Spiders: God’s Filter Technicians?

A diagram of the web of the spider Nephila clavipes, which is being focussed on in the paperBrian Thomas writes Magnetic Spider Webs Attract Scientists’ Attention. He means electrical, not magnetic, but we’ll forgive him that one and move on.

Spider webs have electrical properties that help them attract insects: a paper last year noted that positively charged objects are more attracted to the silk than neutral objects. This is unsurprising, as weak electrostatic charges build up all the time simply from different materials rubbing together. Thomas says: Continue reading

MacroMicro

Here’s a nice bait-and-switch, courtesy of Frank Sherwin via Your Origins Matter:

Let’s address this issue by first defining our terms. Although many definitions have appeared, science can be described as what we really know to be true mainly through observation. The late G. G. Simpson of Harvard stated in Science magazine that “it is inherent in any definition of science that statements that cannot be checked by observation are not really about anything . . . or at the very least, they are not science.”

But the origins debate centers around macroevolution, and macroevolution has never been observed. One of the architects of neo-Darwinism agrees: “It is manifestly impossible to reproduce in the laboratory the evolution of man from the australopithecine, or of the modern horse from an Eohippus, or of a land vertebrate from a fishlike ancestor. These evolutionary happenings are unique, unrepeatable, and irreversible” (Theodosius Dobzhansky, American Scientist, December 1957).

Continue reading

Friday Falsehoods #1

You don’t need me to tell you about the upcoming “Ham on Nye” debate – a name with many curious connotations – nor give you my opinion on whether it is a good idea or not. But any aspiring debater needs to be able to almost reflexively parse creationist claims for their most crucial and obvious errors. At present we’re four articles behind, so this is the perfect time to start this series – in future I will probably pull from other, non ICR sources as well.

The format we’ll start off with is to give you a quote from each article to consider, and then (if I can get it to work) you can go to the next page to see what I made of each. Then, head to the comments below to tell me what you would have said. Continue reading

Editorial Insights from a Blind Cavefish

Mexican Tetra as Blind Cave FishYou’ll be wanting to look at this screenshot. The ICR article that we’re looking at (“Blind Cavefish Shed Light on Creation,” by Brian Thomas) looks like that as I write this, but it will almost certainly have changed before you see it.

It has always been clear that the ICR has some form of editing process – the relative paucity of typos, the long publication delay, and the fact that for them to do otherwise would be unprofessional being the more obvious clues – but I’ve long been interested in learning about it. This article has been misposted in an annotated draft form, and provides clues I never thought I’d see. My sincere thanks, then, to whoever made the mistake, and I hope nobody gets annoyed with you for it. Continue reading

Duon and Duoff

DNA UV mutation

Attentive viewers will note that this illustration – like Tomkins’ stock photo – is left handed.

Welcome to 2014! I hope you have all had time to settle in a little, and are ready to begin the year afresh. As always, in the event of an earthquake take cover under your desks and then exit through the doors at the front and back in an orderly fashion after the shaking ends. If there is a fire, leave immediately and do not panic. If both occur simultaneously, hope.

Our topic is, as always, the Institute for Creation Research: as such 2013 is not yet over for us. Today the subject is December’s infamous ‘duons’, and the Creation Science Update by Jeffrey Tomkins is called “Duons: Parallel Gene Code Defies Evolution.” Continue reading