Researching Creation

November 30, 2008

Geology / Russ Humphreys Latest Summary of Helium Work

JB

Russ Humphreys just published a summary of the current debate regarding his Helium dating methods, complete with an index of criticisms and responses.  Of considerable interested is figure 3, which graphs his predicted data based on a young earth, compared to the predicted data for an old earth, compared to experimental values.

November 29, 2008

Biological Change / A Catalogue of Animal and Plant Baramins (Created Kinds)

JB

Todd Wood just release a new monograph containing a whole bunch of data concerning created kinds, called Animal and Plant Baramins.  For those of you new to Creationism, a baramin is the Creationist term for a "created kind".  For those interested in exploring Creation systematics further, I will refer you to Wood and Wise's  A Refined Baramin Concept.

Anyway, this book is significant because it is the first large-scale treatment of what organisms belong with which created kind (again, for those who are new, Creationists believe that Created Kinds are larger than just "species", and usually estimate the Created Kind to be roughly equivalent with the family level of taxonomy).

Now, I have no first-hand information about the book - it just came out so I haven't read any of it yet, but I did talk with Todd about it at this year's BSG.  Based on that conversation, I'm pretty sure that most baramins in the book are defined using statistical baraminic concepts.  I'm not a big fan of statistical baraminology, and prefer hybridization experiments (obviously, however, that data is not available for fossil species).  In any case, this is a great start to our systematics work. 

Another thing that Todd told me is that ark-based animals have much less variability within baramins than non-ark-based animals.  This is quite interesting, since the ark-based animals would have a genetic bottleneck that wouldn't apply to non-ark-based animals.  I believe he also said that the distribution actually follows what would be expected from a Biblical timescale.

Anyway, I plan on purchasing this as soon as I have the funds, and for those into Creation systematics, I would suggest you do, too.

November 28, 2008

Geology / Marine Fossils Preserved in Amber

JB

"New Discoveries" has a writeup of a new PNAS paper, Evidence for marine microfossils from amber.  Remember, amber comes from tree sap, and marine microfossils come from the sea :)  Although the paper was not speaking of the Biblical Flood, New Discoveries quoted the following from their pages to explain their findings:

It is likely that the flood waters first broke trees apart, transported the shattered timber, and then deposited the remaining pieces. These would have extruded large quantities of sap, which would have engulfed nearby creatures and then, at the bottom of the flood waters, hardened into amber. Marine algae trapped in amber ought to finally prove a flood-based interpretation.

I don't have access to the paper at the moment, but this seemed really interesting.

November 26, 2008

Information Theory / Optimality of the Genetic Code

JB

Teleomechanist has a great post up with a literature review about the optimality of the genetic code.

The genetic code seems to be designed with the following features:

  • Error minimization in protein construction on simple genetic mutations
  • Minimizing bad effects of frameshift errors
  • Error detection/correction through parity checking
  • Ability to layer on additional codes (the original paper for this is worthwhile) to the protein sequence

Anyway, Teleomachinist lists a lot of other interesting aspects about the genetic code, but I thought these were the top ones.  I especially like the fact that the genome seems to be optimized for having additional codes layered on.  That is very interesting indeed.

November 26, 2008

General / Creation Research Society Conference

JB

The Creation Research Society is sponsoring a conference this summer at the University of South Carolina Lancaster.  I think this is CRS's first conference.  Anyone can attend, but you have to be a voting member of CRS to author a paper (or have a voting member as a co-author).

Anyway, I'm probably going to be at the BSG conference this year, though at the moment it does not appear that I will have anything myself to present.  Come to think of it, that might actually make it more fun.

November 23, 2008

General / A Short History of Creationism

JB

While the whole book is pretty long, if anyone wants a short introduction to the history of Creationism, I would suggest reading the last chapter of Ronald Numbers' The Creationists.  I'm actually reading an older edition, so if it has changed the chapter is called "Creation Science Floods the World".  Anyway, it was a very good, short, history of the worldwide movement.

November 20, 2008

General / BSG Newsletter and an Opportunity for Students to Get Involved

JB

The Creation Biology Study Group is working on putting out a newsletter a few times throughout the year.  It will consist of book reviews, literature commentaries, and question/answer sections.  For those of you who are interested in Creation Research, but don't know where to start or how to get involved, consider contributing to the newsletter!  To contribute to the newsletter or to read the newsletter you will have to be a member of the Creation Biology Study Group.  Also, we are having a question/answer section where students can ask questions and have them answered, so feel free to ask!  Again, this is a great way to start contributing to Creation research.

Here is the full announcement:

--------------

Fellow BSG Members

We are looking to put together our first ever BSG newsletter.  This is going to be primarily member-contributed material, so please read on and see what you can do to help!  If you are a student, and want to start being active in Creation biology - this is a good way to get started!  The details and schedule for contributions are at the bottom of the email.  All newsletter-related email should be sent to bsg@bartlettpublishing.com .  The newsletter has two main goals:

1) Continue studying God's creation together
2) Encourage new participants and students to join in who might not be able to make it to the conferences

So, here's how I plan to organize the newsletter:

1) Book Reviews by BSG Members
2) Literature Commentaries by BSG Members
3) Current Happenings in the BSG Community
4) Creation Biology Questions and Answers
5) Member Correspondence

1) Book Reviews

The book reviews will be reviews of both creationary and non-creationary books.  The goal is the critical evaluation of books in terms of accuracy of the science, history, or philosophy presented.  Reviews of evolution-oriented books should point out items of value to our research goals and must not attack such books using anti-evolution polemics.  Likewise, reviews that favorably present creation-oriented books without critical evaluation of the content are not acceptable.   It is my hope this feature will encourage  wider reading of scholarly books so the BSG members will be well versed in both creationary and evolutionary current thinking.

Book reviews can be submitted by anyone, and if you are a student this is probably a good area to help out in.  There are no minimum or maximum lengths.  If you aren't sure how to start or what to review, just send us an email and we'll hook you up.

To get an idea of what we are looking for, here are some suggested books to look at (please don't feel limited by these!):

The Design Matrix: A Consilience of Clues
Evolution through Genetic Exchange
Evolution and the Levels of Selection
Science and Grace: God's Reign in the Natural Sciences
The Biology of Coastal Sand Dunes
Polar Lakes and Rivers: Limnology of Arctic and Antarctic Aquatic Ecosystems
Chance in Biology: Using Probability to Explore Nature
A Creationist Review and Preliminary Analysis of the History, Geology, Climate and Biology of the Galapágos Islands.
How and Why Species Multiply: The Radiation of Darwin's Finches
Ecological Stoichiometry: The Biology of Elements from Molecules to the Biosphere
Cornell Lab of Ornithology Handbook of Bird Biology
Foundations of Systems Biology
The Biotic Message
The Regulatory Genome: Gene Regulatory Networks in Development and Evolution
Evolutionary Dynamics: Exploring the Equations of Life
The Structure and Dynamics of Networks
The Genesis Factor: Myths and Realities
2) Literature Commentaries

Literature commentaries can cover any paper, especially conventional papers whose results have application to creation biology.  The commentary should begin with the full citation of the article.  This should be followed by one or two short paragraphs summarizing the article's findings and one or two short paragraphs suggesting a creation biology application.

3) Current Happenings in the BSG Community

Anything that you think that the BSG Community might be interested in, please let us know!  This includes papers published, conferences happenings, and even personal stuff like job changes, marriages, and babies.  Please note that the newsletter will be semi-private—that is, we will only make it available to BSG members, but that is not a guarantee to privacy.  So please do not submit anything that you wouldn't want others to see or find out about.

4) Questions and Answers

This is a section where you can ask questions and have them answered by our community. Submit questions to the newletter editor, who will contact an appropriate expert in our community.  The question and answer will be published together. This section can be used for students to get their deepest, darkest questions answered.

Researchers who want feedback on planned projects and ideas should submit to the newsletter editor a brief project proposal along with their e-mail address to be published in the newsletter.   Readers having comments on the proposal can then contact the researcher directly.

5) Members Correspondence

This is a place to comment about anything which occurred in the previous newsletter or in a previous conference.  If you have a note, question, or other correspondence about the happenings of the BSG, this is the place to share them.

SUBMISSION INFORMATION AND DEADLINES

I plan on publishing the newsletter late in January.  Therefore, for book reviews and literature reviews, please email me your topic within the next week.  If you would like to contribute, but need some direction, please email me immediately and we'll figure something out.  The reviews themselves need to be in by December 31st.  All other material can be submitted until January 15th.  Send all newsletter-related items to bsg@bartlettpublishing.com .

SUBMISSION POLICIES

The newsletter is not a full peer-review process.  All entries will be reviewed by the newsletter editor with final approval by the executive editor.  Copyright for all entries will remain with the submission author.  However, by submitting an entry you are granting the BSG an unlimited, royalty-free license to use your submission.


Literature commentaries can cover any paper, especially conventional papers whose results have application to creation biology.  The commentary should begin with the full citation of the article.  This should be followed by one or two short paragraphs summarizing the article's findings and one or two short paragraphs suggesting a creation biology application.

3) Current Happenings in the BSG Community

Anything that you think that the BSG Community might be interested in, please let us know!  This includes papers published, conferences happenings, and even personal stuff like job changes, marriages, and babies.  Please note that the newsletter will be semi-private—that is, we will only make it available to BSG members, but that is not a guarantee to privacy.  So please do not submit anything that you wouldn't want others to see or find out about.

4) Questions and Answers

This is a section where you can ask questions and have them answered by our community. Submit questions to the newletter editor, who will contact an appropriate expert in our community.  The question and answer will be published together. This section can be used for students to get their deepest, darkest questions answered.

Researchers who want feedback on planned projects and ideas should submit to the newsletter editor a brief project proposal along with their e-mail address to be published in the newsletter.   Readers having comments on the proposal can then contact the researcher directly.

5) Members Correspondence

This is a place to comment about anything which occurred in the previous newsletter or in a previous conference.  If you have a note, question, or other correspondence about the happenings of the BSG, this is the place to share them.

SUBMISSION INFORMATION AND DEADLINES

I plan on publishing the newsletter late in January.  Therefore, for book reviews and literature reviews, please email me your topic within the next week.  If you would like to contribute, but need some direction, please email me immediately and we'll figure something out.  The reviews themselves need to be in by December 31st.  All other material can be submitted until January 15th.  Send all newsletter-related items to bsg@bartlettpublishing.com .

SUBMISSION POLICIES

The newsletter is not a full peer-review process.  All entries will be reviewed by the newsletter editor with final approval by the executive editor.  Copyright for all entries will remain with the submission author.  However, by submitting an entry you are granting the BSG an unlimited, royalty-free license to use your submission.

November 12, 2008

General / Royal Society Digital Archive Free untile February

JB

For those of you interested in scholarly content, the Royal Society has just announced that it will make its archives available for free to everyone until February 1st, 2009.

The Royal Society is a top publisher of scientific papers, and their archives go back to 1665!  So,  if you are interested in the history of science, this is a perfect place to go searching.

Exciting!

If you find any interesting papers of note, please mention them on the comments.