Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The ”Earliest” Animal Dickinsonia Was More Complex Than Assumed

Image courtesy of Verisimilus, Creative Commons (CC BY 2.5).





Joel Kontinen

Darwinian evolution would predict that the earliest animals were small and at least relatively simple creatures.

However, the fossil record doesn’t always lend support to this view.

Evolutionists tend to believe that the Ediacaran-era sea creature Dickinsonia was the earliest animal.

A new paper on Dickinsonia fossils published in the journal PLOS ONE suggests that it nevertheless “developed in a complex, highly regulated way using a similar genetic toolkit to today's animals” despite the assumption that it lived “550 million years” ago.

Ediacaran animals are problematic for evolution, as they appear from nowhere without any ancestors, and some of them might still live in our time.

Moreover, soft-bodied creatures should not last half a billion years.

The Cambrian Era is even more of an enigma for Darwinism. There is definitely a limit to how long soft tissues should last – and it is nowhere near 500 million years.


Source:

University of California - Riverside. 2017. Shedding light on Earth's first animals: Complex and highly regulated development of Dickinsonia, one of the oldest fossil animals, broadens our understanding of early evolution. Science Daily (17 May).


Monday, 22 May 2017

Wonders of Creation: Almost a Magic Forest Deep Below the Surface


An Anthomastus mushroom coral (centre) with some other animals. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Mountains in the Deep: Exploring the Central Pacific Basin.




Joel Kontinen

The wet world deep below the ocean surface is anything but dull.

Recent discoveries made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) ship Okeanos Explorer and its remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer has shown the incredible variety – and beauty – of deep sea animals and plants.

A recent dive discovered a mushroom coral that thrives at 2, 240 metres (7,350 feet) below the ocean surface in an environment that looks like a magic forest.

NOOA’s expeditions have shown us how incredibly beautiful deep sea life can be (see here, here, here, here and here).

They testify of the Creator, who made everything beautiful.

Source:

NOAA. 2017. NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer: Dive 03: "Te Kawhiti o Maui Potiki” (2 May).

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Jumping Parrots Inspire Origin of Flight Storytelling

Pacific Parrotlets. Image courtesy of markaharper1, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0).





Joel Kontinen

When it comes to watching what birds do, it’s a small step from operational science to a just so story about how dinosaurs learnt to fly.

Here’s the latest version, courtesy of the journal Science:

If you’ve ever watched a bird hop from branch to branch in search of food, you’ve caught a glimpse at how prehistoric flying dinosaurs foraged among forest trees.”

Here’s their "proof":

That’s what researchers are saying after they trained four Pacific parrotlets (Forpus coelestis)—small, pastel-colored parrots about 13 centimeters long—to jump and fly for millet seed rewards. The researchers designed a cage decked out with perches that doubled as sensors to measure the birds’ leg forces, and surrounded the cages with high-speed cameras to study the birds’ wing beats as they moved between branches.”

If the next branch was near, the parrot jumped. If it was a bit further, it jumped and flapped its wings.

Then, the researchers used this data to figure out how some extinct birds that they define as “birdlike dinosaurs” took to the air:

“Archaeopteryx and Microraptor —feathered dinosaurs that likely flew or glided between trees—would have had the most success at boosting the range of their long jumps by 20%. The larger and heavier feathered dinosaurs Protarchaeopteryx and Caudipteryx would not have been able to generate enough force from a wing beat to support their body weight or significantly increase their long jumps. The scientists surmise that Archaeopteryx developed an edge over other tree-foraging competitors by using their jumping and wing flapping to minimize energy expenditure while foraging for food in their trees. Thus, long jump Olympians of the Archaeopteryx world may have spurred the evolution of flight.”

The problem with this scenario is that it is pure Darwinian storytelling that sees birds evolving from dinosaurs.

Several studies suggest that birds and dinosaurs lived at the same time.

In addition, Archaeopteryx had the flight feathers of modern birds.

Source:

Cross, Ryan. 2017. Watch these tiny parrots reveal how dinosaurs may have learned to fly. Science (17 May).



Thursday, 18 May 2017

Frog’s Amazing Design Features Prompt Darwinian Storytelling


Kassina maculuata. These legs were made for jumping. Image courtesy of Dawson, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.5).





Joel Kontinen

It is no secret that frogs are masters of jumping.

New Scientist claims that new research has shown that they “have a unique skeleton made for jumping that evolved over hundreds of millions of years, new research has shown.”

This is a mixture of fact and fiction.

The fact is that the frog’s skeleton “allows them to jump horizontally or vertically…

Precise control over their long hind legs allows the amphibians to achieve an ‘amazing’ range of jump angles, from near-horizontal to almost vertical
.”

The rest is Darwinian storytelling, an art form well mastered by pro-evolution writers.

New Scientist was commenting on research on the red-legged running frog (Kassina maculata), recently published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

NS uses words like amazing (twice) and astonishingly to describe the skills of this African frog and does not attempt to describe its assumed evolution.

The problem with evolution is that it relies on the wrong type of change.

Actually, frogs confirm the after its kind principle introduced in the Book of Genesis.

Source:

New Scientist staff and Press Association. 2017. Frog skeleton allows them to jump horizontally or vertically. (18 May).

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Ladybird’s Hi-Tech Folding Wings Inspire Solar Array Paddles and Foldable Wings


Transverse Ladybird (Coccinella transversalis). Image courtesy of JJ Harrison, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).




Joel Kontinen

Ladybirds might be tiny, but they’re not stupid or clumsy. After landing, they can pack their wings into almost no space at all.

Kazuya Saito (University of Tokyo) and colleagues used high-speed video to watch a ladybird fold its wings.

They found that prominent veins along the edge of the wings allow creases to form and fold the wings away in a complex, origami-like shape. A bend in the wing can drift down a vein as it gets folded, but the wing is ready to spring back to a rigid form when the elytra [i.e. wing cases] open,” New Scientist explains.

The insect does this very fast.

The wing frames do not have any joints. The NS article also suggests a biomimicry dimension. This “folding mechanism could help us build solar array paddles that unfold themselves in space, foldable wings for small vehicles, or even lead to better umbrellas.”

Biomimicry or copying intelligent solutions seen in nature has in recent years become a popular and lucrative research field.

Nature is a library from which industry can learn,” says David Hills, Director of Research and Technology (R&T) at Airbus.

From lotus leaves and mantis shrimps to the chameleon’s tongue and gecko’s feet, engineers are copying intelligent solutions they see in nature.

Amazing design implies an amazing Designer. The most logical explanation is that the Creator God designed them all.



Source:

Whyte, Chelsea. 2017. Ladybird’s transparent shell reveals how it folds its wings. New Scientist (15 May).

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Stephen Hawking and Other Astronomers at Loggerheads Over Cosmic Inflation

This scenario is a source of naturalistic contention. Image courtesy of Yinweichen, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).




Joel Kontinen

The Big Bang model has several serious problems. It does not work without cosmic inflation that New Scientist recently called a totally bonkers idea.

No one knows what caused it or why it slowed at the time it did.

It is a naturalistic dogma that should not be contested.

However, recently physicists Anna Ijjas, Paul J. Steinhardt and Abraham Loeb published an article in Scientific American in which they examined “the latest measurements from the European Space Agency relating to cosmic microwave background (CMB)” and suggested that the data did not support the inflation theory.

An article in Newsweek points out some fatal flaws in the theory:

– No one has found primordial gravitational waves, or ripples in spacetime created by the Big Bang.
– Inflation requires the existence of “inflationary energy,” for which there is no direct evidence.

Ijjas and colleagues think that the idea of a “big bounce”, i.e. periods of expansion and contraction, fits the data better.

However, Stephen Hawking and 32 other astronomers replied with an angry letter, stating that they believe that the Big Bang and its concomitant cosmic inflation is the more credible explanation for the origin of the cosmos.

There are other serious problems with the Big Bang as well: the mystery of quantum fluctuation, missing dark matter and the likewise elusive dark energy and antimatter.

In addition, the earliest galaxies formed too quickly.

He [God] made the stars also,” Genesis tells us. That is by far the best explanation for the existence of the universe.

Source:

Osborne, Hannah. 2017. Big Bang or Big Bounce? Stephen Hawking and Others Pen Angry Letter About How the Universe Began. Newsweek (12 May).

Friday, 12 May 2017

A Global Flood at the Wrong Time


Noah’s Flood was global.




Joel Kontinen

Secular scientists have tended to ignore Noah’s global flood, substituting it with a local inundation in either the Black Sea area or the Tigris-Euphrates region in Mesopotamia.

Now, however, a paper published in the journal Geology attempts to associate a major flood with the aftermath of an extreme ice age.

According to naturalistic thinking, the Sun was far less bright in its youth than it is now. The faint young Sun paradox was supposed to make Earth almost completely frozen, an epoch known as snowball Earth.

For some mysterious reasons, Earth did not freeze to death.

Now, researchers are proposing that the ice melted fast, forming a freshwater ocean 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) deep. They think that volcanic eruptions caused “a runaway greenhouse effect,” as New Scientist puts it.

Based on mathematical models, their global flood occurred over “600 million years” ago.

The real flood destroyed the entire primeval world some 4,500 years ago. Only eight people and representatives of all animal kinds survived the devastating flood.

Source:

Owens, Brian. 2017. Snowball Earth melting led to freshwater ocean 2 kilometres deep. New Scientist (10 May).


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Homo naledi Is “Startlingly Young” – Can’t Be a Missing Link


H. naledi. Image courtesy of John Hawks, Marina Elliott, Peter Schmid et al, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).





Joel Kontinen

All we know of the Missing Link is that he is missing,” G.K. Chesterton famously said roughly a century ago.

This is still true.

Evolutionists hoped that Homo naledi could be the link between Australopithecines (such as Lucy aka Au. afarensis and Au. Sediba) and humans, when the first paper on the fossils was published in 2015.

Professor Lee Berger, who with his colleagues discovered the remains, believed that H. naledi could be as old as “3 million years”, a convenient age for a transitional fossil.

However, the remains were recently dated, giving an age between “236,000 and 335,000 years,” yet they had very primitive features.

This is astonishingly young for a species that still displays primitive characteristics found in fossils about two million years old,” Chris Stringer told BBC news.

Three new papers published in the journal eLife report on the discovery of a second cave near the first, featuring relatively complete remains of H. naledi.

Their message does nothing to help evolution. What has been missing since Darwin’s days is still missing.

Sources:

Rincon, Paul. 2017. Amazing haul of ancient human finds unveiled. BBC news (9 May).

University of the Witwatersrand. 2017. Homo naledi's surprisingly young age opens up more questions on where we come from: Homonin [sic] discovered in 2015 by the Rising Star team in South Africa was alive between 335,000 and 236,000 years ago. Science Daily. (9 May).


Monday, 8 May 2017

New Secular Origin of Earth Hypothesis Fails

An artist's impression of a protoplanetary disk. Image courtesy of ESO/L. Calçada - ESO, Creative Commons (CC BY 4.0).





Joel Kontinen

Scientists who only invoke natural causes are having a hard time in trying to explain how Earth formed.

Researchers have often had to change their views, as they have not been supported by facts.

New Scientist acknowledges that most of these explanations “have troubling problems.” They rely on dust particles coming together, forming rocks and eventually planets.

The troubling part is that the four terrestrial planets of our solar system, i.e., Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, are mostly built of rock and iron, which don’t stick together very well.

Thus, a paper published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters tries a different approach. It relies on a “hyperactive young sun.”

Based on the assumption that some young stars get brighter (and obviously also bigger) as they age, it proposes that something similar might also have happened here.

There is no empirical evidence for this, but some researchers think it helps explain why Mars is so small.

A much more logical approach would be to stick with what Genesis clearly tells us: God created the planets; they never evolved from dust and space rocks.

Moreover, we know that Earth is unique. It cannot have come about through purely naturalistic processes.

Sources:

Croswell, Ken. 2017. Earth may have been born in a huge flare-up of the young sun. New Scientist (8 May).

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Invisible Fish: Hatchetfish Uses Stealth Technology to Evade Predators

Image courtesy of Francesco Costa, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).




Joel Kontinen

Compared to the best what human engineers have achieved in stealth technology, the lowly hatchetfish is way ahead of them.

A research highlights item in Nature describes how it manages to pull it off:

Hiding from predators is tricky in the open ocean, particularly at depths where ambient light still penetrates. The hatchetfish (Argyropelecus spp.) has a bioluminescent belly that allows it to blend in with sunlight from above. Now Alison Sweeney and her colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia have discovered other optical tricks that the animal uses to make itself invisible.”

The researchers used transmission electron microscopy and optical modelling to look at the fish’s skin and made some interesting observations:

“[They] found that it is composed of two layers of cells. The top layer consists of rectangular stacks of cells that reflect the faint ambient light while scattering light beams from predators that use bioluminescence to spot their prey. A second layer of cells, grouped together into thick, elliptical tubes, redirects light beams downward.”

As expected, the study has a biomimicry dimension:

Studying these specialized structures could aid the development of stealth technology for open-ocean vessels, the authors say.”

Darwinian mechanisms could hardly produce stealth technology, which requires intelligence.

Engineers are busy copying the smart solutions they see in us and in creatures big and small.

No wonder biomimicry or copying intelligent solutions seen in creation has become a flourishing research field.

Source:

Nature. 2017. Research Highlights: Hatchetfish cloaking strategies unveiled (3 May).


Thursday, 4 May 2017

Cells As Teachers: More Evidence of Amazing Design in Us


Image courtesy of Volker Brinkmann. Neutrophil engulfing Bacillus anthracis. PLoS Pathogens 1 (3), November 2005. Creative Commons (CC BY 2.5).





Joel Kontinen

There’s a whole lotta shakin' goin' on in our cells every single nanosecond, although we might not notice it. Old cells die off, some are killed, and new ones step in to take their place.

In other words, we learnt to recycle aeons ago.

In 2017, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi, a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, for his work on the mechanisms of autophagy (αὐτόφαγος, autóphagos), a term that means self-eating.

We also have other ways of getting rid of old cells: apoptosis or programmed cell death, and phagocytosis.

A new paper takes a look at the mechanics of phagocytosis or the process of eating cells. Cells called macrophages or ‘big eaters’ (μακρος, makros ‘large’ and φαγειν. phagein ‘eat’) devour damaged cells.

An article in Science Daily gives the gist of what happens:

Phagocytosis is a biological mechanism whereby specialized cells ingest and degrade old, dead, or damaged cells to prevent tissue damage due to their accumulation. But phagocytosis appears to also have an educational role. Scientists at the Centro Nacional de Investigadores Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC) report in the Journal of Experimental Medicine that phagocytosis not only eliminates useless cells, but also 'educates' macrophages, the immune cells that carry it out.”

It all sounds like intelligent design. The Darwinian blind watchmaker could hardly have envisioned such a move.

The article goes on to say:

Macrophages are immune cells that normally are distributed throughout all body tissues and work to rid the organism of any type of biological material that needs to be eliminated, from injurious material such as glass particles and viruses to proteins or larger complexes that appear, for example, during embryonic development. Macrophages are also important for eliminating dangerous cells, for example, cancer cells or lymphocytes that recognize self molecules and that could cause an autoimmune immune disorder, such as those found in patients with lupus of rheumatoid arthritis.”

The researchers noticed that there are different kinds of “phagocytosing macrophages” in different tissues.

And there’s more:

The act of ingesting expired cells educates the immune system in how to maintain tissues in a clean and healthy state, and that macrophages play a very important role in this process. The study identifies in detail the molecules that carry out important tasks in the phagocytic process in each tissue, from the gut to the liver and bone marrow. Surprisingly, the researchers found that each tissue has its own specific molecular toolkit for eliminating unwanted cells.”

There’s no shortage of wonders in our cells: they not only demolish but also build. For instance, they make 100,000 ribosomes every single hour.

Ribosomes are ingeniously designed” nanomachines.

Complexity does not just happen; it has to be designed.

Source:

Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares. 2017. Cell 'canibalism' [sic] educates our defenses. Science Daily (3 May).


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

New Scientist Admits: Liberals Are Biased And Deluded


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



Joel Kontinen

New Scientist has admitted that liberals are “just as deluded as everybody else.”

Reporting on several recent studies, NS concludes that liberals are anything but open-minded.

Research published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology suggests that like anybody else they were so “averse to listening to opposing viewpoints on hot-button issues, such as same-sex marriage [that]…they were willing to give up the chance to win money just to avoid the unpleasantness of hearing an opinion they disliked.”

The NS article uses expressions like 'the Regressive Left' and admits that American university culture is toxic and intolerant, thanks to "liberals".

NS also discloses that people who regard themselves as progressives and vote for Democrats, do not necessarily embrace science – even though they might march for it:

Consider Seattle, a city that voted 87 per cent for Hillary Clinton and is proudly one of the most progressive … in the US. A warm embrace of scientific reality doesn’t come with the territory: Seattle isn’t terribly fond of biotechnology, rejecting GMOs and even vaccines. Rwanda’s childhood polio vaccination rate is higher than Seattle’s. As for other vaccines, including MMR, only five US states have higher exemption rates than Washington State.”

We welcome the opportunity to agree with NS’ conclusions, as this doesn’t happen too often. (Here’s one noticeable exception.)

Recent weeks have provided us with empirical proof of how closed-minded liberals really are.

Bill Nye, for instance, would rather suck than explore the merits in alternatives to his godless worldview.

This is probably also true of men like Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins.

Source:

Berezow, Alex. 2017. Liberals are no strangers to confirmation bias after all. New Scientist (28 April).