Tuesday, 30 June 2015
The more we get to know about the solar system, the younger it looks. A paper published recently in Geophysical Research Letters takes a look at Venus, which just like Earth, orbits the Sun in the goldilocks zone. That is, it could potentially be habitable.
New Scientist describes the obvious difference between the twins:
“Venus is leaking lava. Researchers have found oozing volcanoes on our closest planetary neighbour, a discovery that may help solve the planet's deepest geological riddles.
Past observations revealed that Venus' surface is ‘new’, at least in geological terms.”
The article nonetheless defines ‘new’ from a deep time perspective:
“Scientists think the planet has been paved over by upwelling lava within the last billion years.”
It then goes on to say:
“There have been hints of more recent volcanism, too: some terrain looks as young as a few hundred thousand years and we have seen changes in the amount of sulphur – an element produced by volcanoes – in the planet's atmosphere.”
Data sent by the European Space Agency's Venus Express probe that orbited Venus from 2006 to 2014 suggest recent lava flows. This means that the planet is still volcanically active.
It also means that Venus is a lot younger that we were told.
Venus is not the odd one out:
· Mercury has young ice.
· Ceres displays water vapour.
· There are active volcanoes on Jupiter’s moons Io and Europa.
· Copious amounts of tholin on Saturn’s moon Titan suggest that the moon cannot be billions of years old.
While Venus was not made for life, like some other planets and moons it displays signs of youth that can only be explained by a supernatural beginning – the one described in Genesis.
Sokol, Joshua. 2015. Lava lakes spotted on Venus may be how it stays so blemish-free. New Scientist (19 June).
Sunday, 28 June 2015
The rainbow reminds us – or at least it should – of the biggest geological event between creation and our days.
The Flood was unique. Several geological features show that it was a real historical event. It even explains the ice age.
However, just like some people have attempted to usurp God’s place as Creator and replaced Genesis with an entirely naturalistic version of origins, so they have forgotten about the true meaning of the rainbow.
That includes Barack Obama, who celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision on allowing same sex “marriages” by displaying the colours of the rainbow in the white house.
He was not celebrating Genesis.
However, man cannot change that what God has decreed. He can only hurt himself in attempting to do so.
What many have forgotten is that God always wants that what is best for us. Genesis states that the initial creation was very good, and Luke’s Gospel shows us that He has “goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14). According to Titus 3:4, “the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared” in Jesus Christ.
This does not mean that we are free to disregard the Bible’s clear teaching on marriage (one man, one woman), as many have done. “Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap”(Gal. 6:7).
After the devastating global Flood, God gave Noah and mankind the sign of the rainbow as a remembrance that He will never again punish sin by a worldwide flood.
God is merciful, but that does not mean we should try to challenge Him by misrepresenting the very sign that speaks of His mercy.
Scripture verses according to the New King James Version.
Friday, 26 June 2015
Naturalistic theories of the origin and early evolution of life share a common feature: they don’t work.
A recent article in New Scientist acknowledges:
“Life has a chicken-and-egg problem: enzymes are needed to make nucleic acids – the genetic material – but to build them you need the genetic information contained in nucleic acids. So most researchers assume that the earliest life, long before the evolution of cells, consisted of RNA molecules. These contain genetic information but can also fold into complex shapes, so could serve as enzymes to help make more RNA in their own image – enabling Darwinian evolution on a molecular level.”
This does not address the mystery (in the naturalistic /materialistic view) of the origin of genetic information. As we know, information always requires a sender. And intelligent information requires an intelligent sender.
Evolution has never been good at predicting the past, and when it comes to the RNA world, it fares no better. Loren Williams, a biochemist at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, thinks that it involves a scenario that does not work.
New Scientist sums up the replacement view:
“It was thought that life originated solely with self-replicating RNA – the ‘RNA world’. But new evidence suggests RNA co-evolved with proteins from the very beginning.”
Almost correct, but it’s a bit more complicated and one would need to weed out the surviving Darwinese. There’s no evidence that RNA or proteins evolved. They were part and parcel of the original living entity.
Holmes, Bob. 2015. Why 'RNA world' theory on origin of life may be wrong after all. New Scientist 3027, 10. (24 June) (accessing the article requires registration/subscription).
Wednesday, 24 June 2015
Insects have tiny brains but they can accomplish feats that human engineers will envy. A recent article in the journal Science states:
“Nocturnal insects live in a dim world. They have brains smaller than a grain of rice, and eyes that are even smaller. Yet, they have remarkable visual abilities, many of which seem to defy what is physically possible (1). On page 1245 of this issue, Sponberg et al. reveal how one species, the hawkmoth Manduca sexta, is able to accurately track wind-tossed flowers in near darkness and remain stationary while hovering and feeding (2).”
These moths are not the only ones doing what seem to be miracles. Many other animals are capable of feats that might appear impossible.
What makes this hard for evolutionists is that in order to be of any use, the capacity has to be present from the very beginning, as it will otherwise not benefit the animal.
And we should not forget that the blind Darwinian watchmaker cannot plan ahead.
Thus, the logical explanation for extraordinary skills in animals is intelligent design. They were made that way.
If we look at nature with open eyes, we will see many traits that defy Darwinian explanations.
Design features seem to abound in the animal kingdom.
Warrant, Eric. 2015. Visual tracking in the dead of night. Science 348 (6240): 1212–1213. (12 June).
Monday, 22 June 2015
Scientists believing in deep time (i.e. millions of years) would not expect to find radiocarbon (C-14) in dinosaur bone. After all, they assume that the “terrible lizards” died out some 65 million years ago.
With a half-life of 5,730 years, all C-14 should have gone in 100,000 years.
But what happens if researchers actually test whether dinosaur fossils contain C-14?
They will find it. The latest issue of the peer reviewed journal Creation Research Society Quarterly examines dinosaurs and soft tissue and reports on a study on radiocarbon in dino bone:
“Measurable amounts of radiocarbon have been consistently detected within carbonaceous materials across Phanerozoic strata. Under uniformitarian assumptions, these should no longer contain measurable amounts of radiocarbon. Secularists have asserted that these challenging finds originate from systematic contamination, but the hypothesis of endogenous radiocarbon should be considered. Assuming these strata were largely deposited by the Noahic Flood occurring within the time range of radiocarbon’s detectability with modern equipment under uniformitarian assumptions, we hypothesized that fossils from all three erathems, including dinosaur fossils, should also contain measurable amounts of radiocarbon. Consistent with this hypothesis, we report detectable amounts of radiocarbon in all 16 of our samples."
‘Carbonaceous materials’ probably refer to coal and diamonds that are known to contain radiocarbon.
Soft tissue has been found in many kinds of animals assumed to be millions of years old.
Brian Thomas and Vance Nelson went on to say:
“Unexpectedly, all 16 samples submitted for measurement contained C-14. We found measurable amounts of 14C in all 14 of our dinosaur and other fossils. Moreover, we found surprising consistency in these data, which range from approximately 17,850 to 49,470 radiocarbon years as indicated in Figure 1.”
This was not the first time radiocarbon was found in dinosaur bone but it was the most comprehensive study so far. (Read about past research here and here.) The measurements were made in laboratories that had no axe to grind, and the researchers ruled out contamination.
Thus, dinosaurs could not have lived millions of years ago. The pre-flood world was probably very different from ours, so the radiocarbon dates in the tens of thousands of years do not correspond to the actual time the dinosaurs died, but they are nevertheless much nearer to biblical dates than to secular ones based on uniformitariarism.
This research suggests that the model based on Genesis corresponds to scientific evidence while the one based on evolution does not.
Thomas, Brian and Vance Nelson. 2015. Radiocarbon in Dinosaur and Other Fossils. Creation Research Quarterly 51:4, 299–311.
Saturday, 20 June 2015
The slender filefish (Monacanthus tuckeri) is an interesting creature. It can vanish from sight in two seconds. New Scientist reports:
“Now you see it. Now you don't. The slender filefish has a way to stay off the seafood menu – it has evolved the ability to become almost invisible. The fish can camouflage its body patterns and shape to match its marine surroundings in seconds.”
Despite the evolutionese attached to the report, it is needless to invoke Darwin, as evolution’s watchmaker is supposed to be blind and unable to plan ahead.
The filefish would not have benefited from a skill that only worked partially. To escape becoming a meal, it had to be able to vanish quickly the very first time.
This vanishing act is one of the growing number of skills seen in the animal kingdom that baffle evolutionists.
From a creation perspective, we would expect animals to have various kinds of amazing skills.
Blaszczak-Boxe, Agata. 2015. Zoologger: The fish that can vanish in 2 seconds flat. New Scientist (19 June).
Thursday, 18 June 2015
Few people would have assumed that starfish are clever. However, recent research suggests that they are able to use an almost miraculous power.
An article in New Scientist states:
”Starfish have a superpower never seen before in nature. If a foreign object is lodged in their body, they can move it towards one of their arms and squeeze it out from the tip.”
The article explains how researchers found this out:
“Trine Olsen and Frederik Ekholm Gaardsted Christensen, students from the University of South Denmark in Odense, made the discovery while injecting magnetic microchips into starfish to track their movements for a project. To their frustration, the animals would somehow rid themselves of the tags within a few days.”
This is no mean feat:
" ‘This is roughly equivalent to getting rid of a bullet lodged between your lungs by squeezing it out through your forehead, all without leaving a mark,’ says Daniel Levitis, the project supervisor.”
The researchers did not hazard a guess as to how this dexterity could have evolved via Darwinian processes. The obvious answer is that it couldn’t.
The starfish presents another major problem for evolution, as well: it is a living fossil that hasn’t changed for over “200 million” years.
Starfish are not the only animals that have surprised researchers recently. Here are a few other examples:
· Zebrafish make their own suncreen.
· Jellyfish have amazing navigation skills.
· Turles are excellent navigators.
· Bowerbirds can mimic practically anything they hear.
· Hummingbirds have awesome strength.
These features challenge Darwinian explanations. They are evidence for creation.
Coghlan, Andy. 2015. Watch a starfish squeeze a lodged object out of its arm New Scientist (17 June).
Tuesday, 16 June 2015
The culture of death is a disturbing phenomenon. Image courtesy of Ketounette, Creative Commons.
In April 2012, the son of a woman suffering from psychiatric problems received an e-mail informing him that her mother Godelieva De Troyer had been euthanized.
An article published in The New Yorker looks at this case – and similar ones – in detail.
It seems that the culture of death that allows doctors to assist terminal patients to end their lives is interpreted very loosely:
“Last year, thirteen per cent of the Belgians who were euthanized did not have a terminal condition, and roughly three per cent suffered from psychiatric disorders. In Flanders, where the dominant language is Dutch, euthanasia accounts for nearly five per cent of all deaths.”
The article goes on to say:
“Although most of the Belgian patients had cancer, people have also been euthanized because they had autism, anorexia, borderline personality disorder, chronic-fatigue syndrome, partial paralysis, blindness coupled with deafness, and manic depression.”
The Belgian Dr. Death who killed Godelieva De Troyer is Wim Distelmans, an oncologist and a professor of palliative medicine at the Free University of Brussels. He seems to have a very un-Christian view of ‘palliative.’
The article suggests that humanism with its idea that there is nothing beyond this life lurks behind the popularity of the culture of death. As according to their worldview people are just accidental specks in an uncaring universe, it is no wonder some would prefer to press the exit button.
In contrast, Christianity with its living Christ can bring hope even into the deepest of despair. This has happened countless of times and can still happen.
Aviv, Rachel. 2015. Letter from Belgium: The Death Treatment. The New Yorker (June 22).
Sunday, 14 June 2015
“Everything we thought we knew about the genome is turning out to be wrong.” This is how a recent book review in New Scientist begins.
Claire Ainsworth looks at The Deeper Genome: Why There Is More to the Human Genome Than Meets the Eye by John Parrington (Oxford University Press) and The Developing Genome: An introduction to Behavioral Epigenetics by David S. Moore (Oxford University Press USA) and says that we should do away with old metaphors such as 'blueprint':
" ‘Blueprint’ is a lousy metaphor since it implies that the genome is two-dimensional, prescriptive and unresponsive.”
She has this to say about DNA:
“It's no simple linear code, but an intricately wound, 3D structure that coils and uncoils as its genes are read and spliced in myriad ways. Forget genes as discrete, protein-coding ‘beads on a string’: only a tiny fraction of the genome codes for proteins, and anyway, no one knows exactly what a gene is any more.”
It’s high time to discard the old Darwinian mechanistic idea of the genome. Evolution predicted that it would be full of junk left over from millions of years of Darwinian processes.
What we are discovering is something entirely different: Our genome is an extremely intricate system, far more dynamic and complicated than anyone could have guessed.
And it looks like it has been designed to be an intricate system that defies worn out metaphors such as 'blueprint' or 'master controller.'
In other words, it looks like the handiwork of a benevolent Creator we read about in Genesis.
Ainsworth, Claire. 2015. DNA is life's blueprint? No, master controller of the cell. New Scientist 3025 (13 June).
Friday, 12 June 2015
God seems to love variety. This is evident in the animal kingdom. Newly discovered miniature frogs illustrate this tendency. A report in Live Science states:
“Scientists have uncovered seven new species of teeny-tiny frogs, each smaller than a thumbnail, in the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest. The miniature frogs live on isolated mountaintops in the cloud forests."
The article goes on to say:
“The brightly colored little frogs are all part of the genus Brachycephalus, a group known since the 1800s to inhabit the cloud forests of southern Brazil.”
Compared to bigger frogs, they are really tiny. But they are unmistakably frogs. They are evidence of the after its kind principle introduced in the Book of Genesis.
According to evolutionary storytelling, our ancestors were once frogs, but there is no real evidence for this.
The animal kingdom displays the handiwork of God.
Pappas, Stephanie. 2015. Squee! New Absurdly Tiny Frogs Found in Brazil. Live Science. (June 4).
Wednesday, 10 June 2015
There should be no miracles in a Darwinian world, but from time to time research either compels evolutionists to believe in them or to explain away the obvious conclusion based on the facts.
For several years, soft tissue in dinosaurs, marine creatures (read more here and here) and even birds (read more here and here) has been a lively research area and a hot topic. The latest discovery was published in the journal Nature Communications.
Here are the facts:
“Exceptionally preserved organic remains are known throughout the vertebrate fossil record, and recently, evidence has emerged that such soft tissue might contain original components. We examined samples from eight Cretaceous dinosaur bones using nano-analytical techniques; the bones are not exceptionally preserved and show no external indication of soft tissue. In one sample, we observe structures consistent with endogenous collagen fibre remains displaying ~67 nm banding, indicating the possible preservation of the original quaternary structure. Using ToF-SIMS, we identify amino-acid fragments typical of collagen fibrils. Furthermore, we observe structures consistent with putative erythrocyte remains that exhibit mass spectra similar to emu whole blood.”
Then assumptions based on a naturalistic worldview take over:
“Using advanced material characterization approaches, we find that these putative biological structures can be well preserved over geological timescales, and their preservation is more common than previously thought. The preservation of protein over geological timescales offers the opportunity to investigate relationships, physiology and behaviour of long extinct animals.”
It takes an incredible dose of naturalistic faith in believe that collagen and blood could last for “75 million years”.
The obvious conclusion is that the dinosaur bones are not that old.
Bertazzo, Sergio, Susannah C. R. Maidment, Charalambos Kallepitis, Sarah Fearn, Molly M. Stevens and Hai-nan Xie. 2015. Fibres and cellular structures preserved in 75-million–year-old dinosaur specimens. Nature Communications 6 (article 7352).(9 June).
Monday, 8 June 2015
Reporting on the recent FIFA corruption scandal that has made headlines in most countries where soccer is played (and that means everywhere), the BBC says of former FIFA chief Jack Warner:
“Mr Warner, who had withdrawn support from Mr Blatter, allegedly gave delegates from different countries a total of $600,000 in bribes – in the form of envelopes stuffed with $40,000 in cash. The US indictment says that when one of his colleagues expressed concern, Mr Warner said: ‘There are some people here who think they are more pious than thou. If you're pious, open a church, friends. Our business is our business.’ “
While many top footballers such as Miroslav Klose are professing Christians who would definitely not approve of the fouls committed by the FIFA bosses, Mr. Warner does have a point. Although we might not have taken bribes, the Bible clearly states that all people – even the pious – are sinners in need of salvation unless they have met the risen Christ and yielded to Him.
This sad state of affairs began in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve, the first human beings, decided to turn their backs on God who had created them in His image.
But God did not forget mankind. He stepped into history as a human being and suffered the ultimate penalty for sin – death.
Then on the third day, Jesus rose from the dead. 50 days after that, on the day of Pentecost, the Christian church was born.
Jack Warner: Ex-Fifa chief at centre of storm. BBC news 4 June 2015.
Saturday, 6 June 2015
Chimps Like Their Potato Hot, But This Says Nothing About Their Skills or About the Origin of Cooking
After reading the title (Chimps with magic stove show evolutionary capacity for cooking) of a recent interview in New Scientist, one might have jumped to the conclusion that chimpanzees know how to cook their food.
The interviewee, evolutionary anthropologist Felix Warneken of Harvard University, acknowledges that we don’t know how cooking evolved.
Then he goes on to say:
“By looking at our closest living relatives, chimpanzees, we have an opportunity to make comparisons with our closest evolutionary ancestors and see whether they might have had the core cognitive skills to cook food. It's almost like we can step into a time machine that can help us better understand our evolutionary past.”
So to test their beliefs, the researchers designed a contraption that was basically ”a magician's box with a simple false bottom where we would put the cooked food.”
They put a piece of a raw potato into the box. When they shook the contraption, a cooked slice of potato appeared.
Given a choice, the chimps preferred their potatoes warm. Some of them were able to resist the temptation of eating their food at once and instead waited for it to be “cooked.”
What does this say about the origin of cooking?
Nothing. Humans made the contraption. They put the cooked potatoes into it. The chimps merely did the shaking, after a human being showed them how to do so. They were actually duped into believing that the box could heat their food.
The experiment does not tell us anything about human evolution, either. It was simply assumed to be true.
A huge genetic and intellectual gap separates chimps from humans.
After all, only humans were created in the image of God.
Evolutionists might not like it, but crows and cockatoos, for instance, are better at using tools than chimpanzees.
This is something that evolution certainly did not predict.
Sukel, Kayt. 2015. Chimps with magic stove show evolutionary capacity for cooking. New Scientist (3 June).
Thursday, 4 June 2015
How do starlings that fly in very large flocks coordinate their movements so that they don’t collide with each other? A recent paper in Physical Review Letters attempts to look at the mechanics of exchanging information within the flock.
Flocks of different sizes behave differently:
“Large flocks of around 10,000 birds tend to have softer outlines: one part may change direction, but the rest of the flock does not, leading to a wobbling appearance. Flocks of 1000 birds or less behave more rigidly as direction changes quickly spread across the entire flock.”
It would be exceedingly difficult if not impossible to find a plausible Darwinian explanation for why birds began to fly in large flocks. It is something they do naturally.
Birds such as robins, hummingbirds, cockatoos and bowerbirds display many signs of very intelligent design that cannot be explained away by evolutionary storytelling.
Campbell, MacGregor. 2015. Wave motion shows how bird flocks have to be just the right size. New Scientist (3 June).
Tuesday, 2 June 2015
The origin of life is a hard puzzle for evolutionists. Theories have come and gone but none of them have been even close to being plausible.
As Louis Pasteur showed, life only comes from life. It does not appear spontaneously. It needs information and intelligence.
Some evolutionists have speculated that life must from come from space.
Even Richard Dawkins has toyed with the idea that aliens might have brought life to Earth.
Here’s a brief video clip produced by Creation Ministries International. Doctors Jonathan Sarfati and John Sanford discuss the life from space hypothesis (that is known as panspermia):