Thursday, 30 November 2017
In February a thunderstorm in Japan had unexpected consequences. Teruari Enoto, an astrophysicist at Kyoto University, and his colleagues discovered that lightning produced more atmospheric radiocarbon.
A news article in Nature states:
“The main source of the carbon-14 in the atmosphere has generally been considered to be cosmic rays. In principle, lightning could also contribute to the supply. But it is not clear yet how much of the isotope is produced in this way, says Enoto, in part because it’s possible that not all bolts initiate photonuclear reactions.”
Many evolutionists used to think that radiometric dating methods were reliable, but a number of studies have shown that they were wrong.
This applies to several dating methods and their basic assumptions.
Geologists will now admit that zircon crystals, ultrasonic cavitation and even solar flares can skew dates.
In addition, science publications have suggested that the uranium-lead method and some other methods tend to give too old dates.
Radiocarbon dating is a special case, as it does not give dates in the millions of years due to its relative short half-life of approximately 5,730 years.
Nonetheless, the Japanese study suggests we should be a bit more critical of radiocarbon dates as well.
Castelvecchi, Davide. 2017. Lightning makes new isotope. Nature News (22 November).
Tuesday, 28 November 2017
According to the evolutionary story, the world has changed dramatically in "500 million years."
But scientists now know that some Cambrian animals have resisted change for aeons:
Recently, a tiny bryozoan was named after David Jablonski and Susan Kidwell, who both are University of Chicago researchers.
This creature, called Jablonskipora kidwellae, is assumed to be “105 million years” old.
A University of Chicago news release attempts to highlight the significance of the find:
“Lurking in oceans, rivers and lakes around the world are tiny, ancient animals known to few people. Bryozoans, tiny marine creatures that live in colonies, are “living fossils”—their lineage goes back to the time when multi-celled life was a newfangled concept. But until now, scientists were missing evidence of one important breakthrough that helped the bryozoans survive 500 million years as the world changed around them.”
This is obviously a problem for evolution, so they have to explain it away:
“Bryozoans never figured out a symbiotic partnership with photosynthetic bacteria, as coral did, so their evolution took a different turn. Each one in a colony is genetically identical, but they have specialized roles, like ants or bees. Their shelly apartment complexes house thousands of the creatures, which have soft bodies with tiny tentacles to catch nutrients.”
The Cambrian Era is still an enormous enigma for evolution. For some, it might be a real headache, as the creatures assigned to this period are far too complex and some Cambrian fossils are too well preserved to be that old, calling their assumed age into question.
Lerner, Louise. 2017. Fossil that fills missing evolutionary link named after UChicago professors UChicago News (16 November).
Sunday, 26 November 2017
Archaeologists known as Biblical minimalists tend to believe that the Bible is historically more or less unreliable.
They have argued that Israel’s monarchs David and Solomon either were not historical figures or did not reign over the area described in the Bible.
Recently, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published a longish article on this issue. Philippe Bohstrom takes a look at recent archaeological discoveries in Israel that probably hail from the Davidic era.
He discusses a vast copper mining operation that produced over 100,000 tons of slag and says this suggests a strong central government at a time when Egypt was in decline and Edom and Philistia had yet to rise.
“Supporting Timna's massive mining operations, therefore, required long-distance trade, or in other words, complex economic activity involving a bureaucratic apparatus. Archaeologists have indeed found evidence of imports from afar (and cloth) dating to the time of David and Solomon. Next to 5-meter high fortification walls, the archaeologists found slingstones, a variety of seeds, fish bones, and donkey bones and dung preserved well enough to be analyzed: it shows the draught animals at Timna ate hay and pomace, the pulp from pressing grapes, olives and suchlike, imported from the Mediterranean coast, more than 200 km afar,” he writes.
He goes on to mention other discoveries, such as the ruins of King David's Palace that Hebrew University professor Eilat Mazar found in 2005.
Bohstrom is not a biblical apologist and does not have an axe to grind. He does, however, ask why it is easier for some sceptics to believe that Agamemnon and other Homeric kings were historical figures but biblical characters were not, given that there is more evidence for the historicity of the latter.
Archaeology confirms biblical history, people, buildings, places and even catastrophes such as earthquakes.
Statues, coins, ossuaries (bone boxes) and seal impressions show names mentioned in the Bible.
Bohstrom, Philippe. 2017. Did David and Solomon's United Monarchy Exist? Vast Ancient Mining Operation May Hold Answers. Haaretz (21 November).
Friday, 24 November 2017
If we believe that matter is the only thing that exists, we’re heading towards great trouble, as the immaterial realm is anything but imaginary.
Thus, consciousness and free will are hard dilemmas for evolutionists.
In 2014 Michael Graziano, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Princeton, wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times in which he admitted that consciousness was a “ghostly thing” - seen from a Darwinian perspective, that is.
If this evolutionary conception of consciousness were applied coherently, it would mean the end of the idea of self.
However, recently two psychologists tried to navigate around this skerry. Writing in The Conversation, David A Oakley (Emeritus Professor of Psychology at University College London) and Peter Halligan (Hon Professor of Neuropsychology at Cardiff University) attempt to explain away both consciousness and free will:
“It’s easy to assume that these contents of consciousness are somehow chosen, caused or controlled by our personal awareness – after all, thoughts don’t exist until until we think them. But in a new research paper in Frontiers of Psychology, we argue that this is a mistake.
We suggest that our personal awareness does not create, cause or choose our beliefs, feelings or perceptions. Instead, the contents of consciousness are generated ‘behind the scenes’ by fast, efficient, non-conscious systems in our brains. All this happens without any interference from our personal awareness, which sits passively in the passenger seat while these processes occur.
Put simply, we don’t consciously choose our thoughts or our feelings – we become aware of them.”
This has repercussions for the idea of free will:
“We argue that free will and personal responsibility are notions that have been constructed by society.”
This sounds like an excuse to avoid being accountable for our actions, and is very unbiblical notion.
Oakley, David A. and Peter Halligan. 2017. What if consciousness is not what drives the human mind? The Conversation (22 November).
Wednesday, 22 November 2017
A self-taught rocket builder is getting ready to be launched into space on November 25th. Mike Hughes has a mission that differs quite a bit from the average space flight: to prove that the Earth is flat.
He hopes to reach an altitude of 550 km (1,800 feet), soaring at a speed of 800 km (500 miles) an hour above the Mojave Desert in a rocket built from scrap metal.
Mr. Hughes thinks that the round earth is a Freemasonic conspiracy propagated by men like John Glenn and Neil Armstrong.
It is not easy to understand how a space flight could prove that the Earth is flat, as the evidence does not support this.
Several astronauts and Wernher von Braun (1912 –1977), the father of the US Apollo space programme, were or are Bible-believing Christians who certainly would not propagate falsehoods.
In contrast, it is often the sceptics who argue that the Bible teaches a flat Earth, although they can’t find any real proof for this.
Unfortunately, many people still believe that intellectual darkness prevailed in Europe during the Medieval Period (i.e., from roughly AD 500 to AD 1500).
They assume that even the few scholars who existed at the time thought that the earth was flat.
However, it would be very difficult to find any reputable medieval source that could corroborate this view. Most scholars who wrote on the shape of the earth said that our planet was round.
One of the earliest writers to do so was the English monk known as Saint Bede or the Venerable Bede (673–735). In his book De temporum ratione (On the Reckoning of Time), he explicitly stated that the earth was round.
Iohannes de Sacrobosco (ca. 1195–1256) was a monk and an astronomer who wrote an entire book on the shape of the earth. Entitled De sphaera mundi (On the Sphere of the World), it was published in 1230. His argumentation sounds very modern:
“THE EARTH A SPHERE. -- That the earth, too, is round is shown thus. The signs and stars do not rise and set the same for all men everywhere but rise and set sooner for those in the east than for those in the west; and of this there is no other cause than the bulge of the earth. Moreover, celestial phenomena evidence that they rise sooner for Orientals than for westerners. For one and the same eclipse of the moon which appears to us in the first hour of the night appears to Orientals about the third hour of the night, which proves that they had night and sunset before we did, of which setting the bulge of the earth is the cause.”
Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) was probably the greatest theologian of the Middle Ages. In his Summa Theologica, he described the earth as being round like a ball. He pointed out that it was not shaped like a shield.
In addition to books, we can also see evidence for a spherical earth in the symbols that the rulers of the Byzantine Empire and the Holy Roman Empire used. A coin minted during the reign of Emperor Theodeseus II (who ruled from AD 408 to AD 450) already shows the Globus Cruciger, which is Latin for “cross-bearing orb”. The cross symbolises the victory of Christ on the cross and the orb beneath it depicts the shape of the Earth.
The Globus Cruciger became a symbol of imperial power. For instance, a 7th century coin depicts Emperor Leontius holding this object.
A medieval painting shows Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor (1017–1056), being presented with this symbolic sphere. And a 13th century painting shows Emperor Fredrick I Barbarossa holding the Globus Cruciger in his hand.
It looks very round.
For many centuries, the Globus Cruciger was used as a symbol in the crown jewels of several European monarchies.
It thus seems that there is no historically sound basis for the belief that people in the Medieval Period thought that the earth was flat like a pancake.
But the Jews already knew that the earth was round in the 7th century B.C. The prophet Isaiah wrote: “He [God] sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers” (Isaiah 40:22, NIV).
Selk, Avi, 2017. This man is about to launch himself in his homemade rocket to prove the Earth is flat. The Washington Post (21 November).
Update (1 December):
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) heard of the planned launch and forbade Mr. Hughes to carry out his experiment, as the launch pad was on public land.
Monday, 20 November 2017
We would most probably not expect to find petrified trees in Antarctica, even though researchers had discovered pollen on the now frozen continent.
But now evolutionists have to resort to creative storytelling to account for a fossilised forest they found there.
An article on Live Science suggests:
“From about 400 million to 14 million years ago, the southern continent was a very different, and much greener place. The climate was warmer, though the plants that survived at the low southern latitudes had to cope with winters of 24-hour-per-day darkness and summers during which the sun never set, just as today.”
They found “the oldest polar forest on record”. They believe that it’s 280 million years old. It is mostly composed of Glossopteris trees that resemble today’s Bald Cypress.
It’s hard to believe that the trees are as old as they assume:
“The plants are so well-preserved in rock that some of the amino acid building blocks that made up the trees’ proteins can still be extracted, said [paleoecologist Erik] Gulbranson, who specializes in geochemistry techniques. Studying these chemical building blocks may help clarify how the trees handled the southern latitudes’ weird sunlight conditions, as well as the factors that allowed those plants to thrive but drove Glossopteris to its death, he said.”
Previously, researchers found a fossilized tropical forest in Norway and dinosaur fossils in Alaska.
The global flood of Noah’s day is the most logical explanation for these discoveries. It has left marks all over the world, including fossil graveyards and geological formations.
Pappas, Stephanie, 2017. 280-Million-Year-Old Fossil Forest Discovered in … Antarctica. Live Science (15 November).
Saturday, 18 November 2017
The animal kingdom is full of creatures that defy simplistic Darwinian explanations.
One of them is the world’s biggest rodent capybara (Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris). It is optimally designed for swamp life – with webbed feet, and ears and eyes high on the head so it can hear and see clearly while in water.
This South American rodent can weigh almost 80 kg (175 lbs) and have a body length of 100 – 130 centimetres (40 to 50 inches) without the very short tail, but it is no bully and prefers to eat grasses, aquatic plants, grains, melons, and squashes.
Some other creatures, such as the binturong (Arctictis binturong) or bearcat, star-nosed mole, spiny anteater, platypus and the warm-blooded fish opah (Lampris guttatus), also defy Darwinian thinking.
Wednesday, 15 November 2017
When it comes to reporting on potentially habitable exoplanets, it is not difficult to see an interesting trend, i.e., a more honest approach to previous discoveries.
They are suddenly seen as less plausible candidates for life or they are simply forgotten.
The recent discovery of the planet Ross 128 b, which orbits a red dwarf star 20 times closer than Earth orbits the Sun 11 light years from us, follows this tendency.
Red dwarf stars are notorious for bombarding their planets with intense solar radiation that can be lethal.
Many planets orbiting them might be tidally locked, with the same side always facing the star.
However, astronomers think that of Ross 128 b might receive less solar radiation although they are not sure whether it orbits its star in the habitable zone.
It is roughly Earth-sized with a temperature assumed to be between -60 and +20°C.
It might well give a false hope for those who expect to find alien life in the universe. Hitherto, all candidates have turned out to be worlds that most probably cannot sustain life.
And then it’s still a giant leap from being potentially habitable to actually being habited. There’s no life without information, no information without design, and no design without a Designer.
As far as we know, there’s no place like our created home planet anywhere in the universe.
Rincon, Paul. 2017. Nearby planet is a target for life. BBC News. (15 November).
Monday, 13 November 2017
Fruit flies have an amazing skills, including their sense of smell. They can distinguish between very subtle differences in odours.
Recently, Salk Institute assistant professor Saket Navlakha and colleagues reviewed the published literature on fruit flies and came up with some interesting details, reported by Science Daily:
“When fruit flies first sense an odor, 50 neurons fire in a combination that's unique to that smell. But rather than hashing that information by reducing the number of hashes associated with the odor, as computer programs would, flies do the opposite -- they expand the dimension. The 50 initial neurons lead to 2,000 neurons, spreading out the input so that each smell has an even more distinct fingerprint among those 2,000 neurons. The brain then stores only the 5 percent of those 2,000 neurons with the top activity as the ‘hash’ for that odor.”
This strategy is surprisingly elegant and efficient:
“The whole paradigm helps the brain notice similarities better than it would compared to reducing the dimension, Navlakha says.”
This discovery is very likely to inspire better search engines.
Biomimicry or copying intelligent solutions in living beings has become a lucrative research field. (See here, here, here and here for some other examples.)
Salk Institute. 2017. Fruit fly brains inform search engines of the future. Science Daily. (9 November).
Saturday, 11 November 2017
Origin of life is a messy research field. No one has ever come up with a plausible explanation of how non-life could have turned into life.
With naturalistic ideology running the show, explanations tend to be both speculative and impossible.
But they keep on trying. The latest attempt features a synthetic enzyme called diamidophosphate (DAP).
Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy and his colleagues at the Scripps Research Institute report on their research in the journal Nature Chemistry.
While they cannot be sure that DAP even existed at the time life supposedly popped out of the prebiotic stew, they assume that it might have.
An article posted in Live Science does no spare conditionals in reporting on the research: “may have existed”, “could have reacted”, “may have reacted” and “could have been leached out”, to name a few.
“Krishnamurthy has no proof that DAP even existed four billion years ago. He synthesized the molecule in his lab as a way to solve one of the fundamental challenges to phosphorylating in wet, early Earth conditions. For most phosphorylation reactions to work, they need to remove a molecule of water in the process.
‘How do you remove water from a molecule when you are surrounded by a pool of water?’ asked Krishnamurthy. ‘That’s thermodynamically an uphill task.’
DAP gets around that problem by removing a molecule of ammonia instead of water.”
However, that will not give us life. This scenario is anything but plausible.
“Krishnamurthy is working with geochemists to identify potential sources of DAP in the distant geological past. Phosphate-rich lava flows may have reacted with ammonia in the air to create DAP, or it could have been leached out of phosphate-containing minerals. Or maybe it even arrived on the back of a meteorite forged by a far-off star.”
You don’t have to be a prophet to say that their scenario will not work.
Roos, Dave. 2017. Chemists May Have Found the 'Missing Link' to the First Life on Earth. Live Science (10 November).
Thursday, 9 November 2017
They refer to it as the monster planet.
A giant gas planet orbiting a dwarf star is causing astronomers to scratch their heads in bafflement. The combination challenges the established planet formation theory.
NGTS-1b is a hot Jupiter very close to its sun, with an orbit lasting 2.6 days. Its host star is a red M-dwarf with a radius of 50 per cent that of our sun.
The problem is that such a planet should not exist, if naturalistic theories were true.
It appears that they aren’t.
NGTS-1b is not the only “impossible” exoplanet. Some are extremely hot, some others have three suns, and many others are likewise more or less weird.
It might be high time to ditch naturalistic speculations and keep in mind that ours is a privileged planet, fine-tuned for life.
Royal Astronomical Society. 2017. Monster' planet discovery challenges formation theory. Science Daily. (31 October).
Tuesday, 7 November 2017
A can of sardines has all the ingredients that life needs, but its content is as dead as dead can be.
Much more than just the necessary ingredients are needed for life to suddenly pop up.
This same principle also applies to Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus that is geologically far too active for a solar system that is assumed to be 4.5 billion years old.
To solve this dilemma, some secular scientists, for instance Gaël Choblet at the University of Nantes, France, and colleagues, have to invoke tidal forces caused by Saturn’s gravity,
According to New Scientist,
“Choblet and his team found that the tidal heating effect could persist for tens of millions to billions of years, giving any potential life plenty of time to evolve in the resulting warm, chemically diverse areas.”
However, this is not a discovery; it is an assumption based to the belief that Saturn and its moons are billions of years old.
And it might be good to keep in mind that life only comes from life.
All secular origin of life hypotheses are speculations and /or wishful thinking.
They are certainly not supported by facts.
Water does not magically turn into molecules or even mice in our solar system or anywhere else.
Crane, Leah. 2017. Enceladus’s hot, gritty core may cook up ingredients for life. New Scientist (6 November).
Sunday, 5 November 2017
Researchers recently found a fragmented fossil of an enormous flying creature in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia.
Pterosaurs were enigmatic creatures. They were almost too big and too heavy to fly, but they somehow managed to take to the air.
Tall as male giraffes (5.5 metres or18 feet), they had a wingspan of 9.7–11 metres (32–36 feet).
They appear suddenly, fully formed in the fossil record at the time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth (according to Darwinian thinking).
Pterosaurs had exquisitely designed features, some of which are found in modern bats and some in modern birds.
There is no shortage of mosaic-like creatures in the animal kingdom. The extinct ones include Archaeopteryx and Tiktaalik.
Living mosaics, such as the e duck-billed platypus and the spiny anteater, are problematic for evolution.
They are not evolving into something else, and neither did pterosaurs.
Pickrell, John. 2017. Ancient Winged Terror Was One of the Largest Animals to Fly. National Geographic (31 October).
Friday, 3 November 2017
Just add water is the major ingredient in the secular formula for creating life. Thus, every time NASA or some other agency reports on the discovery of an exoplanet that could potentially harbour water, the press creates big headlines.
Often, on closer inspection, discoveries have turned out to be false positives. It has even happened that some of the planets don’t exist.
Many secularists want desperately to find life in space. They are uncomfortable with the idea that Earth is a privileged planet, especially created by God, who is all-powerful and to whom all human beings are accountable.
New Scientist has this to say about the recent finds:
“The list of potential worlds includes several planets that orbit stars like our sun. Some take a relatively long time to complete a single orbit, with the longest taking 395 Earth days and others taking Earth weeks or months. The fastest orbit is 18 Earth days. This is very different to the very short “years” we see around smaller stars with habitable planets like Proxima Centauri.
The exoplanet with a 395-day year is one of the most promising worlds for life on the list, says Jeff Coughlin, a Kepler team lead who helped find the potential planets. Called KOI-7923.01, it is 97 per cent the size of Earth, but a little colder.
Its cooler temperature is due to its distance from its star and the fact that the star is slightly cooler than our sun. This means it may be a little more like tundra regions on Earth than temperate ones, but is still warm enough and large enough to hold the liquid water essential to life as we know it.”
However, water is by far not the only ingredient needed for life and at least some exoplanets assumed to orbit their sun in the habitable zone are not habitable at all.
Wenz, John. 2017. We may have found 20 habitable worlds hiding in plain sight. New Scientist (30 October).
Wednesday, 1 November 2017
A tiny Brazilian monkey looks a bit like Yoda, a Star Wars character, but it is no alien. The pied tamarin (Saguinus bicolor) is an endangered species.
A mere 25 centimetres long, this tamarin might appear to be grumpy, but it is actually a social and curious creature.
Saguinus bicolor is yet another example of the rich variety within each created kind.
Hamzelou, Jessica. 2017. Pied tamarin doesn’t look too happy about its extreme close-up. New Scientist (25 October).