Saturday, April 30, 2016

Life Begins With a Dramatic Burst of Light

The Light That Was Dark

Researchers studying the fertilization of human eggs are barred by federal law from using actual sperm. Federal law rightly imposes particularly strong restrictions on experiments on humans. Nonetheless, using sperm enzymes researchers have confirmed that at the moment of fertilization the human egg, as with other species, emits a dramatic burst of light. As one newspaper put it, “Bright flash of light marks incredible moment life begins when sperm meets egg.” And:

Human life begins in bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing “fireworks” on film.

One of the researchers described the burst of light as “breathtaking.”

All of this reminds us of something we already knew. In spite of evolutionist’s attempts to hide the science, the light shines through. Even federal law testifies to the fact—the scientific fact—that life begins, not at birth, not at some arbitrarily and conveniently selected point in development, but at conception. That is not a political argument or a religious belief. It simply is the science.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Evolution Arguments Are Not Holding Water

Absurd and Pathetic

Being an evolutionist means never having to say you’re sorry. Just look at Richard Dawkins who will say pretty much anything at any time, no matter how much it contradicts science or just plain logic. If he ever gets into trouble he can always lapse back into a rant about those creationist rascals and the audience will automatically erupt with applause. And so arguing evolution with an evolutionist is a lot like the Monty Python argument skit. They will pull out all manner of canards, misdirections, and fallacies, depending on their mood at the moment. One common example is the use of normal science as confirmatory evidence.

As Thomas Kuhn pointed out, science sometimes operates in paradigms. Scientific research on a particular problem can embrace a type of solution, or paradigm. The research tries to elaborate on and refine the paradigm, but otherwise does not question the paradigm. Paradigms provide a stable framework, within which concepts and terminology can be developed to support scientific thinking.

But because the paradigm is taken for granted and assumed from the start, the research conclusions do not generally confirm or prove the paradigm. The research work develops and critically examines concepts within the paradigm, but not the paradigm itself. Kuhn called the research work done with a paradigm normal science.

Evolutionary theory very much works this way. Normal science, within the evolution paradigm, takes it for granted that the world evolved—that everything arose from strictly naturalistic, chance events. That is, that the world arose spontaneously. Therefore in evolutionary research, the evidence is interpreted according to evolution. You could say the evidence is theory-laden.

A typical evolutionary research study goes as follows: Given that X evolved, here is how X probably evolved. All of this is at odds with the empirical evidence, and so the results inevitably lack all kinds of detail normally required in science, and include all kinds of improbable events normally unacceptable in science. It is a kind of storytelling underwritten by the paradigm.

This evolutionary normal science formula has produced a tremendous volume of literature, ranging from journal papers to popular works. And, one of the favorite lines of argumentation, when evolution is rightly questioned, is to point to this “mountain” of evidence. A simple internet search can usually be counted on to produce dozens of papers advertising “The Evolution of Echolocation in Bats” or whatever wonder the skeptic has in mind as problematic for evolution.

Of course, if anyone were ever actually to read the produced papers (and usually the evolutionist presenting the paper has not), that person would find a marked absence of any actual scientific description of how echolocation, or whatever, actually did, in fact, evolve.

Normal science is used inappropriately as confirmatory evidence. When we explained, for example, that epigenetics in plants contradicts evolution, an evolutionist caustically responded with a paper subtitled: “The Evolution of a Complex Epigenetic Pathway in Flowering Plants.”

And did that paper actually explain “The Evolution of a Complex Epigenetic Pathway in Flowering Plants”?

No. The paper presupposed “The Evolution of a Complex Epigenetic Pathway in Flowering Plants.” As we explained, the paper presents several dubious “findings” of how epigenetics evolved which, in fact, are not supported by the science and instead are completely beholden to the assumption that evolution is true.

The paper’s highly unlikely scenarios of how evolution occurred are underwritten and mandated by the a priori assumption that (drumroll), evolution occurred.

And when we pointed this out, the evolutionist next retorted:

In the same way NASA and ESA assume the Earth is a globe and not flat every time they launch a satellite into orbit. What were those dumb space scientists and engineers thinking using assumptions??

Which brings us back to Monte Python and the argument skit. There’s always another canard. After inappropriately using normal science as confirmatory evidence, and having the fallacy explained in no uncertain terms, the evolutionist effortlessly switches over to the next available fallacy: riding the coattails of science.

The analogy between the age-old Epicurean claims that the world spontaneously arose, and space flight, is of course absurd and pathetic. It reveals how silly is evolutionary thought. But like the Monte Python skit, evolutionists will always have another argument.

Religion drives science, and it matters.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

RNA-Directed DNA Methylation: The Evolution of a Complex Epigenetic Pathway in Flowering Plants


The problem with epigenetic mechanisms is that they respond to future, unforeseen, environmental challenges. They don’t work in the present, and so even if random mutations somehow created such mechanisms, they would not be selected for. In other words, epigenetic mechanisms contradict evolutionary theory—there is no fitness improvement at the time of origin by random mutations, so there is no selection. Nor do evolutionists have an explanation for this—they don’t even try. Consider a paper discussing a particular epigenetic mechanism subtitled: “The Evolution of a Complex Epigenetic Pathway in Flowering Plants.”

The paper discusses a complicated cellular process in which different segments of DNA are copied (creating RNA transcripts). The RNAs work together to methylate the DNA at a particular location. The methylation “mark” helps to regulate gene expression. But how did this epigenetic mechanism evolve?

This epigenetic mechanism involves a small army of molecular machines. For instance, the different RNAs are transcribed, from the DNA, by different copying machines. These copying machines consist of a dozen protein subunits. The paper states that two of the copying machines—which are central to the epigenetic mechanism—each evolved from a third copying machine. Why?

The idea of the two copying machines evolving from the third copying machine is problematic because there are significant differences between them. The paper gives no justification for such an unlikely event. It gives no justification because there is none, save for the presupposition that evolution is true. Under evolutionary theory it must have occurred.

In other words, there is no empirical evidence that the two copying machines evolved from the third copying machine and there are enormous problems with the idea. But it is taken as a given because evolution is assumed to begin with.

The point here is that in attempting to explain the evolution of a complex epigenetic pathway the paper presupposed evolution a priori.

Similarly, the paper states that the two copying machines “are evolving rapidly.” Again, where did this come from? Does the science actually show this to be true? Does the science even merely provide any evidence at all for this astonishing claim?

Again, no and no.

Nowhere does the science demonstrate or prove that the two copying machines “are evolving rapidly.” In fact, the science doesn’t even provide any evidence at all for this.


What the science shows is that the proteins in the two copying machines have significant differences compared to the corresponding proteins in the third copying machine. The two copying machines are more different from the third copying machine, than would normally be expected if they had evolved from that third copying machine.

But since evolution is assumed to be true to begin with, then those two copying machines must be “evolving rapidly.”

Again, the claim is driven by the belief that evolution is true. There is no empirical evidence that the two copying machines are evolving rapidly, let alone that they even evolved at all.

This is all dogma. There is no science here.

The paper then spends considerable effort attempting to reckon with the various problems that arise when their evolutionary history is assumed. There are duplication events and introns are mysteriously inserted. There are fusion events to explain unexpected differences, and other cases are simply unknown. There must have been a complex series of evolutionary events the reasons for which “remain obscure,” and the evolutionary origin of one gene is “a mystery.”

It is a long sequence of just-so stories. A long sequence of special events just happened to happen, which luckily produced this new epigenetic mechanism.

And then, after all of this, it would not be selected for. All of these events, and the resulting epigenetic mechanism would not improve the evolutionary fitness.

This evolutionary tale is not supported by the empirical evidence. Instead, it is supported by the prior assumption that evolution occurred.

Friday, April 22, 2016

“Evolution” of Darwin’s Finches Tracked at Genetic Level

Fat, Drunk and Stupid

One thing we can all agree on is that the infamous finches on the Galápagos Islands are a classic icon of evolution. The difference is that evolutionists are playing the fool. Ever since Darwin wondered aloud that if the different types of finches he saw on the Galápagos Islands were not merely variants of a species, but in fact different species, then it “would undermine the stability of species,” and therefore the finches (and everything else) must have spontaneously arisen, evolutionists’ dullness has been embarrassing. Like the co-worker who reveals his ignorance as he rambles on about his pet peeve, evolutionists positivistic proclamations about the finches reveals an astonishing level of ignorance.

Darwin’s findings on the Galápagos Islands told him precisely nothing about how the finches, or anything else for that matter, could spontaneously arise as he would claim. Instead, it was all a silly, eighteenth century, non-scientific, religious argument. God would never create those finches, so they must have evolved.

To this day evolutionists continue to parrot this silly argument as though it has any relevance to modern science. And so not surprisingly, they import their centuries-old, religious views into today’s science, failing to comprehend what it actually means. Witness yesterday’s news item from the leading journal, Nature, which begins:

Researchers are pinpointing the genes that lie behind the varied beaks of Darwin’s finches – the iconic birds whose facial variations have become a classic example of Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection.

A classic example? It is a classic example of how utterly non scientific evolutionary “theory” is. The article discusses particular genes that have been identified as influencing the size and shape of the finch’s beak. And it rehearses the myth that changes that occurred in the finch populations over the course of recent drought years reveal “evolution in action”:

Shifts in this gene underlay an evolutionary change that researchers watched in 2004-05, during a drought that ravaged the Galápagos Islands, where the finches live. The beak sizes of one population of finches shrank, so as to avoid competing for food sources with a different kind of finch – and their genetics changed accordingly.

Of course there was no “evolution in action.” This is evolutionary mythology.

The finch’s beaks altered in response to the drought. The finches were still finches. No new finches arose, and no new beak designs arose.

This is not a story of random mutations luckily finding a new, improved, design that was then fixed in the population via natural selection. Preexisting genes influenced preexisting beak designs in preexisting finch species. And when the drought ceased the populations cycled back to their pre drought designs. New designs were not created.

But that is the science, and evolution never was about the science. Evolutionist’s on-going claims about the Galápagos finches are non scientific and, frankly, ridiculous. The finches truly are a classic icon of evolution. They don’t reveal a case of evolution in action, but rather evolutionary thought in action.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Name It / Claim It: Epigenetics Now Just Another Evolutionary Mechanism

In Spite of the Cognitive Dissonance

It is often said that all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. And so it is with epigenetics which evolutionists opposed and blackballed for a century before finally appropriating it as just another mode of evolutionary change. (see here, here, and here for more discussion of this history of misdirections regarding Lamarckism and epigenetics). Here is an example of evolutionists, after a century of denial and rejection, claiming epigenetics as their own.

Our example comes from this 2011 review paper on epigenetics in plants. Since plants are sessile they cannot simply move away from environmental challenges that occur. Therefore they need adaptation mechanisms. And since seeds are dispersed not too far from the parent plant, the next generation is likely to face the same environmental challenge. Therefore the adaptation mechanisms should be transgenerational, or heritable. Finally, since environmental challenge may be relatively short lived, lasting only a few generations, there is insufficient time for evolution by random mutations and natural selection to act. Therefore the adaptation mechanisms need to be fast-acting and reversible. These various requirements make epigenetics an “attractive alternative”:

The heritability of reversible epigenetic modifications that regulate gene expression without changing DNA sequence makes them an attractive alternative mechanism.

Note the design language. Not only are evolutionists naming and claiming the once evil epigenetics as just another mode of evolution, they also identify it as “an attractive alternative mechanism,” which is precisely how engineers discuss their design options.

Note, as we have discussed, the notion that such epigenetic mechanisms are just another mode of evolution makes no sense for several reasons. Unlike evolutionary change which is slow, epigenetics is fast. Unlike evolutionary change which propagates through the population from a single mutation occurring in a single individual, epigenetics works in parallel, occurring in many individuals across the population. Unlike evolutionary change which must come about by the selection of changes that must not be induced by the environment, epigenetics is induced by the environment. Unlike evolutionary change which generally is not repeatable, epigenetics is repeatable.

Furthermore, epigenetic mechanisms are, themselves, sophisticated designs. Their origin is far beyond evolution’s meager resources. Random mutations are not going to produce such directed adaptation mechanisms. And even if such a miracle were to occur, it would not survive, because it would not be selected for. This is because such mechanisms provide a differential reproductive advantage, and therefore a fitness improvement, not under the current conditions, but under some future, unforeseen conditions. There is no fitness improvement at the time of origin by random mutations.

There is a reason why evolutionists have so vehemently opposed this Lamarckian idea—it contradicts evolutionary theory. But like saltationism which was once rejected (by Darwin) due to its obvious implications, only to be guardedly accepted years later when the coast was clear (though it makes no sense on evolution), so too epigenetics must be accepted while downplaying the cognitive dissonance it forces on evolution.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Birds Developed Cognitive Adaptations to Beat the Ants

The Philosopher is Dead, Long Live the Philosopher

Think Aristotelianism went out with Galileo? Think again—teleological language is rampant in the evolution literature because that is how evolutionists think. A new paper in Nature Communications on dietary influences on bird evolution states that “birds that attend army ant raids have to deal with the unpredictability of those raids, and have developed cognitive and behavioural adaptations to surpass these challenges.” As usual, the infinitive form tells the tale. This isn’t a one-off slip of the pen. The underlying Aristotelianism in evolutionary thought has been noted repeatedly. Evolutionists have even scolded themselves for their malapropisms. But they can’t stop describing evolution as a target-driven, goal-oriented, design-like process. It just makes no sense otherwise.

Friday, April 15, 2016

More Threats of Persecution For AGW Dissent

The Penalty For Dissent

Appeals to constitutional rights are becoming quaint ideas as the call for persecution of dissent continues to rise. This month is was leading academic Michael Kraft and none other than the Science Guy, Bill Nye, issuing their opinions that those not going along with AGW (man-made, or anthropomorphic global warming) should face persecution. Kraft writes that “Those who intentionally misled the public about climate change should be held accountable,” and Nye states that “there is a chilling effect [from the threat of persecution] on scientists who are in extreme doubt about climate change, I think that is good.”

Nye is quite correct. Persecution will have a chilling effect, though it is at the extreme of the spectrum. Less aggressive, yet nonetheless effective, tools include the withholding of passing grades, diplomas, letters of recommendations, peer-reviewed publications, academic positions, employment, funding grants, tenure, and legitimization in general—all tools that have been used quite successfully by evolutionists for decades to stamp out dissent.

There is a very real selection process in academia enforcing evolutionary thought. The reason dissent is not tolerated is that once one is allowed even a tiny ray of light the entire edifice comes crashing down. Once one genuinely considers even the mere possibility that evolution may not be true, then the lie is suddenly exposed. Like those optical illusions, suddenly you can see the scientific evidence plainly.

AGW may or may not be accurate, I have no idea. But I know McCarthyism when I see it. A metaphysically-driven idea with failed predictions that is enforced by political and social tactics is not a good sign. The leaked emails revealed the underside of what was already fairly obvious from the outside.

Publications are controlled, journals and careers are threatened, data are manipulated to produce dramatic results, and failed predictions are ignored.

Yes Nye is correct that persecution, or even the threat of persecution, would have a chilling effect. But to be clear, there already is a chilling effect. Kraft and Nye think they are doing a good service by raising the specter of persecution, but that is merely one more tactic, after a long series of less aggressive, yet effective, tactics. McCarthyism didn’t end with McCarthy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Inherit the Wind: Evolution is an Illusion

It’s Where They Wanted To Go

In the original Star Trek pilot entitled “The Cage,” the Enterprise receives a distress signal from a long lost exploration vessel. The signal was transmitted 20 years ago, and the Enterprise responds hoping to find survivors. The landing party arrives at the planet’s surface and, indeed, they find elderly crew members who have carved out a living for themselves on the distant planet. It is a futuristic version of “The Swiss Family Robinson,” but there’s just one problem: It is all an illusion.

The planet has an advanced civilization living underground. They produced an illusion that was exactly what Captain Pike wanted to see. The elderly crew, happily and resourcefully making a life for themselves was exactly what everyone was hoping for (click now on video).

It is the same with evolution’s poster child, Inherit the Wind. Whereas Arthur Miller was worried critics would think he was skewing history for a mere partisan purpose with his brilliant play, The Crucible, [1] Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee had no such compunction in writing their blatantly false, two-dimensional cartoon version of the 1925 Monkey Trial.

When Miller travelled to Salem he uncovered something profound. The Witch Trial records were eerily parallel to the anti-Communist hysteria of the 1940s. His task was not to contrive a silly fiction, but to reveal a dangerous, and all too real, stain within humanity. False accusations, smears, character assassination, black-balling, secret lists, group-think, and cowardice. It was all there.

Unlike The Crucible, Inherit the Wind fails to uncover in Dayton, Tennessee, an underlying theme or connection to McCarthyism. So Lawrence and Lee did something Miller never did—they constructed a false illusion.

John Scopes becomes a humble and tireless science teacher hauled off to jail by an angry mob of fundamentalists, led by a vitriolic Reverend Jeremiah Brown, for trying to enlighten his science students. In fear for his life he contacts journalist Henry Louis Mencken for help in securing a lawyer. The townspeople march in protest, singing hymns, and the William Jennings Bryan character—a loudmouth glutton—is slayed by the Clarence Darrow protagonist. None of this ever happened.

This is the mythological Warfare Thesis set to script. Inherit the Wind is an enduring and durable tale not because it uncovers an important truth but because it plays to humanity’s weakest tendencies. The script presents a false reality. It is a mythical tale using the 1925 Monkey Trial to gain an aura of realism.

As NT Wright said of Darwin, the reason why Inherit the Wind gets the mileage that it does is because that is where people wanted to go.

As with “The Cage,” the illusion is what people want to believe. Just as the alien civilization produced an illusion that was precisely what Captain Pike would want to see, Inherit the Wind is precisely the Warfare Thesis illusion that evolutionists want to see. Flyover country is full of dangerous, anti-intellectual, fundamentalists who need to be set straight by the likes of Spencer Tracy.

Inherit the Wind, and the broader Warfare Thesis myth, have fueled precisely what Miller helped to expose. Inherit the Wind claims to oppose the dangerous, anti-intellectual, fundamentalism, but, in fact, it reinforced it. Instead of labelling people as communists, they are now labelled as anti-science. Otherwise the scene remains complete with the usual false accusations, character smears, black-balling, secret lists, group-think, and cowardice. It’s all still there.

Evolutionists are the dangerous, anti-intellectual, fundamentalists. The American Bar Association absurdly rates Inherit the Wind as one of the top legal movies of all time.

And the ABA is not simply a lone nut. Legal expert Andrew Cohen not only gave high praise to Inherit the Wind, but ridiculously called it “one of the great trial movies of all time.”

Judge John Jones—exalted as one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of the Year—unbelievably revealed that he actually wanted to see Inherit the Wind a second time in preparation for the 2005 Dover case, over which he presided, because, after all, the film puts the origins debate into its proper “historical context.”

Proper historical context? You’ve got to be kidding.

What a classic mistrial. Jones had been so indoctrinated by the Warfare Thesis that he actually believed the evolutionary propaganda to be historically accurate. If the perfect crime is the one that is never discovered, the perfect propaganda is the one that is never understood. Jones later reminisced about the trial, unbelievably explaining that “I understood the general theme. I’d seen Inherit the Wind.”  Jones was not educated, he was brainwashed.

It’s where they wanted to go.

1. Arthur Miller, “Why I Wrote ‘The Crucible’,” The New Yorker, Oct 21, 1996.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Andrew Xiao Confirms Adenine Methylation in Mammals—Thinks it Evolved

This Isn’t Working

Evolutionists are going to need a bigger rug as Yale professor Andrew Xiao now has a new pile of stuff he is absurdly trying to ascribe to evolution. Xiao’s team has confirmed that in mammals the fundamental epigenetic signal—the methyl group—is sometimes attached to a second type of DNA base. DNA is made up of four types of bases (cytosine [C], guanine [G], adenine [A] and thymine [T]) and, as in the lower species, methyl groups are sometimes attached to adenine in mammals as well.

Such epigenetic signals help to cause directed adaptation in organisms—the ability to rapidly respond to new environmental challenges. And this new finding means that not just with cytosine, but with adenine as well, random mutations must have created the proteins (i) to attach the methyl groups and (ii) to remove them.

Both types of proteins are needed to make the epigenetic response work. With either protein alone, you just have chaos.

You also need the network of signals and regulation to set these proteins in action at the proper times, and only at the proper times. And of course these epigenetic signals must somehow influence the transcription process.

This isn’t going to happen with random mutations. And, no, natural selection doesn’t help.

But this is only the beginning.

In the lower species, attaching the methyl group to adenine caused gene activation. But in the mammals studied, the new research found that adenine methylation caused gene inactivation. In other words, the exact same methylation signal attached to the same nitrogen atom in the same base, somehow reversed polarity.

That makes no sense. Any change in polarity in the circuitry logic would throw the system into chaos. Imagine your thermostat now works in reverse. When you adjust the temperature lower, the heater rather than the air conditioner, turns on. You wanted it to be cooler, but instead it got even hotter.

Such a change in polarity in the circuitry would have to take place simultaneously, at several functions throughout the logic. This isn’t going to happen with random mutations. And, no, natural selection doesn’t help.

This is all a bad joke. The science makes no sense on evolution, and like the drunk at the party, evolutionists are the only ones who don’t get it.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Warfare Thesis Failure Leaves Evolution Desperate For Canards

Pop Psych to the Rescue

Ever since Voltaire mythologized the Galileo Affair, Hume’s Philo demolished Cleanthes, and Gibbon blamed pretty much everything on the Christians, evolutionary thinking has had an unbeatable template: The Warfare Thesis. Anyone who opposes or even questions evolution is automatically branded as having religious motives. Religion is at war with science. That claim has failed the test of historiography over and over, but so what? Who cares about history? Certainly not journalists, policy makers, federal judges, textbook authors, and anyone else who matters. But now there is an entirely different, empirical, falsification of the Warfare Thesis, and evolutionists are in full-panic.

Evolutionists began to realize there were problems with blaming skepticism of their warmed over Epicureanism on the Warfare Thesis a few years ago when Neil deGrasse Tyson asked “How come this number isn’t zero?” That “number” Tyson referred to was not the number of backwoods fideists, but rather the number of scientists, who reject evolution. The greatest minds in history didn’t buy it and a non trivial percentage of today’s scientists also aren’t quite sure that astronomical entropy barriers have repeatedly been climbed an astronomical number of times by, err, random chance events. The Warfare Thesis canard was showing signs of wear.

More recently, studies are showing that people generally tend to reject evolutionary concepts at a gut level. This has nothing to do with religious beliefs. It seems that the evolutionary ideas that (i) the species are nothing but snapshots in a continuum, rather than essentialistic, and that (ii) the world is nothing but a randomly evolving blob, rather than there being an underlying teleology, don’t make much sense to people. All people.

This is particularly evident in young children. As the Guardian reports:

Developmental psychologists have identified two cognitive biases in very young children that help to explain the popularity of intelligent design. The first is a belief that species are defined by an internal quality that cannot be changed (psychological essentialism). The second is that all things are designed for a purpose (promiscuous teleology). These biases interact with cultural beliefs such as religion but are just as prevalent in children raised in secular societies. Importantly, these beliefs become increasingly entrenched, making formal scientific instruction more and more difficult as children get older. … teleology is prevalent in children regardless of how their parents describe the world to them or the religious culture that they are growing up in. This widespread function compunction is neither outgrown nor fully replaced by formal scientific education.

The Warfare Thesis continues to fail, and evolutionists need a new canard why people just won’t go along with their age-old idea that the world arose spontaneously.

Evolutionists Walk it Back Again: Human Evolution is More a Muddy Delta Than a Branching Tree

Fails Again

First it was a tree, then it was a bush, then it was a network, and now it is a muddy delta. The evolutionary model of how the species are supposed to be related has failed over and over. And John Hawks’ latest version of this moving target reveals yet again that the theory of evolution is not explanatory, and that the evidence contradicts the theory. Hawks explains that the latest thinking on how the primates evolved “is no evolutionary tree. Our evolutionary history is like a braided stream.”

Evolution is a blind guide—it is always wrong. It is always pointing in the wrong direction, and evolutionists are always having to walk it back and do their damage control.

When will they learn?