Monday, 8 September 2014

Big new dinosaur found

Dreadnaughtus of recent fame was apparently 7 times the size of an adult t. Rex. An impressive beast, sounds like the dinosaur Behemoth described in the Book of Job.

The palaeontologist who dug up the bones interviewed on the radio last week was asked why the skeleton was complete as opposed to being scattered by scavengers eating the corpse (as usually happens when a large animal dies and falls to the ground).

A flood, he said. This gigantic land animal's entire body was entombed by mud carried by a flood. The biggest land animal ever was covered by fast moving liquid mud carried by 'a river flood'.

Some river. Some flood. Some coincidence.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

how the 'simple cell' assembled itself

Excellent piece by Cornelius Hunter (click link 'Darwin's God') about the  astounding feats of imagination deployed to get round the science and spin us a 'just so' story about the origin of organic life.

'How the first cell got its complex three dimensional structure which depends on hundreds of proteins working together in concert.'

Well, its obvious. It evolved, didn,'t it? Must have done, stands to reason!

Actually the philosophical assumption of materialism and reason are not the same thing.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Michael Behe refuted-no, not at all

Whenever I quote Michael Behe  to atheists/evolutionists on irreducible complexity or intelligent design, I get a derisive snort and one of two responses (often both)

'Behe has been refuted- many, many times.'

or 'Behe got his ass whipped at Dover.'

Neither of these standard assertions are remotely true, they are just knee jerk responses, memes if you like, inculcated by the restless and determined 'There is no evidence against evolution' activists. Anyhow, recent publications (see link) have further justified Behe's thesis that natural selection acting on random mutations simply does not have the creative or explanatory powers required for unguided molecules to man evolution to have occured. A short essay setting this out is reproduced below, courtesy of Professor Behe and the Centre  for Intelligent Design.

Behe is right. He has quite simply falsified evolution's fundamental mechanism at the most profound biochemical level. No wonder those whose world view depends on evolution being true hate him.

Evolution's Lottery

"Evolution is like the National Lottery - a lot of people buy tickets, and almost everyone loses.

Imagine a weekly lottery game where a card has eight windows, each with a flap covering a single digit from zero to nine. If, when revealed, all the digits match each other (ten ways to win!) the player receives £1,000,000. It would be very unlikely that anyone in a village of a thousand would win even if all the people played, because the chances of eight random digits matching each other are one in ten million. In fact, all the people in the village would have to play the game over and over again for centuries before anyone there would be expected to win. Yet if everyone in the whole of Britain played, we'd expect about a half-dozen winners each week, because there would be many more chances for someone to have a winning ticket.

Now think of a super lottery, where the prize is £1,000,000,000,000 - more than the national budget. In order to win this game, a player has to buy two eight-window tickets, and, as before, the numbers on both tickets have to match each other. How long would it take for a player in Britain to win? If you do the arithmetic, it would take about 30,000 years for anyone at all to win. Most people would likely give up and play a different game.

The game of evolution depends on the same two factors as the National Lottery: the odds of winning and the number of players. But instead of matching numbers on a card, evolution has to match the right mutations to an organism's DNA. As an example, consider one of the gravest threats to human health - malaria. The malaria parasite is a tiny single-cell organism that is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Once it enters a human, a malaria cell multiplies by eating her blood, which often kills the victim. For thousands of years humans have had little defense against the disease. In the past century, however, antibiotic drugs have been developed that kill malaria.

To understand the malaria evolution lottery, let's look at two drugs. The first is called atovaquone. Atovaquone readily kills normal malaria cells - in a laboratory, adding the drug to a flask that contains millions of such cells will usually wipe them out. Yet if the drug is given to a person suffering from malaria, it often fails. Why? It turns out that, although malaria needs just one particular mutation in its DNA to gain resistance to atovaquone, the likelihood of the mutation occurring is about one in a hundred million cells. Since there are only a few million cells in the lab flask, the odds are poor that any of them will have the right mutation, so the drug kills them all. A person sick with malaria, however, can harbor up to a million million cells. Like the example above of the UK vs a single village, the greater numbers make the odds very good that one or more of those cells will have the winning ticket. So malaria seems to develop resistance easily in patients treated with atovaquone, even though the mutation itself is quite unlikely.

The second drug is called chloroquine. Instead of resistance appearing in every few patients as with atovaquone, new malarial resistance to chloroquine only appears once in about every hundred million patients. What could account for this astounding difference in frequency? In my 2007 book The Edge of Evolution I argued that the logic of the lottery example could easily explain it. If instead of one particular mutation, malarial resistance to chloroquine needed two particular mutations to occur in the same cell, the likelihood of getting them both would be drastically less than getting an individual mutation. Instead of one in a hundred million, resistance would appear in only one of every ten thousand million million. Since that astronomical number is much greater than the number of malaria cells in a single patient, almost all patients would be cured by chloroquine. (Regrettably, in the very large number of patients on earth who become sick, there are enough malaria cells to yield a few that do have resistance to chloroquine. The growth of those few and their dissemination by mosquitoes have caused chloroquine resistance to become common.)

Recent scientific results have confirmed that at least two mutations are indeed needed for chloroquine resistance, as I predicted. This teaches us several important lessons about evolution, one practical and one theoretical. The practical lesson is that disease microbes like malaria can be stopped if we find a drug or combination of drugs that would require multiple mutations to overcome them. Evolution isn't the relentless force that Darwinists have often portrayed - there exists an edge beyond which it becomes helpless, as intelligent design proponents expected.

The theoretical lesson is that, just as with battling microbes, we should expect there to be an edge to random evolution in the history of life, too. Yes, chance mutations plus natural selection do explain some features of biology. But if even several mutations were needed together to produce some complex organ or feature of life, it becomes much less likely that unguided natural processes explain it.

Do many features of life require multiple mutations? Almost all functional ones do. The basic machines of life are constructed of molecules called proteins, and proteins themselves are typically made of hundreds of units of amino acids joined together. Those machines, under the guidance of complex instructions encoded in an organism's DNA, build the plants and animals we know. At some point in the history of life each of those amino acids in each of the protein machines had to have been new - a mutation. So virtually all proteins, as well as the complex instruction sets controlling them, are beyond the edge of random evolution.

What's more, although tiny organisms such as malaria have the huge population numbers to allow them to overcome small evolutionary roadblocks such as presented by chloroquine, larger organisms don't. Larger organisms are unlikely to win an evolutionary lottery at all if it needs just two or more mutations. The conclusion is that very little of what we see in life can be the result of the random processes invoked by Darwinian evolution. Rather, almost all features of life required purposeful intelligent design."

If you have any questions on the above, you can contact Mike Behe directly atmjb1@Lehigh.EDU.

Dawkins, Downs, Domenica and Darwin

Dominic Lawson wrote in the Sunday Times about his beloved daughter Domenica, who has Down's syndrome and like some 97% of others with the mutation is glad to be alive. According to some research which her father cited. He is disgusted by Richard Dawkins recent pronouncement about the immorality of allowing children with Down's to be born.

Interesting to note that Mr Lawson says he is an atheist who has collaborated with Dawkins on a book.

Read the item in full if you can, can't link. Lawson lambasts Dawkins for his inhumanity and skewers him for his weaselly 'non apology' (after many of his followers protested on behalf of Down's people they knew and loved). He also rightly draws attention to the German philosophers of the last century whose writings fed into Nazi politics. Fair play, but it seems to me that Dominic Lawson wants to have his cake and eat it.

Morality, including human rights, is either God given and therefore immutable, or else it is whatever we say it is, 'we' being the strong. In the Darwinian ethic which despite Lawson's contortions does in fact arrive in the train of his biological determinism, the fit survive by displacing-i.e. killing, the weak.

In the end it is Christ or Darwin. Dawkins, in his original assertion that Downs'  children should be killed, knew this. The philosophers who inspired Hitler's eugenics were themselves inspired by Darwin. Richard Weikart had written this up in meticulous detail in his massively ignored book 'From Darwin to Hitler'. You won't easily find a copy but try Googling it if you dare.

It gets even sillier when you think about fellow evolutionist Steve Jones comments a few years back about human evolution stopping due to fewer older men having children. Not enough mutations you see. Because mutations take evolution forward.

Except that they don't. Downs' syndrome is a mutation. Why don't evolutionists welcome it?

Monday, 25 August 2014

No evidence for God- says particle physicist

In yesterday's Sunday Times 'A Life in the Day' interviewee Dr Harry Cliff, a Cambridge' particle physicist, spoke of his work. His work is connected with the huge CERN large hadron collider and the question of how we exist at all. Some people think that the secret of human existence can be best investigated by smashing atoms into each other at very high speeds

 Apparently, the scientists' calculations about the Big Bang don't add up, something to do with antimatter, and '...we shouldn't exist...'

Yes, I had heard something along those lines.....

Does he think about God?

 'Erm, no. So far we haven't found any evidence he exists.'

I wonder how, where and how diligently they have searched and what kind of evidence would persuade them?

One assumed that by 'we' Dr Cliff refers to his physicist colleagues at CERN. Perhaps he specialised in physics so young that he had no time to study philosophy, logic, irony or indeed English language. He needs to look up the term 'basic category error' and phrases like 'can't see the wood for the trees'.

God as we read in Romans chapter 1 can be seen in His creation, which Dr Cliff can see in part but admits he can't explain. He is also seen through Jesus who came fulfilling ancient prophecy, healing the sick, speaking like no other man and then after paying for our sins on the Cross was raised from the dead and was seen in a risen glorified body by many witnesses. He is not a particle but a Person.

There is enough evidence to persuade the humble, but the boastful and proud who make science their god will only accept a god who will jump into their test tube on demand. They will never be convinced until Judgment Day.

Incidentally the oh so clever but perhaps not so wise scientist is photographed in front of Kings College Chapel from where the annual festival of nine lessons and carols is broadcast. This includes the words from John's Gospel

'In the beginning was The Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God. All things were made through Him....'

Friday, 22 August 2014

Morality of survival of the fittest

..of course, if you actually read Darwin, it has really always been about 'non survival of the least fit'. Like kids with Down's Syndrome, which is of course a mutation.

The amateur philosopher Richard Dawkins is in the news again after stating that it is 'immoral' to allow a child with Down's Syndrome to be born, i.e. immoral NOT to kill them in the womb by abortion. His fellow atheist philosopher Stephen Pinker would go further, Google his views on infanticide.

The most interesting aspect of this conversation is Dawkins' use of the term 'immoral'.  Just what does he mean by morality? By what standard? Answerable to whom? Why? How is there any morality in his godless, accidental universe as we while away our pointless lives in the interval between the big bang and the heat death of the pointless universe?

Just what does Dawkins, or any of us, mean by appealing to 'morality'?

I know. But do you?