Tuesday, 30 December 2014
There’s no shortage of Darwinian just so stories that attempt to explain the origin and evolution of human language. However, in a paper published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology a team of well-known researchers including Marc Hauser, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin acknowledge that they don’t have a clue as to how humans accrued the ability to use words and put them into sentences.
Hauser et al. write:
“Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved. We show that, to date, (1) studies of nonhuman animals provide virtually no relevant parallels to human linguistic communication, and none to the underlying biological capacity; (2) the fossil and archaeological evidence does not inform our understanding of the computations and representations of our earliest ancestors, leaving details of origins and selective pressure unresolved; (3) our understanding of the genetics of language is so impoverished that there is little hope of connecting genes to linguistic processes any time soon; (4) all modeling attempts have made unfounded assumptions, and have provided no empirical tests, thus leaving any insights into language's origins unverifiable. Based on the current state of evidence, we submit that the most fundamental questions about the origins and evolution of our linguistic capacity remain as mysterious as ever, with considerable uncertainty about the discovery of either relevant or conclusive evidence that can adjudicate among the many open hypotheses.”
They contrast animal and human communication, saying:
“Talking birds and signing apes rank among the most fantastic claims in the literature on language evolution, but examination of the evidence shows fundamental differences between child language acquisition and nonhuman species' use of language and language-like systems. For instance, dogs can respond to a few hundred words, but only after thousands of hours of training; children acquire words rapidly and spontaneously generalize their usage in a wide ranges of contexts (Kaminski et al., 2004; Pilley and Reid, 2011). Similarly, Nim Chimpsky, the chimpanzee that produced the only public corpus of data in all animal language studies, produced signs considerably below the expected degree of combinatorial diversity seen in two-year old children (Yang, 2013), and with no understanding of syntactic structure or semantic interpretation.”
They also discuss mutations in the FOXP2 gene that some have associated with language evolution and conclude that this is not a viable explanation.
Concluding their paper, they state: “These are all big IFs about the nature and possibility of future evidence. Until such evidence is brought forward, understanding of language evolution will remain one of the great mysteries of our species.”
Unlike animals, humans seem to be programmed to learn language. For those who take Genesis seriously, this would not be a big surprise, as Adam was able to communicate with God from day one.
Hauser, Marc, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin. 2014. The mystery of language evolution. Frontiers in Psychology 5 (401).
Monday, 29 December 2014
Due to a technical hitch, I posted this article on DNA and the origin of life in Finnish in this blog. Please come back tomorrow, as I hope to continue posting in English here.
Evolutionistit käyttävät veronmaksajien rahoja surutta etsiessään viestejä älykkäästä elämästä ja elämän synnystä muualla universumissa. Jos he löytäisivät vaikka kuinka pienen viestin tahansa, he pomppisivat riemusta.
Etsintä ei ole tuottanut tulosta.
Viesti edellyttää aina lähettäjää. Edes metsästä löytynyt kaiverrus ei ole voinut syntyä sattumalta. Mielikuvitusolento ei myöskään ole voinut saada sitä aikaan. Viestin lähettäjä tuntee ainakin joitakin latinalaisten aakkosten kirjaimia ja melko yleismaailmallisen sydämeen liitetyn symboliikan.
Me ja muut elävät olennot olemme täynnä merkkejä suunnittelusta. Parhain esimerkki lienee DNA.
DNA sisältää elämän rakennusohjeet. Se on tihein mahdollinen tietopankki, jossa neljällä kirjaimella voidaan muodostaa kolmikirjaimisia sanoja.
Tietojärjestelmään kuuluu myös oikoluku ja automaattinen korjaus.
Microsoftin perustaja Bill Gates on todennut: ”DNA on kuin tietokoneohjelma, mutta paljon monimutkaisempi kuin mitä me pystymme tekemään.”
Monet myöntävät, että elämä ei voi syntyä sattumalta, ja jotkut ovat spekuloineet, että avaruusolentojen on täytynyt jättää oma puumerkkinsä maapallon elämään – DNA-koodin.
Tämä on silkkaa toiveajattelua. Naturalismin nimeen vannovat raamattuskeptikot ainoastaan työntävät ratkaisua kauemmaksi ulkoavaruuteen, koska myös avaruusolioiden on täytynyt syntyä jossain.
Meillä ei ole mitään todisteita siitä, että pienet vihreät pienet pystyisivät luomaan elämää – eikä edes siitä, että heitä on olemassa. He taitavat Mörri Möykyn ja apinaihmisten tavoin olla pelkkiä satuolentoja.
Sunday, 28 December 2014
The Rosetta spacecraft has busted a popular naturalistic theory (or should one say story?) of how Earth got its water.
According to a report published in Wired,
“Countless comet impacts were thought to have delivered water to Earth not long after the planet formed 4.6 billion years ago. But new measurements from Rosetta, which is studying comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, reveal that the chemical signature of water in the comet is nothing like what's found in Earth's oceans.”
Measured by a mass spectrometer on board the Rosetta spacecraft, the deuterium/hydrogen ratio of the comet’s water is roughly three times bigger than the corresponding ratio on Earth.
This has prompted researchers to conclude that Earth’s waters cannot have come from comets.
Some scientists believe that Earth had liquid water from the very beginning. This would be in agreement with the creation account in Genesis.
Moreover, earlier this year, Canadian scientists found evidence of “massive amounts” of subterranean water on Earth.
Woo, Marcus. 2014. Rosetta gives first clues on origin of Earth's water. Wired (11 December).
Friday, 26 December 2014
Soft tissue should not last millions of years. Neither should one expect to find radiocarbon (C-14) in bones assumed to be tens of millions of years old.
C-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years. In effect this means that a bone assumed to be over 100,00 years old should not have any measurable amounts of radiocarbon left.
But they do. Nevertheless, as naturalistic/materialistic dogma is infallible in the eyes of some if not most of the beholders, they cannot allow the facts to spoil a good theory.
Wednesday, 24 December 2014
There’s one thing that mankind has succeeded in. Just watch the news, and you’ll see what I mean. It is making this world far less than an optimal place to be in.
This syndrome hails from the beginning of human history. Known as the Fall, it marks man’s rebellion against his Maker. Its consequences are evident everywhere in the world.
However, God, who created us in His image, knew this sad state of affairs. He stepped into human history as a being just like us to provide the ultimate antidote to sin, disease and suffering.
The first Christmas brought good news of great joy for all people who are willing to accept God’s Christmas present, the best He could give – Himself.
Monday, 22 December 2014
Some dinosaurs were huge. Others were small. But it seems that at least the bigger dinos had a rapid growth spurt (two years or something like that) during which they grew to be really huge.
Noah probably took young dinosaurs on board the ark. They would not be too huge and they would reach full maturity just after the Flood.
The ark was enormous, so there would be enough room for two individuals of every kind of animal on board.
Saturday, 20 December 2014
While the Gospel of John is silent about the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem, it goes back in time to the very beginning of the universe.
It also discloses why some people are afraid of the Lord Jesus. He is the true Light; as they love moral darkness and shun the light, they have reason to be afraid.
Thus, some will claim that the letters C-H-R-I-S-T in Christmas cause them anxiety.
However, in Spain buses will display the Feliz Navidad ('Merry Christmas') sign, and there is no dispute about whose birth it refers to. Christmas evening is Nochebuena ('good evening'). The good has to do with the birth of Christ. Almost every town, village, shopping centre and even hotel has its belen, featuring Jesus, Mary, Joseph and a host of other characters including shepherds, wise men, fishers and farmers.
And remember: God’s perfect love casts away fear.
Thursday, 18 December 2014
Dry landscapes provide an interesting laboratory into the After Its Kind principle mentioned in Genesis.
When the weather is really dry for months or perhaps years on end, everything looks dead. However, rain does wonders to a bush that looked like it would never revive.
This happened recently on the Spanish island of Lobos in the Canary Isles. The very same kinds that had been dormant for ages were suddenly very green – like they were programmed to resume their life after a long slumber.
Each species and each kind seemed to know what kind of bush or flower it would become.
We live in a logical world. Darwinian mechanisms cannot explain reality.
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Throughout the Bible, a lamb symbolizes purity and our need to atone for our trespasses.
However, that is something we cannot do. God, who knows everything, knew this and so He provided a means for our atonement.
Adam’s sin brought bad things to our world. Christmas marks the time when God sent His Lamb – the Lord Jesus Christ – to the world to eventually provide the ultimate sacrifice for sin.
Without the initial trespass in Eden there would be no need for Bethlehem that was the first step towards Calvary where the Lamb of God took away our sins.
Sunday, 14 December 2014
According to Darwinian dogma, big mammals were not supposed to live during the heyday of the dinosaurs. However, research has shown that this is false.
Recently, scientists “unearthed in Madagascar the fossil of a remarkable creature resembling a big groundhog that lived about 66 million years ago and, at about 20 pounds (9 kg), was enormous compared to most other mammals of the Mesozoic Era.”
The researchers dubbed the animal Vintana sertichi. The first part of the name means luck in the Malagasy language.
However, when it comes to orthodox Darwinism, the find was not such as stroke of luck as they would believe as it shows that once again, their theory was wrong.
Dunham, Will. 2014. Ancient critter from Madagascar rewrites early mammalian history. Reuters (5 November).
Saturday, 13 December 2014
The genetic difference between humans and chimps has been evolving, if one could use that word. However, the change has gone in the wrong direction – i.e., the gulf separating us and them has become wider and wider.
Well, perhaps it might be more honest to say that the difference has not increased but now researchers have learnt of differences they were previously unwilling to acknowledge – at least partly for ideological reasons.
Museums used to put the difference at 1–2 per cent, then it became 5 – 6, then a whopping 23 and the latest figure is around 30 per cent.
The journal Nature acknowledged that the Y chromosomes of the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and humans are ”horrendously different from each other”.
We share 50 per cent of our genes with bananas without being half bananas, but that is an entirely different story.
Thursday, 11 December 2014
In a Darwinian dog-eat-dog world, there should be no incentive for anyone to be good, as it really does not matter. Atoms just keep on bumping into each other in a callous universe.
But many of us know empirically that both good and evil do exist. The ultimate explanation for this is a cosmic battle between the forces of light and the armies of darkness described in the Bible.
Atheists might try to trap Christians by invoking the existence of evil. However, they can’t explain why there is so much good, even altruism, in the world.
The Bible tells us about God who loved us so much that He was willing to become poor for our sake, and to die for us to bring us into His everlasting kingdom – if only we choose to welcome Him.
Saturday, 6 December 2014
Zoologist Ann Gauger has for instance tested how enzymes are supposed to evolve, but she has noticed that they cannot.
In an article discussing enzyme evolution, doctor Gauger says: “If you start with the assumption that evolution is true, and view all evidence through those glasses, you won't even notice that your argument chases its tail.”
Looks like circular reasoning.
She says that since scientists agree that modern enzymes can't evolve genuinely new functions, they have to believe that things must have worked in different ways in the past. But that is an assumption that science cannot verify.
In other words, fact-free Darwinian storytelling does not merit being called science.
Ann Gauger 2014. Is Evolution True? Laying Out the Logic (December 5).
Friday, 5 December 2014
Darwinian evolution suffers from a chronic lack of valid evidence for the theory. It postulates a tree of life but even evolutionists would agree that it does not exist.
Instead of resembling a tree, the fossil record looks more like a bush or an orchard – just like what believers in creation have said all along.
At Christmas and Easter time we usually almost always see headlines about amazing new Bible discoveries that attempt to re-write history.
This time, filmmaker and amateur archaeologist Simcha Jacobovici teamed up with York University religious studies Professor Barrie Wilson to disclose new "facts" about Mrs Jesus.
Jacobovici is known for his involvement in past controversies, such as the discovery of Jesus’ tomb nails, Jesus’ tomb and the family tomb of Jesus.
Readers of Dan Brown’s fiction would guess that the lady is Mary Magdalene. Jacobovici, who is not afraid of controversy (and obviously welcomes the attention and remuneration it brings), claims that she was "not just Mrs. Jesus. She's a co-deity, a co-Redeemer."
How did he come up with this bizarre view?
He found an ancient manuscript in the British Library. The text was written almost 500 years after the New Testament gospels. An article in Huffington Post has more details:
“The ‘The Lost Gospel’ is built around a new interpretation of an ancient text, ‘The Story of Joseph and Aseneth.’ Jacobovici and Wilson studied a 1,500-year-old Syriac-language version of the story in the London library.
Most religious scholars think the text explains why the Hebrew patriarch Joseph came to marry a gentile, but Wilson and Jacobovici say it is a coded tale that actually relates the story of Jesus, his wife and their children.”
It is no surprise that most experts are not at all convinced.
Neither am I.
Lawless, Jill, 2014. Jesus Married Mary Magdalene And Had Kids, Controversial Researcher Simcha Jacobovici Claims. The Huffington Post (12 November).
Thursday, 4 December 2014
Recently, Turkish politicians have come up with interesting views about the history of science. First, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that Muslims discovered the Americas in the 12th century. Then Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Işık revealed that Muslim scientists led by al-Khwarizmi discovered that the world was round – at a time when Europe had its darkest ages.
Or were they so dark after all?
Many people still believe that intellectual darkness prevailed in Europe during the Medieval Period (i.e., from roughly AD 500 to AD 1500). They assume that even the few scholars who existed at the time thought that the earth was flat.
However, it would be very difficult to find any reputable medieval source that could corroborate this view. Most scholars who wrote on the shape of the earth said that our planet was round.
One of the earliest writers to do so was the English monk known as Saint Bede or the Venerable Bede (673–735). In his book De temporum ratione (On the Reckoning of Time), he explicitly stated that the earth was round.
Iohannes de Sacrobosco (ca. 1195–1256) was a monk and an astronomer who wrote an entire book on the shape of the earth. Entitled De sphaera mundi (On the Sphere of the World), it was published in 1230. His argumentation sounds very modern:
“THE EARTH A SPHERE. -- That the earth, too, is round is shown thus. The signs and stars do not rise and set the same for all men everywhere but rise and set sooner for those in the east than for those in the west; and of this there is no other cause than the bulge of the earth. Moreover, celestial phenomena evidence that they rise sooner for Orientals than for westerners. For one and the same eclipse of the moon which appears to us in the first hour of the night appears to Orientals about the third hour of the night, which proves that they had night and sunset before we did, of which setting the bulge of the earth is the cause.”
Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) was probably the greatest theologian of the Middle Ages. In his Summa Theologica, he described the earth as being round like a ball. He pointed out that it was not shaped like a shield.
In addition to books, we can also see evidence for a spherical earth in the symbols that the rulers of the Byzantine Empire and the Holy Roman Empire used. A coin minted during the reign of Emperor Theodeseus II (who ruled from AD 408 to AD 450) already shows the Globus Cruciger, which is Latin for “cross-bearing orb”. The cross symbolises the victory of Christ on the cross and the orb beneath it depicts the shape of the Earth.
The Globus Cruciger became a symbol of imperial power. For instance, a 7th century coin depicts Emperor Leontius holding this object.
A medieval painting shows Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor (1017–1056), being presented with this symbolic sphere. And a 13th century painting shows Emperor Fredrick I Barbarossa holding the Globus Cruciger in his hand.
It looks very round.
For many centuries, the Globus Cruciger was used as a symbol in the crown jewels of several European monarchies.
It thus seems that there is no historically sound basis for the belief that people in the Medieval Period thought that the earth was flat like a pancake.
But the Jews already knew that the earth was round in the 7th century B.C. The prophet Isaiah wrote: “He [God] sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers” (Isaiah 40:22, NIV).
Tuesday, 2 December 2014
For millions of people, regardless of whether they are child soldiers dragging their heavy rifles in the African bush, East European women forced into prostitution or little Asian kids drudging long hours in factories, slavery is an all-too-real part of their daily life.
The United Nations estimates that currently “21 million women, men and children are trapped in slavery all over the world.”
Slavery robs them of their human dignity.
Today, on the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, it is good to remember that many of the pioneers in the struggle against enslaving other human beings were Christians.
Even some sceptics will acknowledge that it was the undaunted efforts of William Wilberforce (1759–1833), a Christian politician, that succeeded in putting an end to the slave trade in the British Empire in 1833.
Missionary doctor and explorer David Livingstone (1813 - 1873) fought against the slave trade that was rampant in Africa.
Following Jesus’ example, many Christians have sought to ease the plight of the oppressed and downtrodden. Seen from an evolutionary perspective, this is difficult to understand but it serves to show that the Christian gospel is a holistic phenomenon.
International Day for the Abolition of Slavery