Something Happened

To research for his October Acts & Facts article, Evolution: It Just Happened, about all Frank Sherwin seems to have done is run a search of the academic literature for the phrase “something happened.” He has compiled a small collection: his first is from the “prestigious secular journal Nature.“*

A recent issue of the secular science journal Nature includes research by molecular palaeobiologist Kevin Peterson in which he questions the traditional evolutionary tree of mammals, stating it is all wrong. The data Peterson uses are based on a molecule called microRNA (miRNA). This is just one of several kinds of ribonucleic acids that control the expression of genes. Peterson’s miRNA interpretation breaks away from the traditional Darwinian view that people are more closely related to cows, dogs, and elephants than to rodents.

Peterson’s conclusions are interesting, I have to say, but not overly compelling. Continue reading

Dendrochronology

Some unidentified tree ringsDendrochronology is, of course, the method of using tree rings to date things. Our records go back as far as 11,000 years in some cases, which is incredibly useful for archaeological purposes and as a side effect also demonstrates that such dates existed to boot – you can see how that might worry young Earth creationists. For his October Acts & Facts article John D. Morris wants to talk about Tree Ring Dating and its problems.

Several species of trees live almost indefinitely. The giant sequoia trees of California are known to live over 3,000 years, discerned through tree ring dating. Under normal circumstances, woody trees add one ring per year. A ring typically consists of a light-colored growth portion and a dark-colored portion produced in a stabilization season. However, some trees do not produce annual rings at all, especially those in temperate or tropical regions.

Actually, it is those that are in temperate regions that produce the best rings, as the seasonal changes in growth are the clearest. Morris needs to show us that dating via this method is unreliable. You’ll note the lack of specifics on his part. Continue reading

Randy Guliuzza: Four Facts

Your Origins Matter – i.e. the ICR’s touring group – is in Tennessee this week, and as part of that Dr Randy Guliuzza (MD) gave a lecture to Crown College which has since been posted to Youtube. The YOM twitter feed said that “You will want to catch this,” so we will:

The main point of the 45 minute lecture is that Guliuzza has “four biological facts” that evolutionist have wrong but the Bible is correct on. But there is plenty more in here as well. I’ll give specific times in this video so you can follow along, in the format “(12:34)” – which would in that case correspond to twelve minutes and thirty-four seconds as you might expect.

Simple enough. What does he talk about then? Continue reading

Creationism is not Science

That, in effect, is the admission from Rhonda Forlow in her latest Ask Dr Rhonda post, Evolution and Science:

Q: Is evolution a scientific fact?

A: In a short answer, no. But, by the strictest definition, neither is creationism, theistic evolution, or any other origin (historical) science.

Of course her “historical science” logic is flawed, as simply dealing with the past does not make a field unscientific. If evolution isn’t science, then what is it? (It’s certainly not a religion, whatever the creationists like to say.) You can define science in such a way as to purposely exclude evolution but that’s a silly definition to use. Semantic arguments such as this do not invalidate a field either, which is the intention.

But it’s still nice when a person using this line of argument takes it to the logical conclusion and turns it on “creation science” itself. Because, evolution and historical science aside, creationism isn’t science.

Another Piece in the Puzzle

One of the cosmology news stories from earlier this month involved data from the South Pole Telescope which helped show that the period of reionisation – which is when galaxies first began to form – happened over a shorter timespan than previously thought. They found that it was complete as early as 750 million years after the big bang:

The data provide new constraints on the universe’s first era of galaxy formation, called the Epoch of Reionization. Most astronomers think that early stars came to life in massive gas clouds, generating the first galaxies. The energetic light pumped out by these stars is thought to have ionized the hydrogen gas in and around the galaxies, creating “ionization bubbles” millions of light years across that left a lasting, telltale signature in the cosmic background radiation (CMB). This relic light from the early universe is visible today everywhere in the sky and was first mapped by UC Berkeley physicist and Nobel laureate George Smoot, founder of the BCCP.

“We find that the Epoch of Reionization lasted less than 500 million years and began when the universe was at least 250 million years old,” Zahn said. “Before this measurement, scientists believed that reionization lasted 750 million years or longer, and had no evidence as to when reionization began.”

Continue reading

ENCODE at Last

Yes, this lot. It was inevitable, trust me.It’s taken longer than I expected and isn’t up to the quality (accuracy-wise at least) that I had been hoping from the delay, but Jeffrey Tomkins has finally written ENCODE Reveals Incredible Genome Complexity and Function. He opens:

Both the evolutionist and creationist communities are abuzz with the latest results from 30 simultaneously published high-profile research papers, proclaiming that the human genome is irreducibly complex and intelligently designed.

Poor quality though it may be, this article doesn’t waste any time. The primary ENCODE paper, stupid and misleading things though it may well have said, did not say that. Continue reading

God + Wit = Godwit

The new That’s a Fact video for this week, Land Ho!, consists of a jab against those silly, silly people who believe that the biblical flood was somehow ‘local.’ I don’t think I’ve ever met such a person myself, with most non-creationists I know not really believing in a literal flood at all, but young Earth creationists do seem to devote a fair bit of their energies to attacking them as a perceived threat.

Click through to view

Land Ho! Getting ready to book that flight? Despite the no-frills travel these days, millions continue to fly each year.

Jab it might be, but this video takes an awfully long time to get to it, dealing mostly with irrelevancies. Continue reading

This is Not the Answer You’re Looking For

Men might be better at seeing detail and motion, but did that originate on the Serengeti?Creationist non-answers are in a permanent state of hyperinflation, but the one in Men and Women See Differently…Literally, Brian Thomas’ first article after his own short hiatus, is quite a nice example. The paper being talked about is Sex & vision I: Spatio-temporal resolution (there was a part II, not cited in this article), which showed that “As with other sensory systems, there are marked sex differences in vision.” According to Brian evolution can’t explain this, but the bible can:

Why are men and women different in the way they perceive the world and process and communicate information? Could nature have selected these trait differences? If so, how would these differences contribute to survival? Abramov apparently has no answers to these questions. “The evolutionary driving force between these differences is less clear,” he said.

Continue reading

Acts & Facts – September 2012

You’ve already seen most of the interesting stuff from the September 2012 edition of the ICR’s monthly newsletter, Acts & Facts. Provided that it’s still September when you read this, this page on the ICR’s website should have links to all the articles, otherwise they can be found in this pdf or at the links below:

  • Appreciating God’s Priceless Treasure: Jamye Durant writes the editor’s column, and it would seem that this is now going to be more-or-less permanent (it used to be Lawrence Ford). Durant talks about how “Art is all about appreciation,” before steering the article towards the bible.
  • Examining Evidence: The feature article is by Henry Morris III, and is tasked with showing how evidence is necessary for the activity they call ‘apologetics.’
  • Bio-Origins Project Update, Comparing 2,000 Animal Species Molecularly: Nathaniel Jeanson is searching for the holy grail baraminological kind. He’ll have fun looking, I’m sure.
  • Events: The first of these is the “true woman conference” (whatever that is) in Indianapolis on the 20th to the 22nd, and then there are two more over the course of the rest of the month in Myrtle Beach and Johnson City.
  • Valuing God’s Variety: This is the James J. S. Johnson article I wrote something on but didn’t publish. Johnson concludes that God must like variety, because if he didn’t it wouldn’t exist.
  • The Higgs Boson and the Big Bang: Jake Hebert recycles an article of his from when the Higgs news was fresh.
  • Observing Creation: John D. Morris disses uniformitarianism. Just another day in creationist geology.
  • Blue Stars Confirm Recent Creation: According to Jason Lisle, blue stars (and indeed, all stars) prove a recent creation because they can’t form naturally – provided, of course, that you throw out everything we know about stellar formation.
  • A Recent Explosion of Human Diversity: Brian Thomas provides the second recycled article.
  • Teaching the Evidence of Creation to Children: Rhonda Forlow is incredibly dangerous to the future prospects of humanity, but we already knew that. Like Morris she too wants evidence, but she has no doubts about creationism.
  • Letters to the Editor: According to one letter writer the Acts & Facts magazine has a higher “quality of artistic design” than Newsweek and a number of unspecified academic journals. A second has “taught geology and anthropology for 60 years on both college and high school levels…with much help from ICR’s research and publications.” Apparently he liked the June edition. Another letter praises, of all people, Brian Thomas, singling out this article. And there’s more where that came from – there’s a bumper crop this month.
  • Ministry Stewardship: Morris IV wants money, as he does every month, but he also wants to save it too. As such he has apparently sent letters to all the people who get sent (free) paper copies of Days of Praise and Acts & Facts to make sure they still want them sent. You need to reply quick or “this issue of Acts & Facts will regrettably be your last.”
  • Exploring the Evidence for Creation: Lastly a portion of a book of that title, written by Morris III, is reprinted to make up the pages.

And that’s all. Not a particularly interesting month, but they can’t all be.

Hiatus Report

Exams are over (until November) and it’s time to return to blogging. I wonder what I missed?

Surprisingly little, it would seem. While for the other creationist outfits that I’m more aware of the last week or two have been dominated by the continued fallout from both the Bill Nye videos and the ENCODE results, I would probably have been rather bored with the Institute if I weren’t otherwise preoccupied. They haven’t really done much on their main site, and they haven’t managed to make up for it elsewhere. Continue reading