Monday, 31 July 2017
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Abrusci, Agnese. 2017. Oldest mass animal stranding revealed in Death Valley fossils. New Scientist (26 July).
Tuesday, 25 July 2017
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.”
Lang, Hannah. 2017.This Shark Eats Grass, and No One Knows Why. National Geographic. (29 June).
Sunday, 23 July 2017
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.
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
“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.”
Allibone, Samuel Austin. 1880. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.
Wednesday, 19 July 2017
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.
Wall, Mike. 2017. No, Congressman, There's No Evidence of an Ancient Mars Civilization. Live Science (18 July).
Monday, 17 July 2017
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.
Nature Research Highlights. 2017. Epigenetics aids fly development (14 July).
Saturday, 15 July 2017
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.
University of Cambridge. 2017. Big, shape-shifting animals from the dawn of time. Science Daily. (10 July).
Thursday, 13 July 2017
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.
Sarewitz, Daniel. 2017. Kill the myth of the miracle machine. Nature 547, 139.
Tuesday, 11 July 2017
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.
Holmes, Bob. 2017. Sunflowers work together to avoid overcrowding and soak up rays. New Scientist (10 July).
Sunday, 9 July 2017
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.
Ghose, Tia. 2017. Stephen Hawking: Earth Could Turn Into Hothouse Planet Like Venus. Live Science (5 July).
Friday, 7 July 2017
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.
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
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.
University of Zurich. 2017. Ancient Swiss reptile shows its bizarre scale armor for the first time. Science Daily (30 June).
Monday, 3 July 2017
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.”
Lewis, Geraint. 2017. A fine-tuned universe may be controversial but can’t be ignored. New Scientist (28 June).
Saturday, 1 July 2017
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.
Wagner, Andrew. 2017. Watch this cockatoo make music with a stick. Science (28 June).