Thursday, 27 July 2017
Jellyfish come in many shapes and sizes. They can display amazing navigation skills. Some live three kilometres below the ocean surface.
Evolutionists assume that “jellyfish-like creatures” were already swimming in the Pre-Cambrian seas, some “600 million years” ago.
Recently, Geological Magazine published a paper by Aaron Sappenfield of the University of California, Riverside, and colleagues, introducing a big enigma: a graveyard in the arid Death Valley with 13 jellyfish fossils, said to hail from “540 million years” ago.
The preservation of Cambrian fossils is always a miracle of sorts.
New Scientist sees something exceptional in the discovery:
“The jellyfish in the Cambrian seas seemed to have looked and behaved a lot like they do today. Sappenfield and his colleagues believe that the ancient jellyfish also lived near the shore, until tides or waves pushed them closer to the beach. When the tide receded the animals got stranded, just as modern jellyfish do.
But jellyfish washing up on today’s beaches have a poor chance of becoming fossils. Most are quickly torn to pieces by scavengers or curious children.”
A much more logical explanation would be the global flood of Noah’s day that has left marks all over the globe, including fossil graveyards and geological formations.
Abrusci, Agnese. 2017. Oldest mass animal stranding revealed in Death Valley fossils. New Scientist (26 July).
Tuesday, 25 July 2017
National Geographic has an intriguing article on the eating habits of bonnethead sharks (Sphyrna tiburo).
Researchers put seagrass as bait and noticed that the sharks ate it. There’s no doubt about it, as they filmed the unexpected episode.
The researchers found out that over 50 per cent of the sharks’ diet consisted of seagrass. They were able to digest 56 percent of the organic matter in seagrass.
Previous reminders of Eden have included a lioness that herds sheep instead of eating them, a cat that adopted ducklings and a vegetarian spider.
These things should hardly happen in a Darwinian world where nature is supposed to be red in tooth and claw.
Sharks are living fossils that haven’t changed in “400 million years.”
Lang, Hannah. 2017.This Shark Eats Grass, and No One Knows Why. National Geographic. (29 June).
Sunday, 23 July 2017
For years, evolutionists believed that most of our genome was useless junk, leftovers from millions of years of evolution.
The ENCODE project, published in 2010, put an end to this, as researchers found that much of non-coding DNA had a function.
However, some diehard Darwinians refused to believe the facts.
Many recent studies have found functions for this “junk” (You can see examples here, here, here and here.)
Recently, University of Houston professor Dan Graur attempted to bring back the junk. In a paper published in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution he takes issue with ENCODE and subsequent discoveries, claiming that at least 75 per cent of our genome is rubbish.
According to New Scientist,
“The heart of the issue is how you define functional. ENCODE defined DNA as such if it showed any ‘biochemical activity’, for instance, if it was copied into RNA. But Graur doesn’t think a bit of activity like this is enough to prove DNA has a meaningful use. Instead, he argues that a sequence can only be described as functional if it has evolved to do something useful, and if a mutation disrupting it would have a harmful effect.”
In other words, it is the evolutionary tail wagging the dog. In the real world, our genome continues to be amazing and wonderful.
Le Page, Michael. 2017. At least 75 per cent of our DNA really is useless junk after all. New Scientist (17 July).
Friday, 21 July 2017
“It is a fine observation of Plato in his Laws that atheism is a disease of the soul before it becomes an error of the understanding,” British philosopher William Fleming (1791–1866) said.
Fleming was Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow and he obviously found atheistic logic anything but credible.
No wonder. Today’s version of atheism will insist that in the beginning, nothing exploded, giving birth to everything for absolutely no reason at all in a world devoid of anything that is immaterial, including consciousness and free will.
This scenario involves a feature (quantum fluctuation) that is probably best described as magic, and includes an idea (cosmic inflation) that New Scientist called “totally bonkers.”
Allibone, Samuel Austin. 1880. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.
Wednesday, 19 July 2017
Mars has a habit of making headlines in both science publications and the popular press, though most news items tend to be pure speculation.
Many people think that the red planet was once blue, sloshing with water.
Time magazine, for instance, has claimed that the Sun helped murder Mars.
Just over a century ago, it was customary to see signs of an alien civilisation on the red planet. Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835–1910) thought he saw canals on Mars.
Many others, including Percival Lowell (1855–1916), adopted this view.
However, astronomers haven’t found any evidence of any kind of life – past or present – on Mars.
This hasn’t extinguished speculations. Recently, US congressman Dana Rohrabacher asked during a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Science, Space and Technology's Space Subcommittee whether Mars was home to an alien civilisation just a few thousand years ago.
The not-so-unexpected answer was – and is – no.
God created Earth to teem with various kinds of life, but as far as we know, there’s none on Mars.
Wall, Mike. 2017. No, Congressman, There's No Evidence of an Ancient Mars Civilization. Live Science (18 July).
Monday, 17 July 2017
Epigenetics is a big hurdle for orthodox Darwinism, in which random mutations and natural selection are supposed to run the show.
But often they don’t.
Darwinian mechanisms cannot improve the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) that is full of amazing technology.
New research suggests that epigenetics trumps Darwinian processes.
According to research highlights article in Nature:
“Environmental factors can modify the activity of genes in adult organisms without changing the underlying DNA sequences, but if and how these ‘epigenetic’ changes are passed between generations is not well understood.
Nicola Iovino at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, Germany, and his colleagues investigated the inheritance of epigenetic modifications through proteins that DNA wraps around, known as histones.
They created fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) embryos lacking the enzyme Enhancer of zeste — one of a set of proteins that alters histone H3 by attaching methyl groups to create an epigenetic mark called H3K27me3.
Manipulated embryos showed similar levels of H3K27me3 at fertilization to those in unmanipulated ones at the same stage, confirming that both groups had inherited the modification from their mothers. But embryos lacking Enhancer of zeste could not propagate H3K27me3 during early cell divisions. They showed abnormal development and died before reaching adulthood. The authors suggest that inheriting H3K27me3 helps flies to regulate the timing and location of gene expression during early development.”
Darwin had next to nothing to do with this scenario. So, perhaps it’s high time to say good bye to his outdated thinking.
Nature Research Highlights. 2017. Epigenetics aids fly development (14 July).
Saturday, 15 July 2017
Researchers don’t know if they’re plants or animals but they assume that rangeomorphs were “some of the earliest large organisms on Earth,” as Science Daily puts it.
“These organisms were ocean dwellers that lived during the Ediacaran period, between 635 and 541 million years ago. Their soft bodies were made up of branches, each with many smaller side branches, forming a geometric shape known as a fractal, which can be seen today in things like lungs, ferns and snowflakes.”
Ediacaran creatures tend to be so unique and weird that they defy Darwinian expectations but don’t hamper evolutionary storytelling.
Some rangeomorphs were tiny, only a few centimetres tall, but others could reach a height to two metres.
They could grow so big as “they extracted nutrients from their surrounding environment.”
Dr Jennifer Hoyal Cuthill (University of Cambridge) and Professor Professor Simon Conway, whose recent paper was published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, suggest that the answer might be found in (assumed) “changes in ocean chemistry.”
Scince Daily quotes Dr, Hoyal Cuthill as saying:
"During the Ediacaran, there seem to have been major changes in Earth's oceans, which may have triggered growth, so that life on Earth suddenly starts getting much bigger. It's probably too early to conclude exactly which geochemical changes in the Ediacaran oceans were responsible for the shift to large body sizes, but there are strong contenders, especially increased oxygen, which animals need for respiration."
However, to make big organisms one needs a lot more than just oxygen. Intelligence would be a more viable explanation.
University of Cambridge. 2017. Big, shape-shifting animals from the dawn of time. Science Daily. (10 July).