Adapting for Climate Change

Strongylocentrotus purpuratusThe ICR is not fond of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming, having argued against it in a number of past articles. Indeed there is significant overlap, at least in the United States, between those who would deny climate change and evolution – though it is not entirely clear whether or not they have a common, theological cause. This position naturally colours Brian Thomas’ latest article, Spiny Sea Creature Rapidly Accommodates Chemical Changes. Continue reading

A Transitional Turtle

Horniman turtle carapace skeletonTurtles: how did they evolve?

Turtles (a group which includes within it tortoises) are most famous for their shells, which are made of their fused ribs. No other animal has a shell constructed in this manner, and it is a feature that all turtles share. The turtle evolution question, therefore, is somewhat synonymous with how turtle shells evolved. It’s also a case where creationists might reasonably ask “where are the transitional forms” – how do you get to shell from no shell? Unfortunately for them, fossils that fit the bill do exist. In 2009, for example, fossils of Odontochelys were discovered in China. This turtle had a complete plastron, the bottom of the shell, but instead of the upper part (the carapace) it merely had broadened rib bones. That sounds like a transitional form to me. Continue reading

But Where is the Thagomizer?

Khmer "Stegosaurus"The Khmer Empire-era Cambodian city of Mahendraparvata has recently been mapped with the aid of a technology known as “lidar” – effectively radar with lasers, hence the name. Today Brian Thomas has an article on the discovery called Jungle-Covered Ruins May Hold Surprising Hints. “Why?” you could reasonably ask, “and hints of what exactly?”

So far as I can tell, young Earth creationists care about the Khmer Empire for one reason and one reason only: the temple of Ta Prohm, located near the more famous Angkor Wat and constructed several hundred years after Mahendraparvata, contains on its walls a carving of what they claim is a stegosaurus, supposedly drawn from life. Mr Thomas says: Continue reading

Meet Brian Thomas

Apologies for the impromptu hiatus (I’m really bad at doing that, aren’t I?) – I had exams, and decided that it was best if I didn’t do anything here for the duration. They’re over now, and so it’s time for the lesser 2013 catch-up.*

From what I see, which is mostly their online stuff, the ICR has not been all that busy in the meantime. The That’s a Fact site, for example, has not only not published a new video but they have in fact ceased to provide information about when the next episode will appear. The Your Origins Matter site, meanwhile, hasn’t published a new post in a week. One that they did post during my hiatus was a short interview with Brian Thomas in which he talks about fossil biochemistry (i.e. soft tissues). Because it’s been long enough since they originally posted it the video has also been uploaded to youtube, meaning that I can embed it below: Continue reading

Mauritia: Another Ancient Microcontinent

India and Madagascar, Late CretaceousClaims of new “lost microcontinents” – often associated in the media with Atlantis – seem to be everywhere lately. For instance we have the recent Brazilian discovery of potentially continental rocks in the Atlantic ocean. Today ICR geologist Timothy L. Clarey has a beef with “Mauritia,” an Indian Ocean microcontinent under what is now Mauritius whose existence was proposed back in Febuary – he writes Outlandish Claims for Missing ‘Continent’.

A group of European scientists have announced the “discovery” of a small continent in the middle of the Indian Ocean that doesn’t exist on any known map. What is this proclamation based on? It’s based on the age estimates of some beach sand and a belief that the “absolute dates” the researchers determined are reliable and factual.

Clarey is not fond of this claim at all. Continue reading

Not So Giant

David Slays GoliathAs I said, there’s a new That’s a Fact video out: Biblical Giants. For the June Acts & Facts edition Randy Guliuzza wrote an article called “Did Giants Ever Exist?“, and this video examines the same issue.

The point of the video is apparently to prove that the giants referenced in the bible are perfectly believable – they were just tall people! The obvious, but perhaps unintended effect of this strategy is to make them seem not all that impressive. Continue reading

Meet Frank Sherwin

Frank SherwinThe second in the series of YOM interviews with ICR employees has been posted. This one is of Frank Sherwin, talking about human evolution, and is quite a bit shorter than the previous one with Nathaniel Jeanson. Because it’s so short I’ve been able to reproduce a full transcript below, interspersed with commentary.

The interview is broken into three parts, separated by title cards (bolded). Continue reading

The Magnetic Field of the Moon

Strength of the Moons magnetic fieldUnlike the Earth the Moon lacks a global magnetic field (though it does still have a field of sorts) but evidence from rocks brought back by the Apollo missions shows that this was not always the case. We haven’t seen an article on planetary magnetism from the ICR in some time now, but they used to be quite common. Brian Thomas’ latest, The Moon’s Latest Magnetic Mysteries, breaks the silence.

The topic is a recent paper in PNAS, “Persistence and origin of the lunar core dynamo” – the paper is not open access, but a conference abstract on the same subject is available as is a article. The methodology is quite interesting: Continue reading

Charlie Darwin Was Smarter Than You

For our first June article Brian Thomas writes People Not Quite as Clever Anymore. Intriguingly this title seems to lack the usual hyperbole (anyone remember those “edible eggs”?) but this doesn’t mean that the article is correct.

Tying in with their conception of the Fall, young Earth creationists often talk about the concept of “genetic load,” or mutational meltdown. The Curse, they believe, caused mutations which they claim will go undetected by natural selection and build up over the generations until they eventually render organisms non-functional. This would exhibit itself in the form of genetic diseases, and also traits such as intelligence – it’s the root source of the common out when challenged on how Noah could have built such a large, seaworthy vessel: “people were smarter back then,” they say, “look at the pyramids.” An implication of this is that Victorians (such as Charles Darwin) would have been smarter than people living today – like the current batch of young Earth creationists, for instance. This may have something to do with their tendency to point to even older scientists, like Newton, who they claim believed as they did. Continue reading

Meet Nathaniel Jeanson

A new video has been posted at Your Origins Matter called “College & Science: Nathaniel Jeanson.” I can’t find it on youtube anywhere (at least not yet) so you’ll have to click over there to view it. Jeanson is one of the ICR’s researchers, and the video is about 13 minutes long and covers the following:

  1. Who are you, what is your specialization, and what does your current research look like?
  2. When did you decide you were destined for a career in science?
  3. What background do you have in science and the study of creation?
  4. What advice do you have for prospective college students – science and non-science majors?
  5. What words of wisdom do you have for the Christian student in both Christian and secular universities?

The college advice portion is the longest, and perhaps the most interesting. In summary, Jeanson wants you to first ground yourself thoroughly in creationism. You should then go to a secular university, on the grounds that hearing a fellow Christian talk about “unbiblical” ideas will be more likely to persuade you than if it’s a non-believer talking, and take a course in science but not one that’s evolution-centric. Once you’ve got “credentials” you can investigate the issues you were originally interested in. If you’ve heard much about Jeanson before you might recognise his advice as being, in effect, “do as I did,” but it’s also quite similar to what Jake Hebert said in December.

Jeanson also recommends that you commute to university to avoid the debauchery (so that’s what I’ve been doing wrong – damn trains), to live either alone or with fellow believers, and to be suspicious of potentially compromising campus groups. And there’s plenty more where that came from – go watch.