Wednesday, 31 August 2016
The pig-footed bandicoot (Chaeropus ecaudatus) was last seen alive in the 1950s, but it still causes problems for orthodox Darwinian thinking.
Its features were more or less bizarre: it looked like a rat but had a pig’s fore feet and a horse’s hind feet. And it was a grazing marsupial.
Weighing 200 grams, and with a body length of 23–26 cm and a 10–15 cm long tail, it was the smallest grazing mammal known to science.
Using three fossil teeth, a new paper attempts to trace its ancestry to an omnivorous animal that lived “2 million years” ago.
However, evolutionists don’t usually think that creatures change their diets so quickly.
Several other Australian animals, such as the Duck-billed platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), and the spiny anteater (Tachyglossus aculeatus), also defy Darwinian classifications due to their mosaic features.
(The platypus also happens to be a living fossil, thus further complicating matters for evolution.)
It is difficult to find a place for such creatures in Darwin’s tree of life that according to some studies has fallen down and according to some others has become a bush.
Once again, we see a creative use of features in an animal that still reproduces according to the after its kind principle.
Klein, Alice. 2016. Tiniest grazing mammal was a pig at the front, horse at the back New Scientist (24 August).
Monday, 29 August 2016
Cuttlefish are cunning creatures. They can stop breathing to evade predators, and they are the true champions of stealth technology, matching the shape and colours of their environment.
A recent paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B suggests that cuttlefish know how to count – or at least they can distinguish which pile of shrimp is somewhat bigger than the other. They almost always tended to choose the one with more of their favourite meal.
They liked their food fresh. Given the choice between living and dead shrimp, they always chose the living one, preferring one living shrimp to two dead ones.
Some other animals also know maths. Ants and Asian elephants can solve rudimentary problems that require counting.
What is interesting is that at least one plant, the Venus flytrap, also knows how to count.
For Darwinists, animal intelligence is an enormous dilemma, and plant intelligence even more so.
But in a created world we would expect animals and plants to show evidence of intelligence.
Lawrence, Joanna. 2016. Cuttlefish Have Number Sense and Adaptability in Making Decisions. Natural Science News (25 August).
Saturday, 27 August 2016
If Darwinists insist on describing the changes occurring in the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) as evolution, then it certainly is not of the Darwinian variety.
In Medieval Europe monks selectively bred carp that had fewer scales so the fish would be easier to prepare and cook.
While monks might not have been too fond of scales, fish need them as they protect them from parasites.
Some of these so-called mirrow carp were eventually set free in Madagascar in 1912.
A paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B shows that while the carp had a loss-of-function mutation resulting in “reduced scale cover”, they are now mostly covered with scales.
It seems that the environment helped them to regain something they once had. Nothing new is introduced; no evolution is occurring.
Thus, environmental factors trump mutations.
There was a time when most Darwinists believed random mutations and natural selection ran the show.
Now, they’re not too sure. Things like epigenetics and quality control in cells are prompting some prominent scientists to discard old orthodoxy.
No wonder the Royal Society is arranging a conference that will take a critical look at neo-Darwinism.
Panko, Ben. 2016. Carp undergo ‘reverse evolution’ to get their scales back. Science (23 August).
Thursday, 25 August 2016
Just over 4 light years away, Proxima b is the closest exoplanet we could get. What is more, astronomers think that it orbits its sun Proxima Centauri in the habitable zone where liquid water can potentially be found.
No wonder it has made overtly optimistic headlines.
However, it might be good to keep in mind that Venus and Mars orbit the Sun in its habitable zone, and look how friendly to life they are.
Proxima b has a mass that is at least 1.3 times bigger than Earth’s. It orbits its sun at a distance of 7 million kilometres, which is much closer than where Mercury orbits our sun.
As Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf, it is fainter and cooler and probably also more unstable than the Sun.
Nevertheless, some researchers believe that the planet could be habitable. According to Science Daily, it
“has an estimated surface temperature that would allow the presence of liquid water.”
But there are some big iffs:
“Despite the temperate orbit of Proxima b, the conditions on the surface may be strongly affected by the ultraviolet and X-ray flares from the star -- far more intense than the Earth experiences from the Sun.”
In other words, it might be a dead planet. With a year lasting only 11 days it is bound to be a world that differs enormously from what we are used to:
“Two separate papers discuss the habitability of Proxima b and its climate. They find that the existence of liquid water on the planet today cannot be ruled out and, in such case, it may be present over the surface of the planet only in the sunniest regions, either in an area in the hemisphere of the planet facing the star (synchronous rotation) or in a tropical belt (3:2 resonance rotation). Proxima b's rotation, the strong radiation from its star and the formation history of the planet makes its climate quite different from that of the Earth, and it is unlikely that Proxima b has seasons.”
While the discovery of potentially habitable exoplanets tends to make splashing headlines, further research has often shown that even the most promising cases, for instance Kepler 438 b and Kepler 452 b, have turned out to be far less habitable than once assumed.
Some life-friendly exoplanets, such as Gliese 581 d and Gliese 581 c, might not even exist.
Exoplanets tend to be weird. The ones we know about don’t resemble Earth at all.
Why, then, are some people so keen to find them?
The naturalistic /materialistic worldview needs them. It detests the possibility that humans are unique and wants to see aliens everywhere in the universe.
European Southern Observatory (ESO). 2016. Planet found in habitable zone around nearest star: Pale Red Dot campaign reveals Earth-mass world in orbit around Proxima Centauri. Science Daily (24 August).
Tuesday, 23 August 2016
A new article in The Conversation speculates on what aliens might look like. Matthew Willis, Professor of Evolutionary Palaeobiology at the University of Bath, UK, skips over the pertinent question of whether ETs exist.
But when it comes to intelligent aliens, he isn’t absolutely sure.
Prof. Willis looks at the assumed evolution on Earth and speculates what might have happened if some bizarre Cambrian creatures, such as the five-eyed Opabinia, would not have become extinct.
After toying with the idea that five-eyed intelligent creatures might be reading his post if their ancestor had survived, he remembers convergent evolution. He believes it has for instance given some unrelated sea creatures streamlined bodies for moving swiftly in water.
The word that best explains his take on alien life is speculation:
“But what aspects of alien biology might we expect? Carbon-based biochemistry is likely given that carbon forms stable backbone chains, and makes stable but readily breakable bonds with other elements. Other elements, notably silicon and sulphur, make less stable bonds at Earth-like temperatures. Water or some other solvent also seems necessary. For evolution to occur there needs to be some mechanism for storing and replicating information with moderate fidelity, such as DNA, RNA or some analogue. Although the first cells appeared on Earth quite early, multicellular animals took nearly 3 billion more years to evolve. So it may well be that life on other planets could get stuck at the single-celled stage.”
He doesn’t think aliens would look like insects, though, and opts for some kind of symmetry (two eyes, two ears, two feet) but suggests chance might have played a major role in giving us things like five fingers, so perhaps ETs might have four or six of them.
What has this to do with science?
Nothing. It’s pure speculation. But Darwinists believe that life must have evolved in many places in the universe, so it’s almost certain that aliens exist.
Stephen Hawking acknowledges that he’s afraid of them, and a former astronaut believes they’ve visited Earth several times.
Researchers have spent an enormous amount of taxpayers’ money in their search for alien life but they haven’t heard a whisper despite listening for over 50 years.
Some have even speculated that they live in our seas.
What Darwinists tend to forget is that life does not just happen. It has to be designed and created. Darwinian processes can’t produce life. Gases will remain gases and rocks remain rocks. They don’t magically turn into any kinds of creatures, alien or not.
Wills, Matthew. 2016. What do aliens look like? The clue is in evolution. The Conversation (19 August).
Sunday, 21 August 2016
Some animal rights activists seem to think that chimpanzees are almost human although DNA comparisons tell a very different story, putting the difference between our genomes at anywhere between 5 – 6 and 30 per cent, with our ”horrendously different” Y-chromosomes.
Perhaps Rio 2016 reminds us that while apes might be good at swinging from trees, they could never run a marathon.
Unlike us, they were never created in God’s image to walk and run upright on two feet.
Unlike apes, we have a chin, and the golden ratio in us speaks of ornate design that cannot be explained away by Darwinian mechanisms.
Such top - down planning is the opposite of what we would expect from the blind Darwinian watchmaker.
Friday, 19 August 2016
In 2003, palaeontologists from the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Illinois unearthed a dinosaur they thought looked like a tiny cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex. Half the size of the notorious killer, they dubbed it Nanotyrannus.
But then some researchers began having doubts. What if Nanotyrannus was a juvenile T. rex?
After all, older specimens of many animals look very different from the young.
This was not the first fossil of a smaller Tyrannosaur that was found. Disagreement about its status had begun decades earlier.
In 2009 National Geographic aired a documentary called Dinosaurs Decoded. It claimed that a third of all dinosaur species never existed. It suggested that Nanotyrannus was a young T. rex.
Later, researchers said that Torosaurus did not exist. They suggested it was an adult Triceratops.
Seen from a creation perspective, these developments mean that Noah had to take far fewer dinosaur kinds on the Ark than previously thought.
Nanotyrannus should also remind us that it is often very hard to draw conclusions from old bones that cannot speak for themselves.
This also applies to fossils purported to belong to our family tree.
Even some Darwinists acknowledge that our (assumed) evolution is a difficult puzzle. The existence of Australopithecus sediba, for instance, makes it a mess.
When it comes to dinosaurs, we would do well to remember that with radiocarbon (C-14) and soft tissue, they certainly are our friends, helping to refute the old dogma of millions of years and uphold the historicity of Genesis.
Riley, Alex. 2016. Meet Nanotyrannus, the dinosaur that never really existed. BBC Earth (17 August).
Wednesday, 17 August 2016
Evolutionists have repeatedly claimed that oxygen made complex life possible. Usually, they mean the Cambrian Explosion, often called biology’s Big Bang.
Not so long ago, science publications wrote about hi-tech trilobite eyes, complex Cambrian brains and thinking animals.
But a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggests oxygen levels did not rise until almost a hundred million years after the Cambrian Explosion.
Based on computer simulations, it argues that moss-like plants began colonising the land roughly “470 million years” ago. After 50–70 million years, Earth’s atmosphere would have had as much oxygen as today.
The research includes customary Darwinian storytelling. New Scientist says:
“The earliest terrestrial plants were simple bryophytes, such as moss, which lack vein-like systems to transport water and minerals.”
However, while a typical moss might only have a single set of chromosomes, it has everything it needs to conquer vast stretches of land.
The researchers do not tell us how marine creatures coped for a “hundred million” years without the protection of an ozone layer.
But, then, evolution is often a fill-in-the-dots-game. If the theory requires it, Darwinians are allowed to join dots that are separated by 100 million years.
New Scientist staff and Press Association 2016. Without oxygen from ancient moss you wouldn’t be alive today (15 August).
Monday, 15 August 2016
The human brain is a Darwinian enigma. Evolutionists are baffled at its size and effectiveness.
But it has also inspired just-so stories featuring things like our assumed lizard brain.
However, not all researchers have let their imagination carry them away.
In 2008 Harvard biology professor Richard Lewontin admitted that we don’t know anything about brain evolution.
Two years later, Brian J. Ford, a research biologist at the University of Cambridge, UK, said that the human brain may be a trillion times more capable than we can imagine.
Neuroscientists have tended to be puzzled at how wonderful the human brain is.
They are willing to acknowledge that surprisingly complex interactions occur between “neurotransmitter receptors and other key proteins,” enabling us to process information really fast.
This has inspired engineers to build smarter computers.
Neuroscientists have suggested that the brain may be designed to help us learn. They have described it as a vast community of microscopic computers and a well-organised library, to name a just a few suggestions.
But all this has not sounded the death knell for Darwinian brain stories that tend to be anything but brainy.
A new paper published in the journal Scientific Reports has this to say:
“Humans have evolved a disproportionately large brain as a result of sizing each other up in large cooperative social groups, researchers have proposed.”
The research was based on computer modelling and had nothing to do with examining a brain.
Science Daily states:
“Lead author of the study Professor Roger Whitaker, from Cardiff University's School of Computer Science and Informatics, said: ‘Our results suggest that the evolution of cooperation, which is key to a prosperous society, is intrinsically linked to the idea of social comparison -- constantly sizing each up and making decisions as to whether we want to help them or not.’ ”
Then comes the brain part:
“The research team propose that making relative judgements through helping others has been influential for human survival, and that the complexity of constantly assessing individuals has been a sufficiently difficult task to promote the expansion of the brain over many generations of human reproduction.”
So, forget things like meat eating. Sizing each other up is the new Darwinian explanation for our big brains – until they come up with a new not-so-brainy story that completely demolishes the current one.
But those who have not been numbed by Darwinian tales might well see real evidence of superb design in one of the most complex organs ever created.
Cardiff University. 2016. Large human brain evolved as a result of 'sizing each other up'. Science Daily (12 August).
Saturday, 13 August 2016
Animals often eat others instead of helping them, though we can occasionally see glimpses of a very different kind of world that reminds us of the Garden of Eden.
Seen against this background, doing good to others does not make much evolutionary sense in a world that is supposed to be red in tooth and claw.
Yet, not even the most ardent atheist can deny that many good things do happen in our evil world where we see the consequences of the Fall.
At least some people are altruistic even though they don’t get a reward for their unselfish deeds.
Recently, New Science published a series of articles on human rights, dignity and altruism from a Darwinian perspective. The magazine acknowledged that the evolutionary world is indeed a bleak one:
“EVER since Darwin, some people have warned that social ills would soon follow the idea that humans are no more than a particular species of ape. If there’s nothing special about us, why should we treat people any better than we do other animals?”
Then the writer attempts to solve this puzzle:
“Our sense of morality appears to have been hardwired into us by evolution.”
But this is only true if Darwinian evolution is true. And the evidence against evolution seems to be growing almost daily.
New Scientist acknowledges:
“New research suggests that those who have a strictly biological definition of humans are subtly less supportive of human rights, although it doesn’t claim they are any more likely to treat others badly … But if this preliminary result is upheld by further research, it will come as an unwelcome shock to scientific materialists.”
Atheists often claim that they can be good without God, but they tend to forget that Christian morality and ethics have had a real impact on European values for two millennia.
In other words, their rich Christian heritage prompts them to do good.
Jesus gave us the perfect illustration of altruism. He came to atone for the sins of fallen mankind and paid the ultimate price – His own life, of His free will, because He wanted us to know what God is really like. Perfect and just, yet loving and compassionate.
Holmes, Bob. 2016. The kindness paradox: Why be generous? New Scientist (10 August).
New Scientist. 2016. We need a new secular approach to dignity (3 August).
Thursday, 11 August 2016
This week marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Charles Dawson, the man who gave us Eoanthropus dawsoni, better known as Piltdown Man.
A new paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science coincides with the anniversary. The research suggests that a single forger manufactured the apeman-like skull.
Charles Darwin’s Descent of Man (1871) inspired evolutionists to find the assumed missing link between apes and humans.
German scientists found a fossil jaw belonging to an early man dubbed Homo heidelbergensis.
Surely the British could produce something better?
Eoanthropus dawsoni looked like the perfect solution. Some of the best British fossil experts examined the skull in 1915 – and none of them suspected it was a fraud.
Writing in The Conversation, Isabelle De Groote, the lead author of the recent paper, issues a warning:
“Solving the Piltdown crime is still important now as it stands as a cautionary tale to scientists not to be blinded by preconceived ideas but to remain objective and to subject even their own findings to scientific scrutiny.”
Alas, evolutionists have seldom heeded sound advice. All too often they have seen that what they expected to see.
Some of the worst scientific frauds have a Darwinian connection: Piltdown Man, Nebraska Man and Archaeoraptor liaoningensis that was assumed to be a feathered dinosaur.
Assumed human evolution has seen the rise and fall of several skulls once thought to be our ancestors, such as Australopithecus africanus, better known as Taung Child, Ardipithecus ramidus (Ardi), Toumai or Sahelanthropus tchadensis and Paranthropus boisei a.k.a. Nutcracker Man, for instance.
De Groote, Isabelle. 2016. Solving the Piltdown Man crime: how we worked out there was only one forger. The Conversation (10 August).
Tuesday, 9 August 2016
According to a Chinese legend, a devastating Yellow River flood “forced people from their homes and washed away farmland, leading to famine.”
An article in Live Science goes on to say:
“Emperor Yu is said to have tamed the floodwaters by dredging the river bed. The heroic emperor went on to establish the Xia Dynasty, the first in Chinese history.”
The story has a dragon that helped the emperor to get rid of the excess water.
Researchers are beginning to think that the legend might reflect a true historical catastrophe. Live Science continues:
“Now, a team of scientists has provided geological evidence for a disastrous flood that occurred around 1920 B.C., which could be the origin of the legend. The research, published today (Aug. 4) in the journal Science, reconstructed ancient events along the Yellow River — including an earthquake, a landslide and a dam burst — that led to a catastrophic flood.”
Great floods have made headlines in recent days. The Ark Encounter with its huge vessel built on dry land has made some evolutionists furious, as it does not fit in with their worldview.
While there are flood legends in practically all cultures, it seems that the Chinese flood occurred after Noah’s great cataclysm, perhaps during the ice age or its aftermath.
Secular scientists have often associated the biblical flood with local catastrophes in the Mediterranean area, the Black Sea or Mesopotamia.
However, Noah’s Flood could not have been local and the ark was not a riverboat.
The historical account of the Flood is given in the Old Testament book of Genesis. In contrast, the Gilgamesh Epic reads like a legend with embellished details.
There’s no shortage of evidence for Noah’s Flood. A mega-tsunami and giant boulders, mountain gaps and fossil graveyards are among the most conspicuous relicts of the year-long devastating global catastrophe that changed the face of the earth.
Deamer, Kacey. 2016. Dragons and Magical Dirt: Legendary 'Great Flood' Left Real Evidence. Live Science (4 August).
Sunday, 7 August 2016
Plankton DNA in marine sediments should obviously decay with time and certainly not last for over a million years.
However, a recent paper published in the journal Geology reports on the discovery of traces of diatom DNA in samples dug up from the Bering Sea in sediments believed to be 1.4 million years old.
When it comes to plankton, diatoms are probably among the most picturesque and beautiful types, and even some evolutionists acknowledge that they look designed.
Younger sediments contained more DNA, but even the “1.4 million year old” layers had some DNA left.
While algae and other types of plankton are often featured in some Darwinian stories, this time the just so stories are conspicuous by their absence.
The researchers do not have a logical explanation for their findings:
“We do not know the mechanism behind the apparent relative slowdown of DNA degradation with age. Whether this decreased turnover is due to decreased lability of residual DNA, an overall decrease in enzyme activity, a decrease in spontaneous decay rates, or some combination of these and other factors remains presently unknown.”
Their discovery certainly calls into question the validity of radiometric dating and the very concept of millions of years.
Kirkpatrick, John B., Emily A. Walsh and Steven D’Hondt. 2016. Fossil DNA persistence and decay in marine sediment over hundred-thousand-year to million-year time scales. Geology 44 (8) (August).
Friday, 5 August 2016
In May 2007, when Answers in Genesis (AiG) opened its Creation Museum in Kentucky, a group of atheists hired an aeroplane. Drawing a banner with the words “Thou shalt not lie,” the plane flew above the museum.
In July (2016), when AiG opened its Ark Encounter theme park to the public, Bill Nye, who debated Ken Ham at the Creation Museum in February 2014, was there to warn of the danger of brainwashing.
However, while Mr. Nye might not acknowledge it, most brainwashing tends to happen in secular venues where goo-to-you-evolution is taught as fact, regardless of the dire lack of evidence.
“The Science Guy” seems to detest all those who dare to question evolution.
The Ark Encounter features a huge replica of Noah’s Ark. Approximately 155 metres (510 feet) long, it could easily have fitted two animals of each biblical kind of land animal on board and kept them safe for a year.
Many secularists are worried. They seem to be wary of anything that promotes the biblical worldview, regardless of whether it has to do with statues, crucifixes or nativity scenes.
Noah’s Ark is described in the Bible. Jesus and the New Testament writers believed in its historicity. No wonder secularists are worried. It is a form of evangelism.
The Ark Encounter is not the only huge ark replica that has made headlines in recent years. Johan Huibers, a Dutch carpenter, has built two floating arks and some businessmen have constructed an ark of biblical proportions in Hong Kong.
You can read more about the AiG Ark in the Ark Encounter blog.
Wednesday, 3 August 2016
According to the biblical worldview, the Earth was once a perfect place until the first humans rebelled against God’s explicit commandment.
The dire consequences of the rebellion that is known as the Fall can be seen almost everywhere, even amid the created beauty of our world.
A recent paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science revealed a serious result of their sin: severe arthritis in a hadrosaur assumed to be “70 million years old”.
While radiometric dating is more or less unreliable, there is no question that the poor dinosaur was not in the best of health.
New Scientist reports:
“Scientists believe the hadrosaur, a plant-eating duck-billed dinosaur, must have endured considerable suffering before reaching the end of its life.”
This is based on solid science:
"X-ray analysis of its fossilised elbow joint revealed evidence of septic arthritis, an especially nasty form of the disease caused by infection and known to afflict modern birds, crocodiles and humans.
A micro-tomography scan — a high resolution version of the kind of CT scans used in hospitals — showed that the joint was fused and covered in bony growths.”
Death plays a major role in the evolution model but in the biblical worldview it is an intruder.
The article goes on to say:
"It is the first time septic arthritis has been seen in a dinosaur, although another arthritic condition called osteomyelitis was quite common among the creatures.”
The Fall was a catastrophe that has impacted life on Earth since the dawn of mankind. Radiocarbon (C-14) and soft tissue suggest that man and dinos walked here at the same time. Both suffered from the consequences of an extremely bad decision.
But even now, we can occasionally see glimpses of a better world: In Ireland, a cat adopted ducklings instead of eating them, and in Russian Dagestan, a lioness herds a flock of sheep.
New Scientist staff and Press Association. 2016. First diagnosis of dinosaur arthritis shows it lived in pain. (3 August).
Monday, 1 August 2016
We should not be surprised by the recent spate of violence and killings in France, Turkey, Germany, Syria and Afghanistan.
Often, when people see or hear about violence and death, they think that God is somehow responsible for it. How could He allow such things to happen?
This is an old dilemma, technically known as the theodicy problem. If God is good and omnipotent (all-powerful), why does He not protect people from evil?
Sometimes He doesn’t.
Should we then blame God?
By no means!
The ones doing evil deeds are humans. They are evil.
God is – and has always been – good.
Recently, BBC news reported on a tweet that claimed God forgot Afghanistan:
The tweeter didn’t understand the problem of evil. Violence does not just happen. It is a consequence of sin.
When Adam and Eve rebelled against their Maker in Eden, they opened the door to suffering and death.
Sin led from violence to more violence. Cain killed Abel. By the time of the great Flood, only Noah and his family were righteous.
Violence increased dramatically after Darwin published his views on man’s past. We’ve had wars, holocausts, bombings and mass shootings with no end in sight.
Theistic evolutionists don't have an answer to the problem of evil. They tend to believe that violence just happens, because it has always happened – and evolution needs it.
They’re probably causing much harm to the Church and for Christian testimony by pushing views that are anything but Christian.
But we who believe in the Bible understand that it describes the human condition and the origin of evil correctly.
What is more, we know that Jesus Christ stepped into human history to solve the problem of sin.
He died for us so that we could live with Him forever through faith in His name.
BBC News. 2016. 'God forgot Afghanistan' (30 July).