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Creationism News -- May 2012 创造 论新闻 -- 2012 年 5 月

Creationism News -- May 2012 创造 论新闻 -- 2012 年 5 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 -- May 2012 创造 论新闻 -- 2012 年 5 月

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  1. Creationism News -- May 2012创造论新闻 -- 2012年5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 various sources. Thank God that David Coppedge came back from the lawsuit after two months of “vacation.” Pray for the results of the lawsuit. I now resume using his website materials. Pastor Chui http://ChristCenterGospel.org ckchui1@yahoo.com 8/16/2014 1

  2. Creatures of Light生物光 Discover (May 2012) announces that in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City many exhibits on creatures of light: New Zealand cave where gnat larvae string glowing lines to ensnare the insects they eat; the underwater world of a jellyfish that absorbs blue light and radiates flashes of green. Live light-emitting creatures include a tank of flashlight fish, who lure the shrimp and plankton they eat with a blue-green glow, produced by bacteria living in translucent sacks under their eyes. 8/16/2014 2

  3. Learning from the Octopus从八达通学习 Discover (May 2012) reports that Rafe Sagarin observed that top-down management and bureaucratic inertia stymied government efforts to adapt to constantly evolving security threats. He promotes an alternative strategy he calls “natural security”: the idea that we can model our own strategies on the survival techniques of highly successful organisms. It’s a humbling thought, but Homeland Security may have a lot to gain from studying octopuses, whose skin cells can adapt to threats without reporting to or taking orders from a central brain. 8/16/2014 3

  4. The Taste of Tomorrow明天的味道 Discover (May 2012) reports that Josh Schonwald first heard of cobia, a steaklike fish that some seafood industry say will soon become a culinary staple. As his investigations progress, Schonwald realizes that any vision of the future food must balance ethical and environmental concerns with culinary ones. While he optimistically champions biotech’s potential to make the future more sustainable, most of the possibilities that he explores—such as lab-grown meat, a food pill, and saltwater fish raised indoors—are still a long way from reaching our plates. 8/16/2014 4

  5. Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone大棱镜春天,黄石国家公园 Discover (May 2012) reports the Yellowstone National Park powers the 10,000 springs, geysers, and other thermal features located where magma-heated water and steam come simmering to the surface. Yellowstone’s biggest hot spring, Grand Prismatic, also hosts some of the planet’s strangest, hardiest life, which thrives at temperatures up to 180 degrees F. Water flows from the ground at 560 gallons per minute. Brilliant green, yellow, brown, and orange bacterial mates encircle the spring. Some bacteria use arsenic instead of phosphorus in their DNA! This is still controversial. 8/16/2014 5

  6. Transit of Venus over the Sun (June 5)金星在太阳上通过 (6月5日) Discover (May 2012) reports on June 5, 2012, Venus will pass over the sun. This can be seen all over US on a cloudless day. Use a sheet of welder’s glass or project an image with a telescope. The next chance won’t come until 2117! You will see a black dot which will move over the solar disk. The observations can be used to calculate the distance between us and our star. That was how the astronomer Edmond Halley did it in 1716. 8/16/2014 6

  7. Human Organ for Transplant用于移植的人体器官 Discover (May 2012) has an interesting article on organ transplant. In 2011, doctors in the US transplanted some 21,000 organs from deceased donors, obtained through 58 organ procurement organizations. Heart donations must be transplanted within 4 to 6 hours; livers have 24 hours; kidneys can last 2 days before expiration. Kidneys are the most common organ transplanted. In 2011 more than 15,000 people received kidney transplants; 10,000 came from deceased donors. Liver, heart, lung, pancreas, and intestine come next, in that order. Acceptable organ donors range from newborn to over 65. Seniors can donate corneas, skin, and bone. 113,000 people are still waiting. 18 people die waiting for an organ each day. 8/16/2014 7

  8. Things you didn’t know about allergies你不知道的过敏反应 Discover (May 2012) has an interesting article on allergies. According to NIH, more than 50% of Americans have allergies. Most food allergies result from an immune response to a protein. Parasites can distract the immune system from food allergies. Allergies to shellfish, nuts, fish, milk, eggs, and other foods cause an estimated 150 to 200 deaths a year in the US. A walk in the grass can turn you into a vegan. Tick bites can cause the immune system to produce antibodies to alpha-gal, a carbohydrate in beef, pork, and lamb. These antibodies can induce allergic reactions to meat. Human dander can cause allergic rashes in dogs and cats, and in other humans. Jewelry containing nickel can trigger a lifelong metal allergy. 8/16/2014 8

  9. Planetary Radiometric Dates 1/3 Younger行星辐射的日期1/3年轻 http://crevo.info reports: The half-lives of radioactive isotopes may not be as well-known as thought.  One decay rate frequently used to date solar system objects had to be adjusted down to 66% of its former assumed value, impacting theories of planet formation. PhysOrg headlined, “‘Faster-Ticking Clock’ Indicates Early Solar System May Have Evolved Faster Than We Think.”  The old decay rate for samarium-146 (146Sm) was re-evaluated by a team from Argonne National Laboratory, Hebrew University, two Japanese universities and the University of Notre Dame.  The old value of 103 million years for its half-life was recalculated at 68 million years, two-thirds of its previously measured value. 8/16/2014 9

  10. Planetary Radiometric Dates 1/3 Younger行星辐射的日期1/3年轻 http://crevo.info reports: • The smaller value, “previously adopted as 103 million years, to a much shorter value of 68 million years,” the article continued.  It “has the effect of shrinking the assessed chronology of events in the early solar system and in planetary differentiation into a shorter time span,” the article said.  The story was reported a month ago by Science Daily. 8/16/2014 10

  11. Planetary Radiometric Dates 1/3 Younger行星辐射的日期1/3年轻 • http://crevo.info reports: • The article put a positive spin on this adjustment, saying, “The new time scale, interestingly, is now consistent with a recent and precise dating made on a lunar rock and is in better agreement with the dating obtained with other chronometers.”  It seems they could just as well have said that the other chronometers are now cast into doubt by the adjustment of 146Sm, which was also considered a precise chronometer till now. 8/16/2014 11

  12. Planetary Radiometric Dates 1/3 Younger行星辐射的日期1/3年轻 http://crevo.info reports: • In any case, it is disturbing that a physical value that is “out there in the world” could be found to be so far off by human measurement.  How many published papers are affected by this change?  Papers often quote radiometric dates to 4 or more significant figures.  Theorists rely on these values.  If values are not discovered but “adopted,” is it possible there was motivation by theorists to “adopt” a different value to create consistency with other chronometers?  Does the new value make the “assessed chronology of events in the early system” more or less plausible?  What will be the ripple effect from here on for a chronometer that ticks 33% faster than previously thought?  Who will go back and correct theories based on the previous value?  These are questions the press releases never ask. 8/16/2014 12

  13. Earth Myths with a Sprinkling of Data地球的神话与数据稀疏 • According to Live Science, Bill Hammond has been measuring uplift of the Sierra Nevada range since 2000.  Currently they have measured about a millimeter or two of uplift a year for less than 12 years.  Launching from that, the article stated: • The amount might seem small, but the data indicate that long-term trends in crustal uplift suggest the modern Sierra could be formed in less than 3 million years, which is relatively quick when compared to estimates using some geological techniques. • This represents an extrapolation of five orders of magnitude (stretching 12 years of data to “suggest” what happened in 3 million years).  Nevertheless, they are convinced they have determined a “young” uplift for the California mountain range.  Despite the bold announcements, Hammond said, “The Sierra Nevada uplift process is fairly unique on Earth and not well understood.” 8/16/2014 13

  14. Earth Myths with a Sprinkling of Data地球的神话与数据稀疏 • Even more hubris was displayed in another article, “Earth history and evolution,” on PhysOrg.  The opening paragraph is the operative statement about mythology referred to in our title: • In classical mythology, the cypress tree is associated with death, the underworld and eternity. Indeed, the family to which cypresses belong, is an ancient lineage of conifers, and a new study of their evolution affords a unique insight into a turbulent era in the Earth’s history. • This article claimed that genetic data between several genera of cypress thought to have evolved independently after a mythical supercontinent, Pangea, split apart, has “revolutionized the field of biogeography” and given us “understanding” of earth history. 8/16/2014 14

  15. Earth Myths with a Sprinkling of Data地球的神话与数据稀疏 • The new study confirms that cypresses represent a very old plant family. Their origins can be traced back to Pangea, and the evolutionary divergence of the northern and southern subfamilies of cypresses actually reflects the break-up of Pangea about 153 million years ago. • This adds another couple of orders of magnitude to the extrapolations from data evaluated in the present.  The “insight” generated comes with some caveats, however.  “Some groups have turned out to be surprisingly young in evolutionary terms, others much older than people had assumed.”  It appears that using assumptions about a law of nature concerning evolutionary rates requires sacrificing laws of nature in other aspects of the story. 8/16/2014 15

  16. Earth Myths with a Sprinkling of Data地球的神话与数据稀疏 • Let’s take stock of what we know (or think we know) based on the data presented.  (1) The Sierras have risen 1 or 2 millimeters per year since 2000, give or take the uncertainties that always need to be factored into any measurement.  (2) Certain selected genes in certain selected species of cypress have a measurable percent difference, give or take the uncertainties that always need to be factored into any measurement. • That’s it.  The rest is interpretation. 8/16/2014 16

  17. Earth Myths with a Sprinkling of Data地球的神话与数据稀疏 • Are you better off with modern mythology than the Greeks and Romans were?  The fighting gods of classical lore have been lumped into a new god named Evolution that performs whatever miracles are necessary to keep the myth going.  We are told “new lineages were established”.  By whom?  Evolution, the god of death, the underworld and eternity.  Evolution weaves tales of “turbulent eras in earth history” when he fought the Earth Giants, splitting continents and sending the spirits of Life Force on separate evolutionary trajectories.  We don’t see Evolution, but through his oracles, we gain “understanding”.  We envision “detailed pictures”.  We achieve “unique insight”. 8/16/2014 17

  18. We Became Human by Mistake我们错误地成为人类 • Live Science headlined in bold print, “Did a Copying Mistake Build Man’s Brain?”  (We assume this includes woman’s brain, but this could arouse controversy, depending on whether the mistake is deemed a good or bad thing).  Not to be outdone, New Scientist titled their version in a less sexist way, “One gene helped human brains become complex.” • The provocative headline stems from “new research” from the Scripps Research Institute that identified a gene that appears to result from a gene duplication: 8/16/2014 18

  19. We Became Human by Mistake我们错误地成为人类 • “There are approximately 30 genes that were selectively duplicated in humans,” study researcher Franck Polleux, of The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., said in a statement. “These are some of our most recent genomic innovations.” • An extra copy of a gene gives evolution something to work with: Like modeling clay, this gene isn’t essential like the original copy, so changes can be made to it without damaging the resulting organism. • By “selectively duplicated,” Polleux was clearly referring to natural selection, not selection by an intelligent designer wanting to make humans smarter.  The gene, SRGAP2, appears to be involved in the efficient organization of the cerebral cortex. 8/16/2014 19

  20. We Became Human by Mistake我们错误地成为人类 • When the researchers added  the partially duplicated gene copy to the mouse genome (mice don’t normally have it) it seemed to speed the migration of brain cells during development, which makes brain organization more efficient. • The mice, however, were not observed to start writing music or philosophy. • Somehow, using evolutionary dating assumptions, the Scripps team was able to surmise that this gene got duplicated not once, but twice in human evolution: the first time 3.5 million years ago, when it duplicated completely, and again 2.5 million years ago, when only part of it got duplicated. 8/16/2014 20

  21. We Became Human by Mistake我们错误地成为人类 • These cells that expressed the incomplete duplication of SRGAP2 also had more “spines” — knoblike extensions on the cell surface that connect with other brain cells, which make them look more like human brain cells. • Interestingly, the incomplete copy of the gene seems to have showed up just as the extinct hominin Australopithecus made room for the genus Homo, which led to modern humans. That’s also when the brains of our ancestors began to expand and when dramatic changes in cognitive abilities are likely to have emerged. • Sarah Reardon in New Scientist expanded the story to imagine different lineages of humans with different numbers of gene duplications of SRGAP2.  “When it comes to brain development, slow and steady wins the race,” she began.  “A single ancestral human gene that made two copies of itself may have helped the evolution of our large brains 2.5 million years ago, as our ancestors were diverging from australopithecines.” 8/16/2014 21

  22. We Became Human by Mistake我们错误地成为人类 • What’s interesting about the duplication, Eichler says, is that it would have changed brain development immediately and dramatically. Human ancestors with two, three, or even more copies of SRGAP2 – and consequently stark differences in their cognitive abilities – could have been running around together at one point. “That’s fun to think about,” he says. • Live Science was even more dramatic about the scientific earthquake generated by this fun thought.  Eichler said, “These episodic and large duplication events could have allowed for radical — potentially Earth-shattering — changes in brain development and brain function.” • Yet so little is understood about how the matter of the brain connects to the mind, the self, cognition and intelligence, as an essay by Sumit Paul-Choudhury explored on New Scientist.  Along that line, perhaps another PhysOrg article would be appropriate in connection with the daring assertions above: “Has modern science become dysfunctional?” 8/16/2014 22

  23. We Became Human by Mistake我们错误地成为人类 • OK; if this is a new law of nature, let’s count all the SRGAP2 genes in mammals and see how they correlate with cognitive function.  Are you smarter because of knoblike spines on your brain cells?  If so, IQ should be a direct reflection of your knobs, making some people Einsteins and others witless knobs who are spineless. • Here’s the question you should ask when reading stupid claims like this.  How would they ever know?  If evolution made a mistake and duplicated a gene, then our intelligence arrived by mistake.  But evolution is what evolution does; i.e., this was not a mistake at all.  Stuff happens. 8/16/2014 23

  24. We Became Human by Mistake我们错误地成为人类 • Now, if an evolutionist wants to reach outside of evolution and engage in philosophy, to determine whether something was mistaken, or whether a mouse’s brain is less efficient than a human brain, then he (or she) is making reference to Truth, something that is outside of nature.  Truth must be timeless, universal, necessary, and certain.  It is not made of particles, and cannot evolve. • If, on the other hand, the scientist says that science is not about Truth, but about exploration, then the game is over.  Science is not about finding the truth.  It’s just something “fun to think about” (whatever thinking refers to in a primate brain with more or less knobs and spines).  Maybe it’s the kind of fun a chimpanzee gets from scratching its butt.  So if scratching your head or your butt is fun, have at it.  Enjoy; both ends are equally cognitive. 8/16/2014 24

  25. Coelacanth: Survival of the Dullest腔棘鱼:最乏味的生存 • A new fossil species of coelacanth was discovered in Canada.  Scientists think from its tail fin shape that it was a fast swimmer–perhaps a hunter.  Sadly, it was a “spectacular failure” in evolution.  The luck of the evolutionary draw went to today’s slow-moving, docile species. • PhysOrg states that the new fossil “rewrites the history of ancient fish.”  The discoverers named it Rebellatrix, calling it a “rebel” that “does everything a coelacanth should not do.”  Modern coelacanths have broad tails and are fairly docile, but the discoverers think that the forked tail in Rebellatrix indicates it was a fast swimmer with a muscular tail fin.  8/16/2014 25

  26. Coelacanth: Survival of the Dullest腔棘鱼:最乏味的生存 • National Geographic pointed out what this means to evolutionary theory: • In general, the discovery “shows how plastic and flexible evolution can be,” said John Long, a coelacanth expert at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in California. • It really shakes things up “that coelacanths can suddenly deviate what they’ve been doing for 200 million years and occupy a lifestyle that’s radically different from other coelacanths.” • Still, the fossil record shows that the slow-moving version of the coelacanth ultimately won out, while the speedy Rebellatrix was replaced by sharks and other cruising predators, study leader Wendruff said. • “I like to say Rebellatrix was a spectacular failure.” 8/16/2014 26

  27. Coelacanth: Survival of the Dullest腔棘鱼:最乏味的生存 • National Geographic also reminded readers about the historic importance of the coelacanth as a living fossil:  “The coelacanth (pronounced SEE-la-kanth) is a type of primitive, slow-moving fish that was thought extinct until its rediscovery in 1938,” the article said.  “The modern fish is sometimes called a living fossil, because it apparently existed largely unchanged for 320 million years.”  The new find shows that only one species remains from a past diversity – survival of the dullest. 8/16/2014 27

  28. Coelacanth: Survival of the Dullest腔棘鱼:最乏味的生存 • Too bad for all the social Darwinists in the 1930s who glorified strength, speed, warfare and might as the evolutionary law of nature.  If you’re a modern evolutionist, maybe you should take a cue from the surviving coelacanths and pursue slothfulness (one of the seven deadly sins). • Better yet, ditch Darwinism as a falsified Victorian myth.  Surviving “largely unchanged for 320 million years” should be a colossal embarrassment.  So is imagining these creatures going extinct millions of years ago then finding them doing just fine off the coast of India.  Remember, too, that the coelacanth had long been touted as a missing link, its bony fins suggesting it was a transitional form between fish with fins and feet.  Now that coelacanths still have those bony fins but don’t use them for anything resembling walking, that notion has been soundly debunked.  It’s a survivor; why call it “primitive”? 8/16/2014 28

  29. Stem Cells Getting Healthier干细胞越来越健康 • How they work:  Researchers in the Netherlands found a new way to culture mouse embryonic stem cells in vitro.  They found to their surprise, according to Science Daily, that the stem cells seem to be “on hold,” their gene expression inhibited, rather than actively transcribing genes as previously believed.  “From this state, the ES cells can efficiently specialize,” the article said. • Embryonic self-sacrifice:  Researchers at the North Carolina School of Medicine found that embryonic stem cells will commit suicide rather than risk DNA damage.  A protein called Bax, responsible for programmed cell death, is activated but kept in a safe place in the Golgi apparatus for the crucial days of embryonic development.  If DNA damage occurs, Bax migrates to the mitochondrion, where it initiates cell death.   PhysOrg titled its report, “Stem cells poised to self-destruct for the good of the embryo,” as if they will fall on their swords for the good of the organism rather than let DNA damage propagate. 8/16/2014 29

  30. Stem Cells Getting Healthier干细胞越来越健康 • Safe adult cells:  Techniques for inducing pluripotent stem cells from tissues (iPS) continue to improve.  PhysOrg reported that researchers at Johns Hopkins verified that iPS cells contain no more genetic changes than normal cells.  This adds confidence that therapies developed from them will be safe, not adding cancer risk. • Skipping a step:  According to Science Daily, researchers at Duke University were able to generate heart muscle tissue from scar tissue without going through a stem cell stage by programming microRNAs to turn scar cells back into heart muscle cells.  By eliminating the need for a stem cell transplant, this promises to improve the hopes of damage repair for heart attack patients. 8/16/2014 30

  31. Stem Cells Getting Healthier干细胞越来越健康 • Dystrophy hope:  It seems like forever that people have raised money for muscular dystrophy patients.  Is any progress being made?  Yes; according to PhysOrg, researchers at the University of Minnesota have demonstrated a therapy using iPS cells that has “been shown to be effective in the treatment of muscular dystrophy.”  The mouse model sets the stage for human clinical trials.  Researchers were able to deliver muscle progenitor cells from iPS cells.  “Upon transplantation into mice suffering from muscular dystrophy, human skeletal myogenic progenitor cells provided both extensive and long-term muscle regeneration which resulted in improved muscle function,” the article said. 8/16/2014 31

  32. Stem Cells Getting Healthier干细胞越来越健康 • The good work continues to come from adult stem cells and iPS cells which, unlike embryonic stem cells (ES), are ethically sound (not involving the destruction of a human embryo).  The ES promoters offer hope with hype.  “Due to these unique properties, expectations for the use of ES cells in the clinic are high, but ES cells therapies have not yet been developed to full potential,” the first Science Daily article stated.  If iPS cells do better with fewer problems and no moral concerns, why is there a dispute?  Let human embryos develop into human beings, but let adult tissue cells be reprogrammed to heal. 8/16/2014 32

  33. Follow the Leader: Plants and Animals跟随领袖:植物和动物 • Need solutions to engineering problems?  Look no further than the plants and animals around you.  That’s what more and more scientists are doing. • How dry I am:  Lotus leaves and gecko toes stay clean and dry because they repel water very effectively.  They do this with structures that are billionths of a meter in size.  The BBC News reported how an Australian team of chemists has created a super-hydrophobic surface that is “impossible to wet” by imitating the properties of the lotus leaf and gecko foot.  A short video clip shows how water just beads off the surface.  This technology could lead to better raincoats and self-cleaning fabrics. 8/16/2014 33

  34. Follow the Leader: Plants and Animals跟随领袖:植物和动物 • Got those butterfly blues:  Nature News reported that a Korean team has successfully imitated the microstructure of a Morpho butterfly wing to create the same shimmering blue color that can be seen from many angles when the insect flies.  The butterfly uses a combination of regularly-spaced ridges and randomness: “The tight, semi-random packing of the ridges makes the wings appear bright across a wide range of viewing angles.”  The Korean team “deposited silica microspheres onto a surface and then sprayed layers of titanium dioxide and silicon dioxide over them, Nature said. “The resulting film… had just the right mix of regularity and disorder to create the even blue colouring.” 8/16/2014 34

  35. Follow the Leader: Plants and Animals跟随领袖:植物和动物 • The nose knows:  An electronic nose is closer to reality, thanks to work by a team from the American Institute of Physics.  They placed DNA molecules specially designed to react to certain chemicals on carbon nanotubes that conduct electricity.  PhysOrg said, “The researchers are next interested in creating something akin to an actual electronic nose consisting of many individual DNA-based sensors performing the same role as an olfactory receptor.”  In biological noses, though, a huge variety of chemicals can be differentiated by a signal chain that expands and compresses the input signals through codes.  It appears the electronic version uses a one-to-one type of signalling. 8/16/2014 35

  36. Follow the Leader: Plants and Animals跟随领袖:植物和动物 • Spider men:  The dragline silk of garden spiders continues to baffle materials scientists who would really like to imitate it.  Part of the problem is that about 10% of the spider’s silk is ordered, and 90% is disordered.  Researchers from Argonne National Lab looked at the disordered portion for clues, PhysOrg reported, “untangling the mysteries of spider silk.”  The “amorphous regions are made up of all these proteins that are incredibly complicated,” one researcher said.  Another remarked, “When it comes to silks, humans are just so far behind nature in terms of the quality of the materials that we can produce.”  Solving the mysteries of spider silk may bring wonderful new products possessing flexibility and strength to the marketplace.  Other teams are looking at silkworms for additional “ideal” materials, reported PhysOrg.  Think of the advantages: “As produced by spiders and insects, natural silks are made under benign conditions— ambient temperature, low pressure, and with water as solvent.”  It’s a cinch that “this is something we should aim to copy when designing and making fibers for the future.” 8/16/2014 36

  37. Follow the Leader: Plants and Animals跟随领袖:植物和动物 • Make like a squid:  Wouldn’t it be cool to have clothes that could flicker with color rapidly?  Squid, octopi and cuttlefish make this trick look easy.  Engineers at the University of Bristol are making it happen, reported Science Daily; they have “created artificial muscles that can be transformed at the flick of a switch to mimic the remarkable camouflaging abilities of organisms such as squid and zebrafish.”  Imitating the chromatophores in squid and zebrafish, the team developed artificial versions made of polymers connected to electrical circuits.  This might lead to “smart clothing” that can imitate nature’s camouflage – something that might help a soldier vanish into a changing environment some day.  Lead author Jonathan Rossiter said, “We have taken inspiration from nature’s designs and exploited the same methods to turn our artificial muscles into striking visual effects.” 8/16/2014 37

  38. Follow the Leader: Plants and Animals跟随领袖:植物和动物 • Workin’ on the railroad:  Inspired by the molecular machines in the cell that move cargo along microtubules, British researchers have created a molecular track and a two-legged “walker” molecule that can move along it.  It’s as clumsy as a stick figure compared to a real machine, PhysOrg noted, but it’s a start. • If scientists use intelligent design to create materials and machines that imitate biological counterparts, how can anyone think that the biological ones, that are almost always superior to the artificial ones, are products of unguided processes?  The inference to intelligent design is clear. • There was no mention of evolution in any of these articles, once again, showing that Darwinism is useless in the rapidly-expanding field of biomimetics.  Speaking of which, can anybody think of anything useful Darwin’s Stuff Happens Law has done for mankind? 8/16/2014 38

  39. Evolution for Men and Women男性和女性的演变 • Y chromosome?  Because it is a unique structure, the Y chromosome in human males seems more subject to deleterious mutations.  The Y is also unable to distribute linked genes through recombination, a process that “makes selection more effective,” the article claimed. • Earlier claims that the Y chromosome is evolving away to extinction were premature.  PhysOrg reassures males, “Men can rest easy — sex chromosomes are here to stay,” even though a study from University College London was done on chickens (no epithets, now).  Humans have a unique Y chromosome in males, but chickens have a unique W chromosome in females. A research team examined how sex-linked genes on the W chromosome are passed on. 8/16/2014 39

  40. Evolution for Men and Women男性和女性的演变 • The results confirm that although these chromosomes have shrunk over millions of years, and have lost many of their original genes, those that remain are extremely important in predicting fertility and are, therefore, unlikely to become extinct. • Professor Judith Mank, from the UCL Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment and senior author said: “Y chromosomes are here to stay, and are not the genetic wasteland that they were once thought to be.” • It was nice of her to rescue the opposite sex.  Mank studied sex-linked expression of genes in a variety of chicken breeds and found that they adapt to selection pressures.  She deduced that “female-specific selection related to fertility acts to shape the W chromosome, and that the chromosome is able to respond to that selection despite all the problems with the lack of recombination.”   8/16/2014 40

  41. Evolution for Men and Women男性和女性的演变 • To her, this means evolvability is the key to their success: • Professor Mank said: “We have shown that Y and W chromosomes are very important in fertility – the Y in males and the W in females. It is the ability of the W-linked genes to evolve that is the key to their survival, and which suggests that both the Y and the W chromosomes are with us for the long haul.” • Oddly, this implies that survival of the fittest applies to both the XX and the XY combinations: selection has produced opposite strategies that both work. 8/16/2014 41

  42. Evolution for Men and Women男性和女性的演变 • Udder disaster:  Female mammals lactate, but milk is loaded with calcium.  Why don’t breasts calcify into stiff, hard structures, like bone? Just the thought is rather disconcerting to both sexes.  New Scientist came along to explain “Why milk doesn’t turn breasts to bone.”  First, the Darwin commercial: • Charles Darwin suggested that lactation evolved through natural selection, starting when the ancestors of mammals gained a nutritional advantage from lapping up sweat-like secretions from glands under their mothers’ skin. • This idea had some grounding. Darwin would have studied monotremes – egg-laying mammals such as the echidna. Monotremes have nipple-less mammary patches, and these secrete a fluid that provides moisture to permeable eggs. 8/16/2014 42

  43. Evolution for Men and Women男性和女性的演变 • Reporter Catherine de Lange introduced a problem: milk has 100 times the calcium and 1000 times the protein of these glands.  The glands (one would think) would calcify over time, and the milk would quickly build toxic fibrils around them. • A pair of researchers, Carl Holt (University of Glasgow) and John Carver (University of Adelaide) found what keeps breast tissue soft and supple.  Milk casein has the ability to “squirrel away” the stiffening calcium phosphate into micelles –naturally occurring “polar” molecular aggregates akin to soap bubbles. 8/16/2014 43

  44. Evolution for Men and Women男性和女性的演变 • The Darwin commercial came back for the last line: “Holt and Carver say that the concentration of these spherical micelles in milk may have increased over evolutionary time, producing a progressively more nutritious fluid.” • True to form, Charles Darwin “suggested” that something evolved over millions of years.  That’s because Darwin liberated science from rigor and introduced storytelling into science.  Now, instead of making scientists work the old-fashioned hard way, by trying to tie laws of nature to their effects, he introduced the power of suggestion – granting scientists the ability to employ their imaginations and weave tall tales. 8/16/2014 44

  45. Evolution for Men and Women男性和女性的演变 • His method was to introduce a new law of nature with an impressive name: “natural selection.”  If it’s natural, it must be good, right?  What he meant was that random variations occur.  But “selection” has the feel of intelligent design about it – a problem he aggravated in The Origin by comparing it to artificial selection (intelligent design).  What to do?  Solution: personify Nature as an invisible Selector, scrutinizing the slightest variations, rejecting those that are bad, adding up all the ones that are good. • This introduced another problem: what is good and bad in a world ruled by contingency?  Evolution is what evolution does.  It’s not good or bad.  Darwin pivoted by changing “natural selection” into “survival of the fittest” at the suggestion of his buddy, Herbert Spencer.  But since the fitness of the fit is undefined, except for whatever increases survival, this phrase collapsed into the survival of the survivors.Whatever survives is fit by definition – even if it has traits that are opposite what another survivor has. 8/16/2014 45

  46. Evolution for Men and Women男性和女性的演变 • So, “natural selection” became indistinguishable from the Stuff Happens Law.  Why are flatworms flat and roundworms round?  Stuff happens.  Why are sloths slow and cheetahs fast?  Stuff happens.  Why do normal chromosomes survive with two copies, evolving with the benefit of recombination, and sex chromosomes survive with one copy, evolving without recombination?  Stuff happens. • To keep critics at bay, Darwin bequeathed to his disciples a magic wand: “millions of years.”  Improbable as a given evolutionary story seems, given millions of years that no human ever observed or experienced, any stuff can happen. • This wonderful new law with its magic wand suddenly explained everything.  Now, scientists can look fondly back to Father Charlie for giving them powerful new explanatory tools to tell the peasants about everything in the world. All one has to say is something “might have” evolved this way, or “may have” evolved that way over millions of years.  It sounds scientific.  How can anybody dispute it? 8/16/2014 46

  47. Evolution for Men and Women男性和女性的演变 • Like good Darwinians, “Holt and Carver say that the concentration of these spherical micelles in milk may have increased over evolutionary time, producing a progressively more nutritious fluid.”  (Note: “Evolutionary time” is a synonym for “millions of years.”)  Similarly, Judith Mank “suggests” that even though sex chromosomes have “shrunk over millions of years” they are “able to respond to selection” (meaning, they are susceptible to stuff happening). 8/16/2014 47

  48. Evolution for Men and Women男性和女性的演变 • Without this powerful army of Darwin disciples shouting “Stuff Happens” in unison and pounding their chests, ID advocates might have gotten away with announcing that the Junk DNA argument has taken another setback (e.g., Y chromosomes are “not the genetic wasteland they were once thought to be”).  And nobody will be able to hear critical questions : e.g., (1) Why has selection become effective with opposite outcomes?  (2) Where is an unbroken chain of slight modifications between monotremes and lactating mammals?  (3) Why are monotremes still around without the “progressively more nutritious fluid”?  (4) Who is the engineer, and where is the squirrel, that can “squirrel away” calcium phosphate into micelles in breast tissue (but not in bone) so that lactating breasts stay soft? • Whatever other questions come to mind don’t matter, because an unheard question is indistinguishable from an unasked one. 8/16/2014 48

  49. New Chirality Solution Proposed新的手性解决方案 • It’s long been a mystery why cells use one hand of two-handed molecules, like left-handed amino acids and right-handed sugars. A new proposal solves the mystery, explaining how this phenomenon called homochirality arises naturally.  Wait a minute… • “Life scientists unlock mystery of how ‘handedness’ arises,” announced a headline on PhysOrg.  Dr. Thomas G. Mason, a professor of chemistry and physics at UCLA, was fascinated by the long-standing mystery of how life chooses one hand over the other when either “isoform” is equally probable.  “Why many of the important functional molecules in our bodies almost always occur in just one chiral form when they could potentially exist in either is a mystery that has confounded researchers for years,” the article said. • So what is his solution?  Surprisingly, it’s entropy – something we usually associate with disorder and randomness. 8/16/2014 49

  50. New Chirality Solution Proposed新的手性解决方案 • “It’s quite bizarre,” Mason said. “You’re starting with achiral components — triangles — which undergo Brownian motion and you end up with the spontaneous formation of super-structures that have a handedness or chirality. I would never have anticipated that in a million years.” • .…“We discovered that just two physical ingredients — entropy and particle shape — are enough to cause chirality to appear spontaneously in dense systems,” Mason said. “In my 25 years of doing research, I never thought that I would see chirality occur in a system of achiral objects driven by entropic forces.” • The body of the article explains, though, that he didn’t try his experiment with actual amino acids or biological molecules.  He experimented with colored equilateral triangles, imprinting them on a static surface using lithography.  He perceived “superstructures” made up of parallelograms in the densely-packed arrangement. 8/16/2014 50

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