Thursday, 29 January 2015

Jellyfish Display Amazing Navigation Skills


Image courtesy of Dan Parsons, Flickr, via Wikipedia (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license).



Joel Kontinen

Contrary to what researchers used to believe, jellyfish are “not just bags of jelly drifting passively in the oceans”. They “are incredibly advanced in their orientation abilities,” says Graeme Hays of Deakin University in Australia.

He was commenting on a paper he and lead author Sabrina Fossette and colleagues recently published in the journal Current Biology. (“Current-Oriented Swimming by Jellyfish and Its Role in Bloom Maintenance”).

“It's possible that the animals detect current shear across their body surface, or they may indirectly assess the direction of drift using other cues, such as the Earth's magnetic field or infrasound,” Fossette and Hays say.

According to Phys.org they “tracked the movements of the jellyfish with GPS loggers and used GPS-tracked floats to record the current flows. They also directly observed the swimming direction of large numbers of jellyfish at the surface of the ocean.”

Jellyfish are not the only animals capable of intelligent navigation. Recent research has also reported on the prowess of turtles, robins and bees.

For evolutionists, jellyfish are a big dilemma. Recent research has suggested that jellyfish-like creatures might have remained relatively unchanged for “600 million years” according to the standard evolutionary timescale.

But for those of us who doubt Darwinian evolution, jellyfish or stingers as they’re called in Australia remind us of both creation and the Fall.


Source:

These jellyfish aren't just drifters. Phys.org (Jan 22, 2015).




Tuesday, 27 January 2015

BBC: Time to Forget the Holocaust?

Auschwitz was liberated 70 years ago, but for many Jews it was far too late. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen

70 years ago (on January 27, 1945) the Red Army liberated Auschwitz, freeing 7,650 Jewish captives. However, for many millions, the day came far too late.

To mark this event, the BBC tweeted just two days before today’s International Holocaust Memorial Day:

Our one big question this morning: Is the time coming to lay the Holocaust to rest? #BBCTBQ.”

It seems that anti-Semitism is by no means dead. The BBC is not entirely free of it, either.

While the liberal western press has a gross anti-Semitist tendency, the BBC could hardly have been more insensitive. Six million Jews lost their lives because the Nazis thought they were sub-human, inferior and less evolved than Aryans.

And many more were humiliated just because they were Jews.

Just recently, terrorists attacked a kosher supermarket in Paris, killing four Jews.

The answer to the big question is not blowing in the wind. It ought to be a definitive no – never.

Source:

Plosker, Simon. 2015. BBC’s Holocaust Tweet Shocker. Honest Reporting (27 January).



Sunday, 25 January 2015

New Darwinian Speculations on Language Evolution: Language Helped Humans Make Tools


New research suggests that language was needed to produce these kinds of tools.



Joel Kontinen


Since the time of Charles Darwin, the evolution of language has been a hard nut for Darwinians to crack. Why, if all living beings share a common ancestor, only we can invent and use words whilst other species cannot?

Writing in Science, Michael Balter reports on a study in the journal Nature Communications that attempts to tackle this dilemma:

If there’s one thing that distinguishes humans from other [sic] animals, it’s our ability to use language. But when and why did this trait evolve? A new study concludes that the art of conversation may have arisen early in human evolution, because it made it easier for our ancestors to teach each other how to make stone tools—a skill that was crucial for the spectacular success of our lineage.”

He acknowledges that for a long time the origin of language has been a source of controversy. As “words leave no traces in the archaeological record,” researchers have had to resort to indirect methods.

Recently, Thomas Morgan, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues attempted to solve the dilemma by having students prepare stone tools. They found that students who were allowed to speak with each other while making tools fared the best.

Their task was to make “artifacts called Oldowan tools, which include fairly simple stone flakes that were manufactured by early humans beginning about 2.5 million years ago.”

However, as each group was given five minutes to learn the method and another 25 minutes to make the tools, the experiment was anything but objective and it does not really address the issue of language evolution at all.

Unlike animals, humans seem to be programmed to learn language. For those who take Genesis seriously, this would not be a big surprise, as Adam was able to communicate with God from day one.

Source:

Balter, Michael. 2015. Human language may have evolved to help our ancestors make tools. Science (13 January).

Friday, 23 January 2015

Amazing Shrimp Design Defies Evolution



Shrimps come in an amazing variety of shapes and colours. The armed nylon shrimp (Heterocarpus ensifer) looks like this. Image courtesy of NOAA.





Joel Kontinen

Reporting on research published in the journal Current Biology, a brief Science Shot text illustrating the discovery of a deep-sea shrimp says:

“In the deep sea, where light is dim and blue, animals with bigger eyes see better—but bigger eyes are more conspicuous to predators. In response, the small (10 mm to 17 mm), transparent crustacean Paraphronima gracilis has evolved a unique eye structure.”

Leaving aside the evo-speak and storytelling, this sounds like amazing design. The writer should perhaps have asked herself whether animals are capable of evolving anything at all. Most people would know that innovations only come through intelligence.

The researchers found that the shrimp had “compound eyes … each … composed of a single row of 12 distinct red retinas… The researchers hypothesize that each retina captures an image that is transmitted to the crustacean’s brain, which integrates the 12 images to increase brightness and contrast sensitivity, adapting to changing light levels.”

The wonders we see (or learn about) in the animal kingdom point to the Creator, whose handiwork is obvious and very visible in nature – for all who have eyes to see.

Source:

Callier, Viviane. 2015. Deep-sea shrimp’s eyes have 12 retinas. ScienceShot (15 January).





Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Woman Married to Two Pet Cats


This cat is not married to a human being.



Joel Kontinen


Changing the traditional definition of marriage (one man, one woman) can lead to unexpected cases. Like the one featuring a British woman who says has been married to two cats for ten years.

Barbarella Buchner even has a marriage certificate that looks official – although it isn’t – saying that on the 9th day of January in 2004 she and Spider and Ligosi (two tomcats) were united in holy matrimony online by Marry Your Pet.com.

One might at least ask how marriage to cats could be holy. After all, God instituted marriage as a lifelong union of a man and a woman. All other definitions are a travesty of the original.

Nevertheless, Ms. Buchner, who lives on the Spanish island of Lanzarote with her “husbands”, characterises her marriage as “pure, spiritual unconditional love on both sides.” She points out that it does not have to do with sex.

Although she has had “serious boyfriends”, she has never been married to a human being. “If a man ever approaches me, I just tell them straight off: ‘Sorry, I'm married to my cats,’ ” she says.

This kind of marriage brings to mind the words in Judges 21:25 “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” (NIV).

Source:

Styles, Ruth. 2015. Woman who is celebrating a decade of marriage to her two pet CATS says she has never been happier (and has no plans to find a human husband). Daily Mail (6 January).


Monday, 19 January 2015

Enigma for Evolution: Turtles’ Amazing Navigating Skills


Turtles are amazingly clever at returning to the same stretch of beach on which they were born.




Joel Kontinen

Robins and many other migrating songbirds return to the same place years after year. Salmon do it. Some butterflies do so also.

New research suggests that loggerhead turtles likewise return to their place of birth. A recent article in the journal Current Biology states:

Ever since John James Audubon tied silver threads to the legs of young songbirds and observed their return the following year, evidence has accumulated that many animals return to their natal areas after migrating to distant locations. An extreme example exists in loggerhead sea turtles, which leave their natal beaches as hatchlings and traverse entire ocean basins before returning to nest, at regular intervals, on the same stretch of coastline where they hatched. How sea turtles accomplish natal homing has remained an enduring mystery of animal behavior.”

Research by Roger Brothers and Ken Lohman at the University of North Carolina suggest that loggerhead turtles (Carettacaretta) know how to use amazing technology. They say:

Turtles derive long-distance navigational information from the Earth’s magnetic field by detecting the intensity and inclination angle (the angle at which field lines intersect Earth’s surface).”

What makes things difficult for Darwinian evolution is that different kinds of animals – birds, fish, butterflies and reptiles – are able to use a similar strategy, i.e., magnetic navigation. Some researchers believe we should add jellyfish to the list.

Evolutionists have to believe that this characteristic evolved at least four or five times.

But, then, convergent evolution is often Darwin-speak for “we don’t know how, but we assume evolution did it in some mysterious way.”

A more logical and plausible explanation is that turtles and birds and fish were made that way. Their Creator programmed them, giving them this incredible ability.

Source:

Brothers, Roger and Ken Lohman. 2015. Evidence for Geomagnetic Imprinting and Magnetic Navigation in the Natal Homing of Sea Turtles Current Biology 25, 1 – 2 (2 February).



Saturday, 17 January 2015

Je Suis Kelvin: Religious Discrimination – No Freedom of Speech for Atlanta Fire Chief


This book cost Costs Atlanta Fire Chief his job.




Joel Kontinen


Millions walked for freedom of speech following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris that took the lives of 19 people, four of them Jews who had nothing to do with the cartoons that Charlie Hebdo published.

However, on the other side of the Atlantic (i.e., the USA to be more precise), the storyline was very different. Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran published a book in which he made a case for the traditional view of marriage (one man, one woman) and the biblical teaching on sexuality.

Mayor Kasim Reed responded by suspending him for 30 days and then by firing him, accusing him of discriminitory views. In doing so, he is in effect banning Genesis.

In his book Who Told You That You Were Naked? Mr. Cochran writes that the works of the flesh mentioned in Galatians 5:19–21 include homosexuality.

This, obviously, is something the major does not like.

It seems that true Christians and biblical morality are increasingly been discriminated against and anything but Christian ethics are politically correct.

Where are the folks who’d take up Je suis Kelvin posters and start marching? After all, freedom of speech was supposed to be an important issue.

Source:

Shellnutt, Kate. 2015. Bible Citation Costs Atlanta Fire Chief His Job. Galatians 5 versus 1 Corinthians 14: Mayor critiques Kelvin Cochran's publishing of his religious views on homosexuality. Christianity Today (January 9).