“Darwinists have constructed a virtual world that does not match the real world”

British physicist David Tyler comments at Access Research Network on the “Modern optics in the eyes of an Early Cambrian arthropod” (July 1, 2011):

We have known for many years that the eyes of trilobites, going back to the Early Cambrian, have highly sophisticated optics. Although vision has been invoked as a probable characteristic of many other types of animal, there have been few examples of preserved eyes in the fossil record, even in the Burgess Shale and Chengjiang lagerstatte. However, the Emu Bay Shale, which provides exquisite preservation of Early Cambrian animals, has now supplied us with the earliest example of an non-trilobite arthropod eye. Of the seven specimens recovered to date, three are spectacular for the detail revealed and stunning because they document eyes that "are as advanced as those of many living forms". One of the authors of the research paper, Dr Jim Jago, is quoted in the press release:

"These are by far the most complicated eyes known from this period of earth's history. Each eye is seven to nine millimetres across and comprises over 3000 tiny lenses. As yet, the animal to which these eyes belonged is unknown, but they may have belonged to a large shrimp like animal. However, the rock layers in which the eyes are preserved include a dazzling array of fossil marine animals, many being new to science. They include primitive trilobite-like creatures, bizarre armoured worms and large swimming predators."

The abrupt appearance of complexity in the fossil record has often been documented in this blog, primarily to raise questions about the relevance of Darwinism for understanding the origins of complexity. Time and time again, Darwinists fill the gaps in knowledge with their theoretical models, but sooner or later, the next generation of scholars will realise that Darwinists have constructed a virtual world that does not match the real world revealed by research. The features that appear abruptly are as follows:

More.

Darwinist bid fails. Walt Ruloff buys bankrupt Expelled back!

A bid by Darwinists to acquire rights to the Expelled documentary on the ID theorists has failed. From TOAF:

Combined with the funds the Foundation already had on hand, we had just over $50,000 available to bid on the film (and pay the 10% buyer’s premium). The winning bid, however, was $201,000. Because all of the bidders were anonymous, we do not know identity of the winning bidder.

Film probably went to business interest. More later.

Update, just in: Walt Ruloff and his associates, who were the original producers of EXPELLED, won the auction. More later.

Timeline

Talk Origins were trying to buy Expelled "The reason given is so they can then release unpublished material, but equally they could prevent future sales of the film."

10 June 2011 Expelled film to be sold due to bankruptcy. That was not a surprise.

There is a hiatus in significant coverage at this point because the companies that owned various aspects of Expelled lost touch with the people featured in it – for reasons still unexplained – despite the fact that the film was doing well.

23 October 2008 Expelled #1 in documentaries, #11 in DVDs

More here.

Denyse O'Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain.

Fed up with the Gene vs. Scene war? All together now: E-P-I-G-E-N-E-T-I-C-S Rules!

Welcome news from ScienceDaily (June 24, 2011), for people who are fed up with Genes Rule contending with Environment Rules:

Effects of Stress Can Be Inherited, and Here's How

"There has been a big discussion about whether the stress effect can be transmitted to the next generation without DNA sequence change," said Shunsuke Ishii of RIKEN Tsukuba Institute. "Many people were doubtful about such phenomena because the mechanism was unknown. Our finding has now demonstrated that such phenomena really can occur." Ishii and his colleagues now confirm that ATF-2 is required for heterochromatin assembly in multicellular organisms. When fruitflies are exposed to stressful conditions, the ATF-2 is modified and disrupts heterochromatin, releasing genes from their usual silenced state. Importantly, these changes in genomic structure are passed on from one generation to the next.

The researchers expect that this finding in flies has relevance for humans, noting that we also carry the ATF-2 gene. Those epigenetic changes may influence basic cellular functions as well as metabolism, behavior and disease. In particular, Ishii suggests that epigenetic causes may play a role in "lifestyle diseases," including heart disease and diabetes, and in psychological diseases, such as schizophrenia.

So in a number of critical situations, environment helps determine which genes rule.

Not that popular culture will get the picture any time soon, but

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Uncommon Descent contest: 10 most significant ID books

Recently, a list was posted to Listverse identifying Michael Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box as “#1 in a list of 10 books that screwed up the world” because “Despite much refutation from the Scientific community, many fundamentalists still use this as a “source” for proof that evolution is not true.”

At the time, we noted,

Also rans include Mein Kampf (7) and the The Manifesto of the Communist Party (3)

[ … ]

And this beats der Fuehrer? So World War II was for nothing? Wow.

The list’s author tried to cover his base by asserting that his 10 through to 1 list order isn’t supposed to mean anything. Just an accident with numbers, like the universe itself?

Lists can be fun. So here’s the contest:

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Why there is no “scientific” explanation for evil

Recently, there have been a number of attempts to use science to make evil intelligible. Canadian columnist David Warren reflects here regarding a recent riot in Vancouver:

I am trying to draw attention to the very "zero" at the heart of that mob, and ultimately, any violent mob. The participants behave in ways that are finally unintelligible. To say they behave as animals would be unfair to animals, which are purposeful, and even merciful by comparison. (What they have no business with, they leave alone.)

It's not that the books don't explain anything. They tend to explain – either well or badly- how sociopaths or people with autism behave. And what they explain isn't the evil and doesn't finally shed much light on it.

The question isn't whether science can do it. Nothing can. The project is like trying to come up with a rational value for pi, which is irrational by nature.

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Suppose an asteroid had extinguished the trilobite instead of the dinosaur?

Few or no documentaries. Okay, that doesn't matter. But this does: In unbylined "An Environmentalist's Lament" (Breakthrough Journal, June 2011), we learn, once again, about the high costs of hype when it does matter:

Take last summer's BP oil spill in Louisiana. Covering the spill was the Super Bowl of environmental journalism. You couldn't have asked for a better disaster: the never-ending gusher, the oiled birds and tar balls, the callous foreign corporation and corrupt government agency.

[ … ]

I was in no position to go off chasing oil slicks — but also with a certain discomfort I couldn't put my finger on until recently, when New Yorker staff writer Raffi Khatchadourian published an exhaustive investigation into the spill.

Because

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