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Top Discoveries and the Creation/Evolution Debate 2004

December 2004

December 7

Third of Americans say evidence has supported Darwin's evolution theory
All most half of Americans believe God created humans 10,000 years ago (Gallup News Service)  On the question of whether evolution is well-supported by the evidence, 35% of the respondents said that it is, 35% said that it is not, 29% said that they didn't know enough about it to reply, and 1% expressed no opinion.  On the question of the origin and development of human beings, 38% of the respondents agreed with "human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process," 13% agreed with "human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process," 45% agreed with "God created human beings pretty muc h in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so," and 4% offered a different or no opinion.  On the question of biblical literalism, 34% of respondents regarded the Bible as to be taken literally, 48% regarded it as divinely inspired but not always to be taken literally, 15% regarded it as a collection of fables, etc., and 3% expressed no opinion.  For the CBS News poll, visit:

Genome of the mammalian common ancestor reconstructed. Science News, Washington, Dec 1
(ANI):Using computer programs,scientists have suceeded in reconstructing the DNA of a creature that lived at the time of the dinosaurs more than 75 million years ago, a small, furry nocturnal animal that was the common ancestor of all placental mammals, including humans, with 98 percent accuracy.

"We will be able to trace the molecular evolution of our genome over the past 75 million years. It's a very exciting new way to think about our origins, a kind of DNA-based archaeology to understand how we came to be." 

Were the Darwinists Wrong?
National Geographic stacks the deck. By Thomas Woodward.

Was Darwin right or not?
Our science classrooms are failing if they're not giving students a solid understanding of what Darwin actually said (Randy Scholfield, The Wichita Eagle, Kan.)

Cosmic conundrum
The universe seems uncannily well suited to the existence of life. Could that really be an accident? (Time)

Creating Creationism by Ron Numbers
The roots of the modern creationist moverment started with Ellen G. White's vision of creation. Ellen White founded the 7th day Adventists. Her vision of the solar system is way off. Ron Numbers writes about the history of the label creationist which may surprise you.

Genesis through the back door
Trying to disguise creationism with the label of "intelligent design" (which sounds like an IKEA marketing pitch) doesn't pass the smell test — or any valid science test. (Editorial, Los Angeles Times)

Pennsylvania school district retreats from evolution
A Pennsylvania school district on Friday defended its decision to discount Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and take a lead in teaching what critics say is a version of creationism. (Reuters)

School science debate has evolved
The long-simmering battle over how evolution is taught in high school biology is boiling again. (USA Today)

Theologian Langdon Gilkey died on November 19, 2004, at the age of 85, in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Gilkey testified for the plaintiffs in McLean v. Arkansas, the case that challenged the constitutionality of Arkansas's "Balanced treatment for creation-science and evolution-science act" of 1981.  In his account of his experiences, Creationism on Trial: Evolution and God at Little Rock (1985), he explained his antipathy to the law:  "I came to the conclusion that this law and ones similar to it are ... in fact dangerous to the health of our society. For the Washington Post's obituary of Gilkey, visit: Langdon Gilkey Dies; Theologian, Author, Educator.

Intellectuals who doubt Darwin
Hunter Baker on Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing. (The American Spectator)

Creator won't rest in bashing of Darwin
I believe in a creator of the universe. But that's faith, not science. (Linda Valdez, The Arizona Republic)

Creation science isn't science at all
Special pleading does a disservice to both faith and facts. (J. David Pleins, Mercury News, Calif.)

NPR: In the first hour of NPR's show Science Friday for November 19, 2004, host Ira Flatow and his guests discussed the recent decision by the Dover (Pennsylvania) Area School District to require the teaching of "intelligent design" in its science classrooms, as well as other recent battles over evolution education.  For the archived version of the show, look under the "Archived Audio" section of:

Ducks in evolution's crossfire
Brood parasitic black-headed ducks caught in their host's interspecific arms race.

A link for unrelated viruses
Viruses which infect all three domains of life could be descended from bacteriophage.

November 2004

November 21

Ancient Ape Discovered: Last Ape-Human Ancestor? November 18, 2004
In Spain scientists have discovered 13-million-year-old fossils of a new species of ape. The species may have been the last common ancestor of humans and all great apes living today.

Crucial Evolutionary Link Points To Origins Of Modern Cells. (November 11, 2004)
A team of researchers led by Rockefeller University's Michael P. Rout, Ph.D., have discovered a possible crucial evolutionary link between the simple cells that make up bacteria and the more complex cells that comprise animal and plant cells, including those of humans.

Pa. school district mandates "intelligent design" in curriculum
Last month, the Dover Area School District became the only one in the nation to specifically mandate the teaching of "intelligent design," which holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by an unspecified higher power (Associated Press) also Pa. town puts Darwin on notice.

Creation theory gets boost
Schools should teach the biblical creation story alongside evolutionary theory, Family First chairman Peter Harris said yesterday (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

Evolution on trial
Ignorance of science hazardous to next generation (Editorial, The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)

In science, no such thing as 'just' a theory
In ordinary English, a theoretical idea is one that is not well-grounded in fact. But a scientific theory refers to a mental model that scientists develop that allows predictions that can be tested by experiments or observations. (Robert L. Dehaan, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

Scientists defend school board's use of evolution disclaimer sticker
Calling evolution "a theory in crisis," more than two-dozen scientists have come to the defense of the Cobb County, Ga., Board of Education. The scientists, all Ph.D.'s, portray evolution as "a live and growing scientific controversy" (Fulton County Daily Report, Ga.)

Teaching policy unclear
Calls for lessons in theories other than evolution (Pioneer Press, Minn.)

Male Fish Producing Eggs in Potomac River
Near Washington, D.C., male bass are growing eggs—and it isn't normal. Clues point to estrogen-enhanced sewage.

ISCID is pleased to announce the latest issue of its online journal
Progress in Complexity, Information and Design.  The current issue features papers from
Royal Truman, Jonathan Wells, Paul Nelson and others. A variety of topics are addressed, including (1) computer simulations of Darwinian evolution, (2) irreducible complexity and (3) the application of intelligent design. PCID Volume 3.1, November 2004.

ID and the Future of Science: New ARN Video Series from the Biola Conference
A significant conference was held this past April at Biola University on ID and the Future of Science.  ARN is releasing 13 DVD lecture videos this month from that important event. See

Scientists Defend School Board's Use of Evolution Disclaimer Sticker
Calling evolution "a theory in crisis," more than two-dozen scientists have come to the defense of the Cobb County, Ga., Board of Education. The scientists, all Ph.D.'s, portray evolution as "a live and growing scientific controversy." 

Death before the Fall: Most Young earth creationists claim that there was no death before the fall of mankind in the garden of Eden. This doctrine is primarily tied to two passages - Genesis 1:29-30 in the Old Testament and Romans 5:12 in the New Testament. Out of context, without the consideration of the remainder of the Bible, the verses seem to support the doctrine. However, arguments in favor of this "biblical" doctrine reply primarily upon emotion (e.g., "millions of year of suffering and death"). This page cites over 60 biblical passages that support the Bible's claim that there was animal death, but no human death, before Adam's sin. No Death Before the Fall - A Young Earth Heresy.

Rogue finger gene got bats airborne
A single gene may explain the sudden appearance of thoroughly modern bats in the fossil record 50 million years ago.

Humans Were Born to Run, Fossil Study Suggests. November 17, 2004
The distinctive human body form—long legs, springy feet, short forearms, big buttocks—may have evolved to run, rather than walk, a new study says.

Evolution's "High Priest" Returns With New "Tale." November 15, 2004
National Geographic News interviews Darwinist Richard Dawkins on evolution and his latest book, The Ancestor's Tale

Emory Study Details Dolphin Brain Evolution For The First Time. (October 29, 2004)
The intelligence and cognitive capabilities of dolphins and their aquatic cousins have long fascinated the public and the scientific community.

Faith-based parks?
Creationists meet the Grand Canyon (Leon Jaroff, Time

Is the capacity for spirituality determined by brain chemistry?
Geneticist's book 'The God Gene' is disputed by scientists, embraced by some religious leaders (The Washington Post)

November 8

Was Darwin wrong?
No. The evidence for evolution is overwhelming says National Geographic.This month's cover story.

'What does it mean to be human?'
Anthropologist Desmond Morris suggested the discovery of a human "hobbit" on Flores would force many religions to examine their basic beliefs (BBC).

Darwin's Greatest Challenge Tackled: The Mystery Of Eye Evolution Heidelberg, Germany (SPX) Oct 29, 2004
When Darwin's skeptics attack his theory of evolution, they often focus on the eye. Darwin himself confessed that it was "absurd" to propose that the human eye evolved through spontaneous mutation and natural selection.

The Left-Handed Lobster Moffett Field CA (SPX) Nov 03, 2004
Genetics aren't the only triggers for the traits a species develops, according to findings from a University of Alberta professor. The research challenges the classical Darwinian theory of evolution as being the sole explanation for how new life forms arise.

Creationism and science clash at Grand Canyon bookstores
The universe formed billions of years ago, Earth formed billions of years later and the Grand Canyon was shaped by millions and millions of years of hydrology, chiefly the action of the Colorado River. Other ideas, however dearly held, are myths (The New York Times).

Trial date set in evolution textbook case
A trial date has been set for a lawsuit seeking to have Cobb County remove disclaimers about evolution from its science textbooks (Associated Press).

Wisconsin district to teach more than evolution.
School officials have revised the science curriculum to allow the teaching of creationism, prompting an outcry from more than 300 educators who urged that the decision be reversed.

Fish with cleft lip solves evolution riddle
Gap-toothed species shines light on nostril development. 3 November 2004.

Supernova debris found on Earth
Ancient explosion may have affected climate and, possibly, human evolution. 2 November 2004.

Spider webs untangle evolution
Similarity of construction shows 'convergent evolution' applies to behaviour. 1 November 2004.

The Weird Platypus: Oct. 25, 2004
An animal said to be the "world's weirdest" — the platypus — has just become a bit more unusual with a report that claims the mammal retains a distinctly birdlike gender chromosome. The finding, published in the current journal Nature, not only helps to explain why the platypus retains characteristics common to both mammals and birds, but it also suggests that the  chromosomes for these two diverse groups might have an evolutionary link.

Gene activity in human brain sets us apart from chimps SAN DIEGO
Humans and chimpanzees share 98.7 per cent of their DNA, but the human brain has about five times more genetic activity than would be predicted by evolution, researchers said.

Seventh-Dayers' Six-Day Creationism
In a society where young adherents often face challenges to their beliefs, the top world authorities of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have reaffirmed the faith's insistence that fidelity to the Bible requires belief in "a literal, recent, six-day creation," no matter what conventional science says (Associated Press).

October 2004

October 24

The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired into Our Genes
by Dean H. Hamer. A search for the genetic basis of spirituality. Reviewed by Carl Zimmer.

In a surprise move, a Pennsylvania school board recently voted to include "intelligent design" in the district's science curriculum.

Where physics meets faith
Neither Newtonian mechanics nor quantum physics is on a glide path to spiritual enlightenment (Robert C. Cowen, The Christian Science Monitor).

Review delayed on sale of creationist book at Grand Canyon
A federal review of whether the book -- which asserts that the canyon was created in a matter of days as a result of the same flood that had threatened to sink Noah and his ark -- should be sold at the park has been delayed for months as officials wrestle with the issue of separation of church and state (The Washington Post).

Junk DNA controls embryos
Very early embryonic development may be controlled by random movements of repetitive elements.

Refining the genome
Human Genome revised down to under 25,000 genes; failings of whole genome shotgun revealed. Also from Nature see Human genome: End of the beginning.

Faith + physics
John Polkinghorne, physicist and Anglican priest, explores the common ground between science and religion. (Roanoke Times, VA).

Huge genome allows mimivirus to make its own proteins. 14 October 2004.

Evolutionary trees may finally provide answers everyone can agree on. 11 October 2004.

Missing Link to Life Found? By Larry O'Hanlon, Discovery News. Oct. 8, 2004
Mount St. Helens' recent eruption may be replaying a scene straight from the geochemical drama that led to life on Earth. Besides ash and lava, most volcanoes also release a toxic gas called carbonyl sulfide (COS) that has now been shown to cause amino acids in Earth's primordial soup to form chains — a very big step in the walk toward the first life.

Bacteria are genetically modified by lightning
A study using artificial lightning finds that bacteria can pick up stray DNA when zapped, perhaps giving an insight into early bacterial evolution

October 10

Young Earth PowerPoint presentation online by Christopher Sharp.

Evolution defenders anticipate new fight
For supporters of teaching evolution in Kansas public schools, the best defense is a good offense. In January, the balance of power on the state Board of Education is expected to shift to social conservatives who want to include creation science and intelligent design among the theories taught in science classes, or remove evolution from the classroom. (Lawrence Journal World, Kansas)

The star man
'Nova' host has always had his eyes on the skies. Though he works in an area of science that often comes into conflict with fundamentalist Christianity, at least those branches that insist on a literal interpretation of the Bible regarding Creation, he's found at the Hayden that "people who are religious look at [the stars] as the handiwork of God and come out more religious. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"The crusade against evolution,"  The cover story in the October 2004 issue of Wired magazine is Evan Ratliff's "The crusade against evolution," with the tag line: "In the beginning there was Darwin. And then there was intelligent design.

Professors wrestle question: creation, evolution
More than 200 people crammed themselves into a classroom to hear a discussion on one of the oldest but still hottest philosophical debates -- creationism versus evolution. (Red and Black, University of Georgia)

Volcano gas, amino acids make life
Study in Science is important in understanding transformation of monomers into polymers.

Volcanic Gas May Have Played A Significant Role In Life's Beginning San Diego CA (SPX) Oct 08, 2004
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies are reporting a possible answer to a longstanding question in research on the origins of life on Earth - how did the first amino acids form the first peptides?

"The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories". by Stephen Meyer.

Taxonomy isn't black and white
DNA barcoding method put to the test reveals new cryptic bird and butterfly species Modelling the recent common ancestry of all living humans. DOUGLAS L. T. ROHDE, STEVE OLSON & JOSEPH T. CHANG.

3.4-billion-year-old controversy
Evidence for life 3400 million years ago, but hydrothermal proponents still don't agree.

Understanding Evolution

Giant Ape May Be New Species
An elusive giant ape has been spotted in remote forests in central Africa, sparking theories that it could be a new species of primate, a finding that would be the most astonishing wildlife discovery in decades, New Scientist says.

September 2004

September 13

Intelligent design study appears
Publication of paper in peer-reviewed journal sparks controversy.

The Art of Debating Darwin
How to intelligently design a winning case for God's role in creation. Reviewed by Edward J. Larson.

Unintelligent Debate
It's time to cool the rhetoric in the Intelligent Design dispute. By John Wilson.

Glowing Green Protein Proves Darwin's Theory. Sept. 3, 2004
A glowing green protein has provided researchers with the first direct proof for a Charles Darwin theory that predicts complex structures evolve over time through an accumulation of small improvements. The findings, published in the current issue of the journal Science, add to the growing body of evidence that supports the theories of British naturalist Darwin (1809-1882).

Complex Cells May Arise From Combination Of Bacterial And Extreme Genomes. Arlington VA (SPX) Sep 09, 2004
According to a new report, complex cells like those in the human body probably resulted from the fusion of genomes from an ancient bacterium and a simpler microbe, Archaea, best known for its ability to withstand extreme temperatures and hostile environments.

Linnean naming system faces challengers
Rethinking the names of every organism on the planet is a radical step but it might be worth the upheaval, say renegade biologists.

Gene controls beak morphology
Answering a Darwinian question, scientists attribute differences in finches' beaks to Bmp4.

Battle Between Bubbles Might Have Started Evolution. Baltimore MD (SPX) Sep 03, 2004
Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers are proposing that the first battle for survival-of-the-fittest might have played out as a simple physical duel between fatty bubbles stuffed with genetic material.

Origins, establishment and evolution of new polyploid species: Senecio cambrensis and S. eboracensis in the British Isles.

Spartina anglica C. E. Hubbard: a natural model system for analysing early evolutionary changes that affect allopolyploid genomes.

Central Pennsylvania Forum for Religion and Science.

August 2004

August 31

Darwin, Design & Democracy V: September 24-25, 2004 at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. To view the full conference schedule or to register now for this exciting event go to:

Religion/Science Reading Group at Messiah College Thursday, September 9, at 7:00 pm. We will meet in Kline Hall, room 108.  Barring unforeseen surprises, parking should be available in the lot behind the Kline-Jordan complex. That's the large rectangular space inside the L-shaped complex that consists of buildings 20 and 23 on our campus map: A plurality of votes were cast for the following book, which we will read this year: Kenneth R. Miller, Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground between God and Evolution (HarperCollins, 1999).  My review is here: (Ted Davis)

"Meyer's Hopeful Monster":

Meteorites Supplied Earth Life With Phosphorus Tucson AZ (SPX) Aug 25, 2004
University of Arizona scientists have discovered that meteorites, particularly iron meteorites, may have been critical to the evolution of life on Earth.

Prions Act As Stepping Stones In Evolution.
When a protein misfolds, the results can be disastrous. An incorrect change in the molecule's shape can lead to diseases including Alzheimer's and Huntington's. But scientists have discovered that misfolded proteins can have a positive side in yeast, helping cells navigate the dicey current of natural selection by expressing a variety of hidden genetic traits.

August 23

Giant Mutant Ant Colony Found in Australia. Aug. 12, 2004
A huge ant colony measuring 100 kilometers (62 miles) across has been found under the southern Australian city of Melbourne, scientists said Thursday. Suhr said the introduced pest's natural aggression kept numbers under control in its native country, but that the genetic make-up of the ants found in Australia had mutated, allowing them to cooperate to build the supercolony.

IDing ID: Is "Intelligent Design" theory really "Creation Science" version 2.0?
Not exactly, but the parallels are certainly suggestive. See By Chris Mooney.

New Online articles at NCSE
"Flood Geology in the Grand Canyon," "Evolution:  Still Deep in the Heart of Textbooks," and "The Astrobiological Perspective on Life's Origin."

Different codons, same amino acid
Study shows that synonymous codon usage varies in human tissues, perhaps due to evolution.

The structure and evolution of centromeric transition regions within the human genome.

August 17

Why is our universe so exquisitely tuned to host life? using the anthropic principle to explain the world might be a tempting alternative to invoking God, but it_s not science, says Philip Ball.

Sloppy proteins may help organisms adapt.

Molecules Point To Probable Pathways For Chemical Evolution In Space. Green Bank WV (SPX) Aug 06, 2004
A team of scientists using the National Science Foundation's Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) has discovered two new molecules in an interstellar cloud near the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. This discovery is the GBT's first detection of new molecules, and is already helping astronomers better understand the complex processes by which large molecules form in space.

Ozone Loss Caused Genetic Mutations At Time Of Mass Extinction. London (SPX) Aug 11, 2004
Research into the world's worst mass extinction, which led to the loss of 90 per cent of living species 250 million years ago, has found that the historical tragedy also involved some disturbing genetics mutations.

Genetic analysis of genome-wide variation in human gene expression

Diverse sequences will illuminate human evolution and the tree of life.

Surrogate sperm technique allows cross-species fatherhood.

ISCID is pleased to announce that its members now receive access to our online research library featuring electronic access to various science journal articles. See

August 8

New ARN Video: Debate at UCLA—William Dembski vs. Niall Shanks
William Dembski and Niall Shanks debate at UCLA.  The topic for this debate is “Can Intelligent Design be Detected in Biology?”

Evolution-design debate rages on
Scientists say nothing new has been added to the design claim (Salina Journal, Kan.)

Science and religion
Noted author Ian Barbour talks about these often warring worlds (Grand Forks Herald, N.D.)

Early fish hit land to be better predators
Primitive fish may have hauled themselves on to land to soak up energy from the Sun and become better hunters.

Genome Complexity: Adaptive evolution or genetic drift?
Does genome complexity produce organismal complexity? R B Phillips.

Researchers Review Evolutionary History Of Modern Algae.

Chagas parasite invades genome
Typanosoma cruzi kinetoplast DNA found in the genomes of infected patients and animals.

Study Suggests Humans Can Speed Evolution.

Catching Fish Evolving
Biologists watch an African fish species speeding toward a split.

July 2004

July 25

Mutations go tick, tock
Statistical analysis reveals evidence for molecular clock in neutral DNA substitutions.

A new book called Random Designer.
The book is written by a Christian biologist and is a practical, authoritative, and valuable resource. The author takes the reader from the Big Bang up through the origin of life and the genetic code to the emergence of man. Random Designer explains how these, and all the rest of the evolutionary processes, are but the tools of a loving God to establish and nurture life.

Dinosaur Red Blood Cells Found in Fossils?

Index to Creationists Claims.

July 18

Life Born Left-Handed. Moffet Field CA (SPX) Jul 12, 2004
A chemical reaction that demonstrates how key molecules in the biological world might have come to be predominately left or right handed has been reported by scientists at Imperial College London.

Background on Comparative Genomic Analysis.

Exobiology: It's life...isn't it? 
Scientists find it hard enough to pin down evidence of early life on our own planet. How on Earth do we plan to determine whether life exists elsewhere? John Whitfield finds out.

Immune systems evolved more than once 
Primitive fish has advanced protective mechanism.

Ploidy predicts lifestyle
Study explores how host-parasite interactions select for genome number.

Geology Before Darwin: The Struggle to Find and Defend the Truth about the Earth’s Past.

Tidal Slowdown, Coral Growth, and the Age of the Earth.

Creationist Misuse of the Green River Formation. by Glenn Morton.

The ICA Stones: Man & Dinosaur together?

July 10


Writing in the latest issue of Nature, Henry Gee contemplates "The tyranny of design." The recent discovery of the lamprey's evolutionarily distinct adaptive immune system, Gee suggests, corroborates a diagnosis of "intelligent design" as driven by a misguided concentration on model organisms and structures.

Evolution of innate immunity
Lamprey study shows distinct mechanisms of lymphocyte receptor diversity among vertebrates.

How yeasts evolve
Publication of four more genomes confirm disputed whole genome duplication theory.

Epigenetics: Genome, Meet Your Environment
As the evidence accumulates for epigenetics, researchers reacquire a taste for Lamarckism.

Reflections on Human Origins
by William A. Dembski.

June 2004

June 20

Revealed: Tony Blair's link to schools that take the Creation literally
Critics voice serious doubts over Christian academies run by millionaire car dealer and backed by Prime Minister.

Natural selection and speciation
Formation of new species (Answers in Genesis).

Ancient Molecules and Modern Myths
In Dino-blood and the Young Earth Dr. Gary Hurd debunked false creationist claims that dinosaur blood proved the Earth is young. In this article, he deals with a similiar claim by creationist John R. Baumgardner. Dr. Baumgardner claims that osteocalcin in dinosaur remains could not have survived for millions of years. Dr. Hurd shows why Baumgardner is wrong.

Is the Earth's Magnetic Field Young?
by Joe Meert.

Setting the record straight: Creationist Claims examined
Edited by Mark Isaak.

Gained in Translation: Expanding the Genetic Code

Jumping Gene Flash

Commentary on developments in the endless dispute between evolution and creationism.

A review of  "Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design"
by Barbara Forrest and Paul R. Gross.

Dembski, Darwin, and Devils
by Jason Rosenhouse.

First Person
Richard Dawkins

Teaching Science in the Schools.
One reason for the deficiency of science education in many of our schools is the decentralization of education. A second reason is the conviction, common among biblical literalists and other Christian fundamentalists, that certain teachings of science—concerning the origin of the universe, the living world and humans—are contrary to biblical texts and the Christian faith.

June 13

Parting Genomes: UA Biologists Discover Seeds Of Speciation. Tuscon AZ (SPX) Jun 08, 2004
The first eyewitness to the birth of a new species may be a University of Arizona graduate student. Her new findings could help biologists identify and understand the precise genetic changes that lead one species to evolve into two separate species. See also

The Transformation of a Young-earth Creationist
by Glenn R. Morton .

May 2004

May 30

Chimps are not like humans
Whole-chromosome comparison reveals much greater genetic differences than expected.

Michael Shermer reflects on his debate with Kent Hovind.
“Who won the debate? Intellectually, I did, with Hovind once again conceding defeat on the last question of the evening: “What is the best evidence for the creation?” He answered: “The impossibility of the contrary” (evolution). In that simple statement, Hovind confessed the scientific sin of all creationists: Disproving evolution does not prove the creationist contrary.”

Duplicate genes increase gene expression diversity within and between species.
Nature: Genetics June 2004, Volume 36 No 6 pp577 - 579 Zhenglong Gu, Scott A Rifkin, Kevin P White & Wen-Hsiung Li.

How microsporidia evolve
Genes evolve rapidly but genomes don't, suggesting that space constraints play a role.

Tiny Microbes In Greenland Glacier May Define Limits For Life On Earth. New Orleans LA (SPX) May 26, 2004
The discovery of millions of micro-microbes surviving in a 120,000-year-old ice sample taken from 3,000 meters below the surface of the Greenland glacier will be announced by Penn State University scientists on 26 May 2004 at the General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Mammalian genome special.
This special issue of Nature is a snapshot of genome research and medical applications, featuring the first sequenced chimpanzee chromosome and an accompanying web focus, and several additions to our ongoing human genome web focus, with chromosomes 9 and 10, as well as a new analysis of the quality of the human genome sequence. All content is available free online.

Genetics help hound health
DNA test maps evolution of dog breeds. 21 May 2004.

Expanding The Genetic Code. San Diego CA (SPX) May 25, 2004
A team of investigators at The Scripps Research Institute and its Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology in La Jolla, California has modified a form of the bacterium Escherichia coli to use a 22-amino acid genetic code.

Inconstant Multiverse, by R.B. Mann
The question of why there is something rather than nothing has occupied philosophers and theologians from the very beginning.  However, Robert Mann suggests that recent findings in cosmology have raised a different, but perhaps even more intriguing question:  Why is there something rather than everything?  This question is posed by cosmological exploration due to two properties of our universe.  The first is the apparent prejudice for life in the universe, that the natural constants of physical laws admit the development of life for only a very narrow range of a logically infinite set of values…and yet there is life!  The second is evidence of causal action over vast distances in the universe, without any apparent causal contact.  General accounts of both the “anthropic principle” and the “inflationary universe” tend to rely on the concept of the “multiverse,” the idea that anything that can exist does exist in some “universe,” some particular subset of the set of all possible universes, i.e., of the multiverse.  Mann argues that this implication of the multiverse theory poses significant problems for both science and theology.  He proposes instead the concept of a “altiverse,” which he defines as “a set of possible alternatives that logically exist but are not physically realized.”

May 23

Theory Proposes New View Of Sun And Earth's Creation
A new theory challenges conventional wisdom, arguing instead that the Sun formed in a violent nebular environment - a byproduct of the chaos wrought by intense ultraviolet radiation and powerful explosions that accompany the short but spectacular lives of massive, luminous stars.

Research Vision | Rethinking Genetic Determinism. (must register)
With only 30,000 genes, what is it that makes humans human?

What Kind of Revolution Is The Design Revolution?, by Jakob Wolf
In the essay below, Jakob Wolf, Department of Systematic Theology, University of Copenhagen, reviews William Dembski's "The Design Revolution." Wolf argues that Dembski's claim that Intelligent Design represents a scientific revolution is inaccurate. The Intelligent Design "revolution" is:

"a revolution of the presupposition and the regulative idea underlying biology and not a revolution of biology as a natural scientific project. Apparently Dembski thinks that all knowledge of nature that is not mere subjective belief is natural science. Such a definition is too broad, it conflates elements that should be kept apart and thereby causes confusion. We should distinguish between scientific knowledge of nature and analogical knowledge of nature, and we should distinguish between the natural science project and the presupposition and regulative idea underlying the natural science project. The natural science project is explaining natural phenomena in terms of natural, immanent causes alone, and this project should not be revolutionized by intelligent design theory. Rather, intelligent design theory should revolutionize naturalism and scientific materialism as the presupposition and regulative idea underlying biology as a natural science project."

Glen's Dinosaur Den.
Key links to information about dinosaurs.

May 16

'Junk' DNA reveals vital role
Inscrutable genetic sequences seem indispensable. The segments, dubbed 'ultraconserved elements', lie in the large parts of the genome that do not code for any protein. Their presence adds to growing evidence that the importance of these areas, often dismissed as junk DNA, could be much more fundamental than anyone suspected.

Synthetic Life
A small but rapidly growing number of scientists have set out in recent years to buttress the foundation of genetic engineering with what they call synthetic biology. They are designing and building living systems that behave in predictable ways, that use interchangeable parts, and in some cases that operate with an expanded genetic code, which allows them to do things that no natural organism can.

Intelligent Design:
For the past several years I have been recommending the Icons of Evolution documentary, for the first step in understanding the problems with the reigning paradigm of Darwinism, followed by the equally impressive documentary Unlocking the Mystery of Life, for an introduction to the concepts of design and the scientists who are behind the movement. Once the multimedia introduction has been completed, I recommend they move on to the half dozen books by Dr. Phillip Johnson and then tackle his video debate at Stanford with Dr. William Provine of Cornell. But now I have a new favorite to go along with the first two documentaries above, and it comes from France. Voyage Inside the Cell is a 15-minute animated journey through the cell that leaves the viewer stunned with the amazing complexity and information content of the living cell.

New Book Release: By Design or By Chance? To view the table of contents or order By Design or By Chance, go to

Niall Shanks's God, the Devil, and Darwin: A Critique of Intelligent Design
Theory and Barbara Forrest and Paul R. Gross's Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design both received favorable reviews in Science (2004 May 7; 304: 825-6).

Mitochondrial DNA Mixes It Up
Evidence of DNA swapping may break the molecular clock. (Membership required)    

Heritage on the Vine
Jumping DNA turned ancestral grapes from black to white, then to red. (Membership required)    

ASA Conference:
The 2004 annual conference Neuroscience and the Image of God is fast approaching and I would like to share some exciting developments with you. Our featured plenary speakers will be psychologists Malcolm Jeeves, Warren Brown, Heather Looy  and neurophysiologist David Cechetto.

May 9

Struggles in science
Arizona educators revisit controversy over evolution (The Arizona Republic).

The latest news on evolution education in public schools. Consult NCSE's web site:

Life In The Universe Could Be Just About Everywhere Denver CO (UPI) May 06, 2004
The chemistry that underlies life on Earth is abundant throughout the universe -- in comets, in the interstellar medium, in the atmospheres of planets, in the outer solar system bodies and in living organisms, an astrophysicist told United Press International.

Surprising 'Ultra-conserved' Regions Discovered In Human Genome
Researchers comparing the human genome with the genomes of other species have discovered a surprising number of matching DNA sequences in a variety of vertebrate species, including the mouse, rat, dog, and chicken.

Answers in Genesis: AnswersLIVE: Refuting Compromise’ Audio (scroll down to April 27, 2004).

May 2

The Myth of the Beginning of Time
Was the big bang really the beginning of time? Or did the universe exist before then? Such a question seemed almost blasphemous only a decade ago. Most cosmologists insisted that it simply made no sense--that to contemplate a time before the big bang was like asking for directions to a place north of the North Pole. But developments in theoretical physics, especially the rise of string theory, have changed their perspective. The pre-bang universe has become the latest frontier of cosmology.

Mineral brew grows 'cells'
A mixture of simple chemicals produces fungus-like structure. It is an experiment you could do in a school chemistry lab. But it produces weird growths that, although made purely from inorganic materials, share some of the characteristics of living organisms.

New Clues To Origin Of Life. Edmonton - Apr 26, 2004
A new discovery of microbial activity in 3.5 billion-year-old volcanic rock and one of earth's earliest signs of geological existence sheds new light on the antiquity of life, says University of Alberta researchers who are part of a team that made the groundbreaking finding.

Multinational Team of Scientists Finds Early Life in Volcanic Lava. San Diego - Apr 26, 2004
Scientists from the United States, Norway, Canada, and South Africa have identified what is believed to be evidence of one of Earth's earliest forms of life, a finding that could factor heavily into discussions of the origins of life.

Ancient Pebbles Provide New Details About Primeval Atmosphere. Stanford - Apr 26, 2004
Analysis of 3.2-billion-year-old pebbles has yielded perhaps the oldest geological evidence of Earth's ancient atmosphere and climate.  The findings, published in the April 15 issue of the journal Nature, indicate that carbon dioxide levels in the early atmosphere were substantially above those that exist today and above those predicted by other models of the early Earth.

Technique Plucks Rapidly Evolving Genes From A Pathogen's Genome. Berkeley
A quick new technique able to identify genes that evolve rapidly as well as those that change slowly already has pinpointed new targets for researchers developing drugs against tuberculosis and malaria, and it could do the same for other infectious diseases, according to a paper in this week's Nature.

Spontaneous Generation and the Origin of Life.
Creationists often claim that Louis Pasteur disproved spontaneous generation and hence any naturalistic origin of life. This article shows what Pasteur really demonstrated and gives a history of the subject from early ideas of spontaneous generation to modern ideas about the origin of life.

Genetic Algorithms and Evolutionary Computation.
Creationists often argue that evolutionary processes cannot create new information, or that evolution has no practical benefits. This article disproves those claims by describing the explosive growth and widespread applications of genetic algorithms, a computing technique based on principles of biological evolution.

Reading Between the Fossil Lines, by Gleason Archer
One of the most frequently argued objections to the trustworthiness of Scripture is found in the apparent discrepancy between the account of creation given in Genesis 1 and the supposed evidence from the fossils and fissionable minerals in the geological strata that indicated Earth is billions of years old. But this conflict between Genesis 1 and the factual data of science is only apparent, not real.

Darwin-Free Fun for Creationists.
Dinosaur Adventure Land, a creationist theme park and museum run by Kent Hovind.

No Evolution: Controversy erupted in Italy after a revised national middle school curriculum, released on February 19, 2004, was found to make no mention of evolutionary theory.

NCSE executive director Eugenie C. Scott's new book Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction is scheduled for publication in July 2004.

Reflections on the ID Conference at Biola April 26, 2004 Commentary
The 2004 ID Conference at Biola University was a rare opportunity to hear from and personally meet with many of the brilliant scholars who are prominent in the ID movement.

Science and Religion in Context
Metanexus Institute announces its 2004 annual conference "Science and Religion in Context" to be held on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, June 5-9, 2004.

April 2004

April 25

IRS Raids Home and Business of Creationist (Kent Hovind)
Compiled by Ted Olsen. See also IRS raids business, home of creationist.

Bible, evolution at odds
You can't have it both ways (Brian Hemen, American News, Aberdeen, S.D.).

Two candidates back study of creationism in schools
Republican gubernatorial candidates Tom Keating and Ken Miller believe creationism should be taught in public schools, while the other four major political party candidates for the office disagree (Billings Gazette, Mont.).

Discovery Offers Clues To Origin Of Life
A new discovery of microbial activity in 3.5 billion-year-old volcanic rock and one of earth's earliest signs of geological existence sheds new light on the antiquity of life, says University of Alberta researchers who are part of a team that made the groundbreaking finding.

Ken Ham and Dr Sarfati live webcast. Mark your calendar to listen to the LIVE webcast on Tuesday, April 27 @ 9 pm EDT!.

April 11

It's life, but not as God planned it
Attempts to create synthetic life in a laboratory are no longer science fiction (The Guardian, London).

Ga. school-evolution debate goes to trial
A federal judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit against a school district's practice of posting disclaimers inside science textbooks saying evolution is "a theory, not a fact" (Associated Press).

Evolved DNA stitches itself up
Could DNA have kick-started life on Earth instead of RNA? 31 March 2004.

Mutations in the gene encoding filamin B disrupt vertebral segmentation, joint formation and skeletogenesis.

Scientist: Chimps, Humans Use Different Genes. April 7, 2004
Chimps and humans differ by only a tiny percentage in their genetic make-up, but the reason why they're in trees and we're not lies in who has the most active genes, a leading scientist said Monday. Svante Paabo, who has been helping to decipher the genetic code of chimps, said the key lies in the degree to which genes are used in each species.

Birds Share 'Language' Gene with Humans
The process by which baby birds learn to sing shares a number of traits with that by which toddlers learn to talk. Now researchers have identified a common gene between birds and people that underlies both abilities. The discovery marks the start of an effort to explore the genetic underpinnings of vocal learning.

Proof and evolutionary analysis of ancient genome duplication in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae 

Emergence of cooperation and evolutionary stability in finite populations 

April 4

The Dick Staub Interview: William Dembski's Revolution
The author of Intelligent Design set out to answer the toughest questions about the movement he helped promote.

Is Evolution Just Another Religion?
Within the debate surrounding evolution and religion, some say evolution is just another religion. Taking up this question in the essay below, Michael Ruse says something to the effect that evolution and religion both split paths and share some common ground. Ruse takes us through a brief history of evolution's ascendancy as a biological theory, making claims to its objectivity, but also showing its frequently imported ideological baggage.

Rat genome reveals supercharged evolution
Researchers also think the draft genetic code will speed the identification of key human genes and the creation of disease treatments. See also the rat genome.

Molecular Midwives Hold Clues To The Origin Of Life. Atlanta - Apr 01, 2004
Adding a small molecule, dubbed a "molecular midwife," researchers increased the rate of DNA formation in a chemical reaction 1,000 fold over a similar reaction lacking a midwife.

Study Clarifies Evolutionary History Of Early Complex Single-Celled Life. Tysons Corner VA - Mar 27, 2004
A billion years ago (the Neoproterozoic age), complex single-celled organisms, the acritarchs, began to develop, grow, and thrive. Almost a billion years later, the study of the evolutionary history of acritarchs began to bog down amid inconsistencies in the reporting of the diversity of species.

Fin bone tells of early life on land
Scientists call the fossil a link to fishy ancestors. From a road-cut in Northern Pennsylvania, researchers dislodged the finlike arm of an ancient creature - one that is helping reveal how our very early aquatic ancestors first dragged themselves out of the sea and colonized the land. See also New Fossil Links Four-legged Land Animals To Ancient Fish.

Jaw-dropping theory of human evolution
Did mankind trade chewing power for a bigger brain? 25 March 2004. See also

March 2004

March 28

Bite makes way for brain.
A pile of evidence from disparate disciplines indicates that a single change in a single gene—MYH16—may be responsible for significant morphologic differences between humans and other primates, including possibly the three-fold increase in brain size that set the earliest species of Homo apart from their kin. This is the first protein disparity between humans and chimps that can be correlated to drastic anatomical changes seen in the fossil record, according to a group of University of Pennsylvania researchers who published a letter in the March 25 issue of Nature. See  Original summary article: Myosin gene mutation correlates with anatomical changes in the human lineage: Nature 428 p. 415 HANSELL H. STEDMAN et al.

NIST-led Research De-Mystifies Origins Of 'Junk' DNA. Washington - Mar 26, 2004
A debate over the origins of what is sometimes called "junk" DNA has been settled by research involving scientists at the Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology (CARB) and a collaborator, who developed rigorous proof that these mysterious sections were added to DNA "late" in the evolution of life on earth--after the formation of modern-sized genes, which contain instructions for making proteins.

Bird flu vaccination could lead to new strains
Asian countries will be carrying out an uncontrolled experiment in viral evolution that could ultimately lead to a human pandemic.

The Panda's Thumb is a new, collectively authored blog (short for "web log") devoted, in its words, "to explaining the theory of evolution, critiquing the claims of the anti-evolution movement, and defending the integrity of science and science education in America and around the world."

Skeptic vs creationist: ‘The Great Genesis Debate’ of 2003.

March 21

DNA Tests Refutes Neanderthal Ancestry Theory For Modern Humans. Leipzig (UPI) March 16, 2004
DNA analysis by researchers across Europe have yielded the best evidence yet Neanderthals made no significant genetic contributions to modern humans.

Clues To Life In The Mines Of Murgul Moffett Field - Mar 16, 2004
The Mine of Murgul sounds like an ominous place in "The Lord of the Rings," a dark cavern filled with menacing orcs and trolls. But, in fact, this copper mine in Turkey may help shed light on life's origin. The mine contains pyrite, a form of iron sulfide (FeS2) also known as "Fool's Gold." This iron sulfide mineral may have acted as a template for the early chemical reactions that led to amino acids, proteins, and other building blocks of life.

No Moon, no life on Earth, suggests theory
Four billion years ago, when life began, the Moon caused massive ocean tides to ebb and flow, and without these life may never have got started.

Geneticists study chimp–human divergence Nature 428 p.242
Membership required.

Baker's Yeast Rises From Genome Duplication. CAMBRIDGE, Mass.
In work that may lead to better understanding of genetic diseases, researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard show that baker's yeast was created hundreds of millions of years ago when its ancestor temporarily became a kind of super-organism with twice the usual number of chromosomes and an increased potential to evolve.

Hybrid Mosquitoes Blamed for Peculiar Pattern of West Nile Virus Spread
Last year, West Nile virus (WNV) infected more than 9,000 people in 46 states across the U.S. and claimed the lives of 240. The spread of the virus is alarming; it also poses an epidemiological mystery. WNV is a bird disease that spreads to humans through mosquito bites. Yet countries in northern Europe, which has all of the same components for a similar WNV epidemic--including virus-infected birds and plenty of mosquitoes--have seen few human infections. New research suggests that the reason is genetic: whereas northern European mosquito strains preferentially bite either humans or birds, some U.S. mosquitoes are hybrids, carrying genetic material from both "bird-biters" and "human-biters."

The Earth's Magnetic Field: Closing a Loophole in the Case for its Youth.
By:  D. Russell Humphreys, Ph.D. Although I was rooting for Barnes in the debate, I did not find his arguments about reversals and fluctuations persuasive.  After studying the issue, I concluded that the evidence for past magnetic reversals is very strong (Humphreys, 1988).

Should students be taught alternatives to Darwinism?
Religious leaders respond (Los Angeles Times).

George Ellis wins 2004 Templeton Prize
George F.R. Ellis, a leading theoretical cosmologist renowned for his bold and innovative contributions to the dialogue between science and religion and whose social writings were condemned by government ministers in the former apartheid regime of his native South Africa, has won the 2004 Templeton Prize. The announcement was made today at a news conference at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York.

Award for a science of optimism
At the heart of George Ellis's alternative cosmological view is the principle of kenosis, or self-sacrificing love — a force he contends is permanently embedded in the universe, and capable of inspiring humanity to reach ever higher (The Christian Science Monitor).

The Nobel Prize in Medicine
In this op/ed piece, Michael Ruse, Professor of the Philosophy of Biology at Florida State University, considers the possible political and religious issues at stake in the selection of winners of the 2003 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. The 2003 prize was awarded to Dr. Paul Lauterbur and Dr. Peter Mansfield for their work in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Amidst the controversy surrounding the Nobel committee's exclusion of Dr. Raymond Damadian despite his groundbreaking work in MRI, Ruse speculates that Damadian's exclusion was motivated by knowledge of his religious commitments, specifically his support of creation science.

March 14

A New Branch Of Primitive Humans Reported Found In Ethiopia. Cleveland - Mar 05, 2004
Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie, member of a scientific team working in the Middle Awash valley of the Afar Region in Ethiopia, and his colleagues have found dental evidence that elevates the hominid subspecies Ardipithecus ramidus kadabba to its own species, Ardipithecus kadabba. This new species, dating between 5.54 and 5.77 million years old, is the oldest member of the genus Ardipithecus. See also Fossil Human Teeth Fan Diversity Debate.

Group of Ohio Scientists Endorses Lesson Plan to Critically Analyze Evolution
By: Staff Discovery Institute March 8, 2004. See also Ohio School Board OKs Evolution Lesson.

Sure, genomes contain more than just genes: they also hold instructions about where in our body and when in our lives to make each protein. But what if our DNA also contained information that made mutation more likely in some parts of the genome and less likely in others? Such a genome would have the potential to influence its own evolution, protecting essential DNA sequences in some places while elsewhere unleashing genetic variations that could explore evolutionary possibilities. Perhaps it is time to rethink the role that chance plays in evolution.

Online Reading Discussion Group: "Life's Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe"
by Simon Conway Morris. Join ISCID from March 15th through May 23rd for an online discussion of the latest book by Cambridge palaeobiologist, Simon Conway Morris. In "Life's Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe" Morris argues both that evolution is constrained and that its outcome is very close to being inevitable (rather than wholly contingent, as is often assumed). To defend this position, Morris catalogues a large number of evolutionary solutions that have been arrived at independently in various organisms. These evolutionary convergences make up the meat of Morris' contention that evolution may indeed have a direction.

Central Pennsylvania Forum for Religion and Science
Messiah College is very pleased to announce that The Metanexus Institute of Philadelphia has awarded us a matching grant to help us create a new organization: the Central Pennsylvania Forum for Religion and Science, under the direction of Dr. Edward B. ("Ted") Davis, Professor of the History of Science.

Intelligent Design Conference
Highlands, North Carolina this June 24-26.

March 7

Montana Creationism Bid Evolves Into Unusual Fight. By JAMES GLANZ
Feb. 26 — In early December, a local Baptist minister, Curtis Brickley, put up handbills inviting residents of this town, population 754, to a meeting in the junior high school gym. The topic was the teaching of evolution in the Darby schools.

New Ethiopian Fossils Are From 6-million-year-old Hominid Living Just After Split From Chimpanzees
Paleoanthropologists from the University of California, Berkeley, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History have found more fossils of a nearly 6-million-year-old human ancestor first reported three years ago, cementing its importance as the earliest hominid to appear after the human line diverged from the line leading to modern chimpanzees.

How to go to Heaven, or How the Heavens go, Part 1 of 2
In this essay, Dhruv Raina compares two pious scientists, the renowned English Sinologist Joseph Needham and the Pakistani physicist Abdus Salaam, in order to unravel the complex relationships between science, religion, and social context. In part one, Raina introduces his study and discusses Needham, a pious English Christian and Marxist, who devoted his life to the study of the Chinese scientific traditions.

Enzymes stitch together non-natural DNA
Guided evolution and HIV help create man-made stuff of life. 24 February 2004.

Ontologies in biology: design, applications and future challenges
Bio-ontologies are formal ways of representing biological knowledge that allow it to be integrated with information in molecular databases. Bio-ontologies have sprung up in many areas of biology, but the field faces several challenges in developing this already useful tool. Jonathan B. L. Bard & Seung Y. Rhee.

Metanexus 2004 Conference:
Science and Religion in Context, June 5-9, 2004. LOCATION: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

February 2004

February 29

God Is in the Details
A scientist affirms his faith. Henry F. (Fritz) Schaefer is Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry at the University of Georgia. In 1973, as a young chemistry professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Schaefer became a Christian. Beginning in the mid-1980's and continuing to this day, he has been presenting lectures on science and Christianity at various universities throughout the United States and around the world. In this enjoyable book, Schaefer has brought together his lectures in print form. Reviewed by Jonathan C. Rienstra-Kiracofe.

National Park Service embraces creationism
Creationist book re-ordered & offered as "natural history"; Geologists rebuffed (Press release, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility).

Meteorite molecules spin sugars
Space chemicals could have given life its first twist. Chemicals brought to Earth on meteorites may have provided templates for the building blocks of life, say researchers. The idea could explain why DNA, the molecular basis of our genetic code, always curls in one direction. 20 February 2004.

Mammal mums can alter their offspring's gender
Certain mammals may change the gender of their offspring depending on which sex is more likely to do well, shows the most conclusive study so far.

Evolving Artificial DNA: for Astrobiology Magazine. Moffett Field - Feb 27, 2004
A team of University of Florida scientists has for the first time developed an artificial chemical system that can mimic the natural evolutionary process living organisms undergo.

"Voyage Inside the Cell."
View a preview of this video. 

Listen to  interviews with Norm Geisler (about inerrancy) and Vern Poythress (about the Analogical Day view of Genesis 1).

New Book: What Darwin Didn’t Know by Geoffrey Simmons, M.D.
Darwin might have thought twice about publishing his theories if he’d had access to today’s medical and microbiological discoveries. Drawing on years of research, Dr. Simmons demonstrates that the almost infinite complexity of the human anatomy simply could not have developed by chance.

New ARN Videos: Lecture and Interview with Michael G. Strauss 
Dr. Michael Strauss is respected both in the National Laboratories where he conducts research in experimental elementary particle physics, and the university classroom where he has received multiple teaching awards. In these two new ARN videos, Professor Strauss reviews the scientific evidence regarding the origin and design of the universe.

Biola Conference April 22-24: ID and the Future of Science
All of the ID Big Guns are convening in April at Biola University to discuss “ID and the Future of Science.” This promises to be another historic event with the likes of Phillip Johnson, Jonathan Wells, Michael Behe, William Dembski, David Berlinski, Paul Nelson, Stephen Meyer and many others including renown ID critics Michael Ruse and William Provine.

February 22

Evolution Caught In The Act
An experiment which forced E. coli bacteria to adapt or perish showed that, in a pinch, they were capable of improvising a novel molecular tool to save their skins. "The bacteria reached for a tool that they had, and made it do something it doesn't normally do," said James Bardwell, an associate professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at the University of Michigan. "We caught evolution in the act of making a big step."

Human Evolution At The Crossroads: Integrating Genetics And Paleontology. Seattle - Feb 16, 2004
Advances in genetics during the last decade not only have influenced modern medicine, they also have changed how human evolution is studied, says an anthropologist from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Rutgers Researcher Offers A New Perspective On Human Evolution. NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J.
The fossil remains of early humans gave generations of scientists the clues needed to piece together much of our ancestral lineage. Chi-Hua Chiu now leads us into another dimension in the study of human origins: the underlying developmental and genetic processes that led to these remarkable evolutionary changes.

Evo-Devo Biology Tackles Evolutionary History's Unanswered Questions. Bloomington - Feb 18, 2004
The recent marriage of evolutionary biology with developmental biology has resulted in the birth of a new field, evolutionary developmental biology, or "evo-devo."

Intelligent Design: The New 'Big Tent' For Evolution's Critics. Seattle - Feb 16, 2004
Since the advent of Darwinism in the mid-19th century, a variety of movements have jousted for the intellectual high ground in the epic evolution versus creationism debate. At one end of the spectrum reside the "naturalistic evolutionists" who argue that life neither requires nor benefits from a divine creator.

Irreducible Complexity is an Obstacle to Darwinism Even if Parts of a System have other Functions:
A Response to Sharon Begley’s Wall Street Journal Column By: Michael J. Behe, Discovery Institute. February 18, 2004.

Bill proposes teaching of 'intelligent design' alongside evolution
Scientists picked Darwin's birthday to announce their opposition to a bill in the Missouri House (Nixa News-Enterprise. Mo.).

Guide sparks debate
'Intelligent design' theory will be heard in classroom (Mansfield News Journal, Oh.).

Theologian believes evolution makes sense
Dr. Denis O. Lamoureux is a born-again evangelical Christian. He believes that God created everything. He also happens to believe in evolution (Observer-Reporter, Washington, Pa.).

From Alabama to the Grand Canyon, US battle over the Bible knows no respite
The long-running cultural war between religious conservatives and secularists may very well move from the Ten Commandments monument in Alabama to these majestic cliffs overhanging the Colorado River (AFP).

A unique assessment of Galileo-church dispute
Rowland believes that Galileo's mistake was to insist that science -- and only science -- provides the truth about reality (The Indianapolis Star).

High life prompts genetic shift
Extreme altitudes have created different coping strategies. 17 February 2004

Study In Worms Shows How Genes Linked To Complexity In Animals. COLUMBUS, Ohio
The evolution of a particular gene could be the reason why a certain worm might better tolerate a salty environment than its relatives, new research suggests.

Skeptical Sunday: The Darwin Conspiracy.
Imagine a group of evolutionists, sitting in a darkened room, busily plotting how to forge fossils and skew facts so that textbooks tilt in favor of Darwinian evolution. This conspiratorial scenario might sound far-fetched, but some anti-evolutionists are convinced it's real.  Join us with guest Eugenie Scott, a physical anthropologist, CSICOP Fellow, and Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, and find out the top myths that creationists use to confuse.

Why is the Big Bang Evidence that God Created the Universe?

February 15

Answers in Genesis claims that fresh dinosaur blood and bones have been found.
Dr. Gary Hurd examines these claims.

Challenging Canyon Orthodoxy
Controversy over book with young-earth views raises protests—and sales. By Stan Guthrie.

Compatability test
How the five major religions do and don't open their doors to Darwin's theory (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

Georgia evolution flap prompts proposal
A short-lived plan to delete the word "evolution" from Georgia's science curriculum inspired lawmakers to propose new rules Monday for how the state decides what to teach in schools (Associated Press).

Left out of state's proposed curriculum
Georgia copied almost all the biology standards developed by the American Association for the Advancement for Science. These sections related to evolution were left out of the state's proposed curriculum (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

Document: Board of Education's statement (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

E-word brings out the e-mail
Lots of people hit the roof after state Schools Superintendant Kathy Cox proposed that evolution be downplayed in Georgia's public schools. I joined the critics, in three columns, and readers bombarded me with mail (Colin Campbell, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

Chat with Robert Wright, a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, is the author of Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny and The Moral Animal: Evolutionary Psychology and Everyday Life, both published by Vintage Books.

A passion for evolution
Despite his breadth, Richard Dawkins is surely best known for three things: his defense of the selfish gene view of biological evolution, his invention of the selfish meme view of cultural evolution, and his animosity toward religion. A Devil's Chaplain takes up each of these themes, some more convincingly than others (H. Allen Orr, The New York Review of Books).

Campaigners push for 'Darwin Day'
Atheist, agnostic and humanist organisations in the Americas, Europe and Asia are gearing up for a five-year campaign aimed at achieving international recognition of February 12 as "Darwin Day" (Reuters).

The peppered moth capture rates have been used as if they are evidence that Ketterwell's research was flawed.
This is soundly refuted by Matt Young's analysis of the original data.

First, due to popular demand, Alan Gishlick's acclaimed critique of Icons of Evolution, "ICONS OF EVOLUTION? Why much of what Jonathan Wells writes about evolution is wrong," is now available in PDF format on the NCSE web site:
Website Goes Online: Download Sample Chapters From “Darwinism, Design, and Public Education.”

February 8

Ga. school chief backs off evolution plan
School Superintendent Kathy Cox dropped plans Thursday to remove the word "evolution" from Georgia's high school science curriculum, six days after the idea became public and brought forth criticism and ridicule (Associated Press).

'Evolution' should stay in Georgia science standards, governor says
The word "evolution" should stay in the curriculum used for Georgia students, Gov. Sonny Perdue said on Jan. 31 (Associated Press).

Darwinists eager to avoid debate
Last year, in public comments before the Cobb County Board of Education, I witnessed firsthand the danger that can come when personal opinions and philosophical or religious prejudices are allowed into the science classroom (Larry Taylor, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

Understanding Evolution
The National Center for Science Education and the University of California Museum of Paleontology are pleased to announce the new web site: Understanding Evolution at

Codes of conduct
In The Science of Good and Evil, professional skeptic Michael Shermer tries to find evidence for morality in the natural order (The Washington Post).

The searchers
On the importance of being dubious: A review of Doubt: A History (The Washington Post).

Yeast Mutations Offer Window Into Human Disease
Different combinations of genetic mutations may give rise to diverse human traits, including complex diseases such as schizophrenia, say scientists at the University of Toronto and McGill University in Montreal.

February 1

Origins debate deeper than Darby.
Intelligent-design theory part of national push to re-evaluate coursework in U.S. classrooms (Missoulian, Mont.).

Cox: 'Evolution' a negative buzzword
State schools superintendent defends purge of word from proposed biology curriculum (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

Ignorance excludes evolution
We do not compromise history education for those who deny the Holocaust; why should we compromise biology education for those who deny evolution? (Reed A. Cartwright, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

New Study Shows Neanderthals Were Not Our Ancestors. New York - Jan 29, 2004
In the most recent and mathematically rigorous study to date determining whether Neanderthals contributed to the evolution of modern humans, a team of anthropologists examining the skulls of modern humans and Neanderthals as well as 11 existing species of non-human primates found strong evidence that Neanderthals differ so greatly from Homo sapiens as to constitute a different species. See also Neanderthal Extinction Pieced Together.

Gene May Be Key To Evolution Of Larger Human Brain. Chevy Chase - Jan 21, 2004
Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have identified a gene that appears to have played a role in the expansion of the human brain's cerebral cortex -- a hallmark of the evolution of humans from other primates.

Oxygen Triggered The Evolution Of Complex Life Forms. London - Jan 29, 2004
Oxygen played a key role in the evolution of complex organisms, according to new research published in BMC Evolutionary Biology. The study shows that the complexity of life forms increased earlier than was thought, and in parallel with the availability of oxygen as an energy source.

Genomic Changes Reveal Evolution Of SARS Virus.
Careful study of changes in the genetic make-up of the SARS virus through the recent epidemic has allowed researchers from China and the University of Chicago to bolster the evidence for the animal origins of SARS and to chart three phases of the virus's molecular evolution as it gradually adapted to human hosts, becoming more infectious over time.

Rare Ant May Help Solve Some Mysteries Of Social Evolution. COLUMBUS, Ohio
Last fall, ecologists at Ohio State University cracked open an acorn they had found in an Ohio park and discovered a colony of extremely rare ants. L. minutissimus is a unique social parasite in that it lives entirely within the colonies of other ant species. But unlike parasitic slave-maker ants, which raid and virtually destroy the colonies of unsuspecting hosts, L. minutissimus appears to move in and live amiably with its host. Such organisms are called inquilines.

The new website launched
The new website,, features dynamic content which will change every day and a greatly improved navigation system that will allow you to quickly access selected authors and topics. The Metanexus Institute advances research, education and outreach on the constructive engagement of science and religion.

Genesis Proclaimed Association
Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History.

New Book: The Design Revolution by William Dembski.
Dembski lines up 60 of the toughest questions and objections amassed against Intelligent Design and mows them down one-by-one in a succinct, readable style.

January 2004

January 25

Kent Hovind (Dr. Dino) answers his critics on his radio program that you can listen to online at

December 10, 2004 radio program: Hovind answers Carl Marrychurch? from Australia at (The $250,000 challenge, 6 different kinds of evolution).

December 11, 2003 radio program: Hovind continues to answer Carl Marychurch? from Australia at (Hovind's side of the story about his arrest. Hovind claims to have a real Ph.D., and other charges).

December 12, 2003 radio program: Hovind continues to answer Carl Marychurch? from Australia at (Hovind answers the charge of him falsely claiming bankruptcy, dinosaurs are alive and well today, fake footprint casts from Paluxy, and other charges).

December 15, 2003 radio program: Hovind answers (Dave Matson's critique at The shrinking sun, moon dust, and comets plus more.

December 17, 2003 radio program: Hovind answers the New Mexicans for Science and Reason ( and answers the sarcastic sermon (of Dr. Stephen Meyers) at Dr. Meyers' debate with Hovind at

December 18, 2003 radio program: Hovind answers Questions (Why the IRS came after him for not paying taxes, where's the $250,000? and the Budikka debate).

December 19, 2003 radio program: Hovind answers Critics (The Gap Theory of Peter Ruckman, and Hugh Ross at

December 22, 2003 radio program: Hovind answers Hank Hanegraaff (The Bible Answer Man at; the pyramids and the gospel in the stars).

Hovind answers Ken Ham with Answers in Genesis "Arguments we think creationists should NOT use"  by Answers in Genesis and Maintaining Creationist Integrity: The verbal battle between Ken Ham of AIG and Kent Hovind of CSE. See the arguments at

A Grand Canyon schism
A bookstore is a citadel of ideas, much like a library, and the lifeblood of a free society is the publication of those ideas, no matter how bizarre they might seem. Conversely, religious plaques quoting verses from the Bible's Book of Psalms do not belong in public spaces no matter how lyrical or ecumenical they might seem (Editorial, The Boston Globe).

At Grand Canyon park, a rift over creationist book
Visitors to the Grand Canyon won't be able to find a U.S. park ranger who will tell them the chasm was created as a result of the very same flood that threatened to drown Noah and sink his ark, but they can walk away from the park souvenir shop with a book that tells that version of how the canyon came to be (The Washington Post).

Critics say the park service is letting religion and politics affect its policies
A national alliance of public environmental workers claims evidence of a new program of "faith-based parks" promoted by the Bush administration with the strong support of conservative groups (The New York Times).

MBL Scientists Confirm Evolutionary Exception To Reproduction. Woods Hole - Jan 21, 2004
Biologists at the Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) have confirmed that a group of microscopic animals has evolved for tens of millions of years without sexual reproduction. Their results demonstrate a radical exception to the biological rule that abandonment of sexual reproduction is an evolutionary dead end. See and

A primitive Y chromosome in papaya marks incipient sex chromosome evolution
Nature, January 22, 2004 p.348 ZHIYONG LIU et al.

January 18

Irreducible Complexity Revisited.
Michael Behe's concept of irreducible complexity, and in particular his use of this concept to critique Darwinism, continues to come under heavy fire from the biological community. The problem with Behe, so Darwinists inform us, is that he has created a problem where there is no problem. Far from constituting an obstacle to the Darwinian mechanism of random variation and natural selection, irreducible complexity is thus supposed to be eminently explainable by this same mechanism. But is it really?

Wells and Haeckel's Embryos: A Review of Chapter 5 of Icons of Evolution.
A biologist reviews the embryo claims of the "intelligent design" proponent Jonathan Wells. Haeckel's incorrect views, gill slits, and how textbooks deal with embryology are discussed.

Law, Darwinism, and Public Education: The Establishment Clause and the Challenge of Intelligent Design. By Francis J. Beckwith. "Darwin's great contribution ... was the final demolition of the idea that nature is the product of intelligent design."

The Bible and the Age of the Earth.

The deity and the data
How science is putting God under its lens (Chicago Tribune).

Gene 'helped create human brain'.
Scientists have identified a gene that appears to have played a key role in the development of the human brain.  They believe it is responsible for the expansion of an area of the brain called the cerebral cortex which controls abstract reasoning. This is much bigger in humans than their closest relatives - and gives us our extraordinary brain power.

Researchers Show Evolutionary Theory Adds Up. Calgary - Jan 15, 2004
All living plants and animals are likely derived from two primitive species of bacteria, a mathematics professor at the University of Alberta has shown. Dr. Peter Antonelli and a former post-doctoral student of his, Dr. Solange Rutz, used an original mathematical modeling system and software program to evaluate and compare the two main theories of biological evolution.

Borax Minerals May Have Been Key To Start Of Life On Earth. Gainesville - Jan 12, 2004
Astrobiologists, supported by NASA, have announced a major advance in understanding how life may have originated on Earth billions of years ago. A team of scientists report in the January 9 issue of Science that ribose and other simple sugars that are among life's building blocks could have accumulated in the early earth's oceans if simple minerals, such as borax, were present.

Space molecules point to organic origins
The most complex molecules yet found in space points to a rare type of star as the origin of life's building blocks.

January 11

Religion, Geology Collide at the Grand Canyon
In the park's stores is a book saying the chasm is due to the biblical flood. It's a hot seller but a source of controversy among scientists, staff. (Los Angeles Times). See also

Scientists seek place for God while embracing reason
Debates about the origins of the physical world and the life on it tend to generate the most controversy -- and publicity -- in science and religion debates. But in quiet ways, the search for common ground has moved beyond haggles over cosmology and evolution into other fields (The Ledger, Lakeland, Fla.).

The New Creationism and Its Threat to Science Literacy and Education.
The most publicly contentious issue in science—the teaching of evolution— illustrates the point: About half of those surveyed by NSF do not believe humans evolved from earlier species, and two-thirds think that creationism should be taught alongside evolution in public schools. But there is some good news: Acceptance of human evolution inched into the majority for the first time (53 percent). Moreover, according to a poll by People for the American Way (, a substantial majority (83 percent) think that evolution should be taught and that it is not incompatible with a belief in God (70 percent).

A Conversation with Paleontologist Kevin Padian.
Why do so many people find it difficult to reconcile evolution with their religious beliefs? One thing that scares a lot of people is the notion of randomness. They fear that if the processes that shape the evolution are “random,” there’s no purpose or direction to life. Both those statements are wrong--first of all, because that’s not what “random” means in science and, second, because I think you can find purpose and direction in the evolution of life, just not a religious one. This is really the fault of scientists for using common words in specialized ways and not explaining them very well to the public. We need to take the rap for this misunderstanding. Randomness in evolution, or in science in general, is just a statistical term. It means that we can’t individuate specific cases in advance. We may know that six out of a thousand fruitflies in every generation will have a particular mutation, but we can’t say which six. That’s what we mean when we say that this stuff is random. And mutations themselves are not random changes. They are changes in the genetic material--the genetic material does certain things but not other things. We know, for example, that a duck’s head is not going to suddenly appear on a horse. In fact, Darwin’s great idea was natural selection, which is the very opposite of randomness. Think of it this way: Were our students selected to get into Berkeley, or did they just get in at random?

Positive Mitochondrial Mutations?
The genetic adaptation to cold is still carried by many Northern Europeans, East Asians and American Indians, most of whose ancestors once lived in Siberia. But it is absent from peoples native to Africa, a difference that the California team, led by Dr. Douglas C. Wallace of the University of California, Irvine, suggest could contribute to the greater burden of certain diseases in the African-American population.

January 4

Dozens of scholarly articles and at least three books have been penned on the question of Darwin's illness. The current conclusion is that Darwin suffered from several serious and incapacitating psychiatric disorders, including agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is characterized by fear of panic attacks (or actual panic attacks) when not in a psychologically safe environment, such as at home.

Chuck Colson’s Breakpoint features physicist Stephen Barr
“While the Big Bang doesn’t necessarily prove the Christian doctrine of creation, it is undoubtedly ‘a blow to the materialist view’”

The Date of Creation
Bible-Compatible Evidences for Great Age. By Daniel E. Wonderly.

The Vestigiality of the Human Vermiform Appendix: A Modern Reappraisal.
Many anti-evolutionists, and even some medical texts, claim that modern evidence has shown that the human vermiform appendix should no longer be considered a vestigial structure. This article re-examines the case of the appendix in light of recent scientific developments and explains why the appendix is still a valid example of a human vestige.

The four Rs of RNA-directed evolution.

Reductive evolution suggested from the complete genome sequence of a plant-pathogenic phytoplasma.