A Challenge to our Victorian Ethics: Humans and Chimps Interbreeding

[Guest article]  Newspapers chipped away at Christian ethics last week with articles describing evidence that “early humans” bred (hybridized) with their supposed ancestors, the chimpanzees, for millions of years after becoming another species.  The New York Times reports: David Page, a human geneticist at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, said the design of the new […]

Will Genetics Be Neo-Darwinism’s Downfall?

The Institute for Creation Research is gearing up for a multi-year GENE project to look for evidence for design (and against evolution) in the genome.  They may not need to work very hard.  Secular scientists, by continuing to find things not all that helpful for neo-Darwinism, are doing yeoman’s work for them.     While […]

Molecular Clock Keeps Wild Time

Evolutionists used to hope that the mutation rates in genes were relatively constant, so that they could provide a kind of “molecular clock” for inferring dates of divergence of ancestral species.  The first bad news was that not all molecular clocks tick at the same rate (rate heterogeneity).  Then they hoped that rate differences corresponded […]

Non-Coding DNA Has “Far More Complexity Than Was Imagined”

The concept of “junk DNA” appears to be fading away.  “A mathematical analysis of the human genome suggests that so-called ‘junk DNA’ might not be so useless after all,” reported Paul Rincon for the BBC News.  The photo caption reads, “The genome may possess far more complexity than was imagined.”     A team from […]

How Much Can a Cell Do Without?

In an old high school game, the leader would call some unsuspecting boy to the front, put a sheet over him, and say, “Take off what you don’t need.”  Perhaps a shoe would emerge from under the sheet.  “Take off something else you don’t need,” the leader would continue, and the volume of giggling in […]

Few Mutational Pathways Lead to Darwinian Evolution

Mutations may not be as helpful for neo-Darwinian evolution as expected, say researchers from Harvard.  Let’s say five mutations need to occur for a bacterium to gain resistance to an antibiotic, and there are 120 ways to get these mutations.  They found that only about 10 of the pathways could be selected by natural selection.  […]

Isolated DNA Bases Are Destroyed Quickly

Without water, DNA bases fall apart quickly.  Any origin-of-life models expecting the building blocks of DNA (nucleotides) to stick around for long are going to suffer, say researchers from Oregon State University.  The molecules can enter a “dark state” in which they are highly vulnerable to UV radiation.  This idea was once considered “scientific heresy” […]

Reviewer Stunned by Author’s Handwaving

David Nicholls appears to have suffered whiplash from a line in a book he was reviewing in Science,1 Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane (Oxford, 2006).  Though he liked the book in general, he said this about Lane’s explanation for how the first cell got its power generator: The […]

Minimum Genome Doubles

How many genes does a bacterium need to live?  Evolutionists interested in the origin of life have been trying to determine the minimal genome for life.  Those estimates may have been way too low, say researchers from the University of Bath.  Though they did not supply a number, they estimate the required number of genes […]

Misfolded Proteins Cause Cascade of Harmful Effects

Understanding how proteins fold is at the leading edge of scientific research.  Proteins begin as linear chains of amino acids (polypeptides), but end as complex shapes with loops, sheets, bumps, ridges and grooves that are essential to their functions.  If you imagine a string of beads, some with electrical charges, magnets, oil droplets or other […]

Introns Stump Evolutionary Theorists

This story is not about Enron and Exxon, but about introns and exons.  The proportions of the scandals they are causing in evolutionary theory, however, may be comparable.     Introns are spacers between genes.  For several decades now, it has been a puzzle why they are there, and why a complex machine called a […]

In Praise of Fat

Well, great balls of fat.  Cells have spherical globs of lipid (fat) molecules that never had gotten much attention nor respect.  They have been called lipid droplets, oil bodies, fat globules and other names suggesting they were just the beer bellies of the cell.  Not any more.  Scientists have been taking a closer look at […]

It’s a Long (Roundabout) Way from Amphioxus

“Every solution breeds new problems” laments a Murphyism, and Henry Gee feels the pain.  In Nature this week,1 he delved into the growing quandary about where to put the common ancestor of starfish, sea squirts and chordates, including the vertebrates and us human beings.  His challenge is to prove the idiot’s sanity: So, if lancelets […]

Evolutionists Tackle Cambrian Explosion

You have to give credit to anyone who tackles a big problem head-on, regardless of whether you agree with their solution.  Two recent papers take on one of evolution’s biggest challenges: the Cambrian Explosion.  Assuming the evolutionary timeline, this represents a “brief” 5 million year period back 530 million years ago when most of the […]

Precision of Cell Quality Control Described

Two research papers in Molecular Cell give more glimpses into the precision of cellular controls to ensure mistakes are detected and weeded out before harm occurs.  Vogel, Bukau and Mayer1 found that the molecular “chaperone” Hsp70 has a “proline switch,” found in all living organisms.  This switch regulates when the polypeptide needing to be folded […]
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