Sunday, 31 August 2014
Recently, Science Daily published a report on dripstones that challenges previous views:
“Scientists have found that microscopic organisms can create dripstones in caves. The research illustrates how biological life can influence the formation of Earth's geology.”
The article reported on a group of researchers from Denmark, Sweden and Spain who investigated dripstone formation in a Swedish cave and found out that microbes played an active role in their formation.
Obviously, the previous view was too simplistic:
“According to traditional textbooks, dripstones are created by geological or geochemical processes with no influence from living organisms. But now scientists report that formation of dripstones can be a lot more complex than that: Sometimes microbes are responsible for the formation of these geological features.”
The textbook explanation features a slow process that takes thousands, if not millions of years. We now know that at least in some caves this is not true but stalagmites and stalactites get help from micro organisms. As yet, they are not sure whether this speeds up the process.
It has been known for some decades that dripstones can form much faster than generally expected. For instance, Emil Silvestru, a karstologist or cave expert with a PhD in geology, has criticised the conventional belief in millions of years for cave formation, as it is based on assumptions that cannot be verified.
Microbes can create dripstones in caves. Science Daily, August 18, 2014.
Friday, 29 August 2014
Recently, a zebra mother and a donkey father gave birth to a zonkey in a private zoo in Crimea. Telegraph, as the zonkey is named, is the latest in a series of hybrids that at least to some extent call into question the validity of what we mean by a species.
Obviously, zebras and donkeys belong to the same Genesis kind.
Telegraph also lends support to the idea that the Genesis concept kind is a much wider concept than the biological term species.
Previously, I’ve written about a liger (lion + tiger), a geep (sheep + goat) and a cross between a grizzly and a polar bear.
These hybrids are evidence of the fact that animals reproduce after their kinds, just like Genesis tells us.
Zonkey called Telegraph born at Crimean zoo. The Telegraph, 7 August 2014.
Wednesday, 27 August 2014
Naturalistic origin-of-life explanations are facing a dire crisis. This has not made an end to potential explanations, however.
Recently, New Scientist posted a YouTube video on how life might have arisen from non-life.
In a characteristically Darwinian manner it presents a scenario of what might have happened:
“How do a bunch of dead chemicals come together to make something that’s alive? Well, a living cell is basically just a bag filled with water and a few more complex molecules.”
While the video also mentions enzymes, DNA and RNA, the overall picture is far too simplistic. Cells are anything but simple. They are full of astoundingly complex miniature machines - far too complex for human engineers to manufacture on such a tiny scale.
The video envisions the “bags”, i.e. cell membranes, moving about for aeons and gobbling up all kinds of molecules, mostly junk, but then by trial and error finding just the right ingredients for life.
Millions or even billions of years of random processes could never produce a single cell, however.
As ICR physicist Jake Hebert points out, the laws of physics and chemistry will not permit life to come from non-life.
Even some secular scientists will admit that what is needed is a miracle.
How life on Earth began
Monday, 25 August 2014
Water has the ability to form – and destroy - geological features quickly. In 1999 an earthquake blocked the Da'an River in Taiwan. But the waters kept on pounding against the blockage, and by 2008 the river had formed a 25-metre wide gorge.
An article in New Scientist states:
“But it just so happens that the river has to bend through 90 degrees before entering the gorge. That means it flows at right angles to the line of the gorge just above the gorge mouth. This sideways flow makes the river extremely abrasive. In effect, it acts like a sheet of sandpaper, grinding away the upstream wall of the gorge at 17 metres a year. At this rate, the whole gorge will vanish in about 50 years.”
Millions of years are not needed for producing (or destroying) geological features. Two 20th century examples are the volcanoes Parícutin in Mexico and Mount St. Helens in the state of Washington, United States.
Mt. Parícutin began as a small fissure in a field in 1943, and reached the height of 336 metres (1,102 feet) within a year.
After Mount St. Helens erupted in May 1980, a single lava flow formed over 7.5 metres (25 feet) of sediment in just three hours.
Just imagine what a year-long global flood with plenty of water could do.
Coghlan, Andy. 2014. Vanishing river gorge shows geology in fast forward. New Scientist (17 August).
Saturday, 23 August 2014
There should be no moral judgements in atheism. Obviously, Richard Dawkins does not entirely practice what he preaches. His recent tweet on aborting an unborn baby with Down’s syndrome made headlines:
“Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice,” he wrote.
This is not the first time Dawkins is involved in a Twitter controversy. Last year he claimed that unborn human babies are less human than adult pigs.
This might well be in keeping with his evolutionary faith, but seen from a Christian perspective, it sounds outrageous.
It is interesting that Dawkins used the word immoral, as in an atheistic worldview there is no lawgiver and hence no ultimate sense of right and wrong. In order to make moral pronouncements, he has to borrow Christian terminology.
Dawkins’ tweet is an example of the moral darkness in which many people live. I would suggest that the only antidote for this dilemma is to let the true light of the gospel of Jesus Christ to shine.
That light will overcome all darkness.
Richard Dawkins: 'immoral' not to abort if foetus has Down's syndrome. The Guardian (21 August 2014).
Thursday, 21 August 2014
Dr. Steven Austin is a Bible-believing geologist who in recent years has been studying seismites, i.e., sedimentary beds disturbed by seismic shaking, in the Dead Sea area in Israel and Jordan.
Recently, he gave a talk on his findings at the Creation Super Conference.
He has noticed that the seismites show clear signs of earthquakes mentioned in the Bible, such as the one mentioned in the Old Testament book of Amos (ca. 750 BC) and the quake that took place during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
This is no surprise. We would expect the Bible to describe real people and real historical events.
Tuesday, 19 August 2014
Ideas have consequences. In the early 20th century, German intellectual and military leaders had espoused Darwinian thinking. They believed that war was inevitable and it would help in the struggle for existence by allowing the fittest to destroy the nations that were not as fit.
The Germans had already tested their theory in what became known as the first holocaust in South-West Africa (present-day Namibia) in 1896 and 1904–1908, when tens of thousands of Africans were slaughtered.
World War I (1914–1918) showed what Darwinian thinking could do.
Discovery Institute has produced a new documentary film The Biology of the Second Reich: Social Darwinism and the Origins of World War I on the hidden ideological and scientific roots of The First World War.
Sunday, 17 August 2014
Recently, The Dallas Morning News published an interesting article on the origins research currently conducted at the Institute for Creation Research.
After stating that most scientist believe in evolution, the paper went on the say:
“But at the Institute for Creation Research in northwest Dallas, a group of nine Ph.D.s from places like Harvard and Los Alamos National Laboratory say all that molecules-to-man stuff is nonsense. And they’re out to prove it.”
Yes, they are real scientists with real credentials from prestigious universities doing real research.
ICR Featured in The Dallas Morning News. ICR.
Friday, 15 August 2014
C.S. Lewis (1898–1963) is known for much more than the Narnia books. A former atheist who turned to Christianity, he also discussed the problems with a purely naturalistic /materialistic origin of the world and everything in it:
“If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents—the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts—i.e. of materialism and astronomy—are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milkjug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.”
C.S. Lewis. 1984. The Business of Heaven. Fount Paperbacks. (p. 97).
Wednesday, 13 August 2014
This year, the Creation Super Conference will be held at the Muskoka Bible Conference Centre, a two hours’ drive from Toronto, Canada.
If you can’t make it to Canada, you can still watch the sessions live at Creation2014com.
The speakers include doctors Robert Carter, John Sanford, Steve Austin, Jonathan Sarfati and Jim Mason.
You can read more about the speakers here and check the conference schedule here.
Live internet broadcast of the 2014 Super Conference will begin each day at 9.30am (GMT -5) here.
Monday, 11 August 2014
Richard Dawkins and other evolutionists have kept on insisting that the human eye is an example of poor design. He claims that no engineer would come up with so lousy design with the inverted retina.
Eye experts have shown that Dawkins erred in his statement, and Sony engineers have mimicked the human eye to make better cameras.
Dawkins should probably read a recent article on Phys.org for a more updated view on our eyes. The article is a report on research published in Nature Communications:
“Having the photoreceptors at the back of the retina is not a design constraint, it is a design feature. The idea that the vertebrate eye, like a traditional front-illuminated camera, might have been improved somehow if it had only been able to orient its wiring behind the photoreceptor layer, like a cephalopod, is folly. Indeed in simply engineered systems, like CMOS or CCD image sensors, a back-illuminated design manufactured by flipping the silicon wafer and thinning it so that light hits the photocathode without having to navigate the wiring layer can improve photon capture across a wide wavelength band. But real eyes are much more crafty than that."
The article goes on to explain:
“A case in point are the Müller glia cells that span the thickness of the retina. These high refractive index cells spread an absorptive canopy across the retinal surface and then shepherd photons through a low-scattering cytoplasm to separate receivers, much like coins through a change sorting machine. A new paper in Nature Communications describes how these wavelength-dependent wave-guides can shuttle green-red light to cones while passing the blue-purples to adjacent rods. The idea that these Müller cells act as living fiber optic cables has been floated previously. It has even been convincingly demonstrated using a dual beam laser trap. In THIS case (THIS, like in Java programming meaning the paper just brought up) the authors couched this feat as mere image transfer, with the goal just being to bring light in with minimal distortion.”
In other words, the bad design argument of the human eye is a bad argument. The eye itself is the product of wonderful workmanship.
Hewitt, John. 2014. Fiber optic light pipes in the retina do much more than simple image transfer. Phys.org (July 21).
Saturday, 9 August 2014
Biochemistry professor Michael J. Behe introduced the concept irreducible complexity in his writings, especially his book Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (Free Press, 1996).
Some things, for instance, a mousetrap, just don’t work if all the necessary parts are not present from the beginning.
Ardent evolutionists did not like the concept and they claimed that the biological systems that Behe discussed could have evolved stepwise through Darwinian processes.
However, they never succeeded in demonstrating that any such systems could have arisen stepwise.
This week Science published a paper by Montana State University researchers. According to ScienceDaily they
“made a significant contribution to the understanding of a new field of DNA research, with the acronym CRISPR, that holds enormous promise for fighting infectious diseases and genetic disorders.
The MSU-led research provides the first detailed blueprint of a multi-subunit ‘molecular machinery’ that bacteria use to detect and destroy invading viruses.”
ScienceDaily quoted the paper’s lead author Blake Wiedenheft, an assistant professor at MSU's Department of Microbiology and Immunology. He said:
"We generally think of bacteria as making us sick, but rarely do we consider what happens when the bacteria themselves get sick. Viruses that infect bacteria are the most abundant biological agents on the planet, outnumbering their bacterial hosts 10 to 1.”
Wiedenheft went on to say:
“The structure of this biological machine is conceptually similar to an engineer's blueprint, and it explains how each of the parts in this complex assemble into a functional complex that efficiently identifies viral DNA when it enters the cell. This surveillance machine consists of 12 different parts and each part of the machine has a distinct job. If we're missing one part of the machine, it doesn't work."
There you have it: a paper in the pro-evolution journal Science agrees that a least one biological machine is irreducibly complex. While the paper credits evolution, its gist and its terminology speak of intelligent design, something that is becoming increasingly obvious in biological systems.
Structure of molecular machine that targets viral DNA for destruction determined. ScienceDaily, August 7, 2014.
Thursday, 7 August 2014
Although Ebola is on a rampage in west Africa, a number of people living in remote villages keep on denying the existence of the virus disease. For them, Ebola is just too frightening to be true.
This is nothing new. Some individuals have a tendency to deny the existence of things that they fear. Charles Darwin, for instance, was afraid that if the Bible was true, some of his unbelieving relatives could well be in a place we know as hell.
His solution was to deny the reliability of the Bible and introduce a competing worldview in which there is no afterlife.
What he missed was the gospel message that gives hope for people suffering from the consequences of Adam’s sin.
Christ, the Last Adam, came to set right the mess brought about by the sin of the first Adam.
Darwin’s latter-day followers have embraced his godless ideology. They don’t want to believe in God or the afterlife, and they don’t want anyone else to believe, either.
But closing one’s eyes does not make things disappear.
Hamzelou, Jessica. 2014. Discharging Ebola survivors makes the pain worthwhile.New Scientist (6 August).
Tuesday, 5 August 2014
Darwinian icons tend to have a relatively short lifespan. Recently, research on microRNAs basically brought down any hopes of reconstructing Darwin’s tree of life.
Evolutionists believe that all living beings are related and hence belong in the same tree.
This is not the first time that hypothetical tree is in big trouble.
According to Nature news:
“As their name suggests, microRNAs are much shorter than the long RNA strands that are translated into proteins within cells. MicroRNAs instead regulate the expression of genes, an essential duty that means that the genes that code for microRNAs are expected to remain mostly unchanged from generation to generation.”
They were used to “deduce evolutionary relationships between animals.” However, “the latest findings pour cold water on what seemed like a hot approach to solving some big mysteries in evolutionary biology.”
Recent findings move animals from one branch to another, so now researchers know even less of assumed evolutionary relationships than they thought they knew previously. They admitted that they had hoped microRNAs to be silver bullets that could solve evolutionary dilemmas but they suspect that a “relatively large number of microRNAs had been lost over time.”
When it comes to microRNAs, Ken Halanych, an evolutionary biologist at Auburn University in Alabama, says: “A simple tool to decode how animals have evolved over hundreds of millions of years would certainly be nice — but it is looking unlikely that one exists.”
In other words, evolutionists don’t know how (or if) animals evolved as instead of evidence they have a theory that does not work.
Maxmen, Amy. 2014. Flaws emerge in RNA method to build tree of life. Nature news (28 July).
Sunday, 3 August 2014
Christianity Today is not exactly known for a biblical understanding of creation, Genesis or the age of the earth. It has doubted the existence of a historical Adam, for instance.
Recently, it launched a magazine called The Behemoth. The very first issue features an article on the animal that gave the publication its name.
After much speculation, author Ted Olsen surmises that the creature described in Job 40 is probably a hippo.
While a hippo might be huge, the description does not fit an animal that looks somewhat like an overgrown pig:
“Look at the behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox. What strength he has in his loins, what power in the muscles of his belly! His tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are close-knit." (Job 40:15-17, NIV)
Bible translators have often found it difficult to translate the word Behemoth. With the exception of Job 40:15, they have often rendered it as beast. The translators of the New International Version (NIV) decided to keep the name Behemoth.
But then they explain in a footnote that the animal was possibly a hippopotamus or an elephant.
The hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius) is a huge animal that can weigh up to two tons. Its Greek name πποπόταμος means ‘river horse'. The one thing that it certainly lacks is a tail like a cedar.
The elephant is not a good suggestion, either. It has a tail that is possibly even narrower than that of a hippo. A crocodile has a more cedar-like backside than either a hippo or an elephant. There is a problem, however: crocs like to eat meat and the Behemoth does not.
So perhaps the Behemoth is a huge animal that lived in Job's day but has since become extinct. Some have even suggested it might be a dinosaur.
We should remember that while the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21), this only applies to the original texts. Translations are the work of fallible men. They are not inspired.
Surprisingly, many rock paintings describing dinosaurs have been found in different parts of the world. Perhaps the most spectacular find is an engraving of two fighting sauropod dinosaurs in a 15th century tomb in Carlisle Cathedral in the UK.
The creatures have been dubbed Bishop Bell's Brass Behemoths.
This suggests that people actually saw dinosaurs 600 years ago. Certainly Job, who lived 2,000 years earlier, could also have seen dinosaurs.
Olsen, Ted. 2014. 'Behold Now Behemoth.' The Behemoth. Issue 1. Christianity Today.
Friday, 1 August 2014
They are tiny, but hummingbirds are amazing creatures.
A paper published online in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface “tested the hover performance of 26 hummingbird wings from 12 different species in a machine that measured the torque and lift the wings produced at various angles.”
Researchers at Stanford University and Wageningen University found out that the bird’s “efficiency comes from the ratio of the wing’s length to its width.”
The ScienceShot article reporting on the research goes on to say:
“The power needed to sustain a hummingbird midhover is highly dependent on the bird’s wing aspect ratio. During the down stroke, wings with a larger aspect ratio (3.5 to 4.0 for hummingbirds) use significantly less power than wings with smaller aspect ratios.”
The study also compared hummingbirds to tiny flying robots. The researchers “found that the aerodynamic performance of hummingbird wings is ‘remarkably similar’ to that of an advanced microhelicopter rotor. But the wings were up to 27% more efficient."
No wonder the ScienceShot article on hummingbirds describes their strength as awesome. They have been intelligently designed and wonderfully made.
DuRant, Hassan. 2014. The awesome strength of a hummingbird. SCIENCESHOT (29 July).