Saturday, 29 August 2015

Weird Speculation: “100 Billion Billion Earth-Like Planets Might Exist”?

Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CFA.




Joel Kontinen

New Scientist has an intriguing article on Earth-like planets:

Peter Behroozi of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, and Molly Peeples “combined the latest exoplanet statistics with our understanding of how galaxies form stars.”

It suggests there are currently 1020, or 100 billion billion, Earth-like planets in the universe, with an equivalent number of gas giants. ‘Earth-like’ doesn’t mean an exact replica of our planet, but rather a rocky world that, if blanketed by a suitable atmosphere, would hold liquid water on its surface. Applied to the solar system, this definition would include Mars and Venus but not Mercury or the moon.

This is not the first time we hear something like this. In 2013, Fox News claimed that at least “8.8 billion Earth-size, just-right planets” had been found.

They had actually found nothing.

This definition is bound to give vastly inflated numbers. Venus and Mars orbit the Sun in the goldilocks zone or habitable zone but that does not make them habitable.

We know of exactly one planet that has sentient life – Earth.

All the rest is speculation based on the idea that given the chance to do so, life just pops up.

What they ignore is that life only comes from life. Only an intelligent Mind could produce the wonders we see around us.

Source:

Aron, Jacob. 2015. More than 100 billion billion Earth-like planets might exist. New Scientist 3036 (29 August).






Thursday, 27 August 2015

Darwin's Finch’s Not-So-Darwinian Innovation: Insect Repellent


A male medium tree finch. Image courtesy of Jody O'Connor, public domain.






Joel Kontinen

Charles Darwin could hardly have surmised that a tiny Galapagos bird named after him would be clever enough to make its own insect repellent.

A research team from the University of Vienna found that Darwin’s finches picked leaves from guava trees and rubbed them into their feathers.

According to New Scientist, the “leaves repel mosquitoes and inhibit the growth of the bloodthirsty parasitic larvae.”

Contrary to evolutionary expectations, we would expect animals to have enough intelligence to cope in a fallen world. God, who created everything, did not forget the sparrow – or even the finch.

The Darwinian blind watchmaker could hardly have invented the amazing solutions we see in the animal kingdom.

Gliding spiders, moths that seem to defy the laws of physics, super sunscreen from fish, and the amazing design features in the octopus show that the Genesis-based model describes reality much better than the evolution model.


Source:

Blaszczak-Boxe, Agata. 2015. Darwin’s fast-evolving finches use a natural insect repellent. New Scientist (27 August).



Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Life Does Not Come from Hydrothermal Vents

Image courtesy of Dr. Robert Embley/NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, public domain.





Joel Kontinen

It is seldom easy to follow naturalistic logic on the origin of life. A recent example might illustrate quite well what I mean:

Researchers found water “oozing from rocky fractures 2 kilometres below the surface at the Kidd mine near Timmins in Ontario.” The researchers believe that the rocks are

“the ancient remains of hydrothermal vents formed at the bottom of Earth’s early oceans, and that means the water they contain could reveal important details about the chemistry that might have occurred at such vents before life began exerting its influence.”

One of the problems with this scenario is that the water “appears to show no signs of life.” The researchers think that it is “1.5 billion years old” and has “all the ingredients of a primordial soup.”

But there’s no life. Chemicals don’t just turn into living cells. And a lack of time is obviously not a valid option.

What they overlooked is that life only comes from life. All attempts to construe even a faintly plausible naturalistic explanation of how life began have turned out to be utter failures.

Charles Darwin’s warm little pond didn’t work, and neither did the water world hypothesis. The RNA world is not viable, and panspermia or life from space has not fared any better. Saying that life is a product of many lucky turns of events is a non-solution.

The only viable solution for the origin of life dilemma is introduced in the Book of Genesis: "In the beginning, God created."



Source:

Barras, Colin. 2015. Watery time capsule hints at how life got started on early Earth. New Scientist (20 August).



Sunday, 23 August 2015

Saturn’s Moon Enceladus Defies Belief in Billions of Years

Enceladus puzzles old-agers. Image courtesy of NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.





Joel Kontinen

Many planets and moons in our solar system look far too young to be as old as the current secular consensus would assert, i.e. 4.5 billion years.

Researchers suspect that Saturn’s moon Enceladus has an underground ocean. Without it, the moon could hardly be as old as they believe it is.

A brief article in Science states:

A watery layer beneath Enceladus’s crust has long been suspected to exist because of the constant eruption of geysers at its southern pole. But scientists have said that any such ocean should have frozen over the lifetime of the Saturn system.”

It’s a huge problem for the belief in billions of years. Researchers have attempted to solve the dilemma by suggesting that Enceladus may have a “rubble-filled pile of boulders and ice at its core, rather than a more conventional solid stone center.”

Some of the attempts used in bolstering up faith in an old solar system are beginning to sound like the epicycles that were used to explain the movements of the planets in the ancient Ptolemaic (geocentric) system.

Planets were assumed to move around in tiny circles as they orbited the Earth. This could explain some of the observations but not all and eventually the geocentric model was discarded.

It seems that faith in a billions-of-years-old solar system also needs epicycles, as the facts do not otherwise support the theory.

Many planets, moons and even asteroids look far too young, for instance Mercury, Venus, the dwarf planet Ceres, Saturn and its moons Titan and Mimas, Jupiter’s moons Io and Europa, Pluto and its moon Charon and even the asteroid 24 Themis.


Source:

Redd, Nola Taylor. Saturn’s moon has a fluffy heart. ScienceShot (21 August).

Friday, 21 August 2015

Darwin’s Tree of Life Has Become a Bush, Bird Research Shows


Darwin’s Tree of Life has fallen, never to rise again.




Joel Kontinen

Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden have examined how birds supposedly diversified during the past “65 million years.” While relying on Darwinian thinking, they found no evidence for Darwin’s Tree of Life, once touted as an icon of evolution.

Their genomic study actually found evidence against evolution (though the researchers were reluctant to admit the full import of what they found:

By using the jumping genes, or so-called retrotransposed elements, the Uppsala researchers have found that, for instance, a cuckoo can be more closely related to a hummingbird than a pigeon in a certain part of its genome, while the opposite holds true in another part. The study found numerous examples to corroborate the existence of the phenomenon.

This is not the first time Darwin’s Tree of Life has been shown to be more myth than fact. For instance, in 2009, New Scientist published a cover story that basically stated that there’s no such thing. In 2014 research on microRNAs likewise suggested that the tree has fallen.

The Tree of Life should often be understood as a Bush of Life,” the Uppsala researchers interpret their findings. Take away the adverb often, and this begins to sound like the after its kind model we’re introduced to in the Book of Genesis.

Source:

Koffmar, Linda. 2015. Livets träd – mer som en buske. Uppsala universitet (19 August).

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Amazing Spider Glides Over 20 Metres, Lands Safely on Tree Trunk


A Selenops spider. Image courtesy of Marshal Hedin, Creative Commons.




Joel Kontinen

There’s much more variety in animal skills than anyone could have anticipated. The latest example is a spider that can dive from trees and survive.

Scientists from the University of Louisville in Kentucky recently filmed gliding spiders of the genus Selenops.

Released from a height of 24 metres, in over 90 per cent of their attempts, the spiders were able to land on a nearby tree trunk, which could be up to five metres away.

The spiders used their front legs to steer them to safety.

New Scientist suggested a Darwin of the gaps explanation for the ability: “The gliding behaviour evolved because spiders that fall to the ground are more likely to be eaten.

But merely saying that a behaviour evolved does not disclose how it could have evolved. And the convergent evolution explanation doesn’t help, either.

The amazing variety of abilities seen in the animal kingdom speaks of creation. Moths, for instance, seem to defy the laws of physics. Bowerbirds can imitate practically anything they hear.

Some other examples include jellyfish navigation, butterfly design and the moth’s eye.

Intelligent solutions do not have their origin in blind Darwinian processes.

Source:

Le Page, Michael. 2015. First glimpse of skydiving spiders showing off gliding skills. New Scientist (19 August).

Monday, 17 August 2015

Butterflies: Designed Intelligently to be Effective

These wings were designed to be effective.



Joel Kontinen

Butterflies have an amazingly effective way of making use of solar energy. A paper recently published in the journal Scientific Reports looks at how humans could try to copy the system they use.

A report in Phys.org states:

“The humble butterfly could hold the key to unlocking new techniques to make solar energy cheaper and more efficient, pioneering new research has shown.

A team of experts from the University of Exeter has examined new techniques for generating photovoltaic (PV) energy - or ways in which to convert light into power.

They showed that by mimicking the v-shaped posture adopted by Cabbage White butterflies to heat up their flight muscles before take-off, the amount of power produced by solar panels can increase by almost 50 per cent.

Crucially, by replicating this 'wing-like' structure, the power-to-weight ratio of the overall solar energy structure is increased 17-fold, making it vastly more efficient.


We cannot credit Darwinian mechanisms for this innovative design, nor was it Mother Nature’s invention.

An intelligent solution requires a Designer who used intelligence.

From self-assembling solar panels to the amazing design of the seahorse’s tail, the number of amazing design features seen in nature – and even in us – is staggering. (Read more here, here,
here and here.)

Such design shows that the world we live in is not a Darwinian one.

Source:

Phys.org 2015. Butterflies heat up the field of solar research. July 31).