Wednesday, 31 January 2018
They might not win any beauty contests or even look very cute, but naked mole rats (Heterocephalus glaber) are exceptional animals.
Living in underground colonies in East Africa, they can survive without oxygen for 18 minutes and almost never get cancer.
Unlike other creatures, these tiny rodents hardly age at all. While they will eventually die, they can live well over 30 years in captivity, which is a huge age for rats.
This reminds us of the diversity seen in the animal kingdom.
They remind us of the longevity of the early humans mentioned in Genesis after the Fall.
Pappas, Stephanie. 2018. Weird: Naked Mole Rats Don't Die of Old Age. Live Science (30 January).
Monday, 29 January 2018
Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB) has been part and parcel of the naturalistic version of Earth history since it saw daylight after scientists assumed they saw marks of asteroid strikes in moon stones collected by Apollo astronauts in the 1970s.
Now, however, “the once-popular theory has come under attack, and mounting evidence is causing many researchers to abandon it. A growing community of planetary scientists thinks that things quietened down relatively quickly, with a steadily decreasing rain of asteroids that ended a few hundred million years [sic] after Earth and the Moon formed,” a feature article in Nature says.
The age of the rocks was obtained “by measuring the rocks’ ratio of argon-40 atoms to radioactive potassium-40.”
The article admits that there is “ambiguity in the rock dating…[because] at high temperatures … 40Ar can leak out of minerals.”
There are other problems in radiometric dating as well.
LHB is a problematic idea, as it would have killed off all life as soon as it emerged.
Naturalistic Earth history is fraught with impossibilities, as life does not just happen.
It has to be created.
The faint young sun paradox would have resulted in a snowball Earth, once more killing all life.
Mann, Adam. 2018. Bashing holes in the tale of Earth’s troubled youth. Nature 553, 393–395 (24 January).
Saturday, 27 January 2018
Evolutionists would propose that once upon a time fish left their watery home and walked on dry land.
There is no fossil or other evidence for this. We know, however, that some fish walk on the seafloor – not with legs, as they haven’t got them – but with their fins.
This does not make them into transitional forms.
Recently, Australian divers found a new population of red handfish (Thymichthys politus) off the coast of Tasmania.
Scientists have known of these rare bizarre fish since the 19th century. Red handfish sport finger-like fins with which they move about on the seabed.
They are testimony of the diversity seen in created kinds.
Geggel, Laura. 2018. Rare, Mohawk-Wearing Fish Discovered 'Walking' on Seafloor. Live Science (25 January).
Thursday, 25 January 2018
Discovered last year, Trappist-1 is a cool dwarf star some 39 light years from us. Its seven planets are most probably bombarded with intense solar radiation and they are very likely tidally locked like Mercury in our solar system, with the same side always facing its sun.
This has not put an end to naturalistic speculations on whether at least some of the planets might be habitable.
The Guardian reports that Dr Amy Barr of the Planetary Science Institute and colleagues “built mathematical models of the seven planets and their interiors, and found that six of the seven worlds probably have water, as liquid or ice, with a global ocean possible on one. The team then modeled the planets’ orbits to determine a likely surface temperature on the worlds.”
They believe that the planets’ eccentric orbits stretch and squeeze them, creating heat and a climate that could (in theory) sustain life.
However, dwarf stars tend to be unstable and bombard their planets with intense solar flares, making them unsuitable for life.
Yuhas, Alan. 2018. Two planets in unusual star system are very likely habitable, scientists say.The Guardian (23 January).
Tuesday, 23 January 2018
The Cambrian Explosion was an enormous dilemma for Darwin, and it still baffles evolutionists, and, as evolutionary biologist Matthew Wills acknowledges, it can give them a real headache.
Recent research has suggested that a dramatic increase in Earth’s oxygen level cannot explain the sudden diversification of animal life in the Cambrian.
A new paper published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution attempts to find an alternative explanation. Drawing from cancer research, they propose that the same principles that are seen in multicellularity are also seem in tumours.
As geobiologist Emma Hammarlund of Lund university puts it, “tumours are successful versions of multicellularity.”
This is the basic premise of their approach.
“Specifically, they tested whether the same molecular tools exploited by many tumors -- to maintain stem cell properties -- could also be relevant to the success of animals in the Cambrian explosion.
Cells with stem cell properties are vital for all multicellular life in order to regenerate tissue. For example, cells in the wall of human small intestine are replaced every 2-4 days, through the division of stem cells.
‘Hypoxia is generally seen as a threat, but we forget that oxygen shortage in precise periods and settings also is a prerequisite for multicellular life. Our stem cells are the ones that form new tissue, and they are extremely sensitive to oxygen. The stem cells therefore have various systems for dealing with the effects of both oxygen and oxygen shortage, which is clear in the case of tumors,’ explains [professor] Sven Påhlman.”
However, even this approach fails to tackle to basic question of why animals diversified so rapidly and dramatically. Oxygen can’t explain it. And neither can tumours.
Some Cambrian animals were very complex, and some had a complex brain.
And some, for instance tardigrades, haven’t changed in “half a billion years.”
Lund University. 2018. Why animals diversified on Earth: Cancer research provides clues. Science Daily. (18 January).
Sunday, 21 January 2018
Solar flares can certainly kill, but scientists who subscribe to the naturalistic worldview are setting their hopes on them.
Avi Loeb at Harvard University and his colleagues simulated a solar flare that hit Mars with high-energy protons. They believe this might create the building blocks of life.
Here we have a speculative scenario in which raw energy magically turns into life, as long as they are given a few billion years to sort things out.
It has the same problem as all other naturalistic origin of life hypotheses, regardless of what they invoke or rely on, for instance, meteorites, Saturn’s moon Enceladus, Jupiter’s moon Europa, a synthetic enzyme, cosmic rays or molecular midwives.
The problem is that they cannot produce life.
Crane, Leah. 2018. Deadly solar flares may have helped seed life on Mars and beyond New Scientist (19 January).
Friday, 19 January 2018
Naturalistic origin of life enthusiasts have set their hopes on meteorites as a likely breeding ground for the ingredients needed for life.
A paper published recently in the journal Science Advances examines the chemical composition of two meteorites that fell to Earth.
“They … contain both liquid water and a mix of complex organic compounds such as hydrocarbons and amino acids,” a news release issued by Berkeley Lab says.
It might be an understatement to say that the Berkeley folks are exited:
“[The paper] provides the first comprehensive chemical exploration of organic matter and liquid water in salt crystals found in Earth-impacting meteorites. The study treads new ground in the narrative of our solar system’s early history and asteroid geology while surfacing exciting possibilities for the existence of life elsewhere in Earth’s neighborhood.”
However, they might probably need to consider the lesson provided by a can of sardines, which has all the ingredients that life needs, but for some reason the contents are as dead as dead can be.
Much more than just the necessary ingredients are needed for life to suddenly pop up.
The latest scenario is no more credible than the previous (failed) ones, including those that invoke Saturn’s moon Enceladus, Jupiter’s moon Europa, a synthetic enzyme, cosmic rays or molecular midwives, or a plethora of other suggestions.
After all, life only comes from life, and it has to be created.
Roberts, Glenn. Jr. 2018. Ingredients for Life Revealed in Meteorites That Fell to Earth. Berkeley Lab (10 January).
Wednesday, 17 January 2018
It has asymmetrical feathers like modern birds. It is iridescence and colourful, just like today’s hummingbirds.
And Caihong juji ('rainbow with the big crest'), made public yesterday in a paper in the journal Nature Communications, is assumed to be 161 million years old but as its preservation is “incredible” the age might well be nothing more than wishful thinking.
Modern pigment has previously been reported in a ”150-million-year” old bird fossil, and birds are known to have flown over the heads of dinosaurs.
The authors describe C. juji as a dinosaur, though it probably looked even less like a dino than Archaeopteryx, the “earliest” true bird, which is believed to be or “10 million years” younger.
There is something fishy about its recent past. Discovered by a farmer in China's Hebei Province, the Paleontological Museum of Liaoning bought it in 2014.
In biblical archaeology, objects found by amateurs are almost always dismissed as frauds.
But when it has to do with evolution, the standard is obviously much lower.
C. juji has some mosaic-like features and some unique ones, such as asymmetrical feathers in its tail.
However, these would hardly make it into a dinosaur.
Geggel, Laura. 2018. Little 'Rainbow' Dinosaur Discovered by Farmer in China. Live Science (15 January).
Monday, 15 January 2018
A new paper published in the journal Genome Research challenges Darwinian orthodoxy.
Organisms are programmed with a feature called “DNA mismatch repair (MMR). It corrects mutations that arise during the replication of the genome during cell division.”
While studying the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, University of Oxford researchers found out that the MMR prefers to repair genes rather than other areas of the genome.
A news release published by Oxford University states:
“The study has important implications for human health, and is particularly useful for understanding the changes that occur in cells during the development of the tumors that underlie cancers. MMR-deficiency predisposes cells to become tumorous, presumably because MMR-deficient cells lack the gene protection that reduces the risk of mutation in the genes that normally suppress tumor formation.”
Basically, DNA correction mechanisms falsify Neo-Darwinism. There are too many intelligent solutions in cells.
University of Oxford. 2018. Cells protect genes more than rest of genome. (5 January).
Saturday, 13 January 2018
Butterflies are amazing creatures. While they tend to be tiny, they have superbly designed features that cause them to be excellent navigators.
What is more, the are a real headache for evolutionists, due to their non-evolution.
Darwinists used to believe that butterflies appeared “130 million years” ago, along with flowering plants but new research pushes back the date by “70 million years.”
“Scientists found fossilised butterfly scales the size of a speck of dust inside ancient rock from Germany,” BBC News reports.
“They used acid to dissolve ancient rocks, leaving behind small fragments, including ‘perfectly preserved’ scales that covered the wings of early moths and butterflies.”
And there were more surprises for evolutionists:
“Intriguingly, they show that some of the moths and butterflies belonged to a group still alive today that have long straw-like tongues for sucking up nectar.”
Briggs, Helen. 2018. Meet the butterflies from 200 million years ago. BBC News (11 January).
Thursday, 11 January 2018
A sparrow-sized dino-era bird found in the Liaoning Province in China could most probably see in colour.
“An analysis of the 120-million-year-old bird revealed that the creature's eye tissues — more specially, its rods and cones — had fossilized in remarkable condition,” an article on Live Science suggests.
The article goes on to say:
“These oil droplets are located on the tip of the color-sensing cone cells and act like a color filter on a camera lens. For example, red-colored oil droplets would cover red-sensing cone cells, allowing birds (as well as turtles and possibly dinosaurs) to see the color red.”
What is more, the “oil droplets were similar in size to those seen in living birds,” i.e. no evolution has occurred in “120 million years,” prompting Baochun Zhou, an associate professor of paleontology at the Shanghai Natural History Museum, to say the discovery "indicates that the complex optical system of cone cells had already been achieved by 120 million years ago."
There are serious problems with radiometric dating, so it might be wise not to be too dogmatic about dates that go into millions of years.
Some dino-age birds looked like today’s birds, and previous research has shown that an early bird preened its feathers, just like modern ones.
Geggel, Laura. 2018. This Bird 'Eyeball' Survived 120 Million Years. Live Science (11 January).
Wednesday, 10 January 2018
New research published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology by scientists at the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH) discloses that ice age (“Pleistocene”) people walked as effectively as we do.
True to their Darwinian underpinnings, the researchers chose to call the study subjects Pleistocene hominins.
The paper falsified a key evolutionary assumption, i.e. with the passing of millions of years, purported human ancestors would gradually evolve to become more efficient walkers.
However, as an article in Science Daily puts it, “the walk of Pleistocene hominins was no less efficient energetically than that of current humans.”
Marco Vidal Cordasco, the lead author of the paper, elaborates: “The changes observed in the width of the pelvis and the length of the lower limbs did not reduce the cost of walking sufficiently to offset the rise in energy cost caused by the increased body mass.”
Previous research has shown that human size has not increased in “1.5 million years” and the recent discovery of “5.7 million year” old footprints on Crete basically falsifies the entire Darwinian scenario and draws suspicion on radiometric dating.
The fate of our purported ancestors is a big disappointment for Darwinians: Nutcracker man lived in a tree, Lucy dropped from a tree and has a baboon’s bone, Taung Child fails as an ancestor and H. naledi is too young.
CENIEH. 2017. The locomotion of hominins in the Pleistocene was just as efficient as that of current humans. Science Daily. (15 December).
Monday, 8 January 2018
Frozen iguanas have been falling from trees in Florida during the recent cold spell. While these lizards might look as though they’re dead, most of them probably aren’t and they will revive once it gets warmer.
Like many other ectotherms or cold-blooded animals, iguanas conserve energy by slowing down their metabolism.
This is a designed feature that allows them to cope in harsh climates.
Most birds can walk on ice and snow without getting cold feet due to their ingenious design, and penguins make their own anti-freeze.
Specktor, Brandon. 2018. Watch for Falling Iguanas! Bomb Cyclone Drops Frozen Lizards. Live Science (5 January).
Sunday, 7 January 2018
Evolution is supposed to be blind, but for some reasons it is assumed to have rules that determine the size and distribution of animals.
The island rule asserts that small mammals living on islands will on average be bigger than those on the mainland.
Bergmann's rule states that animals living in colder climates will in general be bigger than those living in warmer climates.
The problem with these rules is that not all animals follow it. A paper published in the journal Ecology and Evolution shows that the common treeshrew (Tupaia glis) breaks both rules.
An article posted on Phys.org states:
“In order to determine treeshrew body size from populations on the Malay Peninsula and 13 offshore islands, the researchers measured 260 specimens collected over the past 122 years and housed in six natural history museums in Europe and North America. They tested multiple variables, analyzing how island size, distance from the mainland, maximum sea depth between the mainland and the islands, and latitude relate to body size in the treeshrew populations. They found that the island rule and Bergmann's rule, which are rarely tested together, do not apply to common treeshrews.”
For Darwinists, the results were much worse:
“The study revealed no size difference between mainland and island populations. It also revealed that treeshrews invert Bergmann's rule: individuals from lower latitudes [i.e., in warmer climates] tended to be larger than those located at higher latitudes [i.e., in colder climates].”
Many other animals, for instance, snow voles, ticks, star-nosed moles, deep sea toads and a singing fish, also defy Darwinian expectations.
Cummings, Mike. 2018. Study shows treeshrews break evolutionary 'rules'. Phys.org (5 January).
Friday, 5 January 2018
The Milky Way and our galactic neighbourhood are anything but haphazard collections of stars. Instead, stars and galaxies seem to follow a clear pattern, which, seen from a naturalistic viewpoint, is a big mystery:
“Stars are formed in a variety of masses, and that distribution follows a well-known relation that’s observed everywhere we look, which is kind of odd and we’re not exactly sure why stars follow that relation,” New Scientist quotes Don Figer at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York as saying.
Symmetry means beauty. Fibonacci numbers can be seen practically everywhere in the universe, making it an astoundingly beautiful place.
Beauty would be an enormous dilemma in a cold, heartless Darwinian world, but in a created cosmos it is the very thing that we would expect to find, as God is the author of all beauty.
Crane, Leah. 2018. The universe could be full of more huge stars than we thought. New Scientist (4 January).
Thursday, 4 January 2018
The TRAPPIST-1 planets orbit a cool red dwarf star. It is no secret that such stars are instable and prone to produce deadly flares.
Moreover, all TRAPPIST-1 planets are most probably tidally locked (with their same side always facing their sun), making life practically impossible.
However, this has not put an end to wishful thinking. For instance, an article in New Scientist suggests:
“The outer planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system might be better for life than we thought. Their cores are stretched by gravity, which generates heat, and there’s a possibility these exoplanets have atmospheres, so the outermost planets could be warmer and wetter than we thought, maybe even with air.”
The article relies on a number of unknowns, and is mostly inspired by wishful thinking, such as the power of tidal forces to “stretch and flex the planets’ cores enough to heat them from the inside.”
Most exoplanets are more or less weird. For instance, superfast spinning stars show that our Sun is special – and so is Earth.
Crane, Leah. 2018. Tides and atmospheres on TRAPPIST-1 planets may help life thrive. New Scientist (3 January).
Tuesday, 2 January 2018
Hagfish is a bizarre living fossil that can tie itself into a knot.
It has resisted the urge to evolve for “300 million years.”
Recent research shows it also has a secret weapon against predators such as sharks (that likewise are living fossils).
A paper published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface gives some background information:
“Hagfishes defend themselves from fish predators by releasing large volumes of gill-clogging slime when they are attacked. Slime release is not anticipatory, but is only released after an attack has been initiated, raising the question of how hagfishes survive the initial attack, especially from biting predators such as sharks.”
So, how do they manage to survive?
“The loose attachment of hagfish skin to the rest of the body and the substantial ‘slack volume' in the subcutaneous sinus protect hagfish musculature and viscera from penetrating teeth.”
Even in a fallen world groaning from of the dire consequences of Adam’s sin, God cares for animals, even hagfish.
Boggett, Sarah. 2017. Flaccid skin protects hagfishes from shark bites. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 14 (137).
Monday, 1 January 2018
The Moon is one of the things that make Earth a privileged planet. Writing in Nature, Robin Canup states:
“The Moon is large enough to stabilize our planet's rotation, holding Earth's polar axis steady to within a few degrees. Without it, the current Earth's tilt would vary chaotically by tens of degrees.”
The Moon’s size and distance from Earth determine how big tides we have. Without tides marine life would sooner or later come to an end, and our planet could turn into Mars’ twin.
In other words, the Moon looks designed to maintain life on Earth.
The origin of the Moon is a naturalistic dilemma.
New Scientist reports on a naturalistic scenario that has exomoons wandering all over the universe.
There is scant evidence for the existence of even a single exomoon, but why would they let facts spoil a good naturalistic hypothesis?
Canup, Robin. 2013. Planetary science: Lunar conspiracies. Nature 504, 27–29 (4 December).
Wenz, John. 2017The universe may be full of ex-moons flung from their homeworlds New Scientist (26 December).