Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Dino-Era Bug Has Not Changed Its Eating-Habits for “130 Million Years”

Ancient bugs might have feasted on dinosaur blood.

Joel Kontinen

Some bugs had nasty habits “130 million years” ago, a recent paper published in the journal Current Biology suggests.

The paper reported on “a new family of true bugs including two new genera and species from the Early Cretaceous Yixian Formation in Northeastern China.”

The researchers admit that mammals, birds and dinosaurs lived at that time but they do not know what the bugs feasted on.

Evolution should be about change. But many studies suggest that stasis or non-evolution of even habits (in this case, eating blood) seems to be the norm in the animal kingdom.

And there’s no shortage of living fossils.


Yao, Yunzhi et al. 2014. Blood-Feeding True Bugs in the Early Cretaceous. Current Biology. (Published online July 24).

Monday, 28 July 2014

Hot Exoplanets Challenge Planet-Formation Theories

An artist's impression of hot Jupiter HD 188753. Image courtesy of Yves LC, Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Naturalistic planet-formation theories are in crisis. The more astronomers get to know about exoplanets or planets outside our solar system, the more obvious it becomes that ours is a very privileged system, fine-tuned for life.

A recent paper based on measurements from the Hubble Space Telescope and published in Astrophysical Journal Letters suggests that previous theories are wrong.

According to Nature news, the research “re-analyses observations of the exoplanets HD 189733b, HD 209458b and WASP-12b, which are 20–270 parsecs (60–870 light years) away from Earth. As each exoplanet crossed in front of its host star, Hubble observed the spectrum of infrared light filtering through the planet’s atmosphere. A team led by Nikku Madhusudhan, an astronomer at the University of Cambridge, UK, then used atmospheric models to determine the combination of elements that produced each planet’s spectrum.

The results suggest that the environments of all three hot Jupiters are drier than Jupiter itself. HD 209458b, which yielded the most precise measurements, seems to be the driest — its atmosphere is 1,000 times drier than Jupiter's, and 100 times drier than the Sun's.”

Astronomers believe that planets “ should accumulate molecules such as water faster than their host stars, write the authors. Hot Jupiters typically form in water-rich areas of solar systems and migrate toward their host stars.”

It seems that they will have to give up their theory and think of something else.

In any case, the research suggests that our system is special. Unfortunately, this is something that some scientists are unwilling to accept, as it means that our system is fine-tuned for life, just like the Book of Genesis indicates.


Zastrow, Mark. 2014. 'Hot Jupiter' measurements throw water on theory. Nature news (24 July).

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Soft Stone Age Brain Puzzles Experts

Can the human brain really remain soft for thousands of years? Image courtesy of Wikipedia (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license).

Joel Kontinen

Recently, Norwegian archaeologists found “something rather grey and clay-like” in a human fossil that they think hails from roughly 7,900 years before our time.

They suspect that it is brain mass.

If it turns out to be what they believe, it would present some interesting questions for evolutionists, who could hardly have expected brains to remain soft for aeons.

The many discoveries of soft tissue in dinosaurs, “dino-era” marine reptiles and dolphin-like creatures , salamanders, mammoths and even birds have made it extremely difficult to hold on to the belief that these fossils are as old are they are assumed to be.


Stone Age brain stuns experts. News in July 10, 2014.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Today’s Evolution Story: Fighting Causes Moose to Evolve Big Antlers

A new evolution story features the moose. Image courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

Joel Kontinen

There seems to be no end in sight for Darwinian just so stories attempting to explain why animals have a certain feature.

The latest fable is about the moose. According to New Scientist,

Moose are the largest species of deer in the world. Males are up to 40 per cent heavier than females. During spring the males also grow the largest antlers of any living animal.

The males' size and antlers have evolved because they compete so furiously for females

While evolution-of-the-gaps might be a popular explanation, in attempting to explain everything, it does not actually explain anything.

Some stories border on the weird.


Marshall, Michael. 2014. Zoologger: Moose dribble turns off grass's toxic defences. New Scientist (23 July).

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Stones Cry Out: Bible History Is True

Jehu, King of Israel, gives tribute to King Shalmaneser III of Assyria. Image courtesy of Steven G. Johnson, Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

The Bible tells us about real history. It relates the story of real people who lived at a particular stage in history. The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, currently kept at the British Museum, includes an interesting detail: a vassal ruler prostrates himself before the Assyrian king.

This happened during the time when Hazael, King of Syria, fought against Jehu, King of Israel in the 9th century B.C.

In 841 B.C Jehu obviously went to ask the Assyrian ruler to help him against Hazael. The text on the Black Obelisk says:

The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri: I received from him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king [and] spears."

Omri was the name Shalmaneser III used of the royal house of Israel.

Even if people keep silent, old stones will shout out: the Bible is true. The Black Obelisk also shows that the Jews were living in the Promised Land 2,800 years ago.

And before Jehu’s time, King David for instance built a royal palace in Jerusalem.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Ancient Fossils, Modern Brains, No Evolution

Laggania cambria is an anomalocaridid related to the ones recently found in China. Image courtesy of H. Zell, Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Contrary to what evolutionists might claim, there is nothing completely new under the sun. Evolution should be about change, but the more we get to know about ancient creatures, the more obvious it becomes that stasis (i.e. lack of change) is surprisingly common.

According to Nature news, “Marine predators from the Cambrian era had brains wired like some in living inverterbrates.”

The article went on to say:

Three stunningly well-preserved fossils found in China now show that the anomalocaridid brain was wired much like that of modern creatures called velvet worms, or onychophorans.”

In other words, there was hardy any brain evolution.

The new fossils, described today in Nature, suggest that the … neural architecture found in onychophorans … has changed little over more than half a billion years of evolution.”

Living fossils are or at least should be an embarrassment to Darwinian evolution.


Callaway, Ewen. 2014. Ancient fossils sport modern brains. Nature news (16 July).

Friday, 18 July 2014

Conservative Living Fossil: No Change in Swim Stroke for “270 Million Years”

Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum). Image courtesy of Scott Camazine.

Joel Kontinen

When evolutionists want to convince others that their worldview is credible, they often define evolution as change over time. Their definition is misleading, as they really mean that all living beings are the descendents of the first living unicellular creature.

Still, the fossil record shows that animals tend to be very conservative. They are reluctant to change their habits.

A recent article in New Scientist says: “Amphibians have been using the same swimming technique for 270 million years, a set of ancient footprints reveals.”

The article discussed the discovery of ancient fossilised tracks in the Italian Alps. Assumed to be “between 270 and 283 million years old,” the tracks are practically identical to what modern salamanders would make.

Massimo Bernardi at the Science Museum in Trento, Italy, who found the tracks with his colleagues, says that the tracks “are the first fossil record of an animal that old switching from walkingto swimming.”

Salamanders are living fossils. When it comes to swimming and walking, they have had a tendency to stick to good old habits.


Hecht, Jeff. 2014. Amphibians' swim stroke has lasted 270 million years. New Scientist (15 July).

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

“Germany’s World Cup Triumph a Victory for Intelligent Design"

Germany’s Mario Götze scored the only goal in the World Cup final. Image courtesy of Danilo Borges/Portal da Copa.

Joel Kontinen

Writing in The Guardian, Barney Ronay suggests that Germany’s success in the World Cup was due to intelligent design:

Victory here was always likely to be presented as a triumph of that frictionless German system, and indeed it makes complete sense that Germany should win the World Cup. This is the most perfectly calibrated, most relentlessly first-world system for producing high-class footballers yet devised, a piece of intelligent design that has now flowered to its logical end point.”

Exactly. One does not win the World Cup by resorting to haphazard Darwinian processes.


Ronay, Barney. 2014. Germany’s World Cup triumph a victory for intelligent design. The Guardian (14 July).

Monday, 14 July 2014

Life According to Evolution: Just Vary Oxygen Levels

Scientists are looking into iron formations in an attempt to understand our past. Image courtesy of Graeme Churchard, Flickr.

Joel Kontinen

Evolutionists have a number of enormous problems: the origin of life from non-life, snowball earth, the “boring billion” enigma, to mention just a few. According to a recent Nature news article:

Swings in oxygen levels may be behind a mysterious billion-year hiatus in evolution. One of the biggest riddles in Earth's history is why animals did not evolve after a spike in oxygen levels approximately 2.3 billion years ago. Instead, despite what scientists had thought was a period of relatively high oxygen, the evolution of life on Earth stalled for what is dubbed the boring billion’.”

The article hopes to solve this riddle by assuming that varying the oxygen content of the atmosphere was the key to evolution:

"Earth’s early atmosphere has seen two major spikes in oxygen concentration — one roughly 2.3 billion years ago, dubbed the ‘great oxygenation event’, and a second 800 million years ago. The evolution of complex life only took off after this second peak. Now researchers say that fluctuations in oxygen levels probably kept evolution in check during the intervening period.

Rather than accumulating steadily, new findings suggest oxygen levels dropped precipitously soon after the first peak, which saw concentrations of the gas jump by at least 1,000-fold.”

But this can hardly explain why complex life arose. The Nature article quotes Malcolm Walter, a geobiologist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia: “Until the environment was right, and until genetics tools were there, [the evolution of complex life] couldn’t have happened.”

In other words, evolutionists don’t have a clue as to how life arose and how complex life arose. Life only comes from life and complexity requires input from an intelligent mind, so the issue will never be satisfactorily solved by merely naturalistic means.

What is needed is a return to Genesis.


Qiu, Jane. 2014. Oxygen fluctuations stalled life on Earth. Nature news (11 July).

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Why Is Our Solar System So Different? Astronomers Ask

There is no other known planet system like this. Image courtesy of WP, Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Once upon a time (in the mid-1990s, to be more precise), astronomers had a beautiful theory of how planets could form.
However, since then they have found “thousands of star systems wildly different from our own.” Now the old theory is very dead.

A Nature news article describes the not-so-old-but-already discredited theory:

They gave it a rather pedestrian name: the core-accretion theory. But its beauty lay in how it used just a few basic principles of physics and chemistry to account for every major feature of our Solar System. It explained why all the planets orbit the Sun in the same direction; why their orbits are almost perfectly circular and lie in or near the plane of the star's equator; why the four inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars) are comparatively small, dense bodies made mostly of rock and iron; and why the four outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) are enormous, gaseous globes made mostly of hydrogen and helium. And because the same principles of physics and astronomy must apply throughout the Universe, it predicted that any system of 'exoplanets' around another star would look pretty much the same.”

However, exoplanets “looked nothing like those in our Solar System. Gas giants the size of Jupiter whipped around their stars in tiny orbits, where core accretion said gas giants were impossible. Other exoplanets traced out wildly elliptical orbits. Some looped around their stars' poles. Planetary systems, it seemed, could take any shape that did not violate the laws of physics.”

Now astronomers are asking why our system is so different. They have a plethora of questions but few if any answers.

It looks like our solar system has been fine-tuned to enable life to flourish on our planet. Reminds me of a book called Genesis, which describes the origin of all things with the words “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1, NKJV).


Finkbeiner, Ann. 2014. Astronomy: Planets in chaos. Nature news. (2 July).

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Miroslav Klose, Soccer and the Case for Christian Ethics

Miroslav Klose with team mate Thomas Müller in the 2014 World Cup semi-finals. Image courtesy of Agência Brasil.

Joel Kontinen

Soccer has had its share of foul play. In the 1986 world cup quarter-finals, Diego Maradona of Argentina scored a goal against England with his hand, claiming it was the "Hand of God".

Not all players in this year’s world cup have been true gentlemen. There has been no shortage of cheating. Perhaps the worst case was that of Uruguay's Luis Suarez, who bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder.

This is a striking contrast to German striker Miroslav Klose, who with his goal against Brazil became the top World Cup scorer (16 goals) of all times.

Klose is a practicing Catholic who obviously takes his religion – and Christian morals – seriously. While playing for the German Bundesliga club Werder Bremen, Klose once protested against a penalty kick the referee had given his team through error. More recently, when playing for the Italian team Lazio against Napoli, he scored with his hand and told the referee to disallow it.

One might call it honesty, which, as many would know, is a Christian virtue.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Moth Eye Inspires Better Solar Cells

The moth’s eye inspires researchers to build better solar cells. Image courtesy of Alvesgaspar, Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

The animal kingdom is full of very intelligent solutions that engineers are copying in an effort to build cheaper, more effective machines and gadgets.

One of the latest examples of biomimicry is copying the moth’s eye.

Researchers Florent Boudoire and Artur Braun at EMPA, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, made a breakthrough by examining how effectively the moth’s eye makes use of light.

According to an EMPA report:

Empa researchers have developed … a photoelectrochemical cell, recreating a moth’s eye to drastically increase its light collecting efficiency. The cell is made of cheap raw materials – iron and tungsten oxide.”

Millions of years of blind Darwinian processes could hardly produce such an elegant solution. The ability of the moth’s eye to collect light is another example of intelligent design.


Producing hydrogen with sunlight: Collecting light with artificial moth eyes. EMPA. 18 June 2014.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

First Life-Friendly Exoplanet May Not Exist

Gliese 581 d was assumed to look like this. Image courtesy of Tyrogthekreeper, via Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Once upon a time (in 2011 to be a bit more precise), Gliese 581 d was touted as the first life-friendly exoplanet.

Now, it seems that some folks were a bit too hasty. According to an article in New Scientist:

New analysis of the Gliese 581 star system suggests that signals previously attributed to two of its six suspected planets actually come from sunspot-like regions on the star itself. The same analysis builds support that three of the other four planets are real, but none of these worlds would be able to support life as we know it.”

Previously, researchers suggested that Gliese 581 g, another “first” candidate, did not exist.

Now it seems that the other planets in the Gliese 581 system, including Gliese 581 c, are real but they are outside the habitable zone.

It seems that the more astronomers learn about exoplanents, the more special our solar system in general and Earth in particular look.

Here, everything appears to be fine-tuned for life.


Aron, Jacob. 2014. First life-friendly exoplanet may not exist after all. New Scientist (3 July).

Friday, 4 July 2014

Intelligent Design in the Sand and in Us

The results of natural processes or intelligence?

Joel Kontinen

Wind, waves and erosion can produce interesting features on a sandy beach. However, occasionally we might stumble upon structures that were probably designed and produced by intelligence.

Take a sandcastle, for instance. It is a rather simple structure but few would claim that natural processes could ever produce it, even if they had a few million years in which to accomplish it by trial and error.

Yet many still claim that much more intelligent systems, such as those in our cells, are the results of blind Darwinian processes.

They seem to have a problem that is by no means a minor one.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Elegant Design Keeps Cormorants from Getting Wet

Cormorants keep their feathers dry even in deep water, thanks to an elegant solution.

Joel Kontinen

Cormorants and some other seabirds can dive to a depth 30 metres, but their protective feathers remain dry. Recently, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) examined how the birds did it. They published their research in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

According to MIT news,

It had been known that during dives, a thin insulating layer of air called a ‘plastron’ is trapped by the feathers, meaning that water never comes into direct contact with the skin below the feathers. The team’s analysis now shows that beyond a depth of a few meters — far less than the depth these birds can reach — that plastron collapses, allowing water to penetrate into the feather structures. ‘It’s an abrupt transition,’ says Cohen, the Raymond A. and Helen E. St. Laurent Professor of Chemical Engineering.”

There’s more to it, however:

But even after the collapse of the protective air layer, the preen oil changes the energy required to fully wet the feather’s barbs and barbules: In short, the wetting is reversible.”

The cormorants’ ability to stay dry is an example of amazing design we see everywhere in the animal kingdom.

Blind Darwinian mechanisms could hardly come up with so elegant solutions.


Chandler, David L. 2014. How cormorants emerge dry after deep dives. MIT News. (June 16).