Friday, 8 June 2018

The Bible Explains the Origin of Agriculture Better than Secular Predictions Do


Image courtesy of The Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), Public Domain.




Joel Kontinen

Genesis tells us that at the dawn of history Cain cultivated crops and brought them as an offering to God. Secularists, however, would reject this view of history and predict a different past for humanity.

But the facts are stacked against the naturalistic view. History and archaeology show that agriculture arose rapidly in at least a dozen or so places just a few thousand years ago.

Evolutionists need to explain why it took over 200,000 years from the emergence of modern man to the discovery of agriculture.

Here’s their best try: “Using a new methodological approach, researchers at Colorado State University and Washington University in St. Louis have uncovered evidence that underscores one long-debated theory: that agriculture arose out of moments of surplus, when environmental conditions were improving, and populations lived in greater densities,” a recent press release issued by University of Colorado suggests.

Actually, they haven’t found evidence for this. What the researchers did was predicting population densities, as they assumed that agriculture needed a fairly large population.

They should probably have taken a look at some archaeological discoveries, which suggest that hunter gatherers (for instance at Göbekli Tepe) and other stone age people were anything but simpletons. Their art rivalled that of Picasso, and their buildings are still a source of amazement.

Researchers have proposed that religious belief inspired the building of their civilisations.

The Bible’s account of history explains the origin of agriculture much better than secular predictions do.

Source:

University of Colorado. 2018. On the origins of agriculture, researchers uncover new clues. (4 June).

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

New Research Attempts to Explain the Evolution of the Human Brain

Image courtesy of Patrick J. Lynch, CC BY 2.5.



Joel Kontinen

Once again, the human brain is making headlines.

Its complexity continues to baffle scientists and it inspires engineers to build smarter computers.

As our big brain is a Darwinian enigma, evolutionists have to try to explain its genesis.

Two papers in the journal Cell report on the discovery of the gene family NOTCH2NL Science Daily explains:

The genes are found exclusively in humans, are heavily expressed in neural stem cells of the human cerebral cortex, and are located on a part of the genome implicated in neurodevelopmental disorders.

The discovery has inspired some typical Darwinian storytelling.

The researchers suspect that some three million years ago, these genes enabled the human brain to become three times as big as previously. And that is why we have the ability to “think, problem-solve, and develop culture.”

The basic problem in these studies is that they merely discovered what these genes do now. The part on their evolution is wholly superfluous and amounts to storytelling.

Source:

Cell Press. 2018. Meet NOTCH2NL, the human-specific genes that may have given us our big brains. Science Daily. (31 May).

Monday, 4 June 2018

New Evidence for the Crucifixion Found

This cross is on Magnetic Island, near Townsville, Queensland.



Joel Kontinen

The Gospels describe the crucifixion of Jesus in much detail. The Apostle Paul also states that it was the fulfilment of prophesy:

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3, Berean Study Bible).

A new paper published in the journal Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences provides evidence for this Roman method of executing criminals.

Live Science explains:

A new study of the skeletal remains of the man, found near Venice in 2007, reveals a lesion and unhealed fracture on one of the heel bones that suggests his feet had been nailed to a cross…

The skeletal remains were found at Gavello, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of Venice, during archaeological excavations in preparation for the laying of a pipeline, the researchers said in their study
.”

The article goes on to say:

“A depressed, unhealed fracture in the heel bone suggested a metal nail had been driven through it, from the inside to the outside of the right foot, either directly onto the wood of a cross or into a wooden footrest attached to a cross.

‘We found a particular lesion on the right calcaneus [heel bone] passing through the entire bone,’ lead study author Emanuela Gualdi, a medical anthropologist at the University of Ferrara, told Live Science in an email
.”

When the Bible describes historical matters, it always gets the facts, including the tiny details, right.

Secular ancient writers were unable to deny the historicity of Jesus.

Archaeology confirms that the Bible is history. The Bible tells us about real people and real events, such as the earthquake mentioned by the prophet Amos and the one that occurred during Jesus’ crucifixion.

We should not be surprised, as Jesus Himself says in John 17:17 that God’s Word is truth.

Source:

Metcalfe, Tom. 2018. How Jesus Died: Rare Evidence of Roman Crucifixion Found. Live Science (4 June).

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Physicist Alexander Berezin Believes in Aliens and Fears We Might Kill Them Off

Image courtesy of Pikawil, CC BY-SA 2.0.




Joel Kontinen

Looking at the night sky can inspire a variety of ideas. 3,000 years ago, King David saw the glory of God displayed in the starry sky:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19:1, NIV).

In contrast, physicist Enrico Fermi had a very different idea in mind. Roughly 70 years ago he came up with the question "Where is everybody?"

Known as the Fermi paradox, his puzzle has remained unsolved.

Some ET enthusiasts believe that there are billions of extraterrestrial worlds that might be home to intelligent life.

Now, Alexander Berezin, a theoretical physicist at the National Research University of Electronic Technology in Russia, has proposed a new answer to Fermi's paradox — but he doesn't think you're going to like it. Because, if Berezin's hypothesis is correct, it could mean a future for humanity that's ‘even worse than extinction’,” Live Science writes.

Quoting a paper Berezin wrote in the preprint journal arxiv.org, "What if the first life that reaches interstellar travel capability necessarily eradicates all competition to fuel its own expansion?"

Berezin thinks that in our aspiration to reach other worlds, we might unwittingly do a lot of damage, perhaps even annihilating all extraterrestrial worlds.

However, there is a big but in this scenario. We have no evidence that extraterrestrials even exist. They might well be a figment of Darwinian imagination combined with a big dose of science fiction.

All signals thought to hail from intelligent aliens have been false ones, including the famous wow signal and the sounds coming from the assumed megastructure near Tabby’s star that raised hopes in the SETI community.

What is more, aliens have never bothered to answer our messages, but this has not put an end to the hope that one fine day they might do so.

Source:

Specktor, Brandon. 2018. Aliens Are Real, But Humans Will Probably Kill Them All, New Paper Says Live Science (1 June).

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Radiocarbon Dating Might Give Too Old Dates, at Least in the Levant

Image: Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872), The Battle of Jericho, Public Domain.




Joel Kontinen

Radiocarbon dating is thought to be a highly reliable dating method, but a new paper published in the journal PNAS suggests that carbon dates may be off by several decades and, in some cases, a hundred years or so.

Other dating methods are even less reliable.

Manning et al. state:

“We observe a substantive and fluctuating offset in measured radiocarbon ages between plant material growing in the southern Levant versus the standard Northern Hemisphere radiocarbon calibration dataset derived from trees growing in central and northern Europe and North America. This likely relates to differences in growing seasons with a climate imprint.”

They go on to say:

This finding is significant for, and affects, any radiocarbon application in the southern Levant region and especially for high-resolution archaeological dating—the focus of much recent work and scholarly debate, especially surrounding the timeframe of the earlier Iron Age (earlier Biblical period). Our findings change the basis of this debate; our data point to lower (more recent) ages by variously a few years to several decades.”

The half-life of Carbon-14 is 5,730 years, so the study does not affect really old dates.

Evolutionists will not carbon date dinosaur bone, though they certainly should do so, as they’re known to contain C-14, thus falsifying the dogma of millions of years.

And they should date coal and diamonds as well.

Source:

Manning, Sturt W et al. 2018. Fluctuating radiocarbon offsets observed in the southern Levant and implications for archaeological chronology debates. PNAS (29 May).

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Alien Life Enthusiasts Want to Recruit Laypeople to Decode Alien Messages

Some want to send messages to aliens; others want to decipher messages sent by assumed aliens. Image courtesy of Arne Nordmann, CC BY-SA 3.0.





Joel Kontinen

Whereas the SETI folks would like to see evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence, the METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) people go a step or two further. They want to decode messages sent by intelligent aliens.

Last week METI held a workshop in Los Angeles with the aim of finding out if “language — or at least certain essential elements of language — might be universal throughout the cosmos.”

Noam Chomsky promoted the view that all “terrestrial languages share a common underlying structure," and the METI folks think that this might also apply to the whole universe.

Sheri Wells-Jensen, a linguist at Bowling Green University in Ohio, wants to recruit laypeople to decipher potential messages sent by aliens.

For some reason, the SETI/METI people tend to assume that aliens are “far more advanced technologically than we are” and thus capable of sending intelligent messages from their home planet or spaceship tens of hundreds of light years away.

However, all signals thought to hail from intelligent aliens have been false ones, including the famous wow signal and the sounds coming from the assumed megastructure near Tabby’s star that raised hopes in the SETI community.

What is more, aliens have never bothered to answer our messages, but this has not put an end to the hope that one fine day they might do so.

However, there is no evidence that space aliens even exist.

Source:

Wall, Mike l. 2018. Intelligent Aliens Might Speak Our Language. And You Can Help Decode Their Messages. Live Science (27 May).

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Like to Eat Insects? Thank Our Assumed Ancestors for Your Gourmet Choices

Pangolin, Manis javanica. Image courtesy of Piekfrosch, CC BY-SA 3.0 .




Joel Kontinen

Why do some people like to eat insects? Reporting on a new paper published in the journal Science Advances, Phys.org proposes an answer.

It has to do with our (assumed) ancestors – “small, furry creatures that scurried around the feet of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago” – who were mostly insect eaters.

“The scientists inferred this because the genes for the enzymes that allowed these early ancestors of all mammals to digest insects are still hanging around in nearly all mammal genomes today.”

These enzymes are called chitinases. Scientists think that humans also have a chitinase gene as well as “remnants of three other chitinase genes in their genome, though none of them are functional.”

This does not signify common descent, however.

While the paper never even suggests that there might be a better and more logical explanation than a typical Darwinian just-so story, common design is a far more credible one.

Source:

University of California - Berkeley. 2018. What we inherited from our bug-eating ancestors. Phys.org (16 May).