Researching Creation

March 25, 2009

Geology / Evidence for a Pre-flood Floating Forest

JB

I just ran across a video of Kurt Wise talking about his floating forest hypothesis regarding the origin of coal seams.  From memory, his main lines of evidence for this are:

  1. Coal too flat (top, bottom, and benches in the middle) to have been formed from a gradual process
  2. Plants in coal have a different root system from modern plants - the only similar root system are plants which grow entirely in water
  3. Fossil sequence similar to sequence of habitats in quaking bogs - smaller moving towards larger, and semi-aquatic moving towards amphibians in animals
Anyway, I think he was only referring to certain coal beds, not all coal beds.  Nonetheless, based on the biomass, he was estimating that there was an entire pre-flood continent-sized floating forest which got buried.  It is very interesting!

Here's part 1 and part 2.

March 20, 2009

Geology / Interesting Political Implications of Creationism

JB

John Hawks has an interesting look at the recent return of skeletons to a Native American tribe for reburial.  This is really interesting because it indicates that there are more implications for our thoughts/ideas/theories than we realize.  Hawks is an anti-Creationist, so he thinks the connection between the bones and modern tribes is ridiculous.  I'm not aware of current Creationist thinking on biogeography of human remains, so I don't know whether or not a modern Creationist would agree with Hawks or with the tribe, but nonetheless it is an interesting intersection of ideas with the reality of politics.

While I appreciate Hawk's desire for administrators to administer based on principle rather than on money, I think he leaves out one additional component that may be worth considering - one that John West brought to my attention a few weeks ago - that public decisions have valid interests besides experts.  Experts have been wrong - even whole communities of experts, and on matters of public policy, everyone has to live with the consequences, not just the experts.  Therefore, the public has a say, too.

So, while it is very likely that Hawks is correct - the University president is probably most interested in money, one possibility that should not be overlooked is that, even though the University president is not a Creationist, the University president recognizes that there are other valid interests which include people and groups that the University president doesn't agree with.  Being respectful to these groups and these ideas, even when they are in conflict with your own or experts, is wise, not spineless, though it should always be done with care.

March 19, 2009

Geology / The Folding of Rock Layers

JB

AIG has an excellent article posted which shows how folded rock layers fit into a creation model.  They point out that there are several instances of rocks in which a series of rock layers are folded but not fractured.  This indicates that the rocks had not yet hardened when the folding occurred.  When the folding occurs across multiple rock layers, that means that none of the rocks could have been hard when the folding occurs.

March 16, 2009

General / Interviews with Creation Biologists

JB

I found these on YouTube and thought you all might be interested:

Also, Steve Austin has a video out called Where Darwin Went Wrong.  I find it interesting because it makes a good comparison of how Creationists and Evolutionists think of geology.  It is actually more about Lyell than Darwin, but it talks about a specific case where Darwin employed Lyell's methodology, and the problems that this caused with the evidence.  It's a good little video.

March 06, 2009

Biological Change / Lightner's Most Recent Article on Genetic Change

JB

Jean Lightner just posted a good article up on AiG's website covering Creationary beliefs about biological change.  She notes that Creationists should expect both bad mutations because of sin and death that is in the world, and good mutations because of the care that God put into His creation.  She also made an interesting case for directed mutation in human pigmentation.

Basically, the argument goes like this:

  • MC1R (a gene for human pigmentation) is a highly mutable gene
  • MC1R tends to be regionally adapted
  • 100 Africans were tested, and none of them showed any sequence divergence from other members of the group [UPDATE - Jean pointed out in the comments that this should be "amino acid sequence" - there were some silent DNA mutations]
  • The skin cancers that develop from improper pigmentation don't show up until you are about 57 years of age, and thus will have already finished having children - therefore, natural selection will be unable to effectively remove variants from the population
  • Therefore, it seems reasonable that mutations happen in this gene because of need, rather than accident, and when there is no need, there is little or no mutation.

This is a really cool direction of research.  I also wonder what sort of mechanism would be used to control this.  Is there a feedback loop somewhere which tells the skin that the pigmentation is set at the right level?  Are the mutations prevented by methylation or some other epigenetic mechanism?  Is there something there functioning as a counter to determine how many generations it should search for an optimum versus attempt to establish a constant sequence?

Anyway, another nice thing about this article is it cited my CRSQ paper.  Yay!  Now I just have to find time to finish my BSG paper :)

March 06, 2009

General / Christian Scientist Featured in Science Careers

JB

UPDATE - original link broken - now fixed.

A friend of mine forwarded me this very cool profile of a scientist, Imre Miklós Szilágyi, in the Science Careers section of Science's website.  Here's an excerpt:

Szilágyi sees his religious faith and his research efforts as two complementary aspects of his life. Within the scientific environment, "I have some options where I can express my faith," Szilágyi says. He directly referred to God both in the acknowledgements of his master's and doctoral dissertations and while receiving his awards. He runs a Bible-study group for young adults, and together with a friend he founded a Christian scientific group.

But although Szilágyi's views often lie far outside the scientific mainstream, he expresses those views only off-campus and in his personal time. For him, "the debate over evolution, design, creation, supernatural intelligence, etc., is not a scientific question in the first place but the collision of worldviews, the confrontation of materialism and idealism," he says. He takes the Bible literally, but when he lectures on the subject--outside of work--he presents what he calls "the options" and indicates which one "to me … seems to be more probable." But he insists that it is up to "everybody to make his or her own decision."

"As a Christian who works in the field of science, I find it quite important to deal with the relation of Christianity and science," Szilágyi says. But "I know that it is a minefield in today's scientific life and can be quite dangerous for one's scientific career. ... Therefore, I do these activities absolutely separately from my university work. … I am very cautious and careful that whenever I am talking [about these issues] I do not represent my university.

"My belief is very important for my career because this is the first thing that gives me my motivations so that I could work hard and I could achieve the best I can," Szilágyi says.

Anyway, the article is very nonspecific about this person's beliefs, but it is very encouraging that Science would publish something like this.  I'm starting to sense a sea change.  There are simply too many people who see the obviousness of God's design in nature for the scientific establishment to be in such denial.  I imagine that students are starting to see this, and what is a professor to do?  Fail his whole class?  There is definitely a sea change forming, though it may take a generation for it to fully take hold.

For those of us who are Creationists, this also means that the evolutionists' rhetoric will now help us.  Since the evolutionary biology community has spent the last 15 years chanting "ID is Creationism", as ID starts to take hold, this will actually be implicit support for us, too.  If ID is Creationism, then support for ID and tolerance for ID will hopefully lead to tolerance for Creationism as well.

 

 

March 01, 2009

General / Dembski vs Ruse at the University of Oklahoma

JB

I got the opportunity to hear the Ruse/Dembski debate at the University of Oklahoma.  For those interested in it, I wrote a summary of the major points on Uncommon Descent.  Paul Nelson also posted someone else's play-by-play of the Plantinga/Dennett debate at the APA.