Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Should birds thank dinosaurs? Some obviously think that they should.
Old Darwinian views do not die easily. Recently, a British palaeontologist brought up the old belief that birds are the descendants of dinosaurs. This view is problematic in many ways. Lack of evidence is not the only criterion that speaks against it.
Anyhow, here is Mike Walley’s version of what birds can thank dinosaurs for:
“The bipedal birds with their crouching gait have the dinosaurs to thank for their posture. The birds, descendants from a group of Theropod dinosaurs, have a very different solution to standing on just two legs than our species H. sapiens.”
Science needs more than just slogans. The fossil record that Darwinists rely on actually suggests that birds co-existed with dinosaurs. Researchers assume that some of the “earliest” birds actually lived earlier than the dinosaurs they were supposed to have evolved from, so the entire dino-to-bird scenario is suspect.
Turning scales into feathers is also a problem that blind Darwinian mechanisms might not have solved. This kind of change would actually need a miracle and evolution does not have a miracle-maker.
If we examined the evidence critically, we would notice that the dino-to-bird hypothesis is not credible at all.
Walley, Mike. 2013. Birds Have the Dinosauria to Thank for Their "Crouching Gait". Ezine articles.
Sunday, 28 April 2013
Richard Dawkins presents an overly simplified view of genetics, Nature columnist suggests. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the structure of DNA in 1953. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of this groundbreaking find, the journal Nature presents an overview of our current understanding of human genetics.
Human biology has turned out to be much more complicated than what the popularisers of evolution have been willing to admit. Many Darwinians are reluctant to acknowledge their lack of knowledge and they keep on presenting an incorrect and grossly simplified view of genetics.
Recently, scientists have discussed and even hotly debated the role of Darwinian mechanisms, but Nature columnist Philip Ball laments that the public does not get to hear about this:
“Barely a whisper of this vibrant debate reaches the public.”
Ball mentions Richard Dawkins, who last year described the gene as
“a replicator with ‘its own unique status as a unit of Darwinian selection’. It conjures up the decades-old picture of a little, autonomous stretch of DNA intent on getting itself copied, with no hint that selection operates at all levels of the biological hierarchy.”
However, the concept of the selfish gene is a myth.
Ball suspects that the popularisers of evolution are afraid that breaking the simplistic model of genetics would increase criticism of evolution.
Nevertheless, Ball says that scientists should be willing to acknowledge that they know less than laypeople assume. Genetics is complicated. Scientists should be wiling to admit their shortcomings instead of presenting outdated views.
Ball, Philip. 2013. DNA: Celebrate the unknowns. Nature 496, 419–420. (25 April).
Friday, 26 April 2013
Portrait of Charles II of Spain by Juan Carreno de Miranda. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
In past centuries, members of the European royal families often wed close relatives. “Inbred marriages, such as those between first cousins or between uncles and nieces, were the rule rather than exception,” writes Ewen Callaway in a recent Nature news article.
They often suffered from harmful mutations, or, as Callaway puts it, “inbreeding was probably to blame for the high rates of disease and early deaths in the family.”
European royalty illustrate why marriages between close relatives were forbidden in the Mosaic Law. With the passing of time similar harmful mutations increased in the same families.
While the Nature news article attempts to explain that the Spanish royals were evolving, the recent study in the journal Heredity that Callaway refers to, merely suggests that natural selection could have weeded out some of the worst consequences of inbreeding.
There is no need to appeal to evolution. Humans have built-in repair mechanisms that to some extent might counter the effects of living in a fallen world.
Charles II of Spain and other monarchs indicate that these was a good reason for forbidding marriages between near relatives.
Callaway, Ewen. 2013. Inbred royals show traces of natural selection. Nature News (19 April 2013).
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
CMI’s upcoming conference seeks to unmask fables and promote truth.
The Apostle Paul warned of the danger of believing in fables. However, that is exactly what many people, including Christians, do.
According to a very popular fable, the Bible cannot be trusted because naturalistic/materialistic science gives us all necessary answers to the big questions. To counter this not-very-intelligent claim, Creation Ministries International is hosting a one-day conference in Chessington, Surrey, near London, UK (the same venue as last year’s conference).
Creation Ministries International has held several interesting conferences in recent years. The coming weekend, the UK-Europe branch of the ministry is hosting a one-day conference entitled Unmasking Fables, Promoting Truth.
Last May, CMI’s one-day conference in Chessington, Surrey, UK, attracted 330 people . The programme was great.
This time, the speakers include Arthur Francis Green, Chairman of Foundation for Christian Education (UK), Dominic Statham, speaker and writer with CMI-UK/Europe, Dr Don Batten, senior scientist and speaker with CMI-Australia and Paul James-Griffiths of Edinburgh City Mission.
Monday, 22 April 2013
Australopithecus sediba. Image courtesy of Brett Eloff, Wikipedia.
Darwinian storytelling is intriguing. The recent story about Australopithecus sediba is both fascinating and absurd. New Scientist, for instant, decided to us this title for its story on this discovery, originally made in 2008: Our closest ape-like ancestor went back to the trees.
The hero of the story, published recently in the journal Science, has given rise to a lot of discussion in the Darwinian community, as they see some human-like features in Au. Sediba and then other features that tell a very different story.
According to New Scientist, Au. Sediba’s “arms and legs show it was far more comfortable swinging in the trees than most australopiths.”
The solution: this human ancestor came down from the trees and then went back again. Interesting? Yes. Credible? Definitely not, but Darwinian just so stories seldom are.
Barras, Colin. 2013. Our closest ape-like ancestor went back to the trees. New Scientist.com. (11 April).
Saturday, 20 April 2013
Our world is becoming increasingly post-Darwinian. Image courtesy of Wikipedia
We have all heard about postmodernism. Some would say that we are living in a post-Christian world, at least in the west. But how many have heard about post-Darwinism?
Darwinism with natural selection and mutations as the all-embracing explanations of just about everything used to have a long heyday, but judging from recent scientific discoveries (such as the role of molecular machines and the demise of junk DNA) and intellectual turning points (more scientists and philosophers are saying goodbye to Darwin), Darwinism is increasingly becoming outdated.
In other words, it’s a post-Darwinian world.
Thursday, 18 April 2013
A Darwinist will assume that evolution explains this imaginary scenario. Image courtesy of José-Manuel Benito Álvarez, Wikipedia.
Evolutionists have creeds that disclose a lot about the religious nature of Darwinism.
Theodosius Dobzhansky (1900-1975) was one of the best-known evolutionists of the 20th century. He claimed that ”Evolution is a light which illuminates all facts, a trajectory which all lines of thought must follow.”
The claim is clearly religious. Although Dobzhansky was a theistic evolutionist, he claimed roughly the same for evolution as Jesus said of himself: “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12, NIV).
Morris, Henry M. 1982. Evolution Is Religion, Not Science. Acts & Facts. 11 (5).
Tuesday, 16 April 2013
Atheists would like to see the origin of morals in animals. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
The origin of morality is a hard nut to crack for Darwinists. Their evolution-based worldview has no shortage of insurmountable problems, such as the origin of life, the development of life and the origin of consciousness and language.
Frans de Waal, known for his research on chimpanzees and bonobos, discusses the origin of morality in his new book. He thinks that great apes have a rudimentary understanding of right and wrong, but he does not claim that they are moral beings.
As all readers of Mickey Mouse would remember, we tend to interpret the behaviour of animals from our human perspective. Attributing human traits to non-humans, a phenomenon known as anthropomorphism, can easily result in wrong interpretations. Thus, we might think that a dog (or a bonobo) feels shame, although there is an unbridgeable gap between humans and animals.
Only humans are morally accountable beings. In practice, this means that we should try to be accountable to our Creator instead of attempting to find excuses for not doing so, for instance by pretending that we are the results of blind Darwinian processes.
Dye, Lee. 2013. Do We Need God to be Moral? ABC News (7 April).
Sunday, 14 April 2013
There are no valid scientific grounds for rejecting the historicity of the first humans.
Sceptics tend to have interesting views on Genesis. They often read the text from an evolutionary perspective. Recently, novelist Charlotte Pickering asked:
“Why does the story of Adam and Eve still resonate in our cultural consciousness, given that anyone with the most basic grasp of science can demolish the idea that life began in the manner Genesis describes? Evolution can be seen occurring in fruit fly in school lab dishes. GP's are refusing to prescribe antibiotics because over-prescription means that bacteria will evolve to become resistant.”
This statement is teeming with factual errors. I happen to know several biologists with earned PhD degrees who believe that there is no conflict between true science and the Genesis account of origins. Their research has certainly involved more than just “the most basic grasp of science”.
Origin of life research has not been able to produce a single plausible explanation of how life could have arisen from non-life. Atheists badly need a miracle but they do not accept a miracle-maker. According to the naturalistic myth, stardust eventually turns into people but no one knows why.
Most popular news headlines of evolution in action do not really have anything to do with Darwinian evolution. Fruit flies have been studied for a period that corresponds to one million years of human evolution and yet they have not changed at all.
Research has shown that bacteria were resistant to antibiotics even before the discovery of penicillin some 70 years ago. A paper published in the journal Nature in 2011 stated: “antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon that predates the modern selective pressure of clinical antibiotic use.”
Ignoring the enormous difficulties in a non-theistic origin of life, Ms. Pickering goes on to claim:
“To the sceptics, creationism, with its talking snakes, angels and tyrant god, belongs with Hogwarts, tarot cards and astral projections, in the world of esotericism. The intellectual tide turned decidedly against it in 1859, with Darwin's Origin of Species in 1859. In the years that have followed, this tide has reached tsunami proportions, largely thanks to neo-Darwinist popular science gurus such as Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay-Gould. Any bubbles of hope for biblical literalism that do occasionally rise in the primordial soup of our education system are immediately burst.”
This is not an accurate description of the God of the Bible, who is a good God. Moreover, whereas Scripture is anchored in history, new age beliefs are not.
The tide has definitely turned against Darwinism, because it lacks a mechanism for turning an amoeba into an astrophysicist. Old Darwinian truths, such as junk-DNA, have been discarded. Current discoveries about the complexity of life are a convincing case against Darwin’s outdated idea.
However, it seems that some die-hard evolutionists have missed the boat.
D’ Costa, Vanessa M. & al. 2011. Antibiotic resistance is ancient. Nature 477, 457–461.
Pickering, Charlotte. 2013. Adam and Eve - The Greatest Fairy Tale of All. EzineArticles.com.
Friday, 12 April 2013
In 1963, Surtsey began rising from the ocean. Image courtesy of NOAA.
Many people associate erosion and major geological features with millions of years. However, geology often actually speaks against deep time.
In recent history, the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens in 1980 produced millions of years worth of rock layers. The island of Surtsey, which rose from the ocean in 1963, likewise gave rise to features that many would assume are very old.
They are not. This video clip produced by CMI shows why they aren’t:
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
U.S. President George H. W. Bush awards former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991. Image courtesy of the George Bush Presidential Library.
Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died on Monday at the age of 87. Obituaries in the media have mostly overlooked her devout Christian faith that to a great extent shaped her approach to politics during her long tenure (1979-1990) as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Mrs. Thatcher named C. S. Lewis as a major source of inspiration for her thinking. The Iron Lady, as she was called, did not shy away from disclosing her Christian faith. Addressing the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1988, Mrs. Thatcher said:
"We must not profess the Christian faith and go to Church simply because we want social reforms and benefits or a better standard of behaviour, but because we accept the sanctity of life, the responsibility that comes with freedom and the supreme sacrifice of Christ."
But this does not seem to be of interest to the media.
Weber, Jeremy. 2013. Margaret Thatcher Obits Overlook Her 'Devout Christian Faith'. Christianity Today (8 April).
Monday, 8 April 2013
When all German Jews were hated: A Star of David at the Judisches Museum in Westphalia, Dorsten, Germany. Image courtesy of Daniel Ullrich, Wikipedia.
Today, it’s Yom Hashoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. It might be a suitable time to remind ourselves of the ideology that prompted the slaughter of six million people just because they were Jews:
The Nazi race ideology owes much to the writings of Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919). A professor of zoology who was the chief spokesman for Darwinian evolution in continental Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century, Haeckel is still remembered for his fraudulent embryo drawings. Less well known are his views on the inferiority of the black “races”. Like Charles Darwin, he thought they were less evolved than white people.
The Nazis assumed that Jews were less evolved than Aryans and they found a way to solve this problem, as they saw it.
This says a lot about the consequences of Darwinism.
Saturday, 6 April 2013
Researchers announced the discovery of C-14 in dinosaur bone.
Researchers have found radiocarbon (C-14) in dinosaur bone. For those who accept the conventional dates in the tens of millions of years, this might seem very disturbing. After all, C-14 has a half-life of 5, 730 years. Thus, after roughly 100, 000 years there should be no C-14 left.
The discovery of soft tissue and collagen in dinosaur bones has prompted some researchers to question the conventional textbook dates. Furthermore, an international geophysics conference held in Singapore in August 2012 announced the discovery of C-14 in dinosaur bone.
Dr. Thomas Seiler, a German physicist, and other researchers presented their findings at the 2012 Western Pacific Geophysics Meeting in Singapore (August 13-17), arranged jointly by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS). Their research was based on their “dating of multiple samples of bone from 8 dinosaurs from Texas, Alaska, Colorado, and Montana.”
The researchers took every precaution to rule out contamination and came to the conclusion that the dinosaurs could not have been older than 22,000 to 39,000 years, based on the current C-14/C-12 ratio, which ignores the impact of Noah’s Flood. The Flood buried enormous amounts of carbon, thus resulting in an entirely different C-14/C-12 ratio.
The arrangers of the AOGS-AGU conference were not pleased with the results. They deleted the abstract Dr. Seiler and colleagues had produced. Science is not supposed to work like this, but many are reluctant to challenge the prevailing paradigm of millions of years.
Their solution is the censorship of disturbing data.
This was not the first time radiocarbon was discovered in dinosaur bone.
Dinosaur bones Carbon-14 dated to less than 40,000 years. New Geology.us
Thursday, 4 April 2013
According to the popular media, Israel is always the aggressor – even when she isn’t. Image courtesy of Math Knight and Zachi Evenor.
Reporting on what is happening in the Near East almost always follows the same pattern. Honest Reporting, a website attempting to offer a more balanced view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, calls this the It All Started When Israel Fired Back syndrome.
The popular media often ignore the initial strike, for instance, rockets fired from Gaza at Israeli civilian targets. These attacks don’t make headlines.
But when Israel does something to protect her citizens and sovereignty, then there is no shortage of headlines that purport to show who is to blame.
Recently, Reuters produced an article entitled Israel launches air strikes on Gaza; first since truce.
Only later in the article the reporter reveals that Hamas actually first fired rockets at Israel.
Benson, Pesach. 2013. Yet Another Edition of “It All Started When Israel Fired Back” . Honest Reporting (3 April).
Tuesday, 2 April 2013
If something goes wrong in protein folding, “simple” organisms are able to correct it. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
When a protein is misfolded, bacteria, fungi and plants are able to correct it. This is something that researchers in their white coats and expensive equipment cannot do.
These “simple” organisms are able to first detect misfolded proteins, then untangle them and finally fold them again – this time correctly.
This does not sound like evolution at all, although a recent review article in Science claims that “the cells of bacteria, plants, and fungi have evolved machinery to neatly extract polypeptide chains from large aggregates and refold them to the native state.”
There is a more logical explanation to this than appealing to evolution that, after all, is supposed to be blind. In real life, machines do not evolve: they are designed, often very intelligently. Moreover, nanomachines are designed much more intelligently than the machines we humans have invented.
Saibil, Helen R. 2013. Machinery to Reverse Irreversible Aggregates. . Science 339 (6123), 1040-1041.