Saturday, 29 September 2012

Design in Nature: the Bacterial Flagellar Motor




The bacterial flagellar motor. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.


Joel Kontinen


The bacterial flagellar motor displays the hallmarks of design that is both intelligent and much more advanced than thousands of hours of hi-tech development could have brought about. It not only looks designed but it functions like it has been designed, as this video from Essential Cell Biology shows:









Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Cockroach That Forgot to Evolve for “300 Million” Years



This cockroach is assumed to be “40-50 million years” old. Image courtesy of Anders L. Damgaard, via Wikipedia.





Joel Kontinen

New living fossils are found almost weekly. The latest addition is the cockroach. Russell Garwood and colleagues report on “300- million-year” old insects in PloS ONE, including a cockroach that according to Nature news “resembles a modern cockroach”.

It is no secret that Darwinian evolution should be about change but it often isn’t.

Source:

Catanzaro, Michele. 2012. Ancient insects pictured in 3D. High-resolution fossil scans give detailed portraits of 305-million-year-old juvenile insects. Nature news (26 September).






Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Objections to Noah’s Flood Don’t Hold Water



Joel Kontinen


Hardly a week goes by without someone on the Internet doubting the Genesis account of Noah’s Flood. It seems that most sceptics have not really thought about the issue in depth but are nonetheless eager to doubt that what they do not like.

A recent example of this trend is an article entitled The Story Of Noah's Ark Just Doesn't Float on EzineArticles.com. The writer assumes that conditions before the Flood were more or less identical to what they are today, with Mount Everest reaching its present height. She even thinks that there were polar bears in the pre-Flood world.

As conditions before the Flood were different, there is no need to assume that there even were polar bears, which belong to the same biblical kind as grizzly bears. Once we realise that the Genesis kind is a wider concept than “species”, the need to take millions of animals on board vanishes.

Some of the assumed difficulties border on the bizarre, such as the suggestion that animals disembarking from Mt. Ararat (the Bible actually speaks about the mountains of Ararat) would “have frozen to death at that elevation in a matter of hours” even though conditions there would initially have resembled those at sea level, so freezing would have been impossible.

After the flood, the animals could easily have migrated to the farthest reaches of the globe either on floating rafts or using land bridges.

The ancients were not simpletons. Contrary to what the sceptics say, Noah’s Ark was a very seaworthy vessel, as Korean naval engineers have attested. There is no reason for us to doubt that Noah was capable of seeing to it that the animals on board had enough to eat and drink and that he and his family could dispose of animal waste.

Interestingly, we can find evidence for Noah’s Flood all over the world.





Sunday, 23 September 2012

AoG Journal Does Not Take a Stand on the Age of the Earth




The latest issue of Enrichment Journal focuses on science and the Bible. It fails to take a stand on the age of this planet. Image courtesy of NASA.



Joel Kontinen

The latest issue of Enrichment Journal surveys the views Christians have of science. It includes a debate on the age of the earth, with Kurt P. Wise presenting the traditional six day creation (with twenty-four hour days), Hugh Ross the day-age view (a day as a long period of time) and Davis A. Young taking the literary framework approach.

Old-Earth views have huge theological problems, for instance they make it impossible to regard death as the wages of sin.

Dr. Wise concludes, “The old-earth position is not derived from Scripture. It is derived from science and used to distort the interpretation of the Bible. A proper exegesis of Scripture leads to a young-earth position.”

The problem with Enrichment Journal is that is regards all three views as being equally valid.

Source:


Faith and Science: Interpreting God’s Word and God’s World. Enrichment Journal



Friday, 21 September 2012

“Jesus Had a Wife”, 4th Century Document Claims



El Greco (1580): Christ carrying His cross. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.


Joel Kontinen

From time to time, historians find old documents that bring up some unexpected aspects about Jesus. Recently, Karen L. King, a historian at Harvard University, introduced a paper on a fourth-century document fragment with these words:

Published here for the first time is a fragment of a fourth-century CE codex in Coptic containing a dialogue between Jesus and his disciples in which Jesus speaks of 'my wife.' This is the only extant ancient text which explicitly portrays Jesus as referring to a wife. It does not, however, provide evidence that the historical Jesus was married, given the late date of the fragment and the probable date of original composition only in the second half of the second century.”

The fragment is small, 4 cm (1.6 inches) x 8 cm (3.2 inches). At least some experts say that it is authentic, i.e. it is not a modern forgery.

While the New Testament Gospels are eyewitness accounts written a few decades after the events that they describe, this fragment is at least a hundred years younger, and probably even more. It could be 300 years younger than the earliest written Gospel.

Most Jewish men were married, but given Jesus’ exceptional life and ministry, He almost certainly was not. He came to die, to atone for the sins of mankind. A wife and children would have been a distraction for Him and a potential source of theological difficulties. There is nothing in the Gospels that suggests that Jesus was married.

There have been all kinds of more or less bizarre “discoveries” about the life (and death) of Jesus in recent years, but all claimed documents or artefacts hail from a much later period than the authentic Gospels.

We should also remember that later accounts of Jesus’ life were not inspired. There is no evidence that Jesus ever called anyone His wife. The Coptic document is too young and was written in a language and culture that differed from the original setting of the Gospels.

Source

King, Karen L. 2012. “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife…’” A New Coptic Gospel Papyrus.





Wednesday, 19 September 2012

New Research Kills Evolutionary Genetics?



Interesting conclusions in Nature.



Joel Kontinen

Junk DNA was not the only casualty of the recently published ENCODE project. A paper in Nature authored by Djebali and colleagues recommended that the concept “gene” should be re-defined. They concluded:

This supports and is consistent with earlier observations of a highly interleaved transcribed genome, but more importantly, prompts the reconsideration of the definition of a gene. As this is a consistent characteristic of annotated genomes, we would propose that the transcript be considered as the basic atomic unit of inheritance. Concomitantly, the term gene would then denote a higher-order concept intended to capture all those transcripts (eventually divorced from their genomic locations) that contribute to a given phenotypic trait.”

This is rather interesting, as there is a field of studies called evolutionary genetics, which relies heavily on Darwinian evolution. What should we now call it? Junk science, perhaps?


Source:

Djebali, Sarah et al. 2012. Landscape of transcription in human cells. Nature 489 (7414): 101-108.




Monday, 17 September 2012

Darwinists Still Struggling to Accept the Demise of Junk DNA




Dr. Jonathan Wells predicted the downfall of “junk DNA” in his book published last year.


Joel Kontinen


The response of some Darwinians to the recent demise of ”junk DNA” is interesting. Larry Moran, for instance, does not want to let the facts spoil a theory that he believes is good. Commenting on an article in the Washington Post, he writes:

This is wrong. Most of our genome is still junk in spite of what the ENCODE Consortium says… Here's the important question. Who is going to take responsibility for this PR fiasco?”

It’s a rather peculiar statement from a scientist.

However, we should probably not be surprised, as many well-known evolutionists, such as Richard Dawkins (1976), Francis Crick and Leslie Orgel (1980), Michael Shermer (2006), Jerry Coyne (2009) and PZ Myers (2011) have also promoted the concept of junk DNA as evolutionary leftovers.

Crick and Orgel regarded “junk DNA” as “the ultimate parasite”. Dawkins described it as “a parasite, or at best a harmless but useless passenger, hitching a ride in the survival machines created by the other DNA.” Coyne called it vestigial.

While a few orthodox Darwinians might have disagreed with the strict parasite view, the early breakthroughs were made by scientists who to at least to some extent were dissenters. For instance, in 2005 James Shapiro and Richard von Sternberg published a paper entitled Why repetitive DNA is essential to genome function.

Interestingly, some Darwinists are still trying to re-write their past views on junk DNA. But Google has made their task somewhat harder.


Sources:

Moran, Laurence A. 2012. Washington Post: "‘Junk DNA’ concept debunked by new analysis of human genome". Sandwalk (September 9).

Shapiro, James A. 2012. Bob Dylan, ENCODE and Evolutionary Theory: The Times They Are A-Changin' Huffington Post (12 September).


Saturday, 15 September 2012

Bombardier Beetle Outwits Enemies With Its Chemical Cannon




Bombardier Beetle, Brachininae sp. Image courtesy of Patrick Coin, Wikipedia.





Joel Kontinen

Evolutionists have attempted to explain away the origin of the Bombardier Beetle’s defence mechanism with a just-so story that can never be verified. When threatened by a predator, the beetle squirts hot (100 °C or 212 °F) fluid at the attacker. It makes the fluid from hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinones.

Irreducible complexity is a much better and more logical explanation of this chemical cannon than a step-wise Darwinian process.

ICR posted a brief video of the Bombardier Beetle. You can watch it here.


Thursday, 13 September 2012

Why Are Atheists Afraid of a Cross?



Atheists do not like this cross-shaped object. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen

A group of American atheists are attempting to stop the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York from displaying a cross-shaped beam.

They see it as a religious symbol and as they are intolerant of all other ideologies except their own godless one, they are resorting to a lawsuit to get the offending beam from disturbing their peace of mind.

The beam was found by Frank Silecchia, who took part in clearing the rubble after 9/11, and it has been a symbol of hope.

However, atheists do not see the cross as a sign of hope. For them, it is foolishness – just like the apostle Paul wrote:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.”

It’s an entirely different story for us:

But to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18, NIV).

Source:

Merica, Dan. 2012. Atheists continue battle against World Trade Center cross at memorial. CNN. (September 10th).


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

No Execution: Iran Frees Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani



Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was released from prison. Image courtesy of Present Truth Ministries.


Joel Kontinen

Last Saturday, an Iranian court heard the case of pastor Youcef Nadarkhani for six hours and decided to drop the charge of apostasy.

However, the court sentenced Nadarkhani to three years in prison for attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity. But as he already had spent 1,062 days behind bars, the court saw that he had completed his sentence and could return to his family.

There are still countless Christians who are persecuted and imprisoned for their faith in Muslim countries.


Source:

Victory: Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Freed!
ACLJ.org
. 8 September 2012.






Saturday, 8 September 2012

No Evolution for "230 Million Years" for Fly and Mite Trapped in Amber



Modern gall mites look like this. Image courtesy of Roger Griffith, via Wikipedia.





Joel Kontinen

Darwinian evolution should be about change. However, fossils assumed to be hundreds of millions of years old often display little or no change.

A paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides the latest example of no evolution. A fly and two mites trapped in amber in northeastern Italy are the oldest arthropods ever discovered – and they look almost exactly like modern arthropods.

As reported by Science Daily, corresponding author David Grimaldi, a curator at the American Museum of Natural History, says:

The ancient gall mites are surprisingly similar to ones seen today … You would think that by going back to the Triassic you'd find a transitional form of gall mite, but no… Even 230 million years ago, all of the distinguishing features of this family were there—a long, segmented body; only two pairs of legs instead of the usual four found in mites; unique feather claws, and mouthparts.”

While a lack of major changes is always a source of bewilderment for evolutionists, it is exactly what we would expect, if we trust the Genesis account of creation.

Source:


Oldest Occurrence of Arthropods Preserved in Amber: Fly, Mite Specimens Are 100 Million Years Older Than Previous Amber Inclusions. ScienceDaily (Aug. 27, 2012).


Friday, 7 September 2012

Death Knell for Junk DNA




Dr. Jonathan Wells predicted the downfall of “junk DNA” in his book published last year.



Joel Kontinen


Darwinian evolution predicted the existence of “junk DNA” or evolutionary leftovers in our genome. In 1972 geneticist Susumu Ohno claimed, "At least 90 [per cent] of our genomic DNA is 'junk' or 'garbage' of various sorts."

Ardent Darwinists such as Richard Dawkins and Larry Moran have eagerly promoted the junk-DNA hypothesis.

However, many discoveries suggested that it was time to re-assess this view. (Read more here, here and here.)

This week Nature, Science and some other journals published 30 papers on the results of the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project. The researchers found that 80 per cent of the genome has a biochemical function. Many already suspect that even the remaining 20 per cent has a function that we as yet do not know.

Writing in the journal Science, Elizabeth Pennisi says that the research sounds “the death knellfor the junk DNA view.

In contrast to Darwinism, both intelligent design and creation predicted that our genome is designed very well.


Sources:

Geddes, Linda. 2012. The ever deepening mystery of the human genome. New Scientist 2881: 40-43.

Pennisi, Elizabeth. 2012. ENCODE Project Writes Eulogy for Junk DNA. . Science 337 (6099): 1159-1161.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The ”Messiah” (Sun Myung Moon) Is Dead




Sun Myung Moon and his spouse Hak Ja Han. Image courtesy of New World Encyclopedia, via Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Joel Kontinen

Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church or “The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity” died earlier this week at the age of 92.

Rev. Moon did much good. He spoke against communism and western liberalism. He promoted world peace and the traditional concept of marriage (although he divorced his first wife).

However, he also claimed that he was the messiah, mankind’s saviour. His followers revered his writings as holy writ.

Initially, he believed that Jesus Christ had chosen him for a special ministry, but with the passing of years he began to have an increasingly lofty and unique view of himself.

Jesus warned us of false Christs (such as Sun Myung Moon) who lead people astray.


Sources:

Babington, Charles and Alan Cooperman. 2004. The Rev. Moon Honored at Hill Reception.The Washington Post.(23 June).

Wetzstein, Cheryl. 2012. Rev. Moon, Times founder, dies at 92. The Washington Times. (2 September).




Monday, 3 September 2012

Bill Nye, No Need to Censure Weaknesses in Evolution



CMI produced a short video debunking Bill Nye’s recent anti-creation views.



Joel Kontinen

Recently, Bill Nye, “the Science Guy”, appeared on a video, lamenting the fact that parents are reluctant to teach their children about Darwinian evolution.

In a highly emotional presentation, Mr. Nye saw evolution as the only game in town. However, as former communications satellite expert Richard Fangrad of Creation Ministries International-Canada shows, Nye’s approach has more to do with philosophical naturalism than with science.

Previously, doctors Georgia Purdom and David Menton of Answers in Genesis also responded to Nye.







Saturday, 1 September 2012

God And the Loch Ness Monster



New Scientist has a brief feedback item on God and the Loch Ness monster.


Joel Kontinen


WHAT can it be like inside the heads of creationists? They want to believe that their deity made all the species at once and kept them that way, yet Earth is teeming with fossils of extinct species. So what gives?” New Scientist asks.

The popular science magazine also attempts an answer:

If the deity's a trickster, the answer is easy: she, he or it put the fossils there to cause interminable arguments.”

The main problem with this approach is poor scholarship. The Genesis kinds cannot be equated with our species. The dog kind, for instance, includes wolves, jackals, foxes and dingoes in addition to dogs.

The cat kind also includes ligers.

A further problem with New Scientist story is that the Bible does not say that God “kept [animals] that way” [i.e. prevented them from changing].

However, both true observable science and the Bible agree that one kind of animal, say a cat, does not turn into another kind, such as a dog.

Source:

Feedback: God saves the Loch Ness monster. New Scientist. 31 August 2012.