Sunday, 17 December 2017

Cambrian Jellyfish Embryos Haven’t Evolved in “500 Million Years”


Image courtesy of the University of Bristol




Joel Kontinen

Microfossils known as Pseudooides (‘false eggs’) are the inspiration behind a story issued by the University of Bristol. Smaller than grains of sand, they nevertheless succeed in wrecking Darwinian thinking on how things are supposed to change:

Everyone wants to be with their family for Christmas, but spare a thought for a group of orphan fossils that have been separated from their parents since the dawn of animal evolution, over half a billion years ago.

Seen from a Darwinian perspective, the problem is that they haven’t changed since the Cambrian Era:

Pseudooides fossils have a segmented middle like the embryos of segmented animals, such as insects, inspiring grand theories on how complex segmented animals may have evolved.

A team of paleontologists from the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences and Peking University have now peered inside the Pseudooides embryos using X-rays and found features that link them to the adult stages of another fossil group.

It turns out that these adult stages were right under the scientists’ noses all along: they have been found long ago in the same rocks as Pseudooides.

Surprisingly, these long-lost family members are not complex segmented animals at all, but ancestors of modern jellyfish.


“500 million” years is a long time for the oxymoron known as evolutionary stasis, i.e. absence of change.

Source:

University of Bristol. 2017. Fossil orphans reunited with their parents after half a billion years. (13 December).

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Lizard “Evolves a Complex Trait It Once Lost”?

Image courtesy of Jörg Hempelage, CC BY-SA 3.0 de.



Joel Kontinen

Most female lizards lay eggs, but the Zootoca vivipara (‘live-bearing’) gives birth to young offspring, expect for two subspecies.

This prompted New Scientist to speculate that this is a “rare example of a species re-evolving a complex trait that had been lost.”

According to this scenario, lizards first laid eggs, then stopped laying it, forgetting the trait, and then re-discovered it.

The problem with this kind of reasoning is that any kind of change can be seen as an example of Darwinian evolution, even when it clearly isn’t.

It is an example of Darwinian storytelling, which often tends to be more or less fact-free.

Source:

Le Page, Michael. 2017.Lizards re-evolved eggs after thousands of years of live births. New Scientist (5 December).

Monday, 4 December 2017

Rapid Burial of Pterosaur Eggs Suggests Noah’s Flood

Intelligently designed for flight. Image courtesy of Hugo Salais López, CC BY-SA 3.0.




Joel Kontinen

Pterosaurs present many formidable dilemmas for Darwinian evolution. They could grow to be as tall as giraffes and they were almost too heavy to fly.

But they did.

And there’s more. New research suggests that many pterosaurs of all ages met their death in a flood.

Science polishes the account of their demise with creative storytelling:

“The fossils formed about 120 million years ago when disaster struck a group of pterosaurs. The researchers speculate that when a sudden rain flooded a river, hundreds of pterosaur eggs buried in shallow sand or under a layer of leaves or grass were drowned and washed downstream, along with a number of older individuals. Quickly buried by sediment, the eggs and bones did not decay but instead were preserved as fossils.”

The global flood of Noah’s days is a more logical explanation. It has left animal graveyards, petrified forests and geological formations even in the most unlikely places.

Science focuses on the assumption that these flying reptiles cared for their young. In a Darwinian dog-eat-dog world, parental care might not be self-evident.

But in the creation model it certainly is.

Source:

Vogel, Gretchen. 2017. Ancient flying reptiles cared for their young, fossil trove suggests. Science (30 November).




Saturday, 2 December 2017

Setback for Alien Life Hopefuls: No Signs of Water on Mars

Where’s the water? Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona




Joel Kontinen

Just over a century ago, it was customary to see signs of an alien civilisation on the red planet. Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835–1910) thought he saw canals on Mars.

Many others, including Percival Lowell (1855–1916), adopted this view.

Some people still think that there’s at least an inkling of truth in this.

Furthermore, Many people think that the red planet was once blue, sloshing with water.

Time magazine, for instance, has claimed that the Sun helped murder Mars.

And researchers have continued to speculate that liquid water might still be sloshing down the slopes of the red planet.

Now, however, Colin Dundas of the US Geological Survey and colleagues analysed satellite images.

Their research suggests that the assumed signs of running water on Mars dunes are probably just dry sand, as an article in New Scientist put it.

Source:

McKinnon, Mika. 2017. Signs of running water on Mars dunes are probably just dry sand. New Scientist (22 November).



Thursday, 30 November 2017

Lightning Can Produce Atmospheric Radiocarbon (C-14)

More radiocarbon forming? Image courtesy of Simon Q, CC BY 2.0.




Joel Kontinen

In February a thunderstorm in Japan had unexpected consequences. Teruari Enoto, an astrophysicist at Kyoto University, and his colleagues discovered that lightning produced more atmospheric radiocarbon.

A news article in Nature states:

The main source of the carbon-14 in the atmosphere has generally been considered to be cosmic rays. In principle, lightning could also contribute to the supply. But it is not clear yet how much of the isotope is produced in this way, says Enoto, in part because it’s possible that not all bolts initiate photonuclear reactions.”

Many evolutionists used to think that radiometric dating methods were reliable, but a number of studies have shown that they were wrong.

This applies to several dating methods and their basic assumptions.

Geologists will now admit that zircon crystals, ultrasonic cavitation and even solar flares can skew dates.

In addition, science publications have suggested that the uranium-lead method and some other methods tend to give too old dates.

Radiocarbon dating is a special case, as it does not give dates in the millions of years due to its relative short half-life of approximately 5,730 years.

Nonetheless, the Japanese study suggests we should be a bit more critical of radiocarbon dates as well.

Source:

Castelvecchi, Davide. 2017. Lightning makes new isotope. Nature News (22 November).


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Bryozoans, Tiny Living Fossils from the Cambrian, Are Still Very Much Alive

Bryozoans come in many shapes and sizes. Image courtesy of Rob Kool, CC BY-SA 1.0.




Joel Kontinen

According to the evolutionary story, the world has changed dramatically in "500 million years."

But scientists now know that some Cambrian animals have resisted change for aeons:

Recently, a tiny bryozoan was named after David Jablonski and Susan Kidwell, who both are University of Chicago researchers.

This creature, called Jablonskipora kidwellae, is assumed to be “105 million years” old.

A University of Chicago news release attempts to highlight the significance of the find:

Lurking in oceans, rivers and lakes around the world are tiny, ancient animals known to few people. Bryozoans, tiny marine creatures that live in colonies, are “living fossils”—their lineage goes back to the time when multi-celled life was a newfangled concept. But until now, scientists were missing evidence of one important breakthrough that helped the bryozoans survive 500 million years as the world changed around them.”

This is obviously a problem for evolution, so they have to explain it away:

Bryozoans never figured out a symbiotic partnership with photosynthetic bacteria, as coral did, so their evolution took a different turn. Each one in a colony is genetically identical, but they have specialized roles, like ants or bees. Their shelly apartment complexes house thousands of the creatures, which have soft bodies with tiny tentacles to catch nutrients.”

The Cambrian Era is still an enormous enigma for evolution. For some, it might be a real headache, as the creatures assigned to this period are far too complex and some Cambrian fossils are too well preserved to be that old, calling their assumed age into question.

Source:

Lerner, Louise. 2017. Fossil that fills missing evolutionary link named after UChicago professors UChicago News (16 November).

Sunday, 26 November 2017

More Archaeological Evidence for the United Monarchy of David and Solomon

These ruins probably hail from King David’s time (ca. 1000 BC). Image courtesy of MathKnight, CC BY-SA 2.5.



Joel Kontinen

Archaeologists known as Biblical minimalists tend to believe that the Bible is historically more or less unreliable.

They have argued that Israel’s monarchs David and Solomon either were not historical figures or did not reign over the area described in the Bible.

Recently, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published a longish article on this issue. Philippe Bohstrom takes a look at recent archaeological discoveries in Israel that probably hail from the Davidic era.

He discusses a vast copper mining operation that produced over 100,000 tons of slag and says this suggests a strong central government at a time when Egypt was in decline and Edom and Philistia had yet to rise.

Supporting Timna's massive mining operations, therefore, required long-distance trade, or in other words, complex economic activity involving a bureaucratic apparatus. Archaeologists have indeed found evidence of imports from afar (and cloth) dating to the time of David and Solomon. Next to 5-meter high fortification walls, the archaeologists found slingstones, a variety of seeds, fish bones, and donkey bones and dung preserved well enough to be analyzed: it shows the draught animals at Timna ate hay and pomace, the pulp from pressing grapes, olives and suchlike, imported from the Mediterranean coast, more than 200 km afar,” he writes.

He goes on to mention other discoveries, such as the ruins of King David's Palace that Hebrew University professor Eilat Mazar found in 2005.

Bohstrom is not a biblical apologist and does not have an axe to grind. He does, however, ask why it is easier for some sceptics to believe that Agamemnon and other Homeric kings were historical figures but biblical characters were not, given that there is more evidence for the historicity of the latter.

Archaeology confirms biblical history, people, buildings, places and even catastrophes such as earthquakes.

Statues, coins, ossuaries (bone boxes) and seal impressions show names mentioned in the Bible.

Source:

Bohstrom, Philippe. 2017. Did David and Solomon's United Monarchy Exist? Vast Ancient Mining Operation May Hold Answers. Haaretz (21 November).

Friday, 24 November 2017

Darwinian Psychologists Deny Consciousness and Free Will – and Have to Resort to Storytelling

It’s hard to get free will and consciousness from rocks.




Joel Kontinen

If we believe that matter is the only thing that exists, we’re heading towards great trouble, as the immaterial realm is anything but imaginary.

Thus, consciousness and free will are hard dilemmas for evolutionists.

In 2014 Michael Graziano, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Princeton, wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times in which he admitted that consciousness was a “ghostly thing” - seen from a Darwinian perspective, that is.

If this evolutionary conception of consciousness were applied coherently, it would mean the end of the idea of self.

However, recently two psychologists tried to navigate around this skerry. Writing in The Conversation, David A Oakley (Emeritus Professor of Psychology at University College London) and Peter Halligan (Hon Professor of Neuropsychology at Cardiff University) attempt to explain away both consciousness and free will:

It’s easy to assume that these contents of consciousness are somehow chosen, caused or controlled by our personal awareness – after all, thoughts don’t exist until until we think them. But in a new research paper in Frontiers of Psychology, we argue that this is a mistake.

We suggest that our personal awareness does not create, cause or choose our beliefs, feelings or perceptions. Instead, the contents of consciousness are generated ‘behind the scenes’ by fast, efficient, non-conscious systems in our brains. All this happens without any interference from our personal awareness, which sits passively in the passenger seat while these processes occur.

Put simply, we don’t consciously choose our thoughts or our feelings – we become aware of them
.”

This has repercussions for the idea of free will:

We argue that free will and personal responsibility are notions that have been constructed by society.”

This sounds like an excuse to avoid being accountable for our actions, and is very unbiblical notion.

Source:

Oakley, David A. and Peter Halligan. 2017. What if consciousness is not what drives the human mind? The Conversation (22 November).

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Rocket-Builder Wants to Prove from Space That the Earth is Flat

Not so flat. Public domain image included in the 1550 edition of De sphaera mundi (On the Sphere of the World). The book was originally published in 1230.



Joel Kontinen

A self-taught rocket builder is getting ready to be launched into space on November 25th. Mike Hughes has a mission that differs quite a bit from the average space flight: to prove that the Earth is flat.

He hopes to reach an altitude of 550 km (1,800 feet), soaring at a speed of 800 km (500 miles) an hour above the Mojave Desert in a rocket built from scrap metal.

Mr. Hughes thinks that the round earth is a Freemasonic conspiracy propagated by men like John Glenn and Neil Armstrong.

It is not easy to understand how a space flight could prove that the Earth is flat, as the evidence does not support this.

Several astronauts and Wernher von Braun (1912 –1977), the father of the US Apollo space programme, were or are Bible-believing Christians who certainly would not propagate falsehoods.

In contrast, it is often the sceptics who argue that the Bible teaches a flat Earth, although they can’t find any real proof for this.

Unfortunately, many people still believe that intellectual darkness prevailed in Europe during the Medieval Period (i.e., from roughly AD 500 to AD 1500).

They assume that even the few scholars who existed at the time thought that the earth was flat.

However, it would be very difficult to find any reputable medieval source that could corroborate this view. Most scholars who wrote on the shape of the earth said that our planet was round.

One of the earliest writers to do so was the English monk known as Saint Bede or the Venerable Bede (673–735). In his book De temporum ratione (On the Reckoning of Time), he explicitly stated that the earth was round.

Iohannes de Sacrobosco (ca. 1195–1256) was a monk and an astronomer who wrote an entire book on the shape of the earth. Entitled De sphaera mundi (On the Sphere of the World), it was published in 1230. His argumentation sounds very modern:

THE EARTH A SPHERE. -- That the earth, too, is round is shown thus. The signs and stars do not rise and set the same for all men everywhere but rise and set sooner for those in the east than for those in the west; and of this there is no other cause than the bulge of the earth. Moreover, celestial phenomena evidence that they rise sooner for Orientals than for westerners. For one and the same eclipse of the moon which appears to us in the first hour of the night appears to Orientals about the third hour of the night, which proves that they had night and sunset before we did, of which setting the bulge of the earth is the cause.”

Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) was probably the greatest theologian of the Middle Ages. In his Summa Theologica, he described the earth as being round like a ball. He pointed out that it was not shaped like a shield.

In addition to books, we can also see evidence for a spherical earth in the symbols that the rulers of the Byzantine Empire and the Holy Roman Empire used. A coin minted during the reign of Emperor Theodeseus II (who ruled from AD 408 to AD 450) already shows the Globus Cruciger, which is Latin for “cross-bearing orb”. The cross symbolises the victory of Christ on the cross and the orb beneath it depicts the shape of the Earth.

The Globus Cruciger became a symbol of imperial power. For instance, a 7th century coin depicts Emperor Leontius holding this object.

A medieval painting shows Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor (1017–1056), being presented with this symbolic sphere. And a 13th century painting shows Emperor Fredrick I Barbarossa holding the Globus Cruciger in his hand.

It looks very round.

For many centuries, the Globus Cruciger was used as a symbol in the crown jewels of several European monarchies.

It thus seems that there is no historically sound basis for the belief that people in the Medieval Period thought that the earth was flat like a pancake.

But the Jews already knew that the earth was round in the 7th century B.C. The prophet Isaiah wrote: “He [God] sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers” (Isaiah 40:22, NIV).

Source:

Selk, Avi, 2017. This man is about to launch himself in his homemade rocket to prove the Earth is flat. The Washington Post (21 November).

Update (1 December):

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) heard of the planned launch and forbade Mr. Hughes to carry out his experiment, as the launch pad was on public land.


Monday, 20 November 2017

Antarctica’s Petrified Forest Reminds Us of Noah’s Flood

Petrified trees can be seen on many continents. Here’s one on the Greek island of Lesvos.




Joel Kontinen

We would most probably not expect to find petrified trees in Antarctica, even though researchers had discovered pollen on the now frozen continent.

But now evolutionists have to resort to creative storytelling to account for a fossilised forest they found there.

An article on Live Science suggests:

From about 400 million to 14 million years ago, the southern continent was a very different, and much greener place. The climate was warmer, though the plants that survived at the low southern latitudes had to cope with winters of 24-hour-per-day darkness and summers during which the sun never set, just as today.”

They found “the oldest polar forest on record”. They believe that it’s 280 million years old. It is mostly composed of Glossopteris trees that resemble today’s Bald Cypress.

It’s hard to believe that the trees are as old as they assume:

The plants are so well-preserved in rock that some of the amino acid building blocks that made up the trees’ proteins can still be extracted, said [paleoecologist Erik] Gulbranson, who specializes in geochemistry techniques. Studying these chemical building blocks may help clarify how the trees handled the southern latitudes’ weird sunlight conditions, as well as the factors that allowed those plants to thrive but drove Glossopteris to its death, he said.”

Previously, researchers found a fossilized tropical forest in Norway and dinosaur fossils in Alaska.

The global flood of Noah’s day is the most logical explanation for these discoveries. It has left marks all over the world, including fossil graveyards and geological formations.

Source:

Pappas, Stephanie, 2017. 280-Million-Year-Old Fossil Forest Discovered in … Antarctica. Live Science (15 November).

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Capybara: The World’s Biggest Rodent Is Intelligently Designed for Swamp Life

A Yellow-headed caracara on a capybara. Image courtesy of Charlesjsharp, CC BY-SA 4.0.



Joel Kontinen

The animal kingdom is full of creatures that defy simplistic Darwinian explanations.

One of them is the world’s biggest rodent capybara (Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris). It is optimally designed for swamp life – with webbed feet, and ears and eyes high on the head so it can hear and see clearly while in water.

This South American rodent can weigh almost 80 kg (175 lbs) and have a body length of 100 – 130 centimetres (40 to 50 inches) without the very short tail, but it is no bully and prefers to eat grasses, aquatic plants, grains, melons, and squashes.

Some other creatures, such as the binturong (Arctictis binturong) or bearcat, star-nosed mole, spiny anteater, platypus and the warm-blooded fish opah (Lampris guttatus), also defy Darwinian thinking.


Source:

Capycarafacts. com

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Ross 128 b: Newly Discovered Exoplanet Might Not Be Habitable, Despite the Media’s Expectations


Ross 128 b. Image courtesy oF ESO / M. Kornmesser.




Joel Kontinen

When it comes to reporting on potentially habitable exoplanets, it is not difficult to see an interesting trend, i.e., a more honest approach to previous discoveries.

They are suddenly seen as less plausible candidates for life or they are simply forgotten.

The recent discovery of the planet Ross 128 b, which orbits a red dwarf star 20 times closer than Earth orbits the Sun 11 light years from us, follows this tendency.

Red dwarf stars are notorious for bombarding their planets with intense solar radiation that can be lethal.

Many planets orbiting them might be tidally locked, with the same side always facing the star.

However, astronomers think that of Ross 128 b might receive less solar radiation although they are not sure whether it orbits its star in the habitable zone.

It is roughly Earth-sized with a temperature assumed to be between -60 and +20°C.

It might well give a false hope for those who expect to find alien life in the universe. Hitherto, all candidates have turned out to be worlds that most probably cannot sustain life.

And then it’s still a giant leap from being potentially habitable to actually being habited. There’s no life without information, no information without design, and no design without a Designer.

As far as we know, there’s no place like our created home planet anywhere in the universe.

Source:

Rincon, Paul. 2017. Nearby planet is a target for life. BBC News. (15 November).

Monday, 13 November 2017

Fruit Fly Brains Inspire Search Engines of the Future


Image courtesy of André Karwath, CC BY-SA 2.5.



Joel Kontinen

Fruit flies have an amazing skills, including their sense of smell. They can distinguish between very subtle differences in odours.

Recently, Salk Institute assistant professor Saket Navlakha and colleagues reviewed the published literature on fruit flies and came up with some interesting details, reported by Science Daily:

When fruit flies first sense an odor, 50 neurons fire in a combination that's unique to that smell. But rather than hashing that information by reducing the number of hashes associated with the odor, as computer programs would, flies do the opposite -- they expand the dimension. The 50 initial neurons lead to 2,000 neurons, spreading out the input so that each smell has an even more distinct fingerprint among those 2,000 neurons. The brain then stores only the 5 percent of those 2,000 neurons with the top activity as the ‘hash’ for that odor.”

This strategy is surprisingly elegant and efficient:

The whole paradigm helps the brain notice similarities better than it would compared to reducing the dimension, Navlakha says.”

This discovery is very likely to inspire better search engines.

Biomimicry or copying intelligent solutions in living beings has become a lucrative research field. (See here, here, here and here for some other examples.)

Source:

Salk Institute. 2017. Fruit fly brains inform search engines of the future. Science Daily. (9 November).

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Origin of Life Research Invokes a Synthetic Enzyme – And Fails


The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park. Image courtesy of Jim Peaco, National Park Service, public domain.




Joel Kontinen

Origin of life is a messy research field. No one has ever come up with a plausible explanation of how non-life could have turned into life.

With naturalistic ideology running the show, explanations tend to be both speculative and impossible.

But they keep on trying. The latest attempt features a synthetic enzyme called diamidophosphate (DAP).

Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy and his colleagues at the Scripps Research Institute report on their research in the journal Nature Chemistry.

While they cannot be sure that DAP even existed at the time life supposedly popped out of the prebiotic stew, they assume that it might have.

An article posted in Live Science does no spare conditionals in reporting on the research: “may have existed”, “could have reacted”, “may have reacted” and “could have been leached out”, to name a few.

Krishnamurthy has no proof that DAP even existed four billion years ago. He synthesized the molecule in his lab as a way to solve one of the fundamental challenges to phosphorylating in wet, early Earth conditions. For most phosphorylation reactions to work, they need to remove a molecule of water in the process.

‘How do you remove water from a molecule when you are surrounded by a pool of water?’ asked Krishnamurthy. ‘That’s thermodynamically an uphill task.’

DAP gets around that problem by removing a molecule of ammonia instead of water.”

However, that will not give us life. This scenario is anything but plausible.

Krishnamurthy is working with geochemists to identify potential sources of DAP in the distant geological past. Phosphate-rich lava flows may have reacted with ammonia in the air to create DAP, or it could have been leached out of phosphate-containing minerals. Or maybe it even arrived on the back of a meteorite forged by a far-off star.”

You don’t have to be a prophet to say that their scenario will not work.

Source:

Roos, Dave. 2017. Chemists May Have Found the 'Missing Link' to the First Life on Earth. Live Science (10 November).

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Giant Planet Orbits Dwarf Star: Monster Planet NGTS-1b Challenges Planet Formation Theories

An artist’s rendering of the monster planet and its sun. Image courtesy of University of Warwick/Mark Garlick.



Joel Kontinen

They refer to it as the monster planet.

A giant gas planet orbiting a dwarf star is causing astronomers to scratch their heads in bafflement. The combination challenges the established planet formation theory.

NGTS-1b is a hot Jupiter very close to its sun, with an orbit lasting 2.6 days. Its host star is a red M-dwarf with a radius of 50 per cent that of our sun.

The problem is that such a planet should not exist, if naturalistic theories were true.

It appears that they aren’t.

NGTS-1b is not the only “impossible” exoplanet. Some are extremely hot, some others have three suns, and many others are likewise more or less weird.

It might be high time to ditch naturalistic speculations and keep in mind that ours is a privileged planet, fine-tuned for life.

Source:

Royal Astronomical Society. 2017. Monster' planet discovery challenges formation theory. Science Daily. (31 October).

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Ingredients of Life Cooking Up on Enceladus?

Image courtesy of Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA.





Joel Kontinen

A can of sardines has all the ingredients that life needs, but its content is as dead as dead can be.

Much more than just the necessary ingredients are needed for life to suddenly pop up.

This same principle also applies to Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus that is geologically far too active for a solar system that is assumed to be 4.5 billion years old.

To solve this dilemma, some secular scientists, for instance Gaël Choblet at the University of Nantes, France, and colleagues, have to invoke tidal forces caused by Saturn’s gravity,

According to New Scientist,

Choblet and his team found that the tidal heating effect could persist for tens of millions to billions of years, giving any potential life plenty of time to evolve in the resulting warm, chemically diverse areas.”

However, this is not a discovery; it is an assumption based to the belief that Saturn and its moons are billions of years old.

And it might be good to keep in mind that life only comes from life.

All secular origin of life hypotheses are speculations and /or wishful thinking.

They are certainly not supported by facts.

Water does not magically turn into molecules or even mice in our solar system or anywhere else.

Source:

Crane, Leah. 2017. Enceladus’s hot, gritty core may cook up ingredients for life. New Scientist (6 November).

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Giraffe-Sized Flying Creature Defies Darwinian Explanations

Quetzalcoatlus might have looked like this. Image courtesy of ДиБгд, public domain.





Joel Kontinen

Researchers recently found a fragmented fossil of an enormous flying creature in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia.

Pterosaurs were enigmatic creatures. They were almost too big and too heavy to fly, but they somehow managed to take to the air.

Tall as male giraffes (5.5 metres or18 feet), they had a wingspan of 9.7–11 metres (32–36 feet).

They appear suddenly, fully formed in the fossil record at the time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth (according to Darwinian thinking).

Pterosaurs had exquisitely designed features, some of which are found in modern bats and some in modern birds.

There is no shortage of mosaic-like creatures in the animal kingdom. The extinct ones include Archaeopteryx and Tiktaalik.

Living mosaics, such as the e duck-billed platypus and the spiny anteater, are problematic for evolution.

They are not evolving into something else, and neither did pterosaurs.

Source:

Pickrell, John. 2017. Ancient Winged Terror Was One of the Largest Animals to Fly. National Geographic (31 October).


Friday, 3 November 2017

Kepler Finds 20 Habitable Exoplanets (That Might Not Be Habitable)


Some hope this is a habitable world. Image courtesy of NASA.





Joel Kontinen

Just add water is the major ingredient in the secular formula for creating life. Thus, every time NASA or some other agency reports on the discovery of an exoplanet that could potentially harbour water, the press creates big headlines.

Often, on closer inspection, discoveries have turned out to be false positives. It has even happened that some of the planets don’t exist.

Many secularists want desperately to find life in space. They are uncomfortable with the idea that Earth is a privileged planet, especially created by God, who is all-powerful and to whom all human beings are accountable.

New Scientist has this to say about the recent finds:

“The list of potential worlds includes several planets that orbit stars like our sun. Some take a relatively long time to complete a single orbit, with the longest taking 395 Earth days and others taking Earth weeks or months. The fastest orbit is 18 Earth days. This is very different to the very short “years” we see around smaller stars with habitable planets like Proxima Centauri.

The exoplanet with a 395-day year is one of the most promising worlds for life on the list, says Jeff Coughlin, a Kepler team lead who helped find the potential planets. Called KOI-7923.01, it is 97 per cent the size of Earth, but a little colder.

Its cooler temperature is due to its distance from its star and the fact that the star is slightly cooler than our sun. This means it may be a little more like tundra regions on Earth than temperate ones, but is still warm enough and large enough to hold the liquid water essential to life as we know it.”

However, water is by far not the only ingredient needed for life and at least some exoplanets assumed to orbit their sun in the habitable zone are not habitable at all.

Source:

Wenz, John. 2017. We may have found 20 habitable worlds hiding in plain sight. New Scientist (30 October).

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Star Wars Lookalike Monkey Is No Alien

Pied tamarin (Saguinus bicolor). Image courtesy of Stavenn, CC BY-SA 3.0.



Joel Kontinen

A tiny Brazilian monkey looks a bit like Yoda, a Star Wars character, but it is no alien. The pied tamarin (Saguinus bicolor) is an endangered species.

A mere 25 centimetres long, this tamarin might appear to be grumpy, but it is actually a social and curious creature.

Saguinus bicolor is yet another example of the rich variety within each created kind.


Source:

Hamzelou, Jessica. 2017. Pied tamarin doesn’t look too happy about its extreme close-up. New Scientist (25 October).

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Zircon Crystals Can ”Skew Timescales for Geological Events by Millions of Years,”Australian Researchers Say

Image courtesy of Chd, .CC BY-SA 3.0.




Joel Kontinen

Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology warn of trusting zircon dating uncritically and trusting assumptions that might well be wrong.

An article posted at Phys.org says:

" 'One of the assumptions being made is that the composition of the zircons and the rocks in which they have formed give an accurate record of the magmas and conditions at which the zircons and magmas formed,' Associate Professor Bryan said.

From this, we then estimate the age of the event that caused them to form.


This might give dates that are off by millions of years:

"Some zircon crystals may not be related to their host rocks at all. They may have come from the source of the magma deep in the Earth's crust or they may have been picked up by the magma on its way to the surface.

A similar problem might skew dates obtained by other dating methods as well.

Source:

Phys.org. 2017. Zircon as Earth's timekeeper: Are we reading the clock right? (23 October).

Friday, 27 October 2017

Darwin Was Wrong About Ancient Man

The .Greeks built the first computer over 2,000 years ago. Here's a model of it in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.
.



Joel Kontinen

Evolutionists tend to believe in progress from simple beginnings to more sohistication.

However, we often do not see this in the animal kingdom – or even in human history. An intruiging illustration is the very first computer, the The Antikythera mechanism, an invention that is over 2,000 years old.

The device was housed in a wooden box that measured 34 cm (13 inches) x 18 cm (7 inches) x 9 cm (3.5 in), or slightly smaller but thicker that the average laptop.

The Antikythera mechanism could, among other things, be used to predicte astronomical events such as solar eclipses and the timing of the Ancient Olympic Games.

In other words, its technology was by far more advanced than anything inventors during Charles Darwin´s lifetime could come up with.

In real life, technology has often gone backward. This is something that Darwin would never ever have predicted.


Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Live Science Gets Religion: Worshipping a Man-Made AI God

It's a long way from a robot to an AI ”god”. Image courtesy of Polimerek, CC BY-SA 3.0.



Joel Kontinen

Occasionally, science portals tend to overstep their expertise and give religious pronouncements.

The latest example is provided by Live Science. The article features Anthony Levandowski, a former Google and Uber engineer, who established Way of the Future, ”a nonprofit religious corporation dedicated to worshiping AI.

As with all false religions, its founder has the basics all wrong. He would have us worship a created object instead of the Creator. Artificial intelligence can never become a true God because contrary to some sci-fi claims it can't create anything.

That ”god” would in effect be a superfast calculator and nothing much more. Hence, all prophecies concerning an AI god will turn out to be false ones.

Source:

McDonald, Glenn. 2017. Church that Worships AI God May Be the Way of the Future. Live Science (20 October).




Monday, 23 October 2017

Researchers Question the Triassic Mass Extinction

Triassic sandstone in Germany. Image courtesy of ArtMechanic, CC BY-SA 3.0.



Joel Kontinen


Evolutionists have traditionally believed in five major mass extinctions that made room for new species by killing off the struggling ones.

Now, however, some scientists are casting doubt on the extinction that their colleagues assumed made way for the huge dinosaurs of the Jurassic period.

This extinction was supposedly accompanieed by volcanic eruptions, climate change and acid rain.

But the evidence tying these phenomena to the end of the Triasic is not very clear-cut, so there are valid reasons for doubting this event.

Actually, all mass extinctions could have taken place almost simultaneously, during the global flood of Noah's days some 4,500 years ago.

Source:

Barras, Colin. 2017. The mass extinction that might never have happend. New Scientist (19 October).


Saturday, 21 October 2017

Dwarf Planets Eris and Makemake Are Geologically Active – Defying Billions of Years Thinking

Eris remains an enigma for long-agers. Image courtesy of NASA.





Joel Kontinen

How could a dwarf planet (or in this case, two of them) be geologcally active for 4.5 billion years?

The answer is not even blowin' in the wind. It is beginning the resemble the epicycles that were used to keep alive a geocentric solar system before the days of Copernicus and Galileo.

Erin and Makemake orbit the sun in the Kuiper belt beyond Neptune.

New Scientist spells out the problem:

”Both worlds seem much too small and cold to have the sort of inner planetary activity that can lead to volcanism.”

But they are nonetheless geologically active.

New Scientist discusses a paper Will Grundy at Lowell Observatory and Orkan M. Umurhan at the SETI Institute presented at the American Astronomical Society meeting on 17th October:

But Grundy and Umuhan reason Eris and Makemake must have some inner activity. The proof is in their ices. When we measure reflection from the surface of both worlds, we see strong spectral lines associated with frozen methane. When this evaporates, it creates a reddish aerosol “gunk” called tholin on the tiny worlds’ surfaces. Grundy and Umurhan calculate that this gunk makes up about 10 per cent of the total ice on Eris, but more on Makemake.

Judging by the amount of methane, we would expect tholin to be a big part of the surface, making the worlds appear darker. Instead, they appear bright white, more like the regions of Pluto covered in nitrogen ice. So Grundy and Umurhan reason the dwarf planets must have volcanoes spewing nitrogen ice to cover the tholins.”


A more logical approach would be to question the assumed age of the solar system. It would make the epicycle type tricks superflous.

Source:

Wenz, John. 2017. Volcanoes that spew stretchy ice could make dwarf planets bright. New Scientist (20 October).

Friday, 20 October 2017

Early Bird Preened Its Feathers – Just Like Modern Ones

An early bird could have looked like this. Image courtesy of El fosilmaníaco, CC BY-SA 4.0..






Joel Kontinen

Birds have not changed their habits – or anatomy – for ”48 million years”.

A paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B describes a fossilized bird found in the Messel Pit in Germany.

An article in Phys.org discloses what was special about this bird:

Upon examination of the remains, the team discovered an object near where its tail feathers had once been, which looked similar to the uropygial gland in modern birds—it produces an oil for feather preening. Preening with an oily material waterproofs feathers, and in some cases, can help birds ward off bacteria and fungi.”

The discovery calls into question two icons of evolutionary thought: millions of years and the Darwinian concept of evolution. Soft tissue should not last tens of millions of years and birds should not be able to resist change for aeons.

Source:

Yirka, Bob. 2017. Fatty bird gland preserved over 48 million years. Phys.org (18 October).


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Religion According to Evolution: Replacing One Just-So Story with Another



Atheists have a hard time trying to figure out why religion is a global phenomenon.




Joel Kontinen

When it comes to religion, evolutionists have a huge problem: religious faith is not about to become extinct even though western society is getting increasingly secularised.

Since the days of Darwin and Freud, they have seen religion as belonging to the more primitive stages of human history.

Writing in The Conversation, Associate Professor Peter Kevern discusses the old Darwinian story of the origin of evolution:

”Our brains are hardwired with cognitive biases that have evolved in order to help us to survive, but which have the side-effect of making it natural to develop religious belief. For example, we are cognitively predisposed to imagine that every rustle in the bushes is a creature watching our every move: this hyperactive agency detection device was of real benefit to early humans alone in the jungle. It might have caused our early ancestors to run away from a few imaginary tigers, but they also will have escaped one that might otherwise have eaten them. The side effect, however, is that we see unseen watchers everywhere. From this point, it is a relatively easy leap to believe in gods that watch over us, unseen.”

Then he suggest that this is merely a just so story.

He proposes a new approach in which religion means different things to different individuals. It is a need-centered model that also fits the label of ”just-so story.”

In the world of evolution one gets to pick a story that is no more convincing than all the others. It fails to disclose why many people tend to embrace a religion. It does not delve into our inner search for meaning and truth.

Source:

Kevern, Peter. 2017.Could it be that religion is more like sex than school? The Conversation (29 September).

Monday, 16 October 2017

Epigenetic Changes, Not Mutations, Cause Mexican Cave Fish Lose Their Eyesight

Image courtesy of Johnston DJ, CC BY-SA 3.0.


Joel Kontinen

Mutations do not explain why some Mexican cave fish (Astyanax mexicanus) have lost their eyesight.

New Scientist reports on recent research of these fish:

"Aniket Gore of the US’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and colleagues haven’t found any disabling changes in the DNA sequences of eye development genes in the cavefish.

Instead, the genes have been switched off by the addition of chemical tags called methyl groups. This is what is known as an epigenetic, rather than genetic, change.”


It would not be honest to call this Darwinian evolution, as it isn't.

New Scientist calls it an unexpected evolutionary process, but it would be more appropriate to call it a non-evolutionary process or a non-Darwinian process.

The fish did change, they lost a feature they had (eyesight), but the cause of their adaptation to darkness is anything but Darwinian.

Source:

Le Page,Michael. 2017. Blind cave fish lost eyes by unexpected evolutionary process. New Scientist (12 October).


Saturday, 14 October 2017

Dwarf Planet Hammea Has a Ring That Suggests Young Age

Image courtesy of Stephanie Hoove, public domain.




Joel Kontinen

No one expected that a dwarf planet orbiting the sun some 2 billion kilometres beyond Pluto would have a ring.

Somewhat smaller than Pluto, Hammea is egg-shaped and it also has two small moons.

Astronomers know that at least one other dwarf planet has a ring.

Recent obsevations suggest that Hammea's ring is 70 kilometres wide and roughly 2290 kilometres from its centre.

If the solar system really were 4.5 billion years old, we would not expect to see any rings circling any planet, regardless of whether it is giant or small. Thus, secularists have had to invent a planet or other object that crashed into Hammea, creating the ring.

Convincing?

No, but as naturalism is the only gane in town (or the universe), design (not to mention creation) is strictlty verboten, at least until it becomes too obvious to reject.

Source:

Ken Croswell, Ken. 2017. Distant dwarf planet near Pluto has a ring that no one expected New Scientist (11 October).




Friday, 13 October 2017

New Origin of Life Hypothesis Fails Despite Invoking Meteorites and Warm Little Ponds


Image courtesy of NASA.




Joel Kontinen

While Charles Darwin's idea of a warm little pond has been discarded several times, it has recently made a comeback. This time it is combined to meteorite strikes, another contentious hypothesis.

A report issues by McMaster's University has the gist of what they believe could havehappened:

”The spark of life, the authors say, was the creation of RNA polymers: the essential components of nucleotides, delivered by meteorites, reaching sufficient concentrations in pond water and bonding together as water levels fell and rose through cycles of precipitation, evaporation and drainage. The combination of wet and dry conditions was necessary for bonding, the paper says.”

The number of logic-defying gaps in this hypothesis is no smaller than in previous ones, for instance in the ones featuring hypothermal vents or things like that.

The heat produced by meteorite impacts would almost certainly destroyed all incipient building blocks of life and the lack of any ozone would have killed of anything that could have survived.

In other words, even the latest scenario is a total disastre. It could not have produced life.

Source:

Hemsworth, Wade. 2017. Meteorites may have brought building blocks of life to Earth.McMaster University (2 October).

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Wikipedia Expells Distinguished Scientist for Doubting Darwin


Dr. Bechy is a dragonfly fossil expert, but that wasn't notable enough for Wikipedia's non-scienctist contributors. Image courtesy of Daderot, public domain.





Joel Kontinen

The message of Ben Stein's Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is as timely now as it was almost a decade ago.

The latest installment of Darwinian censorship features Günter Bechly, a distinguished German paleontologist.

Dr. Bechly was a curator at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany, but he lost his job when he became disillusioned wth Darwinian evokution.

Now, some evolutionists want to make him invisible as well. Wikipedia editors, most of whom are non-scientists, have erased his Wikipedia page, ostensibly for trivial reasons, but the real reason seems to be that he embraces intelligent design.


Source:

Klinghoffer, David. 2017. Wikipedia Erases Paleontologist Günter Bechly.
Evolution News & Science today
(10 October).

Monday, 9 October 2017

Human Evolution: Just Add Some Exploding Stars, Savannah, Lightning and Wildfires?

Image courtesy of Famartin, CC BY-SA 3.0.




Joel Kontinen

Darwinian explanations tend to make headlines – not because they are plausible but because they are bizarre.

Secular scenarios are often so full of gaps that to go from a to b (say, for instance, from an ape-like creature to a human being) requires good jumping skills and a fair amount of imagination.

Origin of life scenarios are particularly interesting, as they tend to be remarkably short-lived, but almost every stage of evolution has its impassable hurdles.

A new study looks at the environment that assumedly made our ancestors’ evolution possible. It suggests that some exploding stars, savannah, lightning and wildfire were needed to kickstart hominid evolution.

Would this be plausible? No, nothing except pre-programming could even in theory turn assumed ape-men into humans, and in practice that just didn’t happen, as in contrast to what the folks over at BioLogos claim, there is no programmer in evolution.

In other words, apes are designed (and created) to be apes, and humans are designed (and created) to be humans.

We are truly fearfully and wonderfully made.

Source:

Barras, Colin. 2017. Exploding stars could have kick-started our ancestors’ evolution. New Scientist (9 October).

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Amazingly Beautiful Deep-Sea Toad Defies Darwinian Expectations

Sea toad or coffinfish (Chaunacops). Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Deep-Sea Symphony: Exploring the Musicians Seamounts




Joel Kontinen

In September 2017, during one of Okeanos Explorer’s recent expeditions in the central Pacific, its remotely operated vehicle (ROV) spotted and filmed an unusual creature at a depth of 3,148 meters (1.96 miles).

The creature, identified as a sea toad or coffinfish (Chaunacops), was bright red.

For evolutionists, beauty in places where practically no one can see it, is bound to be a huge mystery in a world that ought to be be indifferent to everything that looks like it was made by a superb artist.

Natural selection can hardly explain it, and it fares even worse for sexual selection.

Beauty in all kinds of places and creatures is exactly that what we would expect to find in a created world:

He [God ]has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, New International Version).

Recent NOAA expeditions have filmed many other deep-sea creatures that are astoundingly beautiful. (See, for instance, here, here, here and here.)

Source:

Mundy, Bruce. 2017. The Mysterious Identity of the Bright-Red Sea Toad. Okeanos Explorer, NOAA (12 September).

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Are City Mice Evolving to Eat Pizza – Or Do News Outlets Use the E-word Misleadingly?

John Tenniel, 1871: Humpty Dumpty from Through the Looking Glass, public domain.




Joel Kontinen

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."

A lot of water has flown in the world’s rivers since Lewis Carroll penned those words in 1872, but at least in some respects there is little if anything completely new under the sun.

Take the word evolution, for instance. A few weeks ago, New Scientist suggested that losing eyesight was 'regressive evolution'.

More recently, the magazine proposed that rats living in New York City might be evolving to eat pizza.

However, some animals are opportunistic: they eat what they can find. They are adapting to city life, but this doesn’t have anything to do with Darwinian (molecules-to-mice) evolution.

Sources:

Baraniuk, Chris. 2017. New York City mice may be evolving to eat fast food like pizza. New Scientist (4 October).

Knowles, Elizabeth. (ed). 2004. Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Ceres’ Spots: The Dwarf Planet Is Younger and Geologically More Active than Expected

Much younger than expected. Image courtesy of NASA/JPL.




Joel Kontinen

The evidence against a 4.5 billion-year-old solar system keeps on growing:

It includes Saturn’s rings, Pluto’s atmosphere, oxygen on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, geysers on Saturn’s moon Enceladus, as well as ice on Mercury on the asteroid 24 Themis.

Saturn’s moon Enceladus has enigmatic plumes.

And then there’s Ceres.

The dwarf planet is geologically active though it shouldn’t be in a very old universe.

New research features Ceres’ bright spots. According to New Scientist:

These spots are telling a story of a younger, more geologically active Ceres than researchers expected. That’s because we would expect material ejected by impacts to mix eventually and create a uniform surface.”

The most logical explanation is that there hasn’t been enough time.

Source:

McKinnon, Mika. 2017. The mysterious bright spots on Ceres may have a common origin. New Scientist (2 October).

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Big Cretaceous Frog May Have Eaten Small Dinosaurs, Study Suggests

Dino eater's descendent? Image courtesy of Mauricio Rivera Correa, CC BY-SA 2.5.




Joel Kontinen

Named after an ancient Canaanite god, an extinct frog that lived in Madagascar could probably bite so hard that small dinosaurs were in danger of ending up on its menu.

'Bite force research reveals dinosaur-eating frog' was the title of a recent article in Science Daily.

The article is a report on research published in the journal Scientific Reports on how hard modern South American horned frogs could bite.

The study authors assume that the frog Beelzebufo lived some “68 million years” ago and resembled modern South American horned frogs in many ways.

They propose that it could have had a bite force of almost 2200 Newtons (N), which is roughly the same as that of wolves or tigresses.

Frogs have amazing design features and they confirm the after its kind principle introduced in the Book of Genesis.

The study shows that frogs, whether big or small, are frogs, and at least some frogs haven’t yet had the time to turn into princes.

Dinosaurs were supposed to rule during the Cretaceous Era, but research suggests that modern mammals and modern birds were also living at that time.

Source:

University of Adelaide. 2017. Bite force research reveals dinosaur-eating frog. Science Daily. (20 September).

Friday, 29 September 2017

Live Science Features the Eiffel Tower but Fails to Disclose the Inspiration Behind Its Structure: Our Thighbone

Image courtesy of Benh LIEU SONG, CC BY-SA 3.0.



Joel Kontinen

Biomimicry or copying design features seen in living organisms has become a lucrative research field, as the originals are almost always better than what human engineers could have come up with.

One of the oldest examples of biomimicry is the Eiffel Tower in Paris. French engineer Gustave Eiffel studied the work of anatomist Herman von Meyer.

Eiffel was especially interested in the strength of the human femur. Writing in Answers magazine, Dr, Don DeYoung explains:

In the 1850s, Meyer had studied the human femur, or thighbone, which connects to the hip. This bone, the largest in our body, has an unusual off-center ball joint that fits into the hip socket. For strength, the bone’s curved head has many internal bone fibers, called trabeculae. These bone fibers crisscross each other in layers and are precisely aligned to withstand the varying forces of tension and compression. As a result of this ingenious design, the femur efficiently supports and transfers the off-center weight of the person. The femur’s ball joint may look awkward, but it functions superbly for a lifetime of movement unless bone disease interferes.”

He goes on to say that Eiffel made use of Swiss engineer Karl Cullman’s discovery, viz. that the “trabeculae fibers closely resembled the struts and braces used in buildings.”

Thus, the Eiffel Tower could “be built with a minimum amount of iron for maximum strength.”

Built in 1899, at 324 metres (1,063 feet), it was the once highest building in the world.

In a longish article, Live Science omits the source of this design.

However, it could be more honest to give credit to whom credit is due.

It is no secret that inventors have copied most of their basic designs from creation.

We can see examples of amazing design and hi-tech solutions almost everywhere.

Let us not forget that God is the original Inventor. Humans merely copy his designs.

Sources:

DeYoung, Don. 2009. One Leg Up On Architects. Answers 4 (4): 58–59.

Palermo, Elizabeth. 2017. Eiffel Tower: Information & Facts. Live Science (September 28).

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

More Soft Tissue: Original Pigment Found in Late Cretaceous Dinosaur Eggs

See any colours here? Image courtesy of Wiemann et al. PeerJ, 2017.





Joel Kontinen

Darwin’s theory never predicted the discovery of soft tissue in fossils assumed to be tens if not hundreds of millions of years old.

Yet hardly a month goes by without the news of original protein or some sort of unfossilised bone being dug up.

We would definitely not expect to find so old soft tissue.

Researchers have found soft tissue in dinosaurs, fish, marine reptiles, birds and even Cambrian creatures.

A paper recently published in the journal PeerJ features the discovery of original pigment in a Late Cretaceous (i.e. “70–66 million year” old stratum).

According to the abstract,

The eggshell parataxon Macroolithus yaotunensis can be assigned to the oviraptor Heyuannia huangi based on exceptionally preserved, late developmental stage embryo remains. The analyzed eggshells are from three Late Cretaceous fluvial deposits ranging from eastern to southernmost China. Reevaluation of these taphonomic settings, and a consideration of patterns in the porosity of completely preserved eggs support an at least partially open nesting behavior for oviraptorosaurs. Such a nest arrangement corresponds with our reconstruction of blue-green eggs for oviraptors. According to the sexual signaling hypothesis, the reconstructed blue-green eggs support the origin of previously hypothesized avian paternal care in oviraptorid dinosaurs. Preserved dinosaur egg color not only pushes the current limits of the vertebrate molecular and associated soft tissue fossil record, but also provides a perspective on the potential application of this unexplored paleontological resource.”

Pigment has been found in even “older” fossils.

The expression ‘fluvial deposits’ almost always refers to burial by an abundance of water. The most likely period for this was the global flood that devastated the early earth in Noah’s days.

Source:

Wiemann Jasmina, Tzu-Ruei Yang et al. 2017. Dinosaur origin of egg color: oviraptors laid blue-green eggs. PeerJ 5:e3706.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Blind Kiwis: Is Losing Eyesight Evolution or Orwellian Newspeak?


Image courtesy of Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, public domain.




Joel Kontinen

It seems that Darwinists are hoping to convince the unconvinced that evolution can go backwards. In doing so, they might resort to Orwellian newspeak, i.e., change a word’s meaning to the opposite of what it originally meant.

Recently, researchers found three completely blind kiwis. The birds were otherwise healthy.

New Scientist suggests that losing eyesight is 'regressive evolution'
. It attempts to give a reason for why this might be thought of as evolution:

The flightless nocturnal birds may be evolving to lose their eyesight altogether, suggest the researchers. The blind kiwis seem able to survive just as well using other senses such as touch, smell and hearing, so maintaining good eyesight might be a waste of energy.”

Some cave salamanders, crabs and arachnids can get along well in their dark world although they can’t see.

Kiwis are nocturnal birds. Flightless, they don’t look like the average sparrow. They lack flight feathers and their bones are heavier than those of most birds.

Archaeopteryx, for instance, had feathers that are more “modern” and birdlike than the ones kiwis have.

So, losing a trait can hardly be called evolution, unless, of course, evolution refers to all kinds of change, but then it will no longer be of the Darwinian variety.

Source:

Coghlan, Andy. 2017. New Zealand’s iconic kiwi birds may be losing their sight. New Scientist (22 September).