Thursday, 23 February 2017

Trappist-1 System: Newly Discovered Exoplanets Appear to be Uninhabitable


An artist’s impression of two exoplanets orbiting Trappist-1. Image courtesy of NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI).



Joel Kontinen


Few topics make headlines as easily as the discovery of Earth-like planets, especially if they are thought to be habitable.

And many people who subscribe to a naturalistic worldview think that the universe is teeming with exoplanets that resemble our good Earth.

Some put the number at 100 billion billion.

Every so often we hear that Earth’s alien cousin or perhaps even twin has been found.

In reality, however, even the most Earth-like exoplanet (Kepler-438 B) is not habitable.

Most exoplanets are more or less weird. For instance, superfast spinning stars show that our Sun is special – and so is Earth.

The latest exoplanet hype features seven supposedly Earth-like planets orbiting the star Trappist-1 discovered by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

Some 39 light years from us, it is a cool dwarf star, and its roughly Earth-sized planets orbit it very close (1.5 to 12 days).

The Trappist-1 system. Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.

All the Trappist-1 planets are thought to be habitable, at least in theory. While some astronomers hope to find liquid water on them, these alien worlds might be bombarded with intense solar radiation and they are probably tidally locked like Mercury in our solar system, with the same side always facing its sun.

It seems that just like the nearest exoplanet Proxima b, the Trappist planets might also turn out to be dead and unfriendly worlds.

In contrast, our world is special. God created Earth and filled it with life, just like Genesis tells us.

Sources:

Rincon, Paul. 2017. Star's seven Earth-sized worlds set record. BBC News (22 February).

Witze, Alexandra. 2917. These seven alien worlds could help explain how planets form. Nature News (22 February).


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Little Singing Fish: Big Darwinian Surprise?

Pomacentrus amboinensis is a singing fish. Image courtesy of Monica Gagliano, PLOS ONE 8 (2): e55938, Creative Commons (CC BY 2.5).



Joel Kontinen

According to the Darwinian story, fish should certainly not behave like birds, as they parted ways aeons ago.

However, in the real world animals don’t always follow Darwinian expectations. Just think of the pig-footed bandicoot (Chaeropus ecaudatus), the duck-billed platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) and the spiny anteater (Tachyglossus aculeatus).

They have mosaic features that make evolutionary classifications practically impossible.

Then there are two tiny dragons. One lives in the sea and the other likes to glide from trees.

And a little lemur also does the gliding trick.

We shouldn’t forget walking fish that are definitely not transitional forms.

But what about singing fish? In 2016, the journal Bioacoustics published a paper on several fish species in Australian waters that did exactly that.

It’s not as pleasant to our ears as most birdsong, though.

It would not be easy for Darwinists to invoke convergent evolution this time.

What it emphasizes is that nature is much more varied than Charles Darwin dared to believe.

Source:

Keenan, Greta. 2016. Fish recorded singing dawn chorus on reefs just like birds. New Scientist (21 September).


Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Cock-Eyed Squid’s Intelligent Design and Genesis Connections

Histioteuthis. Image courtesy of L. Madin, NOAA. public domain.




Joel Kontinen

The cock-eyed squid looks just like a squid, but a closer look will show a remarkable difference: it has one big bulging eye that points upward and a smaller eye with which it sees what’s happening underneath it.

This squid lives in dim waters, some 200 to 1,000 metres below the surface.

New research published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B examines videos taken by remotely operated submarines.

New Scientist states:

The findings provide the first behavioural evidence that the two eyes are adapted to look in different directions. The large one points upwards to spot prey silhouetted against the sky. The smaller one points downwards to spot bioluminescent organisms against the darkness below.”

Kate Thomas at Duke University in North Carolina and her colleagues discovered that the eyes are of the optimal size and shape:

Having a big upward-pointing eye greatly improves visual perception, while a downward-pointing eye would gain little from being large.”

While they invoke evolution as a potential answer to this dilemma, it seems more logical to assume that the eyes are designed this way on purpose.

The cock-eyed squid also has a Genesis connection. It shows that there is great variety within the squid kind – just as there is within the other kinds – but they still remain squids.

It joins hybrids such as wholphins, ligers. zonkeys, geeps and grolars in celebrating the Genesis after its kind principle.

Source:

Wong, Sam. 2017. Deep-sea squid points a big, bulging eye up and a tiny eye down. New Scientist (13 February).

Friday, 17 February 2017

Exceptionally Well Preserved Cambrian Soft Tissues Defy Belief in Millions of Years

Image courtesy of Smokeybjb, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).




Joel Kontinen

We might not expect to find soft tissue in fossils that are assumed to be 500 million years old.

But this has happened, and not just once or twice but repeatedly and recently it happened again.

A paper published in Nature reports on hyoliths that it defines as “abundant and globally distributed ‘shelly’ fossils that appear early in the Cambrian period and can be found throughout the 280 million year span of Palaeozoic strata.”

The abstract mentions “exceptionally preserved soft tissues [that] include an extendable, gullwing-shaped, tentacle-bearing organ surrounding a central mouth.”

While finding soft tissue in dinosaur bone has become rather commonplace, researchers have discovered exceptionally well preserved soft tissues in many other animals as well, for instance in birds, fish and marine reptiles.

This suggests that life on Earth is a lot more younger than evolutionists would have us believe.

Source:

Moysiuk, Joseph et al. 2017. Hyoliths are Palaeozoic lophophorates. Nature 541, 394–397.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Darwin Day Surprise Ten Years Ago: Soft Muscle Cells, Blood Vessels and Nerve Cells in “380-Million-Year” Old Fish from Down Under


Gogonasus andrewsae. Image courtesy of Nobu Tamura, Creative Commons (CC BY 2.5).




Joel Kontinen

Darwin Day (12 February) has in recent years evolved into a materialistic holy day.

Sometimes, however, pro-evolution publications might report discoveries that undermine the importance of that day.

National Geographic did it in 2007. It published an article on fossilized muscle and other soft tissues from two armoured fish that are assumed to be “380– 384 million years” old.

The muscle was so well preserved that its three-dimensional shape was intact.

The fish's remarkably well-preserved soft tissues include bundles of muscle cells, blood vessels, and nerve cells. They were found during recent electron microscope scans, the research team reported last week in the British journal Biology Letters.”

Evolutionists believe that one of the fishes, Gogonasus andrewsae, already had features that we share, at least to some extent.

They have since found an even older bony fish that they revere as our ancestor.

During the past few years, soft tissue has been found in a variety of animals thought to be many tens and even hundreds of years old.

The most logical explanation for this mystery is that the great dates assigned to most fossils are fictitious.

Source:

Markey, Sean. 2007. Fossil Meat Found in 380-Million-Year-Old Fish. National Geography news (12 February).

Monday, 13 February 2017

Big Science, Big Lies, Scientific Fraud

It seems that Darwinian morality is having a bad effect on science.




Joel Kontinen

Big science has a big problem.

New Scientist has cultivated the phrase post-truth world quite a bit recently, especially before, during and after the recent US presidential elections.

It put the blame on politicians. However, it is now becoming increasingly obvious that scientists can’t afford to throw the first stone.

Time and again, they have had to warn of fake science stories and even outright fabrications.

Recently, Timothy Clark issued a dire warning in Nature. A senior research fellow at the University of Tasmania, he is worried about the spread of dishonesty in science:

The introduction sets the tone of the article:

Too many researchers make up or massage their data, says Timothy D. Clark Only stringent demands for proof can stop them.”

Then he discloses some very alarming facts:

Late last month, a US physicist began a jail sentence for scientific fraud. Darin Kinion took funds for research on quantum computing but did not carry out the work he claimed; instead, he invented the data that the research supposedly produced.”

And we have heard of several similar cases.

Clark goes on to say:

Scientists like to think that such blatant dishonesty is rare, but I myself have witnessed several serious cases of scientific misconduct, from major data manipulation to outright fabrication. Most have gone unpunished — in fact, it has been disheartening to see the culprits lauded. It makes little sense for fraudsters to fabricate mediocre data. Their falsehoods generate outstanding stories, which result in high-profile publications and a disproportionately large chunk of the funding pie.

I have noticed a lesser-known motive for bad science in my field, experimental biology. As environmental change proceeds, there is great demand from the public and policy¬makers for simple stories that show the damage being done to wildlife. I occasionally meet scientists who argue that the questions we ask and the stories we tell are more important than the probity of our investigations: the end justifies the means, even if the means lead to data fabrication. That view is alarmingly misguided and has no place in science
.”

The underlying problem is that scientists often have an agenda. This is at times glaringly obvious in the Darwinian community.

Researchers seek to find evidence for assumed transitional forms or missing links, for instance.

Remember Darwinius massillae, better known as Ida?

Or Eoanthropus dawsoni aka. Piltdown Man or perhaps even Nebraska Man?

Scientific misconduct thrives in the Darwinian community as evolution does not give objective grounds for morality.

Source:

Clark, Timothy D. 2017. Science, lies and video-taped experiments. Nature 542, 139. (7 February).

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Snow Vole Upsets Darwinian Expectations


A snow vole. Image courtesy of Dodoni, Creative Commons (CC BY 3.0).




Joel Kontinen

Natural selection is a greatly overused explanation for almost any trait in living organisms.

However, Darwinian expectations seldom match facts. A paper published in PLOS BIOLOGY begins with the sentence: “In natural populations, quantitative trait dynamics often do not appear to follow evolutionary predictions.”

That’s right. The research is on the size of snow voles (Chionomys nivalis).

Timothée Bonnet and his colleagues at the University of Zurich observed the tiny rodents for ten years and found out that while bigger voles had more offspring, this did not lead to an increase in body size in the next generation.

It seems that environmental factors and perhaps epigenetics are running the show.

In recent years, natural selection has taken a lot of flak from both evolutionists and dissenters. (See details here, here, here and here.)

So, this might be a good time to dump Darwin altogether.

Source:

Bonnet, Timothée et al. 2017. Bigger Is Fitter? Quantitative Genetic Decomposition of Selection Reveals an Adaptive Evolutionary Decline of Body Mass in a Wild Rodent Population. PLOS BIOLOGY 15.