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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Back to the theme of Darwinism being a kind of wishful thinking rather than science.  The means and methods of supposed "evolution" cannot be found.  Dark Matter and Dark Energy are so dark they apparently do not even exist.  How 'bout that?   Why is it that they can depend upon the existence of Dark Matter with no evidence while there is much evidence for God and yet they cannot see?  The blind leading the blind, said Jesus about the Pharisees and He would very likely say it about secular science today as well.


Cre-Evo headlines takes the published findings of secular sources and points out the futility of their plight, in that evolution does not have that unfortunate necessity we call EVIDENCE!!!   Darwinists should be an endangered species on the brink of extinction and I certainly in that case we should allow nature to take its course!

Darwinism = Rhetorical Flubber!

Beak Careful: Variation May Be Non-Darwinian

Posted on May 19, 2012 in Birds, Darwin and Evolution, Marine Biology, Uncategorized
 
Finch beaks loom large in classical Darwinian theory, but two examples of mouth parts in very different animals show that dramatic variations can be achieved quickly without the slow and gradual accumulation of small changes Darwin envisaged.

A. Pufferfish:  The pufferfish that can quickly inflate themselves into spheres have a mouth that is unique among teleost fishes: it looks like a parrot’s beak.  A paper in PNAS1 claimed that their unusual dentition most likely arose through a regulatory modification during embryonic development:

Teleost fishes comprise approximately half of all living vertebrates. The extreme range of diversity in teleosts is remarkable, especially, extensive morphological variation in their jaws and dentition. Some of the most unusual dentitions are found among members of the highly derived teleost order Tetraodontiformes, which includes triggerfishes, boxfishes, ocean sunfishes, and pufferfishes. Adult pufferfishes (Tetraodontidae) exhibit a distinctive parrot-like beaked jaw, forming a cutting edge, unlike in any other group of teleosts. Here we show that despite novelty in the structure and development of this “beak,” it is initiated by formation of separate first-generation teeth that line the embryonic pufferfish jaw, with timing of development and gene expression patterns conserved from the last common ancestor of osteichthyans. Most of these first-generation larval teeth are lost in development. Continuous tooth replacement proceeds in only four parasymphyseal teeth, as sequentially stacked, multigenerational, jaw-length dentine bands, before development of the functional beak. These data suggest that dental novelties, such as the pufferfish beak, can develop later in ontogeny through modified continuous tooth addition and replacement. We conclude that even highly derived morphological structures like the pufferfish beak form via a conserved developmental bauplan capable of modification during ontogeny by subtle respecification of the developmental module.

Science Daily printed a summary of the paper with a picture of a pufferfish.  It said that pufferfish tooth development is “unchanged through evolutionand uses ahighly conserved process” in its beak development.  The unique structure represents an adaptation of pre-existing tools: “It is an example of re-specification of its genetic tool-kit for tooth development toward a very alternative, and unique, dentition.”

B. Madagascar birds:  Move over, Darwin finches: the vangas of Madagascar show more diversity than the Galapagos birds Darwin made famous.  The seed-eating vangas show wide variation in body size, feeding habit, beak shape and size, and coloration.  Science Daily showed a vanga family tree of 22 species inhabiting the island that differ considerably in terms of morphology and resulting foraging habits.  How did these differences arise?  Not the way Darwinians thought, the article surprised readers. “Until now, Madagascan vangas were also viewed to be a textbook example of this process” – the rapid filling of vacant ecological niches.

The new idea is that vangas underwent two bursts of rapid diversification separated by long periods of stasis: the first when the birds arrived, the second when a key morphological innovationemerged among some of them much later – a sickle-shaped bill that enabled the new species to retrieve insects hidden under the bark of trees, and so occupy a new dietary niche.”  At first glance, this sounds like two Darwin wins instead of one.  The last paragraph, however, casts doubt on what is known in even textbook cases of Darwinian evolution:

The fundamental study by the international team indicates for the first time that the amazing diversity of the vangas evolved in a two-step process. The study also illustrates how much of Madagascar and its unusual biodiversity is still not fully understood, and what exciting scientific discoveries may await there. Furthermore, the study shows that a morphological key innovation and related new foraging strategy may result in a burst of speciation, even after the group has already reached its ecological limit. Previously, researchers had thought this to be possible, but it had never been demonstrated. However, the high specialization of the vangas might now be their doom: the habitat to which the birds have adapted over the past 25 million years is shrinking quickly as a consequence of land use and climate change.

The subtitle of that paragraph was, First evidence for old ideas.”  Did they really mean to imply that there has been no evidence for a Darwinian idea for 153 years?  The new story, being told by an international team that studied the vangas, is that a founder population arrived 25 million years ago, quickly diversified and reached an ecological limit, and stopped evolving.  Then, a key “innovation” just emerged15 million years later, and the birds – that had been living without evolving all that time – underwent another rapid burst of diversification with the new sickle-shaped beaks (until humans started threatening them with “land use and climate change”).  The abstract of the original paper in PNAS chirped,2 “Morphological space bears a close relationship to diet, substrate use, and foraging movements, and thus our results demonstrate the great extent of the evolutionary diversification of the Madagascan vangas.”

Science Daily did not explain how the sickle-shaped beak “emerged,” how the male with the sickle beak found a female with the same innovation to pass it on, how the birds learned to use it and develop a taste for new food, why the prey did not evolve counter-measures, how the beak shape correlated with color changes, or why innovations were so rare as to keep Darwin’s theory in check for millions of years at a time.  The original paper also stated, Why some lineages undergo adaptive radiation is not well-understood, but filling unoccupied ecological space appears to be a common feature.”

C. HopelessnessPLoS Biology3 shared a paper that underscored how difficult it is to confirm a case of adaptive evolution in an ecological community:

Understanding how natural selection drives evolution is a key challenge in evolutionary biology. Most studies of adaptation focus on how a single environmental factor, such as increased temperature, affects evolution within a single species. The biological relevance of these experiments is limited because nature is infinitely more complex. Most species are embedded within communities containing many species that interact with one another and the physical environment. To understand the evolutionary significance of such ecological complexity, experiments must test the evolutionary impact of interactions among multiple species during adaptation.

The authors suggested a method for isolating evolutionary effects from the tangle of infinite complexity in the real world, but could only offer hope for the future.  If evolutionary biology is to become a predictive science,” they concluded (implying it is not yet a predictive science), future research needs to embrace the complexity inherent to communities and ecosystems.”  They even stated that previous studies are misleading: “In this regard it will be important to move beyond studying static patterns of trait variation and selection that are currently employed, which can provide a misleading snap-shot of evolution.”  Perhaps the pufferfish and vanga beak studies come to mind, warning evolutionists to be careful when speaking about freak beaks or diversification peaks.

1. Fraser et al, “Replacing the first-generation dentition in pufferfish with a unique beak,” PNAS May 7, 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1119635109 PNAS May 7, 2012.
2. J√łnsson et al, “Ecological and evolutionary determinants for the adaptive radiation of the Madagascan vangas,” PNAS April 13, 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1115835109 PNAS April 24, 2012 vol. 109 no. 17 6620–6625.
3. Turcotte MM, Corrin MSC, Johnson MTJ (2012) Adaptive Evolution in Ecological Communities. PLoS Biol 10(5): e1001332. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001332.

Birds are real, pufferfish are real, but “evolutionary understanding” (an oxymoron) is a flight of fancy.  Design biologists have explanations, too; they put the capacity for adaptation in the design of the organism, not in the ability of the environment to make lucky adaptations emerge, or in the Stuff Happens Law to create key innovations by chance.  How did the Darwin charlatans ever gain such power and control over the journals and media?  How can their hegemony be hedged?  Maybe the environment will take care of it.  Maybe land use and climate change will threaten the Darwinists’ ecological niche, too.  A niche in time saves design.

Those of you who are familiar with Genetic Redundancies and Facilitated Variation as a result of research by Kirschner and Gerhart would know that the Finch actually has switch mechanisms built in to the cell that helps select different beaks using preexisting genetic information.  In other words, all of this is simply more proof that life was designed.    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand part two: 

Dark Matter as an Escape

Posted on May 14, 2012 in Astronomy, Cosmology, Philosophy of Science, Physics, Solar System
 
Employing exotic unobservable entities such as dark matter may be an escape from scientific rigor in more ways than one.

Recently, the notion that most of the universe is composed of dark matter took an evidential hit.  Live Science said, “A sprawling collection of galaxies and star clusters surrounding our own Milky Way is challenging long-standing theories on the existence of dark matter, the mysterious substance thought to pervade the universe.”  According to a survey of satellite galaxies of the Milky Way conducted at the University of Bonn, dark matter theories fail to account for the arrangement of matter in a region spanning 10 times our galaxy’s diameter. The astronomers extended the impact of their findings to the entire universe:

Our model appears to rule out the presence of dark matter in the universe, threatening a central pillar of current cosmological theory,” said study team member Pavel Kroupa, a professor of astronomy at the University of Bonn. “We see this as the beginning of a paradigm shift, one that will ultimately lead us to a new understanding of the universe we inhabit.

The statement also implies that previous “understanding of the universe” was misguided or absent.

Last month Ker Than, reporting for National Geographic News, quoted an astronomer who said the finding of a huge structure of satellite galaxies surrounding the Milky Way puts cosmology basically in a shambles.”  He referred to his other National Geographic article two weeks earlier that also questioned the existence of dark matter because it wasn’t detected where needed to explain the Milky Way’s halo.  That finding could provide ammunition for skeptics who argue that the invisible substance is just an illusion,” he said.  About the same time, though, another National Geographic reporter claimed that dark matter particles hit the average human once a minute.

Growing questions about dark matter’s existence may be giving rise to a proverb called the “dark matter argument.”  In another context, Maggie McKee at New Scientist reported doubts that the star Fomalhaut has a planet.  A bright spot imaged in a dust disk surrounding the star, imaged by the Hubble Telescope in 2004, had been hailed as a direct observation of an extrasolar planet.  Astronomers were encouraged at the time by the fact that it appeared in a gap in the dust dusk, suggesting that the planet had cleared a path for itself.

Now, however, a new study from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has shown that the bright spot might be a dust cloud, not a planet.  Furthermore, simulations shown in a computer animation within the article indicate that gaps in dust disks – even with sharp edges – can form without the presence of a planet.

A JPL scientist used the occasion to joke about the escape hatch dark matter theories provide:

I call it the dark matter argument,” says Wladimir Lyra at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “There is something you are seeing that you cannot explain, and you blame the gravity of something you cannot see.

Dark energy has also come under scrutiny.  National Geographic asked, is it a kind of “reverse gravity” as usually described?  Perhaps not.  The pressure leading to accelerated expansion of the universe might come from normal old antimatter, well characterized in earth-based detectors.

These appear to be dark days for dark matter theories.

Philosophers call appeals to unseen, unknown entities “occult phenomena.”  Like spiritually occult things, they are placeholders for ignorance.  But given a name, these placeholders take on a reality of their own, used by scientific shamans to tell the peasants why things are the way they are.

For too long, dark matter has been a rhetorical flubber to impress laypeople while escaping scientific rigor.  It’s time to call astronomers to account.  Account for dark matter, or turn on the light.

Some Darwinists cannot give up the dream....

Well, a rubbery substance that allows someone to fly is far more likely than anything Darwinists assert, so better that science should work on Flubber instead?

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