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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Taung Child — Missing Link Still Missing

Once in a while, creationists will get a bit rowdy with passing along bad reports or even hoaxes as if they were the final nails in the coffin of evolution. (Some Christians were spreading this bit from a satire site.) But those "proof" reports are about as effective as smoke signals in a blue norther. I keep telling people to slow down and check before posting stuff. Unfortunately, such hysterical reporting seems to be the norm for evolutionists.

Taung Child / Wikimedia Commons / Didier Descouens
There was a lot of noise made about the Taung Child. Supposedly, it was a transitional form where something was evolving for the purpose of having a bigger brain and eventually becoming human. This was based on assumptions and evolutionary presuppositions, as well as inferior equipment. Better equipment and more thorough investigation show that this specimen is nothing special. It would be helpful if evolutionists exercised a bit more restraint before making big announcements. Creationists don't need to imagine or make up stuff, but some of the lay people foul up now and then.
“Taung Child”—the first australopithecine ape discovered—didn’t blaze the trail to bigger better brains for humanity’s supposed ancestors after all. A 2012 CT X-ray analysis reported that Taung Child had an unfused frontal bone as human babies do—and quite unlike great apes. (See diagrams below.) Dean Falk and colleagues claimed that Taung Child and other hominins of its time were evolving increased capacity for expansion of the frontal brain by delaying fusion of this cranial bone. A new imaging study, published 9 September 2014 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, begs to differ.

Of course the evolutionary story is far more flexible than the fossils from which it seeks support. Therefore, though Taung Child has lost its recently acquired prominent status in the human evolutionary hall of brains, thanks to its dissimilarity to humans it will doubtless be retained for the evolutionary variability it supposedly demonstrates.
Use your head, finish reading the article by clicking on "Tale of the Taung Child Collapses". In addition, you can read "Australopith Child Gets an Academic Spanking".

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Was Darwin Right After All?

Darwinists love to assume that he predicted many things in his "masterpiece" books and writings. Did he get some things right? Well, sure. He said so many things, the odds are in favor of getting something right. In addition, although he was not a scientist, he was skilled at observation. Darwin's Drones give him a lot more credit than he deserves, however. And those owlhoots tend to ignore things that were already predicted by creationists, and give Papa Darwin the credit. Things like invasive species (the evolutionary imbalance hypothesis), the disputed "group selection", and biogeography. You can read those three examples at "Darwin Was Right, So They Say".

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Referring to Adaptation as Evolution is Difficult to Swallow

The equivocation trick is back in play as an explanation for changes. Many of Darwin's Cheerleaders are so intent on convincing people that goo-to-you evolution is real that they confuse people by using word games. Referring to adaptation as evolution is highly misleading at best, and has been used before (such as the twist in oysters). Creationists do not have a problem with adaptation or natural selection (which was first proposed by a creationist), but we do object when people are deceived into confusing adaptation with full-on evolution.

Swallows in Nebraska were making an impact — on cars, trucks, roads and so on. Those with smaller wingspans were surviving, and their population was increasing. That's adaptation, Arnie. But scientists gleefully called it evolution, even though the birds were doing what they were designed to do.
According to a news headline: “Birds evolving to dodge traffic”. Another proclaimed,“Evolution via Roadkill”. The articles were reporting research on changes in cliff swallows in southwestern Nebraska, USA. Since 1982, researchers have been conducting detailed annual surveys of the colonies of thousands of these birds that build mud nests on highway bridges, overpasses and road culverts in the area.

The researchers collected the carcasses of cliff swallows hit by vehicles, and discovered that road kill victims had longer-than-average wingspans, right through the study period. In 2012, for example, the average cliff swallow in the population had a 106-mm wingspan, whereas the average wingspan of roadkill swallows was 112 mm. What’s more, as the years passed, fewer and fewer birds were being hit by cars, even though the numbers of nests and birds had more than doubled, while the amount of traffic on the roads had remained steady.
To read the rest, fly over to "Traffic Clips Wings".

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

How Did Snakes Get Venom?

The question of the origin of snake venom has been re-questioned by researchers who were dissatisfied with the "we think maybe" evolutionary explanations. Evolutionary assumptions have hindered scientific research before, and here is a case where it happened again. Evolutionists will occasionally become dissatisfied with established guesswork and conduct overdue investigations, and they repudiated the established evolutionary view of the origin of snake venom. Interestingly, the results of their research fit well with biblical creationist views.
The origin of snake venom has long been a mystery to both creationists and evolutionists. However, by stepping outside the standard research paradigm, scientists recently showed that snake venom proteins may have arisen from existing salivary proteins.

The Bible indicates that at the beginning of creation, God's handiwork was not fraught with death, disease, and violence. Because of Adam and Eve's rebellion, creation became subject to all of these negative factors, including snakes with toxic venom. The question then arises of how the curse on creation brought about these deadly changes. Were new genes of malicious intent added by the Creator, or was pre-existing genetic information corrupted or altered in some way? According to what we know about genomic decay and the character of God as revealed in the Bible, it is more likely that genomic modification, possibly associated with degradation (genetic entropy), was the cause.
To finish reading, click on "Decoding Snake-Venom Origins".

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Design of the "Flying Lemur"

The "flying lemur" is one of those creatures that has a name with no bearing in reality; it does not fly, and it is not a lemur. (Sort of like the guinea pig, it is not from Guinea and is a rodent.) It's a tree-dwelling glider. The better name for this strange creature is "colugo". No relation to the interviewer Neil Cavuto, he is not a tree dweller and does not glide, and the names are spelt rather differently. 

Wikimedia Commons / Colugo / Lip Kee Yap

The colugo has nasty sharp pointed teeth, but it eats leaves. The big eyes are your first clue that it is nocturnal. They are puzzling, since their classification has been disputed until it was given one of its own. One of the most amazing features is the ability to easily glide for long distances. The surprising Cavuto colugo is an example of the creative work of their Designer.
You might think the colugo (ka-LOO-go) of Southeast Asia is a clumsy creature—well, maybe at first glance. On the ground, these odd, squirrel-like creatures seem to flop and jump along with the awkwardness of a baby bird. They also make climbing a tree look like a laborious process, which involves scraping at the bark with sharp claws and then hopping up quickly on their tiny paws. You get exhausted just watching them.

But once they’ve reached high into the canopy of the rainforest—the place where they belong—something amazing happens. These clumsy ground-walkers take to the air in an elegant display of aerodynamics. They glide like no other mammal on earth and prove, once again, that our ingenious Creator knows how to surprise us.
To finish reading, fly on over to "Colugos—Soaring Above Expectations".

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Instincts and Preprogramming

We have Basement Cat. I like to watch what I call the "feline machine" in action. She likes to stalk the birds on the porch through the screen door and will occasionally lunge at them, causing a flurry of avian panic. But she's never been an outdoor cat and never been the fierce huntress that she considers herself. One time, I put my hand in something wet on the porch railing (I think it was squirrel pee) and wiped it off. There was still a faint smell on my hand even after rinsing. I was petting Basement Cat later, and she started biting me. Not the playful bites, either. Eyes dilated, all that. She wanted blood; the predatory instinct kicked in.

Basement Cat using e-book reader as a pillow, picture by Robert Sorensen © 2014
No instinct here, just cuteness.
Humans and animals are born preprogrammed with an assortment of reflexes and instincts. They could not have been learned many behaviors, but they do things anyway. There is no rational evolutionary explanation for this. Like a computer with a basic operating system, we are given certain instincts from our Creator, and then build from there.
As a newborn infant, how did you know to do the things that you were never taught?

At first that question might strike you as nonsense. Perhaps you’re thinking, “Huh? Babies don’t know anything they didn’t actively learn. We’re all born with a brain that’s a blank slate, and after we’re born, we begin to learn through experiences, through environment, and through lessons taught by others.”

However, the notion that humans (or animals or insects) are born with a brain that is devoid of knowledge, simply waiting for a chance to sponge it up, is incorrect. To draw a rough analogy, a computer can be assembled with every physical component in place down to the last screw, but it can accomplish nothing until information is installed onto its motherboard.
You can read the rest by clicking on "Ready-Made Instincts".

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Silence is Another Problem for Peer Review

First, an update. I was informed by Radar's wife that he had knee surgery one week ago. It was successful, but he is in considerable pain. We are asking the Christian readers to join us in praying for his full and rapid recovery. -CBB

Although some people hide behind the "Yeah, but it's not peer reviewed!" concept, secular peer review processes have some serious drawbacks. In addition, people who believe in Scientism (where "science" is the only way to discern truth) do a disservice to scientists by expecting them to be more than human. Although they should have higher standards of integrity and objectivity, they are human and subjected to avarice just like you and me. (Also, some people think that scientists are completely objective and dispassionate, but that ignores both the scientific process and human nature.) They also seek success, recognition and grant money.

What value is there in doing a study, recording all the steps and set-up, making notes and then saying, "Here is the study. It was a waste of time?" Actually, it has quite a bit of value. There is a disputed quote attributed to Thomas Edison about his failures in inventing the light bulb: "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work". Even if he did not say it, there is some value to that remark. Just like reporting a failed result in a peer reviewed paper, scientists can help other scientists and not give artificially inflated value to successful results.
Sociology is under scrutiny, but the issues apply to all of science.

Is there a message in nothing? Yes, Jeffrey Mervis said in Science Magazine. When a scientist gets a null or empty result, that’s still a result. It should be announced, so that other scientists know what doesn’t work, not just what works. Publication of null results is valuable. It saves time by avoiding needless repetition. It also presents a more accurate picture of the world. As PhysOrg’s headline by Bob Yirka reads, “lack of published null result papers skews reliability of those that are published.” That’s a serious charge. It means that published papers suffer credibility loss when null results are not shared.

The question of what to do with null results has plagued medical research, where people’s lives could be on the line. The Stanford team now found similar publication bias in social and behavioral sciences.
To review the rest of this article, click on "Peer Reviewed Science Can Mislead in a Major Way".