Sunday, 29 April 2012
The One who designed pigeons has to be very clever. Image courtesy of Alan D. Wilson, www.naturespicsonline.com / Wikipedia.
Pigeons might have an in-built GPS system, new research suggests. David Dickman and Le-Qing Wu examined how pigeons (Columba livia) navigate. They published their findings in the journal Science.
Dickman and Wu believe that the pigeon’s inner ear receives signals from Earth’s magnetic field. The bird’s cells interpret where the signal comes from and how strong it is.
The navigation skills of birds are strong evidence of creation.
It is not logical to assume that such intricate systems would have come about without intelligent design.
Cressey, Daniel. 2012. Pigeons may ‘hear’ magnetic fields. Nature News (26 April).
The universe should be teeming with dark matter but there is still no evidence for it. Image courtesy of NASA / WMAP Science Team.
According to Big Bang cosmology, approximately 83 per cent of the universe’s mass should be dark matter. (The estimates vary greatly. Recently, Nature news put the figure at over 80 per cent.)
The problem is that there is no evidence for dark matter. The concept is used to explain away some of the problems in the Big Bang view.
Some astronomers think that dark matter does not even exist.
Recently, Christian Moni Bidin at the University of Concepcion in Chile and colleagues surveyed 400 stars in the area near the Sun. They did not find any evidence for dark matter.
It thus seems that the existence of dark matter stems not from evidence but from assumptions. And without dark matter the Big Bang has big problems.
Cowen, Ron. 2012. Survey finds no hint of dark matter near Solar System. Nature news (19 April).
Saturday, 28 April 2012
Famous ornithologist does not see feathers in dinosaurs.
Feathered dinosaurs have become a Darwinian dogma that few have dared to question.
Alan Fedducia, an emeritus professor at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, takes a very critical approach to this view that he describes as a dogma and current orthodoxy. He does not believe that modern birds evolved from dinosaurs.
Writing in this week’s New Scientist, Fedducia says that the fossil evidence does not support this dogma. He says that many researchers have interpreted fossils found in China as ”feathered dinosaurs” despite the evidence that does not support their view.
Some of the fossils, for instance Sinosauropteryx, have according to Fedducia been dinosaurs that have lacked feathers. Some have been early birds with true feathers.
“If it has feathers and avian flight wings, it's a bird!” he says.
Professor Fedducia suggests that researchers might repeat the mistake of the 19th century ornithologists, who assumed that modern birds evolved from big flightless birds like the ostrich.
However, rather than evolving, flightless birds have devolved or lost the ability to fly.
In other words, the current dogma causes Darwinists to see what they expect to see (feathers), just like some who believe they have seen a UFO although they saw something else.
Fedducia, Alan. 2012. Is it a bird? Is it a dinosaur? New Scientist 2862, 28-29.
Friday, 27 April 2012
Once upon a time, a reptile with scales was supposed to turn into a bird with feathers. This is what we are told in textbooks and popular articles on evolution.
Many evolutionists (but not all) still believe that dinosaurs evolved into birds. However, there is little if any evidence for this.
Whereas scales are folds in the skin, feathers grow like hairs from a follicle. But feathers are much more wonderful in many ways. Feathers form an intricate system of barbs, barbules and tiny hooks called barbicels.
In an intriguing talk, Dr. David Menton explains how feathers differ from scales. You can access the video here.
(It’s part 3 of the video Does Biology Make Sense Without Darwin?)
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
A chimpanzee can learn to sit in a chair, but it hardly has a soul. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
The just released documentary Chimpanzee prompted Jane Goodall, the world’s probably best-known chimpanzee researcher, to take a look at the soul of this great ape.
In an interview in Christianity Today, Goodall said that she believes that a chimpanzee might have a soul. She believes in a higher power that is much bigger than humans. She thinks that chimps might also believe in something transcendent.
Goodall’s view is not a recent invention. The Greek storyteller Aesop (ca. 620-564 BC) already saw human traits in animals. Those of us who have read about the exploits of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck will know that this tendency has not become extinct. Moreover, the film Chimpanzee is produced by Disneynature, so Goodall’s view does not come as a surprise.
We might still see human traits in animals, especially in dogs and cats. In addition to Walt Disney, a Victorian gentleman named Charles Darwin has had an impact on current views of animal cognition.
According to Darwinian thinking, humans and chimpanzees are close relatives. Many natural history museums and school textbooks still spread the outdated assumption that the genetic difference between humans and chimpanzees is only two per cent or so. However, research published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution suggests that the real difference could be as big as 23 per cent.
An enormous mental gap separates humans from animals. Only humans have the ability to speak and create new things. Nothing suggests that a chimp might have a soul that survives death.
According to the Bible, humans are unique because only they were created in the image of God. Only humans fell into sin. Because of their fall, the Creator of the universe had to become a man and live for a while among the people He had created. He suffered the penalty that we ought to have suffered.
A chimpanzee cannot partake of the atonement that Jesus prepared for us. Only humans like you and me can - provided we believe in Him.
Greydanus, Steven D. 2012. Interview: Why Jane Goodall Thinks Chimps May Have Souls. Christianity Today (20 April).
Tuesday, 24 April 2012
The latest That’s a Fact video by ICR is an excellent illustration of what King David meant in Psalm 19:1 when he wrote: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (NIV)
Sunday, 22 April 2012
Many people are celebrating Earth Day today (22 April). Image courtesy of NASA.
The past few decades have seen an influx of new holy days that are beginning to compete with our more traditional feasts. In February, many evolutionists celebrated Darwin Day. Today, New Agers and other environmentalists are observing Earth Day, and on 25th December some American free thinkers celebrate the birthday of Sir Isaac Newton.
Newton was a creationist who believed in the historicity of the book of Genesis, but free thinkers have been surprisingly quiet about this detail.
Like Darwin Day, Earth Day speaks of the human tendency to worship the creation instead of the Creator. Although God commanded Adam and Eve to take care of the Garden, He certainly did not allow them to worship it.
However, in New Age ideology that draws inspiration from Darwinian evolution people have made the Earth (written with a capital E) an object of worship.
Read more about Earth Day here.
Saturday, 21 April 2012
The spider’s web has superior mechanical properties. Image courtesy of Pdphoto.org.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid seeing design in nature, and optimal design to boot. A recent letter in the journal Nature on the hidden strength of spider silk is a good example of this.
The letter had the expressions “exquisite designs that optimize function” and “superior mechanical properties” in the same paragraph:
“Natural materials are renowned for exquisite designs that optimize function, as illustrated by the elasticity of blood vessels, the toughness of bone and the protection offered by nacre. Particularly intriguing are spider silks, with studies having explored properties ranging from their protein sequence to the geometry of a web. This material system, highly adapted to meet a spider’s many needs, has superior mechanical properties.” [internal references omitted]
The letter suggests that a spider’s web is so efficient and well-designed that the principles spiders use should be utilised in engineering.
Cranford, Steven W., Anna Tarakanova, Nicola M. Pugno and Markus J. Buehler. Nonlinear material behaviour of spider silk yields robust webs. Nature 482 (7383), 72–76.
Friday, 20 April 2012
This genetic software speaks of intelligence. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Recently, American atheists had their very religious “Reason Rally” in Washington D.C.
What was missing from their agenda was a focus on evidence and intelligence. Instead, it was all about a philosophical quasi-religious view (secular humanism) and human reasoning based on an approach that was popular in the 19th century.
It is badly outdated, however.
According to a post on Evolution News and Views:
“The past 60 years of biology research have uncovered that life is fundamentally based upon:
· A vast amount of complex and specified information encoded in a biochemical language;
· A computer-like system of commands and codes that processes the information.
· Molecular machines and multi-machine systems.
But where in our experience do things like language, complex and specified information, programming code, or machines come from? They have one and only one known source: intelligence.”
The problem with Darwinian evolution – the philosophy behind the Reason Rally - is that it is not compatible with what we know from modern discoveries in biology.
Revisiting the Positive Case for Intelligent Design. Evolution News and Views. 20 April 2012.
Thursday, 19 April 2012
Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
During the past few weeks we have witnessed a barrage of not-so-civil comments on what has happened in the state of Tennessee. Bloggers at Huffington Post and elsewhere claim that the doors have now been opened for the teaching of creationism.
However, the Academic Freedom Law that was recently passed merely states:
“Neither the state board of education, nor any public elementary or secondary school governing authority, director of schools, school system administrators, or any public elementary or secondary school principal or administrators shall prohibit any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught within the curriculum framework developed by the state board of education.”
The Law does not allow the teaching of creationism or even intelligent design, but it allows teachers to present evidence both for and against Darwinian evolution.
“This section only protects the teaching of scientific information, and shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or non-beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.”
Similar laws have been passed in nine other states, for instance in Texas, and they have not taken a single state back into the Stone Age.
What they have done is they have (at least in theory) protected teachers from being discriminated against and allowed them to teach their students to think critically.
If there was no controversy about the mechanics of Darwinian evolution, evolutionists would have nothing to worry about. However, their angry comments suggest that the evidence is not all that convincing.
Zimmerman, Michael. 2012. Tennessee Joins the Anti-Evolution Parade and Ignores the Experts The Huffington Post (23 March).
Monday, 16 April 2012
With the anti-abortion film October Baby in movie theatres in the U.S., Planned Parenthood launches a campaign to increase abortions.
The U.S. pro-abortion organisation Planned Parenthood seems to have got religion. However, it is certainly not the Christian religion but something that smacks of ancient Baalism that the Old Testament prophet Elijah fought against.
The Six Rivers Planned Parenthood of Eureka, California, launched a campaign called “40 Days of Prayer: Supporting Women Everywhere”.
While they are planning to pray for practically everyone else, they do not have a single prayer for the unborn.
Planned Parenthood is getting support for the campaign from “the Clergy for Choice”. Using Orwellian newspeak, they characterise themselves as “religious leaders who value all human life.”
However, their “all” does not mean “all”. The unborn remain outlaws.
LeClaire, Jennifer. 2012. Planned Parenthood Launches Pro-Abortion Prayer Campaign. Charisma News (11 April).
Saturday, 14 April 2012
The Titanic. Image courtesy of F.G.O. Stuart.
The early 1900s were characterised by great optimism. There was no shortage of new inventions and old ones were developed, to make them even better. People thought that society would keep on improving.
However, the times were not as golden as one might suppose. Social Darwinism, imperialism, racism and eugenics threw a dark shadow on life.
Titanic was characteristic of the spirit of the age. The press described the ship as unsinkable as its interior had been divided into sixteen compartments separated by watertight doors. The ship was expected to stay afloat for a long time even if one or two compartments would be damaged.
However, on its maiden voyage the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank on April 15th, 1912.
The tragedy of the Titanic tells us about the limitations of man.
It also shows us that we are no longer living in a perfect world but have to suffer from the consequences of the Fall.
Thursday, 12 April 2012
Image courtesy of Ron Offermans, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.
Recently, Nature news published an article on assumed stickleback evolution. Research conducted by David Kingsley, an evolutionary biologist at Stanford University in California, and colleagues, prompted the journal to conclude that freshwater sticklebacks “have evolved from marine ancestors on many different occasions”.
Kingsley and colleagues reported their results in Nature. According to Nature news,
“The similarities between freshwater populations worldwide suggest that the fish do not evolve new features from scratch each time, says Kingsley. Rather, a few ocean-dwelling fish may retain ancient genetic adaptations to freshwater living that allow them to colonize new sites. The first few generations display mixed or intermediate features, but eventually the genes that allow the fish to adapt to fresh water dominate.”
Whereas marine sticklebacks have armoured plates and defensive spines, their freshwater cousins do not.
A phenomenon akin to what has happened to the beaks of Darwin's finches seems to have happened here also. While finches have various kinds of beaks, all finches remain finches.
And all sticklebacks remain sticklebacks.
“On a genome-wide scale, we’ve found a whole set of regions being used over and over to adjust to new environments,“ says Kingsley. “We’re able to study the molecular basis of vertebrate evolution.”
However, like finches, sticklebacks have the ability to adapt to their environment. This is not evolution in the Darwinian sense of the word.
Shen, Helen. 2012. Stickleback genomes reveal path of evolution. Nature news (4 April).
Wednesday, 11 April 2012
In this brief video clip, Ken Ham, CEO of Answers in Genesis-US, explains why evolution with its millions of years of death and suffering before the Fall is not compatible with the Bible:
In this brief video clip, Ken Ham, CEO of Answers in Genesis-US, explains why evolution with its millions of years of death and suffering before the Fall is not compatible with the Bible:
Monday, 9 April 2012
Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor). Image courtesy of Wikipedia (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported).
The apostle Paul said it first: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (Romans 1:20, NIV).
He was writing about design in nature.
Recently, the pro-evolution magazine Discover published a photo gallery of animals that use nanotechnology:
“Butterflies aren't the only animals who harness nanotech for cosmetic purposes; so do birds, whose dazzling array of colors comes from a combination of pigment-producing cells and nanoscale design.”
Yes, the text below the photo of a tiny penguin included the very word some evolutionists have banned from science publications - design. The magazine went on to say:
“In Australia and New Zealand, the little penguin Eudyptula minor sports a tuxedo of dark blue feathers instead of the more traditional (and formal) black. Last year, scientists at the University of Akron in Ohio used X-ray imaging and other techniques to discover that the penguins produce the blue color in an entirely new way: with bundles of parallel nanofibers, like handfuls of uncooked spaghetti, that scatter light so as to produce the rich blue. The 180-nanometer-wide fibers are made of beta-keratin, a protein similar to the one in human hair. Similar fibers had previously been found in some birds' blue skin, where they are made of collagen rather than keratin, but never before in blue feathers.”
Nanotechnology speaks clearly of design.
We can see evidence of design everywhere – even in penguin feathers - if we are willing to have seeing eyes.
Grunbaum, Mara. 2012. 7 Animals That Harnessed Nanotechnology Long Before Humans. Discover (3 April).
Gliese 581c was once assumed to be a Goldilocks planet. Image courtesy of ESO.
Planets orbiting a red dwarf in the sun's habitable zone might not be habitable after all, new research suggests.
Last week, New Scientist reported on a study conducted by Rory Barnes at the University of Washington in Seattle and his colleagues.
Red dwarfs, the most common type of stars in our galaxy, are known to be unstable. As they are fainter and cooler than our sun, their habitable zones are much closer to the star.
According to New Scientist,
“Any planets orbiting in those zones feel very strong gravitational tugs from the star. Unless such a planet travels on a perfectly circular orbit, the strength of the star's pull varies at different points along its path. This squeezes and stretches the planet, heating it up.”
In other words, these planets could end up being hot like Venus.
The research suggests that some – or perhaps only one – planet system(s) seem to be designed for life.
Tides turn some habitable planets hellish. New Scientist 2859 (6 April 2012).
Saturday, 7 April 2012
Recently, the BioLogos Foundation called Christian evolutionists together.
What has evolution to do with Easter? The apostle Paul said that Christ was the last Adam. The last Adam died to atone for the sins of mankind. Paul pointed out that it was the first historical Adam, who brought sin into the world.
Unfortunately, many theistic evolutionists do not see Adam as a historical person.
Recently, the BioLogos Foundation invited theistic evolutionists to the Theology of Celebration Conference in New York.
Several well-known theologians and Christian leaders, for instance N. T. Wright, Alister McGrath, John Ortberg, Tim Keller, Scot McKnight and Os Guinness, attended the conference.
The participants got to know that they are a minority among American Protestants. The majority of evangelical Christians believe that God created the world in six days without using evolution.
Theistic evolution is full of problems, as it has to re-interpret Genesis. Probably no atheist will find it convincing.
Seen from a scientific perspective, there are no compelling reasons for believing in evolution. Darwinian evolution is on its way out, as intelligent design is becoming increasingly obvious in nature, especially at the cell and nano level.
Seen from a theological perspective, theistic evolution is an exceedingly problematic approach. Without a literal Fall there would be no need for a literal atonement that we celebrate this Easter.
Stafford, Tim. 2012. Evangelical Evolutionists Meet in New York. Christianity Today 30 March.
Jesus’ tomb is still empty. Image courtesy of Dennis 1980, Wikipedia.
Every Christmas and Easter the popular media feature a story that purports to be a new archaeological or historical discovery related to the life of Jesus.
This Easter was no exception. According to Christianity Today:
“On February 28, archaeologist James Tabor and documentary filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici held a news conference in New York to announce the discovery of a first century tomb in the East Talpiot neighborhood of Jerusalem—and the publication of a book suggesting a connection between the tomb and the family of Jesus.”
The CT article points out that Bible scholars and archaeologists have blasted the discovery, characterising it as fantasy.
Five years ago, Jacobovici was involved in the Lost Tomb of Jesus controversy. He, James Cameron of Titanic fame and some others claimed to have found the ossuary or burial box of Jesus and His family.
However, as Jesus rose from the dead, there was no need for an ossuary.
Govier, Gordon. 2012. Scholars Aim to Bust Archaeological Fantasies. Christianity Today (4 April).
Thursday, 5 April 2012
Evolutionists almost always assume that Lucy had big feet although her foot bones have not been found.
Some old fossils make headlines in the popular media and some don’t. Recently, the journal Nature reported on the discovery of toe bones found in Ethiopia. What is interesting is that they were found in the same layer as Lucy or Australopithecus afarensis – and in the same region – Afar that gave Lucy her last name afarensis.
They have been dated at approximately as old as A. afarensis or 3.4 million years.
However, they have not attracted much attention – probably because they are so clearly the curved toe bones of an ape living in a tree.
Some researchers, for instance Yohannes Haile-Selassie, who led the team that wrote the paper, think that the new find resembles Ardi (Ardipithecus ramidus). They have not yet given it a name, as they are not sure what species it belongs to.
Our purported family tree has to be redrawn – for the umpteenth time. Certainly no evidence for evolution.
Switek, Brian. 2012. Ancient human ancestor had feet like an ape. Nature news (28 March).
Tuesday, 3 April 2012
While we may look different, we’re all genetically related to each other. Some of us might have darker skin (because of more melanin), but others have a lighter skin tone.
As descendants of Adam and Eve, we are all members of the same race – the human race, as this new video from the Institute of Creation Research shows. You can watch it here.
Sunday, 1 April 2012
These rocks are not as old as was assumed, new research suggests.
Radiometric dating methods have problems that cannot be characterised as minor. Last week Science published two reports that have a bearing on the age of rock layers.
The problems have to do with the half-lives or the time in which certain atoms decay or turn into other atoms.
According to the first study, the half-life of Samarium-146 is approximately 30 per cent shorter than previously assumed. The previous figure of 103 ± 5 million years has to be discarded. The new figure is about 68.7 million years.
The second paper indicates that the ratio of Uranium-238 to Uranium-235 was not the same in all rocks (137.88:1) but that it varies from 137.743:1 to 138.490:1.
Commenting on the importance of the study for Nature news, Daniel Condon of the British Geological Survey, whose team conducted the research, says that many rocks are roughly 800,000 years younger than previously assumed.
This means that in practice, everything else, including meteorites and moonstones, are younger than assumed. Thus even fossils found in rock layers should be somewhat younger than what textbooks state.
For two centuries, the idea of millions of years has been respected as a dogma that cannot be criticised.
Science publications have occasionally reported on discrepancies in dating methods. Read more here and here.
Cressey, Daniel. 2012. Ratio rethink will adjust rock clocks Nature news (29 March).
Kinoshita, N. & al. 2012. A Shorter 146Sm Half-Life Measured and Implications for 146Sm-142Nd Chronology in the Solar System. Science 335:(6076), 1614-1617. (30 March).