Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Researchers Discover the Non-Evolution of MRSA

Human neutrophil ingesting MRSA. Image courtesy of the National Institutes of Health, public domain.




Joel Kontinen

Antibiotic resistance is a prominent argument used by evolutionists. While the journal Nature acknowledged in 2011 that research results “show conclusively that antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon that predates the modern selective pressure of clinical antibiotic use,” the argument has not become extinct.

In 2012, research published in the Journal PLoS ONE found that bacteria that had been isolated from human contact for more than four million years” in a cave in New Mexico were already resistant to antibiotics."

The date is suspect but the discovery – as well as others after it – nonetheless suggested that evolution had nothing to do with antibiotic resistance.

A recent study published in the journal Genome Biology shows that MRSA (Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) “emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice,” as Science Daily puts it.

The article goes on to say:

“The researchers found that S. aureus acquired the gene that confers methicillin resistance -- mecA -- as early as the mid-1940s -- fourteen years before the first use of methicillin.”

While still giving the nod to evolution, Science Daily merely relates how MRSA appeared:

“To uncover the origins of the very first MRSA and to trace its evolutionary history, the researchers sequenced the genomes of a unique collection of 209 historic S. aureus isolates. The oldest of these isolates were identified over 50 years ago by the S. aureus reference laboratory of Public Health England and have been stored ever since in their original freeze-dried state. The researchers also found genes in these isolates that confer resistance to numerous other antibiotics, as well as genes associated with decreased susceptibility to disinfectants.”

Bacteria are known to borrow stuff from other bacteria, but horizontal gene transfer or using pre-existing genetic material is not Darwinian evolution.

Source:

BioMed Central. 2017. MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered. Science Daily. (20 July).


Sunday, 20 August 2017

Elon Musk: AL Is a Bigger Threat to Us than North Korea

Image courtesy of Gnsin, CC BY-SA 3.0.




Joel Kontinen

Who’s afraid of artificial intelligence?

"If you're not concerned about AI safety, you should be. Vastly more risk than North Korea," Elon Musk tweeted on 11 August.

The billionaire businessman has previously suggested that
humans are living in a computer simulation
.

Now, however, he has begun to echo Stephen Hawking, who has previously warned us of the very same danger.

The threat is more sci.fi that anything else. Machines can only do what they are programmed to do.

Could this fear stem from the naturalistic worldview in which mind is assumed to have arisen from matter?

In real life, it doesn’t.

Source:

Chow, Denise. 2017. Elon Musk: AI Poses Bigger Threat to Humanity Than North Korea. Live Science (16 August).

Friday, 18 August 2017

Flying Mammals Flew Over the Heads of Dinosaurs

The Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans) just got a new ancestor. Image courtesy of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, public domain.





Joel Kontinen

The fossil record can be a nightmare for Darwinian evolution, as animals often appear fully formed in the wrong places, don’t evolve for aeons and any assumed intermediate forms (aka missing links) tend to be more or less suspicious.

The recent discovery of two Jurassic Era mammals – Maiopatagium furculiferum and Vilevolodon diplomyl – reminds us that Darwin-only textbooks are badly outdated.

What is more, Maiopatagium looked like modern flying squirrels.

We already knew that some mammals, such as Repenomamus giganticus that looked a lot like the Tasmanian devil, might have eaten small dinosaurs.

And then there were Jurassic squirrels and flowering plants.

Some mammals predated dinosaurs, if the fossil record is to be trusted.

The Book of Genesis shows us that God created all kinds of animals (but not species) at the same time, so dino-era flying mammals should not surprise us.

Source:

Gabbott, Sarah. 2017. First 'winged' mammals flew over dinosaurs. BBC News (10 August).

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Century Plant and Many Animals Challenge Convergent Evolution

Agave americana blooms only once, at the end of its longish life. Image courtesy of Alvesgaspar, CC BY-SA 3.0.





Joel Kontinen

A recent article in Nature questions the concept of convergent evolution or the idea that unrelated species share traits.

Kevin Padian mentions a number of creatures “whose adaptations have never been duplicated: the kangaroo, the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), the century plant (Agave americana, which blooms only once in its multidecade life) — and humans.”

He could also have mentioned the bombardier beetle, the aardvark, the star-nosed mole and the spiny anteater, for instance.

Agave americana, also known as the century plant, resembles an aloe though it is not closely related to them. While it can live up to 30 years, it only blooms once, at the end of its life, reaching a height of 8–9 metres (25–30 feet).

Like many other organisms, it defies Darwinian assumptions – in a big way.

Source:

Padian, Kevin. 2017. Evolution: Parallel lives. Nature 548, 156–157 (10 August).


Monday, 14 August 2017

Squid’s Vision and Other Designed Features Challenge Darwinian Stories

Fossil squid shows lack of evolution. Image courtesy of Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA 4.0.



Joel Kontinen

Squid are fascinating creatures. They use jet propulsion to dart through the water and can even fly above the surface over a short distance.

They can hide from predators by changing colour.

These are not the only design features in this animal that can rightfully be called a living fossil. Even its ink has not changed in “150 million years”.

Recently, Science published a paper on how squid can see clearly in water:

It’s hard to see underwater, and not just because of the chlorine. The image-producing light rays that enter our eyes have trouble bending and focusing when the water’s density is almost same as that of eye fluid. Sea creatures experience the same problem, but squid use a type of lens notorious for blurry images to correct that, researchers report today in Science. Spherical lenses, like the squids’, usually can’t focus the incoming light to one point as it passes through the curved surface, which causes an unclear image. The only way to correct this is by bending each ray of light differently as it falls on each location of the lens’s surface.”

So far, so good. But then they attribute a cleverly designed feature to blind evolution:

S-crystallin, the main protein in squid lenses, evolved the ability to do this by behaving as patchy colloids—small molecules that have spots of molecular glue that they use to stick together in clusters. The S-crystallins feature a pair of loops that act as the proteins’ sticky patches and attract the loops of other S-crystallins. Globs of six proteins link together during the squid’s larval stage and form a gel that eventually becomes the center of the lens. As the gel becomes too dense with protein clumps, smaller particles struggle to diffuse through, and a new layer of protein packages forms with just under six S-crystallins in each clump. The process continues until the outer edge of the lens is formed with pairs of S-crystallins. This allows light rays to bend a little differently in each region of the lens, which yields a clearer image.”

Invoking evolution is totally unnecessary. A protein does not have the ability to evolve anything.

It is clear that like the intricate trilobite eye, squids also defy Darwinian just so stories about eye evolution.

Source:

Sinclair, Kai. 2017. Watch the secret to a squid’s crystal clear underwater vision. Science (10 August).

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Sea Snakes Replay Peppered Moth Story


Some sea snakes, such as the Blue-lipped sea krait, Laticauda laticaudata, have not turned black. Image courtesy of Jon Hanson, CC-BY-SA-2.0.





Joel Kontinen

The peppered moth (Biston betularia) is one of the most famous icons of evolution, together with Darwin’s finches.

These icons share a common trait: tiny changes that didn’t last very long.

Now, a paper published in the journal Current Biology features another case of industrial melanism.

Rick Shine at the University of Sydney and colleagues found that the turtle-headed sea snake (Emydocephalus annulatus) is turning black due to pollution.

Reporting on the story, New Scientist says:

The group already knew that pollutants such as arsenic or lead can bind to melanin, a dark pigment in the skin, and they wondered whether this might explain the black snakes. To find out, they collected and analysed the skins naturally shed by these snakes in industrial and non-industrial waters. The sea snakes typically shed – or slough – their skin a few times a year.”

The NS story goes on to say:

Looking at 17 sloughs, Shine’s group found that the concentrations of 13 trace elements – particularly cobalt, manganese, lead, zinc and nickel – were higher in snakes near urban areas, and higher in darker skin. Shine says similar concentrations of those trace elements have been reported to cause severe health problems in many domesticated species, from cattle to poultry.

What’s more, Shine’s group found that the black sea snakes shed their skins twice as often as their lighter counterparts. This suggests that the black sea snakes are, indeed, adapting to deal with the pollution in the water they inhabit – both by developing skin with a better capacity to bind potentially harmful trace elements, and by shedding that skin more often to reduce the trace element load they must deal with
.”

Instead of invoking evolution, a more credible explanation would rely on design. Sea snakes were designed with the ability to survive in hazardous environments.

This reminds us of the ability of many animal species to adapt to new challenging environments after the year-long global flood of Noah’s days.

Source:

Woodward, Aylin. Sea snakes are turning black in response to industrial pollution. New Scientist (10 August).

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Man ‘Marries’ Laptop

Could you marry something like this? An American gentleman thinks he can. Image courtesy of Sonicdrewdriver, CC BY-SA 4.0.





Joel Kontinen

Last May, New Scientist admitted that liberals can be deluded.

Some recent developments suggest that they indeed can be. After they jettisoned the Christian concept of marriage, i.e., one man and one woman, and introduced their own anything goes formula, we are increasingly hearing of even more bizarre “marriages”, such as the case of a British woman who married two cats.

And then paedophilia and polygamy are just waiting for their day.

It doesn’t end there. The Washington Times reports on a man who supposedly married his laptop:

Chris Sevier says that if same-sex couples are able to get married and demand that Christian bakers make them wedding cakes, then he should be allowed to marry his laptop and demand a cake to celebrate the union between one man and one machine.

The self-identified ‘machinist’ says he married his laptop in a ceremony in New Mexico, and now he has sued to demand that a Colorado baker — who is already in court after refusing to bake for a same-sex marriage — must be compelled to make cakes for him and his computer ‘bride.’ He also has filed a lawsuit demanding that Utah recognize his man-object marriage
.”

This reminds me of the title of one of Melanie Phillips’ books: The World Turned Upside Down.

As the Western nations are throwing away their rich Christian tradition, the result is total mayhem.

Source:

Swoyer, Alex. 2017. Man ‘marries’ his laptop, sues for state recognition and a wedding cake. The Washington Times (30 July).

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Peer Review in Disgrace: 4 Journals Publish Hoax Star Wars Paper Featuring Midi-Chlorians

The real mitochondrion looks like this. Image courtesy of Kelvinsong, , Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).




Joel Kontinen

Peer review does not automatically mean that a science paper is reliable. At least one bogus, computer generated paper was accepted for publication in a journal.

Then there was the episode of a dog sitting on the editorial board of 7 journals.

The latest addition to this trend features a hoax Star Wars Paper on Midi-Chlorians accepted by four journals.

Obviously, the reviewers failed to distinguish between the supercomplex mitochondrion and the fictitious “and widely derided microscopic life-forms that give Jedi warriors their ability to use the Force in the ‘Star Wars’ movies,” as Live Science puts it.

It seems that it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between truth and falsehood, fact and fiction, real news and fake news, as the recent fake news about the Canaanites reminds us.

Source:

Pappas, Stephanie. 2017. Mitochondria or Midi-Chlorians? 'Star Wars' Hoax Paper Published in 4 Journals. Live Science (25 July).

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Richard Dawkins Gets Banned for Offending Muslims

Dawkins got banned from a Berkeley event. Image courtesy of Shane Pope, CC BY 2.0.





Joel Kontinen

In recent years, Richard Dawkins and other militant atheists have done everything to silence Darwin sceptics.

This was well documented in Ben Stein’s film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

The attempted censorship has become so severe that it prompted Discovery Institute to bestow the Censor of the Year award to the individual who has blatantly attempted to silence dissidents in origins issue. Past recipients include Jerry Coyne and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Dawkins has also done much to denigrate Christianity and keep pro-theistic views out of academic settings.

Now, it seems his strategy has backfired. At Berkeley, a local progressive radio station, KPFA, sponsored an event in which Dawkins was supposed to speak about his new collection of essays.

The event was scheduled to take place in a church on 9th August, but when KPFA heard about Dawkins’ tweets about Islam, they cancelled the event.

It seems that while progressives welcome the denigration of Biblical Christianity, they will not tolerate any criticism of Islam, regardless of how justified it might be.

Source:


Klinghoffer, David. 2017. Dawkins Banned in Berkeley. Evolution News & Science Today (21 July).


Friday, 4 August 2017

Weird Exoplanet Is So Hot That It Can Cause Iron to Boil

Image courtesy of Engine House VFX, At-Bristol Science Centre, University of Exeter.




Joel Kontinen

Weird is probably the adjective that best describes at least some exoplanets.

Some of them shouldn’t exist, if naturalistic theories were right.

There’s even a planet that kills naturalistic planet formation theories.

A new paper published in Nature features a hot Jupiter that beats most of the other weird worlds, WASP-121b, which orbits its sun roughly 900 light years away from us.

Science Daily gives us some details about this giant planet:

WASP-121b has a greater mass and radius than Jupiter, making it much puffier.

The exoplanet orbits its host star every 1.3 days, and the two bodies are about as close as they can be to each other without the star's gravity ripping the planet apart. This close proximity also means that the top of the atmosphere is heated to a blazing hot 2,500 degrees Celsius -- the temperature at which iron exists in gas rather than solid form.”


WASP-121b is obviously not the place to search for little green men, regardless of whether they are bad (as Stephen Hawking assumes) or not.

The take away message from this discovery is that Earth seems to be a very privileged planet.

Source:

University of Maryland. 2017. Exoplanet shines with glowing water atmosphere: Distant 'hot Jupiter' has a stratosphere hot enough to boil iron. Science Daily. (2 August).

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Modern-Day Dragon Blood Might Help Cure Diseases

Looks like a dragon. Image courtesy of Charles J. Sharp, CC BY-SA 4.0.




Joel Kontinen

It might not be easy to miss dragons. They’re in legends, the Chinese horoscope as well as in the names of animals such as draco Volans or the flying dracon and the biggest remaining monster of them all, the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis).

This big dragon can grow to be three metres (10 feet) long. New Scientist calls it ”a true relic of a bygone era” and describes a perhaps surprising trait in the creature’s blood: it can probably be used to cure diseases in humans:

Some of the first clues to the power of dragon blood came from a curious observation. Komodos generally eat carrion, which may be tainted with disease, but they rarely succumb to illness. Investigations showed that this is because the lizards’ blood is loaded with antimicrobial peptides, or AMPs – an all-purpose immune defence.

The hope is that those AMPs could be used as antibiotics to beat the growing number of resistant bacteria threatening hundreds of thousands of human lives around the world.”

Well, dragons were always somewhat mysterious.

Another relic is the tuatara. Evolutionists have to believe that it hasn’t evolved for over “200 million years”.

Source:

Popescu, Adam. 2017. On the trail of dragons with blood that can save people’s lives. New Scientist (2 August).

Monday, 31 July 2017

Vibrating Rock Arches Challenge Belief in Millions of Years


Image courtesy of Flicka, CC BY-SA 3.0.



Joel Kontinen

The belief in millions of years has many illogical elements.

One has to assume that natural rock arches can withstand erosion for aeons. For instance, the Aloba Arch in Chad is assumed to be between 2.5 million and 65 million years old.

In addition, it would be difficult to explain why precariously balanced rocks, such as the the Mother and Child Rock in Zimbabwe, are still standing, as geological features can be formed – and destroyed – in almost an instant. Just think what happen to apostle #9 of the famed Twelve Apostles formation in Victoria, Australia.

Recently, Science featured an interview with Jeff Moore, a geoscientist at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, who is trying to predict when rock arches will collapse.

Wind, earthquakes, and even faraway ocean waves crashing on shorelines all cause rock arches to vibrate,” he says.

Now, if this has been going on for millions of years, why don’t we see more arches collapsing? After all, human activity (such as “footsteps, car and truck traffic, and sounds from aircraft”) can hardly have had an effect millions of years ago.

Source:

Kornei, Katherine. 2017. Are arches like these going to collapse? Meet the scientist who’s trying to find out. Science (28 July).

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Descendants of Ancient Canaanites in Lebanon: The Popular Press Tries to Disprove the Bible but Fails

The Canaanites worshipped Baal among many other gods. Image courtesy of Jastrow, public domain.




Joel Kontinen

A recent paper in the American Journal of Human Genetics prompted the popular press – and to some extent the science publications as well – to try to discredit the Bible.

Science came up with this headline:

Ancient DNA counters biblical account of the mysterious Canaanites.”

But then someone obviously read a few Old Testament verses and the text was amended:

This story and its headline have been updated to reflect that in the Bible, God ordered the destruction of the Canaanites, but that some cities and people may have survived.”

The study compared the genomes of 5 ancient Sidonians to 99 present-day Lebanese people and concluded that they were closely related.

This is how The Telegraph interpreted the results:

The ancient Canaanites were not wiped out, as the Bible suggests, but went on to become modern-day Lebanese, a study has found.”

However, perhaps they should have checked their facts. The Bible does not say that the Canaanite were wiped out or even expelled from Israel:

Nor did Asher drive out those living in Akko or Sidon or Ahlab or Akzib or Helbah or Aphek or Rehob. The Asherites lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land because they did not drive them out.” (Judges 1:31 – 32, NIV).

The popular media are fighting a battle that they have already lost.

Archaeology confirms that the Bible is true.

It tells us of of real people, real buildings and places as well as things like earthquakes that happened exactly when the Bible says they happened.

Sources:

Graham, Chris. 2017. Study disproves the Bible's suggestion that the ancient Canaanites were wiped out The Telegraph (28 July).

Wade, Lizzie, 2017. Ancient DNA reveals fate of the mysterious Canaanites. Science (27 July).

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Cambrian Jellyfish Mass Grave in Death Valley Suggests Rapid Burial in Flood

It’s not easy to fossilize a creature like this. Image courtesy of Dan Hershman, CC BY 2.0.



Joel Kontinen

Jellyfish come in many shapes and sizes. They can display amazing navigation skills. Some live three kilometres below the ocean surface.

Evolutionists assume that “jellyfish-like creatures” were already swimming in the Pre-Cambrian seas, some “600 million years” ago.

Recently, Geological Magazine published a paper by Aaron Sappenfield of the University of California, Riverside, and colleagues, introducing a big enigma: a graveyard in the arid Death Valley with 13 jellyfish fossils, said to hail from “540 million years” ago.

The preservation of Cambrian fossils is always a miracle of sorts.

New Scientist sees something exceptional in the discovery:

The jellyfish in the Cambrian seas seemed to have looked and behaved a lot like they do today. Sappenfield and his colleagues believe that the ancient jellyfish also lived near the shore, until tides or waves pushed them closer to the beach. When the tide receded the animals got stranded, just as modern jellyfish do.

But jellyfish washing up on today’s beaches have a poor chance of becoming fossils. Most are quickly torn to pieces by scavengers or curious children
.”

A much more logical explanation would be the global flood of Noah’s day that has left marks all over the globe, including fossil graveyards and geological formations.

Source:

Abrusci, Agnese. 2017. Oldest mass animal stranding revealed in Death Valley fossils. New Scientist (26 July).

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Sharks Eat Seagrass, Remind Us of Pre-Fall World

Image courtesy of D Ross Robertson, Public Domain.





Joel Kontinen

National Geographic has an intriguing article on the eating habits of bonnethead sharks (Sphyrna tiburo).

Researchers put seagrass as bait and noticed that the sharks ate it. There’s no doubt about it, as they filmed the unexpected episode.

The researchers found out that over 50 per cent of the sharks’ diet consisted of seagrass. They were able to digest 56 percent of the organic matter in seagrass.

Previous reminders of Eden have included a lioness that herds sheep instead of eating them, a cat that adopted ducklings and a vegetarian spider.

These things should hardly happen in a Darwinian world where nature is supposed to be red in tooth and claw.

Sharks are living fossils that haven’t changed in “400 million years.”

Source:

Lang, Hannah. 2017.This Shark Eats Grass, and No One Knows Why. National Geographic. (29 June).

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Evolutionist Wants to Resurrect Junk DNA

Doesn't look like junk. Image courtesy of Richard Wheeler, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).



Joel Kontinen

For years, evolutionists believed that most of our genome was useless junk, leftovers from millions of years of evolution.

The ENCODE project, published in 2010, put an end to this, as researchers found that much of non-coding DNA had a function.

However, some diehard Darwinians refused to believe the facts.

Many recent studies have found functions for this “junk” (You can see examples here, here, here and here.)

Recently, University of Houston professor Dan Graur attempted to bring back the junk. In a paper published in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution he takes issue with ENCODE and subsequent discoveries, claiming that at least 75 per cent of our genome is rubbish.

According to New Scientist,

The heart of the issue is how you define functional. ENCODE defined DNA as such if it showed any ‘biochemical activity’, for instance, if it was copied into RNA. But Graur doesn’t think a bit of activity like this is enough to prove DNA has a meaningful use. Instead, he argues that a sequence can only be described as functional if it has evolved to do something useful, and if a mutation disrupting it would have a harmful effect.”

In other words, it is the evolutionary tail wagging the dog. In the real world, our genome continues to be amazing and wonderful.

Source:

Le Page, Michael. 2017. At least 75 per cent of our DNA really is useless junk after all. New Scientist (17 July).

Friday, 21 July 2017

“Atheism Is a Disease of the Soul,” British Philosopher William Fleming Quotes Plato As Saying

Plato didn’t think atheism was logical. Image courtesy of Marie-Lan Nguyen, CC BY 2.5.






Joel Kontinen

It is a fine observation of Plato in his Laws that atheism is a disease of the soul before it becomes an error of the understanding,” British philosopher William Fleming (1791–1866) said.

Fleming was Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow and he obviously found atheistic logic anything but credible.

No wonder. Today’s version of atheism will insist that in the beginning, nothing exploded, giving birth to everything for absolutely no reason at all in a world devoid of anything that is immaterial, including consciousness and free will.

This scenario involves a feature (quantum fluctuation) that is probably best described as magic, and includes an idea (cosmic inflation) that New Scientist called “totally bonkers.

Source:

Allibone, Samuel Austin. 1880. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Was There an Ancient Martian Civilisation? US Congressman Asks

There was a time when people thought they saw canals on Mars. Image courtesy of Giovanni Schiaparelli, public domain.





Joel Kontinen

Mars has a habit of making headlines in both science publications and the popular press, though most news items tend to be pure speculation.

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.

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.

However, astronomers haven’t found any evidence of any kind of life – past or present – on Mars.

This hasn’t extinguished speculations. Recently, US congressman Dana Rohrabacher asked during a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Science, Space and Technology's Space Subcommittee whether Mars was home to an alien civilisation just a few thousand years ago.

The not-so-unexpected answer was – and is – no.

God created Earth to teem with various kinds of life, but as far as we know, there’s none on Mars.

Source:

Wall, Mike. 2017. No, Congressman, There's No Evidence of an Ancient Mars Civilization. Live Science (18 July).


Monday, 17 July 2017

Epigenetics: The Non-Darwinian Development of the Fruit Fly

Fruit fly development does not follow Darwinian thinking. Image courtesy of André Karwath, CC BY-SA 2.5.





Joel Kontinen

Epigenetics is a big hurdle for orthodox Darwinism, in which random mutations and natural selection are supposed to run the show.

But often they don’t.

Darwinian mechanisms cannot improve the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) that is full of amazing technology.

New research suggests that epigenetics trumps Darwinian processes.

According to research highlights article in Nature:

Environmental factors can modify the activity of genes in adult organisms without changing the underlying DNA sequences, but if and how these ‘epigenetic’ changes are passed between generations is not well understood.

Nicola Iovino at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, Germany, and his colleagues investigated the inheritance of epigenetic modifications through proteins that DNA wraps around, known as histones.

They created fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) embryos lacking the enzyme Enhancer of zeste — one of a set of proteins that alters histone H3 by attaching methyl groups to create an epigenetic mark called H3K27me3.

Manipulated embryos showed similar levels of H3K27me3 at fertilization to those in unmanipulated ones at the same stage, confirming that both groups had inherited the modification from their mothers. But embryos lacking Enhancer of zeste could not propagate H3K27me3 during early cell divisions. They showed abnormal development and died before reaching adulthood. The authors suggest that inheriting H3K27me3 helps flies to regulate the timing and location of gene expression during early development
.”

Darwin had next to nothing to do with this scenario. So, perhaps it’s high time to say good bye to his outdated thinking.

Source:

Nature Research Highlights. 2017. Epigenetics aids fly development (14 July).

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Big Ediacaran Organism Prompts Tall Darwinian Story On How Big Creatures Could Evolve


Big organism, tall story. Image courtesy of Smith609. (CC BY 2.5).





Joel Kontinen

Researchers don’t know if they’re plants or animals but they assume that rangeomorphs were “some of the earliest large organisms on Earth,” as Science Daily puts it.

These organisms were ocean dwellers that lived during the Ediacaran period, between 635 and 541 million years ago. Their soft bodies were made up of branches, each with many smaller side branches, forming a geometric shape known as a fractal, which can be seen today in things like lungs, ferns and snowflakes.”

Ediacaran creatures tend to be so unique and weird that they defy Darwinian expectations but don’t hamper evolutionary storytelling.

Some rangeomorphs were tiny, only a few centimetres tall, but others could reach a height to two metres.

They could grow so big as “they extracted nutrients from their surrounding environment.”

Dr Jennifer Hoyal Cuthill (University of Cambridge) and Professor Professor Simon Conway, whose recent paper was published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, suggest that the answer might be found in (assumed) “changes in ocean chemistry.”

Scince Daily quotes Dr, Hoyal Cuthill as saying:

"During the Ediacaran, there seem to have been major changes in Earth's oceans, which may have triggered growth, so that life on Earth suddenly starts getting much bigger. It's probably too early to conclude exactly which geochemical changes in the Ediacaran oceans were responsible for the shift to large body sizes, but there are strong contenders, especially increased oxygen, which animals need for respiration."

However, to make big organisms one needs a lot more than just oxygen. Intelligence would be a more viable explanation.

Source:

University of Cambridge. 2017. Big, shape-shifting animals from the dawn of time. Science Daily. (10 July).


Thursday, 13 July 2017

Time to Kill a Science Myth?

Image courtesy of Becker1999, Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0).





Joel Kontinen

The war on science is a leftist slogan that has little or any bearing on reality, but rather serves as a warning example of Orwellian newspeak.

It has nevertheless brought thousands of people on the streets, but they might actually not know how science works.

Writing in Nature, Daniel Sarewitz takes on the myth that basic research is a “miracle machine” that would benefit all citizens:

But the myth of the miracle machine harms science and society because it shields scientists from accountability, governance and being responsive to human needs. A major reason that pervasive problems such as poor quality publications, hyper-competition and hype have been allowed to fester is the miracle-machine ideology: give us money, leave us alone and we’ll solve the world’s problems.”

It is not difficult to agree with him that ideology plays a major role in today’s naturalistic science. This might be a good thing for the researchers who get paid, but not so much for society.

Perhaps it would indeed be best to “kill the myth of the miracle machine,” as Dr. Sarewitz puts it.

Source:

Sarewitz, Daniel. 2017. Kill the myth of the miracle machine. Nature 547, 139.


Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Sunflowers Co-operate to Get More Space and More Sunshine



Image courtesy of North Carolina Department of Transportation, (CC BY 2.0).



Joel Kontinen

Charles Darwin called the origin of flowering plants an abominable mystery as they did not fit in well with his naturalistic thinking.

Flowers appear suddenly and fully formed in the fossil record. Even the earliest flowers look very modern.

New research has shown that sunflowers know how to work together in a way that benefits all of them. Antonio Hall, a crop eco-physiologist at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and colleagues noticed a strange zig zag pattern that

starts early in growth, when one ‘pioneer’ plant leans about 10 degrees from the vertical to escape a neighbour’s shade. The plants on either side of the pioneer sense the change to their own light and lean in the opposite direction to escape the pioneer’s shade, and the alternation cascades outwards.”

This way, sunflowers were able to produce 25 to 50 per cent more seeds than those that couldn’t use this strategy.

Intelligent solutions like these remind us of the Designer, the God of the Bible, who is perfect in all His deeds.

Design features in sunflowers and other flowers challenge naturalistic explanations.

So do the amazing traits we see in trees: they sleep and make self-assembling solar panels.

Source:

Holmes, Bob. 2017. Sunflowers work together to avoid overcrowding and soak up rays. New Scientist (10 July).

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Stephen Hawking: Earth Could Become a Hothouse Planet Like Venus

Earth’s future according to Stephen Hawking? Image courtesy of NASA.





Joel Kontinen

Stephen Hawking likes being in the news. But often his speciality is news that could hardly be described as good or even pleasant.

He has kept on drumming that our time on planet Earth is about to end and we should search for a new planet.

Prof. Hawking has also warned of big bad aliens on at least two occasions.

And he sees artificial intelligence (AI) as a major threat to mankind.

Now, he has joined the global warning bandwagon. He warns that if we “don't curb irreversible climate change,” Earth could turn into a hot planet like Venus.

However, even Michael Mann, a climate scientist at the Pennsylvania State University, does not agree with Hawking.

Mann sent Live Science an email, saying:

"Hawking is taking some rhetorical license here Earth is further away from the sun than Venus and likely cannot experience a runaway greenhouse effect in the same sense as Venus — i.e. a literal boiling away of the oceans.”

Speculations nearly always get noticed, regardless of how little facts (if any) there are to give substance to them.

Source:

Ghose, Tia. 2017. Stephen Hawking: Earth Could Turn Into Hothouse Planet Like Venus. Live Science (5 July).


Friday, 7 July 2017

Amazing Material: Sea Sponge Makes Strong Glass That Bends But Doesn’t Break


The Venus flower basket. Image courtesy of NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration.




Joel Kontinen

We might think that sea sponges such as the Venus flower basket (Euplectella aspergillum) are simple creatures, but research has shown that they have some incredible features.

A new paper describes why they are special:

The remarkable mechanical properties of biological structures, like tooth and bone, are often a consequence of their architecture. The tree ring-like layers that comprise the skeletal elements of the marine sponge Euplectella aspergillum are a quintessential example of the intricate architectures prevalent in biological structures. These skeletal elements, known as spicules, are hair-like fibers that consist of a concentric array of silica cylinders separated by thin, organic layers.”

The secret of their strength is in these tiny spicules:

Thousands of spicules act like roots to anchor the sponge to the sea floor.”

Made of a glass-like substance, they bend but do not break.

Other superb design features in animals such as the octopus, starfish, mantis shrimp and water strider likewise defy Darwinian explanations and are proof of creation.

Source:

Monn, Michael A. and Haneesh Kesari. 2017. Enhanced bending failure strain in biological glass fibers due to internal lamellar architecture. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials (in press).

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

“Excellently Preserved” Land Reptile Fossil Found in Swiss Mountains with Marine Creatures


Eusaurosphargis dalsassoi. Image courtesy of Torsten M. Scheyer, James M. Neenan, Timea Bodogan, Heinz Furrer, Christian Obrist & Mathieu Plamondon (2017): A new, exceptionally preserved juvenile specimen of Eusaurosphargis dalsassoi (Diapsida) and implications for Mesozoic marine diapsid phylogeny. Scientific Reports 7, 4406.




Joel Kontinen

New research published in the journal Scientific Reports includes details that might surprise evolutionists but not creationists.

The paper, by Torsten Scheyer, a paleontologist at the University of Zurich, and colleagues, features a 20 centimetre (8 inchees) long reptile called Eusaurosphargis dalsassoi.

It was found at an altitude of 2,740 meters together with fossils of fish and marine reptiles. While it is believed to be “241 million years” old, it is “exceptionally preserved.”

An article in Science Daily also presents a convergent evolution dimension.

Externally, Eusaurosphargis dalsassoi looks very similar to girdled lizards (Cordylidae), a group of small, scaled reptiles (Lepidosauria) that usually live in the dry regions of southern Africa. Some of the more strongly armored girdled lizard species could have served as the basis of mythical dragon legends due to their appearance.”

Obviously, land reptiles should not be buried together with fish and other marine creatures, unless, of course, there was a global flood that threw them in the same graveyard and left reminders of an enormous cataclysm on all continents.

Now, evolutionists have to invoke a fishy just so story:

Instead of amidst high mountains, a small reptile suns itself on an island beach in a warm shallow sea, where many fish and marine reptiles frolic.”

The Flood is a much more logical explanation, and the convergent part shows that Darwinian predictions (distant relatives should not look alike) are all wrong.

Source:

University of Zurich. 2017. Ancient Swiss reptile shows its bizarre scale armor for the first time. Science Daily (30 June).

Monday, 3 July 2017

We Can’t Ignore Cosmic Fine Tuning, Astrophysics Professor Says


We can see fine tuning in things like ferns, for instance.




Joel Kontinen

Fine tuning is an enormous hurdle for the naturalistic worldview.

We see it everywhere, from the tiny to the huge, and it is often displayed as great beauty, as in fractals, Fibonacci numbers and the golden rule that are practically ubiquitous in the universe.

Writing in New Scientist, Geraint Lewis, who is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Sydney, takes the naturalist bull by the horns and suggests that the universe “may be fine-tuned for life. The idea is that physical laws and constants are inexplicably just right to support it.”

He says that this view is becoming more popular and thinks that a heated debate may be just round the proverbial corner.

Some agnostics and atheists would want to explain away the fine tuning by invoking the multiverse, which, as astronomer Danny R. Faulkner puts it, is a radical departure into philosophy or religion” and is not science at all.

There’s only one logical explanation
for all this fine tuning: In the beginning God created.”

Source:

Lewis, Geraint. 2017. A fine-tuned universe may be controversial but can’t be ignored. New Scientist (28 June).

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Cockatoo Makes Music With a Stick, Defying Darwinian Expectations

Image courtesy of Doug Janson, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).



Joel Kontinen

Previous research has shown that cockatoos are better tool makers than chimps.

And there’s more. A recent paper on 18 palm cockatoos (Probosciger aterrimus) published in the journal Science Advances looks at the birds’ ability to make their own drumsticks and produce a rhythmic beat.

In contrast, chimps (that evolutionists hail as our cousins) can’t make music instruments.

Even crows beat chimps in intelligence and innovation, defying Darwinian expectations.

Source:

Wagner, Andrew. 2017. Watch this cockatoo make music with a stick. Science (28 June).

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Convergent Evolution Does Not Rescue a Darwinian Dilemma

Look like my distant cousin? Image courtesy of KENPEI, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).




Joel Kontinen

The Darwinian community has an enormous problem that Science Daily recently tried to downplay.

When Australian fish “separated by 30– 50 million years of evolution" look like they were siblings, this is said to fulfil a Darwinian prediction.

The report was based on a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B and it “identified significant convergence in body form between Australian freshwater terapontid grunters and several distantly related marine fish families.”

Science Daily goes on to exclaim: “Convergent evolution is one of the fundamental predictions of evolutionary theory.”

It is no such thing. In contrast, it falsifies Darwin’s tree of life. Only close relatives should look alike.

But very often genetically distant species look alike, regardless of how long ago they parted ways (in the Darwinian scenario, that is).

Evolutionists resort to convergent evolution as an excuse for why Darwinian predictions fail so often.

Source:

James Cook University. 2017. Distant fish relatives share looks. Science Daily (15 June).


Tuesday, 27 June 2017

No Credible Darwinian Explanation for the Origin of Consciousness


It’s hard to get consciousness from rocks, but evolutionists have to try.



Joel Kontinen

Consciousness is a ghostly thing in a naturalistic world.

A new paper nonetheless attempts to explain its purpose in a purely Darwinian way.

However, it can only offer some speculations as to why humans are conscious creatures. New Scientist mentions a few advantages of consciousness:

It may have evolved to help us learn and adapt to changing circumstances far more rapidly and effectively.”

The magazine quotes philosopher of mind Thomas Metzinger at the University of Mainz in Germany, who suggests: “The capacity for rapid, effective learning would almost certainly be something that evolution would have selected and maintained.”

Not a single word about the origin of consciousness. Obviously, natural selection cannot select a trait that does not exist.

It thus seems that in this research, the beef is missing.

New Scientist has previously admitted that evolution does not explain consciousness. Now it seems that its reporters have forgotten what they have said.

Source:

Ananthaswamy, Anil. 2017. Consciousness helps us learn quickly in a changing world. New Scientist (27 June).

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Weird Ediacaran Animals Defy Darwinian Expectations

Image courtesy of Ryan Somma, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA).





Joel Kontinen


The Darwinian version of Earth’s history has plenty of twists and turns. First, nothing happened for billions of years (except some cyanobactria that haven’t changed since and are anything but simple).

Then our planet almost froze to death, but luckily, roughly “635 million” to “541 million years” ago, bizarre creatures emerged that have no place in Darwin’s tree of life.

A recent article in The Conversation and re-published in Live Science admits:

Despite nearly 70 years of careful study, paleontologists have yet to identify key features among them that would allow us to understand how these organisms are related to modern animals. The forms evident among Ediacaran organisms are, for the most part, truly unique – and we are no closer to understanding their place in evolutionary history.”

The most obvious explanation is that they have none. Like some modern animals, such as the duck-billed platypus and the spiny anteater, they lack ancestors – and thus defy Darwinian expectations.


Parvancorina, a tiny(1-2 centimetres long) sea creature obviously moved in water. Image courtesy of Matteo De Stefano/MUSE-Science Museum, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA).

Some Ediacaran creatures were rather complex. Moreover, some of them might still be living in our time.

Source:

Darroch, Simon and Imran Rahman. 2017. The Lives of Weird 500-Million-Year-Old Creatures Revealed. Live Science (25 June).

Friday, 23 June 2017

Humans May Have an Inbuilt GPS, Research Suggests

Image courtesy of Nachoman-au, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).




Joel Kontinen

New research published in the journal Nature Communications suggests that we may have an inbuilt GPS system that enables us to find our way.

Dutch researchers Jeroen Bos, Martin Vinck, Cyriel Pennartz and colleagues have “identified a new type of neuron which might play a vital role in humans' ability to navigate their environments.”

An article in Science Daily gives us the gist of what they found out:

The ability to make fine grained assessments of location is seated in the hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped structure located in the temporal lobe. Research shows that the precise mechanism for navigation includes hippocampal place cells, which increase or decrease in electrical activity depending on one's location. However, when making their daily commute, people don't need very detailed representations of which houses they pass in which order. Instead, they can make due with more course information.”

They made rats navigate their way in a maze and looked at what parts of the brain they mainly used.

Jeroen Bos, the lead author of the paper, thinks they found a new type of neuron, which they dubbed the ‘neighbourhood cell.’

This neuron seems to enable the brain to specifically differentiate between distinct segments (‘neighbourhoods’) of the environment,” he says.

Our big brain is a Darwinian enigma that keeps on giving surprises to neuroscientists.

Its amazingly complex interactions cannot be explained away by Darwinian just so stories.

Source:

Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA). 2017. New 'GPS' neuron discovered. Science Daily. (29 May).

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Did A Tasmanian Devil Have a Dino for Dinner?


Sarcophilus harrisii. Image courtesy of Mike Lehmann, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).





Joel Kontinen

The fossil record can be a nightmare for Darwinian evolution, as animals often appear fully formed in the wrong places, don’t evolve for aeons and any assumed intermediate forms (aka missing links) tend to be more or less suspicious.

Usually more, as in the case of Ida (Darwinius masillae).

Evolutionists used to believe that dino-era mammals were tiny, until a fossil discovery suggested that at least some of them actually ate dinosaurs.

These dino-eaters looked a lot like Tasmanian devils, although researchers were quick to give them a different name.

Repenomamus giganticus Image courtesy of Nobu Tamura, Creative Commons (CC BY 3.0).


Source:

Hu, Yaoming et al. 2005. Large Mesozoic mammals fed on young dinosaurs. Nature 433, 149-152.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Dating the Gihon Spring Tower in Jerusalem Shows the Bible Got It Right

Image courtesy of David Roberts, Public Domain.



Joel Kontinen

The Gihon Spring was the main source of the water for the Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem and is mentioned in the Bible.

Some archaeologists assumed that a stone tower built to guard the water system hailed from circa 1700 BC.

However, Elisabetta Boaretto and colleagues recently carbon dated the remains of charcoal, seeds and bones found in the sediments and found out that precious studies had overlooked half a metre of sediment, representing hundreds of years.

This means that the tower was erected a lot later, between 900 BC and 800 BC, during the time of King David’s descendants, just like the Old Testament tells us.

The previous date was based on pottery and other artefacts.

Just like we would expect, archaeology has confirmed that the Bible describes ancient history and culture accurately.

It recounts real events, real people and even real catastrophes, such as earthquakes.

Source:

Geggel, Laura. 2017. Ancient Jerusalem Tower Is (Much) Younger Than Thought. Live Science (16 June).

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Carboxysomes: Tiny Machines in Cyanobacteria Defy Darwin, Inspire Product Development

Image courtesy of Raul Gonzalez, Seth Axen, and Cheryl Kerfeld, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).






Joel Kontinen

Evolutionists would agree that cyanobacteria are one of the oldest organisms alive today. These tiny bacteria have hardly changed in “3 billion years” or so.

A news item published by the University of Liverpool, UK. states:

Cyanobacteria are a phylum of bacteria that produce oxygen and energy during photosynthesis, similar to green plants. They are among the most abundant organisms in oceans and fresh water. Unique internal ‘machines’ in cyanobacteria, called carboxysomes, allow the organisms to convert carbon dioxide to sugar and provide impacts on global biomass production and our environment.”

They are anything but simple.

Carboxysomes are so elegant and efficient that researchers would like to draw inspiration from how they work:

The self-assembly and modularity features of carboxysomes make them interesting systems for nanoscientists, synthetic biologists and bioengineers, who hope to find ways to design new nanomaterials and nano-bioreactors.”

Darwinian mechanisms cannot produce tiny machines that are far more effective than anything human researchers have come up with.

Source:

University of Liverpool. 2017. Nanotechnology reveals hidden depths of bacterial ‘machines’. (8 June).

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Instant Canyon Formed in 3 Days Reminds of the Effect of Noah’s Flood


Canyon Lake Gorge. Image courtesy of Larry D. Moore, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).




Joel Kontinen

How long does it take to form a canyon? It depends.

Charles Darwin thought it took millions of years, but he was wrong.

Remember Mount Saint Helens? In June 1980 a single lava flow formed over 7.5 metres (25 feet) of sediment in just three hours.

Zion Canyon was formed in a landslide in almost no time at all.

Da'an River in Taiwan carved a a 25-metre (82 feet) wide gorge in a few years.

Then there’s Canyon Lake Gorge in Texas, a 1.6-kilometre (1 mile) long canyon was formed in just three days in a single flood in 2002.

Just imagine what a year-long global flood with plenty of water could do.

Source:

Lamb, Michael P. and Mark A. Fonstad. 2010. Rapid formation of a modern bedrock canyon by a single flood event. Nature Geoscience 3, 477 – 481.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Extreme Plant Defies Hot Volcanic Environment


Campylopus pyriformis. Image courtesy of Hermann Schachner, public domain.





Joel Kontinen

When it comes to defying heat, the dwarf swan-neck moss (Campylopus pyriformis) is the plant kingdom’s extreme champion.

Introduced to us in a paper published in the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, it can thrive in a volcanic environment where the temperature rises to 72°C.

Some animals and plants can survive in almost impossible conditions.

But as far as we know, only on Earth.

This reminds us of both Creation and the Fall.

Source:

Ceurstemont, Sandrine. 2017. Extreme plants thrive at 72°C in New Zealand’s hot volcanic soil. New Scientist (9 June).

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Dino-Era Mushroom’s Fossilisation Inspires Darwinian Just-So Story

A somewhat younger mushroom, presumably. Image by an unknown artist, public domain.





Joel Kontinen

How do you preserve a mushroom for 115 million years? After all, they tend to disintegrate in just a few days.

Live Science attempts to give us an explanation: The poor mushroom fell into a river and was fossilised.

This is followed by more storytelling:

After the mushroom fell into the river, it floated into a salty lagoon and sank to the bottom, where fine sediments began to cover it. Over time, the mushroom mineralized, and its tissues were replaced with pyrite, a mineral also known as fool's gold. Later, the pyrite transformed into the mineral goethite.”

Discovered in Brazil's Crato Formation, the mushroom is a mere 5 centimetres (2 inches) tall. Named Gondwanagaricites magnificus, it is the oldest known mushroom fossil.

Fossilisation is a very tricky business. It has to happen extremely fast.

The Flood of Noah’s days would have provided excellent conditions for preserving creatures of all shapes and sizes.

Source:

Geggel, Laura. 2017. World's Oldest Fossilized Mushroom Sprouted 115 Million Years Ago. Live Science (7 June).

Friday, 9 June 2017

Noah’s Flood: There Is Still Enough Water Beneath Our Feet to Flood the Entire Planet


Blue planet.




Joel Kontinen

Sceptics should probably stop questioning the source of the water that covered our entire planet during Noah’s days.

In 2014, research suggested that enormous amounts of water are hidden right beneath our feet, trapped in a mineral called ringwoodite.

A new paper published in the journal Science Advances confirms this discovery and proposes that there is almost as much water 410 to 660 kilometres beneath us than there is in the oceans.

There’s much water beneath our feet. Image courtesy of Jasperox, Creative Commons (CC BY 3.0).

And the water has been there for aeons: A recent study suggested that Earth makes its own water.

Modern science is finally catching up with Genesis: We now know that our extremely unique blue planet had water from the very beginning.

There’s watery evidence of Noah’s flood in many places, for instance under the Andes, in arid Northern Kenya and probably also in Greenland.

Source:

Coghlan, Andy. 2017. There’s as much water in Earth’s mantle as in all the oceans. New Scientist (7 June).