An article at Phys.org claims that researchers have identified a common ancestral gene that enabled the evolution of life.
Articles like this are great at promoting evolution as plausible, but upon closer review, there’s nothing extraordinary; it’s simply story-telling.
To begin with, the study is met with uncertainty, as it should be. The title itself proclaims “Without ancestral gene life on Earth might not have evolved beyond slime”. So we can see that the researchers aren’t positive that this is the case because, even though they think this might have happened, the reality is that it might not have happened. In order for this to be the case, we must assume that Darwinian evolution is even possible.
So what do we really know about this “ancestral gene”? Well, the article explains that the gene is found in all complex organisms, such as plants, animals and mushrooms, and encodes for protein kinases- a group of enzymes allowing for larger cells and the rapid transfer of information from one part of the cell to another. This allows cells to unite and form complex systems, paving the way for all the different forms of life we observe today.
But how do researchers know that this ancestral gene came from a common ancestor? They say it’s because their genes are so similar. It turns out that about 500 genes sequenced in humans for different protein kinases all have similar blueprints, but is missing from bacteria.
In evolutionary terms, similarity is considered evidence for evolution- except when it isn’t. In some cases, we observe similarities between organisms, even though they’re not directly related, and it’s credited to convergent evolution, meaning that those organisms independently evolved similarities through different avenues to cope with their environment. Bats and dolphins, for example, have about 200 similarities in their sonars, yet they’re not considered to have followed the same evolutionary path. Read the rest of this entry
My previous article was “Around the Solar System with Jason Lisle”, and in it I provided a brief recap of our solar system from a creationist perspective. After the presentation I had a chance to speak with Dr. Lisle and ask him some questions, and I asked about the creationist response to distant starlight as related to the detection of gravity waves.
About 100 years ago the existence of gravitational waves- or ‘ripples’ in the fabric of space-time- were predicted by Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. And on February 11 of this year scientists announced the detection of gravity waves for the first time.
Supposedly, some 1.3 billion years ago two black holes merged in a cataclysmic collision, and now we’re able to observe the after-effects. The detection occurred as a result of the efforts by LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory), a system of two, nearly identical interferometers separated by long distances, one in Hanford, Washington, and the other in Livingston, Louisiana, using ultra-sensitive equipment.
In order to detect these waves, some kind of violent phenomenon is needed, such as supernovae, a neutron star, or, as in this case, two merging black holes. LIGO was able to detect these waves, first at the Louisiana location, and then milliseconds later in Washington, allowing scientists to determine the source.
So how does the creationist model for distant starlight account for these findings?
Well, the creationist model I like most was proposed by Dr. Lisle, and is called the Anisotropic Synchrony Convention (ASC), which allows us to define the one-way speed of light as instantaneous, which is consistent with Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. So, even though the round-trip speed of light is about 186,000 miles per second, Einstein’s physics allow us to stipulate the one-way speed of light (agreed upon by convention).
However, I reasoned, if gravitational waves travel at the speed of light, and the waves were detected at different moments by two separate observatories, wouldn’t we expect both laboratories to detect the waves simultaneously? Read the rest of this entry
Last Saturday I attended a creation science conference at Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia and had the pleasure of listening to one of my favorite scientists, Dr. Jason Lisle. Dr. Lisle is Director of Physical Sciences at the Institute for Creation Research and holds a Ph.D. in astrophysics, and he delivered a presentation on our solar system.
Touring the solar system from the comfort of our own planet is always an enjoyable, entertaining and educational experience, but even more so when the tour guide is an expert in the field who brings a warm sense of humor, professional enthusiasm, and a desire to give God glory for the beauty and awe seen in his workmanship.
I’ll touch briefly on some of the points he made as we orbited each planet and analyzed the atmosphere and surface. We began our journey, of course, with Mercury, the closest planet to the sun. We see it contains a decaying magnetic field, but this is a real problem for evolutionists because, if Mercury were billions of years old, there should be no magnetic field remaining. Since a magnetic field still exists, however, this is evidence of a young solar system because there hasn’t been enough time for Mercury’s internal battery to die. Evolutionary explanations include the dynamo theory, which requires the planet to have a molten metal core so that fluid motions within can generate the field, but this explanation can’t be correct based on what we know about other planets in the Solar System. Uranus and Neptune, for example, disrupt the predictions of the dynamo theory; Uranus’s magnetic field and rotational axes are too great for dynamo theory predictions. Neptune also has a tilted magnetic field that is offset. Further, evolutionists believe Mercury’s core should have been frozen solid long ago.
Venus poses another problem for evolutionists because it rotates in the opposite direction from what is expected according to evolutionary beliefs about the formation of the Solar System. A planetary collision is the rescue agent for evolutionists.
Earth, as we know, is finely tuned for our existence, and the moon is a big contributor, shielding us from asteroid bombardments and cleansing the oceans via tidal forces.
Mars has some amazing features, such as the largest known volcano and biggest canyon in the solar system. The volcano, Olympus Mons, covers an area the size of Arizona, and canyon Valles Marineris is as long as the continental United States. There’s no liquid water found on Mars today because the atmosphere is too thin; like other planets, a catastrophic collision is thought to have stripped away the atmosphere. Despite the hostile environment, rovers have been sent there to analyze the planet and seek out life. To date we’ve received a wealth of information as a result these efforts, but scientists have found no evidence of life. Scientists have also detected magnetization in Martian rocks, indicating that the Red Planet once contained a magnetic field. This provides evidence of a young universe. Read the rest of this entry
A friend sent me a link to the following article, “Why The ‘Biblical’ Ice Age is a Creationist Myth”, and I felt challenged to provide a creationist response. At first glance, the author (unknown) is clearly hostile towards young earth creation science, ridiculing the Institute for Creation Research and Answers in Genesis directly. He accused them of being arbitrary, cherry picking Biblical texts, fabrication, abandoning their own models, intellectual dishonesty, and being anti-science. Wonderful.
Based on such an emotional response, I suspected that once I researched the subject I’d find the author guilty of the very accusations he hurled at these creationist organizations, and I hope to demonstrate that that’s clearly the case over the course of several posts.
The article is fairly technical, delving into a geologic phenomenon known as isostatic rebound, specifically in relation to the Ice Age. Isostasy refers to the way the earth’s crust can be compressed by surface mass and then elevated once pressure is released. So post-glacial isostatic rebound occurred when large sheets of ice covering the land and compressing the surface began to melt, allowing the land to readjust.
It’s interesting that once the author explains how isostasy works, he asks why- if Noah’s Flood were really global- shouldn’t we find isostatic rebound everywhere on earth? He insists that a one-year long flood wouldn’t constitute a long enough duration for the earth’s surface to be compressed. So he ends up answering his own question: if a one-year global flood isn’t long enough to cause isostatic rebound, then that explains why we don’t find isostatic rebound everywhere on earth. So far we’re on the same page.
I think the point he was trying to make is, therefore, if the creationist model is correct, then we shouldn’t have satellite images showing isostatic rebound in places where continental ice sheets advanced during the last glacial maximum. By his reasoning, an ice age lasting a few centuries isn’t long enough to cause those satellite effects. However, he claims, we actually do observe isostatic rebound precisely predicted by the conventional secular model.
To answer these objections, there are a number important points to consider: first we need to understand what the creationist model is. Second, we need to understand the secular model he adheres to. And a third point is to note there’s no real consensus with either model. This isn’t an argument about settled science, as the author seems to imply. Both models are being reshaped as new evidence comes to light; that’s the nature of science. Paradigms change with better solutions and interpretations of the data. Read the rest of this entry
Despite pumping millions of dollars into scientific research to locate a hypothetical piece of matter, scientists report that no such matter has been found.
96% of the universe is thought to be made up of hypothetical entities, such as dark matter and dark energy. But the problem is, nobody has ever observed this matter. Nonetheless, one project, called the Large Underground Xenon (or LUX), cost $10 million and was unable to locate the elusive dark matter, which is thought to make up about 22% of matter in the known universe.
The multimillion dollar equipment used was thought to be sensitive and technically advanced enough to detect weakly interacting massive particles (or WIMPS), but scientists were disappointed that they found nothing.
Scientists have been searching for this particle for decades, and the research continues on board the International Space Station and the Large Hadron Collider located beneath the France-Switzerland border.
So what’s up with this matter, and why is it so hard to detect? Is it possible that these hypothetical entities don’t exist at all?
Well, it turns out that scientists need this matter to exist because, without it, all the physics supporting the Big Bang cosmology and other phenomena in the universe just don’t work. It’s perceived to be one of the most important problems in science to solve because of its implications in understanding how the universe works.
But if the Big Bang didn’t happen as described by modern cosmology, and if there are alternative explanations for the phenomena we observe in the galaxy without having to resort to hypothetical entities, then perhaps this abundant dark matter and dark energy doesn’t exist.
I find it interesting that some- like Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson and other evolutionists who believe in this modern cosmology, along with its necessary hypothetical entities- go so far as to call those who don’t believe it anti-science. But who is really being “anti-science”? Believing all this by faith is itself a form of religion, yet many of these people denigrate religious explanations for the existence of the universe. Read the rest of this entry
The largest timber-framed structure in the world just received an unlikely visitor as Bill Nye “the Science Guy” made an unscheduled visit to the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky on Friday. Visitors were treated to a two-hour impromptu debate as Ken Ham graciously guided Nye on a personal tour through all three decks.
The Ark Encounter, which opened to the public on July 7, 2016, is an amazing representation of the historical Noah’s Ark- what it may have looked like, how it could have been built, and how feasible it would have been for Noah and his family to care for all the different kinds of animals that would have boarded during the year-long global flood.
Several weeks ago Ken Ham publicly invited Bill Nye on a personal tour, and Nye accepted. The fact that he accepted is both interesting and encouraging. You could say that Bill Nye is Ken Ham’s arch enemy, much like Lex Luther is to Super Man; Nye has been openly hostile to Ken Ham, the Creation Museum, Ark Encounter, creation science, Christianity, and even religion in general, attacking them as “anti-science”. So it’s not surprising that the two adversaries challenged each other on their beliefs about science and faith in a clash of worldviews.
Apparently Ham encouraged Nye to speak to the PhD scientists employed by Answers in Genesis, such as biologist Dr. Georgia Purdom, a molecular Geneticist, geologist Dr. Andrew Snelling, and research biologist Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson. But Nye called them all “incompetent”. That’s a shame he would resort to spiteful criticism, but such a remark is common from those biased against an opposing worldview.
But the biggest takeaway from the whole event was the opportunity Ham had to share the gospel message and pray for Nye. Even though they’re often matched as mortal enemies, Ham was gracious and loving, wanting Bill Nye to come to salvation in Jesus Christ, and even extended an offer of friendship. Unfortunately, Nye rejected the call to friendship, instead saying they could be acquaintances with mutual respect.
I’m very thankful Bill Nye accepted Ham’s offer to visit the museum. I remember hearing about the offer, but never thought Nye would take him up, especially after receiving so much criticism for debating Ham back in 2014. But he came, and it was a tremendous opportunity for him to gain an understanding and appreciation for science and faith from a perspective he’s hostile to.
While I don’t think this opportunity will change his heart, I do hope it lays the groundwork for Nye to see there’s something of substance to Biblical claims of a young earth that can be substantiated by the scientific evidence and sound doctrine. I expect Nye to continue his criticism and hostility, but, perhaps, as the two adversaries become acquaintances with mutual respect, his heart will change. Therefore, if you’re a believer, please be praying for Bill Nye and other unbelievers who tour the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum because this is really what these attractions are all about; they’re meant to provide a sound reason for Biblical faith in Jesus Christ, while also providing scientific evidence at the same time.
On Tuesday, July 5, 2016, the Ark Encounter was launched in Williamstown, Kentucky! And today, July 7, 2016, the Ark Encounter has been launched to the public.
The Ark Encounter is a life-sized replica of Noah’s Ark as presented in Genesis 5-10, and the Answers in Genesis organization has done a remarkable job bringing this historical event back to life and to the public spotlight. I was fortunate enough to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony prior to the official opening on July 7, and the exhibit is nothing short of amazing.
As my wife and I arrived in the parking lot and boarded one of the shuttle busses, I kept twisting and turning in my seat to get my first glimpse- and it wasn’t long before I spotted the enormous vessel I had been longing to see, resting quietly above the tree tops in the distance. The sky was overcast, but just a day earlier we had driven through a torrential downpour, and we agreed it would be apropos if the ceremony were conducted amidst storms of flooding rains as we received reports of flash floods on our cell phones. But on this morning there were only scattered raindrops, a nice cool breeze, and mostly cloud cover for the ceremony, making the weather conditions nearly perfect on this early July morning. It wasn’t until later in the afternoon that the sun came out for several spurts, so God provided wonderful weather, which was welcome for all the people expected to gather.
With over 43,000 supporters providing donations, this massive ark structure is totally, 100 percent privately funded. And about 7,000 of these supporters showed up for this well-organized event, along with a full convoy of media and public officials.
Archaeological discoveries are some of the most fascinating and exciting topics to explore, and I especially love to see how these discoveries compliment Biblical history. In this article I’m taking a look at two ancient cuneiform tablets found in Mesopotamia that shed light on the Biblical event known as The Tower of Babel.
The location of the Tower of Babel, as described in the Bible, is open to debate, but most secular archaeologists believe it was located in Babylon (Al Hillah). One of the problems with this theory, however, is that Al Hillah didn’t exist during this time period. So this location doesn’t make sense, and we need to find a new candidate. Biblical archaeologist Bryant Wood has proposed another location- at a city called Eridu.
Here’s the account of The Tower of Babel from Genesis 11:1-9:
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
The life-size ark being built in Kentucky is nearing completion, and it’s looking spectacular!
The Ark-Encounter, as it’s called, is receiving plenty of media attention- some good, and some negative. But this is to be expected when a secular worldview collides with a Biblical worldview. Atheists are up-in-arms over the Kentucky attraction, and I expect there to be protests as it opens on July 7. But visitors will be treated to an amazing experience, taking them back in time to explore and learn more about this historical event that literally changed the world.
Here’s a little preview of what it’s all about:
Many scientists have long sought to understand the origin of life from a naturalistic worldview, and this article from The Scientist seeks to further that understanding by examining the RNA molecule (ribonucleic acid), and how it could “self-assemble”.
The origin of life has always been a thorn in the side for evolutionists because, without the emergence of life from non-life, there is no evolution. Therefore secular scientists have been seeking an explanation for the origin of life from non-living chemicals for centuries, culminating in the famous experiment by Miller and Urey in 1953. This experiment resulted in organic compounds and amino acids (considered the building blocks of life), but it also produced toxic chemicals harmful to amino acids. The experiment has been largely discredited because it fails to take into consideration chemical and biological barriers, and I’d argue that it does more to demonstrate the impossibility of abiogenesis; after all, if it takes intelligent scientists years of hard work to produce simple molecules, then they’ve failed to show that complex life could form spontaneously via naturalistic occurrences. It further demonstrates that intelligence is necessary to create life.
Nonetheless, researchers from Germany are attempting to demonstrate how RNA could have self-assembled in a primitive earth atmosphere. They’re using simple molecules they believe were present on a primitive earth and are hoping to join these bases into a strand of RNA.
Previous research from 2009 attempted to show how two of the smaller bases (cytosine and uracil) could form from simple chemicals, but their experiment hinged on “plausible” prebiotic molecules available in an early earth atmosphere. What a primitive earth atmosphere would have been like is still unsettled. The presence of oxygen, for example, would be devastating to these chemical processes and their hope to produce life.
New research is trying to demonstrate how the larger bases (adenine and guanine) could have formed from simple molecules. Studies showed a series of chemical reactions from simple compounds reacting in water and producing amines, acids and purine bases. Read the rest of this entry