Sunday, 21 January 2018

Killer Solar Flares May Have Kickstarted Life, New Naturalistic Scenario Suggests

Image courtesy of NASA/GSFC/SDO.




Joel Kontinen

Solar flares can certainly kill, but scientists who subscribe to the naturalistic worldview are setting their hopes on them.

Avi Loeb at Harvard University and his colleagues simulated a solar flare that hit Mars with high-energy protons. They believe this might create the building blocks of life.

Here we have a speculative scenario in which raw energy magically turns into life, as long as they are given a few billion years to sort things out.

It has the same problem as all other naturalistic origin of life hypotheses, regardless of what they invoke or rely on, for instance, meteorites, Saturn’s moon Enceladus, Jupiter’s moon Europa, a synthetic enzyme, cosmic rays or molecular midwives.

The problem is that they cannot produce life.

Source:

Crane, Leah. 2018. Deadly solar flares may have helped seed life on Mars and beyond New Scientist (19 January).


Friday, 19 January 2018

New Origin of Life Hypothesis Invokes Meteorites

Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.




Joel Kontinen

Naturalistic origin of life enthusiasts have set their hopes on meteorites as a likely breeding ground for the ingredients needed for life.

A paper published recently in the journal Science Advances examines the chemical composition of two meteorites that fell to Earth.

They … contain both liquid water and a mix of complex organic compounds such as hydrocarbons and amino acids,” a news release issued by Berkeley Lab says.

It might be an understatement to say that the Berkeley folks are exited:

“[The paper] provides the first comprehensive chemical exploration of organic matter and liquid water in salt crystals found in Earth-impacting meteorites. The study treads new ground in the narrative of our solar system’s early history and asteroid geology while surfacing exciting possibilities for the existence of life elsewhere in Earth’s neighborhood.

However, they might probably need to consider the lesson provided by a can of sardines, which has all the ingredients that life needs, but for some reason the contents are as dead as dead can be.

Much more than just the necessary ingredients are needed for life to suddenly pop up.

The latest scenario is no more credible than the previous (failed) ones, including those that invoke Saturn’s moon Enceladus, Jupiter’s moon Europa, a synthetic enzyme, cosmic rays or molecular midwives, or a plethora of other suggestions.

After all, life only comes from life, and it has to be created.

Source:

Roberts, Glenn. Jr. 2018. Ingredients for Life Revealed in Meteorites That Fell to Earth. Berkeley Lab (10 January).

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Feathered Duck-Sized Dino-Era Bird Found in China

Image courtesy of Dongyu Hu et al., 2018. A bony-crested Jurassic dinosaur with evidence of iridescent plumage highlights complexity in early paravian evolution. Nature Communications 9, 217.





Joel Kontinen

It has asymmetrical feathers like modern birds. It is iridescence and colourful, just like today’s hummingbirds.

And Caihong juji ('rainbow with the big crest'), made public yesterday in a paper in the journal Nature Communications, is assumed to be 161 million years old but as its preservation is “incredible” the age might well be nothing more than wishful thinking.

Modern pigment has previously been reported in a ”150-million-year” old bird fossil, and birds are known to have flown over the heads of dinosaurs.

The authors describe C. juji as a dinosaur, though it probably looked even less like a dino than Archaeopteryx, the “earliest” true bird, which is believed to be or “10 million years” younger.

There is something fishy about its recent past. Discovered by a farmer in China's Hebei Province, the Paleontological Museum of Liaoning bought it in 2014.

In biblical archaeology, objects found by amateurs are almost always dismissed as frauds.

But when it has to do with evolution, the standard is obviously much lower.

C. juji has some mosaic-like features and some unique ones, such as asymmetrical feathers in its tail.

However, these would hardly make it into a dinosaur.

Source:

Geggel, Laura. 2018. Little 'Rainbow' Dinosaur Discovered by Farmer in China. Live Science (15 January).

Monday, 15 January 2018

DNA Repair Mechanism Challenges Darwinian Orthodoxy

New research featuring Arabidopsis thalianachallenges Neo-Darwinism. Image courtesy of Marco Roepers, CC BY-SA 3.0.





Joel Kontinen

A new paper published in the journal Genome Research challenges Darwinian orthodoxy.

Organisms are programmed with a feature called “DNA mismatch repair (MMR). It corrects mutations that arise during the replication of the genome during cell division.

While studying the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, University of Oxford researchers found out that the MMR prefers to repair genes rather than other areas of the genome.

A news release published by Oxford University states:

The study has important implications for human health, and is particularly useful for understanding the changes that occur in cells during the development of the tumors that underlie cancers. MMR-deficiency predisposes cells to become tumorous, presumably because MMR-deficient cells lack the gene protection that reduces the risk of mutation in the genes that normally suppress tumor formation.

Basically, DNA correction mechanisms falsify Neo-Darwinism. There are too many intelligent solutions in cells.

Source:

University of Oxford. 2018. Cells protect genes more than rest of genome. (5 January).

Saturday, 13 January 2018

"Perfectly Preserved" Scales Show the Non-Evolution of Butterflies


Butterflies have resisted evolution for aeons.




Joel Kontinen

Butterflies are amazing creatures. While they tend to be tiny, they have superbly designed features that cause them to be excellent navigators.

What is more, the are a real headache for evolutionists, due to their non-evolution.

Darwinists used to believe that butterflies appeared “130 million years” ago, along with flowering plants but new research pushes back the date by “70 million years.”

Scientists found fossilised butterfly scales the size of a speck of dust inside ancient rock from Germany,” BBC News reports.

They used acid to dissolve ancient rocks, leaving behind small fragments, including ‘perfectly preserved’ scales that covered the wings of early moths and butterflies.”

And there were more surprises for evolutionists:

Intriguingly, they show that some of the moths and butterflies belonged to a group still alive today that have long straw-like tongues for sucking up nectar.”

Source:

Briggs, Helen. 2018. Meet the butterflies from 200 million years ago. BBC News (11 January).


Thursday, 11 January 2018

Soft Eye Tissue Found in "120-Million-Year-Old" Bird

The early bird might have looked like this. Image courtesy of Nobu Tamura, CC BY 3.0.




Joel Kontinen

A sparrow-sized dino-era bird found in the Liaoning Province in China could most probably see in colour.

An analysis of the 120-million-year-old bird revealed that the creature's eye tissues — more specially, its rods and cones — had fossilized in remarkable condition,” an article on Live Science suggests.

The article goes on to say:

These oil droplets are located on the tip of the color-sensing cone cells and act like a color filter on a camera lens. For example, red-colored oil droplets would cover red-sensing cone cells, allowing birds (as well as turtles and possibly dinosaurs) to see the color red.”

What is more, the “oil droplets were similar in size to those seen in living birds,” i.e. no evolution has occurred in “120 million years,” prompting Baochun Zhou, an associate professor of paleontology at the Shanghai Natural History Museum, to say the discovery "indicates that the complex optical system of cone cells had already been achieved by 120 million years ago."

There are serious problems with radiometric dating, so it might be wise not to be too dogmatic about dates that go into millions of years.

Some dino-age birds looked like today’s birds, and previous research has shown that an early bird preened its feathers, just like modern ones.


Source:

Geggel, Laura. 2018. This Bird 'Eyeball' Survived 120 Million Years. Live Science (11 January).

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Ice Age People Walked as Well as We Do

Homo ergaster plays a major role in a recent paper on human locomotion. Image courtesy of Luna04, CC BY 2.5.





Joel Kontinen

New research published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology by scientists at the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH) discloses that ice age (“Pleistocene”) people walked as effectively as we do.

True to their Darwinian underpinnings, the researchers chose to call the study subjects Pleistocene hominins.

The paper falsified a key evolutionary assumption, i.e. with the passing of millions of years, purported human ancestors would gradually evolve to become more efficient walkers.

However, as an article in Science Daily puts it, “the walk of Pleistocene hominins was no less efficient energetically than that of current humans.”

Marco Vidal Cordasco, the lead author of the paper, elaborates: “The changes observed in the width of the pelvis and the length of the lower limbs did not reduce the cost of walking sufficiently to offset the rise in energy cost caused by the increased body mass.”

Previous research has shown that human size has not increased in “1.5 million years” and the recent discovery of “5.7 million year” old footprints on Crete basically falsifies the entire Darwinian scenario and draws suspicion on radiometric dating.

The fate of our purported ancestors is a big disappointment for Darwinians: Nutcracker man lived in a tree, Lucy dropped from a tree and has a baboon’s bone, Taung Child fails as an ancestor and H. naledi is too young.


Source:

CENIEH. 2017. The locomotion of hominins in the Pleistocene was just as efficient as that of current humans. Science Daily. (15 December).

Monday, 8 January 2018

California’s Frozen Lizards Are Designed to Withstand Icy Weather

Image courtesy of The Photographer, Public domain.




Joel Kontinen

Frozen iguanas have been falling from trees in Florida during the recent cold spell. While these lizards might look as though they’re dead, most of them probably aren’t and they will revive once it gets warmer.

Like many other ectotherms or cold-blooded animals, iguanas conserve energy by slowing down their metabolism.

This is a designed feature that allows them to cope in harsh climates.

Most birds can walk on ice and snow without getting cold feet due to their ingenious design, and penguins make their own anti-freeze.

Source:

Specktor, Brandon. 2018. Watch for Falling Iguanas! Bomb Cyclone Drops Frozen Lizards. Live Science (5 January).


Sunday, 7 January 2018

Treeshrew Breaks Evolution’s Rules

Tupaia glis. Image courtesy of Stavenn, CC BY 2.5.




Joel Kontinen

Evolution is supposed to be blind, but for some reasons it is assumed to have rules that determine the size and distribution of animals.

The island rule asserts that small mammals living on islands will on average be bigger than those on the mainland.

Bergmann's rule states that animals living in colder climates will in general be bigger than those living in warmer climates.

The problem with these rules is that not all animals follow it. A paper published in the journal Ecology and Evolution shows that the common treeshrew (Tupaia glis) breaks both rules.

An article posted on Phys.org states:

In order to determine treeshrew body size from populations on the Malay Peninsula and 13 offshore islands, the researchers measured 260 specimens collected over the past 122 years and housed in six natural history museums in Europe and North America. They tested multiple variables, analyzing how island size, distance from the mainland, maximum sea depth between the mainland and the islands, and latitude relate to body size in the treeshrew populations. They found that the island rule and Bergmann's rule, which are rarely tested together, do not apply to common treeshrews.

For Darwinists, the results were much worse:

“The study revealed no size difference between mainland and island populations. It also revealed that treeshrews invert Bergmann's rule: individuals from lower latitudes [i.e., in warmer climates] tended to be larger than those located at higher latitudes [i.e., in colder climates].”

Many other animals, for instance, snow voles, ticks, star-nosed moles, deep sea toads and a singing fish, also defy Darwinian expectations.

Source:

Cummings, Mike. 2018. Study shows treeshrews break evolutionary 'rules'. Phys.org (5 January).

Friday, 5 January 2018

Beauty and Patterns In the Universe Speak of Creation

Image courtesy of NASA.




Joel Kontinen

The Milky Way and our galactic neighbourhood are anything but haphazard collections of stars. Instead, stars and galaxies seem to follow a clear pattern, which, seen from a naturalistic viewpoint, is a big mystery:

Stars are formed in a variety of masses, and that distribution follows a well-known relation that’s observed everywhere we look, which is kind of odd and we’re not exactly sure why stars follow that relation,” New Scientist quotes Don Figer at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York as saying.

Symmetry means beauty. Fibonacci numbers can be seen practically everywhere in the universe, making it an astoundingly beautiful place.

Beauty would be an enormous dilemma in a cold, heartless Darwinian world, but in a created cosmos it is the very thing that we would expect to find, as God is the author of all beauty.

Source:

Crane, Leah. 2018. The universe could be full of more huge stars than we thought. New Scientist (4 January).

Thursday, 4 January 2018

More Wishful Thinking: Tides and Atmospheres on TRAPPIST-1 Planets Might Make Life Possible

Image courtesy of NASA.



Joel Kontinen

The TRAPPIST-1 planets orbit a cool red dwarf star. It is no secret that such stars are instable and prone to produce deadly flares.

Moreover, all TRAPPIST-1 planets are most probably tidally locked (with their same side always facing their sun), making life practically impossible.

However, this has not put an end to wishful thinking. For instance, an article in New Scientist suggests:

The outer planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system might be better for life than we thought. Their cores are stretched by gravity, which generates heat, and there’s a possibility these exoplanets have atmospheres, so the outermost planets could be warmer and wetter than we thought, maybe even with air.

The article relies on a number of unknowns, and is mostly inspired by wishful thinking, such as the power of tidal forces to “stretch and flex the planets’ cores enough to heat them from the inside.

Most exoplanets are more or less weird. For instance, superfast spinning stars show that our Sun is special – and so is Earth.

Source:

Crane, Leah. 2018. Tides and atmospheres on TRAPPIST-1 planets may help life thrive. New Scientist (3 January).

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Intelligent Defensive Weapon in Hagfish

Image courtesy of Alexander Francis Lydon, Public Domain.




Joel Kontinen

Hagfish is a bizarre living fossil that can tie itself into a knot.

It has resisted the urge to evolve for “300 million years.”

Recent research shows it also has a secret weapon against predators such as sharks (that likewise are living fossils).

A paper published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface gives some background information:

Hagfishes defend themselves from fish predators by releasing large volumes of gill-clogging slime when they are attacked. Slime release is not anticipatory, but is only released after an attack has been initiated, raising the question of how hagfishes survive the initial attack, especially from biting predators such as sharks.”

So, how do they manage to survive?

The loose attachment of hagfish skin to the rest of the body and the substantial ‘slack volume' in the subcutaneous sinus protect hagfish musculature and viscera from penetrating teeth.”

Even in a fallen world groaning from of the dire consequences of Adam’s sin, God cares for animals, even hagfish.

Source:

Boggett, Sarah. 2017. Flaccid skin protects hagfishes from shark bites. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 14 (137).

Monday, 1 January 2018

Wish Upon a Moon

Exomoon or not? An artist’s impression of the MOA-2011-BLG-262 system. Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.




Joel Kontinen

The Moon is one of the things that make Earth a privileged planet. Writing in Nature, Robin Canup states:

The Moon is large enough to stabilize our planet's rotation, holding Earth's polar axis steady to within a few degrees. Without it, the current Earth's tilt would vary chaotically by tens of degrees.

The Moon’s size and distance from Earth determine how big tides we have. Without tides marine life would sooner or later come to an end, and our planet could turn into Mars’ twin.

In other words, the Moon looks designed to maintain life on Earth.

The origin of the Moon is a naturalistic dilemma.

New Scientist reports on a naturalistic scenario that has exomoons wandering all over the universe.

There is scant evidence for the existence of even a single exomoon, but why would they let facts spoil a good naturalistic hypothesis?


Sources:

Canup, Robin. 2013. Planetary science: Lunar conspiracies. Nature 504, 27–29 (4 December).

Wenz, John. 2017The universe may be full of ex-moons flung from their homeworlds New Scientist (26 December).