The Case of the Missing Polyploidy

Osmunda regalis, a royal fern

Osmunda regalis, a royal fern.

For Wednesday 16 April Brian Thomas writes: “Fossil Plant Chromosomes Look Modern.”

An 180 million year-old royal fern fossil has been discovered in Sweden that is so stunningly preserved that it still shows the components of individual cells. The nucleus – and even the nucleolus – can be easily seen, and cells that appear to be in the process of division show their chromosomes. The paper, “Fossilized Nuclei and Chromosomes Reveal 180 Million Years of Genomic Stasis in Royal Ferns,” in Science, is unfortunately closed access, but phys.org has pictures. The preservation is good enough, in fact, that the researchers report that they’re basically the same as in living royal ferns. The “living fossil” creationist argument is probably well familiar to you, so the content of Thomas’ article shouldn’t be all that surprising. Continue reading

Dismissing Inflation

On rare occasion the ICR manages to publish articles on recent news items in an approximately timely manner. Today’s DpSU, “‘Smoking Gun’ Evidence of Inflation?” by Jake Hebert, is one example, attempting to counter the rather inconvenient announcement of evidence supporting the cosmological hypothesis known as inflation.

While quicker than is typical for the ICR, Hebert is by no means the first to comment on this issue. Discovery Institute cdesign proponentsist Stephen Meyer was quoted as saying that

…it’s really odd for people from a Creationist perspective to deny a theory that says the universe began out of nothing physical.

Naturally, many of his fellow creationists have a decidedly different view. Continue reading

The Tiny Tranquil Flood

Callan Bentley is an American geologist who runs the blog known as Mountain Beltway on the American Geophysical Union’s network. If, for some strange reason, you don’t follow him there you may well at least know of him as the scientist who pointedly refused the use of one of his photos in the Discovery Institute’s book Darwin’s Doubt.*

At some point in February he and Alan Pitts were apparently looking at sediment exposed by a some road cuts in the Appalachian mountains. Specifically they were looking at what they thought was the Hampshire Formation, which is supposed to be terrestrial in origin (i.e. rivers rather than oceans). But within the outcrop they found a few metres of black marine sediment, containing bands of limestone and a variety of fossils. Bentley wrote: Continue reading

Doing the Planetary Freestyle

That break lasted longer than I thought, but less than I feared. Longtime readers will have noticed that posting tends to slow or vanish entirely around this time of year due to the start of school: it’s only the second week of university now,* which isn’t so bad. It’s also the start of US daylight saving time this week, which helpfully brings typical ICR posting time to a slightly more manageable hour.

Nothing has visibly changed in Dallas in my absence. Today’s Creation Science Update is by Brian Thomas, and called “Asteroid Medley Challenges Naturalistic Origins.” I’ll admit that I had to look that word up to see whether it has a meaning beyond the realm of competitive swimming, but it seems so. Continue reading

Monastic Science

I’m out of town at the moment, so here’s a scheduled post I wrote a couple of weeks ago for this occasion. I’ll be back Friday, I think?


We haven’t heard from the ICR’s lawyer/theologian extraordinaire, James J. S. Johnson, in much too long.

In the February edition of Acts & Facts he has an article called “Fishy Science.”  The thrust of this column is that humans aren’t evolving, and that we’ve always been able to do science. It makes for a better insight however into the young Earth creationist dystopia, in which observational science is the only science, along with being another example of Johnson’s strange obsession with the Vikings. Continue reading

Jake Hebert Insults your Intelligence

Annals of the WorldThat is to say, if you’re a non-YEC Christian. Those of us who don’t believe at all are instead “suppressing the truth,” but we’ll get to that later.

So in this month’s edition of Acts & Facts, the ICR’s monthly newsletter/magazine, Jake Hebert has written an article called “Earth’s Age: Science or Consensus?” This false dichotomy does not head an article that attempts to actually talk about, you know, the science behind how we know that the Earth is old, but instead discusses why some scientifically-minded Christians would not accept a young Earth. The point of the article seems to be to persuade the ICR’s own flock not to listen to the compromisers, for they have been deceived. He opens: Continue reading

Friday Falsehoods #5

Another week, another set of quotes from creationists for us to look at. We only have two from David Coppedge, one from Theology Archaeology, and one from Brian Thomas published at the website of Creation Ministries International (the weekly ad for the “Ark Encounter” was uninteresting this time, while Thomas’ ICR article for Friday is not easily quoted – I may write a proper post on it later). Let’s get right to it then: Continue reading

Proving Religion, Disproving Catholicism?

Wiccan Triple Moon - clearly the Wiccan's are right.A strange article from Brian Thomas: “Evidence of Eternity in Our Hearts?

People believe what they do for a wide variety of reasons, but it seems that some beliefs – politics and religion being being perhaps the most famous – may be in some way “hardwired.” Studying children from Ecuador, a recent paper (pdf, press release) looked at the belief in a “pre-life” of people from indigenous rural and urban catholic society. Thomas explains:

Natalie Emmons and Deborah Kelemen of Boston University conducted two studies on 283 children from Ecuador. They reasoned that survey participants from the jungle lived closer to life and death events and would have biologically based ideas about pre-conception existence, while the Catholic student participants from the city had more exposure to religious teaching that life begins at conception and therefore would “reject the idea of life before birth.” Surprisingly, both groups of students maintained that a core aspect in each person lives even without the body.

Continue reading

Ark Fight!

An (English) CoracleSo you remember that “round ark” story from a few weeks ago, right? Brian Thomas has finally gotten around to poo-pooing it with an article called “Cuneiform Reed-Ark Story Doesn’t Float.” He begins:

News emerged in 2010 that Irving Finkel, a cuneiform expert at the British Museum, had translated an ancient tablet describing Noah’s Ark as round and built of reeds. Now, Finkel is publishing a book on the find, and news reports again assert the tired tale that the Bible’s authors borrowed a Babylonian flood tale like the one on this tablet and modified it into their “story” of Noah. Babylonian or biblical, round or rectangular—which Ark story stays afloat?

Continue reading

Friday Falsehoods #4

Ironically – since it helped provide the reason to start this series – I didn’t watch the Great Debate. I did post more than my fair share of links to commentary elsewhere, but today we’ll limit ourselves to stories not directly related to it. Continue reading