Friday, 31 October 2014
There are basically only two ways of explaining why things (and even living creatures) are built like they are.
The prevailing explanation relies on Darwinian mechanisms and it often does not do a good job of doing what it is supposed to do.
The other explanation has been banned from academia but it explains the facts and details much better.
A recent illustration features ammonite shells. A statement from CNRS, the French National Centre for Scientific Research, issued a press release on research on ammonite shells. It describes ammotines as “a group of extinct cephalopod mollusks with ribbed spiral shells”.
“The shape of living organisms evolves over time. The questions raised by this transformation have led to the emergence of theories of evolution. To understand how biological shapes change over a geological time scale, researchers have recently begun to investigate how they are generated during an individual's development and growth: this is known as morphogenesis. Due to the exceptional diversity of their shell shapes and patterns (particularly the ribs), ammonites have been widely studied from the point of view of evolution but the mechanisms underlying the coiled spirals were unknown until now. Researchers therefore attempted to elucidate the evolution of these shapes without knowing how they had emerged.”
They attempted to address this problem. What they failed to see, however, is the inherent beauty and harmony seen in the Fibonacci sequence that the shell makes use of.
There is no credible Darwinian explanation for the beauty seen everywhere in the universe, from tiny seeds, shells, the petals of a flower and compound eyes to the arms of spiral galaxies.
Physics determined ammonite shell shape National Press Release I 9 October 2014.
Wednesday, 29 October 2014
As used by some of its supporters, evolution is a tricky word in that its meaning seems to evolve (i.e. change) in a single story.
A recent illustration is an article published in the journal Science. Its title gives away the sense it is used: Rapid evolution of a native species following invasion by a congener.
The article features Anolis carolinensis, a lizard that moved higher up in a tree to evade predators. According to Science,
“In recent years, biologists have increasingly recognized that evolutionary change can occur rapidly when natural selection is strong; thus, real-time studies of evolution can be used to test classic evolutionary hypotheses directly. One such hypothesis is that negative interactions between closely related species can drive phenotypic divergence. Such divergence is thought to be ubiquitous, though well-documented cases are surprisingly rare. On small islands in Florida, we found that the lizard Anolis carolinensis moved to higher perches following invasion by Anolis sagrei and, in response, adaptively evolved larger toepads after only 20 generations. These results illustrate that interspecific interactions between closely related species can drive evolutionary change on observable time scales.”
While this is change, it is not the kind of change that gave rise to lizards. Anolis carolinensis might be living higher up in a tree, it might have slightly bigger toepads but it has not evolved – and is not evolving – into something else.
What this Darwinian story lacks is a plausible explanation of the origin of Anolis carolinensis.
Stuart, Y. E. et al. 2014. Rapid evolution of a native species following invasion by a congener. Science 346 (6208):463–466 (24 October).
Monday, 27 October 2014
Peter Singer, Professor of bioethics at Princeton University, wants to do away with the distinction between humans and chimpanzees. In attempting to make his case, he takes up the story of a 26-year old chimp “being held in solitary confinement in a wire cage.”
Tommy, as the chimp is called, “has never been convicted of any crime or even accused of one” but is nevertheless being kept behind bars.
Professor Singer wants to change the destiny of not only Tommy but of every other chimpanzee as well. He wants to re-define them as persons:
“It is time for the courts to recognize that the way we treat chimpanzees is indefensible. They are persons and we should end their wrongful imprisonment.”
He argues that chimps “have close and complex personal relationships with others in their group. They grieve for lost loved ones. They are self-aware beings, capable of thought. Their foresight and anticipation enable them to plan ahead. We can even recognize the rudiments of ethics in the way they respond to other apes who fail to return a favor.”
This is not the first time that animal rights activists have tried to treat animals as persons:
· In January 2008 a chimpanzee named Matthew Hiasl Pan made headlines throughout the world as activists attempted to get the Austrian High Court to grant it the status of a person. The court refused to do so, however.
· In June 2008 the environmental committee of the Spanish parliament approved a resolution that called for the right to life and freedom for great apes.
· In early 2010, Thomas White, a professor of ethics at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, caused a stir by suggesting that dolphins should be treated as ”non-human persons".
The common denominator in these cases is a naturalistic /materialistic worldview that does not tolerate the view that humans are special. Rejecting Genesis, creation and the image of God, it attempts to elevate apes to personhood status – and make men into monkeys.
Singer, Peter. 2014. Chimpanzees are people, too. New York Daily News. (October 21).
Saturday, 25 October 2014
In a typically Darwinian way, gaps are filled with stories that are based on assumptions.
And the assumptions are based on a naturalistic /materialistic worldview.
The journal Science illustrated this recently by publishing an article on how we tamed ourselves. This would assume that humans were originally untamed, wild or savage:
“Call a man ‘tame’ or ‘domesticated’ and he's not likely to take it as a compliment. But all of us, male and female, may have to get used to it: At a high-level meeting earlier this month, scientists argued that ‘self-domestication’ was a key process in the evolution of our species.".”
How would they know this?
“They noted that with our reduced jaws, flat faces, and lower male aggression, humans are to chimps as dogs are to wolves, showing many of the physical traits that emerge during animal domestication.”
As apes are wild, our assumed ape-like ancestors would also be untamed. The problem is that there is no objective way of investigating this. They will not allow a Divine Foot in the door, so the only game in town is to resort to naturalistic speculations even though they might be anything but convincing.
And once the ball gets rolling, there’s no stopping. The result is an avalanche of speculations:
“The accompanying changes in behavior, especially among men, might have helped humans evolve more complex language, live atop each other in cities, and work together to create sophisticated cultures. No one set out to domesticate humans, of course. But at the first-ever symposium on self-domestication of humans, held at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, researchers outlined a set of linked behavioral and anatomical changes seen both in animals that humans have tamed and in creatures that have tamed themselves, such as bonobos.”
Language and culture require intelligence, a mind. The Tower of Babel account in the book of Genesis explains human languages much better than the Darwinian version of the origin and development of language.
Gibbons, Ann. 2014. How we tamed ourselves—and became modern. Science 346 (6208): 405–406 (24 October).
Thursday, 23 October 2014
Discovered 90 years ago and made famous by Raymond Dart, the Taung Child became an icon of assumed human evolution. Also known by its scientific name Australopithecus africanus, for many decades it was the missing link – especially after the Piltdown Man disaster.
Taung Child was touted as “the first and best example of early hominin brain evolution”.
Now, however, research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) throws a dark shadow on this view. According to Science Daily:
“By subjecting the skull of the famous Taung Child to the latest CT scan technology, researchers are now casting doubt on theories that Australopithecus africanus shows the same cranial adaptations found in modern human infants and toddlers.”
The article goes on to say:
“Researchers are now casting doubt on theories that Australopithecus africanus shows the same cranial adaptations [i.e. unfused frontal bone] found in modern human infants and toddlers -- in effect disproving current support for the idea that this early hominin shows infant brain development in the prefrontal region similar to that of modern humans.”
In other words, it seems that A. africanus was just another extinct ape. This is no surprise. After all, ape men only belong to the Darwinian world and not to the real one.
Assumed human evolution has seen the rise and fall of several skulls once thought to be our ancestors, such as Ardipithecus ramidus (Ardi) and Toumai or Sahelanthropus tchadensis and Paranthropus boisei a.k.a. Nutcracker Man, for instance.
What is more, there seems to be a never-ending debate on the status of the Hobbit or Flores Man.
Taung Child's brain development not human-like? CT scan casts doubt on similarity to that of modern humans. Science Daily. (August 25, 2014).
Tuesday, 21 October 2014
As the Apostle John wrote, darkness does not tolerate light. Skeptical bloggers who are trying to discredit the Ark Encounter project in Kentucky have provided ample illustrations of this principle.
The amount of rumours and falsehoods they have come up with is staggering. They used similar tactics prior to the opening of the Creation Museum that despite the claims of skeptics has continued to attract more visitors than expected.
A favourite ploy of some secularists is that The Ark Encounter, scheduled to be opened in 2016, will be build using taxpayers’ money. This is not true at all. While Answers in Genesis will get sales tax refunds – like all other businesses in Kentucky, this will hardly match the skeptics’ claim.
They have got it all wrong. Noah's original Ark did not go down, and neither will its Kentucky version.
Ham, Ken. 2014. Down Down, or Up Up? Answers in Genesis. (September 29).
Sunday, 19 October 2014
Since the time of Darwin, the (naturalistic) origin of language has troubled evolutionists. A recent article in PLoS Biology attempts to tackle this problem.
The authors acknowledge that it is indeed an enigma:
“The evolution of the faculty of language largely remains an enigma. In this essay, we ask why. Language's evolutionary analysis is complicated because it has no equivalent in any nonhuman species. There is also no consensus regarding the essential nature of the language ‘phenotype.’ According to the ‘Strong Minimalist Thesis,’ the key distinguishing feature of language (and what evolutionary theory must explain) is hierarchical syntactic structure. The faculty of language is likely to have emerged quite recently in evolutionary terms, some 70,000–100,000 years ago, and does not seem to have undergone modification since then, though individual languages do of course change over time, operating within this basic framework.”
Johan Bolhuis and his colleagues go on to say:
“Within a remarkably short space of time, art was invented, cities were born, and people had reached the moon. By this reckoning, the language faculty is an extremely recent acquisition in our lineage, and it was acquired not in the context of slow, gradual modification of preexisting systems under natural selection but in a single, rapid, emergent event that built upon those prior systems but was not predicted by them.... For reasons like these, the relatively sudden origin of language poses difficulties that may be called ‘Darwin's problem.’ ”
Except for the part on reaching the moon, this looks a bit like a description from the early chapters of Genesis that depict humans as being intelligent and innovative from the very beginning.
It was Charles Darwin himself who initially put to words the horrid doubt that the authors refer to. Writing to William Graham on 3rd July 1881, he stated:
“But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”
While they attempt to address this problem they actually manage make things worse for Darwinism:
“Evolution by natural selection is not a causal factor of either cognitive or neural mechanisms. Natural selection can be seen as one causal factor for the historical process of evolutionary change, but that is merely stating the essence of the theory of evolution.”
It seems that evolution is an inadequate explanation for the emergence of language:
"In addition, evolutionary analysis of language is often plagued by popular, naïve, or antiquated conceptions of how evolution proceeds."
Language is an immaterial phenomenon. It cannot be explained by storytelling.
It takes intelligence (and a mind) to invent something as sophisticated as language.
For Darwinists, this is an insurmountable problem. But it is by no means the only one.
Bolhuis, Johan J. 2014. Ian Tattersall, Noam Chomsky, Robert C. Berwick. 2014. How Could Language Have Evolved? PLoS Biology 12(8): e1001934. (26 August).
Darwin correspondence project.
Friday, 17 October 2014
For long-agers, Saturn’s moons have turned out to present a bounty of surprises. Titan has rivers and lakes filled with ethane and methane. More recently, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has spotted signs of relative youth on Enceladus - jets of water-ice seem to be blasting from the tiny moon.
Now, as researchers have studied photographs taken by Cassini, they suspect that there might be a subterranean ocean on Mimas.
According to New Scientist:
“There's more to Mimas than meets the eye. The wobbles of one of Saturn's smallest moons hint at an unusual make-up below the surface – perhaps even an ocean of water hidden underground.”
This is something that believers in long ages never suspected, and some remain skeptical:
“An ocean discovery would be exciting, but a bumpy interior is probably more likely, says Francis Nimmo at the University of California, Santa Cruz. ‘It's really hard to understand how an ocean could survive for billions of years inside something as small as Mimas.’ "
But in a model based on Genesis, we would expect to see signs of relative youth all over the solar system.
Rutkin, Aviva. 2014. Saturn's moon Mimas might have its own subsurface sea. New Scientist (16 October).
Wednesday, 15 October 2014
For evolutionists, cave art is an enigma. At times, it seems to appear too early, and it is often very sophisticated – better than some contemporary art.
Recently, researchers examined a cave in Sulawesi, Indonesia that was discovered in the 1950s but not dated until now.
The assigned date – ca. 40,000 years before present – would mean that the cave has the earliest hand stencil. (The date ignores the effect of the global flood of Noah’s day.)
The impulse (and skill) to produce artwork seems to have been a global human phenomenon, with Neanderthals proving that they were no brutish apelike creatures but fully-fledged humans.
Cavemen were much smarter than we thought, but then Genesis describes early man as inventive and creative from the very dawn of humankind.
Brahic, Catherine. 2014. World's oldest hand stencil found in Indonesian cave. New Scientist 2990 (8 October).
Monday, 13 October 2014
Seeing is not always believing. A DVD produced by Creation Ministries International and featuring meteorologist Michael Oard tells the story of what happened when evidence seemed to support a watery cataclysm resembling the one described in Genesis:
“In the 1920's J. Harland Bretz, a secular geologist proposed to his colleagues evidence for a massive Flood across eastern Washington. He was rejected by the scientific community because what was proposing was too close to a catastrophic event with many characteristics closely described in the Bible.”
So for forty years during the heydays of uniformitarianism or slow gradual processes, they pretended that the evidence was not there, but it eventually became obvious that rapid cataclysms can and do produce major geological features.
Lake Missoula shows that even post-Flood cataclysms can form major geological features almost instantly. Millions of years are not needed.
Friday, 10 October 2014
Popularisers of evolution have tended to claim that their teory is still robust and that there's no dispute in the scientific community about its credibility.
However, as the ranks of the dissenters are growing, even the pro-evolution journal Nature is beginning to indicate some doubts about orthodox Darwinism:
”Charles Darwin conceived of evolution by natural selection without knowing that genes exist. Now mainstream evolutionary theory has come to focus almost exclusively on genetic inheritance and processes that change gene frequencies.
Yet new data pouring out of adjacent fields are starting to undermine this narrow stance. An alternative vision of evolution is beginning to crystallize, in which the processes by which organisms grow and develop are recognized as causes of evolution.”
In addition to the scientists who believe creation or intelligent design is a better interpretation of the data, it seems that mainline scoentists have also began to doubt the power of Darwinian processes:
”Some of us first met to discuss these advances six years ago. In the time since, as members of an interdisciplinary team, we have worked intensively to develop a broader framework, termed the extended evolutionary synthesis (EES), and to flesh out its structure, assumptions and predictions. In essence, this synthesis maintains that important drivers of evolution, ones that cannot be reduced to genes, must be woven into the very fabric of evolutionary theory.
We believe that the EES will shed new light on how evolution works. We hold that organisms are constructed in development, not simply ‘programmed’ to develop by genes. Living things do not evolve to fit into pre-existing environments, but co-construct and coevolve with their environments, in the process changing the structure of ecosystems.”
This, of course, resembles that what creationists have been saying about adaptation.
”The number of biologists calling for change in how evolution is conceptualized is growing rapidly. Strong support comes from allied disciplines, particularly developmental biology, but also genomics, epigenetics, ecology and social science. We contend that evolutionary biology needs revision if it is to benefit fully from these other disciplines. The data supporting our position gets stronger every day.”
However, it seems that many are afraid to let the facts speak for themselves:
”Yet the mere mention of the EES often evokes an emotional, even hostile, reaction among evolutionary biologists. Too often, vital discussions descend into acrimony, with accusations of muddle or misrepresentation. Perhaps haunted by the spectre of intelligent design, evolutionary biologists wish to show a united front to those hostile to science. Some might fear that they will receive less funding and recognition if outsiders — such as physiologists or developmental biologists — flood into their field.”
As expected, Nature also gave orthodox Darwinians the chance to say that there's nothing wrong with Darwinism.
However, the facts are not on their side.
Laland, Kevin. 2014. Does evolutionary theory need a rethink? Nature 514 (7524), 161–164.
Wednesday, 8 October 2014
A recent article in New Scientist states:
”In many species of giant clam, photosynthetic algae live in the clam's fleshy mantle, which is exposed to the sea and sunlight through the flaps of its shell ... In exchange for their home, the algae secrete glycerol, which feeds the clam.
The association is one of many in which animals work symbiotically with plants and algae to harvest the power of the sun.”
While the article pays lip service to Darwinian mechanisms, the actual science speaks of intelligent design:
”Giant clams have specialised cells called iridocytes that allow algae to grow in microscopic pillars, which go about 2 millimetres deep into the clam mantle. Alison Sweeney of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and her team have demonstrated that the iridocytes ensure that every last algal cell in the micro-pillar still gets its fill of sunlight, even though most of the 300 or so cells in each column have no direct access to the light."
Later on, the article even mentions design and another word related to intelligence, viz. system.
"'What makes this system in the clam special is that the design can extract every last photon from sunlight,' says Sweeney.”
In a Darwinian trial and error world, the clams might well have died off a few million years before they came up with this system.
There is no such risk in a designed and created world.
Coghlan, Andy. 2014. Clever clams and algae show how best to harvest light. New Scientist (7 October).
Monday, 6 October 2014
Secular models, such as the one relying on Milankovitch cycles (i.e. changes in the Earth's orbit around the Sun), are unable to explain why our planet would have had an ice age.
In contrast, the conditions following Noah's flood – hot oceans, evaporation and tiny particles spewed by volcanoes that would have cooled the atmosphere and caused precipitation to fall down as snow – are better explanations for the ice age.
Saturday, 4 October 2014
The BioOrigins project of ICR has brought to light interesting results on how genetics provides support for the biblical timescale and challenges the millions of years dogma.
For instance, the amount of mutations in human M DNA is consistent with the biblical timescale that takes the Genesis creation events as real istory.
Genetics is no friend of evolutionatry deep time.
Friday, 3 October 2014
Contrary to what many skeptics believe, Noah's Ark was no toy ship. There wasjackals probably room for roughly 125,000 animals the size of a sheep on board.
That's more than enough to preserve all the kinds of land animals that were alive in Noah's days.
One should not forget that the modern biological term species differs from the bibluical concept kind. Thus, there is the dog kind (wolves, dingoes, , dogs) and the cat kind (lions, tigers, leopards, cats etc.), for instance.
At least some dinosaurs never stopped growing. It is logical to assume that God probably brought younger specimens to Noah instead of the oldest and biggest individuals.
Wednesday, 1 October 2014
When is nothing not nothing? Many scientists who embrace a naturalistic /materialistic worldview do believe in a beginning of sorts, but one might ask whether it is at all possible to get everything from nothing, thanks to a quantum fluctuation.
Jake Hebert, who has a PhD in physics, suggests that this nothing cannot really be nothing, as the energy for the fluctuation was already present within the vacuum.
Hebert, Jake. 2012. A Universe from Nothing? Acts & Facts 41 (7): 11-13.