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Creationism News -- September 2012 创造 论新闻 – 2012 年 9 月

Creationism News -- September 2012 创造 论新闻 – 2012 年 9 月. Dedicated to David Coppedge who sacrificed his career as the Head Systems Administrator for the Cassini Spacecraft in JPL to honor the Creator of the Universe. He also spent literally thousands of hours to make his excellent websites.

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Creationism News -- September 2012 创造 论新闻 – 2012 年 9 月

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  1. Creationism News -- September 2012创造论新闻 – 2012年9月 Dedicated to David Coppedge who sacrificed his career as the Head Systems Administrator for the Cassini Spacecraft in JPL to honor the Creator of the Universe. He also spent literally thousands of hours to make his excellent websites. The contents of this presentation were taken from David Coppedge’s website Pray for the results of his discrimination lawsuit against JPL. Pastor Chui 11/21/2014 1

  2. Denisovan Genome Reveals Interbreeding With Modern HumansDenisovan基因组揭示与现代人类混种 • With the publishing of the Denisovan genome, the genetic profile of interfertile humans has widened considerably. • From a single fingerbone, scientists at Max Planck Institute were able to determine the complete genome of a surprising group of humans in Siberia that have been named the Denisovans.  According to Scientific American on August 30 (reprinted by Nature News), the individual’s DNA can reveal traits of the entire population.  The current interpretation is that the Denisovans were an isolated population group in Asia with low genetic diversity, living 74,000 to 82,000 years ago (earlier estimates were half that, about 30,000 to 50,000 years ago), but that “the modern human line diverged from what would become the Denisovan line as long as 700,000 years ago—but possibly as recently as 170,000 years ago.”  Writer Katharine Harmon speculated that “the population on the whole seems to have been very small for hundreds of thousands of years, with relatively little genetic diversity throughout their history.” 11/21/2014 2

  3. Denisovan Genome Reveals Interbreeding With Modern HumansDenisovan基因组揭示与现代人类混种 • Enough commonality was found with modern humans – about 6% – that it shows the population must have interbred with them and with Neanderthals, with whom they share more commonality than with moderns.  As for the owner of the fingerbone, analysis is “consistent with” dark hair and skin of a female.  Charles Q. Choi at Live Science took that as a cue to proclaim,  “Genome of Mysterious Extinct Human Reveals Brown-Eyed Girl.”  Perhaps they will name her Denise. 11/21/2014 3

  4. Denisovan Genome Reveals Interbreeding With Modern HumansDenisovan基因组揭示与现代人类混种 • That’s how the evolutionists are re-framing this find within their standard timeline.  It should be remembered, however, that the Denisovan bones (a finger and two molars in a cave in Siberia) came as a complete surprise to Svante Pääbo, his team at the Max Planck Institute, and to anthropologists worldwide.  John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who was not involved in the genome study, called Denisova a “big surprise.”  Early genetic indications of interbreeding with modern humans were doubted by some, but the newly published genome appears to remove all doubt.  That being the case, it is appropriate to consider Denisovans, Neanderthals and modern humans as a single interfertile species.  Consider, by comparison, the diversity in dogs, all of which are members of a single species, Canis familiaris. 11/21/2014 4

  5. Denisovan Genome Reveals Interbreeding With Modern HumansDenisovan基因组揭示与现代人类混种 • Several points in the Nature News article bear emphasis for their surprise effects.  For one, this fingerbone retained a remarkable amount of DNA: • Most bone fragments would be expected to contain less than 5 percent of the individual’s endogenous DNA, but this fortuitous finger had a surprising 70 percent, the researchers noted in the study. And many Neandertal fragments have been preserved in vastly different states—many are far worse off than this Denisovan finger bone. • Is it plausible this bone retained its DNA for up to 82,000 years? or even 30,000?   Another point is that Australian aborigines, Melanesians and inhabitants of Papua New Guinea share Denisovan DNA, but not modern residents of Asia: 11/21/2014 5

  6. Denisovan Genome Reveals Interbreeding With Modern HumansDenisovan基因组揭示与现代人类混种 • Yet contemporary residents of mainland Asia do not seem to posses Denisovian traces in their DNA, a ‘very curious’ fact,” Hawks says. “We’re looking at a very interesting population scenario”—one that does not jibe entirely with what we thought we knew about how waves modern human populations migrated into and through Asia and out to Oceania’s islands. This new genetic evidence might indicate that perhaps an early wave of humans moved through Asia, mixed with Denisovans and then relocated to the islands—to be replaced in Asia by later waves of human migrants from Africa. “It’s not totally obvious that works really well with what we know about the diversity of Asians and Australians,” Hawks says. 11/21/2014 6

  7. Denisovan Genome Reveals Interbreeding With Modern HumansDenisovan基因组揭示与现代人类混种 • A third point in the article regards the expanded variability now appreciated within the interfertile human line.  Denisova may not be the last population of diverse humans to be found.  Harmon revealed a little-known fact: there’s a lot of variability among living Africans: • The genomes of contemporary pygmy and hunter–gatherer tribes in Africa, for example, have roughly as many differences as do those of European modern humans and Neandertals. So “any ancient specimen that we find in Africa might be as different from us as Neandertals,” Hawks says. “Anything we find from the right place might be another Denisovan.” • With a new sequencing technique available that can discern a genome from one DNA strand rather than both, anthropologists approach additional fossil sequences with excitement, and perhaps some trepidation.  What will the genome of H. floresiensis reveal?  Will additional human populations be found in Asia?  Pääbo said, “I would be surprised if there were not other groups to be found there in the future.” 11/21/2014 7

  8. Denisovan Genome Reveals Interbreeding With Modern HumansDenisovan基因组揭示与现代人类混种 • To discern how scientists are doing, watch for surprised looks on their faces.  The paleoanthropology community was caught completely off guard by the Denisova fossils (read those links to our five earlier reports about Denisovans to emphasize the point).  Archaic hominids in a Siberian cave, far from Europe, who interbred who with modern humans?  Impossible.  Yet their own analysis brings them to that conclusion.  Don’t be fooled when they recover their composure by switching from the surprised look to the excited look and say (like John Hawks, one of the more reasonable of the gang), “Going back further in time will be exciting.  There’s a huge race on—it’s exciting.”  Observe the plain fact: they were wrong!  Their story of human evolution was false.  Tell them to stop the spin doctoring within the Grand Tale of Human Evolution Story and face the facts. 11/21/2014 8

  9. Denisovan Genome Reveals Interbreeding With Modern HumansDenisovan基因组揭示与现代人类混种 • We additionally know they were wrong because this finger had quality DNA.  It’s highly implausible that this bone contained 70% of its original DNA after 30,000 years, to say nothing of 82,000 years.  Who could possibly believe that?  It’s much more likely that this individual lived just a few thousand years ago at most, like the Table of Nations timeline of Genesis describes.  Fully modern, big-brained, ensouled humans spread across the globe after Babel and began to interbreed in groups that accentuated various traits without eliminating traces of their common ancestry from Mr. & Mrs. Noah.  The more isolated groups became in more remote places, like Siberian caves, the more distinctive their genomes became. Notice also the ability of these people to travel far and wide around the globe.  It doesn’t take tens or hundreds of thousands of years for these things to happen. 11/21/2014 9

  10. Denisovan Genome Reveals Interbreeding With Modern HumansDenisovan基因组揭示与现代人类混种 • That interpretation fits the facts without requiring us to believe the impossible dream that Denisovans kept to themselves as an isolated small population for “hundreds of thousands of years” without ever thinking of making wheels, building cities or riding a horse, while flirting with modern humans from Europe once in awhile.  The folly of their long-age scenario should sizzle in your brain till it “sheds light on evolution,” showing it to be complete baloney.  How can anyone believe that?  Why do they believe that?  The answer: they have committed their souls to protecting Darwin from falsification. 11/21/2014 10

  11. Denisovan Genome Reveals Interbreeding With Modern HumansDenisovan基因组揭示与现代人类混种 • It’s only a matter of time before history laughs these charlatans off the stage.  Sure, they are intelligent, and good at sequencing DNA.  They’ve had a lot of education.  They can talk jargon and work phylogeny software.  Fantastic.  But when it comes to explaining the world, they are a sorry bunch.  Get the jump on the historians of 2030 and start laughing now. 11/21/2014 11

  12. Turning Astrobiology Surprises Into Evolutionary Fiction天体生物学成为进化小说 • There’s never been a surprise that a good astrobiologist hasn’t been able to spin into an evolutionary tale. • For a recent example, see the post “How old are the first planets?” on NASA’s Astrobiology Magazine or the reprint on PhysOrg.  In this article, every surprise or anomaly became fodder for Keith Cooper’s imagination.  Here are a few of the unexpected observations in the article that Cooper worked into the grand scenario of cosmic evolution and the origin of life: 11/21/2014 12

  13. Turning Astrobiology Surprises Into Evolutionary Fiction天体生物学成为进化小说 • 1.  Rocky planets:  The Kepler spacecraft has found rocky worlds around metal-poor stars that were previously thought to lack ingredients for planets.  Solution: “one way of looking at terrestrial planets is to see them as failed gas giant cores.”  Even more exciting, it means (contrary to earlier beliefs) that rocky planets – and maybe life – may abound around metal-poor stars!  “If Earth-sized planets do not require stars with high abundances of heavy elements, then that has huge implications, expanding the possible abodes for lifethroughout both space and time.”  Cooper even jumped from his imaginary solution to the conclusion that it implies the “Galactic Habitable Zone” might be wider than thought. 11/21/2014 13

  14. Turning Astrobiology Surprises Into Evolutionary Fiction天体生物学成为进化小说 • 2. Fermi Paradox:  Point #1 raises the ghost of the Fermi Paradox: if there are so many rocky worlds with life, how come none have visited the earth by now?  (Their inhabitants, presumably, have had billions of years to evolve advanced technology.)  Solution: Dodge the question with a distracting discussion of how and when gas giants can evolve around low-metal stars. 11/21/2014 14

  15. Turning Astrobiology Surprises Into Evolutionary Fiction天体生物学成为进化小说 • 3.  Heavy metal galaxies:  The evolutionary scenario predicted heavy elements would gradually increase over time; early galaxies, therefore, should be depleted in heavy elements.  “Twelve billion years ago the chemistry of galaxies should have been fairly primitive,” Cooper confessed, yet a distant galaxy matched the sun in heavy elements.  Solution: “The best explanation so far is that a starburst – a ferociously rapid bout of star formation – within the inner regions of the galaxy has blown the heavy elements into the galactic outlands.”  In philosophy of science, this is known as a post hoc rationalization. 11/21/2014 15

  16. Turning Astrobiology Surprises Into Evolutionary Fiction天体生物学成为进化小说 • 4. Planet billiards:  Gas giants should wreak havoc with rocky planets, sending them careening out of a star’s planetary system as the gas giants migrate inward, but Kepler has found rocky planets interspersed between gas giants. Solution: claim that “what difficulties gas giants can cause for habitable planets, they don’t necessarily have to be a show-stopper”.  But if they are, it only takes one to stop the show. 11/21/2014 16

  17. Turning Astrobiology Surprises Into Evolutionary Fiction天体生物学成为进化小说 • 5. Impoverished gas giants:  Gas giants were thought to require an abundance of heavy elements to form cores for accretion of gas, but some have been found around metal-poor stars.  Solution: “it must have formed very early in the history of the Universe,” or, “Why gas giants have been able to form around these heavy-metal deficient stars is unknown, perhaps hinting at an alternative process for gas planet formation.” 11/21/2014 17

  18. Turning Astrobiology Surprises Into Evolutionary Fiction天体生物学成为进化小说 • These and other anomalies, failed expectations and surprises are dealt with accordingly by Cooper and his astronomer interviewees.  Given a lively imagination, no problem is too damning to falsify biological evolution, planetary evolution, stellar evolution, galactic evolution and cosmic evolution.  Here’s how Cooper roused his readers’ imaginations in a sweeping set of glittering generalities (after dodging the 4th point above about planet billiards, and while dodging example #2 about the Fermi Paradox): 11/21/2014 18

  19. Turning Astrobiology Surprises Into Evolutionary Fiction天体生物学成为进化小说 • Regardless, one thing is becoming clear: that sufficient raw materials for building terrestrial planets were available very soon after the Big Bang, raising the possibility that there could be life in the Universe far older than we.Perhaps they reside around long-lived red dwarf stars, or have moved on from their home system after their star expired. Or, perhaps, we really are the first, which means that if life has happened just once throughout the entire history of the Universe, our existence must be a fluke and our planet very, very special indeed. • Such a conclusion would allow for any eventuality: even the uniqueness of life on earth would fit an evolutionary scenario. 11/21/2014 19

  20. Turning Astrobiology Surprises Into Evolutionary Fiction天体生物学成为进化小说 • In another article on PhysOrg, planetary theorist Alan Boss came up with a novel way to get refractory compounds into comets, where they were previously thought not to exist: cook them near the sun, then send them out to the fringes by special delivery.  “Their meandering trips back and forth could help explain the different compositions of their rims.”  This, along with a discussion of calcium-aluminum inclusions (CAIs) in meteorites, was touted as solving two solar system puzzles at one blow.  “It’s nice to solve two problems at once,” said Boss. “But there are still many more puzzles about meteorites for us to work on.”  Incidentally, his theory of disk instability for the formation of gas giants runs counter to the core accretion model Keith Cooper assumed in his article. 11/21/2014 20

  21. Turning Astrobiology Surprises Into Evolutionary Fiction天体生物学成为进化小说 • Astronomer Stephen Weinberg once defined an expert as “a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.”  In this case, Cooper and his Darwin Party experts don’t avoid any errors: they actually use the large errors to sweep on to the grand fallacy.  We might also recall that an expert (ex-spurt) used to be a spurt, but is now just a drip.  Oh, their empirical observations are doing fine: the Kepler spacecraft, the spectrometers, the equations – all built using intelligent design – are pulling the scientific load.  But the scenario, the play, the imaginary story they repeat in spite of the observations – these are what illustrate the skill of evolutionist gumbies to twist any falsification into a celebration of their gnostic powers.  Historical note:  Johannes Kepler, for whom the planet-hunting spacecraft was named, was a creationist. 11/21/2014 21

  22. Is Belief in the Supernatural Universal? 信仰超自然是普遍? • Can evolutionists exempt themselves from the uneducated masses who cling to supernatural beliefs? • Most educated Americans and Europeans would look with pity on those who appeal to witchcraft to explain disease or misfortune.  To varying degrees, evolutionists would include Christians, Jews and other religious people as sadly misinformed about the ability of naturalism to account for all phenomena of the biological world including human nature.   Evolutionists commonly study their fellow humans for how natural selection shaped their responses to social stimuli, confident of the ability of Darwinian selection to explain human psychology.  11/21/2014 22

  23. Is Belief in the Supernatural Universal? 信仰超自然是普遍? • A recent example can be found in a University of Texas press release that announced, “People Merge Supernatural and Scientific Beliefs When Reasoning With the Unknown, Study Shows.”  In the study, UT psychologist Christine Legare and her team sought to identify predictable and universal ways that people handle “supernatural” and “scientific” explanations for things: •  Legare and her colleagues reviewed more than 30 studies on how people (ages 5–75) from various countries reason with three major existential questions: the origin of life, illness and death. They also conducted a study with 366 respondents in South Africa, where biomedical and traditional healing practices are both widely available. 11/21/2014 23

  24. Is Belief in the Supernatural Universal? 信仰超自然是普遍? • Unexpectedly, respondents’ supernatural beliefs did not decrease with age or education.  Instead, they tended to accommodate the supernatural and scientific explanations with either-or or both-and concoctions: e.g., either witchcraft or a virus caused a person to get AIDS, or both were involved. • The team concluded that belief in the supernatural is a universal human trait that children never fully grow out of: •  Legare said the findings contradict the common assumption that supernatural beliefs dissipate with age and knowledge. 11/21/2014 24

  25. Is Belief in the Supernatural Universal? 信仰超自然是普遍? • “The findings show supernatural explanations for topics of core concern to humans are pervasive across cultures,” Legare said. “If anything, in both industrialized and developing countries, supernatural explanations are frequently endorsed more often among adults than younger children.” • The results provide evidence that reasoning about supernatural phenomena is a fundamental and enduring aspect of human thinking, Legare said. • “The standard assumption that scientific and religious explanations compete should be re-evaluated in light of substantial psychological evidence,” Legare said. “The data, which spans diverse cultural contexts across the lifespan, shows supernatural reasoning is not necessarily replaced with scientific explanations following gains in knowledge, education or technology.” 11/21/2014 25

  26. Is Belief in the Supernatural Universal? 信仰超自然是普遍? • Legare dubs this “coexistence thinking” – • “As children assimilate cultural concepts into their intuitive belief systems — from God to atoms to evolution — they engage in coexistence thinking,” said Cristine Legare, assistant professor of psychology and lead author of the study. “When they merge supernatural and scientific explanations, they integrate them in a variety of predictable and universal ways.” • Since the press release tagged this story with “evolutionary psychology,” it can safely be assumed that the University of Texas at Austin was not paying her to think outside the explanatory toolkit of evolution: i.e., mutation and natural selection, studied within the standard academic approach called methodological naturalism.  But the question remains: is belief in the supernatural universal?  or have evolutionary psychologists managed to escape coexistence thinking, purifying their explanations of the supernatural, to attain purely natural, scientific insight? 11/21/2014 26

  27. Is Belief in the Supernatural Universal? 信仰超自然是普遍? • Trick question.  If it’s natural, it’s not insight; if it’s insight, it’s not natural.  Let’s get something straight at the outset: everyone is a supernaturalist.  To justify this assertion, we must first provide clarity by defining our terms.  Robert Jastrow, the late astronomer, defined materialism (a rough synonym for naturalism and more useful, since “nature” is an equivocal word) as “particles and the forces by which they interact.”  He said once you have identified these, you’ve done it all – there’s nothing else to insert into your explanation.  What he failed to appreciate is that explanation itself falls outside that box.  Explanation is not natural; it’s supernatural! 11/21/2014 27

  28. Is Belief in the Supernatural Universal? 信仰超自然是普遍? • Lest a reader contend that we are quibbling about words, consider: “explanation” presupposes many things: among them truth and honesty.  Nobody wants an explanation that is false or dishonest.  Truth and honesty, however, if anything, must refer to concepts (again, immaterial things) that are universal, timeless, necessary, and certain.  This is not to say that scientists are capable of attaining certainty; the quest itself, though, presupposes a belief that a good explanation is out there, and when found, will be true and honestly arrived at.  Since all these concepts lie outside of particles and forces – the limits of natural things – it means that evolutionary psychologists and all the other metaphysical or methodological naturalists are supernaturalists in spite of themselves.  Q.E.D. 11/21/2014 28

  29. Is Belief in the Supernatural Universal? 信仰超自然是普遍? • One way out would be for the evolutionary psychologist to admit truth and honesty into their definition of nature.  This move, however, is a slippery slope.  Once they admit the ontological reality of concepts that are timeliness, universal, necessary and certain into their “natural box,” there is no way to keep out God without making an arbitrary distinction (for fuller explication, see “Naturalism Outline” PDF file at this site).  So, enough of this nonsense that evolutionists can exempt themselves from belief in the supernatural.  The question becomes, who has the most coherent supernatural explanation for human nature? 11/21/2014 29

  30. Is Belief in the Supernatural Universal? 信仰超自然是普遍? • Most academics would like a way to exclude witchcraft from the explanation for AIDS; so would Christians and Jews, who believe in Satan and evil spirits.  These are worthy discussions.  However, to pretend that methodological naturalism is the best method is to make an arbitrary rule within the set of supernatural explanations, and risks missing the right explanation.  It basically says, “we admit we believe in the supernatural, but we choose to pretend the supernatural does not exist.”  Such a position is self-contradictory, self-refuting, and self-limiting.  The method that has a solid foundation begins with the nature of God, the ultimate source of truth, the embodiment of all that is timeless, universal, necessary and certain.  Honesty, wisdom and other desirable traits for a scientist come pre-justified with this approach. 11/21/2014 30

  31. Is Belief in the Supernatural Universal? 信仰超自然是普遍? • To know the nature of God, we cannot reason to it from the bottom up with any certainty.  It needs to be revealed.  Taking the Creator’s self-revelation in the Bible gives us a reliable starting point.  The attributes of God as revealed in the Bible give the scientist assurance that truth, honesty, justice, and wisdom matter; therefore, scientific explanations are good to the extent they measure up to those qualities.  Knowing that humans are created in the image of God, yet are fallen into sin, provides the grounds for human psychology. From knowledge of man’s fallen mind, it will take a good deal of scholarly debate on the limits of human knowledge (subjects, incidentally, that have generated much lively debate from Augustine to C. S. Lewis). 11/21/2014 31

  32. Is Belief in the Supernatural Universal? 信仰超自然是普遍? • All these considerations, however, just get us to the starting point for scientific investigation.  The Bible is a condensed book; it does not provide exhaustive information on most questions of interest to modern scientists.  Knowing that we share the image of God, however, we can utilize our God-given wisdom, creativity and conscience to strive for the best explanations, confident that the “truth” is out there in the mind of God.  Other scientists, also working from that foundation, can judge our conclusions, measuring how well they comport with revealed truth and observation.  This approach at least has the hope of success and is self-consistent.  It’s the approach creation scientists have used for centuries and continue to use.  But let us all disabuse ourselves of the notion that evolutionists avoid the supernatural: they just employ an inconsistent supernatural worldview, stealing the concepts of truth and honesty from the Christian worldview while pretending the supernatural doesn’t exist. 11/21/2014 32

  33. Is Belief in the Supernatural Universal? 信仰超自然是普遍? • Application.  Let’s look at the Legare study with a Christian approach.  The data show that certain South African people continue to assimilate their belief in witchcraft with scientific explanations for HIV transmission.  First of all, we might question Legare’s sample, and be reluctant to speak of all South Africans this way.  Second, we would understand that the fallen mind is prey to demonic delusions, such as witchcraft.  Third, we might ask different questions, like, how well-informed are the participants about Biblical theology?  11/21/2014 33

  34. Is Belief in the Supernatural Universal? 信仰超自然是普遍? • In our write-up, we might agree with Legare that education doesn’t rid some people of false notions, but would approach the conclusion, not from evolutionary psychology, but from Biblical anthropology, that men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.  Applying our findings, we might encourage better Bible education for these people.  For fun, we might turn the tables and analyze the “coexistence thinking” of Legare and her colleagues, investigating why they continue holding to naturalistic Darwinism when educated into the fact that scientific explanation implies that naturalism is impossible. 11/21/2014 34

  35. More Reasons to Appreciate Your Body 更多理由去欣赏你的身体 • There’s more going on under your skin than you possibly realize. • Lung brush:  Working 24x7, microscopic cilia lining your bronchial passages sweep your lungs clean, allowing you to survive in an atmosphere filled with pollutants.  Science Daily summarized a paper in Science that described “A Periciliary Brush Promotes the Lung Health by Separating the Mucus Layer from Airway Epithelia” (Button et al., Science, 24 August 2012: Vol. 337 no. 6097 pp. 937–941, DOI: 10.1126/science.1223012).  Science Daily said, 11/21/2014 35

  36. More Reasons to Appreciate Your Body 更多理由去欣赏你的身体 • “The cilia are constantly beating, even while we sleep,” he says. “In a coordinated fashion, they push mucus containing foreign objects out of the lungs, and we either swallow it or spit it out. These cilia even beat for a few hours after we die. If they stopped, we’d be flooded with mucus that provides a fertile breeding ground for bacteria.”.… • The researchers used a combination of imaging techniques to observe a dense meshwork in the periciliary layer of human bronchial epithelial cell cultures. The brush-like layer consists of protective molecules that keep sticky mucus from reaching the cilia and epithelial cells, thus ensuring the normal flow of mucus.… 11/21/2014 36

  37. More Reasons to Appreciate Your Body 更多理由去欣赏你的身体 • “This layer — this brush — seems to be very important for the healthy functioning of human airways,” according to Rubinstein. “It protects cells from sticky mucus, and it creates a second barrier of defense in case viruses or bacteria penetrate through the mucus. They would not penetrate through the brush layer because the brush is denser.” 11/21/2014 37

  38. More Reasons to Appreciate Your Body 更多理由去欣赏你的身体 • Respiratory diseases such as COPD are apparently caused by the collapse of this brush layer.  The new findings, which replace old notions that the mucus rested on a liquid layer, may help people suffering from a variety of lung problems.  The BBC News write-up added this comment: • Prof Stephen Spiro, vice-chairman of the British Lung Foundation, said: “Mucus has a complex biological make-up and forms a vital part of the lungs’ defence mechanism against potentially harmful or irritating substances, which are inhaled as small particles. • “Research such as this helps our understanding [of] how this system works, and of the complex mechanisms deep within our lungs which protect us from the atmosphere we breathe in.” 11/21/2014 38

  39. More Reasons to Appreciate Your Body 更多理由去欣赏你的身体 • The original paper did not mention evolution, except to say in passing, “Mucus clearance in the mammalian lung has evolved to trap and clear a wide variety of inhaled toxicants and infectious agents from airway surfaces,” passing the support for that claim to three other references.  Neither Science Daily nor the BBC saw fit to include evolution. 11/21/2014 39

  40. More Reasons to Appreciate Your Body 更多理由去欣赏你的身体 • Muscle builder:  Early reports about irisin, a newly-discovered hormone that mimics the effects of exercise by converting white fat into brown fat (see Live Science Jan. 2012) may not pan out, according to Nature this week (Timmons et al., “Is irisin a human exercise gene?”, Nature 488, 30 August 2012, pp. E9–E10, doi:10.1038/nature11364).  Timmons et al. found only modest benefit in humans, particularly highly-active elderly people.  No need to despair, though: Science Daily just reported a “hulk protein” that may allow humans to grow stronger without working out.  Researchers found that mice with the Grb10 gene disrupted grow more muscular.  Don’t turn in your gym membership just yet, though, the researchers warned:  “the classic prescription still applies: lift heavy things, eat and sleep right, and have your hormones checked.”  They hope, though, that further understanding of these genetic processes may help people suffering from muscle-wasting diseases. 11/21/2014 40

  41. More Reasons to Appreciate Your Body 更多理由去欣赏你的身体 • Protein attraction:  Your body’s proteins need to work together.  Cornell scientists have found how proteins can feel attractive forces as far as 20 nanometers, a considerable distance at their scale.  It involves fractal-like patterns in cell membranes that form near the “critical point of the liquid-liquid phase separation of the cell membrane, which is the subtle temperature and composition point at which the two phases separate.”  PhysOrg included this quote by Ben Machta, grad student and co-author of the study: “We were intrigued that it seems like biology does want to tune itself closely to this critical point.” 11/21/2014 41

  42. More Reasons to Appreciate Your Body 更多理由去欣赏你的身体 • Gift-wrapped neurons:  Many neural cells come wrapped in myelin, a membranous, lipid-rich sheath that composes the “white matter” of the central nervous system. What does it do?  “The myelin sheath around nerve fibres serves to speed up electrical nerve signals, Nature News explained.  “But it turns out that it also supplies neurons with fuel to support their high metabolic activity.”  In particular, “lactate provided by or through the myelin sheath is crucial for neuronal survival.”  A diagram in the article reveals the complex interactions of astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, ATP and blood vessels in this feeding process.  The finding “expands the roles of myelin sheaths,” the authors said.  This is not necessarily the only known function of myelin, which “supports neurons in other, less-well-understood ways.”  Source: Rinholm and Bergerson, “Neuroscience: The wrap that feeds neurons,” Nature 487, 26 July 2012, pp. 435–436, doi:10.1038/487435a. 11/21/2014 42

  43. More Reasons to Appreciate Your Body 更多理由去欣赏你的身体 • Work in your sleep:  Sleep learning is possible, reported Science Daily, because while you rest and dream, your brain is creating associations and memories of what you perceive through the senses, and these associations remain after you wake up.  Experiments at the Weizmann Institute of Science showed that sleeping participants given Pavlov-like associations of tones with odors retained the association when awake: when hearing the tone, they would breathe in deeply for memories of pleasant odors, but take short sniffs when the tone was associated with a foul odor – even when having no conscious memory of the association.  Researchers believe this finding suggests that “we could probably learn more complex information while we sleep,” but they expect limits.  Don’t place your homework under your pillow, for instance.  More detail provided in the coverage on Nature News August 26. 11/21/2014 43

  44. More Reasons to Appreciate Your Body 更多理由去欣赏你的身体 • Support for circumcision:  Parents worrying about the decision whether to circumcise their baby boy might elect to do so, now that medical doctors from the American Association of Pediatrics endorsed it August 27.  The AAP feels it can reduce sexually-transmitted diseases and improve boys’ health, such as reducing risk of penile cancer and urinary tract infections.  Some disagree strongly with tampering with nature on philosophical or religious grounds; some worry about complications for the baby.  Although still controversial, the AAP believes ” the medical benefits outweigh the risks of the procedure” and advises insurance companies to pay for it.  Source: Nature News, August 28; see also Live Science, which also reported August 20 that a drop in circumcisions would boost health care costs. 11/21/2014 44

  45. More Reasons to Appreciate Your Body 更多理由去欣赏你的身体 • Circumcision remains a parental choice; if undertaken, it should be for health reasons, not religious reasons.  For Christians, the apostle Paul declared that “circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing” in terms of ceremonial significance, “but keeping the commandments of God” is what counts (I Cor. 7:19).  In Romans he proved that circumcision is no longer a requirement for pleasing God, from whom salvation is by grace alone through faith.  In Galatians, he strongly condemned the Judaizers who insisted that Christians must be circumcised, declaring them to be hypocrites: “As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.  11/21/2014 45

  46. More Reasons to Appreciate Your Body 更多理由去欣赏你的身体 • But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.” (Galatians 6:12–15).  Nevertheless, he did have Timothy circumcised to avoid offense as the young disciple entered a ministry to a mixed church of Jews and Gentiles (Acts 16:1–3).  Some people get really adamant about their positions for or against circumcision, but consider: God would not have required a seriously damaging procedure for his people the Jews in the Old Testament; they did, after all, do a pretty good job of being fruitful and multiplying.  If you agree with the AAP that the benefits outweigh the risks, or if you have some pragmatic reason, like wanting your boy to fit the cultural norm, have at it.  If you want your boy to remain all natural, you will not thereby displease God. 11/21/2014 46

  47. More Reasons to Appreciate Your Body 更多理由去欣赏你的身体 • We hope all the stories in this entry will remind us all how “fearfully and wonderfully made” we are (Psalm 139), from the level of the whole body all the way down to the individual proteins in our cells.  Browse through our “Human Body” category to read about many more wonders that make human life precious.  Be grateful again today to your Maker, and promote the sanctity of human life in your voting and behavior. 11/21/2014 47

  48. Whole Lotta Evolvin’ Goin’ On 一大堆不断进化的展望 • Your dog learned the most effective way to shake water off: by evolution, maybe.  Maybe evolution did other things, too. • Spin-Dry the Dog • Anyone with a dog has been amused or amazed at how well they shake water off after coming out of the pool or lake.  The shakes start at the head and move like a spin-drying machine down to the tail.  Did you know most mammals, except humans, have the same app pre-installed? 11/21/2014 48

  49. Whole Lotta Evolvin’ Goin’ On 一大堆不断进化的展望 • David Hu at Georgia Tech decided to take his students on a science safari and find out the evolution of the doggy shake, according to PhysOrg, “Planet of the Apes: Furry mammals evolved a tuned spin dry.”  What they found was pretty remarkable: “The seemingly casual jiggle imparts enough centrifugal force to expel 70 percent of the water in his coat in a fraction of a second.”  They put stickers on dogs to measure the action, and found about a 30-degree angle of shake. 11/21/2014 49

  50. Whole Lotta Evolvin’ Goin’ On 一大堆不断进化的展望 • The team watched 30 other mammals, from “mice, rats, cats, goats, sheep, lions, tigers, bears, and giant pandas” do a similar shake, despite being widely separated geographically.  Smaller animals have to shake faster to get the same centrifugal drying effect, but the behavior is similar.  It’s not just the shaking that does the job; the skin is also loose enough to impart the energy to the fur.  Good thing; animals could face hypothermia if they can’t get the water away from their skin fast enough. • The original paper on the Royal Society website Aug. 17 (open access) had very little to say about evolution: just one mention in passing, that “Many animals evolved physical adaptations to minimize infiltration of water into their furs or feathers.”  The PhysOrg article, by contrast, seemed obsessed with saying how this behavior evolved.  It brought in Frank Fish as chief storyteller: 11/21/2014 50

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