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Creationism News -- February 2012 ????? -- 2012?2?


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Title: Creationism News -- February 2012 ????? -- 2012?2?

Creationism News -- February 2012 ????? --
  • I am indebted to David Coppedge who sacrificed
    his career as the Head Systems Administrator for
    the Cassini Spacecraft in JPL to honor the
    Creator of the Universe. He also spent literally
    thousands of hours to make his excellent
  • The contents of this presentation were taken
    directly from Daves website http//
    All credits are due to him.
  • Pastor Chui
  • http//

Lunar Upsets Challenge Paradigms??????
  • Shocking physics  Looking into the crystal balls
    Apollo astronauts brought back from the moon,
    namely zircon minerals, geologists at Curtin
    University decided their data challenges the
    current paradigm known as the Late Heavy
    Bombardment (see 1/09/2012).  PhysOrg reported
    that impact-related shock features in lunar
    zircon, giving scientists a new conceptual
    framework to explain the history and timing of
    meteorite impact events in our solar system. 
    When a new conceptual framework challenges a
    current paradigm, the ripple effects can
    undermine textbooks and other related theories. 
    Since theories about the timing of meteorite
    impact events are built on lunar data, this puts
    theories of the entire history of the solar
    system at risk.

Lunar Upsets Challenge Paradigms??????
  • Alternative energy source  The moon had a
    long-lasting dynamo.  That statement should floor
    you if you are a typical planetary scientist.  To
    see why, read on why physicists are
    scrambling to find alternative power, like
    homeowners frantically searching for a backup
    generator when the lights just went out.  The
    data come from crystals in basalt sample 10020
    from the moon that, according to the evolutionary
    view of radiometric dating, is 3.7 billion years
    old yet has remnant magnetism.  In their dating
    scheme, thats almost a billion years after the
    formation of the moon.  Any primeval dynamo that
    could have magnetized the rock should have been
    long gone by then.  PhysOrg put the surprise in
    the first sentence The moon has this protracted
    history thats surprising.  This provides
    evidence of a fundamentally new way of making a
    magnetic field in a planet a new power
    source sic.

Lunar Upsets Challenge Paradigms??????
  • Such a long-lived lunar dynamo probably required
    a power source other than thermochemical
    convection from secular cooling of the lunar
    interior, they wrote, referring to the consensus
    dynamo theory.  The inferred strong intensity of
    the lunar paleofield presents a challenge to
    current dynamo theory.  What powered it?  an
    alternative energy source, they suggested.  Have
    they found one?  No.  They tossed out a couple of
    possibilities at the end of the paper maybe
    stirring from precession did it.  Maybe a big
    meteor walloped the interior into a temporary
    molten stir.  It hardly seems they considered
    those options seriously when they ended, the
    late, intense paleomagnetic record from 10020
    presents a challenge to current dynamo theory.

Lunar Upsets Challenge Paradigms
  • Ray tracing algorithm  This storys not from our
    moon, but from the asteroid Vesta, where the DAWN
    spacecraft is undertaking an orbital
    reconnaissance.  A new photograph displayed on
    PhysOrg shows a crater with both dark and light
    rays.  There is dark and bright material located
    across Vesta, the article said, but it
    is unusual to have a crater with both bright and
    dark ejecta rays.  Although the press release
    didnt say so, the darkness of crater rays is
    usually taken as an indicator of age.  Looking at
    our moon, planetary scientists assume that crater
    rays begin bright and darken over time due to
    space weathering, the effect of solar wind
    particles on lunar dust.  (See, for instance, in
    the Geology of the Moon article on,
    which states The impact process excavates high
    albedo materials that initially gives the crater,
    ejecta, and ray system a bright appearance.
    The process of space weathering gradually
    decreases the albedo of this material such that
    the rays fade with time.)  The new Vesta combo
    crater shows that dark and light rays can
    originate from the same impact, potentially
    undermining the ray-dating algorithm.

Lunar Upsets Challenge Paradigms??????
  • Which moon?  We may not be able to talk about
    the moon in our nighttime sky.  New
    Scientist just announced that Hundreds of tiny
    moons may be orbiting Earth.  The idea is that
    wandering asteroids may get captured in Earth
    orbit from time to time.  The Earth sits in a
    gravity well, after all, so its not surprising
    that it would pull objects into its tractor
    beam.  They orbit at distances between five and
    10 times as far from Earth as the moon, the
    article said.  Most stay in orbit less than a
    year, although some stay much longer. One object
    in the teams simulations stayed in orbit for
    almost 900 years.  This could provide some water
    cooler conversation.  When someone talks about
    the moon, you might respond, To which moon are
    you referring?  Theyll think you are Looney
    Tunes till you explain.  You can even quote
    Shakespeare There are more things in heaven and
    earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your

Lunar Upsets Challenge Paradigms??????
  • Blue marble  We end with a breathtaking finale. 
    The historic Apollo 8 mission in 1968 provided
    the first human-photographed image of the Earth
    from a distance.  Subsequent spacecraft have
    improved on Earth from space views over the
    years.  Now, an Earth-observing spacecraft
    launched in October, dubbed Suomi NPP, has just
    released a stunner a realistic photograph of
    our Blue Marble from 512 miles that is so
    clear, so beautiful, it deserves to be set to
    music.  At you can download it for a
    screen save in several sizes.  At the Suomi NPP
    website, you can download the complete
    highest-resolution image (16.4 mb, 8000 x 8000
    pixels) and soar over North and Central America
    with incredible detail (for starters, check out
    Lake Mead, Grand Canyon and Lake Powell). 
    Because the spacecraft flies in a sun-synchronous
    orbit (see Suomi NPP feature), we can expect more
    fully-lit images of other faces of our planet as
    Earth rotates underneath.

Mouse to Elephant? Just Add Time???????????
  • How do you evolve a mouse into an elephant?  Just
    add 24 million generations.  But you can shrink
    it back down in just 100,000 generations.  This
    and other eyebrow-raising stories have been told
    in the secular science media recently.

Mouse to Elephant? Just Add Time???????????
  • Monash University published the mousephant story
    alongside a photo of a jolly professor, Dr
    Alistair Evans, holding a mouse skull in his
    fingers with an elephant skull towering behind
    him.  For those who move past the headline, this
    admission needs a megaphone Dr Evans, an
    evolutionary biologist and Australian Research
    Fellow, said the study was unique because most
    previous work had focused on microevolution, the
    small changes that occur within a species.  The
    original paper is in PNAS (January 30, 2012, doi

Mouse to Elephant? Just Add Time???????????
  • So, did Prof. Evans actually watch a mouse-sized
    mammal evolve into an elephant with a controlled
    lab experiment?  No, he just assumed the
    evolutionary time scale of fossils, and divided
    the millions of years into generations based on
    the lifespan of the organisms involved.  Well,
    then, did he use a sliding scale from mouse
    lifetime to elephant lifetime?  If so, was it a
    linear rate, exponential rate, or chaotic rate? 
    It wouldnt have mattered, because he didnt
    cover a law of nature that makes predictions. 
    While mammals got steadily bigger after the
    dinosaurs disappeared, the article claimed, the
    rates at which they did so varied among the
    groups.  Whales, for instance, evolved into
    giants at twice the rate of land mammals, while
    primates seem to have limits on how big they can

Mouse to Elephant? Just Add Time???????????
  • Post-dinosaur era  Its a classic story of
    taking advantage of a new opportunity  the
    vacant landscape devoid of dinosaurs.
  • Whales Dr Erich Fitzgerald, Senior Curator of
    Vertebrate Palaeontology at Museum Victoria and a
    co-author, said changes in whale size occurred at
    twice the rate of land mammals.  This
    is probably because its easier to be big in the
    water  it helps support your weight, he said.
  • Primates There seems to be some intrinsic
    maximum rate that each order evolves at, which
    may have something to do with the basic
    construction or physiology of each group, Evans
    wrote. So it may be really hard to be built like
    a primate and get very big.

Mouse to Elephant? Just Add Time???????????
  • The science media got embarrassed by a
    peer-reviewed paper that shouldnt have been. 
    Several sites uncritically posted a press release
    from Case Western Reserve University that alleged
    to be a theory of everything. Erik Andrulis
    claimed that the earth is alive and so is the
    solar system.  Andulis, an otherwise legitimate
    biochemist, wove his tale of gyres and
    macroelectrogyres that circulate in lifelike
    patterns.  Jesse Emspak exposed the crackpot
    theory of on Live Science.  Its not clear if
    Andrulis was pulling a hoax, but if so, Emspak
    said the incident reveals the dark side of peer
    review, a process that is supposed to eliminate
    bias and nutty ideas, but doesnt always succeed. 

Mouse to Elephant? Just Add Time???????????
  • Dr. Alistair Evans calls himself an evolutionary
    biologist.  To demonstrate that his title is not
    an oxymoron, he needs to go out into the woods,
    take off his clothes, and let natural selection
    act on him.  Otherwise, if he uses his mind, he
    is an intelligent design biologist in spite of

Mouse to Elephant? Just Add Time???????????
  • What if the weirdos took over science?  What if
    by sheer power of numbers, they were able to get
    their nonsense published with alacrity, while
    denying a hearing to those outside their party? 
    What if peer review is a sham?  What if
    mice-sized animals never evolved into elephants? 
    What if there is no multiverse to go dating in? 
    What if men are not more aggressive because of
    evolution, but because of misuse of well-designed
    traits due to true moral evil?  What if creatures
    in sea caves have nothing whatsoever to do with
    life in outer space?  What if there were no
    millions of years for dogs to evolve into
    whales?  What if the ones calling creationists
    nuts are the real nuts?  What if nuttery has been
    reclassified as science?  What if passive
    citizens let the nutters get away with this? 
    What if they laughed loud and long, instead, and
    were able to shame the nutters out of the science
    lab and back into the Cartoon Network? 

Rethinking Parasitism ????
  • Parasitism is bad.  Parasitism is evil. 
    Parasites wage war against innocent hosts.  This
    is our mindset.  What if parasites can do good? 
    This change of heart seems to be happening in one
    case, the case of transposable genetic elements. 
    If they are only doing harm to the host, why did
    some biologists find that positive selection
    seems to be maintaining them?  That makes it
    sound like the cells need them.
  • An article in Science Daily began with the
    warfare metaphor Many living organisms suffer fr
    om parasites, which use the hosts resources for
    their own purposes. The problem of parasitism
    occurs at all levels right down to
    the DNA scale.  The article went on to describe
    the intracellular battle that is constantly
    being played out between the host and
    invading DNA.

Rethinking Parasitism ????
  • While no one would deny the suffering parasites
    cause, a team of scientists at the University of
    Veterinary Medicine in Vienna was surprised to
    find a possible beneficial side of genetic
    parasites known as transposable elements.  These
    are pieces of DNA that are capable of moving
    around within and between genomes, generally
    represent a drain on the hosts resources and in
    certain cases may lead directly to disease, e.g.
    when they insert themselves within an essential
    host gene.

Rethinking Parasitism ????
  • The scientists logged all the transposable
    elements (TEs) they could find in a population
    of fruit flies.  The findings were dramatic,
    the article said.  The insertion points of TEs
    varied widely between individuals, meaning that
    many of them were apparently not fixed or
    permanent in the population.  At first, this led
    Christian Schlötterer to maintain the warfare
    metaphor the genome is like a record of past
    wars between hosts and the parasitic DNA. There
    have been waves of attacks and the majority of
    them have been repelled, with only few
    transposable elements managing to survive and
    spread throughout the population.

Rethinking Parasitism ????
  • But then another surprise cast doubt on that
    metaphor, and supported a more cooperative
  • Even more surprisingly, the scientists found
    about a dozen sites of insertion that were more
    frequent in the population than would be
    expected from their age (assessed via a different
    method). It seems, then, that there is positive
    selection for transposable elements at these
    sites, suggesting that insertion has a beneficial
    effect on the host. Such an effect had previously
    been shown for two insertions that give increased
    resistance against insecticides and these cases
    were refound by Schlötterers analysis.

Rethinking Parasitism ????
  • The researchers do not know what benefit
    these TEs confer such that they are being
    maintained by selection.  Schlötterer is
    considering a new, happier metaphor perhaps we
    shouldnt really think of transposable elements
    as parasites at all. They represent a way for
    organisms to increase their genetic repertoire,
    which may be advantageous in helping them meet
    future challenges.

Rethinking Parasitism ????
  • The suggestion is too premature to apply to other
    parasites, let alone all of them, but provides an
    occasion for thinking about metaphors in
    science.  The human mind naturally tends to
    classify phenomena in nature into moral
    categories good kitty, bad dog good dog, bad
    kitty.  We do that with parasites because we know
    how often some of them harm or kill us.  No one
    is going to suggest from this story that there is
    anything good about a guinea worm or malaria. 
    The suggestion of a benefit in TEs may be
    entirely isolated to a few cases in fruit flies. 
    Whats instructive about the story is that the
    team started with the assumption that TEs are
    bad.  They are at war with the host, Schlötterer 
    said, using the hosts resources for their own
    good.  The evidence they gathered suggested the
    opposite they might be beneficial.

Rethinking Parasitism ????
  • Biologists classify parasitism on one end of the
    scale of interactions among many things sapping
    the resources of the host for the parasites own
    benefit.  Examples are mistletoe and tapeworms or
    parasitic roundworms.  At the other end are
    mutualistic interactions, where each organism
    benefits from the other examples are the yucca
    moth and cleaner fish (1/13/2003).  Some of these
    interactions are so finely tuned, it is difficult
    to imagine how they could have evolved.  Perhaps
    our categories are too simplistic.  We often put
    viruses in the bad category, since they invade
    a host cell and use its machinery to make copies
    of themselves.  Why, then, do only a small
    fraction of viruses cause disease?  What are the
    others doing?  Many of them kill bacteria thats
    good, isnt it?  Maybe we should take a look
    afresh.  In biology there are many pushes and
    pulls.  Pushes and pulls are not good or bad
    they are opposite forces that maintain

Rethinking Parasitism ????
  • A possibility open to those of a Biblical
    perspective is that these interactions began as
    all beneficial but became destructive, either as
    direct judgment on sin, or as an indirect
    judgment through the relaxation of controls that
    would have kept them beneficial.  Like machines
    run amok, mutations might have planted bugs in
    the software that led to disease and suffering.
    The Genesis account of the curse suggests this
    it was easy and pleasant in the garden, with the
    Tree of Life, but once the judgment came, life
    became toilsome and difficult, ending in death.
  • Such thoughts stray beyond what science can
    reveal.  The findings in this article, though, do
    lend themselves to new ways of thinking about
    parasites as designed mechanisms originally
    intended for health, a few of which have
    subsequently gone bad. 

Innovation as a Dodge ???????
  • This is not a truck commercial.  Its not about a
    Dodge as an innovation, but innovation as a
    dodge.  Its about how a word, innovation, is
    used as a euphemism in evolution articles.  The
    word seems to mean, we have no clue how this
    evolved, but it must have for evolution to be
    true.  Its a handy rhetorical trick, because
    without it, a reader might be tempted to think
    the evidence supports creation.  Some recent
    articles show how the trick is employed.

Innovation as a Dodge ???????
  • Proton pump  An article on PhysOrg describes
    cytochrome oxidase, a sophisticated proton
    pump in aerobic organisms, as an evolutionary
    innovation.  Researchers in Japan found a
    molecular machine of comparable complexity in an
    anaerobic organism, leaving it unclear how they
    could call it an evolutionary ancestor The
    finding thus establishes first-ever evidence for
    a proton pump in anaerobic organisms, shedding
    light onto the mysterious mechanisms governing
    the production of nitrogen oxide and the
    evolutionary path that led to their emergence.

Innovation as a Dodge ???????
  • Katydid song  An international team of
    researchers claims to have reproduced the song of
    165-million-year-old katydids (see PNAS, February
    6, 2012, doi 10.1073/pnas.1118372109).  The
    abstract states, Contrary to previous
    scenarios, musical songs were an early
    innovation, preceding the broad-bandwidth songs
    of extant katydids.  This statement leaves
    begging the question of whether broadband or
    narrowband sound production is more advanced in
    evolutionary terms.  It also overlooks the fact
    that ears are required to hear sound.  To hear
    the reconstructed sound of Jurassic katydids,
    view the video clip on New Scientist.  The
    write-up on Live Science claims that sound
    production by insects may go back to the Triassic
    again failing to state how evolution invented
    ears and sound-making structures.

Innovation as a Dodge ???????
  • Feathery fluff  A double euphemism is evident in
    the opening sentence of a story on PhysOrg about
    birds powered flight might be the innovation
    that drove the feathers evolution from that
    point forward.  It would be hard to think of
    anything in the animal kingdom more difficult to
    explain by evolution than powered flight. 
    Feathers are only one aspect of coordinated
    systems in a bird that make flight possible, but
    thats what scientists at the University of South
    Carolina focused on.  They studied fossil
    feathers and believe they found differences
    between them in creatures that evolutionary
    theory claims came before flying birds.  All they
    actually found were differences in the
    composition of beta-keratin, a molecule in

Innovation as a Dodge ???????
  • But then they claimed flight evolved to put
    pressure on feather evolution, presupposing two
    innovations feathers and powered flight.  The
    conclusion is tentative, but compelling powered
    flight may well have been the innovation that
    evolutionary pressure subsequently began to
    refine, the article claimed.
  • Anyone see evolution here?  Its all evidence for
    abrupt appearance of complex, functional
    structures i.e., creation.  But the evidence is
    artfully concealed while the fast-talking
    scientists sell Darwin mobile lemons with loaded,
    bloated, gloated words like innovation
    and emergence.  To unmask a charlatan, first
    disarm him of his rhetorical tricks.

How the Zebra Got Its Just-So Story ?????????
  • Evolutionists have updated Kiplings fanciful
    story, How the Leopard Got Its Spots, with a
    new, improved, scientific tale, How the Zebra
    Got Its Stripes.  They actually gathered
    empirical data to show for it.  Not all
    evolutionists are convinced, however, that it
    changes the genre from just-so story to
    scientific explanation.

How the Zebra Got Its Just-So Story ?????????
  • So how did the zebra get its stripes?  Previous
    theories explained the stripes as camouflage to
    confuse predators, as body temperature
    regulators, or patterns for recognizing mates,
    but none have proven satisfactory alone.  The new
    story is that they evolved the elaborate coat
    patterns to repel horseflies.  PhysOrg reported
    how Gabor Horvath, Susanne Akesson and colleagues
    from Hungary and Sweden performed field
    experiments to show that striped patterns
    attracted fewer bloodsucking insects.  BBC News sh
    ows the experimental setup.  The team erected
    four fake horses in a horsefly-infested field. 
    They were dressed in black, white, brown and
    striped hides coated with sticky material to
    catch bugs.  By surprise, the striped pattern
    attracted fewer flies than the light and dark

How the Zebra Got Its Just-So Story ?????????
  • The scientists even came up with a physical
    explanation.  The stripes defeat the polarized
    light the bugs use to hone in on their targets. 
    We conclude that zebras have evolved a coat
    pattern in which the stripes are narrow enough to
    ensure minimum attractiveness to tabanid flies,
    the team said.  The selection pressure for
    striped coat patterns as a response to
    blood-sucking dipteran parasites is probably high
    in this region, meaning Africa, even though the
    experiment was conducted in a field near Budapest.

How the Zebra Got Its Just-So Story ?????????
  • Rachel Kaufman at National Geographic News had
    some words of caution about this explanation
  • 1.  The study was not conducted on live zebras,
    but on models.
  • 2.  it was not conducted in Africa, where the
    zebras live.
  • 3.  There may well be other factors the flies
    sense, like the zebras breath or heat, that are
    the primary attractors.
  • 4.  Human breeding may have altered factors in
    horses that changed their attractiveness to
  • 5.  The BBC News article added that the stripes
    may have multiple explanations, not just one.

How the Zebra Got Its Just-So Story ?????????
  • 6.  The BBC News article also questioned why, if
    stripes are so effective at repelling flies,
    other mammals did not follow suit.
  • Other challenges can be lobbed against the
    conclusion.  For instance, did they test whether
    the stripes simultaneously deter mosquitoes,
    houseflies, lice, fleas, or bees?  Stripes that
    repel horseflies might backfire and attract other
    pests.  Did they test for pleiotropic effects
    i.e., if natural selection favored stripes, did
    the genetic mutations cause deleterious effects
    elsewhere?  Given the ambiguity of the results,
    the explanation found on Uncommon Descent might
    work as well as any other  Dont bite!! Im
    just the test pattern. World of Blood comes on in
    a minute.

How the Zebra Got Its Just-So Story ?????????
  • We do not fault the team for trying.  Getting out
    in the field and performing a clever experiment
    is certainly better than armchair
    theorizing. Putting forward a physical theory
    like polarized light is also classical scientific
    method that can be tested.   The team has added
    some information to our knowledge just not
    necessary and sufficient knowledge to explain the
    origin of the stripes.  (Another data point in
    the articles is worth noting zebra embryos start
    out black the stripes materialize before birth.)

How the Zebra Got Its Just-So Story ?????????
  • The story illustrates a difficulty biologists
    have with scientific explanations for every
    rule, there are exceptions.  If
    stripes-as-bug-repellants were a law of nature,
    all animals would have them, and the flies would
    go extinct or learn to eat plants.  Do zebra
    finches have stripes to deter houseflies?  Do
    zebra fish have stripes to deter water fleas? 
    When science has to keep changing the law of
    nature to account for different instances of the
    same pattern, or keep multiplying the laws of
    nature to account for different patterns, its
    hard to boast of a unified theory.

How the Zebra Got Its Just-So Story ?????????
  • The main fault in the study is the use of
    evolutionary theory as an assumption.  The
    stripes evolved to do something e.g., The
    team wondered whether the zebras stripy
    hide might have evolved to disrupt their
    attractive dark skins and make them less
    appealing to voracious bloodsuckers,
     PhysOrg stated. This is the just-so element of
    the story.  It is fallacious on two accounts (1)
    Evolution, being an unguided, purposeless,
    moment-by-moment mechanism, cannot evolve to do
    anything.  (2) Making the zebras stripy hide
    the subject of to disrupt is a personification f
    allacy.  Hide cannot do anything (except maybe

How the Zebra Got Its Just-So Story ?????????
  • A third problem with the evolutionary assumption
    is it rules out from the outset any
    non-evolutionary explanation, like design.  A
    zebra suit has fashion written all over it. 
    Thats why intelligent clothiers design gowns on
    the pattern.  It should be obvious that fashion
    models wear such gowns to attract mates (not
    deter flies) by design.  If the Designer of
    animals is intelligent, he might have his own
    purposes for outfitting each creature
    differently, including artistic as well as
    functional reasons.

Humans Evolved from Dogs ????????
  • A new finding shows dogs performing better on one
    kind of intelligence test than chimpanzees.  If
    evolution teaches that human intelligence is the
    main trait separating us from other animals, and
    dogs are smarter than apes, shouldnt the
    conclusion be that dogs are closer on the family
    tree?  If not, is it valid for evolutionary
    biologists to pick and choose the traits that

Humans Evolved from Dogs ????????
  • A new paper in PLoS ONE had the surprising title,
    Dogs (Canis familiaris), but Not Chimpanzees
    (Pan troglodytes), Understand Imperative
    Pointing.1  Researchers at Max Planck Institute
    for Evolutionary Anthropology worked with 32 dogs
    of different breeds, and 20 chimpanzees at
    reserves in Germany and Uganda.  They gave them
    simple tests to see if they could figure out
    where food was by pointing at it.  Despite
    rigorous attempts to rule out background causes
    or other distractions, the dogs scored much
    higher the chimps just couldnt get the
    message.  Jennifer Viegas at Live
    Science headlined the story, Dogs Understand Us
    Better Than Chimps Do.

Humans Evolved from Dogs ????????
  • An evolutionary rescue device was near at hand. 
    Viegas wrote, Chimps  have likely not
    evolved the tendency to pay attention to humans
    when trying to achieve goals.  The authors of
    the paper did not mention evolution they only
    suggested that dogs got this skill by human
    domestication (i.e., artificial selection).
  • 1. Kirchhofer KC , Zimmermann F , Kaminski J ,
    Tomasello M , Dogs (Canis familiaris), but Not
    Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), Understand
    Imperative Pointing. PLoS ONE 7(2) e30913.
  • Birds are actually smarter than dogs, and
    dolphins than birds.  So we have to update our
    earlier report that humans evolved from pigeons
    (12/26/2011).  The new evolutionary tree is
    chimps begat birds, who begat dolphins, who begat
    people.  Hydrogen begat everything or was it

Reasons to Doubt Scientific Pronouncements
  • Recent news casts doubt on various beliefs that
    had been trusted for a long time.
  • 1.  We were wrong about Neanderthal Man  For
    well nigh a century or more, Neanderthals were
    thought too brutish to make art.  Not any more. 
    Cave paintings alleged to have been created by
    Neanderthals have been discovered in Spain, New
    Scientist reported.  Dating tests are still being
    done on the figures, which appear to be
    representations of seals.  The correctives are
    more serious, though.  The article also pointed
    out that dating of other cave art is uncertain. 
    Paul Pettitt from the University of Sheffield let
    that cat out of the bag Even some sites we
    think we understand very well such as the Grotte
    Chauvet in France are very problematic in terms
    of how old they are.

Reasons to Doubt Scientific Pronouncements
  • 2.  Rings around the tree dates  What could be
    more reliable than tree ring dating?  Trees make
    annual rings count them and youve got an
    absolute date.  Why, then, did PhysOrg
    report, Tree rings may underestimate climate
    response to volcanic eruptions?  A study
    re-evaluated some estimates, and found them
    overall quite good, with one glaring error
    trees might not produce rings after a volcanic
    eruption strong enough to affect climate.  But if
    dates could be underestimated by factors not
    previously considered, could they be
    overestimated by other unknowns?  The article
    exposed some of the assumptions that go into the
    dating method

Reasons to Doubt Scientific Pronouncements
  • The potential absence of rings in the first one
    to three years following eruption further
    degrades the temperature reconstruction. Because
    tree-ring information is averaged across many
    locations to obtain a representative estimate of
    northern hemisphere temperature, tree-ring
    records with and without missing rings for a
    given year are merged, leading to a smearing and
    reduced and delayed apparent cooling.

Reasons to Doubt Scientific Pronouncements
  • 3.  Power Law, or lawless power?   One of
    sciences great strengths is the ability to
    describe nature mathematically.  But
    now, PhysOrg said, its time for a frank
    discussion,  about the use of power laws.  These
    are widely-used techniques to describe
    relationships between phenomena so as to show
    causation, instead of just correlation. 
    Causation is a vexed question in philosophy of
    science.  Theres nothing like a graph to give
    the appearance of objectivity.  Not so fast
    Michael Stumpf Imperial College London and
    Mason Porter Oxford, wrote in Science about
    the inexact science of trying to apply the power
    law to situations in science where its not
    always easy to show a direct link between
    correlation and causation, a key problem they
    say, in much of the science that is conducted
    today.  The original paper in Science began,1

Reasons to Doubt Scientific Pronouncements
  • A theoretical framework is perceived as
    particularly successful if it can explain very
    disparate facts. The observation that some
    apparently complex phenomena can exhibit
    startling similarities to dynamics generated
    with simple mathematical models has led
    to empirical searches for fundamental laws by
    inspecting data for qualitative agreement with
    the behavior of such models. A striking feature
    that has attracted considerable attention is
    the apparent ubiquity of power-law relationships
    in empirical data. However, although power laws
    have been reported in areas ranging
    from finance and molecular biology to
    geophysics and the Internet, the data are
    typically insufficient and the mechanistic
    insights are almost always too limited for the
    identification of power-law behavior to be
    scientifically useful .Indeed, even most
    statistically successful calculations of power
    laws offer little more than anecdotal value.

Reasons to Doubt Scientific Pronouncements
  • Sure enough Nature last month reported a
    rethinking about power-law extrapolation in
    geology.2Multi-scale modelling of the
    deformation of magnesium oxide reveals the need
    for a re-examination of the way in which
    laboratory data are used to estimate the strength
    of Earths lower mantle, Andrew M. Walker said. 
    .The results suggest that the usual power-law
    extrapolation is not reliable over the wide range
    of strain rates that must be considered,
    potentially changing our view of the way in which
    the deep mantle deforms.  Note anecdotal
    value is indistinguishable from educated

Reasons to Doubt Scientific Pronouncements
  • 4.  Rethinking evolution  Since the discovery
    of DNAs structure and function as the carrier of
    genetic information in the 1950s, most
    evolutionary work has concerned mutations and
    natural selection on DNA alone.   A major new
    monkey wrench has come into focus in the last
    decade Epigenetics heritable information and
    processes that lie beyond DNA . One of the few
    papers to rewrite evolutionary history with
    epigenetics in mind is a paper in Current
    biology,3 Epigenetics What News for Evolution?
      The news is that there is little news yet. 
    They dont even know the questions, let alone the
    answers.  The authors wrote, Having a formal
    body of evolutionary theory that incorporates
    epigenetics, as well as developing a clearer
    quantification of the connection between
    epigenetic variation and phenotypes will allow us
    to more rigorously ask whether or how epigenetics
    plays an important role in adaptive evolution.

Reasons to Doubt Scientific Pronouncements
  • There is no question that scientists provide a
    wealth of knowledge in the form of data and
    observations of the natural world.  Whether they
    understand what they are looking at (particularly
    in questions of origins), and can explain it with
    rigor above that of anecdote, are entirely
    different questions.  Healthy skepticism is a
    virtue when approaching scientific claims
    especially about non-reproducible phenomena, like
    origins.  Would that the skeptics, who are
    usually skeptical of creationism and naive about
    evolutionism, would develop some healthy
    skepticism about the nature and targets of their
    own skepticism.

OOL for Landlubbers????????
  • No part of the universal evolutionary scenario
    gets more overhauls than the origin of life. 
    Some say it began in the sea, some on the land. 
    Some say it began at the bottom of the sea
    others say that is the worst place for life to
    get going.  The latest idea favors freshwater hot
    springs on land.
  • Since Oparin and Miller, the majority of
    evolutionists have suggested life began in the
    ocean.  Some of the most vocal evolutionists, in
    fact, place the incubator at the bottom of the
    sea in volcanic vents.  Heres the latest
    reversal.  New evidence challenges the
    widespread view that it all kicked off in the
    oceans, around deep-sea hydrothermal vents, New
    Scientist said, regarding a new paper by
    Mulkidjanian et al. on PNAS.1  Instead, hot
    springs on land, similar to the warm little
    pond favoured by Charles Darwin, may be a better
    fit for the cradle of life. 

OOL for Landlubbers????????
  • The new notion would have a detrimental affect on
    astrobiology The controversial new theory
    suggests the search for extraterrestrial life
    must go beyond a hunt for alien oceans.  So
    While Darwins warm little ponds appear to be
    coming back in vogue, landlubber reporter Colin
    Barras spoke of endless speculation and
    conventional wisdom in the origin-of-life (OOL)
    field.  He also mentioned the serious problems of
    ocean-first theories, such as salt, but
    corresponding difficulties of land-first
    theories, such as UV radiation.

OOL for Landlubbers????????
  • One of the proponents of land-first OOL is
    Nobelist Jack Szostak of Harvard.  PhysOrg reporte
    d him speaking to a packed crowd a t Harvard in a
    series called, Evolution Matters.  Regarding
    the origin of life (his own field), Szostak
    clearly bluffed over major difficulties by
    alleging they have simple, even elegant
    solutions.  For instance, he pointed
    to RNA enzymes his lab designed, saying that
    their sloppiness was a virtue it even solved
    two intractable problems at once (their
    tendency to cling, and their structural
    difference from RNAs in cells.   Among other
    findings, Szostak and colleagues
    have shown that cell-like vesicles are relatively
    easy to create from fatty acid molecules
    suspended in water, Barras stated warmly.  He
    has also shown that vesicles divide naturally
    when passed through a smaller pore, and explored
    other possible methods of early cell division.

OOL for Landlubbers????????
  • But thats little different than what children
    see with their soap-bubble wands a far cry from
    cell division as we observe it.    He needs to
    explain how cell division became extremely
    precise to allow accurate replication of genetic
    information in daughter cells.  PhysOrg tells how
    at Whitehead Institute, Komimi Kiyomitsu used his
    keen powers of observation to identify the
    machinery that keeps chromosomes aligned
    perfectly at the dividing cells axis.  One of
    the machines is dynein, attached to the cortex of
    the cell membrane, that acts as a winch to pull
    on the spindle pole.  The winching action
    separates the chromosomes so that each daughter
    cell gets a precise copy of the genetic
    material.  The process of mitosis is extremely
    precise when it comes to manipulating DNA, cells
    verge on being obsessive and with good
    reason, PhysOrg reported.  

OOL for Landlubbers????????
  • Gaining or losing a chromosome during cell
    division can lead to cell death, developmental
    disorders, or cancer.  If Szostak believes the
    origin of mitosis was a cinch, he needs to
    explain the cells winch, inch by inch along the
    unguided evolutionary pathway from fat bubbles to
    true cells able to replicate their genetic
    material accurately enough to avoid error
    catastrophe, which would quench any incipient
  • 1.  Mulkidjanian, Koonin et al., Origin of first
    cells at terrestrial, anoxic geothermal
    fields, PNAS, February 13, 2012, doi

OOL for Landlubbers????????
  • Szostak would flinch at the following suggestion
    we need to add a new meaning to hopeful
    monster.  That was Goldschmidts old metaphor
    for evolution that progresses by giant leaps, or
    saltations such as a dinosaur laying an egg and
    a bird hatching out.  Every once in awhile the
    notion returns, most notably with Stephen Jay
    Gould and Niles Eldredge with their punctuated
    equilibria theory.  Szostak is following that
    tradition with his simplistic notions of the
    origin of life.  He knows full well the
    difficulties getting from bubble to cell,
    from OOL to Joule.  He wants to keep salt out of
    his Gambles Primordial Soup, but leaps
    saltationally from fat bubbles to machine-laden,
    information-rich, automated factories.  Not only
    does he believe in hopeful monsters, he is one. 
    The speech he gave at Harvard for Evolution
    Matters was not only a monstrosity of bluffing,
    its a pack of hopeful lies only a monster would

Fish Came from the Land?????
  • If you were taught fish evolved in the ocean,
    think again.  Theres a new idea that most fish
    evolved on land.
  • An article on New Scientist has the surprising
    title, Most fish in the sea evolved on land. 
    It doesnt mean that legs evolved into fins the
    new idea is that three quarters of fish species
    appear to have fresh-water ancestors.  This
    requires fish to first evolve in the ocean, then
    move to fresh water, where they diversify and
    proliferate, then some return to the ocean. 
    Maybe salmon like to re-live their heritage. 
    Reporter Colin Barras said, without
    embarrassment, Weve seen this kind of
    topsy-turvy evolution before.

Fish Came from the Land?????
  • Great.  Now we have an officially-endorsed new
    phrase to use for describing Darwins
    theory topsy-turvy evolution.  Its similar to
    the phrase John Herschel used after reading
    the Origin of Species.  He called it the law of
    higgledy-piggledy.  This leads us to list the
    synonyms for topsy-turvy found on
    chaotic, cluttered, cockeyed, confused,
    disarranged, disheveled, disjointed, dislocated,
    disordered, disorderly, disorganized,
    downside-up, inside-out, inverted, jumbled,
    littered, luxated, messy, muddled, overturned,
    pell-mell, riotous, tangled, tumultous/tumultuous,
    unhinged, untidy, upended, upside-down,
    upturned.  Take your pick they all fit Darwin
    like a straitjacket.

Psychologist Advocates Sin ????????
  • Is sin a scientific subject?  Or is a scientist
    sinning who advocates sinning?  One psychologist
    has written a book about the joy of sin.  That
    sin brings temporary pleasure is not news, but
    claiming that sin is beneficial for overall
    health and well-being is a stretch.  Should a
    so-called scientific website promote such ideas
  • In time for lustful thoughts on Valentines Day,
    Medical Xpress promoted a new sin book by Michael
    Laham (psychologist at the University of
    Melbourne).  The title surely attracts attention
    The Joy of Sin The Psychology of the Seven
    Deadlies (And Why They Are So Good For You). 
    Laham says go ahead and indulge lust, gluttony,
    greed, sloth, anger, envy, pride all the vices
    the Good Book warns us about are not only
    pleasurable but beneficial.

Psychologist Advocates Sin ????????
  • Dr Laham said that when you take a look at the
    evidence, the seven deadly sins can really serve
    us quite well despite being told for centuries
    they are bad for us.
  • This is great news for Australians as a
    recent BBC poll deemed Australia the most sinful
    country on earth, he said.
  • So research now shows that its ok to indulge in
    a bit of Lust this Valentines Day and youll be
    better off for it. In fact, indulge in all seven
    deadly sins and you might just be a little
    smarter, happier and more successful.
  • Medical Xpress offered no contrary opinions.  On
    the contrary, it opened its article by praising
    the virtues of living a sinful life and
    headlined, in bold letters, Lust makes you
    smarter and evidence that seven deadly sins are
    good for you.
  • Jamie Condiffe at New Scientist was only halfway
    impressed, thinking that Laham was trying to
    shoehorn evidence from experimental psychology
    to fit his edgy title.

Psychologist Advocates Sin ????????
  • Dont give this book to the military.  Actually,
    it might be a smart tactical move to airdrop
    copies of The Joy of Sin on the military of the
    enemy.  Let them become slothful gluttons so that
    they become easy targets.  Students, why study? 
    Get lazy and indulge your lustful desires earn a
    B.S. (Bad Sin) the easy way.  Parents, let your
    kids eat all the sugar and junk they want.  Be
    angry and sin not not.  Hate your neighbor as
    your self wants to.  Tell everybody how great you
    are.  Appoint yourself Vice President (president
    of vice).  Why stop at the seven deadly sins?  
    Break the Ten Commandments while youre at it,
    and the laws of the land.  Make the world a
    better place land yourself in jail.

Psychologist Advocates Sin ????????
  • Condiffe is correct Laham is just trying to sell
    books with his provocative title.  The main flaw
    in his reasoning is confusing categories.  Some
    of the examples he gives are misleading.  For
    instance, napping when tired is beneficial, but
    thats not sloth.  Being passionate in a debate
    or negotiation might help you win, but thats not
    the sinful kind of anger (some anger is
    righteous, like righteous anger).  Having a piece
    of cake once in awhile is not gluttony.  Sexual
    attraction to your spouse is not lust.  Laham
    confuses naturally normal or good things with
    their perversions its not a sin to eat, but to
    overeat its not a sin to rest, but to turn rest
    into laziness.  Sexual desire is not lust until
    it is misdirected.  If Laham really practiced
    what he preached, his advice would implode.  If
    he had been slothful, he would not have finished
    writing his book.  If he were a glutton, he would
    be too out of shape to keep his job. 

Psychologist Advocates Sin ????????
  • Bottom line nonsense does not deserve to be
    anointed with the label of science.  Thank
    goodness New Scientist was at least halfway
    critical.  If Medical Xpress (a.k.a. PhysOrg) was
    doing its job, it wouldnt parrot university
    press releases uncritically as if university
    P.R. departments should put out nonsense in the
    first place. 
  • Making vice virtuous makes virtue vicious.  The
    Good Book does not deny that sin is pleasurable
    it just points out that the pleasure is passing
    and short-sighted (Hebrews 112326).   Eating
    cake every day feels pleasurable till you get
    heart disease.  Telling your boss off feels
    wonderful till you find yourself on the street
    out of a job.  Sleeping around is filled with
    bodily thrills till you get venereal disease or
    have to deal with unplanned pregnancy.  Laham
    needs to hear a strong sermon and repent on his
    knees before a holy God, who warned, the wages
    of sin is death (Romans 623).

Dinosaurs Display Death in Watery Grave ????????
  • Many dinosaur fossils show the animals with neck
    arched backward.  This appearance is so common,
    it has been dubbed the dinosaur death pose. 
    Various theories have been invoked to explain it
    dessication and final death throes among the most
    common.  A study with chickens shows the arching
    neck is the automatic response of immersion in
  • Science Daily reported that scientists in
    Switzerland and Germany have re-evaluated the
    evidence for the so-called opisthotonic posture
    of these fossils.  They found it hard to believe
    that these land animals were transported long
    distances from land to oceans.  They ran
    experiments on chickens
  • Convinced that the back arching was generated,
    not by death throes, but by postmortem
    alterations of a decaying carcass, the
    researchers made experiments with plucked chicken
    necks and thoraxes, immersed in water.

Dinosaurs Display Death in Watery Grave ????????
  • Submersed in water, the necks spontaneously
    arched backwards for more than 90. Ongoing decay
    for some months even increased the degree of the
    pose. Thorough preparation and dissection
    combined with testing revealed that a special
    ligament connecting the vertebrae at their upper
    side was responsible for the recurved necks in
    the chickens. This ligament, the so-called
    Ligamentum elasticum, is pre-stressed in living
    chickens, but also in dead ones.
  • A strong Ligamentum elasticum was essential for
    all long necked dinosaurs with a long tail.
    The preloaded ligament helped them saving energy
    in their terrestrial mode of life. Following
    their death, at which they were immersed in
    water, the stored energy along the vertebra was
    strong enough to arch back the spine,
    increasingly so as more and more muscles and
    other soft parts were decaying conclude the

Small Animals Show Even More Design ???????
  • Your smart phone is a triumph of
    miniaturization.  The first computers were
    room-filling monstrosities now, you can hold
    more computing power than a Univac in the palm of
    your hand.  In the living world, we shouldnt
    despise small creatures.  They can pack a lot of
    technology into a small space.  Here are some
    record-setting examples of living miniatures
    reported recently.

Small Animals Show Even More Design ???????
  • Migratory mini-champ  Youre an aerospace
    engineer, and your job is to design an aircraft
    that can fly across the world.  Theres a catch
    the weight limit is one ounce.  Odds are, you
    could never come up with a machine that could
    compete with the Northern Wheateater (Oenanthe
    oenanthe) a humble little bird that flies
    18,000 miles from the Arctic to Africa on its
    annual migration, though weighing less than two
    tablespoons of sugar (0.9 ounce).   Scientists
    who tracked them with geolocators were stunned at
    their endurance.  They are incredible migratory
    journeys, particularly for a bird this size,
    reported PhysOrg.  Scaled for body size, this
    is one of the longest round-trip migratory
    journey of any bird in the world and raises
    questions about how a bird of this size is able
    to successfully undertake such physically
    demanding journeys twice a year, particularly for
    inexperienced juveniles migrating on their own.

Small Animals Show Even More Design ???????
  • Micro-frogs  Imagine having to sift through leaf
    litter to find out whats making a high-pitched
    clicking noise.  Thats what Chris Austin and
    team did in New Guinea (see video on Live
    Science) to discover the worlds tiniest
    vertebrate a frog named Paedophryne amauensis. 
    This little croaker makes a dime look like a
    large lilypad (photo on New Scientist).
  • Micro-chameleon  If a frog on a dime is amazing,
    imagine seeing a tiny chameleon, wandering eyes
    and all, perched on the tip of a matchstick. 
    Look at National Geographic News and wonder. 
    The extreme miniaturization of these dwarf
    reptiles might be accompanied by numerous
    specializations of the body plan, a German
    zoologist said.

Small Animals Show Even More Design ???????
  • Micro-wasp   It sounds unbelievable, but a
    picture on Science Now shows the fairy wasp
    competing with an amoeba and a paramecium for
    size.  Science Daily shows how these tiny flying
    machines crawl around the faces of other insects
    hitchhiking rides and licking the mouth parts for
    nourishment.  But these tiny wasps dont need to
    hitchhike they have fully functioning wings.  In
    fact, it took Flight Artists, a film company in
    the Netherlands, a camera running 22,000 frames
    per second to show the wings flapping in detail. 
    The wings flap at 300 times per second in these
    tiny creatures and, though they are not the most
    graceful of flyers they get where they need to
    go.  How can an animal made of cells get so
    small?  PhysOrg reported that scientists found
    that many of the cells, including more than 95
    of its 7,400 neurons, have no nucleus. 
    Apparently the cells lose their nuclei during

Small Animals Show Even More Design ???????
  • Micro-survivors  We already know that cells are
    tiny.  Microbes reported by Live Science, though,
    get along by living underneath one of the driest,
    saltiest, most life-unfriendly spots on Earth
    the Atacama Desert of Chile.  Hidden within salt
    crystals just under the pavement-like surface are
    bacteria and archaea with factories of molecular
    machines carrying on the normal life processes of
    reproduction, motility, growth, signal processing
    and respiration, as if they have a paradise of
    their own.  Whether similar organisms are
    thriving on Mars, as the article suggests, is a
    separate question.

Small Animals Show Even More Design ???????
  • A condor with a 9-foot wingspan that soars
    effortlessly on air currents, or a bird the size
    of an undernourished sparrow that flaps its
    little wings and flies across the world?  Living
    organisms on this planet are so diverse and
    incredibly complex, we must never lose our sense
    of wonder at them, realizing that such things are
    only possible with embedded instructions
    directing molecular machines that not only carry
    on the processes of life, but accurately copy
    those genetic instructions and proofread them to
    ensure the continuation of their species.
  • Each one of us began as a miniature, too a
    single fertilized cell that grew into a man or
    woman composed of trillions of diversified
    cells.  In each stage of your own life, whether
    micro and macro, you maintained the same genetic
    instructions that characterize you as a member
    of Homo sapiens.  Act like man, the wise and
    love your fellow creatures for the wonders they

Is This Plant Really 30,000 Years Old?
  • A plant said to be 30,000 years old has been
    brought to life in Russia.  A team resurrected a
    fruit from a rodent burrow in Siberian
    permafrost, getting it to grow into a whole plant
    that produces viable seeds.  This is now the
    oldest age claim, by an order of magnitude, for
    plant material made to live again.  Other
    scientists are startled that plant material could
    remain viable for so long, since cells have to
    repair their DNA continually.
  • The story was reported by the BBC News, PhysOrg, N
    ew Scientist and Live Science on February 20. 
    The Russian team was unable to get seeds found in
    the burrow to sprout, but using growth hormones,
    coaxed placental tissue from a fruit to grow
    into an entire plant with flowers and
    seed-bearing fruit.  The plant, Silene
    stenophylla, still grows in the region today. 
    Scientists noted only slight differences from
    modern plants and one thought to be in a frozen
    state of hibernation for 28,000 to 32,000 years,
    from carbon dating.

Is This Plant Really 30,000 Years Old?
  • The articles disagreed on whether the previous
    record-holder was a 1,300 year old lotus, or palm
    seeds from Masada prior to its destruction in 70
    A.D.  Reviving an organism from permafrost raises
    the possibility of resurrecting other plant
    species, and maybe even DNA from animals. Live
    Science asked a UCLA biologist about it.  Most
    plant seeds die within a few years, she said. 
    But a few hearty species, including the
    1,300-year-old lotus and S. stenophylla have built
    -in mechanisms that either preserve or repair the
    plants DNA.  Maybe geneticists could learn the
    plants tricks to enhance the longevity of
    human DNA, some think.

Is This Plant Really 30,000 Years Old?
  • In a related story, Live Science reported on
    January 18 that archaeologists are reconstructing
    a Biblical garden using pollen grains found at
    Ramat Rahel, a hill south of Jerusalem.  Their
    reconstruction, which relied on analyses of
    excavated pollen, reveals a paradise of exotic
    plants, the article said.  Visitors to the
    palace garden would have been treated to plants
    such as willow, poplar, myrtle and water lilies
    native fruit trees, including grape vine, common
    fig and olive and imported citron, Persian
    walnut, cedar of Lebanon and birch trees.  Many
    of these had to be imported from distant regions
    and would have required irrigation systems to
    maintain.  The garden is dated to the Persian
    period, 5th to 6th centuries BC (2,500 years ago).

Is This Plant Really 30,000 Years Old?
  • Chinese paleontologists are reconstructing an
    exquisitely-preserved fossil forest in Permian
    coal, PhysOrg reported.
  • PhysOrg reported evidence of lateral gene
    transfer in plants, potentially confounding the
    construction of phylogenetic trees.
  • While touting the alleged common ancestor of
    algae and plants, Science Daily worried about the
    evolutionary implications.
  • A University of Arkansas biologist said that
    primitive organisms are not always simple.  Did
    he find evolu