory and proposed a new one.
The press release from the
Astronomical Society says, A study of spiral patterns found in galaxies like our Milky Way could overturn
the theory of how the spiral arm features form and evolve. Robert Grand found it impossible to
reproduce spiral arms in simulations using the density-wave model of Lin and Shu.
Since 1960s, the most widely accepted explanation has been that the spiral arm features move like a Mexican wave
in a crowd, passing through a population of stars that then return to their original position. Instead,
computer simulations run by Grand and his colleagues at University College Londons Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL)
suggest that the stars actually rotate with the arms. In addition, rather than being permanent features
the arms are transient, breaking up and new arms forming over a period of about 80-100 million years.
A statement about this new idea has already found its way into the
Wikipedia entry on spiral galaxies.
Grand said of his model, As well as helping us understand the evolution of our own galaxy, it may have
applications for regions of star formation.
Whether or not Grands new theory will survive a half century, the take-home lesson from the story is that a
theory can be widely accepted by experts for decades, only to be found impossible later.
The density-wave model was favored partly because it answered the galaxy wind-up problem the conundrum that
after billions of years, spiral arms would be wound up so tightly as to be undiscernible (see Jason Lisles explanation
at Answers in Genesis under Spiral Galaxies).
With the new Illustra Media documentary about butterflies nearing its
release next month, revisit the 05/09/2005 entry about the Canadian team that
built a flight simulator for Monarch butterflies and what they discovered.
Grand was careful to tweak his model to make sure spiral arms are transient and can re-evolve as often as necessary.
Whether or not his computer simulations have anything to do with external reality is the question.
Next headline on:
Philosophy of Science
Colorado Plateau Uplift: Solved?
May 03, 2011 In Nature, a team of geologists from four universities has proposed a
new model for how the Colorado Plateau rose up over a mile from its surroundings.1
Based on seismic data, they propose a mantle drip mechanism by which parts of the lower crust dropped
into the mantle, replaced by upwelling magma that condensed and floated, like an inner tube under a table in a
swimming pool would cause it to rise.
The Colorado Plateau, covering a 300-mile-wide area in Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico,
is well known for its dramatic landscapes, including the Grand Canyon. Its origin, however, has been
mysterious (06/27/2010, Colorado Plateau Stumps Geologists).
The authors wrote in their abstract, The origin of these high elevations is unclear because
unlike the surrounding provinces, which have undergone significant Cretaceous–Palaeogene compressional deformation
followed by Neogene extensional deformation, the Colorado plateau is largely internally undeformed.
Its as if this 130,000-square-mile province floated up more than a mile without cracking
(06/24/2009). Anyone visiting Grand Canyon has
probably been struck by the fact that the strata are flat as pancakes for hundreds of miles. And geologists believe this plateau
rose and sank multiple times.
In brief, the model proposed by the team led by Anthony Levander [Rice University] concerns movements
under the crust that can only be deduced indirectly, from echoes of earthquake waves that change velocity as they encounter
crust, mantle, and asthenosphere (lower mantle) regions. Upwelling of mantle material from the asthenosphere
would destabilize continental lithosphere and drive uplift, they said. The team went far beyond observations of current data,
though, to propose multiple mantle drip episodes under the Colorado Plateau over 70 million years.
Then they suggested that the current one, which had the most effect on the origin of the Grand Canyon, began 6 million
years ago reinforcing younger ages for the famous gorge.
Live Science swallowed
the model wholesale without criticism, announcing, Mystery of Grand Canyons Formation Revealed.
In smaller print, it backtracked slightly, saying, The birth of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado Plateau through
which it carved have been a geological mystery. Now a giant anomalous structure discovered on the underside
of the plateau could shed light on how it was formed.
As for Levander et al, The timing of both Colorado plateau uplift and formation of
the Grand Canyon remain unresolved, the first line of their paper admitted. Their proposal that mantle drip and
asthenosphere uplift delaminates the lower crust episodically, lifting the Colorado Plateau upward, can only be
inferred indirectly, and only for the most recent episode (if there was more than one). We propose that a series of
such events have been removing the lithosphere from the Colorado plateau peripheries since the Farallon slab was
removed 20-30 Myr ago, and that we have imaged only the most recent of these, they ended.
These events are responsible for the uneven, outside-in magmatic invasion of the plateau, as well as uplift
of its edges and interior.
For more on mysteries of the Colorado Plateau, see
For more on the age of Grand Canyon, see
1. Levander et al, Continuing Colorado plateau uplift by delamination-style convective lithospheric downwelling,
472 (28 April 2011), pp. 461–465, doi:10.1038/nature10001.
Where are the philosophers of science? They are meekly talking amongst themselves
in other parts of the campus, afraid to challenge the priesthood in the science department whom our culture has granted
epistemic privilege to declare the way the world is. The timid philosophers are ignored by the science storytellers
who run rampant in the journals, announcing their myths as truth to the gullible science media who are only too happy to
declare to the peasants what the priesthood has discovered.
Evolution Bends to Fit the Evidence
What are the observations here? Some seismic records in the present. Did these geologists
see 70 million years, or even six? Of course not. They can see current landforms, magma outcrops, fault lines,
locations of minerals and oil, mountain elevations and other present-day phenomena, and with seismic data can create
maps of underground provinces where the echoes speed up or slow down (which they did). Thats about it.
The rest is inference. The word observation occurs only one time in the whole paper:
Petrologic and geochemical observations indicate that late Cretaceous–Palaeogene (~90–40?Myr ago) low-angle subduction
hydrated and probably weakened much of the Proterozoic tectospheric mantle beneath the Colorado plateau.
No, it doesnt indicate any such thing; what they mean is that the empirical observations appear to fit
with a model or scenario that they find plausible, within the paradigm of long ages and plate tectonics
(07/09/2004). Time is orthogonal to their data; there is no time evidence except in their heads.
Making inferences is fine if they can be tested, but who other than God could possibly know what actually happened and when?
In contrast to the paltry references to observation, the word suggests and its derivatives occur 20 times,
as in The pattern suggests to us.... followed by the word three more times in the next two sentences.
the word empirical is entirely absent; evidence appears four times, but only in references to how it suggests
parts of the story they wish to tell.
Science was supposed to do more than provide suggestions. It was supposed to rely supremely on empirical
observations. It has degenerated into a form of divination. The earthquake echoes say nothing about millions of
years; the geologists used the echoes like tea leaves or crystal balls to prophesy. The prophecies are required
to fit the monolithic paradigms of the Science Temple, where observations are mere props for scenarios that suggest unobservable events.
These suggestions become plots for stories, handed off to the science reporters who, like court jesters, entertain
the public with presumed wisdom from the sages. Choose your sages wisely, then you may become sagacious yourself.
Next headline on:
Philosophy of Science
May 02, 2011 A good scientific theory should predict what is observed. When the
theory is confronted with unexpected evidence, should the theory be jettisoned or modified?
Darwin predicted slow, gradual change over long periods of time. Lets see what
evolutionists do with surprises (cf. 01/23/2009).
Surprises like this are common in articles on evolution (04/12/2011,
01/31/2011). Yet educational sites like
Evolution of Life, using
cartoon graphics, continue to portray
the standard gradualistic Darwinian story as if scientists know what they are talking about.
- Explosive evolution: Evolution has been anything but gradual in the case of pupfish.
A press release from UC Davis says that
50 species of pupfish from Massachusetts to Venezuela are all pretty much the same in the way
they look and act and eat. If the evolution of all pupfish is like a steadily expanding cloud,
[Chris] Martin found that the San Salvador Island and Yucatan pupfish are like bursts of fireworks within it.
They show explosive rates of evolution changing up to 130 times faster than other pupfish, the article claimed.
- Emerging from the ooze: George Poinar at Oregon State is trying to put together the evolution
of nematodes (roundworms), which he thinks originated a billion years ago as one of the earliest forms of
multicellular life. Here is his explanation for their origin: They literally emerged from the primordial ooze.
In the next paragraph, though, the article listed all the parts
that would have had to emerge: But they are functional animals, with nervous and digestive systems,
muscles, good mobility, and they are capable of rapid reproduction and learned behavior (see 06/25/2005
on how Caltech scientists are trying to reverse-engineer a roundworms developmental program).
Even though Poinar just wrote a book on nematode evolution, Theres still a huge amount we dont know about nematodes,
he admitted like maybe how something this complex could literally emerge from ooze.
- Evolution by subtraction: Clearly, a huge amount of new genetic information would have had to
accompany the growth of Darwins tree of life from root to branch tips. It would also be expected that
closely related species would have closely related genomes. Thats apparently not the case with the
lab plant Arabidopsis thaliana (thale cress) and the lyre-leaved rock cress.
A press release from Max Planck Institute
began, It would appear reasonable to assume that two closely related plant species would have similar
genetic blueprints. But the lyre-leaved rock cress has a genome fifty percent bigger than the other;
Moreover, these changes arose over a very short period in evolutionary terms.
Its not like the lyre-leaved cress has gained new genetic information; on the contrary,
considerable elements have been lost from some parts of the thale cress genome.
To further exasperate Darwin, the article said, A smaller genome appears to offer advantages during the
natural selection of individuals. One of the researchers is asserting, We consider the thale
cress with its more streamlined genome as the form derived through evolution.
Too bad the American species didnt obey Darwins law of subtraction
- Pigs, birds, and cleanliness: Birds evolved to wash themselves. Pigs evolved to lie in
the mud. Can opposite outcomes be ascribed to a scientific law? Victoria Gill at the
BBC News had no problem
with this, announcing cheerfully and confidently alongside of a contented pig lying in slop,
Pigs have evolved to love mud.
She quoted Mark Bracke [Wageningen University] speculating, Liking shallow water could have been
a point in the evolution of whales from land-dwelling mammals. After all, he said to his eager reporter,
We all evolved from fish, so it could be that this motivation to be in water could be something that was
preserved in animals that are able to do so.
Brackes apparently Lamarckian explanation does not explain
why pigs didnt evolve onward to follow the whales. Gill did think it adequate to call this statement by Bracke an explanation: He explained,
It seems to me that this preference to be in shallow water could have been a turning point in the evolution of whales
from land-dwelling mammals.
None of the other science news sites laughed at this. They jumped on the bandwagon and joined in
the chorus: Live Science told its readers
Why Pigs Love Mud using Brackes speculation as if it were a scientific explanation.
followed suit, swallowing Brackes notion that pigs and other wallowing animals did not evolve functional sweat glands
because wallowing was a part of their lifestyle, never stopping to ask if lifestyle is a cause or effect of evolution.
Some children like to wallow in mud but they still have sweat glands; others like to take showers but sprinklers have not
emerged on their heads.
- Imaginary evolution: It might seem unfair to propose a theory that cannot be tested or falsified.
That did not stop Jack OMalley-James of the University of St Andrews from proposing that plants inhabiting
planets orbiting two-star systems might have black leaves and flowers (see
Depending on the colours of their star-light, plants would evolve very differently, he told a meeting
of the Royal Astronomical Society last month. Space.com
was gleeful about this imaginary scenario, but did admit in the end, Of course, this is all speculation, because scientists
have yet to find conclusive evidence of any life forms beyond Earth.
- Nutcracker sweetgrass: For decades, Paranthropus boisei has been nicknamed Nutcracker Man
based on its teeth (whether or not it was a man or ape is another question; CMI).
No longer; were hearing today from
PhysOrg and the other
secular science news sites that this creature probably ate grass like cows or pigs a discovery that upsets
conventional wisdom about early humanitys diet. Maybe its new nickname will be Cow Boy.
Lets listen in on the Darwin Cacophony Orchestras performance of
Psychovskys Nutcracker-Man Suite, consisting of the
If this sound and fury is not your cup of tea, try listening in on The Creation across town.
Word has it a number of leading scientists have given it high marks (source).
Original Soft Tissue Found in Mosasaur Fossil
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
May 02, 2011 Original collagen has been found in a mosasaur fossil. Mosasaurs are marine
reptiles that lived in the age of dinosaurs. This one, found in chalk layers in Belgium, is alleged to be 70 million years old.
The press release on PhysOrg
said, the discovery demonstrates that the preservation of primary soft tissues and endogenous biomolecules is
not limited to large-sized bones buried in fluvial sandstone environments, but also occurs in relatively small-sized
skeletal elements deposited in marine sediments.
The paper announcing the discovery of
Cretaceous bone proteins is in PLoS One.1
For more on mosasaurs, see 08/13/2010
The fossil record is capable of exceptional preservation and occasionally labile and decay-prone tissues,
such as skin and melanosomes (color-bearing organelles), are preserved as phosphatized remains or organic residues
with a high degree of morphological fidelity. Yet, whether multimillion-year-old fossils harbor
original organic components remains controversial, and, if they do, a positive identification of
these biomolecules is required.
Using infrared spectroscopy in connection with OM, SEM, TEM, amino acid, antibody and histochemical analysis,
the researchers from Lund University found a good match in the collagen spectrum from the mosasaur
and from a modern lizard; thus they feel confident the material is primordial.
The authors postulated some
mechanisms by which the proteins might have survived (entombment in crystals, high levels of phosphate and
carbonate, small cavities within bone protected from microorganisms, etc.). They described the
fossil as exceptionally well preserved. This was the first direct spectroscopic
characterization of isolated fibrous bone tissues, a crucial test of hypotheses of biomolecular
preservation over deep time, they said.
1. Lindgren et al, Microspectroscopic Evidence of Cretaceous Bone Proteins,
PLoS One, e19445. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019445.
Marine fossils are buried in marine sediments wet, and full of microbes. Seventy million
years is a long time! Is it plausible that there was no decay for that long? Would not
bioturbation have occurred, and degradation by microbes, long before the strata was uplifted into
dry chalk inland in Belgium?
Intelligent Design Found in Bacteria
Imagine that these bones are only a few thousand years old, buried rapidly under a load of sediment.
Wouldnt that assumption fit the
data perfectly? Why must we be forced to fit the bones into millions of years? We cannot
test a modern bone for millions of years, but surely some taphonomic experiments (testing fossilization
processes) should be able to measure steady-state decay rates for collagen to give some degree of
empirical evidence for the plausibility of preservation of soft tissue for millions of years.
Scientists: dont just tell us its millions of years old. Prove it.
Otherwise, it sounds like adjusting your web of belief (07/25/2008) to evade falsifiability.
Next headline on:
Dinosaurs and Extinct Reptiles
May 01, 2011 Poetry has been found in a bacterial genome. We know it was intentional,
because we know the poet who did it: Christian Bok. The
BBC News tells how Bok
encoded his verse into a strip of DNA and had it inserted into a common bacterium, E. coli.
Would scientists of the future be able to detect the intelligently-designed insertion?
This led to a discussion about natural selection. Bok wants next to insert some of his
doggerel into the hardy bacterium, Deinococcus radiodurans, as a means of preserving some human culture in case of
a nuclear war or other extinction event. Others quoted in the article feel that natural selection would quickly eliminate
his useless code. His poem would be rapidly removed by natural selection, as it would confer no benefit on the host bacterium,
Dr Julian Parkhill of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute commented. Natural selection as [sic; is] literary criticism.
Whether natural selection has any meaning whatsoever, let alone whether it amounts to a scientific theory, was the
subject of Dr. Randy Guliuzzas cover story in this months ICR magazine,
Acts & Facts. Selection presupposes a selector an agent,
Guliuzza said. It is presented in most schools as absolutely true in spite of its ill-defined basis,
its invisible operation, and the fact that there is no real selectorbecause attributes inherent to
organisms actually do all the work. These warnings should influence creation scientists to step back and
re-evaluate this convoluted evolutionary idea.
Natural selection is to literary criticism as the trash man is to old books thrown in the bin.
It took a choice by someone to throw the books in the bin. Natural selection has no care for what
was tossed out. Natural selection is a vacuous, personified
tautology that has no more power to create a living, functioning bacterium in the first place.
Did you know the geologic column is not set in stone (05/13/2004)
and that the fossil record does not show a worldwide evolutionary trend? (05/21/2004).
Read what pro-evolutionary scientists said about this seven years ago.
The fact that it is now possible for humans to intentionally insert messages into the genetic code
should alert everyone to the idea that intelligent design (ID) is a scientific theory. It should be possible
for an unbiased observer to distinguish natural law from ID in a living organism by examining the code for the presence
of complex, specified information. Whats the difference whether the information is functional or poetic?
The Darwinist will reply that functional information aids survival but poetic information does not. If that
sounds like a reasonable response, please re-read the prior paragraph.
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
Thank you so much for all the hard work you put into your fabulous site.
I have gleaned great amounts of very useful information from the many articles you have posted and then following the
chains of information to which they have led.
(a rabbi and author)
You have a wonderful site that is up-to-date. I check it about every other day. Thank you for your hard work.
(an electrical engineering major in Pennsylvania)
I love your blog [sic; science news site], and have been very blessed by your hard work of staying up to
speed on current science news. In fact, I like your ... articles so much that I am constantly quoting you
and using some of your material on Facebook discussion boards.
(a paralegal in California)
The things these scientists and priests of Darwin write are hysterical....
Thanks for the work of gathering it into a convenient location.
(a maintenance tech in Colorado)
I just found this site earlier today, and I can't stop reading! This seems like a great place to keep
myself updated in this heated debate between Creation science and Darwinian nonsense. Though being an electrical
engineer student, I may or may get involved with much biology in my future career; I still hope that my appreciation
for Gods design may help me become a better designer myself.
(an undergrad in California)
Your site is great. I read it every day. Whoever is doing the writing and researching is a genius:
witty, funny, insightful, informed and always right on....you make the darwinian farce look utterly laughable.
Keep up the great work...I'll be tuned in. God Bless you!
(a real estate investor in Texas)
First, thank you for your site. It is truly wonderful. I spend a lot of time debating evos on web sites ... and your site
is indispensable reading for me. I've been reading it for several years now and I would like to become a regular donor....
It wont be much, but Id like to do what I can. I feel this issue is the primary issue standing between
humanism and revival in America and the world.
(a reader in Florida)
I have just recently started studying this science of God stuff with some degree of diligence and I am astonished at what
I did not know and did not understand, despite my 58 years, and 4 Masters Degrees, to include from an Ivy League school.
Thank you for your efforts to get the true word out.
(a reader in Alabama)
Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy creation headlines. I check them every few days and constantly gain perspective.
Without you, even I would possibly believe at least some of the baloney. Your baloney detector
is more sensitive and I appreciate it!!
(a pastor in Ontario, Canada)
Crev.info is by far my favorite website. The information is helpful in understanding and dismantling Darwinian foundations.
Some of my favorite articles are the biomimetics articles revealing the fantastic design that is obvious to anyone not blinded
by the evolutionary goggles. The commentaries are priceless, and love the embedded humor and clever innuendoes... Keep up the tremendous work!
(a database administrator in Texas)
Creation Evolution Headlines is my favorite website on intelligent design and Darwinism. This is both due
to your being always on the cutting edge of all the latest research relevant to the debate over evolution, as well as
due to your soberness coupled with your uncomprimising [sic] stand against Darwinism. Your work is invaluable.
Please keep it up all costs.
(founder of the Danish Society for Intelligent Design, who is beginning to translate some of our articles into Danish at
Thank you for your work. You show how the theory of macroevolution makes absolutely no contribution to scientific
progress and in fact impedes scientific progress. Conversely you show how the design assumption points the way toward
true progress in science.
(an aerospace engineer in California)
Your website is by far the best for getting the most up to date news on what is going on in the science realm,
and then separating the useful information from the baloney.
You have a knack for ripping the mask off of Darwin. Keep up the great work!
(an electrical engineer in North Carolina)
I love your work. I check in nearly every day.
(an associate pastor in California who works with college grad students)
Ive been a fan of your site for some time, since a friend in an intelligent design group I joined
(quite clandestine for the sake of job security of those involved) clued me in to it. I check what you have to say every day.
I cant say enough about your highly credible scientific arguments, your incisive dissection of the issues, and your practical format.
Your references are always on target.
(a physician, surgeon and writer in Georgia)
Nice site. I enjoy reading the comments, and find it quite informative....
I am a frequent visitor to your headlines page. I am a former agnostic, and Creation Safaris
was one of the first pieces of open evolution questioning read (The Baloney Detector). Great stuff.
(a historian in Australia)
You do a terrific job on snatching content from the headlines and filtering it for stupidity and lockstep paradigm thinking!
Not only are you on top of things but you do garnish the dish well!
(an IT security consultant in the midwest)
I always thought that science and the Bible should not be at odds with each other and prayed that God
would reveal the truth about evolution/creation through science to us. I wondered if there existed
scientists who were believers and how they reconciled Genesis with science. Where were they when I was teaching?
Now I understand that these Godly men and women had been silenced.... I am so thankful for your website
containing your insightful and educational articles that reveal your understanding of science and Gods word.
(a retired biology teacher in Ohio)
It keeps getting better and better. Wonderful resources there.
(a mechanical engineer and educational consultant in Texas)
Just stopped by to say Hi; Thanks again for your posting--still the best web site on the net!!
(a regular reader in Illinois)
I accidentally came across your BRILLIANT website today.... your website is mesmerising and i sincerely thank you for it.
Wishing you every success.
(an author in Ireland)
I appreciate your reviews more than I can tell. Being able to find the references enables me to
share them with my colleagues and students.
(a teacher in Virginia)
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)
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)
Like your site especially the style of your comments.... Keep up the good work.
(a retired engineer and amateur astronomer in Maryland)
Support This Site|
Scientist of the Month
Find our articles in:
Dutch Spanish Russian
|Guide to Evolution
Featured Creation Scientist for May
John Stevens Henslow
1796 - 1861
This months biography is a case study in dramatic irony. John Stevens
Henslow is the scientist who made Darwin famous. The eminent Cambridge professor of
botany was like a father to Darwin. It was Henslow who gave him the opportunity
to go on the Beagle as naturalist, defended his right to explore new ideas,
and presided at the famous 1860 debate between Wilberforce and Huxley yet
he rejected Darwins theory of evolution. Henslow was a Christian and
Don DeYoung writes this about Henslow in Pioneer Explorers
of Intelligent Design (BMH books, 2006):
John Stevens Henslow (1796-1861) was professor of botany and geology at the
University of Cambridge in England. His enthusiasm for teaching botany made
it one of the most popular subjects at Cambridge for several decades.
Henslow was a devout Christian and Anglican clergyman. One of his favorite
students was Charles Darwin. On campus, Darwin was known as the man
who walked with Henslow. Darwin learned much about nature from his
mentor but he rejected Henslows faith. When Darwins
Origin of Species was published in 1857 [sic; 1859], Henslow graciously
expressed his opposition to the book with the words, Darwin attempts more
than is granted to man, just as people used to account for the origin of evil
a question past finding out.
Darwin deeply admired Henslow throughout his life. It was in Professor
Henslows botany class at Cambridge that Charles, prior to
this time an aimless and unmotivated student, really got interested in natural
science. Henslow gave Darwin all the observing skills that Darwin would
use for years analyzing barnacles, pigeons and plants. At this time, Charles was a
creationist too, as were most scientists of the day. It wasnt till the
the Beagle voyage and the years that followed that Darwins doubts
and unbelief began to take root. Henslow cannot be blamed for that.
The only criticisms that might be levied against this great man is that
he was too gracious a gentleman, and too permissive of radical speculations.
Janet Browne adds some insights into Henslows character in her book Charles Darwin: The Power of Place
(Princeton, 2002). Apparently Darwin was sheepish about approaching his
mentor with his new book, On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection.
When sending the now-elderly professor a pre-publication copy in
1859, he prefaced it with a letter stating that, I fear you will not approve
of your pupil in this case (p. 84).
One facet of Henslows philosophy is found in a comment he made to
his brother-in-law about Darwins views. Stating that Darwin had a right to his opinion, he
objected, God does not set the creation going like a clock, wound up to go
by itself (p. 153). This statement indicates that Henslow was no
deist or theistic evolutionist. He denied that God had a hands-off policy,
letting a mechanical universe run without his active participation.
Clearly that is what he saw Darwin proposing.
Henslow believed in freedom of speech and intellectual inquiry. In an 1860
meeting at the Cambridge Philosophical
Society, where fellow professor Adam Sedgwick was getting more and more riled about Darwins
book, Henslow vigorously defended Darwins right to investigate the question
of living origins, although he, like the others, balked at jettisoning divine
creation, Browne says (p. 117). In this, Henslow showed the
mettle that his friends still admired. Elderly he might be, but he retained
his inner fire. Yet his affection for Darwin evidently pushed him further
than his heart would otherwise have taken him.
That gentlemanly tolerance even extended to his classroom. In Henslows last botany class at
Cambridge in spring of 1860, he even introduced Darwins principles to the students, not so
much to endorse them, but to help the students learn how to be exposed to differing views.
While telling them of his own unshakeable religious faith, Browne
writes (p. 118), he nevertheless encouraged them to respect intellectual endeavor
wherever it might lead.
At the historic British Association contest between Samuel Wilberforce and Thomas
Huxley at Oxford in June, 1860, Henslow presided as chairman. He was the one who gave
Huxley, then Wilberforce, an opportunity to speak. When the audience reaction
rose to a fever pitch at the debate, Henslow was among those trying to restore
order, and defending the rights of each mans opinions, including Huxleys, to be heard.
Browne says that at the end of the meeting, when everyones blood was boiling,
Henslow also made some spirited remarks and then dismissed the assembly
with an impartial benediction (pp. 122-124).
Henslow would not live to see much of the aftermath, when Darwins supporters
took this meeting as a cause celebre to launch their new naturalistic
worldview. He died the following May. Darwin fell ill and used it as
an excuse not to attend the deathbed or funeral. Ever after, Darwin felt guilty about
not having been there for his dear friend and mentor. Browne writes, Henslow had made him what he was,
not only by giving him the chance of a lifetime with the invitation for the
Beagle voyage, but also by his kindly attentions and support thereafter
(p. 153). Henslow had been like a father to him, and his passing closed an important
chapter in Darwins life.
We can only speculate on what Henslow would have thought of the subsequent decade,
when Darwinism rose from a fringe speculation roundly denounced by most leading scientists
to the vanguard of a new naturalistic world view. As the years
progressed, largely due to the tactics of what Janet Browne calls Darwins Four
Musketeers (Lyell, Hooker, Huxley and Asa Gray), as well as Darwins own scheming,
the creationists were on the run. The Darwinians captured the scientific journals,
the media, and the British Association. Few became willing to stand up against the
growing naturalistic tide. It became harder to criticize the new
Darwinian view, because it seemed to stand for Victorian progress and intellectual freedom.
(As revealed in these pages, that was a highly contrived and manipulated opinion,
not a result of scientific facts.)
Looking back at this story after 148 years of Darwins rise to power, the ironies are palpable:
Henslow gave his aimless and undisciplined pupil the chance of a lifetime to
tour the world, traveling with a devout Christian captain, Robert FitzRoy. Darwin
used the experience to shred the foundations of Henslows and FitzRoys
Henslow graciously received Darwins book and, though disagreeing with it,
was reserved and respectful in his criticisms. Now, Darwins followers
unleash the most outrageous and vehement rhetoric at anyone who dares question
Henslow was willing to let his students think about Mr. Darwins
principles, even when he disagreed with them. Now, one cannot even
criticize Darwins ideas in the classroom let alone present the beliefs
of Henslow, a devout Christian and creationist. The pro-Darwinist organizations
and all the scientific societies will race to confront any teacher with an
expensive lawsuit if he or she tries to return Henslows favor by exposing
students in todays Darwin-only science classrooms to alternative views,
like intelligent design, no matter how non-sectarian and empirical they are.
Henslow was confident enough in his unshakeable religious faith
to allow students to follow intellectual endeavor wherever it might lead.
Now, students and scientists are taught that they cannot make a design inference
even when the evidence for it is compelling. All scientific evidence must
be force-fitted into the Darwinian picture.
Henslow tried to maintain order and civility in public debate, and insisted
both sides have their fair say. Today, the Darwinists do not want to give
any public platform to alternatives, and fight to put prior restraint on debate.
Henslow was loyal to his friends despite their beliefs. Today, professors
and scientific societies will turn on any colleague who breaks ranks with Darwinian
views, and will vote to deny tenure, deny degrees, or otherwise ostracize and
marginalize the heretic. (The film Expelled provides
Henslow understood the limits of science. He knew what questions were past
finding out by scientific methods. Today, scientists shamelessly
attempt to explain everything in the entire universe, even in imaginary parallel
universes, in Darwinian terms! Darwinism has taken over the entire university,
including economics, psychology, political science, the humanities, and even
Henslow was a consummate gentleman. Darwins followers, particularly the Social Darwinists,
have committed atrocities against their fellow human beings beyond all historical precedent in
terms of viciousness and magnitude, justifying their actions on the basis of Darwins alleged
law of survival of the fittest. Todays Darwinists continue to
erode the sanctity of human life by supporting abortion on demand, cloning, and human-animal
chimeras experiments; some support euthanasia and infanticide.
In hindsight, we might wish Henslow had been more stringent with his pupil.
We might wish he had used his reputation to denounce the rambling speculations
of a younger upstart who ventured into realms beyond human ken. We might
wish he, and the other scientific critics of Darwinism, including Adam Sedgwick,
Richard Owen, John Phillips and others, would have stood their ground with more
fortitude to resist the foundational change that was being introduced to recast
the definition and purvue of science. But this was mid-19th-century Victorian culture.
People were expected to be civil. Progress was in the air. Satisfaction
with organized religion was diminishing as the prestige of science was growing.
Darwins ideas seemed fresh and controversial, appealing to the rebel and
selfishness in mankind. Some worried, but nobody knew, how things would
eventually turn out.
Henslow must be turning in his grave.
If you are enjoying this series, you can
learn more about great Christians in science by reading
our online book-in-progress:
The Worlds Greatest
Creation Scientists from Y1K to Y2K.
Copies are also
available from our online store.
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).
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)
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 surprised [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.|