Magnetosense

The structure of magnetiteIt’s not quite quantum physics, but in Salmon Use Sophisticated Compass Cells Brian Thomas has another sensory organ he wishes to claim could not have evolved. Curiously, it’s not all that “sophisticated” of one. The PNAS paper he talks about – the Livescience article here – is Magnetic characterization of isolated candidate vertebrate magnetoreceptor cells, which claims to provide a method to detect the presence of magnetically sensitive cells that some animals have been long-suspected of possessing. From the abstract:

In essence, a rotating magnetic field is employed to visually identify, within a dissociated tissue preparation, cells that contain magnetic material by their rotational behavior. As a tissue of choice, we selected trout olfactory epithelium [a type of tissue in the nasal cavity] that has been previously suggested to host candidate magnetoreceptor cells. We were able to reproducibly detect magnetic cells and to determine their magnetic dipole moment. […] The magnetism of the cells is due to a μm-sized intracellular structure of iron-rich crystals, most likely single-domain magnetite. In confocal reflectance imaging, these produce bright reflective spots close to the cell membrane. The magnetic inclusions are found to be firmly coupled to the cell membrane, enabling a direct transduction of mechanical stress produced by magnetic torque acting on the cellular dipole in situ. Our results show that the magnetically identified cells clearly meet the physical requirements for a magnetoreceptor capable of rapidly detecting small changes in the external magnetic field.

Salmon, trout – same thing. For some videos of cells merrily spinning around as part of this experiment, see here. Continue reading

Early and Often

Better hurry up with finishing the July Acts & Facts, hadn’t I? For her part this month Rhonda Forlow reminds us that even despite the fact that her Science Essentials blog isn’t worth the effort to poke apart these days, she remains perhaps the ICR’s most dangerous employee to the well-being of the general public, writing How Science Class Will Impact Your Child This Year:

It’s hard to believe, but in another month most of us will send our children back to school. Homeschoolers may be trying out new curriculum. Among the various subjects covered, science will have an impact—perhaps more so than most of the other subjects our children will study.

Why? Because science touches our children’s worldviews from their earliest days. If we do not prepare our children to learn good science—through the use of biblically based science instruction—then we run the risk of abdicating our children’s science education to an evolutionary worldview.

Oh no! What are they going to do? Never fear, the doctor is here. Continue reading

Big Bad Bacteria

Yes, folks: That's a Video!

This fortnight we have the question of antibiotic resistance, in “Evolving Bacteria”:

With all the bad bacteria out there, scientists are working hard to develop new antibiotics to combat them. But these microbes often mutate when they reproduce, making some of them resistant to medicine. Is this process “evolution in action”?

The ICR obviously thinks the answer to that is a ‘no.’

That's a Fact - Evolving Bacteria (click to view)

Continue reading

Senseless Doggerland

Doggerland, at some point during its sinkingAt the beginning of this month a wealth of information was announced about the fauna, flora, geography, and habitation of the landmass in the North Sea known as Doggerland, which sank beneath the waves between 18000 and 5500 BC due to post-glaciation rising sea levels. As you might expect from a description like that, the news reports have been full of references to a “British Atlantis.” Several weeks later, Mr Thomas’ amusing article – Making Sense of Britain’s Atlantis – does the same.

What’s to be made sense of? According to Naturalis Historia, quite a lot if you’re a young Earth creationist. Most importantly, note that during the height of the last glaciation the land – though at its greatest extent – would have been uninhabitable as it would have been as barren as any other part of Northern Europe. Today also it is uninhabitable, but for the more immediately obvious reason that it’s underwater. So it could only be settled (as we now know beyond a shadow of doubt that it was) in the between-times, during which it would have been in the process of drowning. There’s thus not a great deal of time for that to happen in (~10000 years is still plenty, just much shorter than the full ice age etc), but naturally the young Earth creationists find themselves compressing all this time into perhaps a hundred years, tops. N.H. points out that this and other cases of underwater habitation in such a short period just after the Flood/Babel present a bit of a problem. Continue reading

Teeth Like Knives

For this fortnight’s “fact” the ICR has attempted to tackle the following questions:

If God created humans and animals to eat only fruits and vegetables, how did meat get onto the menu? And why do some animals have sharp teeth if they weren’t supposed to eat meat in the beginning?

The result is a bit of a non-answer, as you might expect.

Continue reading

Gill Slits

There is nothing that needs to be said about Thomas’ latest – Do People Have ‘Gill Slits’ in the Womb? – that hasn’t already be covered in Troy Britain’s excellent “Gill slits” by any other name. So I’ll let you go read that.

Oh and, if you haven’t noticed, I’ve been a little busy of late and will be completely absent for a few days soon. So we might have to let the Monday DpSU sit unanswered for a while – that and the latest That’s a Fact if I don’t finish my post before I leave.

Rescuing Device

I said just last post that the “rescuing devices” that Brian Thomas apparently thinks can be simply dismissed are central when the discussion of creationism turns to the claims of creationists themselves about their “science.” Today he’s proved my point admirably, with Did Noah Bring a One-Ton Crocodile onto the Ark?

The important part of the article is summed up like so:

Some question the veracity of the historical Noah’s Ark on the grounds that certain dinosaurs would have been too large to enter it or even to fit on board. But dinosaurs would certainly have fit for the same reasons that crocodiles would have, leaving intact the feasibility of the Ark account.

The most straightforward solution assumes that the Lord brought juvenile animals to Noah.

On the other hand, suggesting that there might be an oasis on Titan causing the existence of a lake in the equatorial zones is just evolutionists trying to shore up their leaky god-denying beliefs. I smell a double-standard.

There are more pressing issues about the Ark than this in any case. It’s all very well having youngsters on the Ark if they would still be enough to sink the thing and get lost on the way home to boot. And were any dinosaurs included among the clean animals that had extra pairs on the Ark?

A Titanic Oasis

The equatorial lakes are not nearly as large as these near the north pole

Click through for a bigger versionMore than a year ago a graphic began circulating that purported to show that the Earth couldn’t be billions of years old based on the claim that we would have gone through all the water in that time. Based on the shear absurdity of such an argument alone this must surely be parody – though Poe’s law confuses this somewhat – but I’m not as sure about that now as I was just a short while ago.

You see, Thomas’ latest – Young-Looking Methane Lakes on Saturn’s Moon – uses a rather similar argument to the one in that picture. He doesn’t do any calculations, avoiding the potential for embarrassing mistakes like the one he made for Enceladus. Instead, he seizes on a couple of comments made in a Nature News article, and dismisses out of hand their explanation. Continue reading

I Agree With the Title, at Least

Not-to-scale diagram of the evolution of the universe, used in the space.com articleSaid title is Physics, Not God, Explains the Universe, from Brian Thomas – I have a feeling he made a mistake and got it the wrong way around, but lets run with it. [ED: he’s gone and fixed it and added a question mark: cap of original]

Thomas links to a space.com article, which opens:

Our universe could have popped into existence 13.7 billion years ago without any divine help whatsoever, researchers say.

The ICR will have none of that! Continue reading