Posted by: Rob Lester | April 18, 2012

Upon further review…

An April 16th  New York Times Science article written by Carl Zimmer (linked below) blows the lid off scientific malpractice in research journals. A radical increase in retractions prompted an investigation begun by Dr. Ferric Fang, who is editor in chief of the journal Infection and Immunity, and Dr. Arturo Casadevall (editor in chief of the journal mBio). This investigation yielded shocking (and angering) results. What they found was “a symptom of a dysfunctional scientific climate…To survive professionally, scientists feel the need to publish as many papers as possible, and to get them into high-profile journals. And sometimes they cut corners or even commit misconduct to get there…they look at the prestige of the journal in which the research is published, and they see how many grant dollars scientists have, and if they don’t have funding, they don’t get promoted,” Dr. Fang said. “It’s not about the quality of the research…You can’t afford to fail, to have your hypothesis disproven,” he continued. “It’s a small minority of scientists who engage in frank misconduct. It’s a much more insidious thing that you feel compelled to put the best face on everything.”

This is exactly why there is such skepticism of things like evolution, global warming, etc. Science is no longer just about inquiry and discovery: it is a business. In the “publish or perish” world of scientific academia, the pressure is on researchers to be daring and to be first. Researchers are encouraged to go too fast, be less thorough, and make dramatic leaps of judgment in order to avoid getting “scooped.” This leads to hyperbole and overstatement of findings in order to garner attention. As the volume keeps getting turned up, important (but less sensational) research gets ignored and underfunded. It’s all about the headlines and news conferences. Remember the media circus surrounding “Ida”?

(https://preachrr.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/real-science-versus-tabloid-%e2%80%9cscience%e2%80%9d/)

Consider this frank confession by Donald Johansen (the discoverer of the “Lucy” fossil): “There is no such thing as a total lack of bias. I have it; everybody has it. The fossil hunter in the field has it…. In everybody who is looking for hominids, there is a strong urge to learn more about where the human line started. If you are working back at around three million, as I was, that is very seductive, because you begin to get an idea that that is where Homo did start. You begin straining your eyes to find Homo traits in fossils of that age…. Logical, maybe, but also biased. I was trying to jam evidence of dates into a pattern that would support conclusions about fossils which, on closer inspection, the fossils themselves would not sustain (Johanson and Edey, 1981, pp. 257,258, emp. added). Why? Perhaps in order to get published. This one discovery has made Johansen’s career.

Neo-Darwinists sneer at creationist science and dismiss it by saying, “It isn’t real science because it isn’t in peer-reviewed journals.” It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when creationist research is not allowed past the door. This article reveals that the precious peer-review process is hardly a guarantor of truth or accuracy. It is just as flawed as any other human convention. The NYTimes article quoted Dr. David Korn of Harvard Medical School who agreed that “there are problems all through the [peer-reviewed journal] system.” Creationists have been shut out and have been forced to establish their own peer-reviewed technical journals such as The Answers Research Journal (http://www.answersingenesis.org/arj) just to get their research to see the light of day. Consider what happened to Mary Schweitzer (who is NOT a creationist) when she tried to publish findings of soft-tissue found in a T. rex fossil: “One journal reviewer said he didn’t care what the data said, he knew what I was finding wasn’t possible. When I asked him, ‘What data would convince you?’ And he said, ‘None.’”

(http://discovermagazine.com/2006/apr/dinosaur-dna).

God bless honest scientists such as Dr. Fang and Dr. Casadevall for their integrity. Apparently, creationist skepticism has been justified. The foxes have been guarding the henhouse.

 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/17/science/rise-in-scientific-journal-retractions-prompts-calls-for-reform.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

Johanson, Donald C. and Maitland Edey (1981), Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind (New York: Simon & Schuster); pp. 257-8.

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Posted by: Rob Lester | April 9, 2012

Undoing Orion’s Belt

God asks Job in 38:31-32 “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, Or loose the belt of Orion? Can you bring out constellations in their season? Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs?” Astronomers later found that the Pleiades are a gravitationally bound star cluster. The stars which make up Orion’s belt appear to be moving in different directions and at different speeds. Some have claimed this proves scientific foreknowledge of the Bible, long before the first telescopes. But what if that scientific analysis is incorrect? Is the Bible then proven false? With more powerful telescopes, astronomers have now determined that the Pleiades are slowly moving apart (see link below). Infrared telescopes have also found that Orion’s belt is part of a large “bound” nebula that was previously hidden behind gas clouds. This shows us that we must be very careful in using God’s word to bolster our own arguments. No matter what the current science and technology indicates, God’s word remains true. Remember, even if the initial understanding of the star clusters was correct, God was not teaching Job about astrophysics or gravitational forces. The immediate context of verse 32 indicates poetic language (and Job IS Hebrew poetry, after all, unlike historical books such as Genesis). We must be careful not to put words into God’s mouth or make it seem that He is saying something He isn’t just to support our argument. Astrophysicist John Hartnett observed, “It was argued [before] that God was asking Job if he can do the same as God, while now we could turn the argument around and suggest that God is asking Job if he can undo what God has done.” The effect is the same. God has affirmed His supreme power and rendered Job’s question moot. Science and man’s understanding changes, but God’s word stands unaffected and unchanged.

http://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j18_2/j18_2_44-48.pdf

Posted by: Rob Lester | April 3, 2012

Kingfishers: Bullet-train birds

Japan uses many “bullet” trains which travel at nearly 200 mph, but not without problems. When the trains go through tunnels, the air ahead of the train compresses which creates a sonic boom as the train exits the other end. One of the engineers on the project considered a possible solution from an unusual source. “He had witnessed a kingfisher bird diving down through the air, going into the water and creating very little splash. So he thought, I wonder if I could apply this principle to the shape of the front of the bullet train. And so they did model the front of the train like the kingfisher’s face. And sure enough when they tried out that new model, it moved through without creating the boom.” It turns out that the pressure change from air to water which the bird experiences is very similar to the rapidly compressed air in a train tunnel. Not only did the new design reduce the noise, but it also made the trains 15% faster and 15% more energy-efficient. They even modeled the train’s recessed headlights after the kingfisher’s nostrils. Just another case of man copying off of God’s paper. One researcher even declared, “We are surrounded by genius.” Indeed. The genius of the Designer of the universe.

 http://earthsky.org/biodiversity/sunni-robertson-on-how-a-kingfisher-inspired-a-bullet-train

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v4/n3/speeding-bullet

 

Posted by: Rob Lester | March 19, 2012

Proving something without proof ≠ science

Please notice that all unscientific and unclear language in the following article excerpt has been capitalized (e.g. probably, suggests, possibly).

Headline: Life Began On Earth Three Billion Years Ago.

Subtitle: A mathematical MODEL dates back the evolution of genes critical to life to three billion years ago. (Sun Dec 19, 2010 09:37 PM ET  Discovery News).

Article: “Life on Earth dramatically surged around three billion years ago, POSSIBLY when primitive forms developed more efficient ways to harness energy from sunlight, according to a study published on Sunday in Nature magazine. The conclusion is made by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who built a “genomic fossil,” IN ESSENCE a mathematical MODEL that took 1,000 key genes that exist today and calculated how they evolved from the very distant past. The collective genome of all life expanded massively between 3.3 and 2.8 billion years ago, and during this time 27 percent of all presently existing gene families came into being, the study SUGGESTS. Investigators Eric Alm and Lawrence David said the great surge PROBABLY came through the advent of a biochemical process called modern electron transport.Our results can’t say if the development of electron transport directly caused the Archean Expansion,’ David admitted. ‘Nonetheless, we can SPECULATE  that having access to a much larger energy budget enabled the biosphere to host larger and more complex microbial ecosystems.” Eric Alm observed, “What is really remarkable about these findings is that they prove that the histories of very ancient events are recorded in the shared DNA of living organisms.” Prove???? This proves nothing! The headline boldly proclaims as fact that evolutionists have clicked the stopwatch and found exactly when life began. But before you even get into the article, the subheading reveals the lie. “A mathematical model….” Aha. So, a guess, then, not objective evidence or scientific proof. A model is only as good as the presuppositions which set its parameters. Notice also the arrogant assertion which follows the revealing confession by Mr. David. “Our results don’t say…nonetheless we can speculate….” And that is what we’ve come to expect. Guesses and speculation announced with overstated certainty. That is not science. Rather, it is a dogmatic, blind faith in “billions of years.” They are proselytizing.

http://news.discovery.com/earth/life-began-3-billion-years-ago-dna-101220.html

Posted by: Rob Lester | March 12, 2012

Dinosaur death-pose: Just add water

Complete dinosaur fossils are rare and very exciting when found. They shed light on what their whole bodies looked like and even how they may have died. Fossil fish have been found with other fish in their mouth. They died while still eating their last meal. Often, when complete dinosaurs are found, they have their head and tail arched radically backwards. Paleontologists have long been curious about the “opisthotonic death posture” as it is known in scientific circles. Two recent and separate studies (one at BYU and another in Switzerland) immersed chicken carcasses into cool water and got shocking results. “The teams independently concluded that the ligaments in chicken necks were like rubber bands — bendable, but contracted by default to hold the bird’s head upright against gravity. In the dead chicken, those ligaments still want to return to their natural, unstretched position, but the dead weight of the bird fights against it. In water, however, buoyancy and lack of friction allow the ligaments to contract into their natural shape, cranking the neck backward as they go.” Researchers even laid dead chickens out in the sun to see if the heads would bend backward. They did not, so the water is the key ingredient. BYU paleontologist Dr. Brooks Britt said that “a long-standing debate has been solved—just add water.” So, large land animals were immersed in water, died, and were covered by layers of sediment before they could decompose or be eaten by scavengers. This research fits perfectly with a catastrophic, global flood like the one recorded in the Bible.
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21207-watery-secret-of-the-dinosaur-death-pose.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/science/archaeopteryx-fossils-appear-twisted-but-not-because-of-agony.html?_r=1

Posted by: Rob Lester | March 5, 2012

Lucy’s pelvis, or is it Luke’s?

Although recent fossil discoveries such as “Ardi” and “Sebida” have tried to shove their way into the family tree of alleged human ancestors, it is Lucy who remains the queen of the so-called “missing links.” This partial collection of fossils was found in Ethiopia by Donald Johansen in 1974. Anthropologists were immediately suspicious of this fossil and Johansen had to do some fancy footwork to convince his colleagues that it was NOT a chimp (which many interpreted it to be). One of the most curious features was the pelvis. Only one half was recovered and much of that was distorted or shattered in pieces. It took several attempts at reconstructing the fragments for it to “look right” (wink, wink!). Hausler and Schmid (link below) compared the Lucy pelvis to human and chimp pelvis bones and found that it lacked the characteristic ridges of the female pelvis, was heart-shaped with a protruding sacrum (thus narrowing the birth canal), and the iliac blades were oriented the wrong way. This would make birth difficult. Johansen acknowledged this, but explained it away by saying: “She didn’t need a large [birth canal] because her newborn infant’s brain wouldn’t have been any larger than a chimpanzee infant’s brain (Johanson, et al., 1994, p. 66).” Even Lucy’s discoverer cannot stop making chimpanzee comparisons! Perhaps the most striking result of the Hausler and Schmid study was that the pelvis was morphologically that of a male ape, not a female and certainly not anything approaching human or even pre-human. Lucy (or Luke) possessed an ape pelvis, ape shoulders, ape metacarpals, ape ribs, ape earbones, and ape teeth. This is because the fossil WAS an ape, now extinct.

http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=76

Hausler, Martin and Peter Schmid (1995), “Comparison of the Pelvis of Sts 14 and AL 288-1: Implications for Birth and Sexual Dimorphism in Australopithecines,” Journal of Human Evolution, 29:363-383.

Posted by: Rob Lester | February 22, 2012

Did sea scorpions invent scuba gear?

National Geographic reported on strange tracks which were found in rock samples from a flagstone quarry in Wisconsin. These tracks were from multi-legged marine creatures which appeared to be dragging something along the left side of their bodies. “Based on the footprint patterns, researchers suggest the tracks were made by sea scorpions, critters that resembled ‘a cross between a scorpion and a horseshoe crab,’ said lead study author James Whitey Hagadorn of Amherst College.” Sea scorpions breathe through gills located in their tails. As for the drag marks, researchers came up with a wild theory. They suggest that sea scorpions MAY have stuffed their tails into the shells of sea snails or similar creatures to enable them to breathe during brief forays on land. Hagadorn said, “Instead of an aqualung, like you have with human divers, you have the reverse: an aerolung.” Of course, evolutionists already believe that sea scorpions were among the first marine creatures to evolve into land-dwellers, so this fits their preconceptions like a glove. It may also have colored their assumption of what creatures made these tracks. Researchers admitted that “The tracks look like those made by modern-day hermit crabs.” So, why the need for such a fanciful explanation? Why can’t they simply be hermit crab tracks? Doesn’t common sense teach that the simplest explanation is the most likely? The “reason” is given in the article: “The marks date back to some 300 million years before those crustaceans existed.” AHA! So because the physical evidence doesn’t match the accepted evolutionary dogma, this fairy tale is concocted so the precious theory is not harmed. So, the tracks look like modern hermit crabs but can’t possibly be, because “all real scientists” KNOW that hermit crabs hadn’t evolved yet. Those pesky critters have the nerve to show up in rock layers where they are not wanted and cause all kinds of scientific dilemmas.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/090413-first-tool-users.html

Posted by: Rob Lester | February 12, 2012

Did the High Priest Keep the Nails?

On April 12, 2011, a news conference was held in Jerusalem by a man named Simcha Jacobovici. In it, he claimed to possess the nails which were hammered into the hands of Jesus at His crucifixion. Jacobovici hosts a tabloid-style television show called “The Naked Archaeologist.” He claims to have found the nails inside an ossuary (bone box) in southern Jerusalem. The ossuary is inscribed with the name “Caiaphas” who was the High Priest that delivered Jesus to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate to be crucified. Whether this is the same Caiaphas or not remains to be seen. Jacobovici speculates that the family of Caiaphas had the nails buried with him because of the belief they had magical powers. Those involved with the excavation have confirmed that there were neither any adult bones in the ossuary, nor were there any nails inside. The belief that nails of a crucified victim contained healing powers was a pagan superstition which would have been very unseemly for a High Priest of the Jewish temple. Also, the nails mysteriously “disappeared” for about 20 years after the initial excavation and were only recently “rediscovered” prompting the news conference. Jacobovici’s nails are less than three inches long, however, which is far too short to hold the weight of a man on the cross. The true artifacts always match with Bible truth and offer corroboration of God’s word. While archaeology can be helpful in verifying Bible history, it can also be used to perpetrate fraud. Our eagerness to verify biblical accounts should never cause us to take shortcuts or accept unverified claims. We must be careful not to swallow ANY sensational discovery without careful examination.

http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2011/04/14/Simcha-Jacobovici-and-the-Nails-From-Caiaphas-Tomb.aspx

Posted by: Rob Lester | February 1, 2012

Evolution makes you nauseated? You’re not alone!

Many pregnant women report that certain smells and tastes were unbearable during their pregnancy. Daniel Fessler, an anthropologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, investigated why this might occur and found a connection with the hormone progesterone. Researchers found that “As progesterone levels went up, so did sensitivity to disgust. An important function of progesterone, Dr. Fessler said, is that it dials down an early-warning part of the immune system, inflammation, which might prevent the embryo, or conceptus, from implanting itself in the placenta…‘Left to its own, the maternal immune system would destroy the conceptus.’ So, he and his colleagues reason, while the body turns down the dial on one kind of protection, it turns it up on disgust, another kind of defense.” The reasoning is that a heightened sensitivity could encourage pregnant mothers to avoid potentially harmful susbstances which could damage the developing baby. Of course, the article credited this wondrous process to evolution. But it is not evolution; it is design. This had to work perfectly from the very first baby. Mothers could not simply think to themselves, “Hmmm. My babies keep dying. I need to develop a stronger sense of disgust so I don’t ingest things harmful to my baby.” It also shows the amazing design of the human body so the mother’s immune system doesn’t reject the baby. Again, this had to happen from the first baby or there would not be any descendants to pass this trait on to. Neither the disgust response nor the suppression of the mother’s immune system could slowly evolve over time. They had to work flawlessly right from the start. That is why God designed it that way.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/24/science/disgusts-evolutionary-role-is-irresistible-to-researchers.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

Posted by: Rob Lester | January 22, 2012

“New” swimming style in an “old” fish

“Paleontologists used to think that one of the most common mosasaurs—Platecarpus—swam like eels, undulating their bodies back and forth. But another look at a complete fossil…made them think otherwise. Platecarpus actually swam like a shark, propelling itself forward using only its powerful tail, giving it an advantage over eel-like fish that have to move most of their bodies to get around. That means shark-like swimming evolved in the sea monsters 20 million years sooner than believed.” The title of this ScienceNow article is “Rapid Evolution for Ancient Sea Monsters.” Evolution MUST be more rapid than previously thought because the window of time for evolution to work its “magic” continues to shrink with virtually every knew discovery. This new evidence pushes the modern shark method of swimming further back in the evolutionary timeline. Modern morphology and modern behaviors keep appearing closer to the beginning. Maybe one day they will get all the way back to the creation week! This research further proves just how hard it is to determine behavior from bones. This should also encourage us to take a grain of salt with each new serving of bold assertions by paleontologists and anthropologists. For example, when say they are certain that australopithecines like “Lucy” walked upright (even though no feet were ever found). This is yet another in an endless series of evolutionary assumptions proven wrong by actual scientific evidence. More will surely follow.

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/08/scienceshot-rapid-evolution-for-.html?ref=hp

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