Many Kinds of Ant

Atta cephalotes - Hans HillewaertThere are some interesting conclusions to be drawn from Jeffrey Tomkins article for today – called Newly Discovered ‘Orphan Genes’ Defy Evolution. This may seem odd, not least because a) all three of those pairs of words are common and uninteresting Tomkins-isms and b) the “recent review paper” he begins by talking about was actually published in 2009, but bear with me here. Continue reading

80% Fish

"Missing in Action" background imageIt would appear that the ICR’s That’s a Fact video series also chose to take the last few weeks off, with only one video being posted in my absence – the next one is due next weekend. The now month-old latest video is called Missing in Action and it’s subject – so-called “missing links” – ties in nicely with the catchup post that will appear next.

The term “missing link” is a misleading descriptor, which is unfortunately commonly used in the media when discussing fossils. It invokes the image of a broken chain, now mended, and that’s not how evolution works. The creationist (mis)conception is even worse – the picture above, of what is supposed to be a literal half-dog, half-bear creature, is not some parody of how they misunderstand the idea but instead the main image for this very video. If it comes down to it they probably do know better than that, but they’re not about to give it away in their two-minute “science” videos. Continue reading

Noah’s Frogs

Hemiphractus fasciatusDid Noah Recognize Different Frog Species?, by Brian Thomas, is a fairly predictable discussion of baraminology. The article opens:

“What if Noah got it wrong?” is a question recently posed in a ScienceDaily article. “What if he paired a male and a female animal thinking they were the same species, and then discovered they were not the same and could not produce offspring?”

These were probably not intended to be serious questions. But if Genesis provides real history, maybe they should be.

The ScienceDaily article – Genetic Matchmaking Saves Endangered Frogs – is about a frog breeding project that is using “DNA barcodes” to ensure that they don’t try to breed similar-looking frogs that are of different species. Andrew J. Crawford is quoted in that press release as saying:

If we accidentally choose frogs to breed that are not the same species, we may be unsuccessful or unknowingly create hybrid animals that are maladapted to their parents’ native environment.

The journal paper the release relates to can be found here (pdf), but is not actually particularly relevant to the subject Thomas wishes to talk about. Continue reading

The Fact of Evolution

Dr John's Q&AFrom 1989 to 2006 the ICR ran a Frequently Asked Questions column – sometimes referred to as “Dr John’s Q&A” – in it’s Acts & Facts newsletter. For 2013 they appear to have revived the concept in the form of a new series of “Creation Q&A” articles. The first is by Nathaniel Jeanson, and his question is “Is Evolution an Observable Fact?

“Evolution is fact!” is one of the most popular evolutionary assertions made by evolutionists, ranging from those at the National Center for Science Education to those working for PBS. Proponents of Charles Darwin want you to believe that his hypothesis is being confirmed right before our eyes.

The NCSE page linked to does not actually make this claim, and neither does the PBS FAQ. Not a great start. Continue reading

Arthropod Brains

Fuxianhuia protensa from the Lower Cambrian Chengjiang FaunaThe latest article from Brian Thomas is Cambrian Creature Had Complicated Brain. It relates to a study that found that a Cambrian arthropod, Fuxianhuia protensa, had a “modern” brain (at least for an arthropod). But first, here’s Brian’s conception of the Cambrian explosion:

In the evolutionary scheme, Cambrian fossils represent creatures from an ancient time when they had only recently emerged from unidentified sub-animal life forms. As such, evolutionists expect Cambrian creatures to be more complicated in structure than their supposed precursors, but simpler than their more “highly evolved” descendants.

“Unidentified sub-animal life forms”? 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

The Tigon Continuum

A liger (not a tiglon)To quickly summarise Thomas’ article Lions, Tigers, and Tigons, a bunch of old news stories are dug up to talk about baraminological ‘kinds.’

You have probably heard of ligers: tiger/lion crosses, where the lion is the female parent. Tigons, or tiglons, are the opposite – the tiger is the female.

In December 2011, a lioness at Yancheng Safari Park of Changzhou in China gave birth to twin tigons, and the Associated Press recently released footage of the young cats in their pen. Tigons, or tiglons, are the rare products of tiger fathers and lioness mothers. Tigers are larger cats than lions, leading to more difficulties in pregnancy and birth with tigons than with ligers. Unfortunately, one of the featured tigons died soon after birth.

“Recently” here is early March, which has got to be a record (judging by the ‘accessed on’ dates, this article was written over a month ago – also a record?). Continue reading

The Hunt for the Mythical Kind

Frankly, it’s about time. Young Earth creationists assert that the natural world is divided into clearly distinguishable “kinds,” collections of species that share common ancestry. This would produce what I’ll call the ‘fungus of life,’ and if true should be a damn slight bit more obvious than it is. While this – that is, actually testing the various out-there claims that creationists make – is generally Todd Wood’s department, the ICR is finally getting in on the act. But they’re not approaching it quite right. Nathaniel Jeanson opens his article, Bio-Origins Project Update, Comparing 2,000 Animal Species Molecularly, like so:

If you were to compare DNA across diverse species, what pattern would you expect to see? The Bio-Origins project at ICR has narrowed its focus to DNA to answer several major creation biology questions. We want to: 1) identify the created kind boundaries; 2) identify the mechanism by which the kinds underwent diversification into the vast array of species we see today; and 3) identify the biological reason why the diversification process is limited to change within kinds. We also want to gather evidence against the faulty evolutionary paradigm epitomized by the “tree of life.”

The flaw here is that he assumes that kinds even exist before starting out: if he were doing this properly he would test that fact first. Not doing so runs the risk (who am I kidding? It’s gonna happen) of phenomena being misinterpreted as the features he is looking for, and probably used later as proof that kinds exist into the bargain – and it would be terrible if the ICR was to fall into the trap of circular reasoning, a sin they baselessly accuse real scientists of committing about every other month. Continue reading

Giant Leap for Rodentkind

Masillamys, a rodent fossil dating to 40-48 million years old

Frank Sherwin – in Big or Small–Rodents Have Always Been Rodents –  appears to be arguing for a single rodent baraminological ‘kind.’ He claims, utilising a number of out-of-date or irrelevant references, that there is no evolutionary transition to rodents, but forgets that what he really needs to do is demonstrate that there are numerous distinct groups within rodentia that do not share a common ancestry. Why? Because a rodent kind would be simply too big! You’ll see what I mean in a moment. Continue reading

The Ultimate Question

When it comes to Creationism, especially young-Earth Creationism, the ultimate question is not “how many roads must a man walk down?” Nor is it “what do you get if you multiply six by nine?” Closer, however, is the title of the latest Daily Science Update from Mr Thomas, Why God Created Large, Sharp Teeth. The answer, whatever it is, seems unlikely to be “42”.

The teeth of the T-rex were not particularly well-suited for plant eating Continue reading