Monday, 31 August 2015
The basically uniformitarian timescale with its slow gradual processes and a belief in millions of years often fails to account for the facts or geological formations that defy them.
In Australia, one of the 12 Apostles fell into the ocean and is no more. Uluru and the Three Sisters have fared a little better.
Writing in Live Science, Elizabeth Goldbaum explores the gravity-defying rocks of California. Believed to be 10,000 years old, these Precariously Balanced Rocks (PBRs), as they are called, defy old age thinking. She describes them as “giant rocks stacked in seemingly gravity-defying poses.”
Some of them are near active faults in Southern California, but they have not yet toppled despite being beaten by wind and rain for aeons:
“PBRs typically develop over thousands or tens of thousands of years, and they can be found around the globe, including in other earthquake-prone spots in the United States and New Zealand…There are more than 1,200 PBRs just in California and western Nevada.”
They can’t be 10,000 years old, as that would make them older than the Flood of Noah’s day – and even older than Adam. But they’re more likely to be able to withstand erosion and earthquakes for, say 4,500 years, than over twice that time that belief in a billions-of-years old Earth would require.
Goldbaum, Elizabeth. 2015. Why 10,000-Year-Old Gravity-Defying Rocks Haven't Toppled. Live Science (7 August).
Saturday, 29 August 2015
New Scientist has an intriguing article on Earth-like planets:
Peter Behroozi of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, and Molly Peeples “combined the latest exoplanet statistics with our understanding of how galaxies form stars.”
“It suggests there are currently 10^20, or 100 billion billion, Earth-like planets in the universe, with an equivalent number of gas giants. ‘Earth-like’ doesn’t mean an exact replica of our planet, but rather a rocky world that, if blanketed by a suitable atmosphere, would hold liquid water on its surface. Applied to the solar system, this definition would include Mars and Venus but not Mercury or the moon.”
This is not the first time we hear something like this. In 2013, Fox News claimed that at least “8.8 billion Earth-size, just-right planets” had been found.
They had actually found nothing.
This definition is bound to give vastly inflated numbers. Venus and Mars orbit the Sun in the goldilocks zone or habitable zone but that does not make them habitable.
We know of exactly one planet that has sentient life – Earth.
All the rest is speculation based on the idea that given the chance to do so, life just pops up.
What they ignore is that life only comes from life. Only an intelligent Mind could produce the wonders we see around us.
Aron, Jacob. 2015. More than 100 billion billion Earth-like planets might exist. New Scientist 3036. (29 August).
Thursday, 27 August 2015
Charles Darwin could hardly have surmised that a tiny Galapagos bird named after him would be clever enough to make its own insect repellent.
A research team from the University of Vienna found that Darwin’s finches picked leaves from guava trees and rubbed them into their feathers.
According to New Scientist, the “leaves repel mosquitoes and inhibit the growth of the bloodthirsty parasitic larvae.”
Contrary to evolutionary expectations, we would expect animals to have enough intelligence to cope in a fallen world. God, who created everything, did not forget the sparrow – or even the finch.
The Darwinian blind watchmaker could hardly have invented the amazing solutions we see in the animal kingdom.
Gliding spiders, moths that seem to defy the laws of physics, super sunscreen from fish, and the amazing design features in the octopus show that the Genesis-based model describes reality much better than the evolution model.
Blaszczak-Boxe, Agata. 2015. Darwin’s fast-evolving finches use a natural insect repellent. New Scientist (27 August).
Tuesday, 25 August 2015
It is seldom easy to follow naturalistic logic on the origin of life. A recent example might illustrate quite well what I mean:
Researchers found water “oozing from rocky fractures 2 kilometres below the surface at the Kidd mine near Timmins in Ontario.” The researchers believe that the rocks are
“the ancient remains of hydrothermal vents formed at the bottom of Earth’s early oceans, and that means the water they contain could reveal important details about the chemistry that might have occurred at such vents before life began exerting its influence.”
One of the problems with this scenario is that the water “appears to show no signs of life.” The researchers think that it is “1.5 billion years old” and has “all the ingredients of a primordial soup.”
But there’s no life. Chemicals don’t just turn into living cells. And a lack of time is obviously not a valid option.
What they overlooked is that life only comes from life. All attempts to construe even a faintly plausible naturalistic explanation of how life began have turned out to be utter failures.
Charles Darwin’s warm little pond didn’t work, and neither did the water world hypothesis. The RNA world is not viable, and panspermia or life from space has not fared any better. Saying that life is a product of many lucky turns of events is a non-solution.
The only viable solution for the origin of life dilemma is introduced in the Book of Genesis: "In the beginning, God created."
Barras, Colin. 2015. Watery time capsule hints at how life got started on early Earth. New Scientist (20 August).
Sunday, 23 August 2015
Many planets and moons in our solar system look far too young to be as old as the current secular consensus would assert, i.e. 4.5 billion years.
Researchers suspect that Saturn’s moon Enceladus has an underground ocean. Without it, the moon could hardly be as old as they believe it is.
A brief article in Science states:
“A watery layer beneath Enceladus’s crust has long been suspected to exist because of the constant eruption of geysers at its southern pole. But scientists have said that any such ocean should have frozen over the lifetime of the Saturn system.”
It’s a huge problem for the belief in billions of years. Researchers have attempted to solve the dilemma by suggesting that Enceladus may have a “rubble-filled pile of boulders and ice at its core, rather than a more conventional solid stone center.”
Some of the attempts used in bolstering up faith in an old solar system are beginning to sound like the epicycles that were used to explain the movements of the planets in the ancient Ptolemaic (geocentric) system.
Planets were assumed to move around in tiny circles as they orbited the Earth. This could explain some of the observations but not all and eventually the geocentric model was discarded.
It seems that faith in a billions-of-years-old solar system also needs epicycles, as the facts do not otherwise support the theory.
Many planets, moons and even asteroids look far too young, for instance Mercury, Venus, the dwarf planet Ceres, Saturn and its moons Titan and Mimas, Jupiter’s moons Io and Europa, Pluto and its moon Charon and even the asteroid 24 Themis.
Redd, Nola Taylor. Saturn’s moon has a fluffy heart. ScienceShot (21 August).
Friday, 21 August 2015
Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden have examined how birds supposedly diversified during the past “65 million years.” While relying on Darwinian thinking, they found no evidence for Darwin’s Tree of Life, once touted as an icon of evolution.
Their genomic study actually found evidence against evolution (though the researchers were reluctant to admit the full import of what they found:
“By using the jumping genes, or so-called retrotransposed elements, the Uppsala researchers have found that, for instance, a cuckoo can be more closely related to a hummingbird than a pigeon in a certain part of its genome, while the opposite holds true in another part. The study found numerous examples to corroborate the existence of the phenomenon.”
This is not the first time Darwin’s Tree of Life has been shown to be more myth than fact. For instance, in 2009, New Scientist published a cover story that basically stated that there’s no such thing. In 2014 research on microRNAs likewise suggested that the tree has fallen.
“The Tree of Life should often be understood as a Bush of Life,” the Uppsala researchers interpret their findings. Take away the adverb often, and this begins to sound like the after its kind model we’re introduced to in the Book of Genesis.
Koffmar, Linda. 2015. Livets träd – mer som en buske. Uppsala universitet (19 August).
Wednesday, 19 August 2015
There’s much more variety in animal skills than anyone could have anticipated. The latest example is a spider that can dive from trees and survive.
Scientists from the University of Louisville in Kentucky recently filmed gliding spiders of the genus Selenops.
Released from a height of 24 metres, in over 90 per cent of their attempts, the spiders were able to land on a nearby tree trunk, which could be up to five metres away.
The spiders used their front legs to steer them to safety.
New Scientist suggested a Darwin of the gaps explanation for the ability: “The gliding behaviour evolved because spiders that fall to the ground are more likely to be eaten.”
But merely saying that a behaviour evolved does not disclose how it could have evolved. And the convergent evolution explanation doesn’t help, either.
The amazing variety of abilities seen in the animal kingdom speaks of creation. Moths, for instance, seem to defy the laws of physics. Bowerbirds can imitate practically anything they hear.
Some other examples include jellyfish navigation, butterfly design and the moth’s eye.
Intelligent solutions do not have their origin in blind Darwinian processes.
Le Page, Michael. 2015. First glimpse of skydiving spiders showing off gliding skills. New Scientist (19 August).
Monday, 17 August 2015
Butterflies have an amazingly effective way of making use of solar energy. A paper recently published in the journal Scientific Reports looks at how humans could try to copy the system they use.
A report in Phys.org states:
“The humble butterfly could hold the key to unlocking new techniques to make solar energy cheaper and more efficient, pioneering new research has shown.
A team of experts from the University of Exeter has examined new techniques for generating photovoltaic (PV) energy - or ways in which to convert light into power.
They showed that by mimicking the v-shaped posture adopted by Cabbage White butterflies to heat up their flight muscles before take-off, the amount of power produced by solar panels can increase by almost 50 per cent.
Crucially, by replicating this 'wing-like' structure, the power-to-weight ratio of the overall solar energy structure is increased 17-fold, making it vastly more efficient.”
We cannot credit Darwinian mechanisms for this innovative design, nor was it Mother Nature’s invention.
An intelligent solution requires a Designer who used intelligence.
From self-assembling solar panels to the amazing design of the seahorse’s tail, the number of amazing design features seen in nature – and even in us – is staggering. (Read more here, here,
here and here.)
Such design shows that the world we live in is not a Darwinian one.
Phys.org 2015. Butterflies heat up the field of solar research. July 31).
Saturday, 15 August 2015
Science publications tend to bestow praise on the amazing dexterity of the octopus. A Nature News item used the expression eight-legged marvel and a more recent article had the words uncanny intelligence in its title.
It is obvious that the octopus is wonderfully made:
“With its eight prehensile arms lined with suckers, camera-like eyes, elaborate repertoire of camouflage tricks and spooky intelligence, the octopus is like no other creature on Earth.
Researchers want to understand how the cephalopods, a class of free-floating molluscs, produced a creature that is clever enough to navigate highly complex mazes and open jars filled with tasty crabs.”
Recently, an international team of scientists sequenced the genome of the California two-spot octopus (Octopus bimaculoides).
The results were astounding:
“Surprisingly, the octopus genome turned out to be almost as large as a human’s and to contain a greater number of protein-coding genes — some 33,000, compared with fewer than 25,000 in Homo sapiens".
The article went on to say:
“The independent computing power of the arms, which can execute cognitive tasks even when dismembered, have made octopuses an object of study for neurobiologists such as Hochner and for roboticists who are collaborating on the development of soft, flexible robots.”
So, once again researchers are trying to imitate an intelligent solution they see in the animal kingdom. The amazing design we see in the octopus displays the prowess of the Creator who made everything to work perfectly, even in a fallen world tainted by the consequences of Adam’s (and Eve’s) sin.
What is puzzling for evolutionists is that the fossil record shows that the octopus has hardly changed in “95 million years”.
While the Nature video clip credits evolution for the amazing features exhibited by the octopus, the evidence unambiguously points to creation.
Abbott, Alison. 2015. Octopus genome holds clues to uncanny intelligence: DNA sequence expanded in areas otherwise reserved for vertebrates. Nature News (12 August).
Thursday, 13 August 2015
The cross divides. While Christians will gladly sing about the old rugged cross and won’t hesitate to survey the wondrous cross, some others tend to see red.
For us, it is a sign of hope, but for others it is something to be afraid of.
American atheists have a nasty habit of litigating against outdoor crosses or anything that looks like one, or even a statue depicting Christ.
They are not the only ones who take a dislike to symbols that characterise Christianity.
Within a two-year period Chinese leaders have sanctioned (and probably ordered) the removal of over 1,200 large crosses from churches in the Zhejiang province. This has prompted protests from Christians whose religious freedom is being curtailed.
This reminds us that following Christ has never been easy – but it is incredibly rewarding, both for this life and the next. No other religion can offer us friendship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Phillips, Tom. 2015. China's Christians protest 'evil' Communist campaign to tear down crosses. The Guardian (27 July).
Tuesday, 11 August 2015
“How the mighty have fallen!” (2 Samuel 1:27, NIV).
We used to think that only a few rogue types would succumb to cheating in athletics but obviously we were wrong. The Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD/WDR published data that have caused consternation for sports fans, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), and probably also caused a few athletes to loose their sleep.
Here’s the BBC’s summary of the findings:
“· A third of medals (146, including 55 golds) in endurance events at the Olympics and World Championships between 2001 and 2012 were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious tests. It is claimed none of these athletes have been stripped of their medals.
· More than 800 athletes – one in seven of those named in the files – have recorded blood tests described by one of the experts as ‘highly suggestive of doping or at the very least abnormal’.”
Just when the sporting world had begun to recover from FIFA’s bribery scandal, we got to know about another, more serious case of cheating.
They haven’t fared much better in other areas: Scientific misconduct is rampant, and Planned Parenthood’s heinous crimes have tarnished its reputation beyond repair.
Could all this say something about our times and the world we’re living in? I suspect it does. If we believe that no one sees us and that we’re not accountable to anyone, we’ll be more prone to do things we otherwise wouldn’t.
But the supernatural realm is real. Whether we acknowledge it or not, God our Creator sees us and knows what we do. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, many try to hide from Him, but they cannot.
He came to seek and find the ones who were lost.
Roan, Dan. 2015. Leaked IAAF doping files: Wada 'very alarmed' by allegations. BBC (2 August).
Sunday, 9 August 2015
While most astronomers would say that the solar system is 4.5 billion years old, many planets, moons or other foreign worlds don’t look their assumed age.
A recent article in phys.org addresses the problem:
"Planets tend to cool as they get older, but Saturn is hotter than astrophysicists say it should be without some additional energy source.
The unexplained heat has caused a two-billion-year discrepancy for computer models estimating Saturn's age. 'Models that correctly predict Jupiter to be 4.5 billion years old find Saturn to be only 2.5 billion years old,' says Thomas Mattsson, manager of the high-energy-density physics theory group at DOE's Sandia National Laboratories.”
Researchers suggest that the young looks of Saturn could be due to helium rain. What they did not question was the age of the solar system, which is even more suspect, as Mercury, Venus, Jupiter’s moons Io and Europa, Saturn’s moons Titan, Mimas and Enceladus, and Pluto also look too young for a “4.5 billion-year-old” solar system.
Hurst, Darrick. 2015. Sandia's Z machine helps solve Saturn's 2-billion-year age gap. Phys.org (14 July).
Friday, 7 August 2015
Ideologies played a major role in most if not all the devastating wars of the 20th century. We had Nationalism, Colonialism, Nazism and Communism as well as some other isms.
Historians will tell us that the German leaders drew inspiration from Darwinian evolution. Their struggle for existence led to World War I and the lust for revenge prompted them to start the second major conflict that turned out to be even deadlier than the first.
Nazi death camps illustrated the words that Jesus said: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10a, NIV).
Then the former allies used other nations to fight a number of proxy wars in Asia, Central America and Africa.
However, worldwide, the abortion industry has probably killed more people than the other wars combined.
Now, 70 years after the devastating bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is there still hope for mankind?
Yes, the Prince of Peace has promised to give us His peace, provided we accept His conditions.
I would say that the only remedy is a return to biblical ethics that compels us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and our neighbour as ourselves. (Luke 10:27)
Wednesday, 5 August 2015
Even if people are often reluctant to defend biblical history, old stones do not share our hesitation.
Archaeologists tend to find ruins and old monuments in just the places where the Bible indicates they should be. The most recent example is the city of Gath where the Philistine giant Goliath used to live.
Archaeologists from Bar-Ilan University, led by professor Aren Maeir, excavated the fortifications and entrance gate of the city. They uncovered “a monumental city gate.”
They also found early Philistine inscriptions and evidence of an 8th century B.C. earthquake that seems to be the one mentioned in Amos 1:1.
Far from being myth, the Old Testament records real history – it describes real people who lived at real places at a real stage of human history.
It is a book we can trust, even when it speaks about human origins.
Archaeologists uncover a monumental city gate and fortification of the biblical city of Philistine Gath (home of Goliath). Bar-Ilan University press release (4 August).
Monday, 3 August 2015
We humans are creative. However, when we look at – or learn about – the ingenious solutions around us, we have to admit that Someone much wiser than us thought of it first.
A recent paper published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces presents a new super sunscreen that is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. It is an entirely natural product that makes use of mycosporines and mycosporine-like amino acids mixed with a chemical called chitosan that is obtained from the shells of shrimp and other crustaceans.
Reporting on the innovation, New Scientist attempted to introduce an evolutionary spin on the story:
“Some species of algae, bacteria and fish that spend a lot of time in the sun have evolved sun shields that absorb the DNA-damaging UV rays in sunlight. These chemicals, known as Mycosporine-like amino acids, have now been turned into a material that can be applied like a sunscreen to skin, as well as objects such as outdoor furniture that are at risk of UV damage.”
The Darwinian storytelling is entirely superfluous, as animals can’t decide what they evolve or don’t evolve, and Darwin’s watchmaker is supposed to be blind.
But the paper is yet another reminder of the wonderful design seen in the animal kingdom. The sunscreen is by far more effective than any others.
Biomimicry or copying design seen in nature has become a lucrative field of engineering. (Read more here, here, here and here.)
Design, one might suggest, implies a Designer.
Slezak, Michael. Mix fish secretions with shrimp shells to make super sunscreen. New Scientist (31 July).
Saturday, 1 August 2015
An American dentist killed a famous lion in Zimbabwe. Many were furious, and understandably so, as luring Cecil the Lion outside a national park and shooting it with a bow was not a humane thing to do. The badly wounded animal was killed the next day.
Some were calling for the dentist to be hanged.
In contrast, when it became obvious that Planned Parenthood was engaged in a profitable business selling organs harvested from aborted babies, the criticism was much more muted.
One might suspect that this has something to do with evolutionary thinking that attempts to downplay human exceptionalism and treat us as animals and animals as persons.
Bomberger, Ryan. 2015. Cecile Versus Cecil: One is the World’s Top Predator, The Other is a Lion. Life News (July 30).