Saturday, 21 October 2017

Dwarf Planets Eris and Makemake Are Geologically Active – Defying Billions of Years Thinking

Eris remains an enigma for long-agers. Image courtesy of NASA.





Joel Kontinen

How could a dwarf planet (or in this case, two of them) be geologcally active for 4.5 billion years?

The answer is not even blowin' in the wind. It is beginning the resemble the epicycles that were used to keep alive a geocentric solar system before the days of Copernicus and Galileo.

Erin and Makemake orbit the sun in the Kuiper belt beyond Neptune.

New Scientist spells out the problem:

”Both worlds seem much too small and cold to have the sort of inner planetary activity that can lead to volcanism.”

But they are nonetheless geologically active.

New Scientist discusses a paper Will Grundy at Lowell Observatory and Orkan M. Umurhan at the SETI Institute presented at the American Astronomical Society meeting on 17th October:

But Grundy and Umuhan reason Eris and Makemake must have some inner activity. The proof is in their ices. When we measure reflection from the surface of both worlds, we see strong spectral lines associated with frozen methane. When this evaporates, it creates a reddish aerosol “gunk” called tholin on the tiny worlds’ surfaces. Grundy and Umurhan calculate that this gunk makes up about 10 per cent of the total ice on Eris, but more on Makemake.

Judging by the amount of methane, we would expect tholin to be a big part of the surface, making the worlds appear darker. Instead, they appear bright white, more like the regions of Pluto covered in nitrogen ice. So Grundy and Umurhan reason the dwarf planets must have volcanoes spewing nitrogen ice to cover the tholins.”


A more logical approach would be to question the assumed age of the solar system. It would make the epicycle type tricks superflous.

Source:

Wenz, John. 2017. Volcanoes that spew stretchy ice could make dwarf planets bright. New Scientist (20 October).

Friday, 20 October 2017

Early Bird Preened Its Feathers – Just Like Modern Ones

An early bird could have looked like this. Image courtesy of El fosilmaníaco, CC BY-SA 4.0..






Joel Kontinen

Birds have not changed their habits – or anatomy – for ”48 million years”.

A paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B describes a fossilized bird found in the Messel Pit in Germany.

An article in Phys.org discloses what was special about this bird:

Upon examination of the remains, the team discovered an object near where its tail feathers had once been, which looked similar to the uropygial gland in modern birds—it produces an oil for feather preening. Preening with an oily material waterproofs feathers, and in some cases, can help birds ward off bacteria and fungi.”

The discovery calls into question two icons of evolutionary thought: millions of years and the Darwinian concept of evolution. Soft tissue should not last tens of millions of years and birds should not be able to resist change for aeons.

Source:

Yirka, Bob. 2017. Fatty bird gland preserved over 48 million years. Phys.org (18 October).


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Religion According to Evolution: Replacing One Just-So Story with Another



Atheists have a hard time trying to figure out why religion is a global phenomenon.




Joel Kontinen

When it comes to religion, evolutionists have a huge problem: religious faith is not about to become extinct even though western society is getting increasingly secularised.

Since the days of Darwin and Freud, they have seen religion as belonging to the more primitive stages of human history.

Writing in The Conversation, Associate Professor Peter Kevern discusses the old Darwinian story of the origin of evolution:

”Our brains are hardwired with cognitive biases that have evolved in order to help us to survive, but which have the side-effect of making it natural to develop religious belief. For example, we are cognitively predisposed to imagine that every rustle in the bushes is a creature watching our every move: this hyperactive agency detection device was of real benefit to early humans alone in the jungle. It might have caused our early ancestors to run away from a few imaginary tigers, but they also will have escaped one that might otherwise have eaten them. The side effect, however, is that we see unseen watchers everywhere. From this point, it is a relatively easy leap to believe in gods that watch over us, unseen.”

Then he suggest that this is merely a just so story.

He proposes a new approach in which religion means different things to different individuals. It is a need-centered model that also fits the label of ”just-so story.”

In the world of evolution one gets to pick a story that is no more convincing than all the others. It fails to disclose why many people tend to embrace a religion. It does not delve into our inner search for meaning and truth.

Source:

Kevern, Peter. 2017.Could it be that religion is more like sex than school? The Conversation (29 September).

Monday, 16 October 2017

Epigenetic Changes, Not Mutations, Cause Mexican Cave Fish Lose Their Eyesight

Image courtesy of Johnston DJ, CC BY-SA 3.0.


Joel Kontinen

Mutations do not explain why some Mexican cave fish (Astyanax mexicanus) have lost their eyesight.

New Scientist reports on recent research of these fish:

"Aniket Gore of the US’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and colleagues haven’t found any disabling changes in the DNA sequences of eye development genes in the cavefish.

Instead, the genes have been switched off by the addition of chemical tags called methyl groups. This is what is known as an epigenetic, rather than genetic, change.”


It would not be honest to call this Darwinian evolution, as it isn't.

New Scientist calls it an unexpected evolutionary process, but it would be more appropriate to call it a non-evolutionary process or a non-Darwinian process.

The fish did change, they lost a feature they had (eyesight), but the cause of their adaptation to darkness is anything but Darwinian.

Source:

Le Page,Michael. 2017. Blind cave fish lost eyes by unexpected evolutionary process. New Scientist (12 October).


Saturday, 14 October 2017

Dwarf Planet Hammea Has a Ring That Suggests Young Age

Image courtesy of Stephanie Hoove, public domain.




Joel Kontinen

No one expected that a dwarf planet orbiting the sun some 2 billion kilometres beyond Pluto would have a ring.

Somewhat smaller than Pluto, Hammea is egg-shaped and it also has two small moons.

Astronomers know that at least one other dwarf planet has a ring.

Recent obsevations suggest that Hammea's ring is 70 kilometres wide and roughly 2290 kilometres from its centre.

If the solar system really were 4.5 billion years old, we would not expect to see any rings circling any planet, regardless of whether it is giant or small. Thus, secularists have had to invent a planet or other object that crashed into Hammea, creating the ring.

Convincing?

No, but as naturalism is the only gane in town (or the universe), design (not to mention creation) is strictlty verboten, at least until it becomes too obvious to reject.

Source:

Ken Croswell, Ken. 2017. Distant dwarf planet near Pluto has a ring that no one expected New Scientist (11 October).




Friday, 13 October 2017

New Origin of Life Hypothesis Fails Despite Invoking Meteorites and Warm Little Ponds


Image courtesy of NASA.




Joel Kontinen

While Charles Darwin's idea of a warm little pond has been discarded several times, it has recently made a comeback. This time it is combined to meteorite strikes, another contentious hypothesis.

A report issues by McMaster's University has the gist of what they believe could havehappened:

”The spark of life, the authors say, was the creation of RNA polymers: the essential components of nucleotides, delivered by meteorites, reaching sufficient concentrations in pond water and bonding together as water levels fell and rose through cycles of precipitation, evaporation and drainage. The combination of wet and dry conditions was necessary for bonding, the paper says.”

The number of logic-defying gaps in this hypothesis is no smaller than in previous ones, for instance in the ones featuring hypothermal vents or things like that.

The heat produced by meteorite impacts would almost certainly destroyed all incipient building blocks of life and the lack of any ozone would have killed of anything that could have survived.

In other words, even the latest scenario is a total disastre. It could not have produced life.

Source:

Hemsworth, Wade. 2017. Meteorites may have brought building blocks of life to Earth.McMaster University (2 October).

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Wikipedia Expells Distinguished Scientist for Doubting Darwin


Dr. Bechy is a dragonfly fossil expert, but that wasn't notable enough for Wikipedia's non-scienctist contributors. Image courtesy of Daderot, public domain.





Joel Kontinen

The message of Ben Stein's Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is as timely now as it was almost a decade ago.

The latest installment of Darwinian censorship features Günter Bechly, a distinguished German paleontologist.

Dr. Bechly was a curator at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany, but he lost his job when he became disillusioned wth Darwinian evokution.

Now, some evolutionists want to make him invisible as well. Wikipedia editors, most of whom are non-scientists, have erased his Wikipedia page, ostensibly for trivial reasons, but the real reason seems to be that he embraces intelligent design.


Source:

Klinghoffer, David. 2017. Wikipedia Erases Paleontologist Günter Bechly.
Evolution News & Science today
(10 October).