For those interested, a podcast of the 63rd ASA meeting is now available on iTunes. HT to The Creation of an Evolutionist for pointing this out. The ASA is mainly a theistic evolutionary crowd, but that doesn't mean they don't have good things to say. If nothing else, it is good to know what those who disagree with you actually think in their strongest forms, rather than just passing around straw-man versions of those positions among people who already agree with you.
Osaka University has some really great stuff on the bacterial flagellum:
I also found a book online called Origins and Destiny: A Scientist Examines God's Handiwork. It's not fantastic, but it is decent. I was actually searching for some of his other work and had no idea that he had this book, nor that it was online for free. Anway, take a look at it if you're interested.
Some new research has given us another possible reason for Galileo's trial - basically that the Tuscan Duke of Medici refused to aid Rome in its war efforts against France, and so Pope Urban VIII punished the Duke by arresting Galileo, who was the Duke's personal friend. So why is this theory plausible? It is the reason given in the first biography of Galileo - only 20 years after his death.
What's really good to know is that the science-vs-religion aspect is no longer in vogue among scholars:
Not that modern scholars give much credence to the traditional science-vs.-religion interpretation of the trial. Most Galilean researchers today agree that politics played a much bigger role than religious closed-mindedness, but there is spirited disagreement about the specifics. Some think the pope was angry at being parodied by Galileo's character Simplicius in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. Other scholars have suggested that church leaders felt Galileo had tricked them into granting him a license to write the book by not revealing its Copernican leanings. But "Salusbury's explanation is kind of refreshingly new," Wilding says.
So now, at the very least, we have agreement that even Galileo's own contemporaries did not view the trial as being science-vs-religion, but rather more of a political problem.
I also found another book for free online that I will never have time to read - The Computational Beauty of Nature.
Note to self - need to read The Onset of Selection (sorry - this blog is better-catalogued than my bookmarks on my browser)
Random questions for my readers:
Bryan Center for Origins Research announced at the BSG conference the availability of the new CELD database for searching through Creation-oriented literature and abstracts. Think of it as kind of like Pubmed for Creationists. I believe it goes back to the 1800s for some of the indexed journals. They have their full journal list available.
Anyway, happy searching!
Instead of giving a step-by-step overview of Steve Austin's presentation, I'll just give the highlights. My fingers couldn't keep up with the typing last night, and I didn't follow all of the geology concepts.
He also referenced the "Bedform Stability Diagram" which shows how different-sized particles behave underwater in different currents. A form of the diagram is viewable here (on page 8 & 9), though it is much more complicated than the one he showed on his slide.
So, his points were:
He also pointed out an amusing story that as a graduate student, in order to get the laminae concept to work in the lab, they had to take mud, clean it, bleach it, and treat it with special chemicals before they could get it to form laminae by the traditionally conceived method :)
He also made several points about Kelvin–Helmholtz instability which went by too fast for me to understand.
He also suggested that Creationists should set up a racetrack flume for experimentations on this model.
[Again, my own comments are in brackets. The first talk I went to was John Hartnett's "Starlight, Time, and the New Physics." I didn't get to use my computer during it because it was standing room only. It doesn't matter too much, because most of it was beyond my current understanding. Apparently he is coming out with a new book with Carmeli, but he didn't say the title. Basically, what he was saying was that Newtonian physics occurred in 3 dimension, Einstein added a 4th (time), and Carmeli added a 5th (velocity). His theory can account for the motion of galaxies and the expansion of the universe without dark matter or dark energy. However, apparently it has a little more trouble accounting for our own, or perhaps he simply had more trouble explaining how it accounted for our own. I'll try to read something about it at a later date.]
Russ started by congratulating those of us who went to Hartnett's theory and made it through his equations :)
Ridiculously simple idea: God used water to make magnetic fields in the cosmos
Explains magnetic fields of: stars, galaxies, and planets
Hydrogen nuclei have magnetic fields. They spin slower - make a field 1/1000 of an electron. But in water, the hydrogen nuclei point any which way, so normally water is not magnetic. But it can be magnetic if the nuclei line up.
God formed the earth from created water. 2 Peter 3:6 "The earth was formed out of water and by water". So what would happen if God, when he made the earth, if he used water and lined up the proton spins? (obviously this was followed by binding the water together into other elements).
If all H-nuclei are aligned it will have a large magnetic field.
The field would be 7.9 Gauss at the poles (MRI is about 10,000 Gauss - we are curently in 0.5 Gauss field).
Created magnetism depends on mass
Original Magnetic moment = Planet mass * 0.94 * (A-m^2)/kg
Approximation = Original Magnetic moment is approximately equal to the planet's mass in kilograms
Lines of force = magnetic flux (Faraday)
In ordinary water, molecules collide, disorient spins, and start electric current in the water within seconds. As each spin got out of alignment, it would induce current.
Current at creation = 130 Billion amperes. Flux would be conserved (he said the reason, I didn't understand it).
Transforming to solid earth conserves magnetic flux and keeps the same mass (so the current mass would be the same as the mass of the original water).
The current runs down. - Starts at 130 Billion Amperes and decays to 6 Billion Amperes. 2,000 year half-life. Perhaps other things happened during the flood as well.
Half Life =~ (conductivity) * (radius^2)
Created flux decayed fast in smaller planets. Also depends on material.
We can deduce from decay rates what the conductivities of the cores are.
Two main groups - gas giants (gas) and terrestrial planets (rocky and iron).
Gas giants have low conductivity and terrestrial planets have high conductivity. Matches what we know from material science.
Humphreys made several predictions in 1984 in the Creation Research Society Quarterly, "The Creation of Planetary magnetic Fields." All of his 1984 predictions are NOW FULFILLED.
Other things that confirm theory but were not explicitly predicted in 1984:
Solar system data fits Humphrey's theory, but only with Biblical conditions (6,000 years and original water)!
Stars and Magnetic Fields
Galaxies and Magnetic Fields
How did God create galatic magnetic fields?
One scenario -
Universe may be God's biggest magnet
[This is an interesting, if EXTREMELY SPECULATIVE area, which I think was pioneered by the dude who did Creation's Tiny Mysteries (forgot the name). Anyway, I thought it was interesting, but it should be considered several orders of magnitude more speculative than the rest of the presentation.]
Magnetic fields show God's handiwork in the heavens.
Why can't we measure magnetic fields of planets but we can measure magnetic fields of stars? Answer - the magnetic fields of stars are large enough that they produce spectral effects.
Early equation - is there a theoretical basis for the number? Answer - it's in the book. Based on lining up protons.
On waters above - would it be directional or detectable? What would you look to find? Answer - I would expect some direction, and there's some intriguing astrophysical data that might point to that field, but we can't be sure. [mentioned some things about favored axes of radio wave spins and other things, but I wasn't paying enough attention - but ultimately the evidence is small]
Didn't hear question - magnetization of meteorites seems to imply that they were part of a larger body which was about earth-sized.
Plasma cosmology question - didn't know much of about plasma cosmology
Hartnett - Whole class of stars called "strange stars" - range from stars made of diamond (pure carbon) right up to quark stars, could probably be added to the graph of dots and it would probably line up.
Hartnett - something about rapidly spinning objects and event horizons
Hartnett - universe-sized magnetic moment - what about just treating galaxies as single-spin systems, and then add up total amount of galaxies - Audience comment - Harold Aston has done just this thing, but audience member did not know what the conclusion was.
We are not seeing galaxies at creation - we are seeing them after about 300 million years of winding (using their local clocks).
[Since the conference room does not have WiFi, I'll have to just "pseudo-liveblog" this thing, and then post it when I get back to my room :) ]
[The first session I'm going to is Kevin Anderson's "A Creationist Perspective of Beneficial Mutations in Bacteria". All my own comments are in brackets]
Advantages of studying bacteria:
Significant features of bacterial genome:
Many of these features were thought to only exist in higher organisms, but have been found in at least E. Coli.
Mutations maintain diversity through mutation. Bacteria have ability to intentionally mutate their genome.
Wild Type + mutant => (a) more fit, (b) less fit, (c) neutral - can be any one of these
Study of E. Coli after 20,000 generations (Lenski)
Lenski 1999 - mutant stains possessed 50% greater "relative" fitness compared to parent (for the given environment).
Schneider et al 200 and Cooper et al 2001 - the beneficial mutants were the result of genetic disruptions (knockouts) - i.e. they were all degenerative
IS Element activates promoter to provide expression of a gene.
IS Element might also have an active repressor which disrupts it.
spoT mutants -> decreased ppGpp -> increased tRNA and rRNA -> increases protein synthesis - starts with a disruption or reduction of the cell's control mechanism
Mutants were less fit in other environments, such as different temperatures.
Conclusions of Lenski's long-term adaptation study:
Increase temperature of E. Coli - get lots of mutants with gene duplications and deletions - genes involved in coping with higher temperature are the ones duplicated!
(Richle et al 2001, PNAS; Richle et al 2003 Physiol. Genom.; Richle et al 2005, Physiol. Biochem. Zool.)
Other studies show that when you return organism back to normal temperatures, duplications are removed [other studies not speicfied]
Antibiotic/antimicrobial resistance Mechanisms:
MarR - represses promoter so that marA and marB are not expressed
Mutant to MarR is repressed, marA becomes a promoter for the promoter region, which increases the system, and forms both marA and marB, which then becomes marAB.
Metroindazole activation - [could not follow this one quickly]
Erythromycin resistance in e. coli - loss of 11 bp segment of 23S RNA
Kanamycin resistance in E. coli [slide up too short to complete]
Anderson 2005 CRSQ has a list of phenotype resistance and genotypes, and shows the degenerative nature of genotype systems.
Bacterial Response to Starvation
Glucose-limited adaptation - two mutant organisms that work together: [these are two different mutants in different cells I think]
Hypermutations - impaired repair mechanisms - increases chance of "beneficial" mutations under stress conditions.
[PROBLEM - keeps on banging the "beneficial but degenerative" drum]
Directed or random? - talked more by Georgia on Wednesday
Cultivation of Lac- in medium with lactose as sole catabolite. Frameshift reversal occurs at a much higher than random rate.
Nylon Degradation - Nylon-degrading bacteria identified in 1980s. Assumed as the evolution of a new metabolic pathway. Most-commonly studied - Anthrobacter sp. K172. Ei (NylA) EII (NylB) EIII (NylC) - on plasmid
Carboxyesterase - original version will not metabolize nylon. EII has an active site has broadened specificity to process Nylon. Broadening specificity of enzymes is a degenerative process. Prediction - EI and EIII will be found to be a degenerative (broadening specificity) mutation. Same prediction for opp protein in his next example for transport proteins.
Several mutations at once, but all degenerative.
Citrate evolution after 30,000 generations. E. Coli in aerobic conditions cannot process citrate. Lenski has found E. Coli that can process citrate. NOTE - genetics of this has not been studied - only phenotype.
Perhaps all Enterobacteria are all same created kind. [Interesting!]
citT (citrate transporter) is expressed anaerobically. If citT is cloned into a shuttle vector (Martinus et al. 1998 - J. Bacteriol), E. Coli can utilize citrate aerobically. The only thing that needs to be done is activating or derepressing the gene. The only mutation may be the loss of citT regulation! [Superinteresting!]
Antagonistic Pleiotropy - Analogy of "beneficial" mutations to constructing a house - removing non-supporting walls to create a larger dining room. Lose a room, but gain a function. Doesn't explain how the house is constructed.
Creation Model - Rigid Flexibility - flexibility that goes only so far.
Bacteria can often get back to wild type by recovering systems.
Pennicilinase - only possible example of antibiotic resistance that has a chance of not being degenerative
Reversion - either genotypically - specific mutation reverts back, or phenotypically - a suppressor and then a repressor mutant.
Why is losing specificity a loss of ability, especially if V(max) of enzyme is not affected? Metabolism is managed by having very specific, narrow metabolic pathways, and showing a decrease in specificity will only cause long-term problems if compounded, because metabolics require tight specificity.
In debate, need to force evolution to show why the mechanisms they have examples for can contribute to large-scale evolution. If the mechanism is deregulation, then it can't be the source for novelty.
No current research on limits of baramins but there probably needs to be.
Why is it called "antagonistic pleiotropy" - seems to not be using "pleiotropy" in the strictest sense, but that's what the evolutionists have called it.
Isn't the reversion an increase in specificity? Couldn't other mutations increase specificity? There's no example of it occurring. [Isn't SMH in immunoglobulins an example of increasing specificity?]
[I think it was a good presentation, but I think he beat the degenerative drum WAY too much. My BSG presentation should indicate some ways in which organisms could theoretically produce increased specificity non-degeneratively (though there is always a tradeoff somewhere).]
[The second session I'm going to is Bob Hill's "The Tectonics of Venus and Creation"]
Venus as a prototype of Plate Tectonics - this is a review of secular literature in order to get it into the Creation literature. There are arguments for and against catastrophic plate tectonics in Venus. This is just the "pro" side in order to get the information into creationary literature.
From radar, Venus looks a little like the earth, but drained of its oceans
Magellan - radar-mapped 98% of surface
Geologic Structures on Venus
Venusian interior seems to have core, mantle, and crust.
What are Corona? Not found elsewhere. Possible explanation (based only on photographs) Two layers of rock. magma is injected between the two layers, lifting one layer up. It later drains and drops back down, leaving circular faulting.
Are there any structures on venus which are analogous to terrestrial structures like subduction zones? A few proposed, all hotly debated. The ones found don't look that much like subduction zones. Need more space probes!
Why would Venus have lid tectonics and the earth plate tectonics? Really unknown.
Did Earth have impacts at the same time as Venus? Probably, but we have weather but Venus doesn't.
Is there evidence from a young-earth timescale of a resurfacing event? Not much except it matches Catastrophic Plate Tectonics.
Faulkner has suggested two cratering events suggested.
Surface temperature of venus is fairly uniform throughout. Atmosphere keeps it going.
Uniform randomness is unique to Venus. What about Mercury? Currently looks nonrandom, but not enough mapping done. If Mercury is nonrandom, it indicates that there may in fact have been a recent (during/post-flood) resurfacing event on Venus but not elsewhere. [Very interesting!]
[Very interesting stuff!!! Certainly at the beginning of understanding, but it looks promising]