Friday, 30 May 2014

When People Stop Believing in God, They Believe in Weird Things

Something from nothing? Image courtesy of Strobridge Litho. Co., Cincinnati & New York (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license).

Joel Kontinen

Malcolm Muggeridge (1903 –1990) was an English author and journalist. For most of his life he was agnostic, but he became a Christian in the 1960s after having seen what disbelief in God could do.

In a radio broadcast he stated:

One of the peculiar sins of the twentieth century which we’ve developed to a very high level is the sin of credulity. It has been said that when human beings stop believing in God they believe in nothing. The truth is much worse: they believe in anything.”

This includes belief in the impossible, for instance, that we can get something from nothing, that non-life can somehow spontaneously turn into life for no obvious reasons at all. Or that our universe is just one among many others.


Muggeridge, Malcolm. 1966. An Eighth Deadly Sin. Woman’s Hour radio broadcast (March 23, 1966). Quoted in Malcolm Muggeridge and Christopher Ralling. 1967. Muggeridge Through the Microphone: B.B.C. Radio and Television. London: British Broadcasting Corporation.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Scientific Sins and Other Darwinian Fables

Chimp-based Darwinian morality led to extermination camps. Image courtesy of Dan Lietha, Answers in Genesis.

Joel Kontinen

What does the concept scientific sin bring to mind? Recently, New Scientist reviewed Mark Johnson’s book Morality for Humans: Ethical Understanding from the Perspective of Cognitive Science (University of Chicago Press, 2014). The title of the article – How moral fundamentalism becomes a scientific sin – suggests that this is not a discussion on the merits of traditional morality.

Kate Douglas summarises Johnson’s thesis as follows:

We are moral creatures because we need to be, in order to survive and flourish. Ethical reasoning is a form of problem-solving primarily concerned with situations where our values and interests conflict with those of others. Any social species encounters such situations, so morality is not uniquely human.”

Survival above all.

This is the old Darwinian explanation that has been repeated in popular science magazines time and again. Unfortunately for evolutionists, repetition does not make fiction into fact, regardless of how hard one tries this kind of alchemy.

The book's agenda becomes obvious: “Moral absolutism is immoral in that it shuts down precisely the kind of empirically informed ethical inquiry we most need for our lives."

The problem with this statement is that science is not supposed to know what is moral and what is not. In a naturalistic/ materialistic/ atheistic world, it ought to be neutral about such things. And scientific sin would be an oxymoron.

But neutrality tends to degenerate into something much worse. Just ask the holocaust survivors. The Nazis were able to kill six million Jews because they believed that no one was watching them.

In Nazi Germany, the Waffen-SS embraced a Darwinian view of ethics. As they did not believe in a Lawgiver to whom they would be accountable for their deeds, they killed millions of Jews, Gypsies and others that they thought were not as fit to live as the “Aryans”.

Keep pushing the moral boundaries because there are no absolutes,” Ms. Douglas concludes her review, claiming that morality “is not about Right or Good, simply about Better.”

Better for whom, one might ask. In a dog-eat-dog Darwinian world, all people will ultimately suffer. If we really want to make the world a better place, we should return to the morality that Jesus taught: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. “ (Matthew 22:37–39, NKJV).


Douglas, Kate. 2014. How moral fundamentalism becomes a scientific sin. New Scientist 2970 (26 May).

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Survival of the Friendliest Wasps: New Evolution Story

Wasps overturned Darwinian dogma. Image courtesy of Alvesgaspar, Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Evolution was supposed to be about the survival of the fittest. But when it comes to wasps, it seems that it is more about the survival of the friendliest.

According to Science Daily, “Polistes fuscatus, a paper wasp found throughout North America, evolved better vision to recognize the variable facial patterns of other members of its species.

So, now instead of a Darwinian struggle for existence, we seem to have co-operation.

Some wasps have developed bigger eyes, and thus better vision, to read the social cues written on the faces of their sister wasps, according to a new University of California, Berkeley, study.”

Lead author Michael Sheehan, a UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow, uses details in a well-known fairy tale to illustrate what he believes happened:

"The Big Bad Wolf had it right. When Little Red Riding Hood said, 'Goodness, what big eyes you have,' he replied, 'The better to see you with.' "

Sheehan suggests that some paper wasps “evolved better vision for the purpose of telling one another apart. This is consistent with the idea that hearing, smelling, seeing or other sensory capabilities in animals, including humans [sic] may have evolved in response to communication signals like we see in the wasp."

Sheehan and his colleagues published their paper recently in Biology Letters. He points out that the findings don’t “overturn evolutionary dogma. His clarification does show, however, that evolutionists tend to be very dogmatic and that the Darwinian community seldom if ever approves of dissenting views.

Anyway, it might be time to bury the Darwinian concepts of survival of the fittest and the struggle for existence.


The big bad wolf was right: Among wasps, bigger eyes evolved to better see social cues. Science Daily. April 29, 2014.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Darwinian Story: Social Living Shrinks Our Brains

Some evolutionists see a common trend towards smaller brains in humans and dogs. Siberian Husky. Image courtesy of Per Harald Olsen, via Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

The human brain is an enigma. There is nothing quite like it in the animal kingdom. Many neuroscientists would agree that it is wonderfully made.

However, for some time, evolutionists have speculated that our brains have shrunk or are shrinking.

According to a recent article in New Scientist, “Our brains have shrunk in the past 20,000 years. In The Domesticated Brain, Bruce Hood argues that it's a result of living together in societies.”

Some evolutionists assume that 20,000 years ago, the brains of our ancestors were 10 per cent larger than ours are now. Bruce Hood, a psychologist at the University of Bristol, UK, suggests:

We have been self-domesticating through the invention of culture and practices that ensure that we can live together."

Hood takes a look at animals that humans have domesticated and concludes that they all have “lost brain capacity as a result. Bred for passivity, their testosterone decreases, reducing the size of all organs. Dogs are a good example and the effect on their behaviour is telling: where wolves will try to solve a problem through cunning, dogs are adept at soliciting help from their masters.”

He believes that a similar trend is seen in humans. We have smaller brains than our ancestors because we live in societies instead of hunting in small groups in the savannah.

The problem with Darwinian storytelling is that it tends to ignore facts, pick and choose its ingredients and it always assumes that goo-to-you evolution is true.

Early men were no simpletons. They built monuments like the pyramids that we are unable to construct. Genesis describes humans who were creative and innovative from the dawn of mankind – it should be no surprise, as they were created in the image of the Creator.


Keats, Jonathon. 2014. Has social living shrunk our brains? New Scientist 2969 (20 May).

Friday, 23 May 2014

Evolution Went Backwards in Big Flightless Birds

Researchers speculate that emus evolved from small flying birds.

Joel Kontinen

When one has to speculate that big birds lost their ability to fly on six distinct occasions, one might be tempted to think that there could be a better explanation for why some feathered creatures cannot fly.

A recent article in New Scientist suggests:

Huge flightless birds like emus and moas may look alike, but their genes now tell us they are only distantly related. Ancient DNA reveals that birds lost the ability to fly on six separate occasions within 10 million years. It seems the extinction of the dinosaurs created a brief window for big ground-dwelling birds, before large mammals evolved.”

There are problems with this statement. It is obviously based on the molecular clock approach that presupposes certain things about how and when birds were supposed to evolve. However, DNA cannot tell us when something happened.

The New Scientist article goes on to say:

Alan Cooper of the University of Adelaide in Australia [and] his team sequenced mitochondrial DNA from the bones of Madagascan elephant birds, and compared it to the DNA of other flightless birds, including moas.

The DNA showed that elephant birds and moas are not evolutionary siblings at all, but more like cousins. Each evolved separately from small flying birds

This mixes fact and fiction. While DNA can tell us whether birds are related to other birds, it cannot tell us anything about their assumed evolution.

That is where Darwinian storytelling takes over. In just so stories, anything is possible.

But it is not necessarily true.


Slezak, Michael. 2014. Emu-style birds have abandoned flight six times. New Scientist (22 May)

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Science Fiction Trumps Science in Origin of Life Speculations in Cosmos

Did a comet bring bacterial life from space? Image courtesy of Wikipedia (GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2).

Joel Kontinen

In episode 11 of Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson continues his evolutionary show by discussing the origin of life, which is a hard nut to crack for those who are unwilling to accept a Creator God.

Over 30 years ago, Sir Francis Crick acknowledged the difficulties involved in a naturalistic origin of life. In his book Life Itself (Simon and Schuster, 1981) he stated: “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going."

Unwilling to allow for a transcendent Creator, Crick embraced the panspermia view, according to which life originated somewhere else in the universe and was seeded or brought here by a comet, asteroid or rock. Or by space aliens.

Panspermia (Gr. Πανσπερμία) means ’all seed’ and it postulates that life exists everywhere in the universe and can travel through outer space.

The view has insurmountable problems, and it only pushes the enigmatic solution a few thousand light years further away from us. After all, life had to begin somewhere.

Many secular scientists have stated that panspermia does not work. The elements of life would be destroyed by cosmic radiation en route to us.

In spite of this, Cosmic host Tyson believes that life came from space. This might be in keeping with his naturalistic faith, but it has nothing to do with science – and all with science fiction.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Evolutionary Logic: We Are the Product of Quantum Fluctuations

Something from nothing? Image courtesy of Strobridge Litho. Co., Cincinnati & New York. (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license).

Joel Kontinen

The universe is fine tuned for life. Astronomers know it and some of them don’t like it, as it suggests a Creator God, who made life possible.

In a desperate attempt to evade accountability to Him, they have designed theories that attempt to explain the origin of everything by purely naturalistic means as though He did not exist at all. One fairly popular attempt is to suggest the existence of multiverses or many parallel universes.

There is no scientific evidence for them. Physicist Rob Sheldon says that the only motivation behind the thinking is to defend atheism.

A recent article in New Scientist looks at the problems in this kind of thinking: Quantum fluctuations in the early universe made matter denser in some regions than others, resulting in a cosmic web of galaxies, stars, planets and, ultimately, people.”

The biggest problem in this scenario is that no one knows whether quantum fluctuations have the power to create or even increase genetic information without which the theory would be dead.

Big bang based models have their fair share of problems.

In 1980 Alan Guth invented inflation as an attempt to solve the horizon problem caused by the almost uniform temperature of the different parts of the universe.

If, as Big Bang advocates believe, the universe is 13.8 billion years old, then this is a huge problem. One edge of the universe would be 27.6 billion light years away from the other edge and there would not be enough time for the temperature to become uniform.

Guth proposed that in its infancy the universe had a quick growth spurt in which it exceeded the speed of light. No one knows what caused it and what caused the universe to decelerate.

The New Scientist article points out some problems in multiverse thinking:

THE multiverse is dead, long live the multiverse. A radical new way of looking at quantum mechanics suggests that even the multiverse will come to an end.

A popular view of the multiverse says that our universe is just one of an ever-inflating multitude of discrete ‘bubble’ universes. These bubbles are eternally budding off new universes even as individual universes age and die

Now, this is nothing more than wishful thinking. New Scientist nonetheless introduces a new view of quantum effects suggested by Sean Carroll at the California Institute of Technology and his colleagues that attempts to solve the difficulties.

They basically postulate that in the beginning, before anything else – including quantum fluctations – there was the inflaton that “decayed into different types of ordinary particles, which could then interact with each other” and eventually underwent quantum fluctations.

If this sounds like science fiction, the obvious explanation is, that it is.


Grossman, Lisa. 2014. Quantum twist could kill off the multiverse. New Scientist 2969. (14 May).

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Kinesin: Tiny Protein Motor Walks While You Rest

Kinesin. Image courtesy of Wikipedia (GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2).

Joel Kontinen

A kinesin is a tiny protein motor found in eukaryotic cells. It moves along a filament called a microtubule and carries cargo from the centre of the cell towards the edges.

Kinesins have two feet with which they literally walk, carrying enormous loads that they transport to the correct address.

The miniature machine has been described as the workhorse of the cell. Kinesins are proof of microengineering at its best.

Recently, Discovery Institute produced a video entitled The Workhorse of the Cell: Kinesin.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Sudanese Logic: Christian Doctor Faces Death Penalty for Marrying a Christian

Sudanese authorities are aiming to stamp out Christianity. A minaret in Port Sudan. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

For westerners, understanding Sudanese logic seems almost impossible. Take the case of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, a 27-year-old Sudanese doctor. She faces the death penalty for marrying an American Christian.

According to a brief news item in Christianity today, “[Mrs] Ibrahim has been imprisoned, along with her 20-month-old son, in Khartoum since February. She is married to a South Sudanese Christian with U.S. citizenship—Daniel Wani—but because her father was a Muslim, the state does not recognize her marriage and charged her with adultery and apostasy in March.”

She is due to be executed once she gives birth to her second child. The charges against her are weird, as she has never been a Muslim and is legally married to a US citizen.

What is more, the Sudanese government is infringing on her basic human rights laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They include the freedom to choose one’s spouse and one’s religion.


Tracy, Kate. 2014. American's Wife Faces Sudan Death Penalty after Pregnancy.Christianity Today (13 May).

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Saving Lives Is Torture, According to Abortion Lobby

An abortion group is lobbying the UN to ban pro-life views as torture. Image courtesy of Spiff, Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Nobelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn famously said that the misery prevalent in the communist Soviet Union was a result of ignoring God: “A great disaster had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.”

When one exchanges the image of God for descent from apes, the consequences are almost always bad – especially for the weakest in society.

It seems that the pro-abortion group The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) has not learnt anything from history.

CRR sent a bizarre letter to the UN, claiming that religious leaders promoting life “contributed to torture and ill-treatment perpetuated by other states by negatively interfering with the development of state policy on abortion, in violation of its obligations under Articles 1, 2, and 16.”

This, of course, is ridiculous. Adopting an Orwellian strategy, CRR seeks to re-define words, making them mean exactly the opposite of what one would expect.

Pro-abortion groups have even previously used extremely questionable methods.

In real life, humans do not become humans through magic but they are human beings months before their birth. Created in the image of God, unborn babies deserve full human rights.


Clark, Matthew. 2014. Will the UN Criminilize the Pro-Life Movement as “Torture”? (May 12).

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Water World: New Darwinian Story Can’t Explain Life’s Origin

These formations play a major role in recent origin of life speculations. Image courtesy of the National Science Foundation (University of Washington/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution).

Joel Kontinen

For those who reject a supernatural origin of life, answering the question of how life emerged has turned out to be an elusive quest. Since the warm little pond dream espoused by Charles Darwin, suggestions have come and gone but none have been even modestly credible.

Origin of life is a field rife with storytelling:

Life took root more than four billion years ago on our nascent Earth, a wetter and harsher place than now, bathed in sizzling ultraviolet rays. What started out as simple cells ultimately transformed into slime molds, frogs, elephants, humans and the rest of our planet's living kingdoms. How did it all begin?”

As life only comes from life, the question of life’s naturalistic origin is a daunting one. Explanations usually teem with expressions like could have or might have.

Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA's Astrobiology Institute recently proposed a solution. They speculated “how electrical energy naturally produced at the sea floor might have given rise to life.”

Originally suggested by Michael Russell in 1989, the ”water world" theory speculates that on the early earth “warm, alkaline hydrothermal vents maintained an unbalanced state with respect to the surrounding ancient, acidic ocean -- one that could have provided so-called free energy to drive the emergence of life.”

These initial speculations give rise to more detailed speculations, interspersed with the inevitable expressions might have or could have that hardly increase the reader’s confidence in the story:

In our ancient oceans, minerals may have acted like enzymes, interacting with chemicals swimming around and driving reactions. In the water world theory, two different types of mineral ‘engines’ might have lined the walls of the chimney structures.”

While this might sound interesting, it is nothing more than typical fact-free Darwinian storytelling. They still do not have a clue as to how life emerged, merely a never ending procession of just so stories that will be rejected once they come up with a slightly more plausible scenario.


Clavin, Whitney. 2014. New Study Outlines 'Water World' Theory of Life's Origins. Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (15 April).

Friday, 9 May 2014

“Natural Selection Eliminates … But It Doesn't Create,” The Evidence Says

One of the most famous examples of natural selection: slight variations in beak sizes in Darwin’s finches. Image courtesy of John Gould, via Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

While the late evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis accepted evolution, she became increasingly doubtful of the power of Darwinian mechanisms, i.e. natural selection and random mutations.

Dr. Margulis said that neo-Darwinian thinking was problematic. In an interview published in Discover Magazine she stated:

This is the issue I have with neo-Darwinists: They teach that what is generating novelty is the accumulation of random mutations in DNA, in a direction set by natural selection. If you want bigger eggs, you keep selecting the hens that are laying the biggest eggs, and you get bigger and bigger eggs. But you also get hens with defective feathers and wobbly legs.”

Many dog breeds have all kinds of ailments and weaknesses for a similar reason, so this is not a problem that only concerns hens. She went on to say:

Natural selection eliminates and maybe maintains, but it doesn't create ... Neo-Darwinists say that new species emerge when mutations occur and modify an organism. I was taught over and over again that the accumulation of random mutations led to evolutionary change -- led to new species. I believed it until I looked for evidence.”

Many scientists, it seems, believe in a theory that lacks evidence. One might perhaps ask whether it deserves being called a theory.


Discover Interview: Lynn Margulis Says She's Not Controversial, She's Right. Discover Magazine, p. 68 (April, 2011).

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

“Jurassic Predator” Had Amazingly Sensitive Snout

Pliosaur. Image courtesy of Bogdanov, via Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Recently, New Scientist reported on the amazing design found in an “exceptionally preserved “ 2-metre (6 feet 6 in.) long pliosaur snout. Adam Smith of the Nottingham Natural History Museum, UK. said:

"It is quite likely the skull had sensitive and somewhat fleshy lip-like structures… Pliosaurs didn't have any other appendages to manipulate food or other items in their environment."

The article suggests that the pliosaur’s “sensitive snout could help them hunt prey and manipulate food in the water… so pliosaur snouts had a sense of touch, and might also have responded to pressure or chemicals in the water."

The ability to respond to chemicals in water does not sound like the product of blind Darwinian processes. In contrast, it sounds very much like intelligent design.


Hecht, Jeff. 2014. Jurassic predator had surprisingly sensitive snout. New Scientist. (1 May).

Monday, 5 May 2014

Cambrian Animal ”Did a Fair Amount of Thinking,” Science Suggests

Fuxianhuia protensa fossil. Image courtesy of Graham Budd, via Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Cambrian animals were supposed to be relatively unsophisticated. However, recent discoveries show that this is simply not true.

Commenting on a paper recently published in Nature Communications, a ScienceShot article describes the complex cardiovascular system found in Fuxianhuia protensa, a shrimplike creature.

The article suggests that the animal “presumably did a fair amount of thinking”:

It was both modern and unsophisticated. A simple, tubelike heart was buried in the creature’s belly—or thorax—and shot single blood vessels into the 20 or so segments of its primitive body. In contrast, x-ray scans of the specimen revealed profoundly intricate channels in the head and neck. The brain was well supplied with looping blood vessels, which extended branches into the arthropod’s alienlike eyestalks and antennae and rivaled the complexity of today’s crustaceans. From this Gordian architecture, the researchers can now speculate about the critter’s lifestyle. Its brain required abundant oxygen, so it presumably did a fair amount of thinking. The ancient arthropod could likely peer around its murky marine environment, taking cues from a relatively advanced visual and sensory system, the researchers say.” (Bold added)

In contrast to what early Darwinists thought, soft body parts can be fossilised in exceptional circumstances (such as during Noah’s Flood).

The original Nature Communications paper by Xiaoya Ma and colleagues states that the fossil was “exceptionally preserved” and that this Cambrian arthropod reveals complexity.

For Charles Darwin, the Cambrian Explosion was a huge problem. It is still an enormous dilemma for his latter day followers. (Read more here, here and here.)


Oldest Cardiovascular System Found in Ancient Shrimplike Creature. ScienceShot April 7, 2014.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

“Life Is the Product of Many Lucky Turns of Events” : The Dilemma of Snowball Earth

Some scientists speculate that the mythical snowball earth might have looked like Antarctica (above) today. Image courtesy of Stephen Hudson, via Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Writing in New Scientist, Stuart Clark says: “The existence of life on Earth seems to have been the product of many lucky turns of events. Take the sun's early history. According to everything we know about how stars like it develop, it should have been born feebly dim, only gradually warming to its present level. Earth, born with the sun 4.5 billion years ago, should have spent its first two billion years or so as a frozen ball of ice, devoid of life.”

In a purely materialistic /naturalistic scenario that relegates the Sun to an ordinary star and Earth to a run-of-the-mill planet, our existence might indeed appear to be a series of lucky accidents:

Yet in rocks laid down during this time we find sediments clearly deposited in aquatic environments, and ample fossil evidence of bacteria that indicate our planet was already a clement, inhabited world, perhaps within a billion years or so from the off. This mismatch, known as the faint young sun paradox, has many potential solutions. None quite has the ring of truth. But as suggestions accumulate and are discarded, one conclusion seems ever harder to ignore: we are even luckier to be here than we thought .”

Sounds more like fine-tuning than luck. But matter always has priority over mind in a purely naturalistic world. And the belief in billions of years brings enormous problems that could easily be avoided in a younger solar system.

Stuart then goes on to speculate how Earth might have become a planet capable of hosting life through “many lucky turns of events”.

This might cause one to ask whether luck is any more scientific than design.

The entire universe, and especially our solar system, seems to be fine-tuned for life. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1, NKJV).


Clark, Stuart. 2013. How was Earth's life kindled under a cold sun? New Scientist 2904, 44–47.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Meat-Eating Lion Good, Plant-Eating Lion Bad, New Book on Genesis Suggests

A new book argues for animal death before the Fall.

Joel Kontinen

Yesterday (30th April), Christianity Today published a web-only article entitled Reading Genesis Without Philosophical Blinders. However, it seems that something happened as CT changed the title to Reading Genesis, Red in Tooth and Claw, which certainly describes the ideas of Ronald Osborn’s book Death Before the Fall: Biblical Literalism and the Problem of Animal Suffering (IVP Academic) more accurately.

Writer Tim Stafford says that a traditional understanding of creation is “overly literal”. If this is so, then Jesus and the Apostle Paul were overly literal in the sense that they believed Genesis 1 and 2 to be historically true.

We might all agree with Osborn (and Stafford) that animal suffering, whether after or before the Fall, is a problem. However, Osborn thinks that a lion that would not be a predator would be an “unlion”.

But in light of the promised restoration “the cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox” (Isaiah 11:7), would it still be an unlion?

Methinks not.

Moreover, recent history knows of some lions (and other predators) that have absolutely refused to eat meat.

This is an echo of the original creation. In Genesis 1: 30, God said, “ ‘Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food’; and it was so.”

One might suggest that philosophical blinders – in the form of some degree of scientific naturalism – are needed for reading Genesis in a way in which good is not good and green plants are red meat, and the Fall hardly did anything, and the Millennial Restoration is not really a restoration at all.


Stafford, Tim. 2014. Reading Genesis, Red in Tooth and Claw. Christianity Today (April 30).