Monastic Science

I’m out of town at the moment, so here’s a scheduled post I wrote a couple of weeks ago for this occasion. I’ll be back Friday, I think?


We haven’t heard from the ICR’s lawyer/theologian extraordinaire, James J. S. Johnson, in much too long.

In the February edition of Acts & Facts he has an article called “Fishy Science.”  The thrust of this column is that humans aren’t evolving, and that we’ve always been able to do science. It makes for a better insight however into the young Earth creationist dystopia, in which observational science is the only science, along with being another example of Johnson’s strange obsession with the Vikings. Continue reading

Acts & Facts – October 2012

It is less than a week into the month of October and we have already reached the end of the articles worth analysing in any depth in the latest edition of Acts & Facts. It’s time then to take a look at all of the articles in context. For future reference the pdf of this months newsletter is located here.


Page 3: The Enduring Value of Words (Jayme Durant)

The gist of the editor’s column this month, after you get past the story about her great grandmother going into a retirement home, is that the ICR plans to release two new books this season. One is by Brad Forlow, and will be called Biology and the Bible – my guess is that this will most likely be pamphlet sized, and even that will be pushing it. The other is by John Morris, called The Global Flood: Unlocking Earth’s Geologic History. While most likely just have more of the same kind of stuff found in other young Earth creationist geology-related books, as I haven’t read any of those before it might be interesting to get my hands on. I still need to do Tomkins’ book, however, so it would have to be added to the end of an ever-lengthening queue.

Continue reading

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