Tag Archives: Peer

Bad news for believers in naturalistic explanations of the Cambrian explosion

Before we see the new discovery, let’s review what the Cambrian explosion is all about.

Video 1:

Video 2:

Casey Luskin explains the new discovery at Evolution News.

Excerpt:

A recent article in Science begins by observing that the lack of evolutionary ancestors for the animal phyla that appear abruptly in the Cambrian explosion has been troubling to many evolutionary scientists:

Ever since Darwin there has been a disturbing void, both paleontological and psychological, at the base of the Phanerozoic eon. If his theory of gradualistic evolution be true, then surely the pre-Phanerozoic oceans must have swarmed with living animals — despite their conspicuous absence from the early fossil record.

(N. J. Butterfield, “Terminal Developments in Ediacaran Embryology,” Science, Vol. 334:1655-1656 (December 23, 2011).)

The articles goes on to explain that in 1998, tiny fossil animal embryos were reported that offered “palpable relief” to those evolutionary scientists worried about the lack of Precambrian ancestors.

However, new analyses of these microfossils now strongly suggest that they were not multicellular animals, and thus could not be Precambrian multicellular metazoa that have long been the holy grail for evolutionary paleontologists. Rather, they likely represent single-celled amoeba-like organisms.

[…]A Science Daily article on the study explains that many Darwinian scientists will be dismayed by the results of this study:

Professor Philip Donoghue said: “We were very surprised by our results — we’ve been convinced for so long that these fossils represented the embryos of the earliest animals — much of what has been written about the fossils for the last ten years is flat wrong. Our colleagues are not going to like the result.”

How did the investigators determine the nature of these ancient organisms? The fossils were exceptionally well preserved, such that, as the lead author on the paper stated, “the fossils are so amazing that even their nuclei have been preserved.” These allowed the authors to determine that these were in fact eukaryotic organisms, but not multicellular animals.

Casey goes on to answer the response by naturalists that “the fossil record is incomplete”.

I think it’s important, when deciding whether naturalistic evolution happened, to be aware of these problem areas. So often when discussing Darwinian evolution, people like journalists and philosophers and economists, etc. will just accept the theory because they trust in what experts tell them. There can be a lot of pressure in the university to not be seen as a dumb person, so that people will just go along with whatever their professor tells them to believe. And, that’s not necessarily a bad policy when time is short. However, that is taking evolution on blind faith. It’s a good thing, as we get older, to go back and revisit these things to see if they are really true.

For example, a really educated Darwinian should be able to finish a sentence like this: “People who doubt fully naturalistic evolution do so because of the following pieces of scientific evidence…” If you meet someone who cannot finish this statement, but who still espouses Darwinian evolution, then you know that you are dealing with someone who has jumped to the answer without really working through the problem by themselves. It can be very tempting, especially for artsy types, to just try to jump to the answer that all the smart people believe without really working through the problem. But that’s not a good way to decide what’s true. Everyone has to work through these problems themselves, and listening to the best people on both sides is the way to do that. People who question evolution nowadays don’t question that the universe is billions of years old or that scientific methods have to be used to answer scientific questions. By all means, let’s decide how we got here by appealing to science.

If you would like to see a nice hour-long video on the Cambrian explosion, then click here.

By the way, if you missed my previous post on the new discovery of oxygen in the early Earth’s environment, and the challenge it represents to naturalistic scenarios for the origin of life, then do check that out.

Contrasting the moral motivations of Christians and humanists

First, consider this article from the LA Times, about a South Korean pastor who takes in abandoned, disabled children.

Excerpt:

In a country that prizes physical perfection, Pastor Lee Jong-rak, his eyes opened after caring for his own disabled son, has been taking in unwanted infants, who if not for his drop box would be left in the street.

The drop box is attached to the side of a home in a ragged working-class neighborhood. It is lined with a soft pink and blue blanket, and has a bell that rings when the little door is opened.

Because this depository isn’t for books, it’s for babies — and not just any infants; these children are the unwanted ones, a burden many parents find too terrible to bear.

One is deaf, blind and paralyzed; another has a tiny misshapen head. There’s a baby with Down syndrome, another with cerebral palsy, still another who is quadriplegic, with permanent brain damage.

But to Pastor Lee Jong-rak, they are all perfect. And they have found a home here at the ad hoc orphanage he runs with his wife and small staff. It is the only private center for disabled children in South Korea.

“This is a facility for the protection of life,” reads a hand-scrawled sign outside the drop box. “If you can’t take care of your disabled babies, don’t throw them away or leave them on the street. Bring them here.”

Since 1998, Lee, now 57, has taken in nearly three dozen children — raised them, loved them, sent them to school. He has changed their diapers, tended to their cries in the middle of the night. Today, he has 21 wards: the youngest a 2-month-old, the oldest 18.

His motivation is painfully personal. Twenty-five years ago, Lee’s wife, Chun-ja, gave birth to a baby so disfigured Lee kept the boy from her for a month until he could figure out a way to tell her the unthinkable, explaining only that the child had a serious illness and was rushed to another hospital.

The baby was born with cerebral palsy. A mammoth cyst on his head choked off the blood flow, slowly rendering him brain-damaged. Doctors gave him months to live.

Today he lies on a bed in Lee’s home, his legs splayed at impossible angles, his feet turned back inward. Eyeing the room impassively, he occasionally lets out a snort or sigh, as his parents regularly vacuum his saliva through a tracheal hole in his throat. They call him Eun-man, which means full of God’s grace.

Let’s take a closer look at what counts as morality in a Christian worldview.

Christianity and self-sacrificial personal morality

Well, first of all, the moral activity is proceeding from a true worldview. The worldview of Christian theism is grounded on facts. A scientific case can be made for the existence of God, from the origin of the universe, the cosmic fine-tuning, the origin of life, the Cambrian explosion, habitability and so forth. Second that case can be augmented by philosophical arguments like the ontological argument from reason, the epistemological argument from evil, the moral argument, and so forth. And finally, a historical argument can be made made for the resurrection of Jesus, which shows the self-sacrificial and loving character of God.

Most importantly, the Christian worldview holds that our happiness is not the purpose of life. The purpose of life is to be rightly related to God the Father, and that this knowing God can involve some self-sacrificial suffering. The purpose of life is not for us to feel happy, to be liked by others, or to be concerned about equalizing the distributions of material possessions through government. What is required of Christians is that they sacrifice their own interests on an individual basis and help their neighbors personally, etc. There is little mention of accomplishing good through government, the emphasis is all on personal morality. Any earning, saving and spending that we do is expected to be partly for the goal of helping others directly. We don’t concern ourselves with the decisions that others are making with respect to earning, saving and spending. We don’t care about how rich or poor someone is. We just care about our own ability to earn, save and spend – with the goal of making all of it serve God.

Additionally, we are commanded to give reasons for what we believe, based on good science, good philosophy and good history.

Morality on secular humanism

Now let’s contrast that outward-focused example of good behavior, based on a true worldview, with the “morality” of secular humanism. This article written by Rick Heller, from The Humanist.

Excerpt:

If solving the climate change problem were as simple as handing out light bulbs, we’d be all set. This April, three dozen humanists paired up like Mormon missionaries and rang doorbells in Cambridge, Massachusetts—but not to spread a message of faith. Instead, they gave away free energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs to residents who surrendered their old-fashioned incandescent bulbs in exchange. Coming at the conclusion of the American Humanist Association’s 2011 conference, this community service project collected a couple hundred energy-hogging bulbs for reuse in children’s crafts projects.

Technological improvements such as better light bulbs are part of the solution to the climate problem. But events like the 2010 BP oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico and the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear complex make it hard to place all one’s faith in large-scale engineering projects. Furthermore, Boston College economist Juliet Schor warns that the growth in consumption has been outpacing efficiency improvements. “We get more efficient, but that makes people want to buy more energy, because it’s effectively cheaper,” she told me. “So you have to control the demand.”

But people typically don’t want less; they want more. That may be why some even deny the reality of climate change. What if we could offer the prospect of more satisfaction, but in a different form that was less damaging to the planet? People could have more of what they really want—to feel good—while purchasing fewer things that depend on atmosphere-polluting industries.

First, what is the basis for action in secular humanism? Well, in secular humanism, the universe is an accident, and there is no objective meaning or purpose to the universe as a whole. There is no objective moral law that specifies what humans ought to do in secular humanism. Inalienable human rights are also not grounded because there is no Creator to ground them. However, people have happy feelings, so the humanists have decided that we should maximize happy feelings and call that “morality”. (It’s not clear to me how this would not be competitive, since what makes you happy may not make me happy). Humanists act to maximize their own happiness. (And really, by happiness, I mean self-indulgence, as opposed to the Christian sense of happiness which is more like eudaimonia). Humanists are not acting on the motives of the South Korean pastor to comply with an objective moral standard by serving God self-sacrificially or by imitating Christ’s suffering and obedience.

The global  warming myth as a noble lie

Rick appeals to global warming as a reason why we should constrain our consumption. I agree that people should reduce their consumption voluntarily, and I would incentivize that with tax-free savings accounts, etc. But I don’t think that global warming should be used to persuade people to reduce their consumption, because man-made global warming is a false view. The myth of global warming, (which was the myth of global cooling 30 years ago and will become the myth of global cooling 30 years from now), serves two purposes in the secular humanist mythology.

The first purpose of global warming/cooling mythology is to allow people to substitute easy/fake virtues, like recycling for hard/real virtues, like chastity and fidelity. That way, they can be “moral” without having to really deny themselves, especially in sexual areas. Second, the global cooling/warming mythology allows them to draw the wider public into supporting a political program of wealth redistribution and government control. This means that a person can be moral not by giving away their own money to the poor, but by taxing their productive neighbor in order to redistribute that wealth to favored groups. Note that recycling and redistributing wealth are not the same as being self-controlled or being faithful to your wife or taking care of disabled children. It’s not about personal self-denial.

If you want to understand the dangers of pursuing happy feelings instead of self-sacrificial morality, just think of liberal politicians like Bill Clinton, John Edwards, and Elliott Spitzer. They will rail and rail about the evil rich  in speeches and receive applause from people who envy the rich and covet their wealth. But then they go out and cheat on their wives in private. They major in redistributive rhetoric but minor in personal sexual morality. Their goal is feelings of happiness – not the obligation to do right when it goes against their self-interest. They feel happy when people applaud them for wanting to take money from one group and give it to another.

They get feelings of happiness from indulging in sinful behavior in private. But there is no self-denial and self-sacrifice in the personal realm, especially on sexual issues. The recycling is meant to provide cover for them to reject traditional moral obligations. The public speeches about wealth redistribution also “balance out” the private vices. That’s why Bill Clinton can still claim to be a good person after cheating on his wife – being willing to redistribute the wealth of others made him a good person, he thinks – and he didn’t have to do anything personally self-sacrificial. 

Is mindfulness the answer?

And this is where we get back to Rick’s article. Rick isn’t advocating easy substitute moralities or wealth redistribution as a path to feelings of happiness.  He is trying to get people to generate happy feelings by themselves by reflecting on the wonders of the things they already own or have access to, like roses and fingers and such. He is very clear that he doesn’t want secular humanists to be grateful to God, though. He just wants them to spend more time acknowledging stimulating things that they’ve been ignoring. He hopes that this will cause them to become less interested in consumption and consumerism, because they appreciate what they already have. He wants them to voluntarily constrain their own material consumption, in order to fight global warming/cooling. So what should Christians make of this?

Well, this would be a good idea, I think, because it might remove a lot of the envy that left-wing politicians tap into in order to lead envious people down the road to serfdom. If non-Christians stop being taken in by flowery speeches about wealth redistribution, then we will all be a lot more free and prosperous. It seems to me that it is a lot less harmful for non-Christians to reduce their guilty feelings through “mindfulness” than by supporting passing price controls, minimum wage increases, carbon taxes, and so forth, as a way to get goodies without having to work for them. I don’t think that it provides a rational basis for morality, but it might provide an emotional basis for resisting socialist rhetoric.

It would also be a good idea for us to encourage non-Christians to stop spending so much money. The massive national debt that we are accumulating will be bad for our future freedom and prosperity. It is also bad for future generations who will be saddled with crushing debt. Charitable enterprises like the South Korean pastor’s drop box operation run on private donations. The more we restrain spending and make people immune to the secular left’s envy rhetoric, the less government will spend, and the more money we Christians will have in our pockets for charity. We need to keep what we earn in order to love God effectively. The government will never sponsor something like a William Lane Craig vs. Christopher Hitchens debate. We need to keep more of our own money so that we can fund that debate.

Self-sacrifice as a way of relating to God in Christ

As good as Rick’s idea is, it still doesn’t go as far as Christian morality goes.

Consider what morality is like in the normal Christian life. The normal Christian is always trying to give of his own self and possessions in order to help others – and not because it makes him feel good, but because it really IS objectively good – it is his way of imitating Christ and having a relationship with God based on the experience of acting on God’s value system. It is because we have a Creator and a Designer that we have an obligation to act in a particular way – there is a way we ought to be, in other words.

We don’t need other people to celebrate our speeches to make up for our rebellion and guilt. We don’t need to have “Chastity Pride” marches or “Fidelity Pride” marches or “Taking Care of Disabled Children” marches. We are not trying to feel happy by doing what we do. We already know that what we are doing is good. We don’t need to force people to celebrate our decisions or to make others be like us through public school indoctrination. We get a sense of joy and fulfillment from the relationship with God. It’s not happiness as self-indulgence, it’s human flourishing according to an objective design. We were designed to be in a relationship with God, and that relationship requires enduring suffering, not avoiding it.


New study finds that fathers and marriage reduce drug use in children

From the Heritage Foundation.

Excerpt:

Teen substance abuse is once again on the rise, according to a national study of adolescent drug and alcohol use released this week. The annual release of the Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) showed an alarming increase in adolescent substance abuse since 2008.

According to the study (PDF), teen illicit drug use and prescription drug abuse have significantly increased in the past three years. Marijuana use among adolescents increased 22 percent from 2008 to 2010, with nearly 40 percent of teens using the drug within the past year. Ecstasy use is also on the rise, increasing from 6 percent in 2008 to 10 percent in 2010. Likewise, 25 percent of teens admit they’ve taken medication not prescribed by their doctor, and one in five has used a behind-the-counter pain reliever without the direction of a doctor. This new data is especially worrisome, as it suggests that teen drug use is climbing again after a relative decline over the past decade.

Unfortunately, adolescent substance abuse is not reserved to the halls of high schools or prom after-parties. The nationally projectable study found an increase in alcohol use among young teens and even pre-adolescents. Almost two in three teens who admit to drinking alcohol said they had consumed their first full drink at age 15. Shockingly, 25 percent of the same group said they had first imbibed at 12 years old or younger.

[…]Whether teens have regular contact with their parents, especially with their fathers, can have significant impact on illicit drug and alcohol use. For instance, a child growing up in a divorced family is four times more likely to try illicit drugs by the time he or she is 14 than the same child raised in an intact, married family. Children who live with both parents and have close relationships with their fathers are less likely to smoke, drink alcohol, or use marijuana regardless of many other socioeconomic factors.

Religious practice also seems to have a positive effect on teens’ engagement in risky behavior. Adolescents who express personal religious beliefs and whose families regularly practice their faith are at lower risk for substance abuse. Fewer than one in 10 teens from an intact, religious family report ever using hard drugs, while more than one in five adolescents from non-intact, non-religious homes have abused illicit substances.

(I removed the links from the excerpt, but every assertion they make is linked to research)

I found this very interesting, especially since I was recently responding to a post that William Lane Craig posted on Facebook. Bill wanted to know why so many people seem to be incapable of considering both sides of a debate and judging who won the debate based on the arguments and evidence presented. This is relevant because in his two most recent debates, the atheists either presented no arguments or they did not attempt to refute his arguments or rebuttals. Bill’s question made me think of all the other factors that cause people to be unable to consider the case for Christianity on the merits, in a debate situation.

I replied to Bill that there were social forces that were breaking down children’s ability to consider both sides of questions so they could make their own decisions, instead of doing what their teachers and peers tell them to do, and this was especially bad as families break down and fathers are ejected from the home by women who chose to have sex with or marry men who are not qualified to be fathers, because they are not capable of being moral/spiritual leaders.

I wrote:

To answer Bill’s original question in the post, I think you have to point out what the public school system is doing to students. The public schools are not encouraging students to learn both sides of current issues so that they can debate them. They have a definite point of view that they are pushing, from the authority of the red pen.

For example, do you think that most public school teachers give equal time to proponents of vouchers or other school choice alternatives? Heck no. They have to be in favor of bigger government and higher taxes – that’s how they get paid. And you can see the same thing in debates about sexual ethics, moral relativism, moral equivalence, evolution, global warming, anti-capitalism, and so on.

They have an agenda. And when you have an agenda, you don’t present issues as having two sides that have to be judged on the merits. Instead, the public schools typically present one side with emotional stories or slogans, and the other side is derided with insults or made out to be a bogey-man. That’s the reason why the atheistic students cannot assess who won the debate. They have been trained in the schools to think one side is correct without ever have to assess the other side.

My favorite economist (Thomas Sowell) puts it well in this column:
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/226865/de-programming-students/thomas-sowell

I think it’s high time for Christian apologists to realize that it takes more than the kalam argument to defeat an atheist. You have to think of the dimension of family, and the schools, and even the laws and policies that incentivize certain behaviors that, one adopted into a lifestyle, make Christianity unpalatable because of its ethical demands.

Consider the impact on having a FATHER in the home on religious belief:
http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=14-01-026-f

And further consider that fatherlessness is correlated with atheism:
http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2008/vanhove_vitzreview_jan08.asp

Now – the question to ask is – what policies promote having a father in the home. Well, no-fault divorce and welfare programs certainly do not promote having a father in the home, for example. So the reason why so many people cannot judge a debate may not be as simple as saying “Bill Craig is a bad debater”. Bill Craig is an excellent debater. But if there are other circumstances at work due to bad policies that make children incapable of even considering the other side, then what can Bill Craig do? Well, Bill Craig could write about policy, I suppose, although we have other scholars for that. But we should all be thinking about it.

I’ve written before about how liberal women choose big government policies that will provide them with financial security regardless of who they choose to have sex with or marry. Liberal women like big government because it relieves of the responsibility to be prudent when choosing men. Tomorrow I am actually going to be explaining, with research, how liberal women actually resent the idea that they would have to conform to choice of sex partner/husband to any traditional male roles or to any courting rules. So long as liberal women continue to vote for big government and choose men based on superficialities like physical appearance, clothes, air of confidence and tone of voice, we are screwed as a society.

Men conform themselves to women’s expectations. If the ability to be a protector, provider and moral/spiritual leader are not the criteria that women use to choose men, then men will change into what women want. Women are the deciders. Men adapt to women’s expectations. That is why it is so important for women to put down the women’s magazines and pick up the research showing the importance of fathers, and specifically, the importance of fathers who have rationally-grounded, well-evidenced KNOWLEDGE about moral and spiritual matters. So long as women view men who have knowledge as “too strict” and “no fun”, children will be damaged.

Speaking of Facebook, if you want to be my friend on Facebook, my Facebook page is here and you can follow the blog here.

The Cambrian explosion: biology’s Big Bang

Consider this article by Jonathan Wells.

First, let’s re-cap the challenge to evolution from the phenomenon of the Cambrian explosion.

The newly released film “Darwin’s Dilemma” argues that the geologically abrupt appearance of the major groups of animals (the “phyla”) in the Cambrian Explosion posed a serious problem for Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution (as he himself knew), and that subsequent fossil discoveries—far from solving the problem—have made it worse.

Basically, all the major body plans we have today appear in the fossil record in a 2-3 million period about 543 million years ago. There are no precursors in the fossil record showing the gradual evolution of these major body plans.

The Cambrian Explosion: 0 to 60 in a few million years
The Cambrian Explosion: 0 to 60 in a few million years

Darwin expected to discover lots and lots of fossils leading up to the Cambrian explosion period that would show how all these phyla came into existence slowly over time. Unfortunately for the naturalistic evolutionists, the discoveries we’ve been making haven’t shown any hint of precursor fossils leading up the Cambrian explosion.

Since 1859, however, many Precambrian fossils have been found, including microfossils of single-celled bacteria in rocks more than three billion years old. In addition, multicellular Precambrian fossils have been found in the Ediacara Hills of Australia, though there is continuing debate over whether any—or how many—of the Ediacaran fossils were animals, or what relationship—if any—they had to the Cambrian phyla. In 1998, Cambridge University paleobiologist Simon Conway Morris (who is featured in the film “Darwin’s Dilemma”) wrote, “Apart from the few Ediacaran survivors… there seems to be a sharp demarcation between the strange world of Ediacaran life and the relatively familiar Cambrian fossils” (Crucible of Creation, 30).

But wait! Maybe we can’t find the precusor fossils required by Darwinism because they are too small or too soft to have survived for so long?

Since 1859, however, many Precambrian fossils have been found, including microfossils of single-celled bacteria in rocks more than three billion years old. In addition, multicellular Precambrian fossils have been found in the Ediacara Hills of Australia… In 1998, Cambridge University paleobiologist Simon Conway Morris… wrote, “Apart from the few Ediacaran survivors… there seems to be a sharp demarcation between the strange world of Ediacaran life and the relatively familiar Cambrian fossils” (Crucible of Creation, 30).

So there is now no shortage of Precambrian fossils. Not only do we have fossils of bacteria, but we also have many fossils of soft-bodied Multicellular organisms. “In the Ediacaran organisms there is no evidence for any skeletal hard parts,” wrote Conway Morris in 1998. “Ediacaran fossils look as if they were effectively soft-bodied” (Crucible of Creation, 28). The same is true of many of the organisms fossilized in the Cambrian explosion.

But wait! Scientists have discovered lots of exceptionally preserved microbes just before the Cambrian explosion. Don’t microbes count as precursors to the Cambrian explosion phyla?

Richard Callow and Martin Brasier reported in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of the Geological Society, London “a variety of exceptionally preserved microbes” from late Precambrian rocks in England that address “the paradox known as ‘“Darwin’s dilemma’.”

[…]Callow and Brasier didn’t solve Darwin’s dilemma. Instead, they put one more nail in the coffin of Darwin’s attempt to salvage his theory from it. The truth is that “exceptionally preserved microbes” from the late Precambrian actually deepen Darwin’s dilemma, because they suggest that if there had been ancestors to the Cambrian phyla they would have been preserved.

I am willing to believe in evolution. But in order to get me to believe it, I insist on seeing a fossil record that shows the gradual emergence of phyla, one or two at a time, over hundreds of millions of years. That is what Darwinism predicts. We now have a solid record of what came before the Cambrian explosion. So where are the precursors? Where is the record of gradual emergence? Where is my evidence?

What does the peer-reviewed research say?

Story from the Discovery Institute.

A new peer-reviewed paper has been published that concludes that there is no material explanation for the massive amounts of information introduced during the Cambrian explosion, when all of the phyla came into being in the blink of an eye, geologically speaking, with no fossilized precursors.

Excerpt:

Thus, elucidating the materialistic basis of the Cambrian explosion has become more elusive, not less, the more we know about the event itself, and cannot be explained away by coupling extinction of intermediates with long stretches of geologic time, despite the contrary claims of some modern neo-Darwinists.

Once again, the progress of science brings light.

The DI post goes on to cite another passage from the paper:

Beginning some 555 million years ago the Earth’s biota changed in profound and fundamental ways, going from an essentially static system billions of years in existence to the one we find today, a dynamic and awesomely complex system whose origin seems to defy explanation. Part of the intrigue with the Cambrian explosion is that numerous animal phyla with very distinct body plans arrive on the scene in a geological blink of the eye, with little or no warning of what is to come in rocks that predate this interval of time. The abruptness of the transition between the ‘‘Precambrian’’ and the Cambrian was apparent right at the outset of our science with the publication of Murchison’s The Silurian System, a treatise that paradoxically set forth the research agenda for numerous paleontologists — in addition to serving as perennial fodder for creationists. The reasoning is simple — as explained on an intelligent-design t-shirt.

Fact: Forty phyla of complex animals suddenly appear in the fossil record, no forerunners, no transitional forms leading to them; ‘‘a major mystery,’’ a ‘‘challenge.’’ The Theory of Evolution – exploded again (idofcourse.com).

Although we would dispute the numbers, and aside from the last line, there is not much here that we would disagree with. Indeed, many of Darwin’s contemporaries shared these sentiments, and we assume — if Victorian fashion dictated — that they would have worn this same t-shirt with pride.

Here is the reference for the paper:

(Kevin J. Peterson, Michael R. Dietrich and Mark A. McPeek, “MicroRNAs and metazoan macroevolution: insights into canalization, complexity, and the Cambrian explosion,” BioEssays, Vol. 31 (7):736 – 747 (2009).)

I linked before to a bunch of easy-to-understand videos that explain the Cambrian explosion. Here’s another peer-reviewed research paper on the Cambrian explosion written by Stephen C. Meyer, on the Cambrian explosion. This is the paper that got evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg fired by secular leftists. He has two earned Ph.Ds in biology. I would expect that the people who fired him had never seen the inside of a biology lab. That’s the way it goes – science (intelligent design) vs. religion (materialism).

Videos on intelligent design

Peer-reviewed paper says there is no atheistic explanation for the Cambrian explosion

Story from the Discovery Institute.

A new peer-reviewed paper has been published that concludes that there is no material explanation for the massive amounts of information introduced during the Cambrian explosion, when all of the phyla came into being in the blink of an eye, geologically speaking, with no fossilized precursors.

Excerpt:

Thus, elucidating the materialistic basis of the Cambrian explosion has become more elusive, not less, the more we know about the event itself, and cannot be explained away by coupling extinction of intermediates with long stretches of geologic time, despite the contrary claims of some modern neo-Darwinists.

Once again, the progress of science brings light.

The DI post goes on to cite another passage from the paper:

Beginning some 555 million years ago the Earth’s biota changed in profound and fundamental ways, going from an essentially static system billions of years in existence to the one we find today, a dynamic and awesomely complex system whose origin seems to defy explanation. Part of the intrigue with the Cambrian explosion is that numerous animal phyla with very distinct body plans arrive on the scene in a geological blink of the eye, with little or no warning of what is to come in rocks that predate this interval of time. The abruptness of the transition between the ‘‘Precambrian’’ and the Cambrian was apparent right at the outset of our science with the publication of Murchison’s The Silurian System, a treatise that paradoxically set forth the research agenda for numerous paleontologists — in addition to serving as perennial fodder for creationists. The reasoning is simple — as explained on an intelligent-design t-shirt.

Fact: Forty phyla of complex animals suddenly appear in the fossil record, no forerunners, no transitional forms leading to them; ‘‘a major mystery,’’ a ‘‘challenge.’’ The Theory of Evolution – exploded again (idofcourse.com).

Although we would dispute the numbers, and aside from the last line, there is not much here that we would disagree with. Indeed, many of Darwin’s contemporaries shared these sentiments, and we assume — if Victorian fashion dictated — that they would have worn this same t-shirt with pride.

Here is the reference for the paper:

(Kevin J. Peterson, Michael R. Dietrich and Mark A. McPeek, “MicroRNAs and metazoan macroevolution: insights into canalization, complexity, and the Cambrian explosion,” BioEssays, Vol. 31 (7):736 – 747 (2009).)

I linked before to a bunch of easy-to-understand videos that explain the Cambrian explosion. That post has a link to another peer-reviewed research paper written by Stephen C. Meyer, on the Cambrian explosion.

Christian parents: be sure to encourage your children to do the best they can in science, and push them to go on to graduate school to earn their Ph.Ds. We really need to have people working on these problems who are not wedded to the pre-supposition of atheism. We need to have people who are open-minded and willing to go wherever the evidence leads.

Further study

One of my favorite resources on the origin of life is this interview from the University of California with former atheist and origin of life researcher Dean Kenyon. Kenyon, a professor of Biology at San Francisco State University, wrote the textbook on “chemical evolution”, which is the view that chemicals can arrange themselves in order to create the first living cell, without intervention.

This interview from the University of California with another origin of life researcher, Charles Thaxton, is also one of my favorites.

You’ll need Quicktime to see the videos, or buy the videos from ARN. (Kenyon, Thaxton) I have both of them – they rock!