Tag Archives: Magic

New study: parrots have similar brain mechanisms to humans

A cockatoo uses a little tool he made to reach a snack
A cockatoo uses a little tool he made to reach a snack

OK, it’s a fun Friday post. I guess most of my readers know that I love almost all the birds, and especially parrots. I have owned parrots most of my life, and want to get more, too. I also like to feed the wild birds who come to visit my house. One reason I like them so much is that they are very intelligent and obviously designed by a very clever engineer.

First, let me explain what convergence is, then we’ll look at a recent peer-reviewed scientific publication.

We have to start this Science Daily post with the definition of convergence in biology.

In evolutionary biology, convergent evolution is the process whereby organisms not closely related (not monophyletic), independently evolve similar traits as a result of having to adapt to similar environments or ecological niches.

It is the opposite of divergent evolution, where related species evolve different traits.

On a molecular level, this can happen due to random mutation unrelated to adaptive changes; see long branch attraction. In cultural evolution, convergent evolution is the development of similar cultural adaptations to similar environmental conditions by different peoples with different ancestral cultures. An example of convergent evolution is the similar nature of the flight/wings of insects, birds, pterosaurs, and bats.

All four serve the same function and are similar in structure, but each evolved independently.

So, naturalists say that if two organisms have traits that are similar, it must mean that the trait evolved once in their ancestors, and then the modern species inherited the trait from those ancestors. If evolution is true, the only mechanism they have to develop traits shared by two organisms is mutation and selection. The problems occur when two organisms share similar traits, but they have no recent common ancestor, and no recent shared evolutionary history of mutation and selection.

Here’s the latest study from the New Scientist:

To learn more how these birds’ brains develop, Mello and his team compared the genome of the blue-fronted Amazon parrot with that of 30 other birds. They found that regions of the parrot genome that regulate when and how genes for brain development are turned on are the same as those found in humans. These so-called ultra-conserved elements evolved in both species at different times, but with similar results.

Well, parrots and humans are completely different creatures, with no recent evolutionary history, and no recent common ancestors. So, if these changes are due to evolution, then we should see them in the very very very distance common ancestor shared by birds and humans. But then shouldn’t they be in all the other animals who descend from that very very very distant common ancestor to?

Watch this:

I’ll tell you what the real explanation is: the real explanation is that God created birds and humans. And, like a clever engineer, he re-used components that produced the behavior he wanted in his birds and his humans. We know how this works, because this is how intelligent agents write code today. Why do we need a naturalistic theory that requires magic to work, when we have a simple explanation that we can  observe every time someone writes a blog post, or some code, or anything with information in it?

Anyway, however you feel about that, try to be kind to birds, as they are much smarter and more sensitive than most people think. Put out some bird feeders in the yard, if you don’t have an outdoor cat. And if you do have a cat, then why not put a bell on it, or keep it indoors?

Related posts

New study: parrots have similar brain mechanisms to humans

A cockatoo uses a little tool he made to reach a snack
A cockatoo uses a little tool he made to reach a snack

OK, it’s a fun Friday post. I guess most of my readers know that I love almost all the birds, and especially parrots. I have owned parrots most of my life, and want to get more, too. I also like to feed the wild birds who come to visit my house. One reason I like them so much is that they are very intelligent and obviously designed by a very clever engineer.

First, let me explain what convergence is, then we’ll look at a recent peer-reviewed scientific publication.

We have to start this Science Daily post with the definition of convergence in biology.

In evolutionary biology, convergent evolution is the process whereby organisms not closely related (not monophyletic), independently evolve similar traits as a result of having to adapt to similar environments or ecological niches.

It is the opposite of divergent evolution, where related species evolve different traits.

On a molecular level, this can happen due to random mutation unrelated to adaptive changes; see long branch attraction. In cultural evolution, convergent evolution is the development of similar cultural adaptations to similar environmental conditions by different peoples with different ancestral cultures. An example of convergent evolution is the similar nature of the flight/wings of insects, birds, pterosaurs, and bats.

All four serve the same function and are similar in structure, but each evolved independently.

So, naturalists say that if two organisms have traits that are similar, it must mean that the trait evolved once in their ancestors, and then the modern species inherited the trait from those ancestors. If evolution is true, the only mechanism they have to develop traits shared by two organisms is mutation and selection. The problems occur when two organisms share similar traits, but they have no recent common ancestor, and no recent shared evolutionary history of mutation and selection.

Here’s the latest study from the New Scientist:

To learn more how these birds’ brains develop, Mello and his team compared the genome of the blue-fronted Amazon parrot with that of 30 other birds. They found that regions of the parrot genome that regulate when and how genes for brain development are turned on are the same as those found in humans. These so-called ultra-conserved elements evolved in both species at different times, but with similar results.

Well, parrots and humans are completely different creatures, with no recent evolutionary history, and no recent common ancestors. So, if these changes are due to evolution, then we should see them in the very very very distance common ancestor shared by birds and humans. But then shouldn’t they be in all the other animals who descend from that very very very distant common ancestor to?

Watch this:

I’ll tell you what the real explanation is: the real explanation is that God created birds and humans. And, like a clever engineer, he re-used components that produced the behavior he wanted in his birds and his humans. We know how this works, because this is how intelligent agents write code today. Why do we need a naturalistic theory that requires magic to work, when we have a simple explanation that we can  observe every time someone writes a blog post, or some code, or anything with information in it?

Anyway, however you feel about that, try to be kind to birds, as they are much smarter and more sensitive than most people think. Put out some bird feeders in the yard, if you don’t have an outdoor cat. And if you do have a cat, then why not put a bell on it, or keep it indoors?

Related posts

Michelle Malkin: why do so many women judge men’s character by their appearance?

Michelle Malkin is concerned by women who think that convicted criminals are actually innocent. Why? Because they are HAWT.

She writes:

I would like to declare a war on women — namely, all those cringe-inducing ninnies who lust after every celebrity criminal defendant with big muscles, tattoos, puppy-dog eyes or Hollywood hair.

You know who I’m talking about, right? America’s Bad Boy groupies. They’reon the courthouse steps with their “Free Jahar” signs, cooing over how “hot” and “cute” the bloodstained Boston Marathon bombing suspect is. He “can blow me up with babies,” one moral reprobate quipped shortly after his capture. “I’m not gonna lie, the second bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is hot. #sorrynotsorry,” another young girl boasted.

Among the callous accused killer’s victims, in case you’d forgotten: 8-year-old boy Martin Richard, who had been cheering on his dad and other family friends at the race. But who cares about an innocent dead child blown to bits by pressure cooker bombs in the name of Allah? Jahar is HAWT!

Far from a minuscule fringe, the Ja-harem is a growing social media phenomenon. Its members mimic Justin Bieber’s Beliebers, adopting the last name of their Tiger Beat terrorist and doodling hearts around his mug shot. In heat or in jest, these depraved females continue to spread viral photos, memes and hashtags of their Islamist Idol. One woman showed up at Tsarnaev’s court appearance Wednesday donning a “Free the Lion” T-shirt. Another sported a “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is innocent” tee, while her gal pal shouted, “Exonerate!”

For those ladies who prefer jocks to jihadis, there’s accused murderer/NFL star Aaron Hernandez. He’s “fine as wine,” one woman lusted. He’s “too damned sexy to go to prison,” another lamented. “He can come to jail at my house,” sighed yet another. In response to one of gangsta Hernandez’s Glock-wielding Instagram pics, one sick chick slavered, “Soooo hot with the combination handgun-mirror selfie.”

Fugitive cop-killer Christopher Dorner also had his own fan club. Parked in front of their TV sets, women cheered on the “kinda sexy” homicidal maniac as he terrorized Southern California before perishing in a cabin inferno. “I’d honestly hide Dorner in my house,” one fan girl enthused. Tens of thousands “liked” Dorner’s various support pages on Facebook.

Harmless Internet chitter-chatter? Don’t kid yourselves. While some of the murderers’ panting minions may be joking, it’s irresponsible women like these who end up enabling, marrying and conspiring with public menaces.

They’re your neighbors and relatives, suburban gals like Colleen “Jihad Jane” LaRose and Jamie “Jihad Jamie” Paulin-Ramirez of Colorado, who agreed to wed Muslim terrorists and conspired to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. Paulin-Ramirez dragged her 6-year-old (whom she renamed “Walid”) to Ireland to assist with the plot. Family members said she was “easily influenced” and that “any man that came along … she kind of followed like a lost puppy.”

There’s a lot more like that in the article. I think that what is happening to women today is that they are convinced that the relationship is for their benefit, not God’s, and not the children’s. They know that being seen with a good looking man makes them happy. They don’t really know much about married life and how much marriage costs. Instead of trying to pick a man with some savings and a good job and a gapless resume, they prefer to choose someone who is “hawt” and who is fun and amusing. There is no other consideration in play – they just want a man to make them happy, and they think that marrying a man will transform him into a happy-feeling making machine. Who cares about mortgages, bills and obligations?

It reminds me of a study I saw a while back, which was discussed in the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

It takes a woman just three minutes to make up her mind about whether she likes a man or not, a study has revealed.

The average female spends the time sizing up looks, physique and dress-sense as well as taking in scent, accent and eloquence of a potential suitor.

Women also quickly judge how he interacts with her friends and whether he is successful or ambitious.

It also emerged most women believe 180 seconds is long enough to gauge whether or not he is Mr Right, or Mr Wrong.

The study also found women rarely change their mind about a man after their initial reaction – and believe they are ‘always right’ in their assumptions and judgments.

The report which was commissioned among 3,000 adults to mark the release of Instinct, a new book by Ben Kay.

Kay said: ‘I think a lot of people believe in trusting their instincts when dating. It makes it seem more magical, like it’s coming from somewhere deeper.

I am not sure if this method of choosing mates should be used by Christian women. If the goal of a relationship is to please God and serve him, then our feelings should not be the guide. God is the customer of the relationship, not the woman, and not the man. The goal of a relationship is not primarily to have happy feelings – because that can lead to being selfish and destructive. It makes no sense to say that you are driving drunk in order to please God, or playing Russian roulette in order to please God – pleasing God needs to be done intelligently, with preparation, and respecting strict moral boundaries, if it is going to stand the chance of being effective at achieving his goals. It’s so easy to think that God is just interested in our happiness, but he isn’t. He is interested in us knowing him, serving him, suffering with him and understanding him.

Also, think of the harm that can be caused if women use emotions to choose men for the role of making them happy, instead of the role of making God happy. Men are designed by God to be protectors, providers and moral/spiritual leaders. According to this study, women are completely disinterested in whether a man can perform these traditional male roles. Because it is clear that nothing at all can be known about a man’s ability to perform these roles by looking at his appearance and style. Even if a man has a confident way of saying what a great provider he is, it doesn’t mean anything – if you want to know how much a man earns, look at his paycheck. I told that to a woman once, and she told me that she would rather use her “intuition” to guess how much a man makes. And to have the “feeling” that he makes a lot, instead of seeing the paycheck. That makes no sense to me, though. The only way to know if a man has savings is to see his investment portfolio. You can’t see the size of his portfolio by looking at his shoes.

Here are some ideas about what women should be doing to assess men for these roles:

  • protector: does he understand which ideologies and policies oppose marriage, faith and family? is he good at defending his views against secular leftists?
  • provider: what does his balance sheet look like? what does his resume look like? what does his university transcript look like? does he give to charity?
  • moral leader: what has he written or spoken about related to moral issues like abortion, marriage, parental rights, etc.?
  • spiritual leader: what has he written or spoken about related to theology and apologetics? does he have long-term mentoring relationships with other committed Christians?

None of these ways of judging a man can be accomplished in 180 seconds, and probably not even in 180 hours. It takes time to measure a man for marriage. And having fun with him is not the way to measure him.

New study finds that women choose mates based on appearance

From the UK Daily Mail. (H/T Vox Day)

Excerpt:

It takes a woman just three minutes to make up her mind about whether she likes a man or not, a study has revealed.

The average female spends the time sizing up looks, physique and dress-sense as well as taking in scent, accent and eloquence of a potential suitor.

Women also quickly judge how he interacts with her friends and whether he is successful or ambitious.

It also emerged most women believe 180 seconds is long enough to gauge whether or not he is Mr Right, or Mr Wrong.

The study also found women rarely change their mind about a man after their initial reaction – and believe they are ‘always right’ in their assumptions and judgments.

The report which was commissioned among 3,000 adults to mark the release of Instinct, a new book by Ben Kay.

Kay said: ‘I think a lot of people believe in trusting their instincts when dating. It makes it seem more magical, like it’s coming from somewhere deeper.

I am not sure if this method of choosing mates should be used by Christian women. If the goal of a relationship is to please God and serve him, then our feelings should not be the guide. God is the customer of the relationship, not the woman, and not the man. The goal of a relationship is not primarily to have happy feelings – because that can lead to being selfish and destructive. It makes no sense to say that you are driving drunk in order to please God, or playing Russian roulette in order to please God – pleasing God needs to be done intelligently, with preparation, and respecting strict moral boundaries, if it is going to stand the chance of being effective at achieving his goals. It’s so easy to think that God is just interested in our happiness, but he isn’t. He is interested in us knowing him, serving him, suffering with him and understanding him.

Also, think of the harm that can be caused if women use emotions to choose men for the role of making them happy, instead of the role of making God happy. Men are designed by God to be protectors, providers and moral/spiritual leaders. According to this study, women are completely disinterested in whether a man can perform these traditional male roles. Because it is clear that nothing at all can be known about a man’s ability to perform these roles by looking at his appearance and style. Even if a man has a confident way of saying what a great provider he is, it doesn’t mean anything – he could be lying. The only way to know for sure is to see his investment portfolio. You can’t see the size of his portfolio by looking at his shoes.

Here are some ideas about what women should be doing to assess men for these roles:

  • protector: does he understand which ideologies and policies oppose marriage, faith and family? is he good at defending his views against secular leftists?
  • provider: what does his balance sheet look like? what does his resume look like? what does his university transcript look like? does he give to charity?
  • moral leader: what has he written or spoken about related to moral issues like abortion, marriage, parental rights, etc.?
  • spiritual leader: what has he written or spoken about related to theology and apologetics? does he have long-term mentoring relationships with other committed Christians?

None of these ways of judging a man can be accomplished in 180 seconds, and probably not even in 180 hours. It takes time.

Related posts on sex and feminism

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How Stephen Hawking’s materialism drives him into irrationality

From Evolution News.

Excerpt:

In a documentary from the Discovery Channel on the search for extraterrestrial life, Stephen Hawking provides an extraordinarily candid example of the fallacious materialist logic for why extraterrestrial life “must” be possible.

Around 1:15 of the clip below, Hawking states:

The life we have on earth must have spontaneously generated itself. It must therefore be possible for life to be generated spontaneously elsewhere in the universe.

The gaping hole in Hawking’s logic should be immediately apparent to anyone willing to think critically and skeptically: If we haven’t yet explained how life could have spontaneously generated on earth, how do we know that it can be generated spontaneously elsewhere in the universe?

What makes Hawking’s position even worse is that in this clip he admits that “we don’t understand how life formed.”

So according to Hawking, “we don’t understand how life formed,” but he knows that “the life we have on earth must have spontaneously generated itself.” Hawking might be, as the documentary puts it, “one of the greatest minds of our generation,” but as anti-ID biochemist Russell Doolittle once said to me in grad school (when attacking Michael Behe), smart guys are great rationalizers.

Here’s the clip:

I would not want to be a materialist. I would have to believe in magic and defend a lot of nonsensical things. Then I would lose a lot of arguments. I wouldn’t like it. I guess I haven’t believed in the Flying Spaghetti Monster of materialism since I learned about the Big Bang. Abandoning materialism is just part of growing up. You put the science fiction down, and start reading science.

Anyway, there is a conference on science and materialism.

Excerpt:

Conference sessions will examine the conflicting worldviews of theism and materialism; the widespread impact of materialism on science, ethics, society, Biblical studies and theology; the latest scientific evidence against materialism and for intelligent design in biology and cosmology; and the positive implications of modern science for theism.

Speakers will include Westminster faculty Vern Poythress, author of Redeeming Science; K. Scott Oliphint, author of Reasons for Faith; Jeffrey Jue, author of Heaven Upon Earth; Brandon Crowe, Lecturer in the New Testament; and Westminster President Peter Lillback, author of George Washington’s Sacred Fire. Speakers will also include Discovery Institute Fellows such as astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, co-author of The Privileged Planet; molecular and cell biologist Jonathan Wells, co-author of The Design of Life and author of The Myth of Junk DNA (forthcoming, 2011); philosopher of biology Paul Nelson; philosopher and theologian Jay Richards, editor of God and Evolution: Protestants, Catholics, and Jews Explore Darwin’s Challenge to Faith; and social scientist John West, author of Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science.

If any of my readers are interested in seeing how science is at war with the religion of materialism, please get the book “Who Made God?” by Edgar Andrews, which is suitable for readers of virtually any experience level. I also loved “The Case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel, which is also good for beginners.