"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."
"A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit."
13 Blessed are those who find wisdom,
those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
those who hold her fast will be blessed.
by understanding he set the heavens in place;
20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,
and the clouds let drop the dew.
preserve sound judgment and discretion;
22 they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the LORD will be at your side
and will keep your foot from being snared.
But if you are reading this blog, you are alive and you can turn away from foolish and silly myths like Darwinism and still find the God of the Universe and his Intentional, Logical and Glorious plan for your life!
Evolutionary Magic 01/31/2011
Jan 31, 2011 — What do evolutionists do when data bring surprises to their claims? They find new ways for evolution to work magic. See if these stories illustrate that or not.
- Plant-animal partnership: One could hardly find two groups of organisms more disparate than plants and animals, but an article on PhysOrg claims that both groups hit on the same evolutionary solution to a problem independently. The subtitle emphasized the disparity, saying, “Despite their divergent evolutionary history, membrane-bound kinase receptors in animals and plants rely on similar regulatory mechanisms to control their activity.” To arrive at this solution, “plants took an evolutionary path different from their animal cousins,” the article continued.
How to explain that in evolutionary terms? “There seem to be only so many ways to build a robust signaling system,” Dr. Joanne Chory of Howard Hughes Medical Institute, “and plants and animals have hit upon the same mechanisms.” Odd; there seem to be a lot of evolutionary solutions to many other common problems. Conservation and convergence are contrary to predictions of Darwin’s branching tree of life, but evolutionists routinely invoke those terms within evolutionary theory, not as a falsification of it.
- Tooth loophole: What is the truth about the tooth in frogs? Most frogs lack teeth on the lower jaw, but a strange tree frog in the Andes named Gastrotheca guentheri has teeth on both upper and lower jaws – the only known frog species so equipped. The headline on the BBC News announced, “Frogs re-evolved lost lower teeth.”
How to explain that in evolutionary terms? Dr. John Wiens of Stony Brook University published his explanation in the journal Evolution: “I combined data from fossils and DNA sequences with new statistical methods and showed that frogs lost their teeth on the lower jaw more than 230 million years ago, but that they re-appeared in G. guentheri within the past 20 million years.”
This would have to mean that genes for lower teeth sat dormant in frogs for 210 million years. If they served no purpose, though, why would natural selection retain them? “The reappearance of these lower teeth after such a long time fuels debate about whether complex traits are lost in evolution or if they can resurface,” reporter Ella Davies wrote. Is this a kind of resurrection miracle?
“The loss of mandibular teeth in the ancestor of modern frogs and their re-appearance in G. guentheri provides very strong evidence for the controversial idea that complex anatomical traits that are evolutionarily lost can re-evolve, even after being absent for hundreds of millions of years,” Dr Wiens says....While efficient for the frog, it seems to contradict the notion that natural selection continually sifts out the bad and adds up the good. 210 million years is a long time to keep genes around that don’t do anything. But Dr. Wiens was not done with his evolutionary magic tricks:
What G. guentheri did was to put teeth back on the lower jaw, rather than having to re-evolve all the mechanisms for making teeth ‘from scratch’,” says Dr Wiens.
“This ‘loophole’ may apply to many other cases when traits appear to re-evolve, such as in the re-evolution of lost fingers and toes in lizards,” Dr Wiens tells the BBC.
According to Dr Wiens, this theory could be applied to other recent studies that have suggested the re-evolution of lost traits.
In the last decade, scientists have identified and debated several attributes that have apparently “re-evolved” over time including stick insect’s wings, coiling in limpet shells, larval stages of salamanders and lost digits in lizards.
- Who’s your daddy? Now that the orang-utan genome has been deciphered, evolutionists are saying that parts of the human genome are more closely related to orang-utans than to chimpanzees (see Science Daily). The BBC News, reported that the orang-utan genome “evolved slowly,” while another article on Science Daily claimed that the orang genome is simultaneously “More Diverse Than Human’s, Remarkably Stable Through the Ages.”
How to explain that in evolutionary terms? It seems the only way is to make evolution run fast and slow, both genetically and phenotypically: “That doesn’t mean the species itself has evolved more slowly,” said Devin Locke (Washington University), of the orang-utan genome, “but that this particular mechanism of genome evolution has been proceeding at a lower rate. Humans and chimps, in sharp contrast, have experienced an acceleration in this form of evolution over the past 5 million years or so.”
- Carnation race: Why would evolution’s mechanisms not follow predictable natural laws? PhysOrg announced that carnations “show the fastest known diversification rate in plants,” at the same time some of their neighbors in similar habitats do not. The short article tried to explain “the most rapid rate ever reported in plants or terrestrial vertebrates” as a function of arid conditions, “suggesting a link between climate and biodiversity,” but then one would expect all organisms in the Pleistocene to respond similarly in evolutionary terms. Clearly the “living fossil” species, and many other stable organisms, have not. What in tarnation made the carnation go on a diversity kick?
This will certainly confuse cause and effect inferences, to say nothing of making evolutionary trends unpredictable. A “major research effort” will be needed to find this out, he said. But if evolution, ecology and environment are all interconnected, evolutionary theory will have a difficult time with this three-body problem being able to predict what will happen. With apologies to Arthur C. Clarke, any sufficiently convoluted evolutionary theory is indistinguishable from magic.
Has there ever been a more vacuous theory than Darwinism? Evolution is fast except when it is slow, chaotic except when it is stable, divergent except when it is convergent, a driver except when it is driven, selfish except when it is altruistic, exorbitant except when it is thrifty, accelerating at the same time it is pushing on the brakes, dependent on the climate except when it’s not, mechanistic except when it is random. There is no observation that cannot be incorporated into this hodgepodge of explanation, rendering it little more than a flexible, dynamic, evolving, adjusting, backpedaling, ad hoc narrative. But we MUST teach it as FACT in the schools! (Re-read 01/29/1011 now).Fishy Just-So Stories 01/29/2011
Next headline on: Plants • Terrestrial Zoology • Mammals • Early Man • Fossils • Genetics • Darwin and Evolution • Philosophy of Science • Dumb Ideas
Jan 29, 2011 — “How the Seahorse Might Have Got Its Shape” (italics added) is a backpedal on the Just-So Story formula (e.g., “How the Zebra Got Its Stripes,” Kipling). Was the evolutionist hedging his bets this time? PhysOrg continued the possibility thinking with its subtitle, “The shape of the seahorse has long baffled marine scientists, but new research suggests the seahorse’s unique shape may have evolved to allow it to catch its food when it was further away.” May have, might have; that’s the power of suggestion. The BBC News, however, threw caution to the waves and declared that the seahorse’s body shape has been “explained”.
The storyteller is a Belgian scientist, Sam Van Wassenbergh (U of Antwerp). He compared seahorses with their relatives, the pipefish, which lack the characteristic curvature that makes seahorses distinctive in their upright swimming position. He found that the curvature helps the seahorse, a weak swimmer, increase its striking range to catch prey. A video clip explains the theory, followed by this paragraph at the end of the PhysOrg article:
Dr Van Wassenbergh said the foraging behavior would have come first and then natural selection would favor those fish that had a larger strike distance. According to their research this created a selective pressure for the angle between head and trunk to increase.The video clip was less bashful about the Just-So Story, ending, “...and that’s how the seahorse got its shape.”
What Wassenbergh didn’t explain, though, was why pipefish didn’t follow suit, if this is such a good strategy for natural selection to work on. In fact, the pipefish and seahorses seem to live in the same environments and do equally well at feeding and surviving. It would seem an equally good story could be told about “How the Pipefish Got its Shape” – how selection pressure straightened out the weak-swimming, ungainly seahorse so that it could approach its prey with more speed. Perhaps a more scientific title, then would be, “Why the Seahorse Has Its Shape,” not how it got its shape. Then it becomes a story about biophysics, not evolution.
A slightly stranger story on PhysOrg proposed that angelfish can do math. When joining a group, or shoal, they appear to always prefer a shoal size with a ratio of 1.8 over another. The article hedged its bets on what this might mean about angelfish brains and abilities, and even whether the observations hold true under other circumstances. This second article did not mention evolution.
What’s the matter with the angelfish researchers? They didn’t do their job. They didn’t tell a story about how evolution accounted for the angelfish’s mathematical mind.“Darwin Acid Eats Literature” – what? What does that mean? Find out in the alarming 01/27/2006 entry – and be sure to read the commentary last.
The first one did it right. Natural selection made pipefish straight, and it made seahorses curved. This is known as scientific explanation. Opposite outcomes occur from the same law of nature, the law of natural selection (12/19/2007). These opposite outcomes can be subsumed under the Stuff Happens Law, which explains everything (see 09/15/2008 commentary for why this law is scientific).
To exercise scientific restraint, you can say Stuff Might Happen; then when it does, you are acclaimed as The Scientist – a Priest of sorts, mediating between the mysterious workings of the cosmos and the peasants, providing them the comfort and assurance that comes with understanding. Assume the lotus position and recite the mantra Stuffffff Happpppennnnnzzzzz till a state of nothingness descends upon you. You have arrived at Niwrada (01/26/2010 commentary).
Next headline on: Marine Biology • Darwin and Evolution • Dumb Ideas