Friday, 31 December 2010

Airbus draws inspiration from design in nature


Qantas Airbus A380. Image courtesy of Adrian Pingstone, Wikipedia.




Joel Kontinen

Engineers have often drawn inspiration from nature. The phenomenon is known as biomimicry.

Some time ago UNESCO’s newsletter A World of Science interviewed David Hills, who is Senior Manager of Flight Physics Research at the aircraft manufacturer Airbus. He says that ”nature is a library from which industry can learn”. He brought up several intriguing examples in which engineers have borrowed solutions seen in nature.

Lotus leaves have a structure that helps to keep them clean and dry even in wet conditions. Rain water does not penetrate them but takes the dirt away. Engineers have used this solution in the cabin. The plane needs less water on board, reducing the weight of the aircraft and the amount of fuel it needs.

Airbus engineers have also drawn inspiration from the Steppe eagle’s wings. According to the UNESCO newsletter:

The eagle’s wings perfectly balance maximum lift with minimum length. It can manipulate the feathers at the tips, curling them upwards until they are almost vertical to create a ’winglet’, a natural adaptation that acts as a barrier against the vortex for highly efficient flight.”

By using eagle technology, Airbus engineers have succeeded in keeping the wingspan of the A380 under 80 metres so that the plane can land on standard-sized airports. This would have been impossible without eagle technology.

The design in Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger plane, suggests that many solutions seen in nature are more intelligent than human technology.

Unfortunately, many still deny that there is intelligent design in nature. Perhaps they should ask the engineers at Airbus.

Source:

Picard, Frederic. 2010. David Hills: ‘Nature is a library from which industry can learn’. A World of Science 8 (2): 15-16.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas was no accident




Joel Kontinen

700 years before Jesus’ birth, the Old Testament prophet Isaiah predicted:
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned…
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

(Isa. 9: 2, 6).
This prediction began to be fulfilled on the first Christmas, over 2000 years ago. The prophets predicted details about Jesus’ birth, for instance His birthplace (Micah 5:2) and the virgin birth (Isa. 7:14).

Thursday, 9 December 2010

When does a human being become fully human?

Joel Kontinen

PZ Myers, who is known as a militant atheist, said recently that in the early stages of pregnancy an unborn baby is not a human being.

However, Darwinian evolution does not occur in the womb. In contrast to what Ernst Haeckel, the father of the misleading embryo drawings, believed, a human being does not repeat the assumed stages of evolution before his or her birth but is fully human from conception.

The baby’s genetic information does not increase with the passing of time.

These 4-dimensional ultrasound images reveal that a human being looks like a human being at a very early stage.




According to the Bible, a human being is fully human from the beginning.

- In Psalm 139, David describes how God formed him in the womb.
- Isaiah says: ”Before I was born the LORD called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.”(Isa. 49:1, NIV)
- The Gospel of Luke includes an interesting detail: ”When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”(1:41, NIV) This suggests that we should not underestimate babies’ cognitive skills.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The bacterium that was supposed to thrive on arsenic does not necessarily like it



NASA researchers found the bizarre microbe in Lake Mono, California. Image courtesy of Michael Gäbler, Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen

The idea of a form of life that differs from that what we are used to seeing has suffered major setbacks in the past few days.

Many researchers have criticised the study recently published in Science on a microbe that tolerates arsenic. Nature News sums up their views: ”The microbe isn't using the arsenic, but instead is scavenging every possible phosphate molecule while fighting off arsenic toxicity.”

Roger Summons, a biogeochemist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says that while the authors have shown that the organism ingests arsenic, they "haven't unambiguously identified any arsenic-containing organic compounds.”

It seems that the arsenic-tolerating bacterium is about to share the fate of the notorious fossil known as Ida: when the ado in the media dies down, critical researchers will show that the headlines did not correspond to the content of the find.

It looks as though the bizarre form of life is not so bizarre after all.

Source:

Katsnelson, Alla . 2010. Microbe gets toxic response. Nature News 7 December.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

New Scientist asks: Are you smarter than a Neanderthal?



Reconstruction of a Neanderthal girl. Image courtesy of Christopher P. E. Zollikofer, Anthropological Institute, University of Zurich.



Joel Kontinen

Recently, science writer Robert Adler wrote an article in New Scientist, asking whether it would be time to accept Neanderthals as fully human.

Early Darwinists thought that the Neanderthals were primitive ape-like beings who lived in caves, walked with a stooping gait and communicated by grunting.

Much has changed in a hundred years. Now we know that the Neanderthals knew how to light fires; they built wooden structures, made musical instruments, buried their dead and most probably also knew how to speak.

Eric Trinkaus, professor of anthropology at Washington University at St. Louis, Missouri, says: ”Neanderthals were people, and they probably had the same range of mental abilities we do."

Some skeptics assume that Neanderthals had to be less intelligent than modern man. However, new scientific discoveries have caused the ranks of doubters to become thinner.

According to the model based on Genesis, the Neanderthals were Adam’s descendants just like us. They probably lived in Europe during the ice age following the Flood.

Source:

Adler, Robert. 2010. Are you really smarter than a Neanderthal? New Scientist 2789, 32-36. (Reading this article online requires registration.)

Noah’s ark was an amazingly large vessel



Joel Kontinen


In 2007 Johan Huibers, a Dutch carpenter, built a floating ark that was 70 metres (230 ft) long, 13 metres (43 ft) wide and 13 metres (43 ft) high. Many were amazed at how big the Dutch ark was. However, its volume was roughly one-fifth of Noah’s vessel.

It took 20 weeks for Huibers to build his ark. He hopes to build a full-size ark one day.

The original ark was a huge ocean-going vessel. It could take on board as many animals as could fit in over 520 railroad stock cars. The dimensions of the ark made it a very seaworthy vessel. Not even 30-metre (over 90 ft) waves could have capsized it.

Noah’s ark has been in the news lately. Ark Encounter and Answers in Genesis are building a full-size ark in Kentucky. It should be ready in 2014.


Source

Gunnink, Frans. 2008. One man and a vision. Creation 30(4):12–14.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

The secular view of Earth’s origin is fast approaching the view described in Genesis



According to Genesis, there was plenty of water on Earth from the beginning. Image courtesy of NASA.

Joel Kontinen


Genesis describes a planet that had plenty of water from the beginning. In contrast, secular interpretations of science have assumed that Earth began as a hot molten planet that got its oceans later during its history.

However, secular views are beginning to change (read more here and here).

Linda Elkins-Tanton, a geologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will soon publish a study in the journal Astrophysics and Space Science. It suggests that the water on Earth did not come from asteroids or comets.

Elkins-Tanton analysed the chemical composition of meteorites and used the data in simulations of the early state of Earth-like planets. According to ScienceNOW, “Her models show that a large percentage of the water in the molten rock would quickly form a steam atmosphere before cooling and condensing into an ocean.”

Researchers have been puzzled by how Earth got its water surprisingly quickly – in only some tens of millions of years.

The answer is not blowing in the wind. It can be found in Genesis. There was plenty of water on Earth already on the first day of creation. There is no need to assume that it took millions of years to get liquid water to Earth.

Source:

Dorminey, Bruce. 2010. Earth Oceans Were Homegrown.
ScienceNOW. (29 November).

Well-known atheist: "I would like to encourage more people to abort”



PZ Myers. Image courtesy of Larry Moran, Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen


PZ Myers, an associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota Morris, is probably better known for his bizarre exploits in the blogosphere than for his scientific achievements. Recently he wrote a blog post in which he said he was “pro-abortion” and wanted “to encourage more people to abort.

Myers was responding to a web poll in which a couple are asking readers to help them decide whether they should have an abortion. The poll is probably a scam but Myers’ views are genuine.

Why would Myers be so enthralled with death? He says that getting rid of a foetus is no big deal since it does not have to do with a human being.

Like fellow unbeliever Peter Singer, Myers seems to be an intellectually honest atheist who admits that according to his worldview, human life has no innate worth.

Christianity emphasises man’s innate worth. In contrast to atheists, who might draw inspiration from Haeckel’s forged embryo drawings, the Bible says that a human being is fully human from conception. Created in God’s image, he or she is extremely valuable.

Source:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/11/an_online_abortion_poll_for_re.php

A giant Noah’s Ark to be constructed in Kentucky



Noah’s Ark was not a toy ship.


Joel Kontinen

A huge replica of Noah’s Ark will be constructed in north Kentucky not far from the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum.

Ark Encounter LLC and Answers in Genesis will build a full-scale replica of the ark in Kentucky. It is planned to be ready in 2014.

Genesis mentions that the Ark was 300 cubits long. A cubit was measured from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. Ancient cultures used different cubit lengths. The ordinary Egyptian cubit was approximately 18 inches or 457 millimetres long, which would make the ark 450 feet or 137 metres long. The Egyptian royal cubit measured 20. 6 inches or 523-525 millimetres. If Moses, who was well versed in Egyptian royal culture, used this cubit, the ark would have been 515 feet (157 metres) long.

The first ocean-going vessel to exceed this length was actually built in the 1860s, so the ark was certainly no small tug boat.

The Flood was a major historical event for which we have plenty of evidence. Consider the following, for example:

1) Huge fossil graveyards have been found all over the world, including in the Grand Canyon where billions of nautiloids were buried catastrophically.

2) Marine fossils can be found even on top of the highest mountains.

3) There are flood legends in practically all cultures. The story of a great catastrophe seems to have been engraved in the collective memory of humans.

While God judged the world, He provided a way of escape for those who trusted in Him by instructing Noah to build a huge ocean-going vessel.

Source:

Kentucky Governor, Ark Encounter LLC, and AiG Announce Plans to Build a Full-Scale Noah’s Ark. Answers in Genesis. 1 December 2010.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Ten years ago: Icons of Evolution caused distress in the Darwinian camp

The book that challenged Darwinian icons.




Joel Kontinen

In Icons of Evolution, a book published in 2000, Jonathan Wells, who has a PhD in molecular and cell biology, showed that the most usual textbook proofs of evolution were misleading.

The Darwinian icons speak more of the evolutionists’ willingness to believe their theory than of anything else. They do not support evolution.

Wells discusses Archaeopteryx, Miller and Urey’s origin of life experiment, Darwin’s tree of life, homology (similar structures in different species), Haeckel’s embryo drawings, the peppered moth, Darwin’s finches, fruit fly mutants and man’s assumed origins in his book.

Icons of Evolution caused many evolutionists to become nervous It showed that their best proofs were anything but convincing.

Singing Hallelujah! at a fast food restaurant

And He shall reign for ever and ever



Joel Kontinen

Praising God has been an essential part of Christmas since a group of shepherds at Bethlehem first got to know of the Messiah’s birth. However, few of us have seen a performance like the one that the customers at a Canadian fast food restaurant saw on November 13th this year.

As the pianist finishes playing Jingle Bells at the restaurant in Welland, Ontario, a dark-haired young woman wearing a red scarf pushes her tray forward. Speaking on a cell phone, she stands up and begins to sing the chorus of George Fridrich Handel’s Messiah. A man in a blue hoodie soon joins her. A couple in the food queue do the same. Then, a man and woman stand up on chairs to sing.

Some of the customers look puzzled but others begin to take pictures with their cell phones. Soon the entire fast food restaurant rings of praise to God.

Instead of performing on stage, the 80 singers of the Chorus Niagara sang where they happened to be, among the other customers of the restaurant. The woman who sang with a cell phone to her ear is soprano Stephanie Tritchew, who, thanks to YouTube, became a star.

Judging from the applause, the public was pleased with what they heard. With over 9 million YouTube views, the performance has certainly become a hit.

The singers wanted to ”spread Christmas cheer” at the mall.

In doing that they succeeded exceedingly well.


Source:

Debora Van Brenk. 2010. Handel's Messiah flash mob a Youtube smash. Toronto Sun. (1 December).

NASA did not find little green men – but it found a bacterium that likes arsenic




Lake Mono, California. Image courtesy of Henry Lydecker, Creative Commons.





Joel Kontinen

Recently, NASA announced that it would disclose an important discovery that had to do with extraterrestrial life. Some already dreamt of little green men but none were found.

Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a NASA geomicrobiologist, and her colleagues found a bizarre microbe in a lake in California. It thrives on arsenic instead of phosphorus.

Although NASA recommends updating biology textbooks and some even speculate that we might discover different forms of life on Saturn’s moon Titan, the significance of the find might perhaps be seen in proper perspective if we remember that phosphorus and arsenic both belong to the same main group, i.e. the nitrogen group, in the periodic table.

The discovery nonetheless shows that life on earth takes on surprising forms. It does not say anything about the origin of life.

One can always speculate. Paul Davies, who was a member of the research group reporting on the find in Science, has previously suggested that there might be weird forms of life on our planet.

Naturalistic theories of the origin of life still cannot explain how and why living beings came about from non-life. Life can only come from life. In other words, genetic information always requires a sender and intelligent life requires an intelligent Sender.

Sources:

Gronstal, Aaron. 2010. Get Your Biology Textbook...and an Eraser! Astrobiology (2 December).

Wolfe-Simon, Felisa & al. 2010. A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus. Science 330: 6009.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Surprising survey results: A sizeable percentage of Chinese and Japanese doubt Darwin



Charles Darwin is not very popular in east Asia. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.




Joel Kontinen


Skeptics often claim that creationism is an American invention that only in recent decades has made its way into Europe. However, a new survey made for Nature and Scientific American shows that surprisingly many people in China and Japan also doubt Darwin.

Conducted as an Internet survey, it asked readers of Scientific American about their views of evolution and the origin of the universe. SA is a typical popular science magazine that markets Darwinian evolution, so one would assume that its readers would take a very positive attitude to Darwinism.

The questions did not deal with the origin of man but on the ability of evolution and natural selection to explain the diversity we see in nature.

The results were to some extent a disappointment for the magazine. According to the survey, a surprisingly large percentage of readers in China (49%) and Japan (35%) doubt Darwinian evolution. This is strange since China is still a communist country (it does have a large Christian minority of probably over 100 million, though) and Shintoism and other Japanese traditional beliefs could well be compatible with Darwinism. Unlike many other faiths, Shintoism does not even have holy texts.

Probably only well-educated people in China and Japan read an American magazine (that however is translated into Chinese and Japanese) so that Darwinists cannot claim that the views of a few only ladies could have distorted the findings.

The real explanation might be very different: in high-tech countries many people know that a computer programme needs to be designed and that DNA resembles an intelligently designed code.


Source:

Cyranoski, David. 2010. A Global Survey of the Scientifically Literate Public Reveals a Pacific Divide on Key Issues in Science. Nature 467:7314, 388-389.

When algae forgot to evolve – for a billion years



Somewhat younger algae. Image courtesy of Eric Guinther, Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen


Researchers assume they have found new living fossils. The algae living at a depth of over 200 metres (650 feet) in the waters of New Zealand belong to the genera Palmophyllum and Verdigellas.

Recently, professor Frederick Zechman of California State University at Fresno and colleagues published a study on the genetic makeup of these algae in the Journal of Phycology. The researchers concluded on the basis of the algae’s DNA that they are closely related to algae they assume are a billion years old.

Although there are no fossils of so old algae, professor Zechman suggests that they are living fossils.

Evolution is often defined as change over time but it seems to have forgotten to change many species. For instance, the Coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae), squids, octopuses, tuataras, horseshoe crabs and dragonflies have resisted Darwinian change for aeons.


Sources:

Deep-sea algae may be 'living fossils'. Physorg. com (19 November).

Walker, Matt. 2010. Ancient seaweed is living fossil. BBC News (18 November).

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Philip S. Skell – a brave dissident of Darwinian evolution



Professor Philip Skell doubted this scenario. Image courtesy of José-Manuel Benito Álvarez, Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen

Philip S. Skell, a member of the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University, died last Sunday at the age of 91.

Skell, a professor of chemistry, was famous for his work in carbene chemistry. Later he found out that Darwinian explanations were often completely unnecessary. Evolution was not the cornerstone of science that many had assumed.

He realised that the scientific community often discriminated against those who dared to doubt Darwinian evolution.

Together with hundreds of other critics of neo-Darwinian evolution, he signed the document A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism.

In 2005 he criticised Darwinism in a famous article in The Scientist. He for instance said:

Natural selection makes humans self-centered and aggressive – except when it makes them altruistic and peaceable. Or natural selection produces virile men who eagerly spread their seed – except when it prefers men who are faithful protectors and providers. When an explanation is so supple that it can explain any behavior, it is difficult to test it experimentally, much less use it as a catalyst for scientific discovery.”

Professor Skell thought that Darwinian explanations were redundant.

Sources:

Luskin, Casey. 2010. Giving Thanks for Dr. Philip Skell. (25 November).

Skell, Philip S. 2005. Why do we invoke Darwin? Evolutionary theory contributes little to experimental biology. The Scientist 19(16):10 (29 August).

Let us praise science for it is good!



Jennie A. Brownscombe: The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth (1914). Image courtesy of Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen

Last Thursday, Americans celebrated Thanksgiving. The early settlers had a tradition of giving thanks to God for a good harvest and the last Thursday in November has during subsequent centuries been part and parcel of the American heritage.

Recently, LifeScience editors Jeremy Hsu, Stephanie Pappas, Wynne Parry and Jeanna Bryner suggested a way for altering this tradition. They recommend that we should thank science for all the good that it has given us.

Few people would deny that science has brought about many good things. The medical sciences have given us cures to many diseases, and microscopes and telescopes have enabled us to understand life both on the micro and the macro level. However, science has also brought us some bad things, such as pollution, atom bombs and land mines.

That what the LifeScience editors advice us to do reminds us of a tradition that skeptics have embraced in recent years, i.e. celebrating the birthday of a man instead of Jesus at Christmas.

These ”free thinkers” obviously failed to realise that they will actually celebrate the birthday of the best-known creation scientist of all times, a man who wrote about Bible prophecies and definitely believed in a recent supernatural creation.

Sir Isaac Newton wrote, for instance:

This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being. … The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect.”

Newton praised the Almighty God for His wisdom. In contrast, skeptics hope to deny His existence and praise man’s achievements instead.

Sources:

10 Science Discoveries to Be Thankful for. LiveScience 24 November 2010.

Thayer, H. S. 1953, Newton’s Philosophy of Nature: Selections From His Writings. New York: Library of Classics.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Skeptics prepare to celebrate Sir Isaac Newton’s birthday on 25th December



Sir Isaac Newton's portrait by Godfrey Kneller (1702). Image courtesy of Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen

What does a skeptic do when he doesn’t want to celebrate Jesus’ birthday but he still wants to get presents? He invents an alternative festival.

Michael Shermer and other American skeptics are busy marketing Sir Isaac Newton’s birthday that they will celebrate on 25th December.

Skeptics have a rather quaint logic: they reject Jesus and replace Him with Newton, who was a Bible-believing scientist and like Wernher von Braun, the father of the Apollo space programme, he was a biblical creationist.

Source:

Spread a little skeptic cheer this year! E-Skeptic 24 November 2010.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Angels, an avatara, UFOs and diverse new age beliefs



A British married couple associates faith with gods, new age, evolution and aliens in their ”new” worldview. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.




Joel Kontinen

When people reject classical Christianity, they espouse ideas that are often rather irrational.

Glenn and Jill Harrison market an exotic ideology in which they mix Christianity, other religions, new age, spiritism and evolution into a thick soup.

Glenn Harrison says that his wife Jill is an avatara, who receives messages from beings they assume are archangels. Their doctrine is based on these messages.

A spirit being called Metatron has revealed that mankind’s goal is to ”further the evolution of the universe. The Creator learns from the development of the different species.”

This thinking is far from classical Christianity with its omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipotent (all-powerful) Creator God.

They think that the followers of all religions worship the same god. They believe that man’s problem is not sin but negative thoughts that we should get rid of.

This has nothing to do with Christianity. Jesus says He is the only way to God.

The Apostle Paul warned his readers of a false gospel:

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” (Gal. 1:8).

At some point one begins to suspect that the Harrisons have read too much Dan Brown: They seem to believe that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, who had to flee persecution to France. There Mary gave birth to twins, Evangeline and Sarah.

In addition to Gnosticism and evolution, a good new age soup also needs a UFO connection. Accordingly, the Harrisons will tell us that aliens visit us regularly in order to save us from destruction.

The Harrisonian new age soup is nothing new. Of the fathers of evolution, Alfred Russel Wallace was a spiritist and some time later Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit priest, tried to build a quasi-Christian belief system based on evolution.

In our days, Deepak Chopra, who is known for his alternative medicine, and pastor Michael Dowd have creatively combined religion and evolution.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” Solomon said in Proverbs.

But when one replaces the Lord with questionable human philosophies, one gets a bizarre new age soup.

Rationality and credibility remain outside the bowl.

Source:

A New Belief. com.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

200 million Christians are facing persecution



Jesus’ way went to the cross. Nowadays many Christians are being persecuted for their faith. El Greco (1580): Christ Carrying His Cross. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.




Joel Kontinen

Persecutions are nothing new to Christians. Jesus predicted them and according to early Christian tradition all the apostles except John were martyred for their faith.

Persecutions have not abated in all parts of the world. Especially North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, China, Pakistan, Iran, Eritrea and Vietnam mistreat Christians.

In many Muslim countries, conversion to Christianity is punishable by death. All too few people in the West know or are willing to speak about this glaring breach of human rights.

Next Sunday (November 21st) is an International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. There are surprisingly many persecuted Christians in the world, approximately 200 million.


Source:

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

The CERN breakthrough and the riddle of antimatter


The Big Bang should have produced equal amounts of matter and antimatter. Image courtesy of NASA.




Joel Kontinen

Researchers at the European Nuclear Research Centre (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, say they have succeeded in trapping antimatter for a sixth of a second. Although that does not sound like an aeon, in the world of captured anti-hydrogen atoms, it is a longish time.

The scarcity of antimatter is a problem for naturalistic views of cosmology.

According to the current understanding of physics, the big bang should have produced equal amounts of matter and antimatter. However, the universe that we know could not have come about since matter and antimatter would have annihilated each other”, says Paula Eerola, professor of particle physics at the University of Helsinki, Finland.

The big bang has other serious problems as well, for instance the assumed inflation at the beginning that lacks any empirical evidence and defies the laws of physics to boot. In addition, early galaxies grew too fast for the big bang.

Astronomers have often had to prop up the big bang with auxiliary assumptions. In a sense, the big bang with its hard-to-believe additions resembles Hinduism - and can hardly be kept neat with the help of Occam’s razor.

Why is there something instead of nothing? is a question to which naturalistic origins models do not have an answer. The fine tuning of the cosmos has in any case prevented the universe from exploding into pieces at the very beginning.

Sources:

Antimatter captured by CERN scientists in dramatic physics breakthrough. The Telegraph. 19 November 2010.

Tutkijat vangitsivat antimateriaa. Aamulehti. 19 November 2010, A18.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

New research: Earth probably had water from the very first day



Genesis says that there was plenty of water on Earth from the beginning. Image courtesy of NASA.


Joel Kontinen

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” This is how Genesis describes the birth of our planet.

Astronomers who believe in the Nebular Hypothesis or some other natural explanation of how the solar system was formed have assumed that in the beginning Earth was too hot for liquid water.

The origin of the Earth’s oceans has been a mystery for astronomers. They have suggested that comets might be a plausible source of water. However, the water on comets differs considerably from the water we find on Earth. Asteroid impacts cannot solve the riddle, either, since their elements differ from those on Earth. For instance, they have more platinum than we have.

Nora de Leeuw, a chemist at University College London, and her colleagues made a computer simulation of Earth's birth process. They conclude that dust particles could be able to cling on to water at 630 degrees Celsius ( 1,166 degrees Fahrenheit). They thus suggest that there could have been liquid water on Earth from the very beginning.

Recently, they published their research results in the journal Chemical Communications.

Although the basic premise of Leeuw and her colleagues probably differs considerably from that what Moses wrote in Genesis, their research brings up serious weaknesses in naturalistic origin hypotheses and suggests that Moses knew what he was writing about when he said that there was water on earth at the very beginning:

And God said, 'Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.' And it was so. God called the dry ground 'land,' and the gathered waters he called 'seas.' And God saw that it was good. ” (Genesis 1:9-10).

Source:

Shiga, David. 2010. Earth may have had water from day one. New Scientist 2785 (5 November).

What did the world’s oldest shrimp look like? – Like a modern shrimp, of course



A modern shrimp. Image courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), via Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen


The shrimp has hardly changed in ”360 million years”. A 70 millimetre (2.75 inches) long fossil recently found in Oklahoma is thought to be the oldest shrimp in the world.

The fossil discovery, published last week in The Journal of Crustacean Biology, is exceptional in that the muscles of the shrimp have been preserved well.

The shrimp looks just like its modern relatives some people are fond of eating.

Evolution is often defined as change but shrimps have remained shrimps for aeons. Similarly, the fossil record shows us that damselflies have remained damselflies, that a squid remains a squid, a Coelacanth remains a Coelacanth, a horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) remains a horseshoe crab and a tuatara (Sphendon punctatus) remains a tuatara throughout the time when dinosaurs were assumed to be turning into birds and early mammals into men.

Living fossils clearly support the Genesis model of after its kind. The biblical kinds are known for stubbornly resisting change into other kinds. Even the assumed millions of years of earth history have been unable to bring about change that would have bridged the enormous gulf between the biblical kinds.

Source:

Minogue. Kristen. 2010. ScienceShot: World's Oldest Shrimp Is Still Strong.
ScienceNOW (11 November).

Saturday, 13 November 2010

David Livingstone: A missionary who resisted the slave trade



Dr Livingstone, I Presume? Stanley and Livingstone met in November 1871. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen

Christianity is not only theory. For Scottish missionary doctor and explorer David Livingstone (1813 - 1873) faith also meant resisting iniquity.

Although the efforts of William Wilberforce, a Christian politician, had succeeded in putting an end to slave trade in the British Empire in 1833, Arabs still captured Africans and sold them as slaves. About five times as many slaves were killed, wounded or succumbed to diseases than were eventually shipped as slaves.

Dr. Livingstone regarded slavery as a glaring iniquity and he struggled to put an end to it.

This week marks the 139th anniversary of Stanley’s and Livingstone’s historical meeting.

Sources:

Dr Livingstone, I Presume? Christianity. com.

BBC:Historic Figures/ David Livingstone
.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

What’s wrong with the BioLogos Foundation?



Joel Kontinen

In a new video on the BioLogos Foundation homepage, Dr. Kathryn Applegate attempts to show that ”evolutionary science reveals God’s character”. It is quite a claim.

Darwinian evolution relies on a wasteful process in which death has been present from the very beginning. Even old-earth creationist William Dembski admits that in a truly Christian worldview death is a consequence of the Fall.

Like other theistic evolutionists, the scientists and theologians at BioLogos must basically re-write the Bible to make it conform to Darwinian evolution.

Dr. Francis Collins established the BioLogos Foundation to "contribute to the public voice that represents the harmony of science and faith". By “science” he means Darwinian evolution which by definition is an unguided process – but which in BioLogos’ parlance is actually guided.

Contributors to BioLogos include Karl Giberson, Pete Enns and John Polkinghorne, none of whom advocate an orthodox view of Christianity.

Theistic evolution abounds with theological problems that cannot be solved. It distorts the Bible and God’s character and plays fast and loose with biblical history. It has to deny important biblical events such as the global flood and re-interprets it as a local deluge.

BioLogos attempts to do the impossible – combine two mutually exclusive worldviews (theistic and atheistic).

Source:

BioLogos.org

Saturday, 6 November 2010

New research: Stone Age tools were surprisingly sophisticated



Cavemen were no simpletons. Cave paintings at the Museo Regionale Archeologico, Palermo. Image courtesy of Bernhard J. Scheuvens, Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen


Time and again, believers in the Darwinian story are amazed by discoveries that change their view of ancient man. Recently they discovered that ancient Papuans were more sophisticated than they had assumed. Then they found that Europeans ground flour much earlier than they had thought.

There is more to come. Recently, Vincent Mourre at the University of Toulouse-Le Mirail in France and colleagues studied 127 triangular and leaf-shaped rock points found in a cave in South Africa and published their research results this week in Science.

The points were probably used in spears or knives.

According to ScienceNOW, early men knew how to ”carve with remarkable finesse. A new study suggests that cave dwellers were using a delicate stone-carving technique called pressure flaking 75,000 years ago, 55,000 years before scientists thought the technique was invented.

Evolutionists are known for inflating dates so we should take them with a pinch of salt.

What the research shows, however, is that the Book of Genesis had it right. It tells us that early man was no simpleton but a creative being made in the image of God.

Source:

Minogue, Kristen 2010. Stone Age Toolmakers Surprisingly Sophisticated. ScienceNOW (28 October).

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Atheist claims religion cannot explain universal morality



Sam Harris believes that Darwinian evolution can explain morality. The man looking behind the big beard is C. Darwin. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen

Along with Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris is one of the most well-known militant atheists. Recently, Harris wrote an opinion piece in New Scientist in which he expressed his hope that the scientific study of morality would lead to sending religion to the scrap heap.

Harris’ view comes at an interesting time in the aftermath of the publicity surrounding Marc Hauser, the Harvard evolutionary psychologist who is the pioneer of evolution-based morality. Hauser is suspected of serious scientific misconduct. Yet, according to Hauser, ”the Darwinian pulpit” explains the universality of morality better than religion.

It did not prevent Hauser from producing questionable research results that his fellow-Darwinists strongly disapprove of, however.

Harris believes in the same source of morality as Hauser. He thinks that ”science”, by which he probably means an evolution-based worldview, can disclose why some things are acceptable and some other things are not.

Harris’ view is fraught with problems as Hauser’s evolution-based model has not worked very well in practice.

Logic would thus have us search for the origin of morality somewhere else. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans that all people, including non-Jews, know the moral law:

The requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness.” (Rom. 2:15).

According to Paul, morality stems from creation. God has created us to be moral beings.

Sources:

Harris, Sam. 2010. Morality: 'We can send religion to the scrap heap' . New Scientist 2782 (20 October).

Luskin, Casey. 2010. When Evolutionary Psychology Collides With Morality. Evolution News and Views (27 August).

Friday, 29 October 2010

Heresies in science



Richard Dawkins hates heresies in science. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.




Joel Kontinen

This week two popular science publications, New Scientist and Scientific American, used the word heretic, which might say something about how mainstream science journalism views those who do not toe the official party line.

Neither of the magazines was referring to creationism or even intelligent design. The Scientific American article discussed climate change and the one in New Scientist focused on the laws of physics.

However, this interesting trend brings to mind that what Richard Dawkins said in the documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed: ”As a scientist I am pretty hostile to a rival doctrine." Dawkins was championing Darwinian orthodoxy.

Way back in 1997 Stephen Jay Gould used the phrase Darwinian Fundamentalism in an essay in The New York Review of Books. Using language drawn from the Bible, he was referring to the over-reliance on natural selection in explaining evolution and named John Maynard Smith, Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins as members of this orthodox Darwinian sect.

Scientists seem to be wary of heretics.

Sources:

Brooks, Michael. 2010. Constant change: Are there no universal laws?
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20827830.900-constant-change-are-there-no-universal-laws.html?full=true (25 October).

Gould, Stephen Jay. 1997. Darwinian Fundamentalism. The New York Review of Books (12 June) http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1997/jun/12/darwinian-fundamentalism/.

Lemonick, Michael D. 2010. Climate Heretic: Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=climate-heretic&sc=WR_20101027 (25 October).

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Intelligent communication in our cells

Joel Kontinen

Long before we had the first computer, our cells already used nanotechnology to communicate with their environment and with other cells.

Recently, Developmental Cell published a paper on how skin cells organise their inner structure in response to signals from their environment.

According to ScienceDaily, ” ’Cells react to changes in their environment very rapidly. To do this, cells need to have their signaling machinery at the right place at the right time’ says Sara Wickström, a researcher from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry.”

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute identified the mechanism that microtubules specialised in inter-cellular transportation use to move proteins to different places in response to information that they obtain from their environment and other cells.

This brief video animation produced by Creation Ministries International describes the function of microtubules.



Sounds like intelligent design.

Source:

Protein Highways Keep Tissues Organized. ScienceDaily.20 October 2010.

Friday, 22 October 2010

The dog as an inventor

Joel Kontinen


Darwinists tend to think that chimpanzees are almost human. However, in real life many animals, for instance elephants, crows and dolphins, easily beat chimpanzees in tasks that require intelligence.

One might probably even add the dog to the list:



Darwinian evolution would hardly have predicted this. While chimps lack creative skills, at least one dog does not seem to lack them.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Stone age people ground flour



Ancient people were not primitive. For instance, the stone age people in Gran Canaria made elaborate clay vessels.




Joel Kontinen

The more archaeologists get to know about stone age people, the more obvious it becomes that the Darwinian model of grunting, cave-dwelling hunters is wrong.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences just published a paper on grindstones found in Italy, Russia and the Czech Republic. The tools are estimated to be 30, 000 years old. The researchers also found the remains of nutritious flour on the stones.

Nature News quotes Ofer Bar-Yosef, an archaeologist at Harvard University, as saying, "It's another nail in the coffin of the idea that hunter–gatherers didn't use plants for food."

Like many other discoveries (read more here, here and here) the new discoveries support the view of Genesis that man has tilled the ground from the dawn of human history.


Source:

Callaway, Ewen. 2010. Stone Age flour found across Europe. Nature News (18 October).

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The dangers of ultra liberalism

Joel Kontinen



What might happen if society were to discard Christian morals and began to make its decisions solely based on economic or other benefits? The idea is not very new. Utilitarianism, which draws inspiration from the views of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), attempts to distribute happiness evenly in society.

Bentham was no friend of Christianity. He believed that everyone - including homosexuals and animals – should have the same rights. In its extreme form, it might cause some individuals to believe that some kinds of animals are more important than people.

Many people are ready to defend the rights of animals, but how many are interested in the rights of unborn children and old, infirm people?

Practice has often revealed that theories have dire defects. If society were to emphasise the common good, some individuals would suffer. Melanie Phillips, a well-known British journalist, has written much on the dire consequences of discarding Judeo-Christian values. She believes it will lead to irrational behaviour.

The film Never Let Me Go, due to be released next January, might give us a glimpse of what could happen if the ideas of Utilitarianism were taken to an extreme and society were to decide to use some of its citizens as spare parts.

The film is based on the book Never Let Me Go (2005) written by the Japanese-British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro. It is the sad story of Hailsham boarding school. The destiny of its pupils is to give their young lives for others.

Source:

Lopez, Kathryn Jean. 2010. Melanie Phillips on a World Gone Mad. National Review Online (20 May).

Stone age Papuans were not primitive



Ancient people were not primitive. For instance, the stone age people in Gran Canaria, Spain, made elaborate clay vases.




Joel Kontinen

The more archaeologists discover about the customs and cultures of ancient man, the more obvious it becomes that the findings do not correspond to the Darwinian concept of ape-like early men.

Recently, Glenn Summerhayes, an archaeologists at the University of Otago, New Zealand, and colleagues published a paper in Science on the ancient inhabitants of Papua New Guinea. They assume that the inhabitants of Ivane Valley, an area 2, 000 metres above sea level that is surrounded by high mountains, tilled the ground 49,000 years ago.

Summerhayes and his colleagues discovered ancient Papuan campsites that had been covered by volcanic ash. Professor Summerhayes assumes that the people hunted small animals, cleared plots in the forests and collected nuts. He also thinks that the Papuans brought yams into the mountains from the lowlands.

The research team also found stone tools in the area.

Although evolutionists almost always overestimate the age of ancient discoveries, these findings agree well with that what Genesis tells about early men. They had a relatively high culture almost at the dawn of human history. Cain already built a town and soon Adam’s descendants made musical instruments and bronze and iron tools.

The view that ancient man was primitive is a myth that lacks evidence.

Source:

Archaeologists shed new light on adaptability of modern humans’ ancestors. PhysOrg (30 September 2010).

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Who lost the first habitable planet?



Three years ago Gliese 581c made headlines. It was supposed to be an Earth-like planet. Image courtesy of ESO.


Joel Kontinen

Astronomers who were searching for a habitable planet rejoiced when at last they found Gliese 581g - a planet that seemed to orbit a red dwarf well within the habitable zone. A least one scientist advocated sending a manned probe to examine the planet that is just 20 light years from us.

The rejoicing turned out to be short-lived, however. On Monday astronomers at the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland announced that they were unable to detect any signs of Gliese 581g. The team, led by Francesco Pepe, checked the observations made of the planet with a 3.6 metre telescope in Chile.

Presenting their results at an International Astronomical Union symposium in Turin, Italy, they said that they did not find any evidence of Gliese 581g.

Steven Vogt, who initially announced the discovery of the planet, has not given up hope. He thinks that further research might yet show that Pepe and his team were mistaken.

This was not the first setback for those who hunt for a habitable planet. In 2007 Gliese 581c was for a while hailed as a habitable planet but it was soon discovered that it is hot like Venus.

Often researchers ”find” that what they are looking for. A century ago, Percival Lowell believed he saw evidence of life on Mars. He wrote in the journal Nature that ”Mars is habitable by organisms not essentially different from those with which we are acquainted.”

Sources:

Courtland, Rachel. 2010. First life-friendly exoplanet may not exist. New Scientist (13 October).

100 Years Ago. Nature 463:7281, 617. (4 February. 2010).

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Chilean miner: ” God has never left us”

Joel Kontinen

The dramatic rescue of the 33 trapped miners in Chile has caused many of them and their relatives and friends to think about priorities and that what is important in life. Even before the miners were able to leave their prison in the San Jose mine, Jimmy Sanchez, at 19 the youngest of them, sent a message to the surface that read: ”There are actually 34 of us because God has never left us down here."





Although 69 days at 700 metres (over 2000 feet) below the surface is a long time, the miners and their families did not give up hope. The wife of trapped miner Ariel Ticona gave birth to a girl the parents decided to name Esperanza, Spanish for hope. In addition, the area where the rescue crew and the families of the trapped miners camped – and from were the miners were lifted to the surface in an escape capsule built by the Chilean navy, was called Camp Esperanza.

The miners and their families expected a miracle – and they got one. Many of them were Christians so they were able to find hope in the Bible’s promises.

The Bible speaks a lot about hope. The book of Jeremiah says: ”For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

The New Testament also tells us about the blessed hope of Christians. We are ”looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

You can watch a video clip of the meeting of the miners and their families on the BBC website.

Source

Padgett, Tim. 2010. Chile's Mine Rescue: Media Circus and Religious Revival. Time (12 October).

Monday, 11 October 2010

Were geologists brainwashed to accept slow uniformitarian processes?



Some geologists have severely criticised Charles Lyell’s uniformitarian views. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen

Without the writings of Charles Lyell, the views of his friend Charles Darwin might never have become popular. However, geology has subsequently rejected strict uniformitarianism. The late British geologist Derek Ager, who was no friend of creation, wrote in 1993:

Just as politicians rewrite human history, so geologists rewrite earth history. For a century and a half the geological world has been dominated, one might even say brain-washed, by the gradualistic uniformitarianism of Charles Lyell. Any suggestion of 'catastrophic' events has been rejected as old-fashioned, unscientific and even laughable.”

Ager emphasised the significance of catastrophes in geology.

In 1980 the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens was an excellent illustration of rapid canyon formation. It only took a few hours to produce formations that look as though they are millions of years old.

Source:

Ager, Derek. 1993. The New Catastrophism: The importance of The Rare Event in Geological History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

John Cleese: ”We scientists”, ”God gene” and much more

Joel Kontinen

Richard Dawkins is fond of using the expression ”we scientists” although he has not had the time to do much science in the past few decades. He has obviously noticed that writing speculative quasi-religious books is an easier way of making a living.

In this brief video actor John Cleese discusses the wonderland of genes from a perspective that differs considerably from that of Dawkins. He does not neglect to mention the ”God gene”, the gene that makes people eat coconut ice cream after a fish dinner and some other interesting ”genes”.



Naturally, Cleese does not shy away from reminding his audience of the importance of the authority of scientists.

Cleese’s parody brings to mind that what Mark Twain wrote about the claims of science as well as the just-so-stories so prevalent in Darwinian mythology.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Stephen Hawking, skeptics and two-dimensional reality

Joel Kontinen

In 1884 the British author Edwin Abbott Abbott introduced the concept of a two- dimensional world with his novel Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. Flatland was a satire of the English society of the Victorian era.

The inhabitants of Flatland only know two dimensions, length and breadth. Professor A. E. Wilder-Smith (1915–1995) used this idea to illustrate people who deny the existence of the supernatural dimension.




Wilder-Smith had three earned science doctorates. His many books, especially The Natural Sciences Know Nothing of Evolution, probably caused some skeptics to suffer from a bout of hypertension.

Some years ago Creation magazine published an article that used the concept of Flatland to illustrate the difference between a naturalistic understanding of reality and the biblical view in which God intervenes in human affairs by entering our world.

According to the Bible, God is transcendent. He is beyond time and space. Stephen Hawking and other skeptics, who only believe in naturalistic causes, have to infer that physical laws created the entire universe since they are not sure whether there is anyone or anything beyond the cosmos. They are like the inhabitants of Flatland who only see that what is happening in the two dimensions of their tiny world.

Source:

Grigg, Russell. 1999. The gospel in time and space. Creation 21(2):50–53.

The UN appoints a space ambassador to welcome ETs to Earth



The UN wants to welcome ETs to the planet Earth. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen

Visitors hailing from outer space do not have to be at a loss as to whom they should approach first. The UN will give them a friendly welcome.

The UN has appointed Mazlan Othman, a Malaysian astrophysicist, to welcome extraterrestrial visitors to Earth. The organisation is not actually known for making quick decisions but the recent discovery of Gliese 581g, which is assumed to be an earth-like planet, might have nudged it to prepare for what some science fiction fans and other individuals believe is inevitable – the appearance of ETs on Earth.

The belief in extraterrestrial life has a Darwinian connection. Evolutionists believe that life must have evolved on myriads of planets all over the universe.

Source:

Ethirajh, Gopal. 2010. UN appoints Malaysian astrophysicist as ‘space ambassador” for ET contact. Asian Tribune (28 September).

Monday, 4 October 2010

When a fish walks…


A handfish walks (sort of), although it does not have legs. Image courtesy of Barry Bruce, CSIRO, Creative Commons (CC BY 3.0).



Joel Kontinen

If this tiny fish had become extinct and Darwinists found its fossil, they might shout for joy.

However, this fish still lives at the bottom of the ocean and it is not a transitional form but a true handfish.

Creation magazine has published at least two articles on this Australian fish that belongs to the family Brachionichthyidae. Earlier this year, National Geographic also published a few photos of this intriguing marine creature that has not yet decided to walk ashore



.

Charles Lyell, the pioneer of Uniformitarism: the purpose of my book is to ”free science from Moses”



Sir Charles Lyell (1797 – 1875), who popularised Uniformitarism and was a friend of Charles Darwin, wanted to free geology from Moses. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen

When Charles Darwin sailed around the world on the Beagle, he had Charles Lyell’s book Principles of Geology with him.

In 1830 Lyell sent a letter to his friend Poulett Scrope who reviewed his book, stating that his aim was ”to free the science from Moses”. By science he meant geology. In other words, he wanted to replace Moses, Genesis, creation and the flood with millions of years over a century before the first dating method had even been invented.

Terry Mortenson, who has a PhD in the history of geology, says that almost all pioneers of the old earth view were either atheists or deists (who believed in a God who created the universe but otherwise remained aloof from the world).

According to Dr. Mortenson, these pioneers were not objective seekers of the truth but they wanted to bring their own ideology into science.

Sources:

Lyell, Katharine. 1881. Life, Letters and Journals of Sir Charles Lyell, Bart. Part 1. London: Murray.

Mortenson, Terry. 2004. The Great Turning Point: The Church’s Catastrophic Mistake on Geology – Before Darwin. Green Forest, AR: Master Books.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

New research: Hobbit was a modern human suffering from iodine deficiency



Did Frodo and Sam suffer from iodine deficiency?



Joel Kontinen


The debate on the status of the Hobbits or Flores Men has been quite lively in the past few years. (You can read more here, here and here.) According to fresh research, the Hobbit was not a distinct human species but a true H. sapiens suffering from iodine deficiency.

Found on the Indonesian island of Flores, the diminutive Hobbits were named after the heroes of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth story.

Recently, Charles Oxnard, an emeritus professor at the University of Western Australia, and colleagues published a paper in PloS ONE, comparing the bones of humans suffering from cretinism, chimpanzees and healthy humans to those of Hobbits or Homo floresiensis. The study suggests that Hobbits were H. sapiens whose small size probably resulted from cretinism caused by iodine deficiency.

In 2008 Professor Oxnard and colleagues examined the Hobbit skull. According to ScienceDaily they found out that it ”showed evidence of endemic dwarf cretinism resulting from congenital hypothyroidism and were [sic] not a new species of human.”

More recently, Oxnard and his colleagues tested their theory by examining the post-cranial skeleton of Hobbits. The study supported their view.

Earlier last month another research team also found evidence for the theory that Hobbits are fully human.

Robert Eckhardt, professor of developmental genetics and evolutionary morphology at Pennsylvania State University, and Maciej Henneberg, professor of anthropological and comparative anatomy at the University of Adelaide, examined the skull of the Hobbit known as LB1 that was found in the Liang Buan cave on Flores and published their findings in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

Professor Eckhardt criticises the approach of some researchers who have classified the Hobbit as a distinct species on the basis of a single asymmetrical skull instead of seeing it as a deformed H. sapiens skull.

Eckhardt adds that although LB1’s braincase was badly asymmetric, this does not make Hobbit into a species distinct from H. sapiens.

According to professor Eckhardt, there still are people on the island of Flores who resemble Hobbits. The jaw and teeth of present-day Floresians hardly differ from those of Hobbits although they have a bigger and more symmetric skull.

Commenting on his research, professor Oxnard says: "Cretinism is caused by various environmental factors including iodine deficiency -- a deficiency which would have been present on Flores at the period to which the dwarfed Flores fossils are dated."

Professor Oxnard points out that cretinism is still quite common in Indonesia, including the island of Bali that is not far from Flores.

Seen from the creation perspective, the research results of these two Hobbit studies were expected. All people are the descendants of Adam. As the apostle Paul said, ”The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth … From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth.” (Acts 17:24, 26).

Sources:

Researchers offer alternate theory for found skull's asymmetry. PhysOrg.com .(6 September 2010).

'Hobbit' Was an Iodine-Deficient Human, Not Another Species, New Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. (28 September. 2010).

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Scientific American: humans are still evolving



Evolutionists do not agree on whether humans are still evolving. Image courtesy of José-Manuel Benito Álvarez, Wikipedia.




Joel Kontinen

At times, there are interesting twists and turns in the discussion on evolution. Two years ago Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College London, announced that human evolution was over.

Recently, however, Scientific American published an article that suggests that professor Jones might have been a bit hasty with his pronouncement. Just ask the Tibetans who have continued their evolution by adapting to living at a high altitude.

Tibetans have not ceased to be H. sapiens. According to the article they have managed to overcome altitude sickness and other problems resulting from a low level of oxygen with the help of evolution.

Scientific American might have forgotten to tell its readers that the changes wrought in the Tibetans do not have anything to do with Darwinian evolution but they reveal that humans were designed to adapt to various climates and circumstances.

This ability speaks of very intelligent design.

Source:

Pritchard, Jonathan K. 2010. How We Are Evolving. Scientific American (22 September) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-we-are-evolving&sc=WR_20100928.

Gliese 581g is an Earth-like exoplanet – or perhaps not



In 2007 Gliese 581c, the sister planet of the new ”Goldilocks planet” caused a disappointment to those who were hoping to find life in outer space. Image courtesy of ESO.




Joel Kontinen

The discovery of a potentially habitable planet has made lively headlines in the popular media. It might be good to remember that the sister planet of 581g caused a considerable amount of excitement in 2007. Later, however, researchers found out that the planet named Gliese 581c was probably as warm as Venus.

Steve Vogt of the University of California Santa Cruz, who was a member of the research group that discovered Gliese 581g, says, ”Our findings offer a very compelling case for a potentially habitable planet." He was quoted as saying that he is 100 per cent sure of ”the chances of life” on the planet.

Gliese 581g orbits a red dwarf twenty light years from Earth. Red dwarfs are known to be unstable and Gliese 581g orbits it closer than Mercury our sun.

It is a world of extremes. One side of the tidally locked planet faces the sun perpetually, while the other is in darkness. The planet has a mass of 3 – 4 Earths and its temperature is expected to range from around + 71 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Fahrenheit) on the sunny side to -34 degrees Celsius ( - 29 degrees Fahrenheit) on the dark side. The habitable zone is assumed to lie in between these two extreme areas.

Jay Richards, who co-authored the book The Privileged Planet with Guillermo Gonzalez, takes a critical approach to this claim:

The planet in question is tidally locked, so the same face perpetually faces its star. So it won't have a pleasing climate. It's about three times more massive than Earth, and it's quite close to its star, which is an M dwarf. Such stars are probably not good hosts for habitable planets due to their high activity levels…

Venus and Mars are much more Earth-like that this or any other extrasolar planet we've yet been able to detect. For instance, they're around a star known to host a habitable planet, and they're both quite close in orbit to that habitable planet. And yet, neither is home to life of any sort
.”

While Gliese 581g might orbit its sun within the Goldilocks or habitable zone, this does not necessarily mean that the planet is habitable. Plate tectonics and a big moon would also be necessary for life. Doctor Don DeYoung has shown that if the Earth did not have a sizeable Moon, there would be no tides, the oceans would be stagnant and marine life would die.

Recently, New Scientist disclosed that the birth of the Moon was one of the ”ten accidents that made us”.

According to Genesis, the Moon is not the result of a lucky accident but of a definite act of creation. In contrast, we do not know whether Gliese 581g has any kind of moon, so the joy of Vogt and colleagues might be a bit premature.

Sources:

Alleyne, Richard. 2010. Gliese 581g: the most Earth like planet yet discovered. Telegraph. co. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/8033124/Gliese-581g-the-most-Earth-like-planet-yet-discovered.html. (29 September)

DeYoung, Don. 2006. Our Created Moon. Answers in Genesis DVD.

Richards, Jay. 2010. Science Reporters Should Quit Crying "Life!" http://www.evolutionnews.org/2010/09/science_reporters_should_quit_038781.html#more (30 September).