Researching Creation

February 27, 2009

Geology / Interesting Facts about Water

I'm in OKC for the Ruse/Dembski debate, so I thought I'd wade through OU's library.  I don't often have the time/access to large libraries that I'd like so it's fun just to browse and see what one can learn.  I found a book called Marine Chemistry by Horne which listed the following interesting facts about water (pg 15):

  • Water has the highest heat capacity of all solids and liquids except NH3 - this prevents extreme ranges in temperature, and allows heat transfer by simply moving water
  • Latent heat of evaporation - highest of all substances
  • Latent heat of fusion - highest of all substances except NH3
  • Thermal expansion - the temperature of maximum density dereases with increasing salinity - helps control temperature distribution and circulation in lakes
  • Surface tension - highest of all liquids - helps in physiology of the cell and other surface phenomena
  • Dissolving power - dissolves more substances and in greater quantity than any other liquid - obviously this helps with aqueous biological phenomena
  • Dielectric constant - water has the highest of all liquids
  • Electrolytic dissociation - small - allows it to be neutral but still contain both H+ and OH- ions
  • Transparency - relatively great - important in biological phenomena
  • Conduction of heat - highest of all liquids

Anyway, I thought that was interesting.

February 25, 2009

General / A Very Cool Fish

JB

Check out this fish!

February 17, 2009

Discussions around the Web / Cavemen are Like Us and a Great Creationist Profile

JB

Two things I noticed on the web today:

  • The #8 story of science in 2008 is that neanderthals were just like us.  The funny thing about this is that Answers in Genesis has been trying to convince everyone of that for years now.  Funny - I don't see them getting any credit for that ;)
  • The ICR posted up a great profile of Benjamin Carson.  Benjamin is the chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Medical School.  His profile is incredible check it out.

February 17, 2009

Biological Change / Genetics and Biological Similarity

JB

The recent sequencing efforts of a variety of organisms has been contributing a whole lot to what we know about the genome, and especially the genome's contribution to an organism's form.  One thing Paul Nelson (I think) has brought up before is the fact that the contents of the genome might not be as important as how it is read.  Todd Wood made similar claims in his paper on biological similarity.  Wood made some waves in Creationary camps by suggesting that perhaps chimps and humans originated with the exact same DNA!  Now, I don't think that this was the case, nevertheless it is interesting food for thought - might the same DNA lead to two radically different organisms based on how it is interpretted by the organism?  And might two very different sets of DNA lead to near-identical organisms based on how it is interpretted?

We keep on finding clues to this puzzle that indicate that this might be an affirmative on both cases.

In the case of voles, we find vast genomic differences between species that have nearly-identical morphology.

In the case of sea urchins, we see that they have genomes that are much more similar to humans than fruit flies are.  According to this article:

Sea urchins are closer to human and vertebrates from an evolutionary perspective than other more widely studied animal models, such as fruit fly or worms. The sea urchin, in fact, has 7,000 genes in common with humans [NOTE - this does not mean they are identical, just the same general gene], including genes associated with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases and muscular dystrophy. "Another surprise is that this spiny creature with no eyes, nose or hears has genes involved in vision, hearing and smell in humans,"... [emphases and NOTEs added]

Also striking is the similarity between humans and kangaroos on the genetic level:

"There are a few differences, we have a few more of this, a few less of that, but they are the same genes and a lot of them are in the same order," center Director Jenny Graves told reporters in Melbourne.

Now, for those of you unfamiliar with the evolutionary tree, marsupials and placentals were supposed to have diverged long, long ago, in a small mole- or badger-like creature.  But here we have kangaroos and humans having the same genes (again, not necessarily identical) in the same order, which is supposedly the evidence for our descent from apes (note that I know of no scientist who says that we descended from kangaroos, and yet what we have here is very much the same type of genetic evidence).

In any case, the point is that similarities and differences within genomes may mean something else entirely from what we think it means today.  Are the fundamental components of body morphology even genetic?  Anyway, lots of good questions are lurking around in there.

February 10, 2009

Geology / A Creationist Interpretation of Pyramid Rock, Victoria

JB

Tas Walker recently posted his flood-centered interpretation of Pyramid Rock, Victoria.

February 09, 2009

Biological Change / BSG UK Conference Highlights

JB

Todd Wood has been blogging the BSG UK conference, titled Genesis and the Origin of the Species.  This latest post links to all of his daily entries.  The conference is coming soon to the US!  I probably won't get to make it (new child on the way), but it sounds like fun!

February 06, 2009

Information Theory / RNA Editing and Data Encapsulation Formats

JB

I was thinking about data encapsulation today.  In a computer program, if I want to pass the words "hello world" to a website, I can't just stick it in the URL - spaces aren't allowed in URLs - they serve a different function there.  Instead, in URLs, spaces get translated to %20s, so I would pass it as "hello%20world".  Different formats have different rules for encapsulation, so if I want to take a single set of characters, and move them from one system to another, it is possible I may have to encapsulate/de-encapsulate multiple times. 

So, I was thinking about this with regards to RNA editing.  Before I start to make this analogy, let me start by saying the instances of RNA editing I know about don't seem to be working in this way.  Nonetheless, I think it is an interesting angle to research to be sure.

What I am wondering is if there are times when the DNA code might be "encapsulated" in a slightly different format, which then gets de-encapsulated by RNA editing to be passed on to the next phase.  In computers, this happens when additional control information must be passed on using the same alphabet.  In our previous example, in the control system alphabet for web requests, the space has a special use.  Therefore, if we need to use a space within the URL itself, we have to encapsulate it so that it doesn't get confused with its special use.

Anyway, just wondering out loud (a) if this happens at all, and (b) whether it occurs through RNA editing or some other mechanism, and (c) what are the different levels of control information and how are they designated.

February 02, 2009

General / Winter/Spring 2009 BSG Newsletter is Up

JB

For those interested, the first newsletter of the BSG: A Creation Biology Study Group has now been posted.  It is a members-only publication, so if you want to read it, you'll need to get a membership (it's not expensive).  Note that the BSG does not require a statement of faith for membership.  I am the newsletter editor, so if you want to contribute (which, by the way, is an excellent way to get started in Creation research) let me know and we can decide what to do.  This newsletter consists of member news, book reviews, a literature review, and suggestions for student projects.