Sunday, 30 October 2016
Brains are soft. They are not supposed to last over 130 million years.
But that is exactly what some researchers now believe.
Found in 2004 on a beach near Bexhill in Sussex, England, the fossilised brain of an iguanodon has in the past few days made headlines all over the globe.
Researchers examined the brain with a scanning electron microscope. Writing in The Conversation, Alex Liu of the University of Cambridge discloses what they found:
“This revealed evidence of the dinosaur’s meninges, the tough, collagenous outer membranes that protect the main brain. It also showed up tiny blood vessels preserved as tubes running across the surface of the specimen. There are even hints of deeper tissues that may have formed part of the brain cortex, the functional part of the brain that contains neurons.”
This kind of preservation is a big mystery for believers in millions of years. However, he proposes a scenario that he assumes is plausible:
“We think this level of preservation was possible because the brain tissue was effectively pickled before it was mineralised, probably after the dinosaur died in a highly acidic and low-oxygen body of water. The soft tissues were preserved by phosphate and iron minerals, and CT (computed tomography) scans show the fossil also contains sediment, as well as fragments of leaves, twigs and bone.
Taken together, these observations create a picture of the dinosaur dying in a well-vegetated, swampy environment. Its head probably became buried in the sediment on a river- or lake-bed, and the lack of oxygen allowed the brain tissues to mineralise before they had a chance to decay.”
With more water it might sound a bit like Noah’s Flood.
The past two decades have seen the discovery of more and more soft tissue – and even radiocarbon (C-14) – in fossils assumed to be tens if not hundreds of millions of years old.
The current record holder is a complex Cambrian brain assumed to be 520 million years old.
The most logical explanation is that the animals can’t be that old. That obviously is something evolution-believing researchers are not prepared to admit, at least not yet.
Liu, Alex. 2016. First dinosaur brain fossil suggests they may have been smarter than we thought. The Conversation (27 October).
Friday, 28 October 2016
Swifts spend a lot of time in the air, perhaps more than any other birds.
Each year, the common swift (Apus apus) roosts two months in Europe and then flies off to Africa.
Researchers at the University of Lund in Sweden fitted seven common swifts with lightweight data loggers and monitored their travels for two years.
Three of the birds stayed in the air for 10 months, and the others landed occasionally but very briefly, “never for more than half a per cent of the total time of their migratory periods,” says Anders Hedenström, who with his colleagues published their research in the journal Current Biology.
Hedenström thinks that the swifts might take power naps in the air. As they can live for 20 years, during their lifetime they probably travel a distance that equals 7 times to the moon and back.
So, what is the Darwinian explanation for such behaviour? There probably isn’t one.
Birds are a big problem for evolutionists. While they have made much of Darwin’s finches, the birds themselves do not conform to Darwinian expectations.
Many other species and traits cause additional problems, for instance starling murmurations, anti-crash systems, cooling beaks and anti-freeze.
What is more, birds such as robins, hummingbirds, cockatoos and bowerbirds display many signs of very intelligent design that cannot be explained away by evolutionary storytelling.
And bird migration refutes the local flood hypothesis.
Coghlan, Andy. 2016. Swifts break record by staying aloft for 10 months at a time. New Scientist (27 October).
Wednesday, 26 October 2016
” Almost a decade's worth of work aimed at providing an insight into evolution may be misleading as it was based on … [a] fundamental error,” say researchers at the universities of Reading and Bristol, UK.
Old fossils cannot speak for themselves but they have to be interpreted. Hence, mistakes might easily creep in.
A press release issue by the University of Bristol calls this a “fatal flaw in the way fossil data is analysed.”
It might well have far reaching consequences:
“Years of research on the evolution of ancient life, including the dinosaurs, have been questioned.
Studies based on the apparently flawed method have suggested Earth’s biodiversity remained relatively stable – close to maximum carrying capacity - and hinted many signs of species becoming rapidly extinct are merely reflections on the poor quality of the fossil record at that time.”
New research calls into question the conclusions of over 150 research papers published in recent years.
It “suggests the history of the planet’s biodiversity may have been more dynamic than recently suggested, with bursts of new species appearing, along with crashes and more stable periods.
The new study published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution by Dr Manabu Sakamoto and Dr Chris Venditti, from Reading, and Professor Michael Benton, from Bristol, says a technique used to 'correct' records of diversity in fossils is actually giving misleading results.
It means almost a decade's worth of work aimed at providing an insight into evolution may be misleading as it was based on this fundamental error.”
So, what do evolutionists really know about evolution if even that what they assume they know is fatally flawed?
Too little to confidentially claim that evolution is a fact.
University of Bristol. 2016. Flawed analysis casts doubt on years of evolution research. (24 October).
Sunday, 23 October 2016
Evolutionists do not seem to have a solution for violence.
A new paper published in Nature sees lethal violence in humans as a trait we inherited from our (assumed) animal ancestors over millions of years of Darwinian processes.
This is a handy way of blaming evolution for our evil deeds.
The logical (Darwinian) take away lesson from this study is that since violence ts natural, we might as well forget its moral implications.
But that is not what the researchers have in mind. They cannot consistently follow their worldview, as deep down they realise that violence is wrong.
A little voice within us tells that killing is wrong.
It does not make much sense in a Darwinian world that does not allow for immaterial explanations.
But it is exactly what we would expect in the biblical worldview.
We could actually blame the acceptance of evolution for a lot of bloodshed. It is no secret that belief in Darwinian evolution has caused several major wars and even holocausts.
Gómez, José María et al. 2016. The phylogenetic roots of human lethal violence. Nature 538, 233–237.
Friday, 21 October 2016
A letter published in Nature acknowledges that rejecting the Genesis Flood was the reason why geologists came up with an incorrect explanation of ice age lakes:
”When the geologist J Harlen Bretz proposed in the 1920s that the Channeled Scablands were created by a catastrophic flood, his ideas were attacked relentlessly by geologists who subscribed to the mainstream view that erosion is slow and steady, and who wanted to distance their profession from the notion of a biblical deluge.”
While Lake Missoula was an ice age and hence post-Flood event, for several decades uniformitarian scientists were unwilling to accept anything that might resemble the biblical Flood.
The tide has turned and catastrophes are no longer dismissed – they are actually welcomed, especially on Mars, where they desperately need evidence of a watery past.
Here on Earth, the evidence for a global flood is stagerring, Only blind faith enables one to miss it.
Perron, J. Taylor and Jeremy G. Venditti. 2016. Earth science: Megafloods downsized. Nature 538, 174–175.
Wednesday, 19 October 2016
New research has shown that mitochondrial cells are supercomplex, prompting scientists to come up with new terms.
A brief research item in Nature says:
”Mitochondrial electron transportation chain complexes, responsible for cellular respiration and energy production, are organised in supercomplexes called respirasomes.”
Two studies using cryo electron microscopy on mammal mitochondria found structures called supercomplexes. They are identified by the name complex plus a Roman numeral (I – IV).
Needless to say, the cells need each other and could not have come about through Darwinian processes.
Nature Research. 2016. inside the respirasome. Nature 537 (7621), 491.
Tuesday, 18 October 2016
The Chinese calendar features real animals and a dragon that most would dismiss as a legendary creature.
If you happen to visit a tiny Greek chapel, you might see a painting featuring St George (Άγιος Γεώργιος, Hagios Georgios) and the Dragon.
While it is true that legends do not describe factual history, they might well reflect real historic events. St. George was probably a real person. The dragon might also have been real.
Many other legends and some medieval encarvings also feature dragons or dinosaurs.
John Bunyon's Pilgrim's Progress also includes a beast that looks a bit like a dragon.
And the Old Testament book of Job includes a description of Behemoth that might well be a huge dinosaur.
So, what if dragons were dinosaurs who lived at the same time as humans. Some of them must have been very frightening.
Sunday, 16 October 2016
Both the popular media and science publications often address the science – religion dialogue that in effect looks much more like a debate than a dialogue.
What is more, the terms are defined very carelessly. By science they almost always mean the search for the best naturalistic explanation for a certain phenomenon.
Sometimes, however, the best naturalistic explanation is as wrong as wrong could be.
Recently, Nature published a worldview article by Kathryn Pritchard, who works for the Archbishop Council in the Church of England. She discusses things like multiverses (that have nothing to do with science).
The problem with approaches like these is that the ”science” side wants the ”religion” side to accept its thinking uncritically, adding millions of years of naturalistic processes to what the Bible says.
That is not true dialogue. That is compromise. The naturalistic side will not accept key biblical events, such as supernatural creation, the Fall and the Flood, and does not see the fine tuning we see all around us – and in us – as signs left by the Creator, as the naturalistic view does not accept a creator.
Moreover, describing the issue as a dialogue between science and religion amounts to misleading people. With its myriads of unscientific things like quantum fluctuations, cosmic inflation and abiogenesis, naturalistic science steps outside the realm of true science and is, in effect, almost like religion.
Pritchard, Kathryn. 2016. Religion and science can have a true dialogue. Nature 537 (7621), 451.
Friday, 14 October 2016
”A hurricane is a self-organising, self-propagating system with a life cycle. It's born, it grows, it eats, and then it dies. Why isn't it alive?”
This is how NASA planetary scientist Chris McKay summarises the difficulties involved in the (naturalistic) origen of life scenarios.
The answer origin-of-life theorists will give is that the hurricane does not remember what it has done and where it is going.
Getting life from non-life is an enormous hurdle for naturalista /materialists. While hurricanes might and will happen, life just doesn't happen.
What life needs is a massive influx of genetic information that is programmed to give rise to life.
Kluger, Jeffrey. 2016. The perfectly Sane Case for Life in Space. Time Europe 22/29.2., 76 –79.
Thursday, 13 October 2016
A comparison of Genesis 1 and Exodus 20 shows clearly that they speak of the very same event that lasted six days.
During these days God created the heaven and the earth, the sea and all its life.
Heaven and earth would include the stars, planets and the entire universe.
Earth would include all living beings.
What is more, the Lord Jesus Himself said that God created humans male and female at the beginning of creation.
Thus, the biblical worldview begins with a supernatural creation of a perfect world in six days (not six million years, or anything like that.
All other views of Genesis are problematic as they have the consequences of the Fall before the Fall.
Statham, Dominic. 2016. The Age of the Earth and Why It Matters. Prayer News (CMI UK & Europe) Oct-Dec, 4 – 5.
Tuesday, 11 October 2016
Darwinists are more than willing to embrace views that in effect contradict each other.
This prompted Eric Metaxas to say: “What’s the difference between evolutionary theory and an octopus? Well, one is a slippery, color-changing escape artist that can get out of any tough situation and the other is an aquatic invertebrate.”
He is not the only one to see contradictions in evolutionary theory. The late Philip Skell thought that thought Darwinian explanations were redundant as they often were self-contradictory.
Metaxas, Eric. 2015. Darwinism Versus the Octopus: An Evolutionary Dilemma. Break Point (8 September).
Sunday, 9 October 2016
Evolutionists are averse to seeing humans as special. They want to see us as just another species of great ape, although the gap separating us and animals is so wide that no monkey can jump over it regardless of its attempts.
The latest Darwinian attempt is an experiment in which chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans watch a video clip featuring a human being dressed as King Kong steals a rock from another human being and hides it in a box. Then King Kong drives the man away and puts the rock in another box. Then he changes his mind and takes the rock away.
The researchers used an infrared eye-tracker to see where the apes would look. Most of them fixed their eyes on the boxes and many looked at the one where the man assumed the rock was – although it wasn’t.
The Darwinian explanation for this is that apes have a theory of mind.
We could obviously do the experiment with dogs and get a similar result, as in many ways they are cleverer than chimps or other apes. But in the Darwinian world, dogs aren’t our close relatives, so such a result wouldn’t make headlines.
In a created world we would expect animals to be intelligent.
But we would not expect them to use language or worship their Maker or build theories, as they most probably are not capable of abstract thinking.
Only humans are created in the image of God and as such we are special:
“What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet.” (Psalm 8: 4–6, ESV).
Morell, Virginia. 2016. Humans aren’t the only great apes that can ‘read minds’ Science (6 October).
Saturday, 8 October 2016
Cosmic radiation might not sound like a good source of preserving life. But that is exactly what a paper recently published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface attempts to explain.
Researchers looked at an enigmatic microbe called Desulforudis audaxviator that lives 2.8 kilometres (1.7 miles) below the surface in a gold mine in South Africa.
It manages to live though there’s no oxygen, no carbon and no light.
The researchers believe that this rod-shaped bacterium gets its energy from radioactive uranium. An article in Science gives the details:
“It draws its energy from the radioactivity of uranium in the rock in the mine. The radiation from decaying uranium nuclei breaks apart sulfur and water molecules in the stone, producing molecular fragments such as sulfate and hydrogen peroxide that are excited with internal energy. The microbe then takes in these molecules, siphons off their energy, and spits them back out. Most of the energy produced from this process powers the bacterium’s reproduction and internal processes, but a portion of it also goes to repairing damage from the radiation.”
The discovery spurred researchers to speculate that there might be life elsewhere in the universe that likewise thrives in harsh environments, not getting their energy directly from photosynthesis or living on plants that do so, but directly from radioactive uranium or cosmic rays.
Usually, being exposed to radioactivity causes mutations that almost always are harmful.
This weird bacterium has prompted some astrobiologists to set their hopes on finding life on Mars, Pluto, the Moon, Jupiter’s moon Europa, Saturn’s moon Enceladus and on countless star systems.
But there’s a huge problem they have not solved: life does not just happen, it has to be created.
While naturalistic searchers for the origin of life might have made spectacular headlines, the entire field is a mess.
Chemicals don’t just turn into life and the evolutionists’ best attempt, i.e. the RNA world theory, does not work.
Even the tiniest bacterium is by no means simple. It is full of tiny machines that are so intricate that their inventor should receive a Nobel Prize, as the best humans can do pales in comparison to what they do.
Nanomachines do not just fall from the sky.
Boddy, Jessica. 2016. Alien life could feed on cosmic rays. Science (7 October).
Thursday, 6 October 2016
Bill Nye might call himself the Science Guy, but his science is often badly outdated.
Recent research suggests his view of our sun is simply wrong. This is what he said:
“I'm insignificant. ... I am just another speck of sand. And the earth really in the cosmic scheme of things is another speck. And the sun an unremarkable star. ... And the galaxy is a speck. I'm a speck on a speck orbiting a speck among other specks among still other specks in the middle of specklessness. I suck.”
New Scientist summarises the findings of a recent study that shows just how wrong Bill Nye is:
“Our star is a particularly calm one. Hot, massive ‘early-type’ stars can spin almost 100 times faster than the sun, causing them to bulge in the middle. The gas around the star’s equator is then farther away from its centre, so it cools more than other parts of the star’s surface, in a phenomenon called gravity-darkening. The poles, meanwhile, remain hot and dense.”
John Ahlers, a researcher at the University of Idaho in Moscow, has examined what effect this would have on a planet orbiting such a star.
“Early-type stars emit mostly UV light, so this corresponds to yearly shifts of up to 80 per cent in the UV radiation hitting the planet. And because these planets would be directly over the star’s chilled equator twice in each orbit, it would go through two summers and two winters each year.
In extreme situations, the planet’s surface could rapidly oscillate between a boiling hellscape and a frozen tundra.”
The research is based on observations of the cause of seasons on the good Earth:
”Earth’s seasons come from the planet’s tilt: as we orbit the sun, one hemisphere leans towards it, receiving more direct sunlight, while the other leans away.”
In contrast to what Bill Nye thinks, our sun is anything but unremarkable. Almost everything in our solar system, from Earth’s magnetic field, the Moon and the giant gas planets, appears to be fine-tuned to keep Earth habitable.
That is exactly what we would expect, as Genesis is reliable history.
Crane, Leah. 2016. Superfast spinning stars cause strangest weather in the universe New Scientist (3 October).
Tuesday, 4 October 2016
Humans did not invent recycling. We see it in the life cycle of a butterfly. An intelligent process uses the moth’s cells to build an entirely different creature – a butterfly.
And our cells do something similar. They break down content that is no longer useful and instead of throwing it away, use it to repair existing cells or build new ones.
This year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi, a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, for his work on the mechanisms of autophagy.
Autophagy refers to self-eating. It is a combination of two Greek words, auto, ‘self’ and phagein, ‘to eat’. New Scientist gives us some background facts:
”Autophagy was first proposed as a concept in the 1960s, when it was observed that a cell can destroy its own contents by packaging it up into membranes called vesicles that are transported to a recycling part of the cell where it is degraded. This process rapidly provides fuel for energy and building blocks for the renewal of cell components.”
Professor Ohsumi discovered that authophagy does more than this. In an interview conducted in 2012, he said:
“As research into autophagy has expanded, it has become clear that it is not simply a response to starvation. It also contributes to a range of physiological functions, such as inhibiting cancer cells and aging, eliminating pathogens and cleaning the insides of cells.”
Autophagy is not the only intelligent process we have for getting rid of cells that are no longer useful but can cause harm by their longevity. There’s another one that’s called apoptosis or programmed cell death.
In 2002 the researchers who identified genes that control it were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery.
In recent years, several Nobel prizes have been awarded to researchers who have shown how wonderfully our cells are designed. In 2009, for instance three ribosome researchers shared the Nobel prize in Chemistry.
Thomson, Helen. 2016. Medicine Nobel Prize goes to discovery of how our cells recycle. New Scientist (3 October).
Sunday, 2 October 2016
The more researchers look at the brain, the more complex – and amazing – it looks. Gone are the days when they spoke about things like humans having a lizard brain, and so on.
It seems that epigenetics and gene switches run the show. A recent report on axon repair states:
“After the human genome was deciphered, epigenetics — the study of gene regulation — has moved to the forefront with the realization that genes don't matter much until they are switched on, and that genetic switches are the fundamental reason why a skin cell doesn't look like a nerve cell, and a nerve cells functions differently than a white blood cell.”
The article discusses the function of Schwann cells that play a major role in repairing damaged axons. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison “have found a switch that redirects helper cells in the peripheral nervous system into ‘repair’ mode, a form that restores damaged axons.”
The cells seem to know when repairs are needed and how to carry them out:
“In the repair mode, but not in the normal one, Schwann cells start cleaning house, helping to dissolve myelin, which is essential for proper functioning but ironically deters regeneration after injury. ‘If you invite Schwann cells to a party,’ says [Prof. John] Svaren, ‘they will clean up the bottles and wash your dishes before they leave the house.’
John Svaren, a professor of comparative biosciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the lead author of a paper the research group published in The Journal of Neuroscience.
The research reminds us that the information programmed into our cells does things that Darwinian mechanisms never could.
University of Wisconsin-Madison. 2016. Researchers find switch that helps restore damaged axons. News Medical.net (16 September).