Janice Boekhoff
 

Cells Programmed Not to Evolve

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Did you know that cells are programmed not to evolve?

It makes sense if you think about it. When scientists study heredity, what they usually look at is the differences in genes from person to person. But rarely do they analyze the sameness within species. Sure, we see different breeds of dogs, but a dog is still a dog. No matter how much interbreeding you try, you aren’t likely to get a cow-dog, because the two animals are too different.

Why does this happen? Because the basic body plan is preserved by the reproductive cell.

It’s true that genes vary from person to person and are subject to mutations (most of them harmful), but scientists are discovering that in embryos individual genes don’t take over until after the major body plan is already established. The reproductive cell is programmed by the mother to start the major cell development for the head-tail, left-right, and front-back axes of an embryo before new cells are allowed to move in to build the individual organs and appendages. Kind of like the molecular version of Norton Antivirus, the cell keeps the new genes from messing up the structure of the developing embryo.

In essence, the embryo is started on the path to becoming a human (or a rat or a groundhog or a fruit fly) and then the basic cells are ‘locked down,’ so they cannot be changed at a later stage of development. This would be why we never see a human embryo accidentally develop into a dog, because the basic body plan can’t be changed by the individual’s genes.

Thus, reproductive cells are programmed to reject any type of major deviation from the body plan of the mother—the very thing the theory of evolution depends on.

What do you think? If evolution is an active process, why don’t the major body plans change over time? Is every species so perfectly evolved?

References: Williams, Alex. “Heredity is functionally cellular, not genetic, and life’s history is discrete, not continuous,” Journal of Creation, 28(3), 2014, p. 73.

Photo Credit: ID 31467242 © Zinco79 | Dreamstime.com

End Game of Evolution

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Have you ever thought about what would be the natural end game of the theory of evolution?

It isn’t a cooperative society, as some would have you think. Of course, there are a few selective advantages to cooperation, such as the group benefitting from different people’s gifts and talents, but in terms of natural selection, these are outweighed by the disadvantages of having to provide for every member of the society.

Natural selection alone actually encourages us to become sociopaths—people who use and exploit others to get what they need.

If evolution is correct and we’re all just animals trying to survive (and evolution would say that’s all we’ve ever been), why care about other people who are not as fit as you are? Why build nursing homes for the elderly? Why fund shelters for the homeless? Why develop special needs programs in our schools?

Evolution would say all of that is a waste of time and money, at best. At worst, it’s impeding the progress of the human race as a whole.

Based on the theory of evolution, Hitler teased out his idea for the Aryan master race. After all, if we’re evolving, then we must be evolving toward something. Hitler decided it was tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed Germans. In his mind, he helped evolution along by trying to exterminate the Jews—an inferior race (according to him).

Few people who believe in evolution would take it this far. But in the same vein, not many people who believe in evolution have actually thought about what this theory supports.

All the things we think of as distinctly human: the capacity for compassion, mercy, forgiveness and love. Those things would be selected out in the name of survival. If I’m on a survival mission, I don’t survive best if I use up my resources trying to take care of you. No, I survive best when I worry only about myself.

If we’re merely smarter than average apes, where did all these beautiful qualities come from? There’s no evolutionary advantage to them, and yet they are what makes humans different, what sets us apart from the animal kingdom.

What do you think? Why are most people compassionate and loving? Would evolution have encouraged us to be that way? What would be the evolutionary pathway/selective pressure that would bring about kindness?

(And just for the record, I think apes are pretty awesome and I wouldn’t mind being related to them, if I actually were)

 

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/kzhkkt/6225887680/”>kzhk</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a

Haeckel’s Faked Embryos

 

I graduated with my geology degree in the year 2000 and of course I still remember most of what my professors drilled into me about rocks, dinosaurs and evolution. One of the key phrases I was made to memorize is “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” Weird, huh? Say that to your friends three times fast and they might commit you to a mental institution.

This strange phrase has a specific meaning: embryological development (ontogeny) progresses through (recapitulates) the same changes that occurred during evolution (phylogeny). Basically, evolutionists believed (and some still believe) that in the womb vertebrate embryos progress through the previous stages of evolution before developing into a vertebrate (an organism with a backbone).

Too bad this idea is completely false. And the research this theory was originally based on was fraudulent.

Called the biogenetic law, this theory was first published by Ernst Haeckel, a German biologist, in 1866. Haeckel produced a series of drawings to prove his theory. These drawings were discredited as early as 1874 and yet the sketches found their way into a 1901 book called Darwin and After Darwin. Ever since then, these drawings have been cited in textbooks everywhere as fact and proof of evolution.

The textbooks I studied to get my geology degree included Haeckel’s drawings. It made sense to me, as someone who believed in evolution, that you would be able to see evidence of it in embryos. I had no idea I was looking at false evidence.

Even today, many biology textbooks will say evolution is evident in embryological development, although they wisely leave out Haeckel’s drawings. But even this isn’t true. Early vertebrate embryos are quite different. Haeckel faked the evolutionary progression by obscuring the differences and highlighting the similarities between embryos of fish, salamander, turtle, chicken, pig, cow, rabbit and humans. He even changed the scale, in one case where the difference in size was 10 fold, to make the embryos appear similar (for a picture of Haeckel’s drawings compared with the actual embryos click here, it’s the second set of pictures).

Why would Haeckel misrepresented these embryos? To prove the case of a common ancestor.

In 2000, shortly after I graduated, Stephen Jay Gould (a committed evolutionist) went on record saying that scientists should be ashamed of the “century of mindless recycling” that led to these drawings being used in modern textbooks. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

What could lead to over a hundred years of belief in a fraudulent idea? Commitment to the ideology of evolution.

What do you think? Why would scientists look past the evidence (or not examine it close enough) to recognize such a fraud?

References: http://www.discovery.org/a/3935, http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/06/haeckels_embryos_make_multiple047321.html, http://creation.com/fraud-rediscovered

 

The 1% Myth

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Many magazines and TV shows use the claim that human and chimp DNA are only different by 1 percent. But is this scientifically correct?

Now don’t get me wrong. I like primates of all types and would have no problems being related to them—if I actually were—but my search has always been about finding the truth. If I were to only look at that which makes me comfortable, then I might miss an entire aspect of the truth. And the truth is, as a creationist, it wouldn’t bother me a bit if human and chimp DNA were 1% different.

Why? Because the human genome has approximately 3,000 million base pairs (the nucleotides A, C, G and T) and 1% would amount to a difference in 30 million base pairs. If you used the base pairs as letters in the alphabet, you could write 10 Bible-sized books with that many letters. Seems like quite a difference to me.

So, it wouldn’t bother me a bit if 1% was the number, but here’s the thing. That 1% number was generated back in 1975, a long time before the entire human or chimp genome was sequenced. To compare the DNA, scientists used limited stretches of DNA from protein-coding genes which are indeed quite similar between different animals. Back then, the common belief was that the protein-coding genes were the only active portion of DNA and the rest of the genome was ‘junk’ left over from evolution. Since then, geneticists have come to realize the so-called ‘junk’ DNA has a purpose and this is the source of the major differences between animals.

In 2007, the journal Science published an article by Jon Cohen upping the percent differences between human and chimp DNA to around 5%. Then, in 2012, the 1% figure was quoted in an article in the same journal. Apparently, this figure has some staying power, despite evidence to the contrary.

In 2012, Drs Jeffrey Tomkins and Jerry Bergman used published studies to compare the entire genome of humans and chimps. They found the differences to be at least 13% and possibly as high as 19%. Why the range in the estimate? Because comparing the two genomes is complex. For example, what do you do with parts of the genome humans have, but which don’t exist in chimps and vice versa? Previously, scientists have compared only the similar portions of the DNA which leads to an inflated number of compatibility.

Whether it’s 1% or 19%, these are more differences than can be explained by even the most optimistic evolutionist. The truth is the human genome did not evolve. It was not the product of random chance, but was designed by God. And for that matter, so was the chimp’s.

What do you think? Why does the media continue to use the 1% figure even though it’s been shown to be a myth? Does the number really matter?

Reference: “The Myth of 1%,” Creation, 36 (1), 2014, p. 35.

Photo Credit: ID 16116329 © Dean Pennala | Dreamstime.com

Fossil layers like layers of a cake?

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               Different layers of rock                               Layers of yummy chocolate cake

I love to bake, not regular food, but anything sweet, especially when it’s chocolate. Have you seen the cake that looks like the death star from Star Wars? I haven’t tried to make that one yet, but it looks amazing. Recently, I was thinking how the earth is like a gigantic death star cake (no, I don’t have too much time on my hands, but this weird stuff just floats through my head all the time). Anyway, go with me on this, you’ve all made mud pies before, right? Same thing.

So the layers in the cake are the different rock formations (sandstone, shale, limestone, etc.). Although the cake above isn’t the death star, I hope you can see the similarities? And if you bake a cake one layer at a time, you know the bottom layers were created first, followed by the next layer and then the layer on top and it’s the same with rocks. What we see on the surface of the earth are the last layers laid down, or the youngest layers. We know they are the youngest, but does anything about the layers tell us how long it took to bake the cake? Nope. And neither does the existence of rock layers tell us how long they took to form. Rocks don’t come with a year stamped on them and the supposed dates obtained from radiometric age dating have serious problems (more on this in future posts). Which leaves us with more questions than answers. Questions like:

Why do we find rocks stratified by fossil animals? Evolutionists will tell you that we find more primitive animals at the bottom of the strata (rock layers) because they are the ancestors of those higher in the strata. Seems to make sense, right? Unless there’s a different explanation.

If a global flood happened today, on the scale of Noah’s flood, we’d likely see the same fossils in the same rock layers after it was over. Not because the animals are related, but because they live in different habitats. The sea bottom dwelling creatures live at lower elevations and during a flood, they would be overwhelmed and smothered by mud. Amphibians live at a slightly higher elevation, but must stay close to water in order to breed, so they would be in layers just above the lower sea life. Reptiles and mammals would likely run to higher ground and then float after death, causing them to be found in higher rock layers. The only humans who would survive a violent flood like this today would be those on an aircraft carrier or maybe a submarine. In Noah’s time, no other humans, besides him, had seen the need to build a huge boat like the ark.

So, we would see much the same sequence of rocks with the same fossils of animals that weren’t related, just buried in sequence based on habitat.

Marine creatures—Amphibians—Reptiles—Mammals

Are there any fossils that cross over? Yes, but when geologists find a fossil which doesn’t belong, they typically call it in-fill from the layers above or they might say the whole sequence has been re-worked (meaning eroded and stirred up). Why do they believe the sequence was re-worked? Because the fossils are out of order. They are forced into this type of circular reasoning because there is no way to explain how those fossils got there without invalidating the theory of evolution.

What do you think? Which explanation for the distribution of fossils makes sense to you? One or both of them?

 

Photo Credits: Rock formation: ID 25013280 © Rixie | Dreamstime.com, Cake: ID 11609930 © Adina Chiriliuc | Dreamstime.com

Dinosaur to Bird Evolution, Part 2

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 ID 30870701 © Procyab | Dreamstime.com

Last week, we discussed some of the problems with the hypothesis of dinosaur to bird evolution. If you’re still with me, thanks for hanging in there through these longer, more technical (and hopefully interesting) posts. To see the post from last week, click here. Now on to a few more problems with the idea of dinosaurs changing into birds:

1)      Bird walk/lungs

Birds have a distinctive walk. We’ve all seen it and my kids do a perfect impression of a pigeon. Birds walk from the knee down because their upper leg bone remains firmly in place to support their air-sac lungs. Dinosaur legs and lungs are very different. No dinosaurs have fixed femurs like birds do. In particular, the Theropods, which birds supposedly evolved from, had moving femurs and therefore couldn’t support air-sac type lungs. Also, the dinosaur lung has a structure and physiology much closer to reptilian creatures than to birds.

2)      Warm-blooded versus Cold-blooded

Living reptiles are almost exclusively cold-blooded (meaning they take on the same temperature as their surroundings), while living birds are warm-blooded (meaning they maintain a constant temperature, like us). And birds have exceptionally high body temperatures due to a high metabolic rate. Originally, dinosaurs were thought to be cold-blooded like reptiles, but recently many paleontologists have re-considered. Some now suggest dinosaurs were warm-blooded. Is this because they want to conform to the dinosaur to bird hypothesis? Or maybe they’ve watched Jurassic Park too many times? (Hey, I can say it because it’s my favorite book/movie). Unfortunately, no clear evidence exists to support the warm bloodedness of dinosaurs. In fact, no evidence exists to assume they were cold-blooded either, except the fact most of them resemble today’s cold blooded reptiles. So the debate about dinosaur metabolism rages on.

3)      Bird hipped versus Lizard Hipped

Dinosaurs are typically grouped into two categories based on the structure of their hips. The bird hipped dinosaurs, called ornithischians, have a pubic bone directed to the rear (as in most birds), while the lizard hipped, called saurischians, have their pubic bone directed to the front (as in most mammals). This would probably lead you to assume that bird hipped dinosaurs are the ones which gave rise to the lineage of birds, right? Wrong. Bird hipped dinosaurs resembled reptiles, while the lizard hipped dinosaurs looked more like birds. Paleontologists believe the fleet-footed Theropod group were the ancestors of modern birds, such as T-Rex and Velociraptor (from Jurassic Park fame). These dinosaurs have hips that resemble lizards, not birds. Does it make sense that birds would evolve from the lizard hipped dinosaurs as is claimed?

As a small aside, Velociraptor was not nearly as big as they made it look in the Jurassic Park movies. I understand why they enlarged him—for dramatic effect—but a typical Velociraptor only got up to 7 feet long (including its tail). Its body would have been about the size of a turkey.

There are many reasons to be skeptical of the dinosaur to bird evolutionary hypothesis, not the least of which is that the Bible says it happened a different way. Genesis 1 makes it clear that winged creatures were created by God on Day 5 and land animals (which would include dinosaurs) were created on Day 6. The Bible tells us birds were actually created before dinosaurs. Knowing this doesn’t make these creatures any less fascinating to me. The fact that God personally designed every aspect of their physiology makes them that much more amazing.

What do you think? Are you surprised by some of the evidence? Does any of this change what dinosaurs mean to you? Do you still have questions? Ask them and I’ll do my best to get answers.

Additional Resources: Quad City Creation Science Association, http://www.qccsa.org, Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/dinosaurs/feathers/did-dinosaurs-turn-into-birds/

 

 

 

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