Saturday, 25 October 2014

Taming Ourselves: Fact-Free Darwinian Storytelling


Image courtesy of Delphine Bruyere, Wikipedia.




Joel Kontinen

In a typically Darwinian way, gaps are filled with stories that are based on assumptions.

And the assumptions are based on a naturalistic /materialistic worldview.

The journal Science illustrated this recently by publishing an article on how we tamed ourselves. This would assume that humans were originally untamed, wild or savage:

Call a man ‘tame’ or ‘domesticated’ and he's not likely to take it as a compliment. But all of us, male and female, may have to get used to it: At a high-level meeting earlier this month, scientists argued that ‘self-domestication’ was a key process in the evolution of our species.".”

How would they know this?

“They noted that with our reduced jaws, flat faces, and lower male aggression, humans are to chimps as dogs are to wolves, showing many of the physical traits that emerge during animal domestication.”

As apes are wild, our assumed ape-like ancestors would also be untamed. The problem is that there is no objective way of investigating this. They will not allow a Divine Foot in the door, so the only game in town is to resort to naturalistic speculations even though they might be anything but convincing.

And once the ball gets rolling, there’s no stopping. The result is an avalanche of speculations:

“The accompanying changes in behavior, especially among men, might have helped humans evolve more complex language, live atop each other in cities, and work together to create sophisticated cultures. No one set out to domesticate humans, of course. But at the first-ever symposium on self-domestication of humans, held at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, researchers outlined a set of linked behavioral and anatomical changes seen both in animals that humans have tamed and in creatures that have tamed themselves, such as bonobos.”

Language and culture require intelligence, a mind. The Tower of Babel account in the book of Genesis explains human languages much better than the Darwinian version of the origin and development of language.

Source:

Gibbons, Ann. 2014. How we tamed ourselves—and became modern. Science 346 (6208): 405–406 (24 October).


Thursday, 23 October 2014

Evolution’s Icon Taung Child Falls As a Human Ancestor, CT Scans Suggest

The cast of the Australopithecus africanus specimen known as the Taung Child. Image courtesy of Didier Descouens, Wikipedia (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license).




Joel Kontinen

Discovered 90 years ago and made famous by Raymond Dart, the Taung Child became an icon of assumed human evolution. Also known by its scientific name Australopithecus africanus, for many decades it was the missing link – especially after the Piltdown Man disaster.

Taung Child was touted as “the first and best example of early hominin brain evolution”.

Now, however, research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) throws a dark shadow on this view. According to Science Daily:

“By subjecting the skull of the famous Taung Child to the latest CT scan technology, researchers are now casting doubt on theories that Australopithecus africanus shows the same cranial adaptations found in modern human infants and toddlers.”

The article goes on to say:

Researchers are now casting doubt on theories that Australopithecus africanus shows the same cranial adaptations [i.e. unfused frontal bone] found in modern human infants and toddlers -- in effect disproving current support for the idea that this early hominin shows infant brain development in the prefrontal region similar to that of modern humans.”

In other words, it seems that A. africanus was just another extinct ape. This is no surprise. After all, ape men only belong to the Darwinian world and not to the real one.

Assumed human evolution has seen the rise and fall of several skulls once thought to be our ancestors, such as Ardipithecus ramidus (Ardi) and Toumai or Sahelanthropus tchadensis and Paranthropus boisei a.k.a. Nutcracker Man, for instance.

What is more, there seems to be a never-ending debate on the status of the Hobbit or Flores Man.

Source:


Taung Child's brain development not human-like? CT scan casts doubt on similarity to that of modern humans. Science Daily. (August 25, 2014).



Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Noah’s Ark Is Not Going Down, Despite Skeptics’ Speculations


Image courtesy of Dan Lietha, Answers in Genesis. (Click on the image for a better view).




Joel Kontinen

As the Apostle John wrote, darkness does not tolerate light. Skeptical bloggers who are trying to discredit the Ark Encounter project in Kentucky have provided ample illustrations of this principle.

The amount of rumours and falsehoods they have come up with is staggering. They used similar tactics prior to the opening of the Creation Museum that despite the claims of skeptics has continued to attract more visitors than expected.

A favourite ploy of some secularists is that The Ark Encounter, scheduled to be opened in 2016, will be build using taxpayers’ money. This is not true at all. While Answers in Genesis will get sales tax refunds – like all other businesses in Kentucky, this will hardly match the skeptics’ claim.

They have got it all wrong. Noah's original Ark did not go down, and neither will its Kentucky version.

Source:

Ham, Ken. 2014. Down Down, or Up Up? Answers in Genesis. (September 29).



Sunday, 19 October 2014

Storytelling Cannot Solve Darwin's Problem, i.e. The Sudden Origin of Language


Our linguistic skills cannot be explained by Darwinian mechanisms.




Joel Kontinen

Since the time of Darwin, the (naturalistic) origin of language has troubled evolutionists. A recent article in PLoS Biology attempts to tackle this problem.

The authors acknowledge that it is indeed an enigma:

“The evolution of the faculty of language largely remains an enigma. In this essay, we ask why. Language's evolutionary analysis is complicated because it has no equivalent in any nonhuman species. There is also no consensus regarding the essential nature of the language ‘phenotype.’ According to the ‘Strong Minimalist Thesis,’ the key distinguishing feature of language (and what evolutionary theory must explain) is hierarchical syntactic structure. The faculty of language is likely to have emerged quite recently in evolutionary terms, some 70,000–100,000 years ago, and does not seem to have undergone modification since then, though individual languages do of course change over time, operating within this basic framework.”

Johan Bolhuis and his colleagues go on to say:

Within a remarkably short space of time, art was invented, cities were born, and people had reached the moon. By this reckoning, the language faculty is an extremely recent acquisition in our lineage, and it was acquired not in the context of slow, gradual modification of preexisting systems under natural selection but in a single, rapid, emergent event that built upon those prior systems but was not predicted by them.... For reasons like these, the relatively sudden origin of language poses difficulties that may be called ‘Darwin's problem.’ ”

Except for the part on reaching the moon, this looks a bit like a description from the early chapters of Genesis that depict humans as being intelligent and innovative from the very beginning.

It was Charles Darwin himself who initially put to words the horrid doubt that the authors refer to. Writing to William Graham on 3rd July 1881, he stated:

But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”

While they attempt to address this problem they actually manage make things worse for Darwinism:

Evolution by natural selection is not a causal factor of either cognitive or neural mechanisms. Natural selection can be seen as one causal factor for the historical process of evolutionary change, but that is merely stating the essence of the theory of evolution.”

It seems that evolution is an inadequate explanation for the emergence of language:

"In addition, evolutionary analysis of language is often plagued by popular, naïve, or antiquated conceptions of how evolution proceeds."

Language is an immaterial phenomenon. It cannot be explained by storytelling.

It takes intelligence (and a mind) to invent something as sophisticated as language.

Sources:

Bolhuis, Johan J. 2014. Ian Tattersall, Noam Chomsky, Robert C. Berwick. 2014. How Could Language Have Evolved? PLoS Biology 12(8): e1001934. (26 August).

Darwin correspondence project.




Friday, 17 October 2014

Saturn’s Moon Mimas – A Puzzle for Long Ages

Image courtesy of NASA/JPL/SSI.



Joel Kontinen

For long-agers, Saturn’s moons have turned out to present a bounty of surprises. Titan has rivers and lakes filled with ethane and methane. More recently, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has spotted signs of relative youth on Enceladus - jets of water-ice seem to be blasting from the tiny moon.

Now, as researchers have studied photographs taken by Cassini, they suspect that there might be a subterranean ocean on Mimas.
According to New Scientist:

There's more to Mimas than meets the eye. The wobbles of one of Saturn's smallest moons hint at an unusual make-up below the surface – perhaps even an ocean of water hidden underground.”

This is something that believers in long ages never suspected, and some remain skeptical:

“An ocean discovery would be exciting, but a bumpy interior is probably more likely, says Francis Nimmo at the University of California, Santa Cruz. ‘It's really hard to understand how an ocean could survive for billions of years inside something as small as Mimas.’ "

But in a model based on Genesis, we would expect to see signs of relative youth all over the solar system.

Source:

Rutkin, Aviva. 2014. Saturn's moon Mimas might have its own subsurface sea. New Scientist (16 October).



Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Sophisticated Cave Art ”Rewriting Human Prehistory”

Gua Tewet tree of life in Borneo, Indonesia. Image courtesy of Luc-Henri Fage.



Joel Kontinen

For evolutionists, cave art is an enigma. At times, it seems to appear too early, and it is often very sophisticated – better than some contemporary art.

Recently, researchers examined a cave in Sulawesi, Indonesia that was discovered in the 1950s but not dated until now.

The assigned date – ca. 40,000 years before present – would mean that the cave has the earliest hand stencil. (The date ignores the effect of the global flood of Noah’s day.)

The impulse (and skill) to produce artwork seems to have been a global human phenomenon, with Neanderthals proving that they were no brutish apelike creatures but fully-fledged humans.

Cavemen were much smarter than we thought, but then Genesis describes early man as inventive and creative from the very dawn of humankind.

Source:

Brahic, Catherine. 2014. World's oldest hand stencil found in Indonesian cave. New Scientist 2990 (8 October).



Monday, 13 October 2014

Lake Missoula: Rapid Flood, Huge Geological Formations

Fast formations. Image courtesy of Jina Lee, Wikipedia.




Joel Kontinen

Seeing is not always believing. A DVD produced by Creation Ministries International and featuring meteorologist Michael Oard tells the story of what happened when evidence seemed to support a watery cataclysm resembling the one described in Genesis:

In the 1920's J. Harland Bretz, a secular geologist proposed to his colleagues evidence for a massive Flood across eastern Washington. He was rejected by the scientific community because what was proposing was too close to a catastrophic event with many characteristics closely described in the Bible.”

So for forty years during the heydays of uniformitarianism or slow gradual processes, they pretended that the evidence was not there, but it eventually became obvious that rapid cataclysms can and do produce major geological features.

Lake Missoula shows that even post-Flood cataclysms can form major geological features almost instantly. Millions of years are not needed.